The Trump administration has proposed cuts to several federal agencies under the Department of Homeland Security in an effort to raise funds for strengthening security along the U.S./Mexico border and taking a tougher stance on illegal immigration.
According to a draft plan written by the Office of Management and Budget, cuts would be made to the Coast Guard, Transportation Security Agency (TSA), and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Politico provided details of the proposed cuts after it obtained a draft copy of OMB’s memo.
According to their reports, reductions include cutting the Coast Guard’s budget from $9.1 billion to $7.8 billion (14%). FEMA’s budget would be cut by $370 million, and TSA would have a total budget cut of $500 million, bringing the agency’s budgets down to $3.6 billion and $4.5 billion, respectively.
Cuts to FEMA include the agency’s port transit security program while reductions at TSA would involve eliminating four programs at a total cost of $187 million which include behavioral detection programs and the agency’s armed pilot program, training intended to prepare pilots for an armed takeover of their airplanes. The proposal would, however, increase the TSA security fee by $1 next year which is estimated to generate an extra $470 million in revenue.
On the flip side, the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees all of these agencies, would have its budget boosted by roughly 6% to $43.8 billion.
Other agencies that would see a boost include Immigration and Customs Enforcement (36% increase) and Customs and Border Protection (27% increase). The increases at these two agencies would go towards hiring 500 more Border Patrol agents and 1,000 more ICE agents and support staffers. Active job openings at the Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection have already been announced.
The budget proposal includes $1.4 billion for construction of the southern border wall. According to Politico, it also sets aside $560 million for “high-priority replacement fence projects” along with $920 million for fixed and mobile surveillance technology and $1.9 billion to pay for additional detention beds and deportation transportation costs.
Other agencies have been targeted for cuts in the initial budget proposal. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had proposed budget cuts of 17% while the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would see its budget reduced by 25%.
None of the proposals are final at this stage of the budget process. Agencies can appeal the changes, and Congress ultimately has to approve finalized spending plans.
OMB Director Mick Mulvaney said that the White House will release its budget proposal for the coming fiscal year on March 16.