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Chairman Green: DHS’ FY25 Budget Request “Fails to Take Seriously the Crises Threatening Our National Security Interests”

April 16, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Mark E. Green, MD (R-TN) delivered the following opening statement in a hearing with now-impeached Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to examine his department’s fiscal year 2025 budget request and the priorities it reflects.


Watch Chairman Green’s opening statement in a hearing to examine DHS’ FY25 budget request.

As prepared for delivery:

Good morning, Secretary Mayorkas, and thank you for joining the Committee to discuss the budget you and President Biden have put forward for the Department of Homeland Security.

On March 1st, the Department celebrated its 21st anniversary. I want to thank all the public servants throughout DHS who dedicate their lives to securing the homeland. This work is vital to our nation’s safety and security.

Mr. Secretary, when you took the oath of office, you swore to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” and, “well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office” you were assuming. The Immigration and Nationality Act further makes clear that you have a “duty to control and guard the boundaries and borders of the United States.”

During your three years as Secretary, you have failed to fulfill this oath. You have refused to comply with the laws passed by Congress and you have breached the public trust.

You have facilitated and encouraged record levels of illegal immigration since your first day in office—and we have all witnessed the devastating results of your open-borders agenda.

I’ve shared this before, but I feel it’s necessary to repeat it. You abolished working policies, and following the statements of your boss on his campaign trial—promises to improperly grant asylum to anyone who came. As a result, people from all over the world tested the system, came and were released, phoned home, and the mass waves began. With this increased demand, the cartels took advantage, regulated that flow to overwhelm the crossing sites at our border. You responded by removing the Border Patrol agents from the border to process and release these record numbers of people, and issued guidance to DHS law enforcement to violate laws passed by this coequal branch of government, Congress, on detention and removal. With the border wide open, and Border Patrol occupied processing the mass waves of people, the cartels have poured drugs, criminals and trafficked humans into this country. This has led to the deaths of thousands, the loss of billions of dollars, and created the crisis you just finally acknowledged as such in recent testimony.

Even your counterpart, FBI Director Christopher Wray, has said there is no way to ensure Hamas and other terrorists are not a part of the roughly 2 million gotaways who have entered our country uncaught on your watch. And the massive increase in Chinese nationals, 53,000 encountered in 2023, adds to the threats we now face at home because you chose to not enforce the law.

Your refusal to follow those laws is contemptible. Your disregard of the requests from this coequal branch of government in pursuit of our constitutional duty to conduct oversight, your false statements to this body and the American people, and your issuance of guidance to the employees of DHS telling them to violate laws passed by Congress, shows a disregard for the Constitution you swore an oath to uphold.

However, instead of acknowledging those failures and pledging to change course, your actions and directives remain unchanged. You’ve doubled down.

This budget request reflects that obstinance. It fails to take seriously the crises threatening our national security interests, especially our wide-open borders.

For example, you request a 1.45 billion dollar cut in topline spending for CBP’s budget from what Congress enacted last year. That includes a 245 million dollar cut in funding for CBP’s Border Security Operations budget.

Instead, as you did in last year’s budget, you proposed a 4.7 billion dollar slush fund, called the “Southwest Border Contingency Fund,” which ironically would not be used to actually secure the border, but simply help you process and release more illegal aliens quickly into the interior. Might I remind you, if the Founders wanted the executive branch to just get slush funds, they would never have detailed the funding duties of this body in the division of power. Again, you tread on the Constitution.

And this fund won’t solve the humanitarian crisis you created—it would facilitate it while trying to hide the truth from the American people.

Your budget proposal only provides for 350 new Border Patrol agents. The Secure the Border Act, passed by the House in 2023, provided enough funding for over eight times this number.

Your budget only requests funding for 34,000 ICE beds. By comparison, in FY2021, the Trump administration requested 60,000 ICE beds—at a time when illegal crossings were at their lowest in decades!

Your targets for removals of illegal aliens are abysmal. In FY20, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, ICE removed 185,884 illegal aliens, while in FY19, ICE removals exceeded 267,000. Last year, despite more than 3.2 million inadmissible encounters at our borders, you only accomplished around 143,000 removals. And in this budget, you’re only targeting 125,000.

At that rate, it would take 16 years to remove just the roughly 2 million gotaways on your watch—to say nothing of the more than 9 million encounters, many of whom have also been released.

Meanwhile, the Chinese Communist Party continues to carry out multifaceted covert espionage and influence missions against the U.S. Beijing has shown that if we give an inch, they will take a mile, and Mr. Secretary, you have given them all 1,951 miles of our Southwest border.

While we are deeply appalled by your handling of border security and immigration issues, this Committee does look to work with the Department on other key issues. This past February, the administration issued an executive order providing for more stringent cybersecurity at our ports, as well as an emphasis on supply-chain security. We support these initiatives. Your proposal also recognizes that our cyber workforce is vital to the protection of our homeland. Strengthening our cyber workforce pipeline will be one of our top priorities this year, and it is imperative that the 419 full-time employees you requested for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency are utilized effectively. To that end, we must ensure CISA’s authorities and resources align with its mission.

Secretary Mayorkas, the world is only growing more dangerous. Our adversaries in China, Russia, Iran, and elsewhere are expanding their capabilities and seeking to undermine our interests, even within our homeland. While parts of this budget request deal with some of those threats, this request as a whole utterly fails to meet the moment.