(CNSNews.com) - Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said Tuesday that the FY17 omnibus spending bill, which provides his department with $42.4 billion in base discretionary spending, provides the “largest investment in border security in 10 years.”
“We’ve accomplished so much with the resources we already have. If I may remind you, apprehensions of illegal immigrants and criminals at the border are down significantly, but we need more to keep moving forward. This is our government’s largest investment in border security in 10 years,” Kelly said.
“In the past 100 days, we’ve been incredibly successful in enforcing the law and defending the nation. I believe this budget will help us begin to improve the way we do business and how we accomplish our goals to make this country more secure,” Kelly said.
“The department’s base discretionary budget authority is $42.4 billion. While we can never in my opinion invest too much in the security of our citizens and in our communities, we will be able to both sustain our critical security operations and make improvements that make us all safer,” he said.
“That includes hiring ICE agents, improving cyber security, funding grants that support state and local communities, and funding the Coast Guard operations at $344 million above the FY17 budget request,” Kelly said. “And as promised, the budget will secure our borders and enforce our immigration laws.
According to Kelly, border security includes three factors - people, technology, and infrastructure.
“This budget begins to provide all three. It will help us replace see-through steel wall along the southwest border. It will help us put more enforcement aircraft in the skies. It will help us deploy more technology to stop illegal activity crossing our borders,” he said.
Kelly said he was “shocked” at those in public service celebrating that they managed to reduce the money for a border wall, knowing that it will take longer to build and the border will be under “less control than it could be.”
“These appropriations provide us all an investment in the people, equipment and technology that helps our department protect the homeland. We face a variety of hazards with manmade and natural factors, and this budget begins to help us to confront them all,” Kelly said.
He said there are many in public service who owe the Border Patrol an apology - “and frankly, many in the media - for how they disrespect them, disrespect them for what they do and how they serve us everyday.”