DHS Sets its FY2012 Immigration Budget Priorities

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano released the department’s fiscal year 2012 budget request in February, 2011, with a total proposed budget of $43.2 billion, which is a .7 percent, or $309 million, increase over the fiscal year 2011 budget.

“On a daily basis, the Department of Homeland Security secures U.S. air, land, and sea borders; safeguards lawful trade and travel; secures federal networks; and disrupts and dismantles transnational criminal and terrorist organizations that engage in cross-border criminal activity,” Napolitano said. “The Department’s FY 2012 budget request allows us to continue to meet these evolving threats and challenges responsibly by prioritizing our essential operational requirements – while reflecting an unprecedented commitment to fiscal discipline that maximizes the effectiveness of every security dollar we receive.”

Napolitano focused specifically on securing and maintaining U.S. borders and enforcing and administering U.S. immigration laws.

In 2012, the Department of Homeland Security will support an all-time high of over 21,000 Border Patrol agents and a similar number of U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers. The budget also includes funding for additional surveillance technology on the southwest border of the U.S. and investments in technology for the long northern border between the U.S. and Canada. Additional funding will go toward the Coast Guard’s national security program and will allow the Coast Guard to invest in 46 new vessels, several aircraft, and improvements to existing facilities.

Funding will also go toward enforcement of immigration laws and streamlining the legal immigration process. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement maintains over 33,000 detention beds for detained aliens and removes more than 200,000 criminal aliens per year.

Napolitano also plans to roll out Secure Communities, a program that allows government offices to share information about detained foreign nationals, to 96 percent of all jurisdictions nationwide. The budget also includes an expansion of the E-Verify system, which allows businesses to use an Internet-based program to confirm new hire employment eligibility in the United States.

Additional funding will go toward integration efforts, English language and citizenship education programs, improvements to detainee health care, and improving detainee access to family members and legal representation.

Stewart Rabinowitz is President of Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C. Mr. Rabinowitz is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. To contact a Dallas immigration lawyer or Dallas immigration attorney visit Rabinowitzrabinowitz.com