February 10, 2017

Warren, Udall, Schatz, Heinrich and Harris Raise Concerns About Diversion of Funds from Key Homeland Security Priorities to Pay for Trump Border Wall

Warren Asks Homeland Security Department About Impact of Border Wall Executive Order on Massachusetts

Washington, DC - U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) wrote today to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to raise concerns about the potential diversion of funds from key agency priorities to pay for President Trump's proposed border wall. The president's recent executive order requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to "identify and, to the extent permitted by law, allocate all sources of Federal funds for the planning, designing, and constructing of a physical wall along the southern border."

The letter notes that the agency has five critical responsibilities - including terrorism prevention, border security, immigration enforcement, cybersecurity, and disaster preparedness - and that Congress has appropriated funds to address each of these priorities. However, the senators noted that "either because it was hastily drafted or because this was the President's intent... the executive order appears to require you to divert all appropriated funds that you have authority to move, even at the expense of important homeland security priorities."

Expressing serious concern that this could hamper the agency's ability to carry out its mission and keep our country safe, the senators asked DHS how much funding will be diverted and the impact of that on agency priorities. They also asked a series of questions about the development and implementation of the executive order. A PDF copy of the letter is available here.

Senator Warren also wrote today to the DHS Acting Assistant Secretary responsible for outreach to state and local governments to ask about the impact of President Trump's executive order on homeland security priorities and on DHS employees in Massachusetts. A PDF copy of that letter is available here.