Appropriations Committee Approves Fiscal Year 2019 Homeland Security Funding Bill

Washington, D.C. - The House Appropriations Committee today approved the fiscal year 2019 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations bill on a vote of 29-22 . The bill targets critical programs such as aviation security, border and immigration enforcement, customs activities, protection against cyberterrorism, natural disaster response, and efforts to stop the smuggling of drugs and people into the U.S.

In total, the legislation directs $51.4 billion in discretionary funding for DHS, an increase of $3.7 billion above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level. In addition, the bill includes $6.7 billion – the same as the President’s request – for major disaster relief and emergency response activities through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The legislation also includes $5 billion for physical barriers and associated technology along the U.S. southern border. This amount provides for over 200 miles of new physical barrier construction. Additionally, the bill includes $223 million for 140 new Customs and Border Protection (CBP) canine teams to initiate a five-year strategy towards achieving 100 percent scanning on the southern border. 

“The Committee takes its role in safeguarding our homeland and protecting our citizens seriously. Globalization, cybersecurity, and terrorism are changing our way of life and we need to change with it. This bill fully supports our men and women on the frontline who work tirelessly to keep us safe. The bill also provides the necessary funding for critical technology and physical barriers to secure our borders. It is a balanced approach that enhances our capabilities and preparedness,” Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen said.

Homeland Security Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Yoder also commented on the bill:

“Cartels are trafficking $64 billion a year in drugs and people across our border - and much of it comes through one small stretch at the Rio Grande Valley,” Chairman Yoder said. “This bill takes the largest steps in years toward finally fulfilling our promise to the American people to secure the border. We add funding for more than 200 miles of physical barrier, hundreds of new immigration and customs enforcement agents, and state of the art technology that will give our law enforcement agencies the tools they need to keep us safe. We take concrete steps to keep families together at the border, enforcing our immigration laws humanely and responsibly. This is all in addition to emergency and natural disaster relief grants, critical resources to protect our cyber networks, and tools to defend against terror threats.”

The following amendments to the bill were approved by the full committee today:

Rep. Yoder – The amendment made technical and other noncontroversial changes and additions to the bill and report. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.

Rep. Aguilar – The amendment prohibits funds to deport DACA recipients who also serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.

Rep. Yoder/Rep. Roybal-Allard – The amendment adds report language to support the enforcement of border and immigration laws and the humane treatment of children and families. The amendment also adds funding for health services, alternatives to detention, and family case management services. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.

Rep. Aderholt – The amendment adds bill language prohibiting use of ICE funding to pay for an abortion or require anyone to perform or facilitate an abortion. The amendment was adopted on a vote of 30-20.

Rep. Culberson – The amendment adds bill language amending the Stafford Act to increase access for rental assistance following declared national disasters. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.

Rep. Lee/Rep. Serrano – The amendment adds bill language extending disaster unemployment assistance by one year following the declared national disasters of hurricanes Maria and Irma. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.

Rep. Newhouse – The amendment adds bill language changing the H-2A seasonal agriculture worker program from seasonal to year-round. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.

Rep. Harris – The amendment adds language restoring a two-year “look back” within the H-2B seasonal guest worker visa program, exempting a certain number of return workers from the overall cap. It also sets up a system to allow a proportional number of visas for businesses, instead of all or none, when there is a higher demand for visas than the total number authorized. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.

Rep. Kilmer/Rep. Cole – The amendment prohibits funding to disallow certain Native American tribal members the right to pass the U.S/Canada border. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.

Rep. Moolenaar – The amendment adds report language clarifying polices related to the deportation of certain asylum seekers, such as Chaldean Christians. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.

Rep. Wasserman Schultz – The amendment adds language providing additional flexibility under the FEMA public assistance statute of limitations. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.

Rep. Yoder – The amendment provides additional flexibility related to the country cap on high-skilled workers under the H1-B visa program. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.

Rep. Palazzo – The amendment allows certain existing, unobligated funds to be used to purchase long-lead time materials for the 12th National Security Cutter. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.

Rep. Culberson – The amendment adds language preventing ICE from releasing certain criminal detainees back onto U.S. soil. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.

Rep. Price – The amendment expands asylum status definitions to include “credible fear” as an established reason for asylum, which would include threats of gang and domestic violence. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.

Rep. Clark – The amendment adds language prohibiting funds for ICE to use restraints on a pregnant detainee in most circumstances. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.

Rep. Clark – The amendment prohibits funding for the destruction of documents related to sexual abuse or assault on detainees in custody. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote. 

Rep. Aguilar – The amendment prohibits funding for the removal of noncitizens who are DACA recipients. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.

For a summary, please visit.

For the bill report, please visit,

For the text of the bill, please visit.