Carper Statement on Hearing with Secretary Nielsen to Discuss Department of Homeland Security’s 2019 Budget

 WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) released the following statement following the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on Homeland Security’s 2019 budget. 

“When I served as Chairman and Ranking Member of this committee, I worked hard, and in a bipartisan way, to ensure that the Department would have the necessary resources and authorities to address threats to our country – whether man-made, or from natural disasters or climate change. I’m proud of the bipartisan work my colleagues and I did to ensure the Department could continue to carry out its vital mission.

“However, the Trump Administration seems intent on instead using the Department as a tool to carry out its anti-immigrant campaign promises. That fact is reflected in recent decisions ending Temporary Protected Status granting legal protections to Central Americans who have lived and worked in this country for decades; deploying our stretched-thin National Guard to the southwest border at a time of historically low apprehensions; and in the President’s budget request, which prioritizes construction of an unnecessary border wall and more detention beds over needed investments in our homeland security.

“As a result, I am concerned that the men and women who carry out the important work of the Department may not be receiving the resources they need to address serious and credible threats to our security, such as deadly opioids going undetected as they are shipped through the mail, ever-evolving cyber-attacks targeting our federal systems and critical infrastructure, and the upcoming 2018 hurricane season, which is projected to be as severe as the last.

“Decisions made by leadership at DHS must be driven by sound policy, rather than politics. Unfortunately, I fear that the administration’s narrow focus on removing undocumented immigrants, including those who pose no threat to public safety, is driven by political considerations and comes at the cost of other major security priorities and, ultimately, Americans’ safety.

“These misguided priorities do not reflect who we are as a country. America is a nation built by immigrants, enriched by immigrants and made stronger by the contributions of immigrants. Detaining and prosecuting individuals who arrive at our borders fleeing unspeakable violence in their home countries, and seeking to expel others who have spent decades in this country living and working as productive members of our society, hurts our standing abroad and with our allies and violates the moral imperative we have to treat our neighbors as we would like to be treated. It is also economically shortsighted, especially at a time when we have millions of jobs in this country going unfilled.

 “I would urge Secretary Nielsen to work with Congress to ensure that the Department more effectively utilizes the resources we have provided to combat the real and ever-evolving threats we are facing, rather than continue to waste resources needlessly persecuting immigrants.”