How DHS plans to use stimulus funds

A good summary of DHS stimulus spending from HS Daily Wire:

St. Elizabeths/DHS headquarters consolidation: $200 million, $450 million to GSA

  • $650 million ($200 million to DHS; $450 million to GSA)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP): $680 million direct, $300 million to GSA

  • $720 million for construction at land ports of entry ($300 million GSA; $420 million CBP)
  • $100 million for Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) technology
  • $100 million for border technology on the southwest border
  • $60 million for tactical communications equipment and radios

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE): $20 million

  • $20 million for ICE automation modernization and tactical communications

Transportation Security Administration: $1 billion

  • $1 billion for explosives detection systems and checkpoint screening equipment

U.S. Coast Guard: $240 million

  • $142 million for alteration of bridges program
  • $98 million for construction, which may include the following:
    • Shore facilities and aids to navigation facilities
    • Vessel repair/acquisition (includes High Endurance Cutter, National Security Cutter)

Federal Emergency Management Agency: $615 million+

  • $100 million for Emergency Food and Shelter Program
  • $150 million for transit and rail security grants
  • $150 million for port security grants, no non-federal match required
  • $210 million for Assistance to Firefighter (AFG) grants for firehouse construction; maximum grant is $15.0 million
  • $5 million expansion in authority for FEMA Community Disaster Loans
  • Requires the establishment of an arbitration panel to resolve Katrina/Rita public assistance disputes
  • Requires FEMA to accept additional applications for Katrina/Rita public assistance
  • All non-federal matching requirements for SAFER grants waived for FY 2009-2010

DHS Office of Inspector General: $5 million

  • $5 million to conduct related oversight and audits

Total: Based on these numbers, here are the totals:

  • $2.76 billion direct to DHS & components
  • $750 million to GSA
  • $3.5 billion total

Congress halts funding for DHS programs until conditions are met


Concerned about the management of major programs, Congress placed a temporary hold on over $1 billion dollars allocated for several large projects at DHS until certain conditions for improvements are met.

Programs put on temporary hold include:

  • The Coast Guard’s Integrated Deepwater Systems ship replacement program: $550 million held out of $1 billion
  • The Secure Border Initiative (including the SBInet virtual fence): $400 million / $775 million
  • CBP’s Automated Commercial Environment: $217 million / $317 million
  • U.S. VISIT (that collects fingerprints from foreign visitors): $75 million / $300 million

Congress’ detailed instructions were included in the continuing resolution signed by President Bush last week that included fiscal 2009 appropriations for DHS.

Bill would limit homeland security laptop searches

The Homeland Security Department has declared its right to seize laptops at the U.S. border indefinitely, and the 9th Circuit court upheld their right to do so, but the Travelers Privacy Protection Act introduced Thursday is intended to curb that power.

The legislation would require DHS to form reasonable suspicion of illegal activity before searching electronic devices carried by U.S. residents. The DHS would also be required to provide probable cause and a warrant or court order to hold such a device for more than 24 hours. The bill also limits what information acquired through electronic searches the DHS can disclose, and it requires the department to report on its border searches to Congress.


  • Although I’ve heard several arguments that the laptop policy only extends the powers CBP agents have to search all items and documents brought into the U.S., others argue that the extent of searches currently allowed by DHS exceeds traditional protections in all areas (not just laptops).
  • The newly introduced bill offers protection only for information on electronic media – physical documents and other belongings are not protected.
  • The newly introduced bill only offers protection for citizens and legal residents of the U.S. – foreign visitors are not protected.