The Trump administration has requested $18.2 billion for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in its proposed fiscal year 2021 budget request to Congress.
The largest portions of the proposed funding for CBP will go toward strengthening and improving agency land-border infrastructure and adding Border Patrol personnel.
The proposed CBP budget, for example, requests $2 billion to construct another 82 miles of border wall along the U.S.-Mexican border, $181.5 million for border station upgrades and $161.2 million to hire and train 750 additional Border Patrol agents.
The proposed fiscal 2021 budget also calls for $25 million to be spent on maintenance of nonintrusive inspection (NII) technology, as well as purchasing 45 small-scale and handheld systems for cargo. “The proposed increase will allow CBP to maintain an operational availability of equal to or greater than 95% across the NII systems,” the White House’s budget proposal said.
The Trump administration wants to provide $23.4 million to migrate CBP’s National Data Center “to the cloud in advance of the expiration of the current building’s lease” and $10 million toward ongoing upgrades to the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE), the agency’s umbrella computer system.
“Continued funding is required to migrate the functionality from the antiquated mainframe and into the ACE platform,” the White House budget proposal said. “The development includes a cloud-based platform that reduces costs to the agency, provides a common framework that aligns with other initiatives and is flexible enough to allow for future technological enhancements.”
However, the proposed budget includes no funding for hiring additional officers for CBP’s Office of Field Operations, which oversee inbound and outbound trade at the nation’s 328 ports of entry.
The National Treasury Employees Union, which represents CBP’s officers, criticized the proposed fiscal year 2021 budget’s lack of funds for additional Office of Field Operations personnel, adding that staffing levels at many ports of entry are already “dangerously short.”
CBP enforces about 500 U.S. trade laws and regulations on behalf of 49 different federal agencies.
In addition to interdicting illegal narcotics, contraband and unsafe products from U.S. commerce, CBP is the second-largest source of revenue to the federal government, collecting about $80.7 billion in duties, fees and taxes in fiscal year 2019.
CBP is part of the Department of Homeland Security, which also includes the Transportation Security Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Coast Guard, Citizenship and Immigration Service, and Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency. The White House requested a total of $49.8 billion for the entire department in fiscal year 2021.