President Bush Requests $10.2 Billion Budget for Customs and Border Protection

WASHINGTON, Feb. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- President Bush's Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 budget recognizes that securing America's borders is a top priority. U.S. Customs and Border Protection budget request for FY 2008 represents an increase of $2.43 billion, a 31.4 percent increase over FY 2007, excluding funds provided in FY 2007 as emergency appropriations. CBP's FY 2008 budget reflects $8.79 billion in appropriated resources and $1.38 billion in funding acquired through user fees, for a total of $10.2 billion.

Within the Department of Homeland Security, CBP is the agency responsible for securing our nation's borders, while facilitating global trade. The FY 2008 budget allows CBP to fulfill its priority mission of preventing terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the U.S., while simultaneously facilitating the flow of lawful people and trade across our borders. The FY 2008 budget also provides the necessary resources to ensure that CBP continues to fulfill its traditional missions that include: combating the flow of illegal drugs and other contraband, protecting our agricultural and economic interests from harmful pests and diseases, collecting import duties, and enforcing U.S. trade laws.

The FY 2008 budget supports the DHS Secure Border Initiative, a comprehensive multi-year plan to secure America's borders and reduce illegal migration. Effective control of our borders cannot be obtained without a comprehensive and integrated border security and enforcement system, which leverages investment in agents, technology, infrastructure and facilities.

Border Security Border Patrol staffing increase -- Provides an additional $647.8 million for 3,000 Border Patrol agents and associated costs, directly supporting the strategic goal to increase and extend control of the borders between the ports of entry. Included in this amount are funding for agents and support staff, relocations, and training. A portion of this funding, $28 million, will provide for 151 pilots, air crew, and specialists to support the increase in operations at primary and satellite air sites. Border Patrol facilities -- Provides an additional $100 million for construction of new facilities or the expansion of existing facilities to accommodate the additional Border Patrol staffing increases. Current facilities are at, or close to, capacity. Without further investment, CBP will not be able to adequately sustain Border Patrol personnel and operations. SBInet -- SBInet is the component of SBI charged with developing and installing the technology and tactical infrastructure solution for effective control of the border. The initial focus of SBInet will be on the Southwest land border investments and between the ports of entry where there are serious vulnerabilities to border security. The $1 billion requested in FY2008 provide for the completion of 370 cumulative miles of fence (using existing and new FY08 funds) and allow CBP to begin to install the required tactical infrastructure for lighting, roads and land clearing, vehicle barrier systems and other enforcement support systems. The funds also support some procurement of surveillance technology which includes mobile and fixed towers, and unattended ground sensors and the ongoing upgrades to command and control systems. Additionally, funds will be used to support the ongoing command and control upgrades in the form of fixed and mobile command and control systems which contribute to the border common operating picture. Air and Marine Operations Air and Marine facilities -- Provides $30 million for the expansion of CBP Air and Marine facility infrastructure. Administrative facilities, as well as hangars along the Southwest Border, require improvements, additions or replacements to adequately protect the aviation fleet. This request is based on the integrated CBP Air and Marine strategic/modernization plan, the infrastructure requirements, and the time needed for new construction. Air and Marine fleet upgrades -- Provides $4.6 million to upgrade CBP Air and Marine's fleet avionics for aircraft to bring them up to current standards. Sensors and mission systems lose their effectiveness and become more expensive to support as they advance in age. New avionics and sensor systems retrofitted in existing aircraft are the key to continue border security aviation support. National support of air assets -- Provides an additional $36.7 million to maintain an operational readiness rate of 80 percent or greater for the 267 aircraft fleet. This enhancement will ensure that aircraft will be available to meet mission needs to better protect U.S. borders against acts of terrorism, smuggling of illegal drugs and other illegal activities. Funding will support CBP's ability to maintain required flight hours along the border, continue the P-3 Consolidated Inspection Program, and incorporate new maintenance practices to control costs and safely improve availability. Automation Modernization Treasury Enforcement Communication System (TECS) -- Provides $25 million to enhance CBP's mission capabilities by developing and deploying a modernized replacement for TECS. FY 2008 will be the first year of a multi-year plan to modernize this system. TECS plays an essential role in the screening of travelers entering the U.S. and in supporting the screening requirements of other federal agencies. Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Detection Staffing -- Provides an additional $6 million for 55 additional CBP Officers to deploy and perform the subsequent operation of radiation portal monitors (RPMs) funded in FY 2007 through the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office's WMD procurement program. Funding will ensure CBP will have a cadre of highly trained personnel to resolve alarms from RPMs and to conduct radiological examinations of incoming containers at our Nation's busiest seaports. Conduct and Integrity Oversight -- Recognizing CBP's unequivocal commitment to the integrity of its workforce, the budget provides $10 million for 50 investigators and 8 support positions to address Internal Affairs staffing needs. The positions enhance a permanent, full-time group of investigators that is responsible for investigating all serious non-criminal misconduct allegations and lesser administrative violations involving CBP employees, as well as criminal allegations not related to corruption. CBP's program complements ICE's Office of Professional Responsibility, which investigates criminal conduct allegations. Port Security Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) -- Provides for $252.5 million to support the implementation of WHTI, which requires travelers to present a passport or equivalent documentation when entering the U.S. Resources would support WHTI implementation at 225 inbound lanes at ports of entry, which covers 68 percent of land border arrivals, an additional 205 CBP officers, and equipment and contract services. This investment will create a more effective process for validating identity and citizenship at the time of border crossing and will avoid the intensive and intrusive inspection process that would result from meeting WHTI requirements without this technology. The investment also will improve operational effectiveness at the land border ports by providing improved passenger information to the CBP primary inspection officer. Secure Freight Initiative (SFI) -- Provides $15 million to hire nine CBP Officers and eight support positions, and to acquire and deploy equipment and technology in support of the CBP SFI. This initiative builds on the operational pillars of CBP's Container Security Initiative (CSI) and the Department of Energy Mega ports initiative to maximize radiological and nuclear screening of U.S. bound containers in foreign ports of departure.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

SOURCE U.S. Customs and Border Protection

CONTACT: U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Public Affairs, +1-202-344-1770

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