Congress Holding Homeland Defense Funds

Congress remains unconvinced it should release the remaining $252 million in funding for the Homeland Security Departments U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology system.

In June, the General Accounting Office (GAO) submitted a report to Congress critical of the Department of Homeland Defense’s planning and deployment of the system designed to track persons crossing U.S. borders.

Congress has already released $120 million in funding for the program but, in response to the GAO study, is holding the rest of the money pending a new report from Homeland Defense. The GAO said Homeland Defense needs to provide more details of the system, including how the system will be managed and the costs and benefits of the program.

Homeland Defense officials have been equally critical of the GAO report, claiming the system complies the Office of Management and Budget’s requirements and that the implementation of the program is still dependent on pending decisions.

Congress is in recess until September. When it returns, Homeland Defense is expected to immediately submit more detailed plans in order to gain the funding.

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