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Congress to fund Homeland Security’s biometrics program for border agents


Earlier this week, U.S. Congress passed a funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security that includes allocating more than $750 million to its cybersecurity operations and the approval of its new biometrics program for border agents, according to a report by Defense One.

The bill’s passing resolves an ongoing standoff between the Obama administration and congress for the past two months over immigration and government funding.

As a result, DHS management will now be able to launch new projects, sign new agreements and implement plans for the future.

“This bill will provide DHS the funds needed to protect our homeland and meet the needs of our national programs, such as the Coast Guard, Border Patrol, Customs, Secret Service and the Transportation Security Administration,” said Senate Appropriations Committee ranking member Barbara Mikulski, D-Md. “But protection and response begins in local communities, which is why we put money into the federal checkbook for grants that go out to our local police, firefighters and [emergency medical services] to buy the equipment and get the training they need to keep our communities safe.”

Among the key policy initiatives made possible by the bill is the allocation of more than $750 million to the DHS’ cybersecurity operations, which includes acquiring new technologies.

Customs and Border Protection will now have the proper funding in place to test a “biometric exit mobile application” and to maintain a minimum of 95,000 operational flight hours for border surveillance.

Previously reported, the DHS released a $39.7 billion appropriations bill that includes $3 million specifically for testing out a biometric exit app that would be implemented by Customs and Border Protection.

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