The Department of Homeland Security is the umbrella agency charged with protecting the United States from terrorist attacks, natural disasters, border security, customs enforcement and emergency management. The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 prompted the passage of the Homeland Security Act, and from that, the Department of Homeland Security was born.
The role of the department is considerable. And several facts and figures bear that out:
The department employs more than 230,000 people. As it relates to visas and immigration, on an average day those employees will:
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- Welcome 3,000 new citizens
- Oversee 135,000 background checks
- Photograph and fingerprint 11,000 applicants for visas and Green Cards
- Complete 30,000 immigrant benefit applications
- Grant lawful permanent resident status to 3,400 people
- Issue more than 7,000 permanent resident cards.
The Department is broken out into a dozen high level and very publicly recognizable departments and offices. They include:
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement
- Transportation and Security Administration
- U.S. Coast Guard
- U.S. Secret Service
- Office of Intelligence and Analysis
- Office of Infrastructure Protection
- Federal Law Enforcement Training Center
- Federal Emergency Management Agency
- Domestic Nuclear Detection Office
- Directorate for Science and Technology
Since it’s inception, the department has spent more than $57 billion on contracts for goods and services with public and private firms.
In Fiscal Year 2016, the Department’s budget will be $64.8 billion. From this funding, the five departments with the largest budgets are:
|U.S. Customs and Border Protection||$13.5 billion|
|U.S. Coast Guard||$9.9 billion|
|Transportation Security Administration||$7.3 billion|
|U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement||$6.3 billion|
After the Department of Homeland Security was created, it absorbed 22 existing agencies under a single umbrella organization. This represented the largest reorganization of the U.S. government in almost 60 years.
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The Department of Homeland Security is the third largest cabinet department in the United States government. The only larger departments are the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
Homeland security is not unique to the Department of Homeland Security. In all, more than 87,000 federal, state and local jurisdictions are responsible for homeland security functions.
More than 20,000 U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents safeguard the United States, screening nearly 500,000 people and 70,000 containers at U.S. borders and processing more than 4,000 contraband materials and two tons of illegal drugs every day.