June 29, 2018

DeFazio, Garamendi, Larsen and Courtney Slam the Trump Administration’s Plan to Use Coast Guard Funds for ICE Enforcement

June 29, 2018

The Honorable Mick Mulvaney


Office of Management and Budget

725 17th Street, NW

Washington, D.C. 20503

Dear Director Mulvaney:

            On June 22, the Washington Post reported the Trump administration intends to shift $77 million from the U.S. Coast Guard’s budget to pay for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operations. We are writing to express our profound disapproval of this proposed transfer of funds.

            As one of five armed services, the United States Coast Guard has fought in every conflict since its establishment by the First Congress. Unfortunately, unlike the other armed services, the Coast Guard has felt the full impact of spending cuts imposed under the Budget Control Act and is suffering shortfalls in operational readiness and mission capabilities.  Although the Coast Guard’s fiscal year 2018 appropriation provided the service with a much-needed and long-overdue boost in funding, this increase represents only an incremental positive step forward in what will amount to a multi-year effort to restore full funding for the Coast Guard.

            Any proposal to transfer funds out of the Coast Guard to support other agencies and bureaus within the Department of Homeland Security is both short-sighted and ill-advised—a myopic, modern-day exercise in robbing Peter to pay Paul. As you know, the 2018 hurricane season began on June 1.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in its outlook for the 2018 Atlantic storm season, is projecting an average to above-average season this year, with 10-16 named storms and five to nine hurricanes, including one to four major hurricanes.  Even if the 2018 hurricane season does not match the intensity and severity of the 2017 season, you can be sure the Coast Guard, again, will be stretched thin to provide emergency response, search and rescue, restoration of ports and waterways, and other services because it still remains under-resourced.

            It makes absolutely no sense to reduce the resources available to the Coast Guard. We urge you abandon the reported proposal to shift funds from the Coast Guard to ICE so the Coast Guard may properly focus on its core mission of protecting American lives and property at sea.


PETER DeFAZIO                                                      JOHN GARAMENDI

Ranking Member                                                         Ranking Member

Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation


JOE COURTNEY                                                       RICK LARSEN

Co-Chair                                                                       Co-Chair

Congressional Coast Guard Caucus                              Congressional Coast Guard Caucus