Jeh Johnson, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said the department could furlough an estimated 30,000 employees if Republican lawmakers continue plans to block DHS funding in response to the administration’s immigration policy in an interview with CNN aired Sunday.
Johnson told Dana Bash on CNN’s “State of the Union” that he has met with congressional leaders to urge against those plans as the Feb. 27 funding deadline nears.
“I’m on the Hill every day stressing the importance of a fully funded Department of Homeland Security, separate and apart from riders to try to defund our efforts to reform the immigration system,” Johnson said.
“If people in Congress want to have that debate about immigration reform, let’s have that debate, but don’t tie that to funding public safety at homeland security for the American people.”
Approximately 80 percent of the Federal Emergency Management Agency workforce could be affected by the furlough, according to CNN.
Johnson also pushed for a higher budget to fund future DHS programs rather than maintaining the previous year’s funding levels as required under a continuing resolution, the report said.