DHS Targets Loose Change Left in TSA Trays to Help Fund Border Security

The Department of Homeland Security is looking to move millions from the TSA to fund border operations if Congress does not approve its $1.1 billion funding request and the plan includes using loose change left at airport security trays, NBC News reports.

DHS is looking to funnel money from agencies like TSA and FEMA to meet their border funding goal if Congress does not approve it. The plan includes moving $232 million from TSA despite possible disruptions to summer travel and security concerns.

Internal documents obtained by NBC News show that DHS wants to use $3 million left in TSA trays, as well as $50 million to buy advanced airport screening equipment and $64 million from a workers compensation fund for injured employees, to fund their border operations.

“Funding for Transportation Security Officers, who run security screening lines in airports, are also ‘in play,’ the email said. Cutting funding for those officers could have a significant impact on wait times for travelers as the summer season begins,” NBC News reported.

DHS may send TSA agents to the border:

The Department of Homeland Security may send about 200 TSA employees, including agents and air marshals, to the border to deal with a surge in immigration.

The agency would send air marshals to help with security and add “lawyers, immigration specialists, and personnel who can help with meal prep and wellness checks,” an official told NBC News.

"Typically air marshals respond to security threats on planes and in airports, carrying firearms to respond to emergencies," the network added. "The TSA employees would not have direct contact with immigrants, the official said."

Americans leave millions in airport trays:

CNBC reported in 2017 that travelers left behind nearly $1 million in loose change at airports in 2016.

“For its fiscal year 2016, the Transportation Security Administration reported that passengers left behind more than $867, 812.39 in coins and currency in the plastic bowls and bins at various U.S. airport checkpoints. That’s about $102,000 more than the amount left behind in 2015, and the more than $484,000 left behind in 2008,” the network reported.

In 2005, Congress passed a law that allowed the TSA to keep the unclaimed coins. The agency has spent that money to expand its TSA Precheck program.


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