June 17, 2002 – President Bush's proposal to create a Department of Homeland Security has implications that could impact on the Virgin islands, according to Delegate Donna M. Christensen.
She said in a releasethat she has joined colleagues in writing to the President "to ask that there be adequate funding for fire, police, EMT's and other first responders in small communities such as the Virgin Islands, and that they be exempted from the proposed 25 percent matching requirement for federal funds."
Christensen said she plans to raise these issues next week when she meets with the newly appointed undersecretary for insular affairs at the Department of Interior
"Small communities such as ours assume an unequal burden in these times," she said in a release. "We must have the resources, and no unreasonable burdens that will prevent us from doing the best job possible."
One "direct effect on the territory" of the reorganization involved in creating the new department would be that the Federal Emergency Management Agency would fall under a new Emergency Preparedness and Response division, Christensen said. FEMA's mission, she said, would be to oversee federal assistance in domestic disaster preparedness training of first responders and coordination of the federal government's response to disasters.
Also of interest to the territory, she said, are the proposed placing of the U.S. Customs Service, Coast Guard, Immigration and Naturalization Service, Border Patrol and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service under a new Border and Transportation Security division.
"I will be actively involved as a member of the Homeland Security Task Force in looking at how these agencies are funded and how they relate directly to our needs," she said.
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