April 11, 2011

The Department of Homeland Security is hoping Congress will avoid a shutdown of the federal government kicking in when the current continuing resolution expires Friday, but that hasn’t stopped it from developing plans for the worst-case scenario.

“Agency operational plans are still being finalized, but our current understanding is that DHS’ frontline security and law enforcement personnel, including Coast Guard military personnel, would continue with their duties during a shutdown,” an administration official said Thursday. “We still believe there is an opportunity to avoid a government shutdown, but are working to ensure that we are prepared for all possible scenarios.”

The department would retain about 80 percent of its workforce in the case of a shutdown. It would also be able to maintain some of its operations that are funded through means other than annual appropriations. Those include Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster-relief operations, which are mostly funded through supplemental appropriations, and the processing of green cards and other citizenship documents at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, which is fee-based.

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