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The White House earlier this month asked Congress for a few billion dollars to fund operations at the border, including $1.1 billion for security. But the Department of Homeland Security is working on a backup plan in case that money doesn’t come through. Part of its contingency: to collect all the loose change left behind at TSA checkpoints, feed it through a CoinStar machine, and send it to the border.
NBC News reports that DHS is eyeing $3 million in loose change that could be cobbled together for border security measures. That’s a small part of the $232 million DHS is asking the TSA to prepare to fork over the money if Congress doesn’t meet the request for additional border funding. The rest of that total would come from cash set aside to upgrade TSA screening technology and money meant for the agency’s workers’ compensation fund.
Under a 2005 federal law, the TSA is allowed to use the change left at airports on security operations. And it’s not an insignificant sum. In fiscal year 2016, passengers left behind nearly $900,000 CNBC reported. That was $100,000 more than the year prior. Previously, that haul has been used to work on the TSA’s Precheck program.
According to internal emails obtained by NBC News, funding for Transportation security officers could also be siphoned off for border security. This comes after last week’s news that the TSA is sending security officers to help Customs and Border Protection at the border. Both good reasons to keep your summer vacation destination within driving distance.