At the end of December 2022, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023. This Act contains a number of discretionary spending acts for different Departments, including the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2023. Per the Senate Committee on Appropriation, the Department of Homeland Security Appropriation Act for FY 2023 includes a total discretionary amount of $60.7 billion, which is a $3.2 billion increase compared to FY 2022. The Committee further announced that $101 million is to be provided to “support efforts to prevent the importation into the U.S. of merchandise mined, produced or manufactured, wholly or in part, in any foreign country by forced labor—including forced or indentured child labor.” The announcement stated that the $101 million represents a 108% increase compared to FY 2022.
The Explanatory Statement for the Department of Homeland Security Appropriation Act, 2023 provides another estimate that points towards a large increase in the forced labor enforcement budget. Under Title II of the Act, which provides for allocations for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Explanatory Statement noted that the Act included “$51,536,000 over the enacted level for forced labor to include $17,112,000 for an advanced trade analytics platform for a total of $99,428,000 over fiscal year 2022.” The Explanatory Statement also stated that a separate $5,000,000 would be available for “DNA traceability tools to assist in identifying goods made with forced labor.” Although the number varies slightly from that provided in the Senate Committee’s announcement, it marks a substantial increase in the forced labor enforcement budget provided to CBP. This is particularly significant when comparing the previously allocated forced labor enforcement budget. Per the Explanatory Statement for the Department of Homeland Security Appropriation Act, 2022, CBP was provided with $27,495,000 for the implementation of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) and $10,000,000 for forced labor activities, for an estimated total of $37 million in FY 2022.
|FY 2022 Forced Labor Estimated Appropriation||FY 2023 Forced Labor Estimated Appropriation|
|$37 million||$101 million|
This increase in the forced labor enforcement budget will likely also have a significant impact on the number of shipments CBP detains in FY 2023 for forced labor-related reasons. In a recent announcement highlighting its 2022 accomplishments, CBP flagged that in FY 2022, the agency “stopped 3,605 shipments valued at $816.5 million for forced labor concerns, including 1,592 entries valued at nearly $500 million stopped under the UFLPA.” CBP’s trade statistics already point to the fact that the number and value of forced labor entries targeted between FY 2018 and FY 2022 has been increasing. As such, with the increased FY 2023 budget now exceeding $100 million for forced labor enforcement, as well as forced labor analytics tools, it is likely that members of the trade community can expect greater scrutiny from CBP with regards to imports that may have forced labor-related risks.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 can be found here.
For more information on actions addressing human rights and forced labor abuses, contact our team and see previous posts below.