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Press Release Published: May 15, 2023

Mace Questions DHS About New AI Task Force

Requests staff level briefing to understand how AI Task Force will advise DHS’s border crisis response

WASHINGTON—Cybersecurity, Information Technology, and Government Innovation Subcommittee Chairwoman Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) today sent a letter to U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Mayorkas applauding the goal of its newly created Artificial Intelligence (AI) Task Force but raising concern about the Task Force’s lack of attention to improving border security and lack of clarity as to how it will coordinate with the Biden Administration’s existing AI initiatives. In a letter to DHS Secretary Mayorkas, Subcommittee Chairwoman Mace requests a staff briefing on the matter.

“The Oversight Committee’s Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Information Technology, and Government Innovation applauds this goal and wants the AI Task Force to succeed. However, the Subcommittee is concerned by the apparent lack of attention by the AI Task Force to border security. In fiscal year 2022, more than 2.76 million illegal immigrants crossed the U.S. southwest border, ‘breaking the previous annual record by more than 1 million.’ But while the Memorandum identifies four tasks for the AI Task Force, it does not include the terms ‘illegal immigration,’ ‘irregular migration,’ ‘border patrol agents,’ or ‘border security.’ Instead of blaming Congress for a ‘broken immigration system,’ you could direct the Department’s AI Task Force to also focus on the southern border and fill a crucial gap in the government’s current approach to AI,” wrote Subcommittee Chairwoman Mace.

The Department of Homeland Security established an AI Task Force in April 2023 to, “…lead in the responsible use of AI to secure the homeland and in defending against the malicious use of this transformational technology.” However, the Task Force does not outline how it will advise the Department’s response to the ongoing crisis at the southern border. The Subcommittee is seeking information to understand how DHS intends to harmonize the Task Force with its border response and its work with the Biden Administration’s other AI initiatives.

“The Subcommittee is also concerned that the Department’s AI Task Force will further complicate the Administration’s already fragmented approach towards AI governance.  The federal government needs to adopt a unified approach toward AI, one that in theory would complement the statutorily directed National Institute of Standards and Technology’s AI Risk Management Framework,” Subcommittee Chairwoman Mace continue

The letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas can be found here.