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(CNN) —  

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson says he will have to furlough at least 30,000 workers if Congress doesn’t approve its funding by the end of this month.

His comments, during an appearance Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” came as conservatives on Capitol Hill insist that they use a Homeland Security funding measure as leverage to attack President Barack Obama’s immigration actions.

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But Johnson said he’s meeting with members of Congress every day this month, urging them to drop that idea.

“Don’t tie that to funding public safety and homeland security for the American people. We need a fully-funded department right now,” Johnson said.

He said even though some employees of the expansive department would stay on if it was shut down, he’d have to furlough at least 30,000 employees – including 80% of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

He also argued for Congress to bump the agency’s funding, rather than keeping it at last year’s levels through a continuing resolution.

He said otherwise, he won’t be allowed to fund new initiatives for border security, hire extra Secret Service agents for the 2016 presidential election cycle or fund equipment grants for state and local law enforcement agencies.