Homeland Security

Acting Secretary McAleenan: Nonpartisan Committee Report Recommendations Essential to Securing Our Border, Safety and Welfare of Migrant Children

Dept. of Homeland Security News - Tue, 04/16/2019 - 21:25

WASHINGTON – Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin K. McAleenan today released the following statement on the Homeland Security Advisory Committee’s report on CBP Families and Children Care:

“Today, a panel of experts under the DHS Homeland Security Advisory Committee - a nonpartisan federal advisory committee - issued a report on the current humanitarian and security crisis on our southern border. The 'Emergency Interim Report on CBP Families and Children Care' made a series of important findings and recommendations to address the crisis that will form key elements of the Department’s response in the coming weeks.

"The unprecedented surge in unaccompanied children and family unit migration is overwhelming our ability to provide humanitarian aid within our immigration system. The reasonable changes proposed by this nonpartisan panel, could dramatically reduce migration of family units from Central America, help eliminate dangerous and illegal border crossings, as well as improve the care of children who are brought on this harrowing journey. These recommendations are essential to secure our border and for the safety and welfare of children living in Central America and elsewhere who will continue to make this dangerous trek north.

“I want to thank the Committee for their diligent and rapid work in producing this report. This emergency report should help inform decision makers throughout the government, and I look forward to discussing the findings with Congress in order to find a common path forward."

Background:

The recommendations included in the report are emergency legislative recommendations; emergency regulatory changes; establishing temporary regional processing centers for all family units; co-locate necessary personnel to facilitate rapid adjudication of asylum claims of family units within the regional processing centers; propose and negotiate a North American Family Protection Initiative (NAFPI) that includes the essential elements of a Safe Third‎ Agreement with Mexico; increase contracted medical and transport professionals; provide additional training and child exploitation safeguards; and for the Acting Secretary to name a DHS Commander/Coordinator to assure a whole of government approach to achieve these goals.

Click here to see the full report.

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Topics: Border Security
Keywords: Homeland Security Advisory Council
Categories: Homeland Security

Acting Secretary McAleenan Statement on the Designation of CBP Chief Operating Officer John Sanders to Serve as Senior Official Performing the Functions and Duties of the Commissioner of CBP

Dept. of Homeland Security News - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 12:32

On April 15, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin K. McAleenan announced his designation of John P. Sanders, U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Chief Operating Officer, as the senior official performing the functions and duties of the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Acting Secretary McAleenan stated, “John Sanders has proven instrumental to advancing CBP’s mission and organizational priorities across the agency. In addition to bringing greater focus on the agency’s operational requirements, he has provided strategic direction and oversight to critical enterprise services and operations support functions across the agency. With John Sanders’ leadership, CBP will continue to excel, remain ever vigilant, and accomplish the mission with steadfast resolve.”

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Topics:
Keywords: Customs and Border Protection, leadership
Categories: Homeland Security

DHS Announces Funding Opportunity for Fiscal Year 2019 Preparedness Grants

Dept. of Homeland Security News - Fri, 04/12/2019 - 13:01

On April 12, Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Deputy Secretary David P. Pekoske announced the release of Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Notices of Funding Opportunity for eight DHS preparedness grant programs totaling more than $1.7 billion. The grant programs provide funding to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, as well as transportation authorities, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector, to improve the nation’s readiness in preventing, protecting against, responding to, recovering from and mitigating terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies. The grants reflect the Department’s focus on funding for programs that address our nation’s immediate security needs and ensure public safety in our communities.

“The administration remains committed to strengthening the security and resilience of our state and local communities,” Pekoske said. “The DHS grant programs are flexible by design and will be used to help address evolving threats. They will go toward building and sustaining capabilities across all levels of government and the whole community to maximize preparedness.”

The FY 2019 grant guidance will continue to focus on the nation’s highest risk areas, including urban areas that face the most significant threats. For FY 2019, the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) will enhance regional preparedness and capabilities by funding 31 high-threat, high-density urban areas. This represents Congressional intent to limit FY 2019 UASI funding to those Urban Areas that represent up to 85 percent of the nationwide risk, as stated in the Explanatory Statement accompanying the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2019 (Pub. L. No. 116-6).

Consistent with previous grant guidance, dedicated funding is provided for law enforcement and terrorism prevention throughout the country to prepare for, prevent and respond to pre-operational activity and other crimes that are precursors or indicators of terrorist activity.

Grant recipients are encouraged to use grant funding to maintain and sustain current critical core capabilities through investments in training and exercises, updates to current planning and procedures, and lifecycle replacement of equipment. New capabilities that are built using homeland security grant funding must be deployable if needed to support regional and national efforts. All capabilities being built or sustained must have a clear linkage to the core capabilities articulated in the National Preparedness Goal.

Preparedness Grant Program Allocations for Fiscal Year 2019:

Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG)—provides more than $350 million to assist state, local, tribal, territorial governments in enhancing and sustaining all-hazards emergency management capabilities.

Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP)—provides more than $1 billion for states and urban areas to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from acts of terrorism and other threats.

  • State Homeland Security Program (SHSP)—provides $415 million to support the implementation of risk-driven, capabilities-based State Homeland Security Strategies to address capability targets. States are required to dedicate 25 percent of SHSP funds to law enforcement terrorism prevention activities.
  • Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI)—provides $590 million to enhance regional preparedness and capabilities in 31 high-threat, high-density areas. States and Urban Areas are required to dedicate 25 percent of UASI funds to law enforcement terrorism prevention activities.
  • Operation Stonegarden (OPSG)—provides $90 million to enhance cooperation and coordination among local, tribal, territorial, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to jointly enhance security along the United States land and water borders.

Since the enactment of the 9/11 Act, FEMA has required states to ensure that at least 25 percent of the total funds awarded to them under SHSP and UASI are dedicated toward law enforcement terrorism prevention activities (LETPA). The total LETPA allocation can be satisfied from SHSP, UASI, or both. In addition, states must obligate at least 80 percent of the funds awarded under SHSP and UASI to local or tribal units of government within 45 days of receipt of the funds.

Tribal Homeland Security Grant Program (THSGP)—provides $10 million to eligible tribal nations to implement preparedness initiatives to help strengthen the nation against risk associated with potential terrorist attacks and other hazards.

Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP)—provides $60 million to support target hardening and other physical security enhancements for nonprofit organizations that are at high risk of a terrorist attack. This year, $50 million is provided to nonprofits in UASI-designated urban areas, and $10 million is provided to nonprofits located in any state or territory.

Intercity Passenger Rail - Amtrak (IPR) Program—provides $10 million to protect critical surface transportation infrastructure and the traveling public from acts of terrorism and increase the resilience of the Amtrak rail system.

Port Security Grant Program (PSGP)—provides $100 million to help protect critical port infrastructure from terrorism, enhance maritime domain awareness, improve port-wide maritime security risk management, and maintain or reestablish maritime security mitigation protocols that support port recovery and resiliency capabilities.

Transit Security Grant Program (TSGP)—provides $88 million to owners and operators of transit systems to protect critical surface transportation and the traveling public from acts of terrorism and to increase the resilience of transit infrastructure.

Intercity Bus Security Grant Program (IBSGP)—provides $2 million to owners and operators of intercity bus systems to protect critical surface transportation infrastructure and the traveling public from acts of terrorism and to increase the resilience of transit infrastructure. 

All preparedness Notices of Funding Opportunities can be found at www.grants.gov. Final submissions must be made through the Non-Disaster (ND) Grants system located at https://portal.fema.gov

Further information on DHS’s preparedness grant programs is available at www.dhs.gov and http://www.fema.gov/grants.

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Topics:
Keywords: grants
Categories: Homeland Security

Acting Secretary McAleenan Statement on the Designation of Administrator Pekoske to Serve as Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Deputy Secretary

Dept. of Homeland Security News - Thu, 04/11/2019 - 09:48

On April 11, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin K. McAleenan designated David P. Pekoske, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator, senior official performing the duties of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Deputy Secretary. Patricia Cogswell, TSA’s Acting Deputy Administrator, will oversee day-to-day operations at TSA and continue to focus on TSA’s mission and priorities.

Acting Secretary McAleenan stated, “Administrator Pekoske brings a wealth of experience and leadership to the Department, previously serving as a senior leader within two DHS agencies: the United States Coast Guard and the Transportation Security Administration. Additionally, he has tackled impressive challenges over the course of his career, ranging from acquisition and procurement reform as the Coast Guard’s Vice Commandant to securing America’s traveling public as TSA’s Administrator. I look forward to working with him to meet the homeland security challenges facing our nation.”

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Topics: Homeland Security Careers
Keywords: leadership
Categories: Homeland Security

Message from Acting Secretary Kevin K. McAleenan

Dept. of Homeland Security News - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 16:30

As I assume the role of Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, I look forward to working to support the men and women of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as they carry out the critical missions that keep our country safe. I’d also like to extend my sincere thanks to Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen for her service to the country as the sixth Secretary of Homeland Security, and for her tireless work on behalf of the people and organizations of DHS. She deserves our enduring respect and appreciation for her leadership, and I’m personally grateful for it.

In many roles in my career at U.S. Customs and Border Protection, I’ve had the opportunity to work with virtually every component of DHS, and have witnessed the extraordinary commitment and steadfast resolve of the men and women across this Department. While we face many challenges, including a growing crisis on our southern border, I know that, working together, we can overcome them. I’ve also learned that the true strength of DHS is our people, and during my time as Acting Secretary, I pledge to be an aggressive advocate for you. 

I look forward to working alongside you to accomplish the vast mission of securing our homeland with honor, integrity and vigilance. Let’s power on. The American people are counting on us.

Kevin K. McAleenan
Acting Secretary of Homeland Security

With honor and integrity, we will safeguard the American people, our homeland, and our values.

Topics: Homeland Security Enterprise
Keywords: Acting Secretary McAleenan, leadership
Categories: Homeland Security

Farewell Message from Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen

Dept. of Homeland Security News - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 16:07

As you know, I submitted my resignation to the President earlier this week. Today is my final day at the Department. For nearly two years, I’ve had the honor to work alongside a talented, dedicated workforce. You serve with professionalism, respect, and determination in fulfilling DHS’ important missions. The commitment you make day in and out – securing the land air and sea domains, preventing terrorism, administrating immigration laws, ensuring disaster resilience, safeguarding our cybersecurity landscape and infrastructure, and so much more – is awe inspiring.

Your work is vital to making every American safer, and as I leave you, know that I’ll always admire what you’ve done to defend our way of life. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Kevin McAleenan will now lead DHS as your Acting Secretary. Kevin has led the Department’s largest component for two years and his qualifications and experience will be instrumental in overseeing the crisis at our nation’s borders. I have full confidence in Kevin’s ability to carry out the DHS mission of safeguarding the American people, our homeland, and our values. Please join me in welcoming Kevin as the Acting Secretary.

To each of you I am eternally grateful for your service and could not be prouder to have served alongside you. Thank you for your devotion and sacrifice. God bless each of you and your families, and God bless this great country.

Topics: Homeland Security Enterprise
Keywords: Secretary Nielsen
Categories: Homeland Security

Message from Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen on the Resignation of ICE Acting Director Ronald D. Vitiello

Dept. of Homeland Security News - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 15:20

For over three decades, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Acting Director Ronald Vitiello has protected our homeland with courage and conviction. Ron’s knowledge and expertise as a seasoned law enforcement professional has been invaluable to DHS, and he has left a legacy of excellence as our Department has expanded and refined our efforts to curb illegal immigration and secure our borders.
 
Ron’s career with the Department began in 1985 as a U.S. Border Patrol agent. Prior to leading ICE, he served U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in a variety of leadership roles, culminating in being named the Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol and later that same year, named CBP’s Acting Deputy Commissioner.
 
During his tenure leading ICE, Ron has been an unwavering advocate for the dedicated men and women who enforce our immigration laws and protect our nation from the illegal entry of drugs, human trafficking, transnational criminals, counterfeit goods, and so much more. On behalf of DHS I want to thank Ron for his service and dedication, and I wish him the very best in this next chapter of his career.

Topics: Homeland Security Enterprise
Keywords: ICE
Categories: Homeland Security

Message from Secretary Nielsen on Acting Deputy Secretary Grady

Dept. of Homeland Security News - Tue, 04/09/2019 - 18:30

Today, Claire M. Grady, Acting Deputy Secretary offered the President her resignation effective tomorrow. For the last two years, Claire has served this Department with excellence and distinction. She has been an invaluable asset to DHS – a steady force and a knowledgeable voice.

In addition to serving as the Department’s Deputy for the last year, she served as the Under Secretary for Management overseeing all aspects of the Department’s management programs, including financial, human capital, information technology, procurement, physical security and asset management. Claire has led the men and women of DHS who support our operational personnel by providing the overarching business management structure for the Department, while eliminating redundancies and reducing costs. Her sound leadership and effective oversight have impacted every DHS office and employee and made us stronger as a Department.

Clair has led a remarkable career in public service – 28 years at the Departments of Homeland Security and Defense – that is coming to a close.  I am thankful for Claire’s expertise, dedication and friendship and am filled with gratitude for her exemplary service to DHS and to our country. I wish her all the best in her future endeavors.

Warmest regards,

 

Kirstjen M. Nielsen
Secretary of Homeland Security

With honor and integrity, we will safeguard the American people, our homeland, and our values.

Topics: Secretary of Homeland Security
Keywords: deputy secretary, leadership
Categories: Homeland Security

Readout from Acting Deputy Secretary Grady’s Trip to G-7 Interior Ministers’ Meeting

Dept. of Homeland Security News - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 10:25

WASHINGTON - Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Claire Grady represented the United States at the G-7 Interior Ministers’ Meetings in Paris, France last week, where she met with counterparts from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the European Union (EU) for discussions on a range of issues including combatting irregular migration patterns, counterterrorism efforts, managing foreign terrorist fighters, and fighting environmental crime.

Specifically, the meetings focused on combatting the smuggling of migrants and trafficking networks who profit from the plight of families and children seeking to enter the U.S., as well as managing present dangers and ever-evolving future threats from terrorists. Ministers held a comprehensive discussion on ways to address the use of the internet by terrorists and violent extremists, and included participating officials representing Twitter, Facebook, Google and Microsoft. The final session focused on managing the threat environment with regard to foreign terrorist fighters and their relatives.

Deputy Secretary Grady also held bilateral meetings with her counterparts from France, Canada, and Italy.

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Topics: Preventing Terrorism
Keywords: counterterrorism, deputy secretary, immigration
Categories: Homeland Security

Message from Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen

Dept. of Homeland Security News - Sun, 04/07/2019 - 18:41

To the brave and dedicated men and women of DHS, I submitted my resignation to the President this evening. I am eternally grateful and proud of what you do each and every day to protect our homeland. Each of you are why I came back to serve my country. Our missions as a Department are vast and have never been more vital. You are in the arena—keep up the good fight. Thank you for your sacrifices and those of your families.

God bless you, and God bless our great country.

Best Regards,

 

Kirstjen M. Nielsen
Secretary of Homeland Security

With honor and integrity, we will safeguard the American people, our homeland, and our values.

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Topics: Secretary of Homeland Security
Keywords: Secretary Nielsen
Categories: Homeland Security

Secretary Nielsen, President Trump Assess Humanitarian and Security Emergency Response in Calexico

Dept. of Homeland Security News - Sun, 04/07/2019 - 10:17

WASHINGTON - Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen traveled on Friday to Calexico, California as part of a multi-state tour to oversee the Department-wide action to confront the humanitarian and security emergency at the U.S. border with Mexico. 

Secretary Nielsen, federal and local law enforcement, and members of Congress joined President Trump at the U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) Calexico Station to discuss the bold action being taken by DHS to address the dramatic influx of unaccompanied children and families, while pursuing longer-lasting solutions by pressuring Congress to fix the legal loopholes perpetuating the crisis. Later in the day, President Trump and Secretary Nielsen toured a newly built portion of the border wall. 

Throughout her tour, Secretary Nielsen reiterated calls to Congress for help in strengthening immigration laws, Nielsen said. 

“No matter what we do, it’s clear that the only way to truly fix this crisis is with legislation. Outdated laws and misguided court decisions have created an illegal fast-pass into America. These loopholes are the main cause of today’s emergency…they are enormous ‘pull’ factors to the United States…and closing them is the only surefire way out of this emergency,” the Secretary said in Calexico.

“Thank you Mr. President for everything you do to support our frontline operators – who are working 24/7 to safeguard our nation. We are truly grateful for your leadership and commitment to the men and women of DHS.” she added.

Secretary Nielsen first arrived at the Southwest Border on Wednesday to personally oversee implementation of DHS disaster response measures, including U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) emergency surge operations and expanded initiatives to require aliens to wait in Mexico for the duration of their immigration proceedings.

In El Paso, the Secretary toured the Paso Del Norte Port of Entry and US Border Patrol processing facility. She then traveled to the El Paso Border Patrol Station where she addressed agents and officers regarding the efforts being taken to fulfill the Department’s humanitarian and security mission while coping with record migration flows not seen in over a decade, facilities at peak capacity, and insufficient resources for law enforcement.

“Rest assured, those of us in leadership understand the crisis that we’re in. We know that you are overwhelmed and over capacity,” Nielsen said. “El Paso is on the front lines of our ongoing Border Security emergency and I want to thank each of you for your service to our country. I know the situation you face is not easy. The men and women in this room and across this agency are vital to our homeland security missions: You have my undying respect and appreciation.”

“As you all know, we have seen the situation rapidly move from a crisis to near system-wide meltdown,” Nielsen continued. “The numbers paint a dire picture. We are nearing 100,000 migrants apprehended per month. These migrants are arriving in enormous groups unlike any we’ve seen before. The volume of vulnerable populations arriving is unsustainable. DHS facilities are past capacity – our agents and officers are stretched too thin, and the magnitude of arriving and detained aliens has substantially increased the risk of life-threatening incidents.”

The Secretary then traveled to the Border Patrol’s Yuma Sector Headquarters in Arizona on Thursday, where she conducted meetings with DHS operational leadership from USBP and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) followed by a roundtable discussion with local elected officials, local law enforcement, and representatives from non-governmental organizations.

Following the roundtable, Nielsen spoke directly to DHS personnel and members of the military – including the Arizona National Guard and U.S. Marines currently assisting DHS frontline responders – to outline the whole-of-government emergency response currently under way at the Southwest Border.

“Until Congress acts, we will continue doing everything we can to help you manage the record migration flows,” Nielsen said. “I have called on non-border agencies within the Department for volunteers to assist with humanitarian response. This volunteer force will help alleviate the strain you all are facing – and allow you to resume your security missions – detaining illegal crossers, preventing the entry of drugs and criminals, and more.”

“I want you to know that we are focused on providing you with all of the resources needed to combat the crisis. That includes building border wall systems to reduce illegal entry, and increased work across our government and with the governments of Mexico and Central America to bring transnational criminals to justice.”

Secretary Nielsen recently announced that DHS would be taking a full-fledged “disaster response” approach to the border emergency, including appointing a lead federal official for interagency action and leveraging the National Response Coordination Center (NRCC). The NRCC will serve as the hub for information sharing and coordination of interagency support to CBP and ICE efforts to respond to the crisis. The Secretary has directed DHS agencies to surge resources and personnel from across the Department toward border security and migration management and has also put out a call for volunteers from non-border missions from both DHS component agencies and interagency partners.

Nielsen also directed CBP to undertake emergency surge operations, including immediately redeploying hundreds of CBP personnel from field operations and ports of entry to assist with the response to the crisis. By reassigning these personnel, Border Patrol agents will be freed up from humanitarian response and enabled to return to critical security operations.

Nielsen further directed CBP to immediately expand the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), a DHS initiative designed to help prevent fraud and ensure aliens are not able to disappear into the country to escape the law by returning individuals to Mexico to wait during the pendency of their U.S. immigration proceedings. Specifically, she directed CBP to return hundreds of additional migrants per day above current rates to Mexico, consistent with U.S. law and humanitarian obligations. This increase in returns shall include individuals apprehended or encountered at or between ports of entry. Additionally, the agency is directed to plan for an expansion of MPP beyond the locations in which it currently operates in California and Texas.

  Topics: Border Security
Keywords: Border Security, Customs and Border Protection, U. S. Border Patrol
Categories: Homeland Security

TSA Reminds Travelers of REAL ID Identification Requirements

Dept. of Homeland Security News - Thu, 04/04/2019 - 18:28

Transportation Security Administration
Public Affairs
571-227-2829
tsamedia@tsa.dhs.gov

Enforcement begins in 18 months at all U.S. airport checkpoints

WASHINGTON – The Transportation Security Administration is reminding travelers that beginning October 1, 2020, every traveler must present a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, or another acceptable form of identification, to fly within the United States. TSA has launched a public awareness campaign about the upcoming identification changes to ensure that every traveler is prepared for the airport security checkpoint process when the REAL ID Act goes into full enforcement.

“TSA is doing everything we can to prepare our partners and the traveling public for the REAL ID deadline next year,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “The security requirements of the REAL ID Act will dramatically enhance and improve commercial aviation security.”

Travelers will begin seeing new signs at airports nationwide in the coming weeks to remind people that REAL ID-compliant licenses or other acceptable forms of ID, such as a valid passport, federal government PIV card or U.S. military ID, will be mandatory for air travel beginning on October 1, 2020. Critically important, on October 1, 2020, individuals who are unable to verify their identity will not be permitted to enter the TSA checkpoint and will not be allowed to fly.

REAL ID-compliant licenses are generally marked by a star on the top of the card. Travelers who are not sure if their ID is compliant should check with their state driver’s license agency.

Passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act complies with the 9/11 Commission's recommendation that the federal government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver's licenses.” The Act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver's licenses and identification cards and prohibits federal agencies from accepting licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards for official purposes, such as at airport security checkpoints. The regulations established the deadline of October 1, 2020, to ensure full enforcement of the REAL ID Act by that date. States have made considerable progress in meeting this key recommendation of the 9/11 Commission and every state has a more secure driver's license today than before the passage of the Act.

For more information about flying with a REAL ID and to download and print informational materials, visit tsa.gov/real-id.

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Topics: Preventing Terrorism, REAL ID
Keywords: REAL ID Act of 2005, TSA
Categories: Homeland Security

Secretary Nielsen to Travel to Southern Border to Oversee Responses to Humanitarian and Security Emergency

Dept. of Homeland Security News - Wed, 04/03/2019 - 12:13

WASHINGTON - Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen will travel to the U.S.–Mexico border this week where DHS agents and officers are coping with record migration flows. The Secretary will meet with frontline operators to assess the crisis, the Department’s response, and efforts to surge federal government resources to the area to restore order.  She will also review the implementation of measures announced earlier this week to reassign port-of-entry personnel to support the humanitarian response and to provide the relief needed for agents to resume their security missions, including the impact this personnel reallocation has had on trade and travel. Secretary Nielsen will highlight the urgent need for lasting solutions to the emergency by urging Congress to fix the legal loopholes fueling migration flows.

On Wednesday, April 3, the Secretary will travel to El Paso, Texas where she will visit the El Paso Del Norte Port of Entry and the El Paso Border Patrol Station, as well as receive a briefing at the El Paso Station’s Satellite Processing Facility. El Paso’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Sector and facility is currently over capacity by 280% with more than 3,400 in custody.

Secretary Nielsen will then travel to Yuma, Arizona on Thursday to meet with DHS leaders from U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for a roundtable meeting with local law enforcement officials, local elected officials, and representatives from non-governmental organizations. On Friday April 5, she will join President Donald Trump in Calexico, California to visit the border wall, participate in a roundtable discussion on the emergency, and discuss the way forward.

Yesterday, Secretary Nielsen announced that DHS would be taking a full-fledged “disaster response” approach to the border emergency, including appointing a lead federal official for interagency action and utilizing FEMA’s National Response Coordination Center. Secretary Nielsen has directed DHS agencies to surge resources and personnel from across the Department toward border security and migration management and has also put out a call for volunteers from non-border missions from both DHS component agencies and interagency partners.

This week, Secretary Nielsen directed CBP to undertake emergency surge operations, including immediately redeploying hundreds of CBP personnel from field operations and ports of entry to assist with the response to the crisis. By reassigning these personnel, Border Patrol agents will be freed up from humanitarian response and enabled to return to critical security operations.

Topics: Border Security
Keywords: Border Security, Customs and Border Protection, Secretary Nielsen
Categories: Homeland Security

Secretary Nielsen Convenes Border Crisis Meeting, Taps Manuel Padilla to Coordinate Interagency Border Emergency Cell

Dept. of Homeland Security News - Tue, 04/02/2019 - 19:06

On April 2, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen convened a DHS-wide meeting on the humanitarian and security crisis at the southern border. The Secretary received updates on the latest apprehension numbers, capacity challenges, and the Department’s operational response.

“I want to be clear with the American people: there is an unprecedented emergency at the southern border, and DHS is leading a true government-wide emergency response,” said Nielsen. “We are using every tool at our disposal, redeploying personnel and resources, and calling on all federal agencies to assist, where possible. While only legislation can fix this crisis in the long term, we cannot wait for Congress to act. It is our duty to secure the homeland, enforce our immigration laws, and uphold our humanitarian obligations. So we are devoting everything we can to that end.”

Secretary Nielsen announced her decision to temporarily re-assign Manuel “Manny” Padilla as the lead official to coordinate DHS and interagency support to the border crisis response effort. Manny is a 30-year veteran of the U.S. Border Patrol, serving most recently as Chief of the Rio Grande Sector. In September 2018 he was appointed by President Trump as Director of the Department’s Joint Task Force - West. Effectively immediately, Manny will lead an Interagency Border Emergency Cell to improve information sharing and coordinate interagency support to CBP and ICE efforts to bring the situation under control.

“Manny brings deep on-the-ground experience and an operator’s understanding of the challenges we face in responding to the current crisis,” said Nielsen. “I have asked him to lead day-to-day efforts to ensure our frontline agencies have what they need to confront this situation head on. Manny’s team will utilize the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Response Coordination Center (NRCC) as the hub for interagency coordination.”

Earlier this week, the Secretary announced additional actions to address the border emergency, and this week she will be traveling to the Southern Border to oversee response operations.

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Topics: Border Security, Secretary of Homeland Security
Keywords: Border Protections, U. S. Border Patrol
Categories: Homeland Security

Secretary Nielsen Orders CBP to Surge More Personnel to Southern Border, Increase Number of Aliens Returned to Mexico

Dept. of Homeland Security News - Mon, 04/01/2019 - 09:31

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) Today, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen issued a memorandum to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Kevin McAleenan outlining new steps the agency must take to combat the growing security and humanitarian crisis at the southern border.

“The crisis at our border is worsening, and DHS will do everything in its power to end it,” said Secretary Nielsen. “We will not stand idly by while Congress fails to act yet again, so all options are on the table. We will immediately redeploy hundreds of CBP personnel to the border to respond to this emergency. We will urgently pursue additional reinforcements from within DHS and the interagency. And we will require those seeking to enter the United States to wait in Mexico until an immigration court as reviewed their claims.”

The Secretary ordered Commissioner McAleenan to undertake emergency surge operations and immediately increase its temporary reassignment of personnel and resources from across the agency to address the influx of migrants.  According to the directive, the CBP Office of Field Operations shall accelerate its planned reallocation of up to 750 officers to Border Patrol Sectors that are affected by the emergency. Moreover, CBP is directed to explore raising that target, is authorized to exceed it, and shall notify the Secretary if reassignments are planned to exceed 2,000 personnel.

Secretary Nielsen further directed CBP to immediately expand the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), a DHS initiative to return aliens to Mexico to wait during the pendency of their U.S. immigration proceedings. The Secretary directed CBP to return hundreds of additional migrants per day above current rates to Mexico, consistent with U.S. law and humanitarian obligations.  This increase in returns shall include individuals apprehended or encountered at or between POEs. Moreover, the agency is directed to plan for an expansion of MPP beyond the locations in which it currently operates in California and Texas.

Topics: Border Security
Keywords: Border Security, Customs and Border Protection, Secretary Nielsen
Categories: Homeland Security

Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen in Europe for Bilateral Security Meetings, Representing U.S. at Gathering of G7 Interior Ministers

Dept. of Homeland Security News - Mon, 04/01/2019 - 08:40

WASHINGTON- Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen will travel to Europe this week to meet with senior officials from the governments of the United Kingdom and Sweden prior to participating in the G7 Interior Ministers’ Meeting in Paris, France. She is set to raise urgent matters with foreign partners on emerging threats, including cybersecurity and risks to U.S. networks, the evolving terrorist threat, and foreign adversary interference in the U.S. homeland—and how we can work with allies to thwart these dangers.

On Monday, April 1 and Tuesday, April 2, the Secretary will meet with the U.S. ambassador and country team at the Embassy in London. Nielsen will later hold a bilateral meeting with UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid to advance transatlantic collaboration against an array of security threats. While in London, she will also confer with top UK counterterrorism and cybersecurity officials on sensitive matters and efforts to stay ahead of common enemies.

On Wednesday, April 3, Secretary Nielsen will meet with the Minister of Home Affairs Mikael Damberg in Sweden, where the pair plan to discuss actionable ways to enhance bilateral information sharing and joint security activities, especially related to blocking foreign interference by nation-state adversaries. Nielsen will also meet with officials at the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm.

On Thursday, April 4 and Friday, April 5, Secretary Nielsen will be in Paris to participate in the third annual G7 Interior Ministers’ meetings. The Secretary will meet with her security counterparts from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the European Union (EU). The Secretary will raise issues that require immediate attention, including the challenge posed by illegal immigration, terrorist threats to the United States and its allies, and how to confront new developments on the digital battlefield. Nielsen plans to hold bilateral meetings with her counterparts from France, Germany, Canada, Italy, and the EU.

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Topics: Cybersecurity
Keywords: Cybersecurity, Secretary Nielsen
Categories: Homeland Security

Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen Statement on Border Emergency

Dept. of Homeland Security News - Fri, 03/29/2019 - 16:03

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen made the following statement today on the situation at the U.S. southern border and how the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is responding:

“Today I report to the American people that we face a cascading crisis at our southern border.  The system is in freefall.  DHS is doing everything possible to respond to a growing humanitarian catastrophe while also securing our borders, but we have reached peak capacity and are now forced to pull from other missions to respond to the emergency.”

“Let me be clear:  the volume of ‘vulnerable populations’ arriving is without precedent.  This makes it far more difficult to care for them and to prioritize individuals legitimately fleeing persecution.  In the past, the majority of migration flows were single adults who could move through our immigration system quickly and be returned to their home countries if they had no legal right to stay.  Now we are seeing a flood of families and unaccompanied children, who—because of outdated laws and misguided court decisions—cannot receive efficient adjudication and, in most cases, will never be removed from the United States even if they are here unlawfully.  The result is a massive ‘pull factor’ to our country.”

“My gravest concern is for children.  They are arriving sicker than ever before and are exploited along the treacherous trek.  Smugglers and traffickers know that our laws make it easier to enter and stay if you show up as a family.  So they are using children as a ‘free ticket’ into America, and have in some cases even used kids multiple times—recycling them—to help more aliens get into the United States.  Our border stations were not designed to hold young people for extended periods, yet this influx has forced thousands of them into facilities that are getting crowded and overwhelmed.  This goes well beyond politics.  We must come together to find a way to tackle the crisis and reduce the flows so children are not put at risk.  Any system that encourages a parent to send their child alone on this terrible journey—where they are exploited, pawned, and recycled—is completely broken.”

“Moreover, our agents and officers at the border cannot fulfill their critical national security responsibilities while also attending to the influx of vulnerable populations.  That is why, effective immediately, I am redirecting additional personnel and resources from across the Department to assist with the response, I have put out a call Department-wide for volunteers to provide support to our frontline agencies, and I am appealing to interagency partners for further assistance.  But it will not be enough, so this week I notified Congress that DHS will need emergency legislative action to restore order, achieve operational control of our border, and ensure we can fulfill our humanitarian responsibilities effectively.”

“Make no mistake:  Americans may feel effects from this emergency.  As personnel are reallocated to join the crisis-response effort, there may be commercial delays, higher vehicle wait times at the border, and longer pedestrian lines.  Despite these impacts, we cannot shirk our responsibility to the American people to do everything possible to secure our country while also upholding our humanitarian values.”

Secretary Nielsen sent a letter yesterday to Congress highlighting the severity of the crisis, especially the danger posed to children by the journey to U.S. borders and the realities of a system reaching peak capacity.  This week, after many months of diplomatic negotiations, Secretary Nielsen signed a historic regional compact this week with representatives of the Northern Triangle—El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras—to confront the crisis at the source.  The countries agreed to work with the United States to combat human smuggling and trafficking, crack down on transnational criminals fueling the crisis, and strengthen border security to prevent irregular migration.  The Secretary also met with senior officials from the Government of Mexico to discuss ways to quickly address the crisis and stem historic migration flows through Mexican territory, while ensuring all individuals legitimately fleeing persecution receive appropriate humanitarian protection.

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Topics: Border Security
Keywords: Border Security, immigration, Secretary Nielsen
Categories: Homeland Security

Secretary Nielsen Signs Historic Regional Compact with Central America to Stem Irregular Migration at the Source, Confront U.S. Border Crisis

Dept. of Homeland Security News - Thu, 03/28/2019 - 10:47

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen traveled to Tegucigalpa, Honduras where she met with security ministers representing the countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. The multilateral discussions mark the continuation of a multi-year diplomatic process and the signing of a historic Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) on border security cooperation in Central America.

Together with Guatemalan Minister of Government Enrique Degenhart, Honduran Security Minister Julian Pacheco, and Salvadoran Minister of Justice and Public Security Mauricio Landaverde, Secretary Nielsen expressed her gratitude for the continued collaboration and partnership of the Central American nations as they work to stem the flood of irregular migration and develop regional approach to addressing the ongoing humanitarian and security emergency at our Southern Border.

“America shares common cause with the countries of Central America in confronting these challenges,” said Secretary Nielsen.  “We all want to enforce our laws, ensure a safe and orderly migrant flow, protect our communities, facilitate legal trade and travel, support vulnerable populations, interdict dangerous and illicit drug flow, and secure our borders.”

“I look forward to implementing this historic agreement and working with my Northern Triangle counterparts to help secure all of our nations and to end the humanitarian and security crisis we face,” said Nielsen. “Together we will prevail.”

The MOC – the first ever multilateral compact on border security – aims to better synchronize cooperation between the countries in order to bolster border security, prevent the formation of new migrant caravans, and address the root causes of the migration crisis through better synchronized efforts to include the following:

  • Human trafficking and smuggling;
  • Combating transnational criminal organizations and gangs;
  • Expanding Information and Intelligence Sharing;
  • Strengthening air, land, and maritime border security.

Each of these focus areas will be pursued through an array of agreed-upon initiatives. Technical working groups with representatives from each country will monitor the initiatives and ensure they are carried out expeditiously. The groups will meet periodically throughout the year, with Secretary Nielsen and the Northern Triangle Ministers continuing to meet in the coming months to ensure continued momentum.

While in Honduras, Secretary Nielsen also participated in a bilateral meeting with the Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández and First Lady Ana Rosalinda García de Hernández. Secretary Nielsen affirmed America’s commitment to working with Honduras in a shared effort of combatting human trafficking and child smuggling, as well as addressing the major drivers of irregular migration prompting families and individuals to put themselves in harm’s way by embarking on the dangerous journey north.

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Topics: International Engagement, Secretary of Homeland Security
Keywords: International partnerships
Categories: Homeland Security
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