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October 13, 2015
1:47 pm

Most of us have developed a very close relationship with our mobile devices: we carry them with us throughout the day, check them frequently, and even sleep with them nearby at night. Although mobile devices allow us to instantly connect with friends and family, to access the internet, get directions, and make purchases, this increased convenience also comes at an increased risk. Many of these online activities require us to provide personal information such as our name, email address, account number, and credit card information. This puts us at an increased risk of having this information compromised by cyber criminals.

As part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month 2015, the Department of Homeland Security is encouraging all Americans to follow these simple steps to ensure the security of their personal information online:

  • Keep your private information private. Avoid sharing your full name, address, and other personal information online. Frequently check a website’s privacy options to ensure you have enabled the highest level of privacy as options may get updated or changed completely.
  • When in doubt, throw it out. Links in emails, tweets, posts, and online advertisements are often how cybercriminals compromise your computer or mobile device. If it looks suspicious, it’s best to delete it, even if you know the source. If appropriate, mark the message as “junk email” so that future messages from the sender do not end up in your inbox.
  • Set strong passwords. Setting passwords that are long, unique, and hard to guess is one of the most important things you can do to protect your online accounts. Changing passwords regularly and using different passwords for different accounts goes a long way to protecting your online information.
  • Secure your accounts. Ask for protection beyond passwords. Many websites now offer additional ways for you verify your identity are before you conduct business on their sites, such as two-factor authentication.
  • Secure your mobile device. In order to prevent theft and unauthorized access, use a passcode to lock your mobile device and always lock it when it’s not in use. Never leave your mobile device unattended in a public place.

For more information on how to get involved in National Cyber Security Awareness Month 2015, visit For more cyber tips and resources, visit the Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign at


October 7, 2015
6:52 pm

Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson delivered remarks on immigration policies and immigration reform being undertaken by the Department at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s 2015 Public Policy Conference in Washington, D.C.

Secretary Johnson opened the session by speaking directly to the young people in the audience. “My real message is about—and this is for the young people here—before the program started I was down here and I met a lot of CHCI fellows, gives me a lot of hope for the future.”

Secretary Jeh Johnson meets with students from Albert Einstein High School in Washington, D.C. before speaking at the CHCI Public Policy Conference.

Secretary Jeh Johnson meets with students from Albert Einstein High School in Washington, D.C. before speaking at the CHCI Public Policy Conference. DHS Photo/Jetta Disco.

During his remarks, Secretary Johnson discussed how leaders in this country have a distinct responsibility to communicate openly and honestly with the American people. “

During his remarks, Secretary Johnson discussed how leaders in this country have a distinct responsibility to communicate openly and honestly with the American people. “All of us in public office, those who aspire to public office and who command a microphone, owe the public calm, responsible dialogue and decision making. Not overheated, over-simplistic rhetoric and proposals of superficial appeal. In a democracy, the former leads to smart and sustainable policy; the latter can lead to fear, hate, suspicion, prejudice, and government overreach,” Secretary Johnson said. “These words are especially true in matters of homeland security, and they are especially true in matters of immigration policy.”

The Secretary continued, by explaining to the audience how often heated commentary on sensitive issues like immigration lead to misinformation and overheated rhetoric – and incorrect perceptions of illegal immigration among the American people.

“As a sovereign nation we must protect our borders, but building a wall across the entire Southwest Border is not the answer. Building a wall across the winding Rio Grande, through the remote desert, and in mountains 10,000 feet high is not the answer. Investing hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars, in taxpayer money in building such a wall across the entire 1,900 mile border is not the answer.”

President Obama and Secretary Johnson remain committed to fixing our broken immigration system. In his remarks, Secretary Johnson outlined a number of steps the Department has taken to do just that – and we are making progress in those areas. Read more about the Department’s immigration actions here.

“Overall, the new enforcement policies have the potential to substantially transform the U.S. deportation system, particularly within the U.S. interior.” We’re focused on criminals. We’re focused on public safety and border security. Removals in Fiscal Year 2012, as many people know, reached a high of 409,000. Fiscal Year 2013, the number went down to 368,000. Fiscal Year 2014, the number went down, removals, to 315,000. I anticipate that in Fiscal Year 2015 the number will be significantly less than that.”

We’re also promoting and increasing access to citizenship. In fact, during Citizenship Week in September, USCIS welcomed 40,000 new U.S. citizens. And this week, in recognition of the 50th Anniversary of the Immigration and Nationality Act, Deputy Secretary Mayorkas – himself a naturalized U.S. citizen - welcomed new Americans this week.

“In terms of deferred action, we continue to fight the case in Texas and defend the case. We want to offer those who have been in this country for five years, who have children, who are citizens or lawful permanent residents, and who have committed no serious crimes the opportunity to come forward and be counted. Receive a work authorization, pay taxes, and get on the books. To those who say we don’t have the authority to do this without a change in law, I say “change the law.”

Secretary Johnson also reminded members of the audience that homeland security is a balance, between liberty and security, and stated that we should and will never give up our greatest national strengths – the freedom of religion, rights to privacy, and our immigrant heritage.

”The Pope, when he was here, reminded us all in this country of the basic dignity of every migrant. In this country I firmly believe that there should be no second-class people. Everyone should have the opportunity to seek more of the American experience.”

Representative Luis Gutiérrez and Secretary Johnson confer before the Secretary’s remarks at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute 2015 Public Policy Conference.

Representative Luis Gutiérrez and Secretary Johnson confer before the Secretary’s remarks at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute 2015 Public Policy Conference.

Prior to the Secretary’s remarks, Representative Luis Gutiérrez introduced the Secretary by telling a story about Secretary Johnson’s grandfather. The Secretary’s grandfather, Charles Johnson, was a sociologist and the first African American president of Fisk University who spent his life advocating for the advancement of civil rights for African Americans. And in his conclusion, Secretary Johnson recounted pieces of his own personal story to illustrate this point. “[My grandfather] died in 1956, he wrote a lot, you heard some of what he wrote. He never lost hope. This was a man who, in 1949, was dragged before the House Un-American Committee to deny that he was a member of the Communist Party and gave an impassioned speech about the patriotism of the African-American. Dr. Charles Johnson died in 1956 basically a second-class citizen. A man with honorary degrees from Harvard and Columbia, a sociologist, died in a train station a second-class citizen,” Secretary Johnson said. “So I say to the young people, never lose hope in your country, in your leaders; never lose faith in the code of this nation and the democracy that we are; always have hope and faith in your country and its system of government.”

Representative Luis Gutiérrez and Secretary Johnson confer before the Secretary’s remarks at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute 2015 Public Policy Conference.

Secretary Johnson participates in a moderated discussion with Representative Luis Gutiérrez on the Department’s immigration efforts at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute 2015 Public Policy Conference. DHS Photo/Jetta Disco.

During a question-and-answer session with the audience, the Secretary answered a number of questions about immigration reform and the Department’s role in these efforts.

He challenged the audience – in particularly, the young people – to work together with the Department to bring about necessary change and stressed the importance of public service. “Mario Flores, who works for me, a decorated combat veteran of the U.S. Army who’s been deployed to Afghanistan now works for me today, is a graduate of the CHCI program. Let’s give Mario a hand.” We’re proud of Mario, and the many others like him across this Department who have benefited from leadership development programs like CHCI and continue to serve their country both on and off the battlefield.

You can read the Secretary’s full remarks from today’s speech here.

October 7, 2015
6:16 pm

In 1965, President Johnson stood on Liberty Island in the shadow of our Statue of Liberty and signed into law the Immigration and Nationality Act.  The passage of the Act marked a significant and much-needed change to our Nation’s immigration policies.  It ended an unfair quota system, prohibited discrimination based on country of origin, and officially recognized the role of our immigration system in reuniting families and attracting skilled workers from all over the world.

In 1960, I immigrated to this country with my parents and sister as political refugees from Cuba.  Seven years after the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act, I became a naturalized United States citizen.  Now, some 43 years later, I had the privilege of administering the Oath of Allegiance to 100 new citizens in a special naturalization ceremony in the White House.  This remarkable country is like no other.

On Monday of this week, October 3, I participated in a special naturalization ceremony that celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Immigration and Nationality Act.  The ceremony was held in the beautiful Indian Treaty Room of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex.  I was honored to join Cecilia Muñoz, the leader of President Obama’s Domestic Policy Council, and León Rodríguez, Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, as we welcomed 100 new citizens from 44 countries around the globe.  Renowned historian and author Taylor Branch shared with us all the meaning and significance of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

We are a nation of immigrants.  We are a nation of opportunity.  I am blessed to be a citizen of the United States.

Deputy Secretary Mayorkas administers the Oath of Allegiance at a special naturalization ceremony in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building Indian Treaty Room. Official DHS photo.

Deputy Secretary Mayorkas administers the Oath of Allegiance at a special naturalization ceremony in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building Indian Treaty Room. Official DHS photo.

October 5, 2015
9:37 am

Photo of the Week

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: U.S. Secret Service agents, together with the DHS components and federal, state and local partners, ensure a safe visit of Pope Francis. Here, agents stand ready as the Pontiff prepares to leave Manhattan following his address to the U.N. General Assembly.

Official DHS Photo by: U.S. Secret Service | Download High Resolution Image (640 x 360)

September 25, 2015
6:23 pm

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate surveys the devastation wrought by the Valley Fire in California during an aerial tour.  This week, President Obama made disaster assistance available for survivors in counties affected by the wildfires.

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate surveys the devastation wrought by the Valley Fire in California during an aerial tour.  This week, President Obama made disaster assistance available for survivors in counties affected by the wildfires.

Download High-Resolution Image (2048 x 1464)

September 18, 2015
3:32 pm

Secretary Johnson presents a Certificate of Citizenship to a new U.S. citizen who took the Oath of Allegiance this week at a special naturalization ceremony in San Francisco, California. As we conclude Constitution Week, we honor the thousands of new Americans who have committed to the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship.

photo of the week

Official DHS photo by Jetta Disco | Download High-Resolution Image (1620 x 1080)

September 15, 2015
4:52 pm

Last month, the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) participated in the successful demonstration of a new nuclear forensics capability designed to help better identify perpetrators of terrorist nuclear attacks.  For this demonstration, led by the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), DNDO worked with the U.S. Air Force, the Department of Energy (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to test the DTRA nuclear prototype system Discreet Oculus.  This demonstration, known as Mighty Saber 2015, took place from July 27 to August 21.  

Discreet Oculus is a research and development effort to design and deploy a ground-based system of seismic, acoustic, air pressure, radiation, light, and radio frequency wave sensors to detect signals from an urban nuclear weapon detonation.  These signals would be combined with other nuclear forensics data to help determine the characteristics of the purported weapon and shared with law enforcement partners and intelligence agencies.  Recently installed sensors in key metropolitan areas are part of a growing nationwide network to send information in real-time to a fusion center for analysis.

Following the demonstration, I joined officials from the White House, DoD, DOE, FBI, and the intelligence community, to discuss the results of this technology and plans for its implementation.  This technology will complement existing nuclear forensics capabilities that center on the collection and analysis of debris and air samples in the immediate aftermath of a nuclear detonation within the United States, in addition to existing ground- and space-based nuclear detonation detection systems.

The U. S. Government continues to develop formidable nuclear forensics capabilities in support of our policy to hold fully accountable any state, terrorist group, or other non-state actor that supports or enables terrorist efforts to obtain or use nuclear weapons.  DNDO is responsible for helping to ensure the nation’s nuclear forensics capability is ready to respond to a nuclear event.  Being prepared for the worst contingencies can help minimize the consequences for our nation, guide national responses, and deter attacks.  

September 15, 2015
3:53 pm

If you are eligible to naturalize, you should seriously consider applying for citizenship. USCIS Director León Rodríguez just took that message to Dallas, where he saw firsthand last week how organizations are helping to spread the word among permanent residents.

For instance, he stopped by the local Univision station which was hosting a special call-in event. Qualified volunteers were taking questions from callers seeking more information about the naturalization process. The volunteers were able to calm nerves, dispel myths and correct misinformation.

Director Rodríguez also spoke at the New Americans Campaign’s United for Citizenship Conference, held to welcome local and national partners and encourage collaboration. He noted that with millions of permanent residents eligible to naturalize, the potential contributions of these future citizens is tremendous. He co-chairs the White House Task Force on New Americans, which is working to implement a federal immigrant and refugee integration strategy. Ultimately the goal is to strengthen our nation’s fabric and our global competitiveness.

Like all Americans, we benefit when our newest citizens have the opportunity to live up to their potential and give back to society and the economy. Back in Washington, D.C., speaking at Jewish New Year services at a temple on Monday, Director Rodríguez recalled the biblical admonition to welcome the stranger, “for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

During the last decade, USCIS has welcomed more than 6.6 million new Americans. We are committed to meeting aspiring citizens halfway, by educating them about the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, helping them study for the citizenship test, and, wherever possible, reducing unnecessary barriers to naturalization.

Stay tuned -- in the coming days, USCIS will be announcing new steps that will enhance the process, like accepting credit cards to pay the fee for Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. We’ll also be announcing nearly $10 million in new grants for organizations around the country that help prepare permanent residents fulfill their dreams to become citizens. 

Will you be one of those new Americans?


September 14, 2015
3:06 pm

By: Russ Deyo
Under Secretary for Management

Underpinning each of the Department of Homeland Security’s diverse missions is a pledge to uphold the highest accountability standards to the American public. One marker of this commitment is the Department’s accurate and timely public reporting of our performance on our top priorities. We’re proud that DHS has been recognized once again for outstanding transparency.

A U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released today reviewed how six Federal agencies reported their performance on top priority goals. Of the six agencies, DHS received a rating of “outstanding,” the highest possible score. The GAO also noted that DHS was the only agency reviewed to publically publish a comprehensive set of performance measure verification data with its annual performance report.

This recognition is just DHS’s latest accolade regarding performance reporting. Thanks to tremendous teamwork and dedication by our workforce and the leadership of the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, other remarkable accomplishments include:

  • Two consecutive clean opinions on the Department’s financial statements;
  • Two Certificates of Excellence in Accountability Reporting (CEAR) awards from the Association of Government Accountants, the highest recognition in federal government management reporting; and
  • This year, DHS had the Best-in-Class Summary of Performance information, which recognizes the Department as the best in reporting of performance information among all agencies considered for the CEAR award.

Every day, DHS employees across the Department work to advance our vital missions while upholding the highest standards of transparency and accountability. These recent honors confirm their efforts.

For additional information on the Department’s accountability and performance reporting, please visit

September 14, 2015
2:01 pm

Is it possible to capture hope, a feeling, or a story in six words? The idea of very short stories began in the 1900s, but has begun to take off on various social networks as people share their stories.

Today, we’re launching six-word essays for Citizenship Day and Constitution Week.

Here’s How it Works

Join the project by writing a six-word summary of what citizenship means to you. It can be a sentence or any six words that, together, express your thoughts. You can even share photos illustrating your essays. To get you started, here are examples:

  • Born and raised; I love it!
  • A new world, a new life.
  • Freedom, travel, culture, exploration, blessings, pride
  • Something much bigger than me, possibilities.
Are you up for the challenge? What are your six words? Share them in the comments below, on Twitter using #citizenship6, or as a comment on our Facebook post.
Throughout the week, we’ll retweet and share submissions on Twitter and Facebook. Afterward, we’ll pull together a collection of essays we like and share on our blog, The Beacon, and produce a slideshow for YouTube.

Who Can Participate

Everyone can participate: citizens of any country, living anywhere. Here are a few rules:
  • You can enter your six-word essay any time from Sept. 14-24, 2015.
  • You can’t enter a six-word essay that belongs to or has been copyrighted by someone else.
  • Don’t include:
    • Obscene, indecent, or profane language.
    • Threats or defamatory statements.
    • Hate speech directed at race, color, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, ethnicity, age, religion, or disability.
    • Advertising, promotion, or endorsements of products or services.
  • The topic of your six-word essay can’t be nudity, drugs, violence, or symbols or acts of hatred.
Now for a little legal language: by entering your six-word essay, you agree to all of the above, and you agree to allow us to use your essay worldwide without being compensated. We also reserve the right to not consider entries for any reason.
We look forward to seeing what you have to say!


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