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Morning Roundup - June 17th

We’ll feature a rundown on the preparedness grants in a few minutes, but for now, the news...

Wednesday, June 17th Morning Roundup - Featured News and Public Events

News Highlights

From McClatchy, on the tough but necessary steps ahead toward immigration reform:

President Barack Obama, Democratic congressional leaders and advocates of revamping the nation's immigration laws say that developing a comprehensive immigration bill this year is a top priority, despite an already full legislative plate that includes a Supreme Court confirmation hearing, overhauling America's health care system, addressing climate change and conducting two wars.

They got a reality check on the potential bumps ahead when the White House recently postponed a bipartisan meeting on immigration that had been set for Wednesday - the second cancellation this month - because of "scheduling conflicts," administration officials told invited guests.

Still, supporters of an immigration overhaul think that Obama will succeed where other presidents have failed and will push through a comprehensive plan that will allow illegal immigrants to come out the shadows and provide them with a path to citizenship.
From the Associated Press, on a decline in Border Patrol apprehensions:
The number of Border Patrol apprehensions nationwide dropped for a third consecutive year, falling more than 17 percent to a level not seen since 1973, according to new government data.

The U.S. Border Patrol - charged with catching illegal immigrants near the nation's boundaries - had 724,000 apprehensions in 2008, according to the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Immigration Statistics. That was down from nearly 1.2 million in 2005.

Ninety-seven percent of those apprehensions were on the southwest border with Mexico and 91 percent of those caught were Mexican.

The report cited the slow U.S. economy and tougher border security as possible factors contributing to the drop.

The number of apprehensions reached its highest level in 1986, when Border Patrol made nearly 1.7 million apprehensions.

But the statistics are a crude measure of immigration since they only count those who are caught.

Jeffrey Passel, senior demographer at the Pew Hispanic Center, said the data appear to follow other reports that showed steep declines in illegal immigration from Mexico.

From Government Technology, on new legislation aimed at improving and standardizing ID security requirements:

"The PASS ID Act takes positive steps toward addressing state legislatures' implementation challenges with the REAL ID." -- Hawaii Sen. Daniel Akaka

The Real ID Act of 2005 was designed to improve security of state-issued driver licenses and ID cards and bring them up to a uniform federal standard. However, states objected to provisions of the act, and its estimated $12 billion cost, so a number of states passed laws prohibiting its implementation, and things ground to a halt as all states asked for, or were given, extensions. Janet Napolitano, as governor of Arizona, objected to Real ID and later, as secretary of Homeland Security, asked for some viable options.

Yesterday, Senators Daniel Akaka (D-HI) and George Voinovich (R-OH) introduced just such an option. The bipartisan "Providing for Additional Security in States' Identification" Act of 2009, or Pass ID Act, was met with generally positive reactions from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) the National Governors Association (NGA) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

"This legislation will strengthen national security by offering real solutions within a framework that is more workable for states," said the NCSL in a release."The PASS ID Act takes positive steps toward addressing state legislatures' implementation challenges with the REAL ID. NCSL urges Congress to continue to work with NCSL and its members as this legislation moves through the congressional process and to take all possible efforts to ensure state costs for implementation of the Real ID, and any corrective legislation, be fully funded by the federal government."

Secretary’s Events

7 PM EST
Secretary Napolitano will deliver remarks and receive an award at the 20th Annual World Affairs Council Global Education Dinner
Willard InterContinental Washington Ballroom
1401 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C.

Public Events

9 AM EDT
Office of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Biodefense Chief Scientist Diane Berry will participate in a panel discussion about biodefense products at the 2009 Biodefense Vaccines and Therapeutics Conference
Almas Temple Club
1315 K Street NW
Washington, D.C.

10 AM PDT
ICE - Resident Agent in Charge David Wales will participate in a news conference hosted by the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department to announce the initial results of a joint investigation targeting a major local drug trafficking organization.
1445 Kansas Ave.
San Luis Obispo, C.A.
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
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