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July 13, 2009
9:10 am
Morning Roundup for July 13th, 2009 - Featured News and Public Events

From the Associated Press, on immigration enforcement:

An overhauled federal program allowing local and state law enforcement officials to arrest and deport immigrants will focus on the most serious criminals and limit officers' police powers, the Homeland Security Department said Friday.

The agency reworked the program, which had been criticized by the Government Accountability Office and led to a Justice Department investigation of the Maricopa County, Ariz., sheriff's office.

Government investigators said the previous program - cited as an example of misguided immigration enforcement by the Bush administration - did not clearly spell out when and how officers could use their arrest authority.

The revised program now requires local and state law enforcement agencies to first resolve any criminal charges that led to the arrest of the immigrants.

It also creates three priority levels for the immigrants who are to be arrested and detained. Immigrants convicted or arrested of major drug offenses or violent offenses such as murder, manslaughter, rape, robbery or kidnapping are the top priority.


From the Washington Post, on the Bertholf's bust last week:

The Coast Guard says a cutter based in Alameda has seized two speedboats, recovered a bale of cocaine and detained four suspected smugglers off the coast of Guatemala.

The bust was made Wednesday night by the cutter Bertholf about 80 miles from the Central American nation.

Officials say four boats were spotted by a patrol aircraft before a marksman aboard a Coast Guard helicopter shot out the engines of two speedboats.


From the Washington Post, on funding for the H1N1 vaccine:

The United States is ready to announce another $1 billion in orders for swine flu vaccinations.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says she will announce Monday that Washington has approved another billion dollars to buy components of the vaccine. Sebelius said on Sunday that research is under way to provide a safe and effective vaccine to fight a flu strain that could be a pandemic.


Leadership Events
10 AM EDT
Secretary Napolitano will observe an MSRT Demonstration
4000 Coast Guard Blvd.
Portsmouth, Va.

11 AM EDT
Secretary Napolitano will participate in a media availability
4000 Coast Guard Blvd.
Portsmouth, Va.

Public Events
10:30 AM CDT
Chief Privacy Officer Mary Ellen Callahan will deliver remarks at the American Library Association’s 2009 Annual Conference
McCormick Place West
2301 S Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, Ill.

11 AM PDT
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Chief Veterinarian Thomas McGinn III, DVM, will participate in a panel discussion about Homeland Security Presidential Directive 9 at the 2009 Washington State Convention & Trade Center
800 Convention Place
Seattle, Wash.
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
July 10, 2009
4:49 pm
A great story over at the Coast Guard Compass on a first for the recently christened cutter Bertholf:
Late Wednesday night, the crew of the cutter’s first drug bust and disrupted a major drug smuggling operation in international waters. Two suspected drug smuggling boats, four suspected smugglers and a bale of cocaine were seized as evidence some 80 miles off the coast of Guatemala.

Head over to the Coast Guard Compass for the rest. We can't wait for the pics and video.
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
July 10, 2009
2:30 pm
Yesterday, I joined Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Education Secretary Arne Duncan in hosting the first-ever H1N1 Flu Summit at the National Institutes of Health. This summit brought together leaders from across government—federal, state, and local—and the public health community to continue our ongoing preparations and response to the H1N1 pandemic.

Sec Duncan, Sec Napolitano, Sec Sebelius at H1n1 Flu Summit
Experts say that the virus may return in a more virulent strain during this fall’s flu season. This isn’t a cause for panic; rather, it’s a chance to reinvigorate our preparedness efforts across the country.

The most critical steps to containing this virus won’t take place in Washington, they’ll take place in homes, schools, communities and businesses across the country.

Families should consider how they would take care of children if schools close. Businesses should have plans for employees to work from home if needed. State, local, and tribal governments and community organizations should have procedures in place to deal with a future outbreak.

I encourage everyone to visit www.flu.gov to learn more about the steps you can take and make sure you have the most accurate, up-to-date information.

Here at the Department of Homeland Security, we continue to work with President Obama, Congress, governors, mayors, state and local health departments, school districts, private sector partners and other federal agencies to develop a nation-wide plan that incorporates the lessons we learned this spring to prepare for the fall flu season.

H1N1 may return this fall, but with your help, we are doing everything possible to keep the country safe and healthy. Thank you for doing your part.

Janet Napolitano
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
July 10, 2009
11:41 am
I am extremely pleased to congratulate the crew of the cutter Bertholf for their first drug interdiction on one of our new national security cutters. This success demonstrates the capability of this important national security asset and directly supports the department's strategy for protecting and securing the southwest border.

The national security cutter program is a vital component of the Department's effort to rebuild the Coast Guard's fleet so that it can continue its proud history of executing important missions to support the nation's maritime security and safety while protecting our economic prosperity.

PACIFIC OCEAN – Seaman Blake Tilton fires a an M-240 light machine gun with the assistance of Petty Officer 2nd Class Ezilda Bautista under the supervision of Chief Petty Officer Robert Fenner, a gunner’s mate, during a gunnery exercise onboard the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf June 19, 2009. Bertholf’s crewmembers routinely train on all weapon systems to ensure competency and maintain qualifications. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Petty Officer 3rd Class Michael Anderson)
Last week I visited the cutter Dallas in a shipyard in Charleston. The Dallas, and her sister ship Gallatin, are undergoing extensive work to repair major structural and machinery problems that are the result of their age and overuse. The national security cutter program will replace these 40-year old, Vietnam era vessels with modern, capable ships to secure America.

In Wednesday's seizure off the coast of Guatemala, the crew of the Bertholf disrupted four drug smuggling speedboats at the same time with their multiple pursuit boats and helicopter. The crew successfully captured two vessels and four suspects while disrupting the other two boats.

The continued renewal of the Coast Guard fleet and use of modern technology across the department is an indispensable part of our strategy to improve the ability of DHS to secure our nation and protect its citizens.

Janet Napolitano
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
July 10, 2009
10:05 am
Morning Roundup for July 10th, 2009 - Featured News and Public Events

From The New York Times, on the H1N1 Summit:

The Obama administration warned Americans on Thursday to be ready for an aggressive return of the swine flu virus in the fall, announcing plans to begin vaccinations in October and offering states and hospitals money to help them prepare.

"The potential for a significant outbreak in the fall is looming," President Obama said by telephone link from Italy to the White House's H1N1 Influenza Preparedness Summit, held at the National Institutes of Health.

With good planning, "we may end up averting a crisis," Mr. Obama said. "That's our fervent hope."

The summit meeting was jointly led by the secretary of health and human services, Kathleen Sebelius; the secretary of homeland security, Janet Napolitano; and the secretary of education, Arne Duncan. It gathered health and school officials from across the country and took questions by video link from the governors of several states, most of whom wanted to know who would pay for preparations like the vaccination drive.


From the Associated Press, on the best part of waking up:

Customs agents discovered an extra ingredient in a shipment of Colombian coffee: nearly a half-ton of cocaine.

U.S. Customs officer Troy Simon said Thursday it was his agency's biggest cocaine find at the Port of New Orleans since more than two tons turned up in a transformer shipment about 10 years ago.

He said officers opened the shipping container Monday after a gamma-ray scan showed squarish shapes on top of the rounded burlap bags of coffee beans.

They turned out to be 15 duffel bags.U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokeswoman Virginia Dabbs says they held 400 packages of cocaine weighing a total of 994 pounds.


Public Events
2:30 PM EDT
U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad Allen will participate in a Change of Command ceremony for the Coast Guard’s Pacific Area in which Vice Admiral Jody Breckenridge will relieve Vice Admiral David Pekoske
Parade Field
Coast Guard Island
Alameda, Calif.
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
July 9, 2009
4:45 pm
The H1N1 Flu Prepardness Summit wrapped up about an hour ago. Hopefully some of you had the opportunity to watch part of the live-stream. If not, you can check out highlights from the summit, the Twitter feed, and other information on how today's discussion will move things forward on this public health issue at the newly re-launched flu.gov. The bottom line is that we all need to be prepared for flu season. The federal government, in coordination with all our partners, used today as an opportunity to discuss the best options for preparing the public.

President Obama joined the summit via telephone from Italy, underscoring the importance of the discussion and noting the point is to prepare, not to panic:

"And so I won't go through the details of this," the President said. "I'm sure that Kathleen and Janet and others have laid out what the potential consequences are of a renewed outbreak of H1N1. We want to make sure that we are not promoting panic, but we are promoting vigilance and preparation. And the most important thing for us to do in this process is to make sure that state and local officials prepare now to implement a vaccination program in the fall, but also that they are working on an overall public communications campaign with the White House and the possibilities that we may need to be dealing with schools that are seeing significant outbreaks of H1N1."

Check out the President's full remarks at whitehouse.gov.

For those more creatively inclined, there's a new contest for you. Record a public service announcement, in the form of a video response on Youtube to Secretary Sebelius' call for contest entries. If you win, you could be eligible for a $2,500 cash prize.

So, check out the new site to get and stay informed as we get ready for the fall.
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
July 9, 2009
10:40 am
Morning Roundup for July 9th, 2009 - Featured News and Public Events
From The New York Times, on E-Verify:

The Obama administration will require businesses that win federal contracts to use a government electronic database system to verify that their employees have legal immigration status to work in the United States, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said on Wednesday.

After a six-month review, Homeland Security officials decided to go ahead with a worker-verification plan based on the electronic system, called E-Verify. The system, which the Bush administration sought to put into effect in its final months, is meant to prevent federal contractors from hiring illegal immigrants.

At the same time, Homeland Security officials said they would drop another Bush administration proposal that would have forced employers to fire any workers whose Social Security information did not match the records of the Social Security Administration. That measure, called the no-match rule, had been challenged in federal court by immigrant advocates and businesses, who said the Social Security database contained errors that could have cost thousands of legal workers their jobs.

Administration officials said the court battle over the no-match rule, which never went into effect, would now end.


From the Associated Press, on the H1N1 Summit:

The Obama administration put the states on notice Thursday: Swine flu promises to create a mess this fall. Are you ready?

Swine flu may have faded from the headlines but it's still sickening people here and abroad and is certain to worsen when influenza-friendly fall temperatures arrive.

The federal government called together health and education officials from every state to check their preparations for the likely prospect of vaccinations and determine how they'll handle flu-riddled schools.

"I want to be clear: This summit is not about raising alarms or stoking fears. It is about being prepared," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebeliussaid. "We must avoid complacency."

The government estimates that 1 million Americans so far have been infected with the never-before-seen virus known formally by its scientific family name,
H1N1.

No longer do many public health experts warn of the new virus' "return" in the fall. Summer's heat and humidity usually chase away influenza, but the swine flu has never left. Children are spreading it in summer camps, and U.S. deaths have reached 170.


Leadership Events
9:05 AM EDT
Secretary Napolitano will deliver remarks about DHS H1N1 Influenza preparedness efforts
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
National Institutes of Health
Conference Room A
Natcher Conference Center
Bethesda, Md.

9:25 AM EDT
Secretary Napolitano will participate in a roundtable discussion with Secretary Sebelius and Secretary Duncan
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Conference Room A
National Institutes of Health
Natcher Conference Center
Bethesda, Md.

10:15 AM EDT
Secretary Napolitano will participate in a media availability with Secretary Sebelius, Secretary Duncan and Homeland Security Advisor John Brennan
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
National Institutes of Health
Conference Room A
Natcher Conference Center
Bethesda, Md.

Public Events
10 AM EDT
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Investigations Deputy Director Kumar Kibble and DHS Assistant Secretary for International Affairs and Special Representative for Border Affairs Alan Bersin will testify before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform about Southwest border security
2154 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C.

10 AM EDT
Coast Guard Rear Admiral Kevin Cook will testify before the Technology and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation about Merchant Mariner licensing and documentation
2167 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C.
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
July 8, 2009
8:00 pm
Dhs.gov features a number of programs aren't always in plain view. Operation Warfighter is a great example. It offers recuperating miliatry service members the chance to remain active in internships or temporary assignments during their convalescence. The Operation Warfighter page on our site explains the program, its benefits for employers and service members, and information on how to become involved. Check it out.
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
July 8, 2009
5:51 pm
We talked last week about the H1N1 Flu Preparedness Summit happening tomorrow. It's an opportunity for federal, state, local, and tribal governments, as well as our private sector and emergency responder partners to come together and discuss a clear way forward on this public health issue. It's taking place at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland tomorrow.

A new development: The morning portion of the summit will be live-streamed on flu.gov, the new federal source for information on H1N1. Check it out, beginning at 8:30 AM EDT and ending just after 12:00 PM EDT.

The live-stream will include a panel discussion involving Secretary Napolitano, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of Health and Human Services, and Secretary Arne Duncan from the Department of Education. The discussion will be moderated by Governor Martin O'Malley of Maryland.

Tune in!
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
July 8, 2009
1:31 pm

This morning, Secretary Napolitano swore in Rand Beers as Under Secretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD). Mr. Beers was confirmed by the Senate in late June, and brings a wealth of experience in national security and law enforcement policy.
“More than anyone I know, Rand Beers can be trusted with protecting the security of the United States,” said DHS Secretary Napolitano. “He will be an invaluable asset to NPPD. I thank Rand for his service as Acting Deputy Secretary, and I am grateful that his leadership and vast depth of experience will continue to benefit the Department of Homeland Security.”
Check out NPPD's page on dhs.gov for more information on who they are and what they do.
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.

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