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Morning Roundup - August 14th

From the San Antonio Express-News, on yesterday's agreement:

High-ranking U.S. and Mexican government officials signed an agreement in San Antonio on Thursday they say provides an unprecedented level of cooperation between the two countries in fighting cross-border drug crime.

The letter of intent recommends a joint strategic plan in weapons and ammunition trafficking investigations. The letter was signed during the last day of a convention for Border Security Task Force (BEST) teams, which are led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The conference also was attended by senior Mexican officials.

"This will leverage the investigative capabilities of both governments and launch a more unified effort in investigating weapons smuggling cases," Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said.

Mexican Attorney General Eduardo Medina-Mora said the deal recognizes shared responsibility for the gun-trafficking problem.

"Mexico is very, very respectful of the legal constitutional framework in the U.S.," he said. "But the Second Amendment was never meant to arm foreign criminal groups, and we should go after the criminals that are illegally shipping weapons into the criminal hands of groups based in our country."

ICE assistant secretary John Morton also announced the first BEST office to open in Mexico for Mexican law enforcement officers and U.S. agents to share information and evidence. ICE has 15 BEST teams along U.S. borders.

From Federal Computer Week, on the new civic network "Our Border":

The Homeland Security Department has created a moderated social network designed to spur informed debate and discussion about topics related to the United States' Southwestern border.

The network named Our Border is hosted on the site Ning.com and is open to everyone. But although posted content is visible to anyone who visits, people need to have an account with the Ning network to participate, DHS said. However, the network is administered and moderated by DHS and all content is reviewed by the department before it's posted, according to the network's content policy.

DHS will use the network to communicate the department's policy, post photos and videos, and engage in dialogue, according to the policies detailed on Our Border. The department administers the network and plans to eventually use Ning's live chat feature on Our Border, according to DHS' privacy impact assessment.

Four discussion groups are currently available on the site: Customs and Border Protection, Comprehensive Immigration Reform, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Also from Federal Computer Week, on Global Entry:

The Homeland Security Department's international registered traveler program is going strong. The program is expanding from seven airports to 20 airports starting Aug. 24, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano announced.

DHS started the Global Entry international trusted traveler program in June 2008 as a pilot project at three airports. It grew to seven airports last fall.

U.S. citizens and others who want to enroll in Global Entry must submit to a security check and interview and provide a fingerprint. Once enrolled, upon returning to the United States, they can use a kiosk to process their passports and scan their fingerprints. This typically results in less waiting than a manual check by U.S. Customs and Border Protection employees, DHS said.

To date, approximately 16,000 members have enrolled in Global Entry at the seven existing locations and in April, DHS signed an agreement for reciprocal treatment with airports in the Netherlands.

This month, the department will add 13 more airports to the program, Napolitano said in a news release Aug. 12.

"Expanding this vital program allows us to improve customer service at airports and concentrate our resources on higher-risk travelers," Napolitano said.

From the Palm Beach Post, on welcoming a new group of citizens and opening a new USCIS facility:

After Kalvin Berice Lindo became an American citizen on Thursday, he kissed his crying wife, took a deep breath and said, "I finally feel like I'm part of the world."

The 55-year-old man, originally from Jamaica, stood proudly with 24 others as they vowed to be great Americans. And though naturalization ceremonies take place at least twice a week in Palm Beach County, this ceremony was even more special because it took place at the grand opening of the new U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services building on Belvedere Road in Royal Palm Beach.

U.S. Rep Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton, and newly inducted USCIS director Alejandro Mayorkas were on hand for the traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony and to congratulate the 25 for their accomplishments.

"It's a wonderful moment you'll remember forever," Klein said. "You have a special responsibility to take it upon yourself to make our country stronger and better."

The 38,000 square foot building, which opened in March, is expected to process 57,000 customers a year. More than one million people become U.S. citizens each year and about 8,000 of those become citizens here in Palm Beach County, said Sharon Scheidhauer, USCIS spokeswoman.

Public Events
6PM EDT
USCIS Office of Citizenship Chief Rebecca Carson will participate in an information session for immigrants interested in learning more about U.S. citizenship and the naturalization process
USCIS Atlanta Field Office
2150 Parklake Drive
Atlanta, Ga.

Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
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