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February 5, 2016
2:41 pm

CBP Patrols Airspace at the Site of Super Bowl 50

Photo of the Week:  A U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) helicopter patrols the airspace around Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA, the site of Super Bowl 50. Hundreds of DHS employees from across the Department are working hard to keep this year’s Super Bowl a safe, secure, and enjoyable event for all.

Official DHS Photo by CBP | Download High-Resolution Image (440 x 243)

February 4, 2016
3:05 pm

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today is excited to announce two new partnerships between the DHS Blue Campaign, the unified voice for the Department’s efforts to combat human trafficking, and the California Hotel & Lodging Association (CH&LA) and the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission (SJRRC) Altamont Corridor Express (ACE).

This announcement is especially important as the Department continues its efforts to help ensure the security of visitors and fans for Super Bowl 50. High-profile events, like the Super Bowl, draw large crowds and have become lucrative opportunities for criminals engaged in human trafficking. CH&LA and SJRRC ACE will display Blue Campaign materials at lodging and railway stops throughout California, providing residents and visitors to the area with information about the indicators of human trafficking and how to report it. Materials will also have resources and information on how to receive support for potential victims.

A sample Blue Campaign message about the indicators of human trafficking
A sample Blue Campaign message about the indicators of human trafficking

“It is our responsibility to speak up and act for those who cannot,” said SJRRC ACE Safety and Security Supervisor Steve Walker.

“As an industry, we recognize the important role that hotels can play in fighting human trafficking networks which often rely on legitimate businesses such as hotels to sustain their operations,” said CH&LA President and CEO Lynn Mohrfeld. “CH&LA is looking forward to partnering with the DHS Blue Campaign to help combat human trafficking within the hotel and lodging industry.”

Sample human trafficking indicator card
Sample human trafficking indicator card

Last year, ahead of Super Bowl XLIX, the Blue Campaign established partnerships with the City of Phoenix and the Arizona Human Trafficking Council of the Governor’s Office for Children, Youth, and Families to provide training and awareness materials.

The Blue Campaign will continue to work in collaboration with local law enforcement, government, non-governmental and private organizations to protect the basic right of freedom and to bring those who exploit human lives to justice.

January 29, 2016
11:32 am

This blog was originally posted by The White House on January 29.

By Cecilia Muñoz & León Rodríguez
 
Summary: The White House Task Force on New Americans is launching a series of White House Regional Convenings on New Americans.
 

We are a nation of immigrants – it’s at the very core of our American values. Our success as a nation of immigrants is rooted in our historic success in integrating newcomers into the social, cultural, and economic fabric of our country. Last December, during a naturalization ceremony welcoming 31 new Americans, President Obama reminded us of this history:

We can never say it often or loudly enough: Immigrants and refugees revitalize and renew America…Immigrants are the teachers who inspire our children, and they’re the doctors who keep us healthy. They’re the engineers who design our skylines, and the artists and the entertainers who touch our hearts. Immigrants are soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen who protect us, often risking their lives for an America that isn’t even their own yet…We celebrate this history, this heritage, as an immigrant nation.

In the spirit of these core American values, President Obama established the White House Task Force on New Americans to strengthen federal immigrant and refugee integration efforts and promote the best practices that state and local governments are using to help immigrants and their native-born neighbors succeed together. As Task Force co-chairs, we are heartened by what we have already achieved together with state and local governments as well as business, community, faith, and philanthropic leaders.

To build on these efforts, the Task Force is launching a series of White House Regional Convenings on New Americans – with the inaugural convening taking place in Los Angeles today. This will be the first in a number of events aimed at strengthening and supporting local immigrant and refugee integration efforts.

These convenings will be organized in partnership with Building Welcoming Communities Campaign cities and counties, local leaders, and federal agencies, and aim to: (1) Strengthen the federal regional infrastructure supporting welcoming and integration efforts; (2) Highlight best practices; and (3) Broaden and deepen multisector partnerships at the local level to advance civic, economic, and linguistic integration efforts.

Today’s initiative was highlighted as a key 2016 effort in the Task Force’s One-Year Progress Report, which was submitted to the President in December 2015. This report provided an update on the recommendations issued in the Task Force’s Strategic Action Plan in April 2015. It also builds on White House convenings held in Washington, DC in July 2014 and October 2015.

President Obama, along with the many Americans engaged in this effort, feels strongly that advancing the cherished American ideals of citizenship, and the pride and responsibility that comes with being a U.S. citizen, is central to our strength as a nation. These Regional Convenings will further the mission of the “Stand Stronger” Citizenship Awareness Campaign, an initiative launched last Fall that encourages eligible lawful permanent residents to learn more about the naturalization process so they can solidify their roots and tap into the incredible opportunities that await new American citizens.

The Department of Homeland Security estimates that there are approximately 13.3 million lawful permanent residents living in the United States, and 8.8 million of them are eligible to apply for citizenship. We know that becoming a naturalized citizen bring tangible and intangible benefits to each new American, to the communities in which they live, and to the rest of the country.   

To address the barriers to becoming a citizen, USCIS also developed a series of initiatives to improve customer service, highlight the importance of citizenship, and support aspiring citizens. These initiatives include new online citizenship preparation resources, the ability to pay the naturalization fee with a credit card, a citizenship public education and awareness campaign, and new and ongoing outreach and engagement with local governments.

Immigrants and refugees contribute to our country’s social and cultural fabric. They are critical to our country’s continued prosperity. The Task Force will continue to do everything possible to welcome them into our nation and work with cities and counties to build welcoming communities where everyone can thrive.

January 28, 2016
3:46 pm

This week, Secretary Johnson traveled to Atlanta, Georgia and Birmingham, Alabama to discuss critical homeland security issues with local communities.

In Atlanta, Secretary Johnson met with Delta Airlines CEO Richard Anderson and members of the Delta Airlines Executive Board to discuss the Department’s aviation security efforts. Partnerships, like the one between the Department and the commercial airline industry, are critical to our nation’s security. Secretary Johnson also recognized the important contributions that the men and women of TSA make to aviation security every day.

Secretary Johnson delivers remarks at the Rotary Club of Atlanta (DHS Photo/Barry Bahler)

Secretary Johnson delivers remarks at the Rotary Club of Atlanta (DHS Photo/Barry Bahler)

Secretary Johnson also spoke to members of the Rotary Club of Atlanta and paid a visit to his alma mater, Morehouse College, where he met with current Morehouse students and groups from nearby Spelman College. Secretary Johnson addressed students’ questions regarding his career and the Department’s missions.

Secretary Johnson talks with students and faculty at Morehouse College (DHS Photo/Barry Bahler)

Secretary Johnson talks with students and faculty at Morehouse College (DHS Photo/Barry Bahler)

Secretary Johnson also sat down with Morehouse candidates for the College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative (CSPI), which is a program for students who have demonstrated a high-level of academic and leadership excellence and who desire to serve their country in the U.S. Coast Guard. Secretary Johnson praised their desire and commitment and spoke to the importance of cultivating the next generation of homeland security leaders.

Secretary Johnson meets with Morehouse candidates for the CSPI program (DHS Photo/Barry Bahler)

Secretary Johnson meets with Morehouse candidates for the CSPI program (DHS Photo/Barry Bahler)

During breakfast in the school cafeteria on Tuesday morning, Secretary Johnson spoke highly of his time as a student at Morehouse and encouraged his fellow Maroon Tigers to consider a career in public service.

Secretary Johnson joins students at Morehouse College for breakfast (DHS Photo/Barry Bahler)

Secretary Johnson joins students at Morehouse College for breakfast (DHS Photo/Barry Bahler)

In Birmingham, Secretary Johnson attended a luncheon hosted by the local Kiwanis Club. During the luncheon, Secretary Johnson addressed club members and discussed his priorities for the Department in this, his last year as Secretary. In his remarks, Secretary Johnson said:

“We have in this Administration, I have exactly 359 days left. I do not intend to coast. I have given my senior staff and the leadership of DHS a very aggressive timetable for things that I want to see us achieve in the remaining 359 days in this Administration. Our mission today is as urgent as it was 25 months ago when I took office and I promise and pledge to all of you, here in this room, and in this community that I will continue to work as hard as I can on your behalf, for your homeland security, and for public safety.”

Secretary Johnson addresses members of the Kiwanis Club of Birmingham (DHS Photo/Barry Bahler)

Secretary Johnson addresses members of the Kiwanis Club of Birmingham (DHS Photo/Barry Bahler)

Throughout his trip, Secretary Johnson underscored the Department’s commitment and continued efforts to work with community organizations and state and local officials to safeguard local communities.

January 28, 2016
12:33 pm

Data Privacy Day is an international effort held annually on January 28 to create awareness about the importance of privacy and protecting personal information.

In today’s connected world, we’re sharing more personal information online than ever before. And it’s not only when we’re sitting at our computers: we use our mobile devices to shop, bank, conduct business, and connect with loved ones. These activities often require us to provide personal information such as our name, email address, credit card information, and other sensitive details online. But when this information falls into the wrong hands, it can be exploited and used to steal your identity and your money. As sharing personal information online becomes commonplace, it is increasingly critical to take steps to protect your personal data and privacy.

Protecting your personal information can appear to be a daunting task, but there are simple steps all Americans can take to protect themselves and their privacy online. Start with these tips from the Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign, the Department of Homeland Security’s national cybersecurity awareness campaign.

  • Secure your devices. Take advantage of screen locks, passwords, and fingerprint recognition capabilities to secure your smartphones, tablets, and computers.

  • Set strong passwords. Make your passwords complex and change them regularly.

  • Own your digital life. Think carefully about what you post online. Everything you put on the internet – photos, tweets, and blogs – will be out there people to see forever. Take ownership of your digital life by only posting what you want to be seen.

  • Customize the settings on your accounts and apps. Many accounts and apps include default settings that encourage users to share more types of information. Check your account settings to ensure that your information is only visible to people whom you authorize.

  • Think before you act. Be wary of communications that, offer something that sounds too good to be true, ask for personal information, or suggest you click on links or open attachments. Such communications may contain malware or redirect you to potentially malicious websites.

On Data Privacy Day and throughout the year, we encourage all Americans to weigh the benefits and risks of sharing information online, to understand how their information is being used, and to take steps to protect their identities and personal data.

For more information on how to get involved with and promote Data Privacy Day, visit www.staysafeonline.org/data-privacy-day.

For more information on how to stay safe online, visit Stop.Think.Connect.

January 26, 2016
1:23 pm

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Enhanced Cybersecurity Services (ECS) program has approved its Commercial Service Providers (CSPs) to offer a new capability called Netflow Analysis, which will allow the CSPs to more effectively identify and analyze malicious activity transiting their customers’ networks.

Through the ECS program, DHS provides CSPs with classified or sensitive information about known cyber threats. The CSPs, in turn, use this information to protect their customers against unauthorized access, exploitation, and data exfiltration.

Privacy is fundamental to all DHS cybersecurity programs. DHS’s Privacy Office recently completed an update to the ECS Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA), and the updated PIA notes that the Netflow Analysis capability does not enable DHS to collect, store, or in any way utilize personally identifiable information, and thus does not result in significant privacy risks. None of the ECS capabilities, including Netflow Analysis, involve government monitoring of private networks or communications.

Netflow Analysis joins two other existing ECS capabilities: Domain Name Service (DNS) Sinkholing and Email Filtering. CSP customers may subscribe to any or all of the ECS capabilities, depending on their needs. U.S.-based organizations including state, local, tribal, or territorial governments interested in ECS should reach out directly to the four accredited CSPs for enrollment information:

Over the past year, the DHS ECS program has reached several exciting milestones. In June 2015, ECS expanded eligibility requirements beyond critical infrastructure to allow all U.S.-based public and private organizations to receive services, while in August 2015, ECS accredited a fourth CSP, Lockheed Martin. We are always striving to improve services and capabilities for this important program.

January 15, 2016
2:05 pm

Over the last decade, we have become a stronger, safer, and more secure nation. The Department of Homeland Security continues to make our nation and communities more resilient, not only to terrorist and violent extremist attacks, but also to threats and disasters of all kinds, while safeguarding the fundamental rights of all Americans.

At the University of Michigan – Dearborn, Secretary Jeh Johnson met with student leaders to discuss how the Department works with local communities to counter violent extremism. We asked these students: What does hometown security mean to you? Why is #DHSinDearborn important for the next generation of homeland security leaders?

Mawj Mohammed

Mawj Mohamaed - student at University of Michigan - Dearborn

"I am a junior studying political science and philosophy. I’m the president of the Political Science Association here at University of Michigan – Dearborn. As an Arab-American, and especially as a refugee from Iraq who is an American, it’s very important for me to have a discussion with the Secretary of Homeland Security, especially since there is a large Arab population in this part of Michigan. It’s very important for them to understand exactly what is going on in terms of our security, because we do value our security here. It’s important to have these discussions and be open with each other."

Sam Parks

Sam Parks - student at University of Michigan - Darborn

“I am a senior, I’m going to law school next year, I’m the Vice President student government, and being able to have my story heard about my experiences, especially as an undergraduate, particularly in the community that University of Michigan – Dearborn has offered me, I think is really impactful and I think that it could really help things.”

Jewell Jones

Jewelll Jones - student at University of Michigan - Darborn

“I’m a junior, and today, just to be in the presence of the Secretary of Homeland Security is eye-opening because UM-Dearborn is a small campus that is so diverse, and for us to be able to bring people like this into the campus, to help our students, better understand national security and help us get a greater grasp on what’s going on in the world around us, I think is very critical and very important. So, I’m greatly appreciative. I’m in the Army ROTC program at the University, and I’m in my third year. When I graduate, I will be commissioned as a second lieutenant, but I’m thinking about going to law school. If I do go to law school after, I get commissioned as a captain.”

Fiana Arbab

Fiana Arbab - student at University of Michigan - Darborn

“I’m in my third year at University of Michigan – Dearborn. I’m a double major in psychology and Women & Gender studies, and a minor in Sociology. I’m currently the president of the social justice league, and I’m in several other student organizations on this campus. Being with the Secretary today really goes to show the importance of having the public’s voice heard, and just the fact that we are able to be present here today with our government officials to talk about national and international security really takes into account the cultivation of the power of the people and the power of voice.”

Bradley Pischea

Bradley Pischea - student at University of Michigan - Darborn

“I’m the student government president here at University of Michigan – Dearborn and I’m a senior studying political science and criminal justice. I think the government thrives when it listens to its people and understands what the people they represent want. I think that it’s important to listen to college students, especially a college that is as diverse and wonderful as University of Michigan – Dearborn.”

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December 21, 2015
10:05 am

By Maria Odom & Heather Fong

Earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security released updated guidance for law enforcement on resources available to victims of serious crimes, including human trafficking. The U and T Visa Law Enforcement Resource Guide provides federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement officials with helpful information to support the investigations and prosecution of crimes involving qualified immigrant victims.

The Department is committed to supporting law enforcement investigations and the prosecution of crimes of human trafficking, domestic violence and other serious harm, as well as civil and criminal investigations into labor exploitation and abuse.

Lack of legal immigration status in the United States may be among the reasons that some victims choose not to come forward or work with law enforcement.  Perpetrators and human traffickers also use victims’ lack of legal status as leverage to exploit and control them. Congress created the U and T nonimmigrant visas to address this with the passage of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (including the Battered Immigrant Women's Protection Act) in October 2000. Congress sought not only to create tools to help law enforcement prosecute perpetrators of crimes committed against immigrants, but also to strengthen relations between law enforcement and immigrant communities.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) helps to protect victims of these crimes by providing immigration relief through U and T visas. Law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, judges, and government officials also play an important role in this process.

The updated Guide includes:

  • information about U and T visa requirements
  • information on the I-918B certification and I-914B declaration processes
  • suggested best practices
  • answers to important and frequently asked questions from judges, prosecutors, law enforcement agencies, and other officials, and
  • contact information for DHS personnel on U and T visa issues.

The U and T Visa Law Enforcement Resource Guide  was first released in 2012, and the Department will continue to provide updates to our law enforcement partners so that together we can protect victims and put an end to these terrible crimes.

Learn more about the U and T visa programs, as well as other protections for immigrant victims by visiting DHS Immigration Options for Victims of Crimes.

December 18, 2015
2:50 pm

Ratificatoin of the Bill of Rights

On the 224th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights, President Barack Obama, Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director León Rodríguez participated in a special naturalization ceremony at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Thirty-one people from 25 countries were sworn in as new U.S. citizens.

Official DHS photo by Jetta Disco | Download High-Resolution Image (2048 x 1367)

December 16, 2015
5:50 pm

This blog was originally posted by The White House on December 16.

by Cecilia Muñoz, León Rodríguez, Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Summary: 
White House Task Force on New Americans Releases One-Year Progress

As the daughter and son of immigrants, we have lived the American dream. Every day, we work side by side with federal officials who are deeply committed to ensuring that the promise of this dream is available to all Americans, including our newest Americans. That’s why we are honored to serve as the co-chairs of the White House Task Force on New Americans.

One year ago, the President established the Task Force to develop a coordinated federal strategy to better integrate and welcome new Americans into communities and support state and local efforts to do the same. As President Obama stated in his presidential memorandum establishing this interagency effort, “By focusing on the civic, economic, and linguistic integration of new Americans, we can help immigrants and refugees in the United States contribute fully to our economy and their communities.”

Today, we are pleased to share the Task Force’s One-Year Progress Report on implementing its robust federal immigrant and refugee integration strategy. The report highlights Task Force actions and accomplishments on the 16 core goals and 48 recommendations identified in its April 2015 Strategic Action Plan.  

Among accomplishments to date, the Task Force has:

  • Spearheaded the Building Welcoming Communities Campaign to encourage local immigrant and refugee integration efforts, with 48 cities and counties already joined in the effort, and organized a White House Building Welcoming Communities convening for participating cities and counties;
  • Launched two initiatives: the “Stand Stronger” Citizenship Awareness campaign with a video message from President Obama and in partnership with local communities, as well as a complementary campaign at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to promote awareness of the rights, responsibilities, and importance of United States citizenship;
  • Named Presidential Ambassadors for Citizenship and Naturalization to harness the stories of prominent new Americans and U.S.-born individuals with immigrant roots to promote naturalization, bolster integration initiatives, and increase awareness of the rich contributions of new Americans;
  • Dedicated 150 Welcoming Communities AmeriCorps members to nearly 100 communities through partnerships with the YMCA, Catholic Charities, and eight refugee resettlement organizations to assist local communities with integration efforts;
  • Launched the Small Business Administration’s “Made It In America” website to promote immigrant entrepreneurship and piloted new “SBA 101” classes for immigrant and refugee entrepreneurs;
  • Expanded access to linguistic integration and education by creating and disseminating best practices and hosting webinars, regional convenings, and other activities to connect new Americans with education systems; and
  • Supported five communities seeking to build networks to strengthen integration through adult education providers.

Immigrants and refugees have always been a source of America’s strength. By extending a welcoming hand, the United States has continually tapped new sources of economic and cultural vitality. We can and must continue to reunite families; welcome students, workers, and entrepreneurs who seek to contribute to our economy; and remain a beacon of hope for vulnerable refugees, while ensuring the highest vigilance for our nation’s security. As President Obama has said, we were founded upon a belief in human dignity, and we must never forget what makes us exceptional. At the heart of that is our ability, generation after generation, to welcome newcomers and help them learn and live by the values we share as Americans. 

Learn about the Task Force's Accomplishments in 2015:

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