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November 5, 2015
10:37 am

Recently, the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) awarded a multimillion dollar contract that will equip U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) frontline personnel with a new capability to detect and interdict radiological or nuclear threats.

The award is for small, wearable radiation detector devices that passively monitor the environment and alert the user when nuclear or other radioactive material is present.  Known as the Human Portable Tripwire (HPT), this device has the capability to identify the source of radiation and allow personnel to take appropriate action.  The technology can also locate the source of the detected radiation and includes communication features that allow the user to easily seek additional technical assistance from experts if needed.  These devices are a critical tool for personnel who operate in the maritime environment, at land and sea ports of entry, and within the United States.

The Human Portable Tripwire award represents a successful collaboration between CBP, USCG, TSA, and DNDO to award one contract that meets the needs of multiple DHS components.  

This is also an example of the accomplishments we can achieve under the Unity of Effort initiative. From the beginning DNDO worked closely with CBP, USCG, and TSA from the proposal evaluation stage, through the testing and evaluation, to deployment planning.  Such collaborative efforts strengthen our homeland security and increase the Department’s ability to thwart potential radiological or nuclear threats.

A Department of Homeland Security official uses the Human Portable Tripwire device to scan for radiological and nuclear threats. (Photo credit: Transportation Security Administration Office of Law Enforcement Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response Program)

 
A Department of Homeland Security official uses the Human Portable Tripwire device to scan for radiological and nuclear threats. (Photo credit: Transportation Security Administration Office of Law Enforcement Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response Program)

 

October 30, 2015
4:03 pm

Some of our nation’s newest and youngest (and costumed) U.S. citizens recite the Pledge of Allegiance at a special Halloween-themed children’s citizenship ceremony at the Baltimore & Ohio (B&O) Railroad Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.  Forty-six children from 28 countries for citizenship were recognized.  USCIS holds citizenship ceremonies around the country to welcome and celebrate our newest Americans. Official USCIS photo.

Children in costume taking oath of allegiance

We are constantly connected. Even while we’re “offline” on vacation, or away from our computer or mobile devices, chances are we’re still connected in one way or another. More and more, the Internet touches almost all aspects of our daily lives.

Don’t believe it?  Think of the systems that help to keep the lights on, the water running, and transportation moving. Or the devices that track your sleep and exercise, point you to an open parking spot, or control the thermostat at your home.  All these and more depend on digital networks to function.

This rapidly expanding set of connected devices, what we often call the “Internet of Things,” promises big changes to the way we live our lives. Yet, as we enjoy the benefits of these changes, we must consider the new risks they bring as well.  Just as we lock our doors to protect our valuables, Americans must also take steps to protect our devices and information from virtual threats by properly securing all devices that are connected to the Internet.

During National Cyber Security Awareness Month, the Department of Homeland Security encourages you to remember a few important steps to help secure your mobile devices and protect the valuable information they hold (and then practice them all year long!)

  1. Keep a clean machine. Like your smartphone or PC, keep any device that connects to the Internet free from viruses and malware. Download software updates regularly on the device itself, as well as for the apps you use, since they often contain fixes to protect against malicious activity.
  2. Disable remote connectivity. Some mobile devices are equipped with wireless technologies, such as Bluetooth, that can connect to other devices. Disable these features when they are not in use.
  3. Secure your network. Properly secure the wireless network you use to connect Internet enabled devices with strong passwords.

For more information on the Internet of Things, visit the Stop.Think.Connect. Toolkit and download the Internet of Things Tip Card at www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect-toolkit.

To learn more about National Cyber Security Awareness Month 2015, visit www.dhs.gov/national-cyber-security-awareness-month.

October 26, 2015
3:28 pm

USCIS welcomed 100 new citizens from almost three dozen countries on Oct. 18 during a special naturalization ceremony at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City during the fourth annual People en Español Festival. During the ceremony, former New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera and Thalia, the singer, songwriter, actress, author, entrepreneur and fashion designer, were recognized as Outstanding Americans by Choice.

New York District Director Phyllis Coven provided the opening remarks and presented the candidates for naturalization. An honor guard from U.S. Customs and Border Protection presented the colors. Jonael Santiago, 2015 winner of “La Voz Kids,” sang the national anthem.

Naturalization candidates listen to New York District Director Phyllis Coven’s opening remarks.

Naturalization candidates listen to New York District Director Phyllis Coven’s opening remarks.

USCIS Director León Rodríguez administered the Oath of Allegiance and welcomed the new Americans as new citizens in a land of possibilities. Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas provided keynote remarks and presented the Outstanding Americans by Choice recognitions.

From left: USCIS Director León Rodríguez, Mariano Rivera, Thalia and Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas after the Outstanding Americans by Choice presentation.

From left: USCIS Director León Rodríguez, Mariano Rivera, Thalia and Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas after the Outstanding Americans by Choice presentation.

View more photos on Facebook or the USCIS Twitter Moments page.

On Oct. 19, USCIS welcomed 50 new citizens from 24 countries during a special judicial naturalization ceremony in Brooklyn at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The ceremony commemorated the 150th anniversary of the first naturalization in the Eastern District.

Judges watch as naturalization candidates prepare to take the Oath of Allegiance at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn.

Judges watch as naturalization candidates prepare to take the Oath of Allegiance at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn.

Director Rodríguez provided the motion to the court to administer the Oath of Allegiance. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson gave congratulatory remarks and distributed the naturalization certificates to the new U.S. citizens. Judge Dora L. Irizarry read remarks from Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor of the U.S. Supreme Court, who was unable to attend.

To join the conversation on Twitter and other social media during future naturalization ceremonies, use #newUScitizen.

October 23, 2015
9:20 am

The Department of Homeland Security, through the unified voice of the Blue Campaign, is committed to fighting the heinous crime of human trafficking. The unfortunate reality is that human trafficking occurs here in the United States and – as our public service announcement depicts – it is hidden in plain sight. After I learned about the growing human trafficking problem in North Dakota, particularly in the oil-rich Bakken region following the oil boom, I traveled to Fargo, Dickinson, New Town, and Bismarck to gain a better understanding of the situation on the ground. While there earlier this month, I engaged with federal, state, local, tribal, non-profit, and private sector stakeholders and explored meaningful ways to work together to raise awareness and fight human trafficking in this region. At Blue Campaign we believe that only through the sum of our collective efforts will we succeed in combating this terrible crime.

The Blue Campaign brings together the Department’s diverse resources and capabilities and coordinates closely with the whole community to provide training, promote public awareness, and equip the American public to recognize and report any suspected human trafficking.

Embracing a victim-centered approach to combating human trafficking is a key facet of the Department’s efforts to combat human trafficking. On Tuesday, October 6th, I met with local partners providing vital services at the YouthWorks Shelter and the YWCA Cass Clay Shelter in Fargo. From them we learned about the robust local efforts to protect vulnerable youth and support victims of crimes, as well as other at-risk populations.

On October 7th, I visited Dickinson, where I met with local stakeholders for a roundtable discussion that brought together the diverse perspectives of local law enforcement officers, city officials, victim advocates, and even a survivor of human trafficking. I heard first-hand accounts of the challenges the city of Dickinson is facing from human trafficking, and returned with a deeper understanding of the problem and how Blue Campaign can support local efforts through public awareness resources and training.

On October 8th, I met with local advocacy groups and tribal partners from the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation to hear their stories and discuss the critical importance of victim-assistance efforts – particularly in tribal communities. Blue Campaign looks forward to a continued engagement with tribal partners to jointly deliver timely and effective public awareness resources to Native American communities.

On Friday, October 9th, I hosted a roundtable discussion in Bismarck. There, I met with educators, city and law enforcement leaders, and local stakeholders to discuss special vulnerabilities of youth in local schools, as well as training resources available to educators, school resource officers, and law enforcement. Later that afternoon, I joined Senator Heidi Heitkamp to visit the YouthWorks shelter in Bismarck, where we learned about local human trafficking victims, the challenges service providers face in serving such a diverse population of victims, and how the Blue Campaign can best support their efforts.

The Blue Campaign is expanding our work in the public health sector through a new partnership with the North Dakota Public Health Association. This partnership will specifically promote the Blue Campaign’s training and awareness materials throughout North Dakota’s healthcare facilities.

North Dakota Public Health Association Executive Director Maylynn Warne spoke of the importance of our new partnership, saying “The goal is to get the materials into local hospitals and work with tribal communities where there’s a disproportionate amount of members who are a part of the human trafficking ring in North Dakota. There’s a large number of American Indian women affected so we want to be able to reach out to those communities and offer resources.”

Working with our range of invaluable partners – like Senator Heitkamp in North Dakota – the Blue Campaign will continue to spread awareness of human trafficking in order to assist victims and bring their traffickers to justice.

There is much more to be done to combat human trafficking, not just in North Dakota, but in cities and communities across the nation. We can’t do this alone. I encourage you to visit www.dhs.gov/bluecampaign to learn more and see how you can get involved.

Category: Human Trafficking
October 21, 2015
6:11 pm

Author: Lauren Kielsmeier, Executive Director for Academic Engagement

Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson participated in the Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council (HSAAC) meeting. During the meeting, Secretary Johnson reiterated the Department’s commitment to working with the academic community on a wide range of homeland security-related issues. Secretary Johnson thanked the Council members for their continued guidance on student and recent graduate recruitment; international students; academic research and faculty exchange; campus resilience; homeland security academic programs; and cybersecurity.

Formed in March 2012, the HSAAC is comprised of a diverse group of university presidents, academic leaders, and interagency partners who advise the Secretary and senior leadership on matters related to homeland security and the academic community. Last week, Secretary Johnson announced the appointment of six new members to the Council: Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis, Florida Memorial University President; Dr. Michael M. Crow, Arizona State University President; Dr. Beverly Wade Hogan, Tougaloo College President; Dr. Jim Johnsen, University of Alaska System President; Dr. Dawn Lindsay, Anne Arundel Community College President; and Rear Admiral James Rendon, U.S. Coast Guard Academy Superintendent.

You can find more information on the Council and its work here.

Secretary Johnson joined HSAAC members, including Executive Director for Academic Engagement Lauren Kielsmeier, Council Chair and University of Missouri Chancellor Dr. R. Bowen Loftin, and University of Rhode Island President Dr. David Dooley, to discuss a range of homeland security-related issues during the Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council meeting.

Secretary Johnson joined HSAAC members, including Executive Director for Academic Engagement Lauren Kielsmeier, Council Chair and University of Missouri Chancellor Dr. R. Bowen Loftin, and University of Rhode Island President Dr. David Dooley, to discuss a range of homeland security-related issues during the Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council meeting.

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October 16, 2015
5:39 pm

signing

Secretary Jeh Johnson and Mexican Secretary of Finance and Public Credit Luis Videgaray Caso sign an agreement establishing the Cargo Pre-Inspection Program, an innovative program that enhances cooperation between our two countries in support of rapid and secure trade. In Mexico, Secretary Johnson  met with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and other senior government officials to discuss our shared security and commercial interests.

Official DHS Photo by Barry Bahler | Download High-Resolution Image (2100 x 1500)

 

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 www.dhs.gov/national-cyber-security-awareness-month. For more cyber tips and resources, visit the Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign at www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect.

 

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.

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