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July 8, 2015
5:48 pm

This week, the U.S. Secret Service celebrates 150 years of service to the nation. Initially created by President Abraham Lincoln in 1865 to investigate counterfeit currency, the Secret Service mission has expanded to the protection of U.S. and visiting foreign leaders, as well as the U.S. financial system.

Secretary Johnson commemorated the Secret Service’s anniversary and its storied history at a reception on July 7, where he recognized the agency as the finest protection service in the world.  But for Secretary Johnson, his appreciation goes even further – as a Secret Service protectee, he is with them 24/7, and he views these dedicated men and women as members of his family.

To express his congratulations and gratitude, Secretary Johnson issued this video message. To the men and women of the Secret Service, he says, “You have my back, and I have yours.”

July 7, 2015
10:32 am

Last week, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) activities converged on an honorable theme: commemorating Independence Day through service to our nation. Throughout the week, DHS components and employees incorporated the spirit of Independence Day into their efforts, continued to carry out the unwavering DHS mission to protect the U.S., and reflected on how their service contributes to the success of our nation.

Beginning on Wednesday, July 1, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) held special naturalization ceremonies at iconic landmarks across the nation in honor of Independence Day. The more than 50 naturalization ceremonies culminated in a final July 4th ceremony at George Washington’s historic Mount Vernon. USCIS Director León Rodriguez delivered remarks, and was featured as the DHS Photo of the Week. In total, more than 4,000 citizenship candidates experienced their first Independence Day as new U.S. citizens this week, and many shared their heartfelt moments using the hashtag #newUScitizen on social media. Check out photos on USCIS’s Facebook page.

In the spirit of Independence Day, we asked DHS employees to reflect on why they servethe Department and the Nation. Many employees volunteered to share their stories leading to service and the inspiration that continues to motivate their patriotic efforts each day. You can read about Kevin Rankin of the Federal Protective Service,  Veronica Cruz Chacon of the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), Gabriella Marino of the DHS Management Directorate, Kamryn Jaroszewski of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Ivette and Anthony Maniece of the U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP). We are inspired by the selfless dedication and service of our men and women. Learn more about why #DHSServes here.

Finally, in an expression of our nation’s values, DHS announced a heightened effort to help some of the most vulnerable people in the U.S.: victims of human trafficking. The DHS Blue Campaign - the Department-wide effort to fight human trafficking - is further developing its public awareness messages to increase national understanding and reporting of the crime. New messages will inform travelers passing through major airports, truck stops, and motorist gas stations throughout the U.S. about the signs of human trafficking and how to contact law enforcement to help potential victims.

July 7, 2015
9:44 am

Submit a FOIA request anytime, anywhere

I am pleased to announce the release of a new mobile application to further simplify and enhance the process for submitting Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. The Department of Homeland Security is committed to transparency and accountability and the eFOIA app is the latest in a series of efforts that the DHS Privacy Office has taken to help modernize FOIA processes and improve the customer experience. In fact, this is the first FOIA mobile app in the entire Federal Government.

Using their mobile devices, requesters can now submit requests and check the status of existing requests anyplace, anytime.

eFOIA Mobile AppKey features of the new eFOIA app will allow users to:

  • Submit a FOIA request to any DHS Component
  • Check the status of FOIA requests
  • Access all of the content on the FOIA website, including the FOIA Library
  • Receive updates, changes to events--such as stakeholder meetings/conference calls held by the Department, and recently published documents

DHS receives the largest number of FOIA requests of any federal agency, and produces the largest number of responses. We are continually working to improve our FOIA program by deploying advanced technology both for submitting and processing requests. These efforts include an improved online FOIA submission form, as well as a recently launched online check status capability.

As a result of these efforts, we are starting to see a steady reduction in the FOIA backlog.  Since the beginning of Fiscal Year 2015, DHS has reduced its FOIA backlog by 20 percent, from 103,480 to 82,324 as of July 1, 2015.

The DHS Privacy Office created the eFOIA app in partnership with the DHS Office of the Chief Information Officer.

The free app is currently available for all Apple and Android devices.

Android App on Google PlayAvailable on the Apple App Store

July 6, 2015
6:46 am

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director León Rodriguez speaks to attendees at a naturalization ceremony at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Congratulations to each New U.S. Citizen, and happy Independence Day!

naturalization ceremony

Official photo by Jetta Disco |  Download High-Resolution Photo (6016 x 4016)

Categories: Immigration and Citizenship Services

July 4, 2015
10:28 am

This week, we’ve celebrated Independence Day by highlighting the dedicated service to our nation of employees from across the Department. Many employees volunteered first-hand accounts from about why they serve. Here is a short compilation. Happy Independence Day!

DHS Serves

  • It is extremely rewarding when you can not only assist a community but to teach them moving forward… I honestly feel like not only am I making a difference, but that I leave a community more resilient than when I arrived. – James Blais, FEMA
  • The simple reason is to give back and protect those at home… and to enjoy the freedoms often taken for granted with my friends, family, and peers. – John Carnegis, FEMA
  • I serve to prepare Americans for disasters in a way that is simple, timely, digital and accessible for everyone! – Jana Baldwin, FEMA
  • Every day I go to work knowing that what I do helps responders prepare for disasters, local emergencies and day to day operations. – Douglas Kahn, FEMA
  • I serve because I know that, at any given time, I will be helping someone rebuild their life and recover from devastation and mayhem… my career and passion is to serve, help, respond to and support our fellow citizens. – LaKeisha Brown, FEMA
  • I served our nation by helping to protect as an active duty military member for twenty years…. and I was again honored to serve in a civilian capacity for DHS by training our nation’s law enforcement professionals as digital forensic crime scene investigators. – Preston Farley, FLETC
  • I enjoy telling stories about the people of our agency and how their hard work and commitment impacts public safety every day. – Richard Rocha, ICE
  • I’m proud of the work I do… improving the effectiveness and efficiency of DHS operations and fulfilling our vision, which, in turn, helps uphold the public’s trust in government to do what is right. – Jim Crumpacker, MGMT
  • As a native New Yorker who grew up in the vicinity of ground zero, the horrible events of 9/11 are personal to me. This department is entrusted with great responsibilities to protect the homeland and I serve in my role to try to ensure that we don’t see a repeat of that awful day. – Brian Chu, MGMT
  • Public service is in my blood…I help protect precious resources so that every American can enjoy clean air, water and preserved history and culture for generations to come. – Heather Batson, NPPD
  • I’m proud of the strong partnerships and capabilities we have built and how together we are defending the systems that enable the American way of life. – Mark Bristow, NPPD
  • I was drawn to the DHS commitment to accountability and transparency. – Robert Davis, NPPD
  • I serve to enable our cyberspace defenses to have an increased understanding of the entire threat to U.S. network systems. – Deanne Harwood, NPPD
  • After serving 24 years in the Army, I decided to continue to serve, protect our freedom and defend our nation. – Ed Hotin, NPPD
  • I am proud to serve, research, collaborate, share information, and efforts to help my division collect and support the DHS mission. – Custrina Reeves, NPPD
  • Having the capacity to contribute to the safety and security of my country is an honorable task which gives me a great sense of purpose and pride. I serve at DHS because I can make a difference!  – Latousha Leslie, OHA
  • It makes me proud to be doing something significant in service to the community, to my family and friends, and to the USA. – Gary Warkentin, OHA
  • Public service is patriotism in action, executed daily. – Mary Hanson, S&T
  • I serve because S&T provides the ability to work with a broad range of skilled and committed homeland security practitioners. – John Price, S&T
  • I serve because I'm able to put to work all the knowledge and experience I gained during my Department of Defense days to help protect our Homeland Security Enterprise. – Sonja Rodriquez, S&T
  • I serve to ensure that people have access to a country where freedom reigns and physical safety is prioritized. – Adesulu Adewole, USCIS
  • Working for an agency that enables immigrants to become citizens is personally rewarding, and to see their faces when they are told that they are now U.S. citizens is very moving. – Anne Snaidman, USCIS
July 3, 2015
8:05 am

As we approach Independence Day, DHS will be highlighting the dedicated service to our nation of employees from across the Department. Check this page throughout the week for first-hand accounts from employees who have shared why they serve.

Ivette and Anthony Maniece

Because of the devastation that our country suffered on September 11, we felt the need to continue serving and protecting this country after our military careers ended – and what better way to continue our service than to join U.S. Customs and Border Protection!  As we reflect on the nation’s celebration of our independence, we are proud that we have the opportunity to train the finest officer candidates who will defend America’s frontline. –  Ivette and Anthony Maniece, Supervisory CBPOs (and spouses) U.S. Customs & Border Protection


July 2, 2015
9:59 am

As we approach Independence Day, DHS will be highlighting the dedicated service to our nation of employees from across the Department. Check this page throughout the week for first-hand accounts from employees who have shared why they serve.

Kamryn Jaroszweski

I’m a proud Army veteran, and I now work as a writer/editor in the Office of Communications at USCIS. I love being able to improve products used by millions of people. By making forms easier to understand and improving the content on our website, I’m making it a little easier for people to achieve their dream of becoming an American citizen. – Kamryn Jaroszewski, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

July 1, 2015
2:10 pm

Bob Burns
TSA Social Media Team

FirecrackerMost fireworks are meant to fly high in the sky, but never via a commercial aircraft. Fireworks are explosive and incendiary, so in an effort to keep the skies safe, the FAA has prohibited fireworks from being transported in both carry-on and checked bags. TSA enforces this rule.

This is your annual reminder to be sure to leave your fireworks at home and not take them on the plane. This includes fireworks such as aerial repeater fireworks, aerial shell fireworks, firecrackers, flying spinners, chasers, fountains, bottle rockets, ground spinners, parachute fireworks, poppers, snaps, skyrockets, missiles, roman candles, smoke fireworks, snakes, strobes, sparklers, wheels, you name it… 

Remember to check your children’s bags, as they tend to sneak their favorite fireworks into suitcases and backpacks.

Be sure to read our summer travel tips for additional information on camping, IDs, razors, traveling with pets and more. Have a great holiday, and stay safe!

Follow @TSA on Twitter and Instagram!

July 1, 2015
12:48 pm

As we approach Independence Day, DHS will be highlighting the dedicated service to our nation of employees from across the Department. Check this page throughout the week for first-hand accounts from employees who have shared why they serve.

Veronica Cruz Chacon

My career goals center on doing meaningful work, and I joined DHS because all work in defense of our homeland is meaningful. As a contract specialist at DHS, I am proud to support our front line workers who put their lives and safety on the line each day. As we prepare to observe Independence Day, I am reminded of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in defense of this great nation, and in so doing, have preserved our freedom and prosperity.
Gabriella Marino, DHS Management Directorate

June 30, 2015
2:22 pm

As we approach Independence Day, DHS will be highlighting the dedicated service to our nation of employees from across the Department. Check this page throughout the week for first-hand accounts from employees who have shared why they serve.

Veronica Cruz Chacon

I was 13 years old when Hurricane Georges came through Puerto Rico. I remember staring hopeless at the devastation:  bridges were completely gone, and rivers were indistinguishable from the rest of the flooded valleys. In all the chaos, FEMA showed up and a glimpse of hope filled the air. That day, while removing debris from the streets with my neighbors, I realized my calling: to assist disaster survivors. That is why I serve. – Veronica Cruz Chacon, Human Services Specialist, Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA)



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