The ceremony took place in the Great Room, also known as the Registry Hall, where over 12 million immigrants who passed through Ellis Island were registered upon arrival. Constructed with a tiled floor and ceiling, it’s said that the clamor of footsteps and disquiet of different languages on a busy day must have been overwhelming at times.
The Secretary had the honor of administering the Oath of Allegiance, and remarked,
“Ellis Island reminds us of the hard work and entrepreneurial spirit that so many immigrants have brought to America,” said Secretary Napolitano. “I am honored to welcome these men and women as citizens of our nation and I applaud their commitment to the responsibilities and ideals shared by all Americans.”
Director Mayorkas added, “It is fitting that these individuals received today the cherished gift of citizenship on this historic island, a national symbol of hope and opportunity.”
The new citizens hail from 48 different countries, including China, Ghana, Kosovo, Colombia, Jamaica and Lebanon.
Flor Dominguez came to the United States from the Dominican Republic. She’s 95 years old, has lived in the United States for 16 years, and when asked by a reporter why she wanted to become a U.S. citizen, said,
“Porque me gusta este pais, lo agradezco. Y quiero tener el voto.”
“Because I like this country. I appreciate it. And I want to vote.”
Take a look at the following excerpt from her speech.
var so = new SWFObject("/flash/player-gray.swf", "ied", "400", "280", "9", "#ffffff");so.addVariable("movie", "/xlibrary/videos/s1_counter_ied_120109.flv");so.addVariable("captions", "/xlibrary/videos/s1_counter_ied_120109_captions.xml");so.addParam("menu", "false");so.write("ied");
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano offered a blunt assessment this week about domestic terrorism -- a term she described only as "man-caused incidents or disasters" just nine months ago.
"These recent arrests should remove any remaining comfort that some might have had that if we fight the terrorist abroad, we won't have to fight them here," she said. "If only the world were that simple. The fact is that home-based terrorism is here."
Speaking to the America-Israel friendship league in New York, the secretary said the spate of recent terrorism arrests left no doubt that extremists are inside the country.
"We are seeing young Americans who are inspired by Al Qaeda and radical ideology," she said.
Napolitano cited the case of Najibullah Zazi, the Denver airport shuttle bus driver who was arrested in September after allegedly training in Pakistan. Zazi, an American resident who was in court Thursday as more charges were considered, is part of a growing body of evidence that Americans are being radicalized.
From the Associated Press, on a Border Patrol seizure of misfit…er, counterfeit toys:
Officials have seized thousands of counterfeit toys worth $1.6 million along southern California border points.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection says the toys included more than 2,500 knockoff Barbie dolls, worth $58,500, that were contained in boxes shipped to San Diego in October and November.
At the Otay Mesa border point, agents seized 3,100 battery-operated toy vehicles
bearing fake "Jeep" labels in October.
The manufacturer of the toy vehicles, which were designed for kids to drive, did not have permission to use the Jeep trademark.
From the Associated Press, on an indictment of transporting illegal immigrants.
A Mexican national has been indicted on charges of transporting illegal immigrants in a passenger van that traveled via Kansas to destinations across the United States, the U.S. Attorney's office said Thursday.
An eight-count indictment filed at the U.S. District Court in Kansas charges Joni Rivera-Rodriguez with transporting 16 illegal immigrants who were citizens of Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
His attorney, Syovata Edari, did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.
Seven of his passengers are charged with illegally re-entering the U.S. after deportation, court documents show.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Anderson said what stands out about this case is not only the number of persons who had been deported, but that most passengers were from Central American countries rather than Mexico.
"Often there are one or two people in a vehicle load of smuggled aliens who have previously been deported, but to have seven of 16 all of whom are from Central America is very unusual. It's a first for Kansas, as far as I know," Anderson said.
10 AM EST
Secretary Napolitano will join USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas to participate in a naturalization ceremony and honor the recipient of the “Outstanding American by Choice” award
New York, N.Y.
Assets like energy grids, banking and finance systems and transportation networks, for example, likely quickly come to mind. Much of this infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector, and today in New York City Secretary Napolitano met with leaders from a variety of industries to discuss her dedication to continuing to work with private sector partners to ensure the security of our nation’s CIKR.
But CIKR encompasses a diverse range of 18 unique sectors that touch the lives of the American people every day, and in different ways. And while communications systems, for example, are certainly a sector of CIKR, so too are some assets that probably don’t immediately leap to mind.
National monuments and icons could be an example. This diverse array of sites and landmarks that represent our nation’s core principals, tradition and heritage may not get you to work or turn on your lights, but they represent the foundation upon which our country was built. An incident at these historic resources could not just mean the potential loss of life or property, but also the loss of the symbols that represent our country’s values.
The Department of Homeland Security works with our federal, state local and private sector partners to protect our monument and icon CIKR from either manmade or natural disasters, while still ensuring open and free access.
More than 1.3 million people visit our national monuments and icons each day. In Philadelphia – our Nation’s first seat of federal government and home to numerous historic sites – more than 2 million visitors swung by the Liberty Bell Center in 2008, while Independence Hall reported more than 700,000 guests.
Check out this video to learn more about how DHS is partnering with local officials in Philadelphia to ensure that our national monument and icon critical infrastructure is protected.
var so = new SWFObject("/flash/player-gray.swf", "CIKRPhilly", "400", "280", "9", "#ffffff");so.addVariable("movie", "/xlibrary/videos/ip-philly.flv");so.addVariable("captions", "/xlibrary/videos/ip-philly.xml");so.addParam("menu", "false");so.write("CIKRPhilly");
Terrorists continually threaten to export tactics refined overseas--such as the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs)--to the United States, making it necessary for the US government to stop al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, urged Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in remarks outside of Washington, DC, Tuesday.
The recent arrest and indictment of Najibullah Zazi on a conspiracy charge to use explosives against US targets serves as an example of how the terrorist threat can travel from Pakistan to the United States, said Napolitano, speaking at the Counter-IED Symposium sponsored by the Interagency Council for Applied Homeland Security Technology [ICAHST] in National Harbor, Md. Zazi is alleged to have traveled to Pakistan for bomb-making training before his arrest in September.
"And because this threat ties directly to events in the Afghanistan/Pakistan theater, we must continue to put additional pressure on al Qaeda and ultimately diminish the threat that they pose to the United States and to the international community," Napolitano stated.
Such threats originating from Afghanistan and Pakistan provide justification to White House plans to surge an additional 30,000 US troops into Afghanistan in coming months, increasing the number of US soldiers and Marines in the country to nearly 100,000, the secretary indicated.
From the Washington Post, on Trusted Traveler:
I can thank my sister's baby for persuading me to enroll in a government-run "trusted traveler" program.
Although I travel to Montreal for family visits at least once a month, the frequency increased when my sister Barbara and her partner, Ines, had a son in 2007.
Determined to get to know Alex, I flew to Montreal about every other weekend that summer.
After one miserable, hours-late August flight, I bolted off the jetway with my carry-on bags, sprinted down Trudeau Airport's endless, glassed-in arrivals corridor and took the escalator down to passport control -- only to be greeted by a writhing, Ellis Island-like human mass snaking around dozens of posts. After two sweaty hours, as I cursed my way to the rental-car counter, I made myself a promise to investigate a program whose signs I'd always ignored in my rush for the exits.
Two years later, NEXUS membership has changed my life.
Here's my new arrivals procedure at Trudeau Airport: disembark. Walk the hallways to Canada Customs. Descend the escalator and turn right to the L-shaped bank of red NEXUS kiosks. Peer into a viewfinder to get my irises scanned. Answer three yes-or-no questions. Take my ticket. Walk up a dedicated lane, past the row of
Customs officers and down the ramp to freedom. Total time elapsed: seven minutes.
From the St. Petersburg Times, on a remarkable rescue and homecoming:
Luke Finch ate ice cream and sausage and all of their pizza crackers.
He spent the ride to shore standing beside the men in blue, and even got to steer the ship, just for a little bit. The blond boy then fell asleep in the arms of a detective.
Then, as the Coast Guard cutter Crocodile approached the dock, the 3-year-old boy clapped his hands.
"I'm coming, Mommy," he said. "I'm coming, Mommy."
As the sun set on the horizon, Christa Finch ran up the gangway and wrapped her arms around her son, their 2? day ordeal finally over at 5:43 p.m. Tuesday.
"I love you," she told him. "I miss you."
The reunion was made possible by a daring Coast Guard rescue early Tuesday morning that authorities said thwarted a kidnapping plot by Luke's father.
Paul Martikainen, 35, is accused of stealing the boy from a supervised visit in Cocoa on Saturday, then trying to sail off with his son for parts as yet unknown. They were last seen leaving a St. Petersburg marina, just days after the state accused him of physically abusing the boy.
10 AM EST
Secretary Napolitano will testify about transportation security challenges post-9/11 before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
253 Russell Senate Office Building
2:30 PM EST
NPPD National Cyber Security Division Acting Director Dr. Peter Fonash will participate in a panel discussion about cybersecurity at the Armed Forces Communication and Electronics Association (AFCEA) Solution Series: Cyberspace at the Cross Roads: The Intersection of Cyber, National and Economic Security
National Conference Center18980 Upper Belmont PlaceLeesburg, Va.
2:30 PM EST
Federal Emergency Management Agency Disaster Assistance Directorate Assistant Administrator Elizabeth Zimmerman will testify about developing a comprehensive national disaster case management program before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Ad hoc Subcommittee on Disaster Recovery
342 Dirksen Senate Office Building
3 PM EST
NPPD Cybersecurity Evaluation Program Director Patrick Beggs will participate in a panel discussion about regulations and best practices in support of improved public/private partnerships regarding information assurance at the AFCEA Solution Series: Cyberspace at the Cross Roads: The Intersection of Cyber, National and Economic Security
National Conference Center
18980 Upper Belmont Place
7:30 PM EST
Secretary Napolitano will deliver remarks at the America-Israel Friendship League’s “Partners for Democracy Award Dinner”
Central Park South & 5th Avenue
New York, N.Y.
After years of lobbying by federal and local officials, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office opened Monday in Colorado Springs.
Some of those who sought it believe it was needed to curtail illegal immigration, but law enforcement officials at the official opening downplayed that role.
The downtown office in Colorado Springs is the ninth ICE office in Colorado and houses several cubicles and conference rooms as well as a cache of secure rooms to be used for interviews, confidential paperwork and holding weapons.
Currently, three agents will work out of the office, with plans to add seven more, said U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo.
The new office will house an investigations branch which will look into criminal cases that span international borders such as human smuggling or criminal organizations with ties in several countries said Kumar Kibble, ICE special agent in charge of Colorado.
El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa, who contracts with ICE to house an average of 150 illegal immigrants in his jail, said he didn't expect a local ICE office to have a big impact on day-to-day immigration issues.
From the Associated Press, on the virtual fence project:
Government officials overseeing the construction of a "virtual fence" along the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border hope to turn over the first segment to the Border Patrol in January, while beginning construction on a second stretch in coming weeks.
Although the government has plans to extend the network of cameras, ground sensors and radars along most of the border, officials said they'll draw on lessons from the first two segments in southern Arizona as they contemplate if and where to build more sections and how fast to complete them.
The government estimated it would cost $6.7 billion to cover most of the Mexican border by 2014.
"We do want some time to look at whether or not that really does make the most sense," said Mark Borkowski, the government's director of the virtual fence project.
"Is it really sensible to spend all that money? Or are there other more measured approaches? Maybe there are some places along the border that make sense, but maybe not the entire border."
As it now stands, once both southern Arizona sections are in operation along 53 miles of the border, the next step would be to authorize construction through the majority of the 375-mile border in Arizona, the nation's busiest gateway for immigrant smuggling and a major thoroughfare for marijuana smuggling.
From the Washington Post, on the end of hurricane season:
The Atlantic hurricane season ended Monday with barely a whimper: Not a single hurricane came ashore in the United States.
Since June, when the season began, just nine named storms developed. Only three of them became hurricanes, and those stayed out at sea or weakened before passing over land.
Two tropical storms made landfall in the U.S., causing little more than rain and some beach erosion.
"We had a great, great year," said Chris Vecsey, a salesman at Top Gun Tackle in Orange Beach, Ala., near where Tropical Storm Ida slogged ashore in November.
"Last year we had Gustav and Ike and a couple of other storms that didn't even hit here. And with all the hype, it ruined us. It just didn't happen this year."
The 2009 season was on target with the lower end of forecasters' predictions. Before the season began June 1, the National Hurricane Center had anticipated nine to 14 storms, with four to seven hurricanes - a prediction that the Miami-based center scaled back slightly in August before the arrival of the season's first storm, Tropical Storm Ana.
James Franklin, the center's chief hurricane specialist, credited much of the quiet season to El Nino, the periodic warming of the central Pacific Ocean. El Nino, he said, produced strong winds in the Atlantic that cut down storms before they could develop into hurricanes.
1:30 PM EST
Secretary Napolitano will deliver remarks highlighting the Department’s critical infrastructure protection efforts at the Counter Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) Symposium
Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center
201 Waterfront Street
National Harbor, Md.
11 AM EST
Office of Health Affairs Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jon Krohmer will moderate a panel on the natural disasters and the federal response at the American Medical Association Third National Congress on Health System Readiness: Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness in the 21st Century
Washington Marriott Wardman Park
2660 Woodley Road, NW
11 AM EST
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement New York Special Agent in Charge Jim Hayes will host a small repatriation ceremony to return two Italian artifacts to Italy
Office of Investigations
601 West 26th Street, Suite 700
New York, N.Y.
12 PM EST
National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) National Cyber Security Division Acting Director Dr. Peter Fonash will deliver keynote remarks about the 60-day cyber review and current cybersecurity initiatives at the Canada Government Symposium
3 boulevard du Casino
2:30 PM EST
Caryn Wagner will participate in a hearing considering her nomination to be Under Secretary of Intelligence and Analysis before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
216 Hart Senate Office Building
From CQ Homeland Security, on confirmation hearings for the nominee for undersecretary for intelligence and analysis:
Customs and Border Protection officials have reported an increase in drug and cash seizures made at borders across the country.
So far this year, officials have seized more than 4.47 million pounds of narcotics and $57.9 million in currency, which is a 74-percent increase from 2008.
In addition to seizures, customs officers have encountered more than 224,000 inadmissible immigrants at national borders and arrested more than 556,000.
They have also facilitated nearly $2 trillion in legitimate trade.
"This data illustrates the tremendous work the men and women of CBP perform every day on the front lines protecting our borders while ensuring the efficient flow of travel and trade," Customs Acting Commissioner Jayson Ahern said in a news
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a confirmation hearing this week to consider President Obama’s nominee for undersecretary for intelligence and analysis at the Department of Homeland Security.
The nominee, Caryn Wagner, currently is an instructor in intelligence-resource management at the Intelligence and Security Academy, a company that provides education, training and consulting in national security issues and intelligence analysis.
As DHS undersecretary for intelligence and analysis, Wagner would oversee DHS’s intelligence operations, leading a number of critical initiatives involving information sharing, engagement with state and local fusion centers and management of the security of classified information systems. The undersecretary also serves as the department’s primary point of contact for the intelligence community.
“Effective intelligence collection and analysis and robust information-sharing are essential to our mission of securing the nation,” said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano after the White House announced Wagner’s nomination in October.
“Caryn’s extensive experience in the intelligence community will enhance our capability to collaborate with federal, state and local partners to assess and protect against homeland security threats.”
The new security checkpoint at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport's Terminal 3 will get its first major test this week, as more than 25,000 travelers are expected to pass through in the coming week, a big jump from last year.
And after a rocky opening to the $23 million screening area earlier this month, local federal security officials say they're ready for the annual travel rush, which could be bigger than last year.
"I'm not going to go out on a limb and say everything will be sweetness and light, but I feel that we're about 90 percent there when it comes to learning the new layout and changing things as we go to make it more efficient," said Paul Wisniewski, the federal security director for the Transportation Security Administration's CVG operation. "This has been a non-event for the last three years, and I don't see any reason to expect any different this year."
Wisniewski said that he expects more than 16,000 passengers to pass through the checkpoint between Monday and Wednesday, including 6,400 on the day before Thanksgiving. There could be as many as 8,000 on Sunday alone, with those visiting Cincinnati for the holiday making their way back home.
He said peak wait times could reach 30 minutes, but unless something breaks down, they shouldn't be any longer than that. This year, there is one more security lane in Terminal 3 than before, allowing the TSA to process as many as 1,800 travelers an hour through the checkpoint that now sits on the ticketing level instead of downstairs.
From the Wall Street Journal, on a story of citizenship:
A naturalization test at an immigration office in Boston was the last hurdle standing between me and U.S. citizenship. But for me this journey had actually begun years before, on a rickety vessel you may have heard of-The Mayflower. Except in my adaptation, that leaky ship sailed down the Red Sea to the New World of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where I proudly played the role of a pilgrim in a kindergarten play at the American school. Decked out in a gray frock and a hat fashioned from black construction paper, I prepared to welcome a band of friendly Native Americans to the very first Thanksgiving.
In my five-year-old mind, it seemed perfectly logical that a scrawny Indian girl with brown skin and a Canadian passport should be charged with inviting those other Indians (feather, not dot-although I'm Muslim so we don't have either) to celebrate the founding spirit of America. In a desert nation, no less, thousands of miles from Plymouth Colony.
"Sarah, is it?" asked the immigration official testing me. "So, where are you from?"
Easy question, no easy answer.
Secretary Napolitano and Minister Van Loan will participate in a media availability
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Press Room
Ronald Reagan Building
The vast majority of our national CIKR is privately owned and operated, which means ensuring its protection and resiliency involves an unprecedented partnership between government and the private sector. This partnership is at the heart of the National Infrastructure Protection Plan, which establishes a unique coordination and information-sharing framework that unifies protection of our nation’s CIKR into an integrated plan. The partnership now includes more than 200 trade associations from every CIKR sector, representing more than 4 million members.
Check out the video below to learn more about how this public-private groundbreaking partnership works to safeguard the nation’s Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources.
var so = new SWFObject("/flash/player-gray.swf", "CIKR1", "400", "280", "9", "#ffffff");so.addVariable("movie", "/xlibrary/videos/ip-ny-nj.flv");so.addVariable("captions", "/xlibrary/videos/ip-ny-nj.xml");so.addParam("menu", "false");so.write("CIKR1");