Federal authorities have identified more than 111,000 immigrants with criminal records being held in local jails, during the first year of a program that seeks to deport immigrants who have committed serious crimes.
Among the immigrants identified through the program, known as Secure Communities, more than 11,000 had been charged with or convicted of the most serious crimes, including murder and rape, domestic security officials said Thursday.
About 1,900 of those have been deported.
At a news conference in Washington, John Morton, the top official at Immigration and Customs Enforcement, called the program "the future of immigration enforcement," because, he said, it "focuses our resources on identifying and removing the most serious criminal offenders first and foremost."
About 100,000 of the detained immigrants identified through the system had been convicted of less serious crimes, ranging from burglary to traffic offenses, the officials said. Of those, more than 14,000 have been deported.
Obama administration officials have worked to distinguish their immigration enforcement strategy from the Bush administration's, which centered on high-profile factory raids and searches in communities for immigration fugitives.
The Bush operations drew an outcry from immigrant advocates, who said they led to racial profiling, especially of Latinos, and ensnared many immigrants who lacked legal status but had not committed crimes.
From the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, and no word on whether the submarine was yellow or not:
The Coast Guard cutter Jarvis returns home today after seizing 5 tons of narcotics last month from a small submarine off the coast of Central America.
The Coast Guard said the drug seizure occurred Oct. 21 after a U.S. Customs and Border Protection maritime patrol aircraft detected the submersible in international waters in the Eastern Pacific off the coast of Central America.
The Jarvis, already patrolling in the area, intercepted the submersible, boarded the vessel, and found that it was loaded with 5 tons of narcotics. The crew of the Jarvis seized the vessel and detained the four crewmembers.
The seized vessel, cargo and crew were taken to Guatemala. Initial field tests indicated the presence of cocaine, heroin and possibly other substances.
From Government Executive, on veterans hiring:
Senior Obama administration officials on Thursday offered details on how agencies will follow up on the president's new directive to boost employment of veterans.
Implementation of the Nov. 9 executive order will begin at Cabinet-level and large independent agencies, said Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry, during a press conference in Washington. But eventually every agency likely will designate a veterans employment liaison, he said.
These officials and OPM will educate former service members on job opportunities, help them determine which openings are the best match for their skills and career goals, and mentor them to help them adjust to the differences between military and civilian culture, said Scott Gould, deputy secretary at the Veterans Affairs Department.
Targeting veterans makes sense, since service members already have demonstrated the talents that make good civil service employees, he noted.
9 AM EST
Secretary Napolitano will deliver remarks about the Obama administration’s efforts to reform the U.S. immigration system
1333 H Street NW, 10th Floor
1:30 PM EST
Secretary Napolitano will deliver remarks highlighting the importance of protecting privacy and civil liberties when sharing information with international and domestic partners
Renaissance Washington Hotel
Renaissance Ballroom, Ballroom Level
999 9th Street NW
8 AM EST
NPPD Director of Critical Infrastructure Cyber Protection and Awareness Jenny Menna will participate in a panel discussion about government and private sector collaboration on national cybersecurity initiatives at the 10th Annual Security Conference and Exhibition
Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
11:30 AM CST
USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas will participate in a media availability about his vision for the agency and current initiatives
USCIS District Office
3:30 PM EST
NPPD Deputy Under Secretary Philip Reitinger will participate in a panel discussion about cybersecurity and cyber warfare at the 19th Annual Review of the Field of National Security Law Conference
Renaissance Ballroom 999 9th Street, NW
The first day Secure Communities was activated in Starr County, Texas, local law enforcement arrested a man on assault charges. Because his fingerprints were submitted through Secure Communities technology, ICE was quickly able to determine that he was previously convicted of murder, was removed from the United States, and had re-entered the country illegally. In his multiple criminal exploits, DHS had encountered the man on five separate occasions – valuable information for local and federal officials alike.
Secure Communities was designed to facilitate access to timely and accurate information about state and local arrests to better identify criminal aliens and to prioritize those who are the most dangerous for removal from the United States. As Starr County and 94 other jurisdictions (PDF, 29 MB Pages 27) across the country have learned first hand, it does its job.
Today, during a press conference at ICE Headquarters in Washington, D.C., Secretary Napolitano noted that “Secure Communities provides our local partners with an effective tool to identify and remove dangerous criminal aliens who pose a threat to public safety.” The program has significantly enhanced ICE’s ability to identify criminal aliens. In one year, the initiative enabled ICE to identify more than 111,000 criminal aliens when they were arrested and booked by state or local law enforcement.
Secure Communities, both the concept and the initiative, is made possible through partnerships among DHS components, the Department of Justice, and state and local law enforcement. Over the last year, these partnerships have enabled Secure Communities to enhance biometric information-sharing technology supporting the criminal booking processes across 11 states. This technology enables biometrics—fingerprints—collected during the booking process to be checked against FBI criminal history records and DHS immigration records. When ICE officials receive notification of an immigration record match, they can promptly determine if enforcement action is required and take appropriate action.
The Secretary's announcement today marked progress on one of the Department’s top priorities—removing criminal aliens. Through this initiative, ICE has identified more than 11,200 criminal aliens charged with or convicted of the most dangerous and violent offenses, including murder, rape, kidnapping, and major drug offenses. All told, Secure Communities has identified more than 111,000 criminal aliens. This announcement is also testament to the power of collaboration among agencies. DHS’s US-VISIT program, the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division, and all our state and local law enforcement partners are critical – we look forward to celebrating future anniversaries with them on this successful program.
John Morton is the Assistant Secretary for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
From the Washington Times, on Veterans Day:
President Obama visited Arlington National Cemetery on Wednesday as part of Veterans Day events across the country honoring U.S. service members who have sacrificed to preserve America's freedom.
"We honor your service. We are forever grateful," Mr. Obama said while standing in a cold drizzle with the cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns in the background. "To our veterans, to the fallen and to their families - there is no tribute, no commemoration, no praise that can truly match the magnitude of your service and your sacrifice."
The president, dressed in a dark suit and overcoat, also participated in the traditional wreath-laying ceremony at the cemetery in Arlington, across the Potomac River from Washington.
The president and first lady Michelle Obama began the day by hosting a Veterans Day breakfast in the East Room of the White House.
The Obamas joined Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and wife Jill, whose son Beau recently returned from Iraq, at the cemetery. The first couple concluded their visit by going to a section of the cemetery reserved for those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
While Memorial Day commemorates those military members who are deceased, Veterans Day provides an opportunity to thank America's 23 million living veterans for their service.
The Bidens later hosted a lunch at the Naval Observatory for veterans, active duty service members and their families, and Mrs. Obama spoke at an event at George Washington University, where she hailed military members' commitment to service:
"They don't just want to serve for a certain number of years of deployment - they want to make their entire life a tour of duty."
From Homeland Security Today, on the new veterans page at dhs.gov:
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) marked Veterans Day with a new Web portal to inform veterans of job and business opportunities with DHS components.
The Web site, located at www.dhs.gov/veterans, informs veterans of hiring opportunities to become a civilian employee of the department, which employ roughly 47,000 veterans, or 25 percent of its civilian workforce.
"This new website reflects the shared commitment across the department to hiring American veterans," Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said in a statement. "Veterans play a vital role in the Department of Homeland Security's mission to protect the nation, and this website will help us build our veteran workforce to more than 50,000 department-wide by 2012."
The Web site also links to overviews of veteran contracting and to opportunities for service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs). Federal law requires DHS and other agencies to award 3 percent of its annual contracts to SDVOSBs--a mark that many federal agencies regularly miss.
From the Miami Herald, on "Hidden in Plain Sight":
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is spearheading a campaign in Miami and 13 other U.S. cities to enlist the public's help in identifying possible victims and suspects involved in human trafficking.
Known as a form of modern-day slavery, human trafficking involves people -- usually women -- being forced or lured into unpaid labor as servants, agricultural workers or prostitutes.
Victims generally come from poor countries and are smuggled into the United States and other rich nations to serve as veritable indentured servants.
Several harrowing human trafficking cases have been discovered in South Florida in recent years. Local cases involved a Peruvian woman found working long hours for little pay in Key Biscayne and a 14-year-old forced to work as a prostitute by a Fort Lauderdale man who operated an escort service.
The campaign -- with the slogan ``Hidden in Plain Sight'' -- will feature billboards and ads that include a toll-free number (866-DHS-2-ICE or 866-347-2423) that people can call to report cases to law-enforcement authorities.
11 AM EST
Secretary Napolitano will deliver remarks and join ICE Assistant Secretary Morton for a media availability to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Secure Communities initiative
500 12th Street SW
9 AM EST
NPPD Director for Software Assurance Joe Jarzombek will deliver keynote remarks at the Open Web Application Security Project AppSec 2009 Conference
Walter E. Washington Convention Center
801 Mount Vernon Place, NW
9:40 AM EST
NPPD Under Secretary Rand Beers will deliver keynote remarks about the role of broadband in public safety and emergency response communications at the Federal Communications Commission Broadband Field Hearing
Georgetown University, Leavey Center
3900 Reservoir Road, NW
11:15 AM EST
NPPD Cyber Security Evaluation Program Director Patrick Beggs will participate in a panel discussion about information technology sector risk management at the 10th Annual Security Conference
Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
11:30 AM CST
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas will participate in a media availability about his vision for the agency and current initiatives
USCIS District Office
8940 Fourwinds Drive
San Antonio, Texas
1:45 PM EST
Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
1 PM CST
USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas will deliver remarks about immigrant integration and USCIS’ coordination with local partners at the National League of Cities’ Congress of Cities and Exposition
Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center
555 South Alamo Street
San Antonio, Texas
“The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it. And the glow from that fire can truly light the world.”
That quote is inscribed on the Kennedy Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. JFK delivered it as part of his inaugural address in January of 1961, and was referring not to a scientific venture, nor to contentious legislation, but to the cause of “defending freedom in its maximum hour of danger.” He went on to challenge the nation, asking us to find it within ourselves to better serve our country. Generations of Americans have answered that call and many others through service in our armed forces; we honor them today.
Today is Veterans Day, and the Secretary, the President, the Vice President, and other government officials participated in events around the country today to pay respect to our veterans' contributions.
“Today we pay our deepest respect to the courageous men and women of who have served the U.S. Armed Forces and who currently risk their lives at home and abroad. The tragic events of recent weeks remind us of the tremendous sacrifice those in uniform make every day for our Nation, and I am proud to count the Department of Homeland Security’s 47,000-strong veteran workforce and the men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard as colleagues in our mission to protect the country,” said Secretary Napolitano.The Secretary also penned an entry in our Leadership Journal - committing the department to employ 50,000 veterans by 2012 - and reminding us that we must work to honor their contributions throughout the year. We encourage you to check it out, and to visit the White House Blog for a roundup of events and remarks from the President, Vice President, and other cabinet secretaries.
DHS’ civilian workforce includes approximately 47,000 veterans, comprising 25 percent of all employees—including Deputy Secretary Jane Holl Lute—in addition to the 42,000 active duty members of the U.S. Coast Guard.
Every day, these men and women play a critical role in our nation’s security – guarding against terrorism, securing our borders, enforcing immigration laws, preparing for and responding to disasters, and strengthening our Department’s operations.
Monday, I joined President Obama as he signed an Executive Order establishing the Veterans Employment Initiative to increase employment opportunities in the federal government and help recently hired veterans succeed in their jobs.
Engaging veterans and veterans’ organizations at the Department continues to be one of my top priorities. We want and need veterans to lend their unique skills, experience, and clear commitment to service to our mission. That’s why we have set a goal to have 50,000 veterans on-board at the Department by 2012.
To help us achieve that goal, today we launched a new website specifically for veterans – www.dhs.gov/veterans. This one-stop-shop contains information about hiring and business opportunities for veterans, ways to get involved in community-based efforts like Citizen Corps, and special veteran programs such as Operation Warfighter and Wounded Warrior, which provide employment opportunities for severely wounded or recovering service members to assist their transition back to the military or civilian workforce.
We’re proud to have so many veterans at DHS contributing to our mission every day. On Veterans Day and every day throughout the year, let’s continue to give thanks to veterans, both inside and outside the Department, for all they've done to serve our country.
Earlier today, the Secretary recorded a message honoring our nation’s veterans, nearly 47,000 of who continue to serve today at the Department of Homeland Security. These veterans bring with them special skills and experiences that are invaluable to our ability to carry out our mission. As the Secretary said in her message, we are proud to have as many veterans among our ranks as we do, and we’re working actively to bring even more veterans – along with their proven skills and dedication to protecting our nation – on board.
To support our recognition and recruiting efforts, we launched a new page on the DHS website last night to provide more resources for veterans who want to work at or with DHS. At www.dhs.gov/veterans, you can see profiles of a few of the 47,000 veterans within the DHS workforce and read how their military experience prepared them for work at DHS, in their own words. We are grateful every day for their service, not just on Veterans Day - we encourage you to take a look at the new page, and share any thoughts you might have in the comment section there.
From the Wall Street Journal, on the Coast Guard's rescue of two men stranded on an offshore oil platform:
Customs officials have arrested a man they say tried to smuggle 8 pounds of heroin in his luggage on a flight from Guatemala City to Newark Liberty International Airport.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers arrested Guatemalan citizen Jose Arevalo on Oct. 31 after he was selected for routine baggage inspection. Inspectors say they found an unusually thick supportive backing on bags Arevalo was carrying, as well as false compartments in his luggage that contained a brown powder-like substance.
Authorities say the substance tested positive for heroin and has an estimated street value of nearly $370,000.
Two Chevron Corp. employees were rescued from an offshore oil platform 80 miles south of New Orleans on Monday after the facility was damaged because of Hurricane Ida, the U.S. Coast Guard said.
The workers called for help because they were worried that their living quarters "could fall into" the waters of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, said Senior Chief Petty Officer Mike O'Berry, a spokesman for the Coast Guard.
A walkway that connects crew members' living area to the rest of the platform was damaged by a wayward lift boat, stranding the two men, O'Berry said. A video shot by the Coast Guard shows rescuers hoisting the men into a helicopter in 28 mile-per-hour winds and choppy waters.
"It's a good thing we got the call when we did," Lt. Marc Lanore, a pilot at Air Station New Orleans who flew the helicopter during the rescue mission, said in a news release. "If it were any later, we may not have been able to perform the rescue because of the effects of Hurricane Ida."
From the Austin American Statesman, on DHS's efforts to eliminate human trafficking:
The Department of Homeland Security agency charged with investigating cases of modern-day slavery is enlisting the public's help to root out those involved.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement wants people to take action if they encounter possible victims of human trafficking and call its tip line anonymously at 866-347-2423 (866-DHS-2-ICE). It is part of a public service campaign called Hidden in Plain Sight, unveiled last week to draw attention to the plight of thousands of human trafficking victims in the United States.
According to the State Department, as many as 800,000 men, women and children are trafficked around the world each year, as many as 17,000 in the United States. Lured with false promises of well-paying jobs, victims are forced into prostitution, domestic servitude, farm or factory labor, or other types of work.
10 AM EST
Erroll Southers will participate in a hearing considering his nomination to be Assistant Secretary for the Transportation Security Administration before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
342 Dirksen Senate Office Building
2 PM EST Bruce McConnell, Counselor to National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) Deputy Under Secretary Philip Reitinger, will deliver remarks about balancing privacy and civil liberties protection with effective national cybersecurity via a live webcast entitled, “A Perspective on National Strategy for Identity Management and Cyber Security.”
From CNN, on a weakened Ida:
The killing of 13 people by a Muslim psychiatrist at an American army base must not lead to the victimisation of Muslim Americans, the US secretary of homeland security has said.
On a visit to the capital, Janet Napolitano said grassroots efforts were vital to preserving relations between Muslim Americans and the wider community after Friday's shootings at Fort Hood in Texas.
"We object to, and do not believe, that anti-Muslim sentiment should emanate from this," she said. "This was an individual who does not represent the Muslim faith."
Describing the killings as "a terrible tragedy", Ms Napolitano said a civil rights and civil liberties directorate in her department aimed to "prevent everybody being painted with a broad brush"."That work is ongoing and is part and parcel of how we view security," she said. "One of the things we'll do is make sure that we're reaching out to the state and local authorities within the US, because they often have better outreach to members of the Muslim community than we do." Ms Napolitano was speaking to female students at Zayed University, and took part in a private question-and-answer session with them.
Hurricane Ida weakened to a tropical storm Monday morning as it neared the U.S. Gulf Coast, where it could come ashore in the next 24 hours.
Ida's top winds fell to 70 mph (110 kph), the National Hurricane Center said in its 10 a.m. ET update.
Coastal communities between Grand Isle, Louisiana, and the Aucilla River in Florida are under a tropical storm warning.
Ida is expected to dump up to eight inches of rain in some parts of the affected area. It will begin drenching the area hours before its expected landfall Tuesday morning.
The hurricane center also warned of "large and destructive waves" caused by the storm, as it heads northwest near 16 mph (26 kph).
From the Associated Press, on a new cutter for the Coast Guard:
The U.S. Coast Guard has taken delivery of the second in a new class of
cutters built by Northrop Grumman Corp.
The first was delivered in May 2008; the latest, Friday, at the company's
Pascagoula shipyard. Eight Legend-class cutters are planned.
Bob Merchent, Northrop's vice president of surface combatants and U.S. Coast
Guard programs, called the cutters flagships of the Coast Guard fleet.
While the Waesche is only the second in her class, Merchent said she's "far
ahead" of her predecessor, the Bertholf, in fit, finish and mission
The ship, which includes two aircraft hangars and a flight deck capable of
handling rotary wing and manned and unmanned aircraft, can accommodate a crew of up to 148.
Commissioning is planned for May.
9 AM EST
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials will conduct a demonstration of CBP’s Advanced Concept Technology Demonstrator vessel
Comachee Cove Yacht Harbor
3070 Harbor Drive
10 AM CST
Science and Technology Directorate and Army Corps of Engineers officials will demonstrate the latest Portable Lightweight Ubiquitous Gasket (PLUG) concepts for closing levee breaches
U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Research Service
Hydraulic Engineering Research Unit
9501 W Lakeview Rd
Acting Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis Bart R. Johnson will deliver remarks about the homeland security intelligence role and information sharing with state, local and tribal governments through fusion centers at the National Homeland Defense Foundation’s Symposium VII
Broadmoor (Boeing Conference) Hall
Colorado Springs, Colo.
St. Augustine, Fla.