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Homeland Security

Secretary Napolitano Announces Trip to Florida with Newly-Confirmed FEMA and ICE Leadership

Release Date: 
May 13, 2009

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano announced today her plans to visit Florida on May 22 to see hurricane preparedness efforts underway and law enforcement activities at the Miami port of entry. She will be accompanied by new Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator W. Craig Fugate and new Assistant Secretary for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) John Morton—both confirmed yesterday by the United States Senate.

“Florida is at the forefront of several DHS priorities—the protection of our ports of entry, the enforcement of our immigration laws and the preparedness, response and recovery efforts for disasters,” said Secretary Napolitano. “I look forward to working with Craig and John on these critical issues, beginning with our trip to Florida, to ensure preparations are in place for the upcoming hurricane season and reinvigorate partnerships with state and local officials and first responders.”

Secretary Napolitano’s trip will include meetings with stakeholders, a tour of the Florida FEMA recovery office and state logistics response center, and visits to ICE and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities at the Miami seaport.

At FEMA, Fugate leads more than 4,000 employees in a mission to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters of all kinds. He is charged with implementing a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system while advancing Secretary Napolitano’s ongoing reform goals of efficiency, transparency and fiscal responsibility.

At ICE, Morton guides a workforce of more than 17,000 in an international mission to enforce immigration laws, strengthen the nation’s immigration systems and conduct investigations related to cross-border and financial crimes. He takes a lead role in coordinating with state and local law enforcement, cracking down on human trafficking activities and preventing the illegal movement of weapons and currency from the United States to Mexico.

Prior to joining FEMA, Fugate served as Director of Florida’s Division of Emergency Management, where he led the state’s disaster response efforts since 2001. He was formerly Chief of Florida’s Bureau of Preparedness and Response from 1997-2001, where he helped build the state’s nationally recognized emergency management program, and previously spent 15 years in local government, serving as the Emergency Manager for Alachua County, Fla., a paramedic and volunteer firefighter.

Morton comes to DHS from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) where he was responsible for the prosecution of criminal cases and development of DOJ policy as Acting Chief of the Domestic Security Section and Senior Counselor to the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division. He has spent a long career in immigration enforcement and criminal prosecution, previously serving as Assistant United States Attorney in the Major Crimes and Terrorism Units of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Virginia’s Eastern District.

Both individuals were confirmed unanimously by the Senate.

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