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