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News and Events Roundup - November 18th

From Computerworld, on H-1B Enforcement:

U.S. immigration officials are taking H-1B enforcement from the desk to the field with a plan to conduct 25,000 on-site inspections of companies hiring foreign workers over this fiscal year.

The move marks a nearly five-fold increase in inspections over last fiscal year, when the agency conducted 5,191 site visits under a new site inspection program. The new federal fiscal year began Oct. 1.

Tougher enforcement from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services comes in response to a study conducted by the agency last year that found fraud and other violations in one-in-five H-1B applications.

In a letter to U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), Alejandro Mayorkas, director of the Citizenship and Immigration Services, said the agency began a site visit and verification program in July to check on the validity of H-1B applications. Mayorkas' letter was released on Tuesday by Grassley.

"[The inspection program determines] whether the location of employment actually exists and if a beneficiary is employed at the location specified, performing the duties as described, and paid the salary as identified in the petition," said Mayorkas in his letter to Grassley.

Mayorkas is a former federal prosecutor who was recently appointed by President Barack Obama. He was sworn in August and said since then, "I have worked tirelessly to learn of the condition of our anti-fraud efforts and other critical programs in our agency."

From the Associated Press, on a huge drug bust in Arizona:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers say two Scottsdale men are in custody after allegedly trying to smuggle nearly 2,000 pounds of marijuana across the border into Arizona.

Authorities say the marijuana worth an estimated $4.7 million was found hidden in a trailer being pulled by a pickup truck that was stopped Monday at the Lukeville port of entry.

A drug-sniffing dog alerted customs inspectors to the presence of narcotics near
the floor area of the trailer.

When inspectors searched the trailer, they discovered 1,968 pounds of marijuana in 128 bundles concealed inside the flooring.

The truck and trailer were seized and the two men - whose names were not released - were arrested and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.
Public Events
10 AM EST
NPPD Under Secretary Rand Beers and Federal Protective Service (FPS) Director Gary Schenkel will testify about the transition of FPS from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to NPPD before the House Committee on Homeland Security
311 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C.

2 PM EST
Bruce McConnell, Counselor to NPPD Deputy Under Secretary Philip Reitinger, will participate in a panel discussion about critical infrastructure protection as part of Aviation Week’s Cybersecurity Webinar

2 PM EST
Transportation Security Administration Assistant Administrator for Global Strategies Cindy Farkus will testify about protecting the flying public and security at foreign repair stations before the House Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Transportation Security and Infrastructure Protection
311 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C.
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
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