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Morning Roundup - March 1st

From Tulsa World, on the balance between security and privacy:

How does a country that offers its citizens more freedom than any other country in the world track and defeat domestic terrorists without trampling all over the rights of its citizens?

And how can Americans who are afforded such precious rights turn against the country that protects them and their rights?

How could a person betray his country and his family?

Those are difficult questions and ones that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security face. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano recently told the nation's governors that homegrown terrorists are becoming as big a concern as international terrorists.

She also said that the government does not have a good handle on how to prevent someone from becoming a violent extremist.

Prevention by the government is a difficult if not impossible task. The best deterrent is education and family upbringing. But young people have become radicalized for as long as there have been young people. Most grow out of it or channel their energies in peaceful manners.

But there will always be an element that becomes violent. And there is not much chance of stopping that. Thwarting that element is difficult because of the freedom that Americans enjoy. We have access to travel and free speech and religion that many countries don't have. If citizens want to travel to Yemen or Pakistan they are relatively free to do so.

What they do while in a foreign country is their own business as a U.S. citizen.

As long as they remain a citizen, they can return to this country.


From the Associated Press, on Saturday's earthquake in Chile:

The U.S. "will be there" if Chile asks for rescue and recovery help after a powerful earthquake struck the South American nation, President Barack Obama said Saturday.

He also warned people in Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa and the West Coast to heed the instructions of local authorities about evacuations and other measures in advance of a tsunami moving across the Pacific Ocean.

"We can't control nature, but we can and must be prepared for disaster when it strikes," he said in a statement at the White House.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami warning - its highest alert - for Hawaii. The first waves were expected to arrive in Hawaii late afternoon EST. A lower-grade tsunami advisory was in effect for the coast of California and an Alaskan coastal area.

Before he spoke, Obama had a 20-minute conference call with staff and Cabinet members who updated him on conditions in Chile and on the tsunami. Participants included Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

"The United States stands ready to assist in the rescue and recovery efforts and we have resources that are positioned to deploy should the Chilean government ask for our help," Obama said. Chile's president, Michelle Bachelet, said her government has not asked for assistance from other countries.


From the Dallas Morning News, on an ICE sweep in the southwest:

The nation's top immigration cop said Friday that the Obama administration is stepping up enforcement against immigrants who commit crimes and will move aggressively against employers who hire unauthorized labor.

John Morton, U.S. assistant secretary of homeland security, said Friday that a three-day sweep in Texas netted 284 illegal immigrants with criminal convictions.

This week, 284 illegal immigrants with criminal convictions were arrested in Texas in a three-day operation involving multiple law enforcement agencies, said John Morton, the assistant secretary of the Department of Homeland Security who oversees Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Of the total, 159 had convictions for violent crimes or serious drug offenses and about 119 were from the Dallas-Fort Worth area. About 80 arrests were made in San Antonio.

"These are not people we want walking our streets in Texas," Morton said at news conference in Dallas. "First and foremost, we are going to focus on criminal offenders."

But the enforcement, which ICE called a "surge," raised the question of why illegal immigrants with criminal convictions hadn't already been deported after serving time behind bars.


Public Events
11 AM EST
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas will administer the Oath of Allegiance and deliver congratulatory remarks to 50 candidates for citizenship during a special naturalization ceremony with Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Tom Perez
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, D.C.

2 PM Local
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Assistant Secretary John Morton will join Cambodian National Police Commissioner Neth Savoeun to sign a Letter of Intent to enhance cooperation on investigations related to the sexual exploitation of children
Cambodia National Police Headquarters
Phnom Penh, Cambodia

6 PM Local
ICE Assistant Secretary Morton will participate in a media availability to discuss the U.S. and Cambodian law enforcement cooperation to prevent the sexual exploitation of children.
U.S. Embassy
Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
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