Nonviolent immigrant detainees could be held in converted hotels, nursing homes or placed in electronic ankle bracelets for monitoring as part of a series of reforms planned for the nation's detention system, Department of Homeland Security officials said Tuesday.
The moves would help overhaul a system that houses an average of 32,000 detainees every day across the country and has been criticized as having unsafe and inhumane conditions. Some of the detainees include women and children.
"This is a system that encompasses many different types of detainees, not all of whom need to be held in prison-like circumstances or jail-like circumstances, which not only may be unnecessary but more expensive," Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said.
The department plans to build two detention centers, including one in California. Napolitano said some detainees had violent pasts and needed to be securely detained, but others were asylum-seekers with no records and should be held at facilities "commensurate with the risks that they present."
From Bloomberg News, on the President's remarks yesterday at the National Counterterrorism Center:
President Barack Obama said the U.S. is making "real progress" in the battle against al-Qaeda and other extremists as he addressed workers at the National Counterterrorism Center today in suburban Washington.
"Few Americans know about the work you do, and this is how it should be," Obama said at the center in McLean, Virginia. "Today I want every American to know about the difference you've made."
Obama said counterintelligence efforts by the center helped lead to the arrest of Najibullah Zazi, an Afghan man who lived in New York and Denver and is charged with plotting to detonate explosives in the U.S. He received bomb-making instructions while in Pakistan, where he attended an al-Qaeda training camp, according to a federal indictment.
Al-Qaeda continues to target the U.S. from Pakistan, Africa and Southeast Asia, Obama said. The coordination of anti- terrorism efforts at the center is critical to blunting that threat, he said.
"Every agency, every department, every branch, every level - one team, one mission, that's how we're going to prevail in this fight and that's how were going to protect this country that we all love," Obama said.
From the Chicago Daily Herald, on a new baggage system for O'Hare International Airport:
O'Hare International Airport has been awarded a $13.6 million grant by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for security improvements.
The funding will be dedicated to the construction of a new inline baggage handling system designed to strengthen security at the bustling airport.
"Bringing in new equipment will help improve the safety and efficiency of traveling through our nation's airports," U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, a Springfield Democrat, said in announcing the funding.
According to DHS, inline baggage handling systems use state-of-the-art technology to screen baggage for explosives quickly while streamlining the ticketing and boarding process.
9 AM EDT
National Protection and Programs Directorate Control Systems Security Program Director Sean McGurk will deliver remarks about security issues facing critical infrastructure control systems at the International Society of Automation Expo
One Reliant Park
2 PM EDT
U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Kevin Cook and Captain David Stalfort will testify about the National Maritime Center and maritime credentialing before the House Committee on Transportation, Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation
2167 Rayburn House Office Building