Author: Lauren Kielsmeier, Executive Director for Academic Engagement
Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson participated in the Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council (HSAAC) meeting. During the meeting, Secretary Johnson reiterated the Department’s commitment to working with the academic community on a wide range of homeland security-related issues. Secretary Johnson thanked the Council members for their continued guidance on student and recent graduate recruitment; international students; academic research and faculty exchange; campus resilience; homeland security academic programs; and cybersecurity.
Formed in March 2012, the HSAAC is comprised of a diverse group of university presidents, academic leaders, and interagency partners who advise the Secretary and senior leadership on matters related to homeland security and the academic community. Last week, Secretary Johnson announced the appointment of six new members to the Council: Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis, Florida Memorial University President; Dr. Michael M. Crow, Arizona State University President; Dr. Beverly Wade Hogan, Tougaloo College President; Dr. Jim Johnsen, University of Alaska System President; Dr. Dawn Lindsay, Anne Arundel Community College President; and Rear Admiral James Rendon, U.S. Coast Guard Academy Superintendent.
You can find more information on the Council and its work here.
Secretary Johnson joined HSAAC members, including Executive Director for Academic Engagement Lauren Kielsmeier, Council Chair and University of Missouri Chancellor Dr. R. Bowen Loftin, and University of Rhode Island President Dr. David Dooley, to discuss a range of homeland security-related issues during the Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council meeting.
Secretary Jeh Johnson and Mexican Secretary of Finance and Public Credit Luis Videgaray Caso sign an agreement establishing the Cargo Pre-Inspection Program, an innovative program that enhances cooperation between our two countries in support of rapid and secure trade. In Mexico, Secretary Johnson met with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and other senior government officials to discuss our shared security and commercial interests.
Official DHS Photo by Barry Bahler | Download High-Resolution Image (2100 x 1500)
Most of us have developed a very close relationship with our mobile devices: we carry them with us throughout the day, check them frequently, and even sleep with them nearby at night. Although mobile devices allow us to instantly connect with friends and family, to access the internet, get directions, and make purchases, this increased convenience also comes at an increased risk. Many of these online activities require us to provide personal information such as our name, email address, account number, and credit card information. This puts us at an increased risk of having this information compromised by cyber criminals.
As part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month 2015, the Department of Homeland Security is encouraging all Americans to follow these simple steps to ensure the security of their personal information online:
- Keep your private information private. Avoid sharing your full name, address, and other personal information online. Frequently check a website’s privacy options to ensure you have enabled the highest level of privacy as options may get updated or changed completely.
- When in doubt, throw it out. Links in emails, tweets, posts, and online advertisements are often how cybercriminals compromise your computer or mobile device. If it looks suspicious, it’s best to delete it, even if you know the source. If appropriate, mark the message as “junk email” so that future messages from the sender do not end up in your inbox.
- Set strong passwords. Setting passwords that are long, unique, and hard to guess is one of the most important things you can do to protect your online accounts. Changing passwords regularly and using different passwords for different accounts goes a long way to protecting your online information.
- Secure your accounts. Ask for protection beyond passwords. Many websites now offer additional ways for you verify your identity are before you conduct business on their sites, such as two-factor authentication.
- Secure your mobile device. In order to prevent theft and unauthorized access, use a passcode to lock your mobile device and always lock it when it’s not in use. Never leave your mobile device unattended in a public place.
For more information on how to get involved in National Cyber Security Awareness Month 2015, visit www.dhs.gov/national-cyber-security-awareness-month. For more cyber tips and resources, visit the Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign at www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect.
Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson delivered remarks on immigration policies and immigration reform being undertaken by the Department at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s 2015 Public Policy Conference in Washington, D.C.
Secretary Johnson opened the session by speaking directly to the young people in the audience. “My real message is about—and this is for the young people here—before the program started I was down here and I met a lot of CHCI fellows, gives me a lot of hope for the future.”
Secretary Jeh Johnson meets with students from Albert Einstein High School in Washington, D.C. before speaking at the CHCI Public Policy Conference. DHS Photo/Jetta Disco.
During his remarks, Secretary Johnson discussed how leaders in this country have a distinct responsibility to communicate openly and honestly with the American people. “All of us in public office, those who aspire to public office and who command a microphone, owe the public calm, responsible dialogue and decision making. Not overheated, over-simplistic rhetoric and proposals of superficial appeal. In a democracy, the former leads to smart and sustainable policy; the latter can lead to fear, hate, suspicion, prejudice, and government overreach,” Secretary Johnson said. “These words are especially true in matters of homeland security, and they are especially true in matters of immigration policy.”
The Secretary continued, by explaining to the audience how often heated commentary on sensitive issues like immigration lead to misinformation and overheated rhetoric – and incorrect perceptions of illegal immigration among the American people.
“As a sovereign nation we must protect our borders, but building a wall across the entire Southwest Border is not the answer. Building a wall across the winding Rio Grande, through the remote desert, and in mountains 10,000 feet high is not the answer. Investing hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars, in taxpayer money in building such a wall across the entire 1,900 mile border is not the answer.”
President Obama and Secretary Johnson remain committed to fixing our broken immigration system. In his remarks, Secretary Johnson outlined a number of steps the Department has taken to do just that – and we are making progress in those areas. Read more about the Department’s immigration actions here.
“Overall, the new enforcement policies have the potential to substantially transform the U.S. deportation system, particularly within the U.S. interior.” We’re focused on criminals. We’re focused on public safety and border security. Removals in Fiscal Year 2012, as many people know, reached a high of 409,000. Fiscal Year 2013, the number went down to 368,000. Fiscal Year 2014, the number went down, removals, to 315,000. I anticipate that in Fiscal Year 2015 the number will be significantly less than that.”
We’re also promoting and increasing access to citizenship. In fact, during Citizenship Week in September, USCIS welcomed 40,000 new U.S. citizens. And this week, in recognition of the 50th Anniversary of the Immigration and Nationality Act, Deputy Secretary Mayorkas – himself a naturalized U.S. citizen - welcomed new Americans this week.
“In terms of deferred action, we continue to fight the case in Texas and defend the case. We want to offer those who have been in this country for five years, who have children, who are citizens or lawful permanent residents, and who have committed no serious crimes the opportunity to come forward and be counted. Receive a work authorization, pay taxes, and get on the books. To those who say we don’t have the authority to do this without a change in law, I say “change the law.”
Secretary Johnson also reminded members of the audience that homeland security is a balance, between liberty and security, and stated that we should and will never give up our greatest national strengths – the freedom of religion, rights to privacy, and our immigrant heritage.
”The Pope, when he was here, reminded us all in this country of the basic dignity of every migrant. In this country I firmly believe that there should be no second-class people. Everyone should have the opportunity to seek more of the American experience.”
Representative Luis Gutiérrez and Secretary Johnson confer before the Secretary’s remarks at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute 2015 Public Policy Conference.
Prior to the Secretary’s remarks, Representative Luis Gutiérrez introduced the Secretary by telling a story about Secretary Johnson’s grandfather. The Secretary’s grandfather, Charles Johnson, was a sociologist and the first African American president of Fisk University who spent his life advocating for the advancement of civil rights for African Americans. And in his conclusion, Secretary Johnson recounted pieces of his own personal story to illustrate this point. “[My grandfather] died in 1956, he wrote a lot, you heard some of what he wrote. He never lost hope. This was a man who, in 1949, was dragged before the House Un-American Committee to deny that he was a member of the Communist Party and gave an impassioned speech about the patriotism of the African-American. Dr. Charles Johnson died in 1956 basically a second-class citizen. A man with honorary degrees from Harvard and Columbia, a sociologist, died in a train station a second-class citizen,” Secretary Johnson said. “So I say to the young people, never lose hope in your country, in your leaders; never lose faith in the code of this nation and the democracy that we are; always have hope and faith in your country and its system of government.”
Secretary Johnson participates in a moderated discussion with Representative Luis Gutiérrez on the Department’s immigration efforts at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute 2015 Public Policy Conference. DHS Photo/Jetta Disco.
During a question-and-answer session with the audience, the Secretary answered a number of questions about immigration reform and the Department’s role in these efforts.
He challenged the audience – in particularly, the young people – to work together with the Department to bring about necessary change and stressed the importance of public service. “Mario Flores, who works for me, a decorated combat veteran of the U.S. Army who’s been deployed to Afghanistan now works for me today, is a graduate of the CHCI program. Let’s give Mario a hand.” We’re proud of Mario, and the many others like him across this Department who have benefited from leadership development programs like CHCI and continue to serve their country both on and off the battlefield.
You can read the Secretary’s full remarks from today’s speech here.
In 1965, President Johnson stood on Liberty Island in the shadow of our Statue of Liberty and signed into law the Immigration and Nationality Act. The passage of the Act marked a significant and much-needed change to our Nation’s immigration policies. It ended an unfair quota system, prohibited discrimination based on country of origin, and officially recognized the role of our immigration system in reuniting families and attracting skilled workers from all over the world.
In 1960, I immigrated to this country with my parents and sister as political refugees from Cuba. Seven years after the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act, I became a naturalized United States citizen. Now, some 43 years later, I had the privilege of administering the Oath of Allegiance to 100 new citizens in a special naturalization ceremony in the White House. This remarkable country is like no other.
On Monday of this week, October 3, I participated in a special naturalization ceremony that celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The ceremony was held in the beautiful Indian Treaty Room of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex. I was honored to join Cecilia Muñoz, the leader of President Obama’s Domestic Policy Council, and León Rodríguez, Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, as we welcomed 100 new citizens from 44 countries around the globe. Renowned historian and author Taylor Branch shared with us all the meaning and significance of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
We are a nation of immigrants. We are a nation of opportunity. I am blessed to be a citizen of the United States.
Deputy Secretary Mayorkas administers the Oath of Allegiance at a special naturalization ceremony in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building Indian Treaty Room. Official DHS photo.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK: U.S. Secret Service agents, together with the DHS components and federal, state and local partners, ensure a safe visit of Pope Francis. Here, agents stand ready as the Pontiff prepares to leave Manhattan following his address to the U.N. General Assembly.
Official DHS Photo by: U.S. Secret Service | Download High Resolution Image (640 x 360)
FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate surveys the devastation wrought by the Valley Fire in California during an aerial tour. This week, President Obama made disaster assistance available for survivors in counties affected by the wildfires.
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Secretary Johnson presents a Certificate of Citizenship to a new U.S. citizen who took the Oath of Allegiance this week at a special naturalization ceremony in San Francisco, California. As we conclude Constitution Week, we honor the thousands of new Americans who have committed to the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship.
Official DHS photo by Jetta Disco | Download High-Resolution Image (1620 x 1080)
Last month, the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) participated in the successful demonstration of a new nuclear forensics capability designed to help better identify perpetrators of terrorist nuclear attacks. For this demonstration, led by the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), DNDO worked with the U.S. Air Force, the Department of Energy (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to test the DTRA nuclear prototype system Discreet Oculus. This demonstration, known as Mighty Saber 2015, took place from July 27 to August 21.
Discreet Oculus is a research and development effort to design and deploy a ground-based system of seismic, acoustic, air pressure, radiation, light, and radio frequency wave sensors to detect signals from an urban nuclear weapon detonation. These signals would be combined with other nuclear forensics data to help determine the characteristics of the purported weapon and shared with law enforcement partners and intelligence agencies. Recently installed sensors in key metropolitan areas are part of a growing nationwide network to send information in real-time to a fusion center for analysis.
Following the demonstration, I joined officials from the White House, DoD, DOE, FBI, and the intelligence community, to discuss the results of this technology and plans for its implementation. This technology will complement existing nuclear forensics capabilities that center on the collection and analysis of debris and air samples in the immediate aftermath of a nuclear detonation within the United States, in addition to existing ground- and space-based nuclear detonation detection systems.
The U. S. Government continues to develop formidable nuclear forensics capabilities in support of our policy to hold fully accountable any state, terrorist group, or other non-state actor that supports or enables terrorist efforts to obtain or use nuclear weapons. DNDO is responsible for helping to ensure the nation’s nuclear forensics capability is ready to respond to a nuclear event. Being prepared for the worst contingencies can help minimize the consequences for our nation, guide national responses, and deter attacks.
If you are eligible to naturalize, you should seriously consider applying for citizenship. USCIS Director León Rodríguez just took that message to Dallas, where he saw firsthand last week how organizations are helping to spread the word among permanent residents.
For instance, he stopped by the local Univision station which was hosting a special call-in event. Qualified volunteers were taking questions from callers seeking more information about the naturalization process. The volunteers were able to calm nerves, dispel myths and correct misinformation.
Director Rodríguez also spoke at the New Americans Campaign’s United for Citizenship Conference, held to welcome local and national partners and encourage collaboration. He noted that with millions of permanent residents eligible to naturalize, the potential contributions of these future citizens is tremendous. He co-chairs the White House Task Force on New Americans, which is working to implement a federal immigrant and refugee integration strategy. Ultimately the goal is to strengthen our nation’s fabric and our global competitiveness.
Like all Americans, we benefit when our newest citizens have the opportunity to live up to their potential and give back to society and the economy. Back in Washington, D.C., speaking at Jewish New Year services at a temple on Monday, Director Rodríguez recalled the biblical admonition to welcome the stranger, “for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
During the last decade, USCIS has welcomed more than 6.6 million new Americans. We are committed to meeting aspiring citizens halfway, by educating them about the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, helping them study for the citizenship test, and, wherever possible, reducing unnecessary barriers to naturalization.
Stay tuned -- in the coming days, USCIS will be announcing new steps that will enhance the process, like accepting credit cards to pay the fee for Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. We’ll also be announcing nearly $10 million in new grants for organizations around the country that help prepare permanent residents fulfill their dreams to become citizens.
Will you be one of those new Americans?