Leadership Journal Archive
October 12, 2007 - January 19, 2008

July 31, 2008

A Wake Up Call

Greater Los Angeles Area earthquake location, July 29. 2008. Magnitude 5.4. (USGS)
Tuesday’s earthquake in California was yet another reminder for Americans that mother- nature can strike an instant leaving little time for citizens who aren’t prepared to get prepared. Fortunately, there were only a handful of injuries and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said it best “this earthquake reminds us to be prepared.”

Since early spring, Americans have been faced with an onslaught of severe weather from tornadoes, wildfires, flooding, a hurricane and now an earthquake all of which have put Americans on the front lines to face mother-nature. But despite the news coverage of these disasters Americans still seem to remain complacent when it comes to personal preparedness. Many believe that it won’t happen to them or if it does there isn’t anything they can do to protect themselves or their homes. This is simply untrue.

By having an emergency supply kit, an emergency plan, and being informed about the different types of emergencies that can happen and the appropriate responses, you will be able to make better choices when faced with an emergency in which you have only seconds to respond. Also, you are the first line of defense to any emergency or disaster and by taking steps to prepare you will not only be able to sustain yourself and your family for up to 72 hours or 3 days; but you will be freeing up valuable resources and allowing first responders to get to those who can’t take care of themselves first. Therefore, personal preparedness also becomes a civic responsibility.

But what does “being prepared” mean? The Department of Homeland Security’s Ready Campaign encourages everyone to have an emergency supply kit with basic essentials like food and water and unique family needs such as medication; to make an emergency plan that allows you and your family to establish meeting places, key contact information as well as plan ahead for an evacuation--you can find an emergency plan at www.ready.gov; and to be informed about the different types of emergencies that can happen in your area and learn the appropriate responses to them.

For example, earthquakes are sometimes believed to be a West Coast phenomenon, but there are actually 45 states and territories throughout the United States that are at moderate to high risk for earthquakes including the New Madrid fault line in the central U.S.

The federal government has taken many steps to improve our coordination with state and local authorities in times of emergencies and disasters. But it is also up to our citizens to take responsibility and make sure they and their families are prepared to deal with everything from power outages to large scale events such as Hurricane Dolly.

So let yesterday’s earthquake serve as a wake up call to you – visit www.ready.gov and make sure you are protecting yourself and your family for the unexpected.

David Paulison
FEMA Administrator

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July 29, 2008

Domestic Off-shoring

El Pollo Rico restaurant in Wheaton, Md
To the casual observer, the El Pollo Rico restaurant in Wheaton, Md., may have seemed like any successful restaurant found in communities around the nation-—a popular hang out where locals gathered to enjoy good food and friendly company.

But as it happens, El Pollo Rico’s success was anything but deserved. While it may have enjoyed an edge over local competitors, El Pollo Rico and its owners were at the center of a multi-million dollar criminal conspiracy to smuggle illegal aliens into the United States. For El Pollo Rico, the smuggling, employing, and housing of illegal aliens was likely much more profitable than paying lawful wages to American workers.

This week, the restaurant's owners, Franciso C. Solano and his wife, Ines Hoyos-Solano, pleaded guilty to federal charges and agreed to forfeit $8.7 million in illicit proceeds they had realized from the scheme over the years. Mr. Solano pleaded guilty to conspiracy to harbor aliens, conspiracy to commit money laundering and structuring bank transactions to evade reporting requirements in connection with the operation of the restaurant. His wife also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering.

The Solanos employed an elaborate and corrupt business model to evade and circumvent federal immigration laws in a way that allowed them to gain an unfair advantage in the marketplace. But what is even more disturbing is that these individuals are not alone. Indeed many corrupt businesses today engage in the illicit practice that we call "domestic off-shoring."

The American public has heard numerous accounts of jobs being outsourced to workers offshore who work for less money than do American workers. Policymakers have long debated the supposed merits and alleged drawbacks of this practice. But little attention has been paid to the use of undocumented aliens as part of a domestic off-shoring scheme. This type of outsourcing has no positive benefit to American workers or respectable businesses.

Companies that build their workforce using illegal aliens here in the United States take jobs away from law abiding American citizens and residents who are authorized to work. By cutting corners to cut costs, they unfairly acquire market share to the detriment of responsible businesses playing by the rules. The shadiest of these establishments often exploit and abuse their workers because of their illegal status, disregarding worker safety and wage laws simply because they know the workers, fearing arrest and deportation, won't report them to regulators.

The good news is that ICE's comprehensive approach to worksite enforcement is helping turn the tables on domestic off-shoring. Not only are ICE’s efforts against unscrupulous employers working to level the playing field between them and their competitors, but by also targeting the identity thieves and document vendors, ICE is able to protect those American workers whose identities have been used for these nefarious purposes.

Julie L. Myers
Assistant Secretary, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

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July 25, 2008

Diversity and Readiness

African-American and white soldiers at a base in Italy during World War II. Source: United States Army.
To the Men and Women of the United States Coast Guard and our Shipmates in the Department of Homeland Security.

I was pleased this week to address the Annual National Naval Officers Association (NNOA) in Portsmouth, Va. From their website, “The National Naval Officers Association (NNOA) actively supports the Sea Services in recruiting, retaining, and developing the careers of minority officers. The NNOA provides professional development and mentoring for its members. The NNOA continues to establish and maintain a positive image of the Sea Services in minority communities and educational institutions.”

This year’s conference was particularly meaningful because it coincided with the 60th Anniversary of Executive Order 9981 which was signed by President Truman on 26 July 1948. Executive Order 9981 ended segregation in the armed forces and required that “there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin.” Since then, there has been great progress made in the Armed Forces since the end of World War II to remove barriers and ensure equality among all of those who serve our country in uniform.

That said challenges still remain to ensure our Coast Guard is an inclusive service that values and promotes diversity. Diversity is a concept that extends far beyond the traditional legal notions of equal opportunity and civil rights. Diversity is really the broad representation of culture, religion, values, ethnicity, gender, education, life experience, professional qualification, and the other many things that make us unique as individuals.

As I noted in my remarks at NNOA inclusion of diverse individuals and viewpoints produces better decisions and action in organizations. I really see diversity as a readiness issue that all of our senior leaders and unit commanding officers must consider as one of the keys to effective mission execution.

To that end, I believe we must redouble our commitment to creating a more diverse workforce in the Coast Guard. For the last several months I have been working with my diversity advisors, listening to feedback from the Diversity Advisory Council, and talking to our units in the field. Together with the Vice Commandant, VADM Vivien Crea, and with the support of senior leaders, we intend to implement a series of initiatives aimed at improving our diversity at accession points and increasing retention through improved career development and management.

I outlined the initial steps we intend to take in my remarks at the NNOA Conference.
  • We will enhance senior leader participation with Minority Serving Institutions including Historically Black Colleges and Universities, those institutions affiliated with the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities and Tribal Council Institutions.

  • We will increase attendance by senior leaders and commanding officers at national conferences of affinity groups such as NNOA, the Association of Naval Services Officers, Coast Guard Women’s Leadership Association and Blacks in Government.

  • I have directed that Officer Evaluation Reports for junior officers be signed by the reported on officer before the report is forwarded from the command to establish parity with our enlisted evaluation system.

  • We will expand the use of Individual Development Plans to all O-4s and E-6s and below.

  • We will focus our College Student Pre-commissioning Initiative (CSPI) toward institutions with more diverse student populations.

  • Finally, we will begin a pilot program to promote Coast Guard career opportunities for diverse candidates in the Baltimore, Md area.

Instituting these changes will take time, but we are committed to moving forward “at best speed.” Our Assistant Commandant for Human Resources will provide updates on these items and future endeavors through a series of messages. Some initiatives, such as the IDP program which have the potential to increase workload will be piloted first to ensure we get it right.

There are more changes coming, but as we refine our strategy and deploy it, I want to make sure you have a voice. I want to hear your ideas on how we can develop a diverse workforce to improve mission effectiveness. Please comment on this journal posting so others can see and build on your ideas. I previously asked all Coast Guard personnel to direct our Guardian Ethos towards each other, those who serve beside us. This initiative is in keeping with that Ethos and I ask for your active involvement.

Admiral Thad Allen
Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard

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July 21, 2008

Tool Needed to Prosecute Drug Traffickers Using Subs

Helicopter hovers above a self-propelled semi-submersible vessel.
I commend the Government of Mexico and the Mexican Navy for their superb interdiction of a self-propelled semi-submersible (SPSS) vessel carrying more than 10,000 pounds of cocaine last Wednesday. This was a remarkable example of the value of active international cooperation in combating drug smugglers and the great effectiveness of the U.S. Southern Command’s Joint Interagency Task Force South. The professionalism demonstrated by the CBP Marine aircrew, JIATF-South and Mexican Navy was one of the most impressive international interdictions I have seen in my 37-year career and sends a clear signal to drug traffickers and other transnational criminals that there is a unified effort to secure our maritime borders from all hazards.

A boat interdicts a self-propelled semi-submersible vessel. SPSS vessels represent an increasingly significant threat to our safety and security. These vessels, which can be both manned and operated remotely, can transport multi-ton loads of cocaine and other illicit cargo to the U.S. The use of SPSS vessels has grown in recent years as a means to counter effective interdiction efforts. The SPSS, once perceived as an impractical and risky smuggling tool, has proven successful as an innovative and highly mobile, asymmetrical method of conveyance. After just 23 total SPSS events between 2000 and 2007, drug trafficking organizations conducted at least 45 SPSS transits during the first six months of FY 2008. SPSS now account for 32% of all maritime cocaine flow in the transit zone.

Success against this emerging threat requires a multi-faceted approach, including: international cooperation and coordination; a persistent patrol presence in the transit zone; active intelligence gathering and sharing; and effective legislation to facilitate prosecution. As demonstrated by last week’s case, the U.S. and its partners have the ability to aggressively pursue and interdict SPSS vessels, but it is the legislative piece that is currently missing. The Mexican Navy’s interdiction notwithstanding, the overwhelming majority of SPSS interdictions result in the successful scuttling of the vessel with its entombed cargo of cocaine. Absent contraband evidence, there are few practical options under existing U.S. law to pursue prosecution.

If operation of and embarkation in an SPSS were illegal, U.S. interdiction forces and U.S. Attorneys would have the necessary legal tools to combat the SPSS threat even in the absence of recovered drugs or other contraband. Criminalizing the operation of stateless SPSS vessels on international voyages would improve officer safety, deter the use of these inherently dangerous vessels, and facilitate effective prosecution of criminals involved in this treacherous and emerging trend.

The penalty for any SPSS offense should be sufficiently strong to deter use and encourage cooperation by those interdicted at sea. Because the desired legislation is limited to stateless SPSS and submarines on international voyages, the law would not affect legitimate business users and law abiding hobbyists.

We strongly support the legislation introduced in both the House and Senate and urge passage of this legislation to enhance both national and regional security and fully empower our ongoing interdiction efforts.

Admiral Thad W. Allen
Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard

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July 16, 2008

Clear Benefit

A truck passes through a radiation portal monitor at the port of Newark, New Jersey. (Photo/Whitehouse
As reported in today’s Washington Post, two recent Congressional reports claim that our Department lacks a comprehensive strategy to protect the American people from the threat of nuclear and radiological weapons and materials, and that our efforts to guard against biological threats are poorly coordinated and have “unclear benefit.”

While we welcome Congressional oversight and thoughtful, balanced recommendations and even criticism, these reports and comments widely miss the mark. They are based on outdated and incomplete information.

Far from lacking a strategic plan or clear goals, the Department, in cooperation with federal, state, local, and international partners, has developed and is implementing a comprehensive Global Nuclear Detection Architecture to prevent the entry of radiological and nuclear weapons or materials into the United States. This architecture is intelligence-driven, and built around a multi-layered strategy that starts overseas, continues at our borders, and is maintained within the U.S. interior.

It begins with securing the international supply chain and working with our partners overseas to prevent illicit nuclear or radiological material from being smuggled into the country. Through programs such as the Secure Freight Initiative, our officers are working with their foreign counterparts overseas to scan U.S.-bound containers for radiation as they move through international ports.

At home, we are scanning cargo at the ports of entry and closing gaps along the land, air, and sea borders. We now scan almost all incoming containerized cargo for radiation at our major seaports. We also scan 100 percent of truck cargo entering the United States from Mexico and more than 90 percent of the truck cargo entering the United States from Canada. Just a few years ago, we didn’t scan any of this cargo for radiation.

But our efforts do not end here. To counter the threat of terrorists attempting to smuggle material aboard small planes, last year we launched an initiative to begin scanning trans-oceanic general aviation aircraft arriving in the United States for radiological and nuclear material. We also recently completed a Small Vessel Security Strategy to address the risk of small boats smuggling dangerous material, and we have been testing radiological and nuclear detection equipment in various maritime locations on the West Coast. This is in addition to equipping every Coast Guard boarding team with radiation detection equipment.

To protect the interior of the country, our “Securing the Cities” initiative is integrating radiation detection capabilities within the New York City urban area, and we are testing fixed and mobile radiation detection systems for commercial trucks traveling on U.S. highways.

Finally, we working with the Department of Energy, industry partners, and others to enhance security for licensed, high-risk radioactive sources, and we are promoting the design and production of non-nuclear alternatives for industrial devices that currently use radioactive sources.

To be sure, these efforts are not complete. But they do reflect a balanced and strategic defense designed to identify and address remaining gaps and vulnerabilities in our detection capabilities and make wise investments of taxpayer resources to draw down the risk of WMD.

Beyond radiological and nuclear threats, we also have made strides to improve our detection of dangerous biological agents. Our BioWatch program is now deployed in more than 30 major cities nationwide to monitor the air for harmful biological agents, giving us a robust detection capability. BioWatch works hand-in-hand with our new National Biosurveillance Integration Center, which analyzes data to quickly determine potential health and security threats.

Under BioWatch – which did not exist before 2001 – the Department has provided guidance to all participating jurisdictions on preparedness, response, and environmental sampling so that they can build their own concept of operations and operational plans around BioWatch. We have specific cooperative agreements with each of the participating laboratories to use their space, but we pay for our staff, test equipment, and chemicals used to analyze the BioWatch samples. And we are now beginning to deploy our next generation of quicker, less expensive BioWatch detectors.

Perhaps those who say that BioWatch has “unclear benefit” need reminding that our nation already suffered an anthrax attack in 2001. Our ability to quickly detect and characterize these kinds of biological agents is critical to saving lives and minimizing the impact. I think most Americans would agree the benefits of such a system are indeed clear.

Michael Chertoff

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July 15, 2008

Why the Country Needs the National Applications Office

Big Sur fire, June 29, 2008. The satellite image combines a natural color portrayal of the landscape, with thermal infrared data showing the active burning areas in red. The dark area in the lower right is a previous forest fire.
It is unfortunate that recent articles and blog postings have chosen to spend so much time complaining about the past instead of the critical and substantive benefits the National Applications Office (NAO) will provide the American people in the future. We need to move forward, get the NAO fully operational, and demonstrate how this 21st century capability will greatly aid the work of our scientists, our nation’s first responders, and others charged with protecting the United States.

The NAO will act as a clearinghouse for available technologies such as overhead imagery to better serve the scientific, homeland security and, eventually, law enforcement communities, with a solid framework to protect privacy, civil rights and civil liberties. It is a good-government solution to assist those users, and there is nothing secretive or mysterious about its mission. In fact, the scientific work of the NAO has been done for more than 30 years by the Civil Applications Committee (CAC), which itself will become part of the NAO. But the CAC model is 30 years old, and the world we live in is far different and, in many ways, more complex than when the CAC was first formed.

In 2005, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the U.S. Geological Survey, which chairs the CAC, chartered a blue-ribbon commission to review how the CAC facilitated, managed and oversaw capabilities and resources of the Intelligence Community for appropriate domestic applications. The commission concluded that there is “an urgent need for action because opportunities to better protect the nation are being missed.” It recommended the creation of an entity “to provide a focal point and act as a facilitator to [overhead imagery and other resources] on behalf of civil, homeland security and law enforcement users.” The Commission’s report is available in its entirety to the public. This was quite a public birth of the NAO.

The NAO will provide an excellent tool to help keep all Americans secure. Examples of how NAO will use overhead imagery for appropriate domestic purposes include:

  • Saving lives through support to forest firefighters, as we saw with the wild fires in California last year and again this year
  • Preparing for National Special Security Events such as this year’s political party conventions
  • Assisting preparedness, response and recovery efforts of catastrophic flooding
  • Helping to secure our nation’s borders
  • Supporting the U.S. Coast Guard in its search and rescue operations and oil spill response
  • Assessing the readiness in advance of a natural disaster
  • Assessing damage following natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes and floods
  • Geospatial mapping
  • Preparing environmental studies relating to geologic features, forestation, studies of wildlife, and other environmental research.

NAO will facilitate access only to geospatial intelligence (e.g., overhead imagery and mapping), measurement and signature intelligence (e.g., seismic acoustic sensors used to identify seismic activity such as earthquakes and tsunamis), and electronic intelligence (e.g., using emitters to rescue ships at sea during Hurricane Katrina). NAO will not accept requests to use capabilities to intercept verbal communications, whether written or oral.

I am not sure what some commentators meant when they said the NAO lacks for champions. All they needed to do was ask a homeowner whose home was saved by the kind of overhead imagery NAO will be able to provide firefighters. Or they could have spoken to me, who has served this country as an intelligence officer for 50 years, or to my bosses, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell. The homeowner or any one of us in government service would have been happy to explain how the NAO will benefit the American people.

The Department of Homeland Security, with the assistance of a number of partner agencies, has designed the NAO with an extraordinary amount of scrutiny and oversight to ensure that the civil liberties, civil rights and privacy of Americans are protected. A National Applications Executive Council will oversee the NAO. It will be chaired by the Deputy Secretary of DHS, the Deputy Secretary of Interior, and the Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence, and aided by their policy, legal, privacy, and civil liberties and civil rights advisers.

Both the Privacy and Civil Rights and Civil Liberties offices of DHS thoroughly reviewed the NAO Charter and other plans, and completed privacy and civil liberties impact assessments. In addition, DHS’ Inspector General reviewed the NAO’s privacy stewardship and issued a very favorable report. (download PDF reader)

The NAO will safeguard privacy, civil rights and civil liberties by ensuring that its procedures are in accordance with laws, policies and procedures that protect privacy, civil rights and civil liberties, including:
  • The U.S. Constitution
  • Executive Order 12333 and the procedures for intelligence community members under that order that have been approved by the Attorney General
  • The Posse Comitatus Act
  • The Privacy Act of 1974, as amended
  • The E-Government Act of 2002, Section 208
  • Any other applicable laws, policies or procedures that have the purpose or effect of safeguarding privacy, civil rights, or civil liberties
Because it is a part of DHS, the NAO is subject to compliance oversight by the DHS Inspector General, Chief Privacy Officer, and the Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Additional oversight will be provided by the Civil Liberties Protection Officer for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Secretary Chertoff and I have fully and frequently briefed all the relevant committees of Congress, and remain committed to answering any further questions they may have. We look forward to the completion of the Government Accountability Office’s review of the Secretary’s certification that privacy and civil rights/civil liberties are addressed by NAO, so that the NAO can begin its civilian and homeland security applications.

I work every day to help keep the homeland safe. The NAO, with the privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties built in as described above, is not only good government but needed now to help the nation respond and recover from all disasters – natural or man-made.

Charlie Allen
Under Secretary for Intelligence & Analysis

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July 11, 2008

Exactly What Do They Want?

I’ve been in Washington a while, and I thought I’d seen everything. But the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has taught me a new trick.

SHRM lobbies for the HR execs who do corporate hiring. It also opposes E-Verify. I suppose corporate hiring is easier if you can hire illegal workers, so perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that SHRM wants to kill a program that makes it harder to hire illegal workers.

But SHRM has taken Washington arts to a new level. SHRM says it doesn’t want to kill E-Verify. SHRM says it wants to replace E-Verify with a new, better program to prevent illegal hiring. A closer look shows that the SHRM alternative is doomed to fail – and will take years to do so. So for a decade, while the SHRM alternative is failing, no one will have a good tool to actually prevent illegal hires. Which may be precisely what SHRM wants.

Why do I think that’s the name of this game? For starters, because SHRM proposes to turn immigration enforcement over to an agency that has no immigration enforcement mission. SHRM wants a verification tool that is run by the Social Security Administration (SSA), with no role for DHS, the department that funds and runs E-Verify today. Under the SHRM proposal, SSA would be responsible for making sure that everyone in the U.S. is eligible to work. But SSA and its data systems are set up to administer a vast benefit trust fund, not to enforce the immigration laws. It is hard for SSA to justify using its trust fund dollars for missions that don’t directly benefit the fund and its beneficiaries, and aggressive enforcement of the immigration laws certainly doesn’t fit that description. So any enforcement system run by Social Security would be underfunded and run by people who are not experienced in enforcing the laws against hiring illegal immigrants. Which may be exactly what SHRM wants.

In fact, SSA’s inability to adapt its database for immigration enforcement was the source of some of the problems E-Verify has been criticized for. The difficulty that naturalized citizens sometimes encountered in correcting their SSA records was finally resolved after DHS redesigned its systems to act as a backstop to SSA’s records. If E-Verify were turned over to SSA and DHS’s backstop systems were scrapped, far more Americans would have to trek to a Social Security office to prove they are entitled to work. That of course would undermine both the program’s effectiveness and its popularity. But that may be exactly what SHRM wants.

SHRM’s other solution after scrapping E-Verify is to use a Database of New Hires. That database is run by Health and Human Services (HHS) to catch workers who don’t pay child support. It doesn’t check for employment eligibility (and why would it? That’s not what it’s built to do) and it has no uniform process to resolve a mismatch. Not only would the HHS system be ineffective at employment verification, it would be far too slow. Today, E-Verify provides automatic feedback, on line, 99.5% of the time for authorized workers. Could the HHS system match this performance? No. The HHS system is the reverse of instantaneous. Here’s how it works. First, employers send in a list of the workers they’ve hired. Not to the Federal government. To fifty state agencies. Then the state agencies send the information to HHS. The Federal government never communicates with employers at all. It tells the states about any problems it finds in the records and relies on the states to contact the employer. Imagine how popular employment verification would be if no one in America could get a job until the employer had mailed in the employee’s data, and the state government mailed it to the Federal government, and the Federal government mailed a reply to the state, and the state had then contacted the employer to say everything was fine. A system like that would be repealed before the first reply was delivered. Which, come to think of it, may be exactly what SHRM wants.

SHRM also claims that their proposal combats identity theft and document fraud more effectively than E-Verify. We’re always glad to hear good ideas for reducing identity theft. But SHRM’s proposal doesn’t qualify. It relies heavily on matching Social Security Numbers and names, as does E-Verify. But it does away with E-Verify’s tool for displaying the picture that ought to be on the ID the worker presents – a proven deterrent to document fraud. SHRM’s other, vague proposal is to have private companies investigate workers and then issue special IDs. But if the private investigators are hired by SHRM’s members, what incentive do they have to find that a prospective worker is actually using a stolen identity? A skeptic might conclude that the investigators are paid to qualify workers, not to disqualify them. And the investigators won’t work for free. What’s to stop the companies from passing the cost of these investigations on to workers desperate to get hired? Such a system could turn out to be an expensive and much-abused failure, discrediting employer verification for years. Or is that too exactly what SHRM wants?

Lots of people in Washington know that the first rule of government is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But the first rule of lobbying in SHRM’s book seems to be, “call it broke and fix it bad.” In fact, E-Verify isn’t broken. It’s the best available tool to verify employment eligibility.

Stewart Baker
Assistant Secretary for Policy

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July 10, 2008

Protecting Ideas

Earlier today we officially opened the new home of the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center in Arlington, Va.

We had the honor of being joined at the launch event by Secretary Chertoff and Commerce Secretary Gutierrez. They each addressed the important role this new facility will play in safeguarding intellectual property rights (IPR). The president and CEO of Underwriters Laboratories, Keith Williams, also shared his perspective on the significance of this new facility to the private sector.

The opening of this facility represents a major step forward in the United States’ effort to safeguard intellectual property rights and to target criminals who violate those rights. It gives us the tools we need to build the productive partnerships with both the private sector and with governments and law enforcement agencies here at home and abroad.

The violation of IPR is a serious and growing threat to America’s national and economic security. The United States is home to some of the world’s most innovative and creative industries – industries that are consistently leading the way in developing new and better products to meet the demands of consumers around the world.

Whether it’s life-saving medicines and vaccines, state of the art technologies, products for the office or the home, or the creative output of American movie and recording studios, the output of American ingenuity is increasingly the target of larger, more sophisticated, and more complex counterfeiting and piracy schemes.

The cost to our economy of intellectual property theft is estimated to reach $250 billion a year, robbing as many as 750,000 jobs from American workers. Worldwide, it is estimated that as much as 8 percent of all the goods and merchandise sold is counterfeit.

This illegal activity not only poses an economic threat, it also threatens the health and safety of the American people. From tainted toothpaste to adulterated dog food, we’ve seen how substandard or tainted products that illegally carry the name of trusted products put consumers at risk.

The challenge we face in turning back the tide is enormous – and this new facility is designed to meet that challenge. The people staffing this facility are committed to building partnerships among all those who share the long-range goal of putting counterfeiters and pirates out of business.

We are establishing what I think of as “mission control” for IPR protection, a place designed to foster information sharing, partnership building, and cooperative effort in pursuit of a common goal.

Using the highly successful task force model, our new facility will promote close cooperation and coordination among federal agencies and among field offices, clarifying areas of responsibility and lines of authority, eliminating duplication of effort, and promoting best practices.

This facility will also give our law enforcement counterparts in state and local governments and internationally a single point of contact for IPR investigations and enforcement. It will serve the same purpose for the private sector, helping us build truly productive partnerships.

As the Center’s lead federal agency, ICE is excited about this new facility’s ability to improve and expand the federal government’s effort to protect the intellectual property rights of American business and industry and, by doing so, protect the health and safety of the American people and the strength of the American economy.

This Center holds great promise and I am convinced it will meet and likely exceed our expectations for it. As impressive as this new facility is, however, its true potential is in its people. We are fortunate that the people who are staffing the Center are dedicated, capable professionals who see their job as a mission – a mission they will use all of their skill, ability, experience, and expertise to fulfill.

I look forward, in the months ahead, to sharing with the readers of this journal some of the many successes I know this new facility will help make possible.

Julie L. Myers
Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

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July 9, 2008

Myth vs. Fact: Worksite Enforcement

Opponents of immigration enforcement continue to propagate mythical objections to the Department's enforcement efforts. Some have claimed we are unfairly targeting low-level employees and not the employers who hire them. Others have misstated the facts about our E-Verify system, claiming it is riddled with errors and harms legal workers at the expense of identifying illegal ones.

For the benefit of journal readers, I'd like to take a few minutes to separate these myths from the facts.

1) Has the Department stepped up its worksite enforcement efforts?

Yes. As you can see in the table below, arrests in worksite cases have jumped from a total of 850 in 2004 to 4,940 last year, including 863 arrests based on criminal charges. We have already exceeded the number of criminal arrests this year and expect that figure to continue to rise.

Fiscal Year

Criminal Arrests

Administrative Arrests













(as of May 31)



Source: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

2) Is it true that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is only arresting low-level employees and not managers and supervisors?

No. Of the 863 criminal arrests in worksite cases last year, 92 were in the company's supervisory chain. Already this year, ICE has arrested 80 individuals in the supervisory chain. This follows the arrests of 389 illegal aliens on administrative immigration violations, the most ever arrested in a single-site worksite enforcement operation. Additionally, 302 of those arrested have been charged with criminal offenses, including identity theft, false use of a Social Security number, illegal re-entry into the United States, and other crimes.

Of course, when comparing employer to employee arrests, it's important to keep in mind that in most companies there will be a larger number of employees than employers and top-level managers. Moreover, cases against supervisors and employers are more complex, and often depend on proving knowledge and intent. Therefore, it often takes time to build a criminal case against an employer, but the charges and penalties will likely be more serious as a result.

3) Are these worksite enforcement efforts random or do they unfairly target well-established employers, as some have suggested?

No. Our efforts focus on three priority areas. We target employers who have built their business model on hiring an illegal workforce. We also focus on disrupting the infrastructure that supports illegal immigration, which includes aggressively targeting those who engage in identity theft, document fraud and/or human smuggling. And we want to ensure that our nation's critical infrastructure sites, like our airports, seaports, military bases and nuclear facilities are staffed with individuals authorized to work in the country. The vast majority of ICE's worksite enforcement efforts fall into at least one of these categories.

4) Does ICE conduct its worksite operations in cooperation with state and local authorities?

Yes. When ICE conducts an enforcement action, it coordinates with state and local law enforcement and those responsible for public safety in a manner that will not compromise the operation. ICE goes to great lengths to identify and address any humanitarian concerns of the individuals it encounters. ICE's worksite enforcement operations are the result of long and careful criminal investigations, not random targeting or haphazard planning.

5) Is the Department's E-Verify program riddled with errors and does it hurt legal workers at the expense of identifying illegal workers?

No. E-Verify is a proven tool currently used by more than 73,000 employers nationwide, with another 1,000 employers enrolling every week. I'd venture to say that if the system didn't work or was riddled with errors, very few employers would want to use it.

Under E-Verify, almost everyone who is authorized to work in the United States is immediately verified by the system. Only about 0.5 percent of those queried who are ultimately confirmed as legal workers receive what is called a "tentative non-confirmation" and need to correct their records.

An employee who receives a tentative non-confirmation has a right to contest it and update his or her information while he or she continues working. E-Verify does not require these workers to be immediately fired.

Of course, many non-confirmations relate to employees who are not legally authorized to work in our country – estimated to be around 5 percent of all workers sent through the system. But those who employ illegal workers have no grounds to complain when the system uncovers that illegality.

6) Can worksite enforcement alone solve our nation's immigration problems?

An enforcement-only approach will not fix this problem. We must find a way to meet our nation's temporary workforce needs in a legal manner while also securing the border and enforcing the interior. Ultimately, this will require Congress to act on comprehensive reform. Nevertheless, our Department will not turn a blind eye toward illegality. We will continue to meet our obligations to the American people under the law, which includes enforcing the rules at worksites.

Michael Chertoff

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