For Immediate Release
DHS Press Office
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
In the days immediately following the State of the Union, Cabinet officials are embarking on the “State of the Union: Cabinet In Your Community” road tour to engage Americans in small towns, big cities and Indian country about the advancements the Administration has made on the most important issues facing the American people, as well as the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. The President made clear in his State of the Union address that the true test is not the challenges we face, but how we approach those challenges. That’s why he and his Cabinet will not let up in this final stretch and continue driving toward solutions that will move this country forward for generations to come, while highlighting the progress that has been made over the past seven years.
Over the last decade, we have become a stronger, safer, and more secure nation. The Department of Homeland Security continues to make our nation and communities more resilient, not only to terrorist and violent extremist attacks, but also to threats and disasters of all kinds, while safeguarding the fundamental rights of all Americans.
On Wednesday, January 13, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh C. Johnson traveled to Michigan to emphasize the Department’s ongoing commitment to engaging with local communities to keep our nation safe and secure. In Detroit, Secretary Johnson hosted a roundtable meeting with Iraqi and Syrian refugees who have been recently resettled in the Detroit metropolitan area, as well as locally based community organizations that are assisting these and other refugees to resettle and integrate into our communities. In Dearborn, Secretary Johnson hosted a roundtable meeting with interfaith student groups to encourage them to help the Department counter violent extremism and delivered remarks to students at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
- The new phase of the global terrorist threat dictates a new approach to counterterrorism and homeland security, which must include outreach to communities across the United States. In the wake of recent events, now more than ever is the time to work together, to protect and defend our communities, our families, and our homeland.
- The Department’s approach to countering violent extremism emphasizes the strength of local communities. We begin with the premise that well-informed and -equipped families, communities, and local institutions represent the best defense against terrorist ideologies. And while our primary purpose is to prevent an attack by an individual or group recruited by a violent extremist organization, or inspired by an extremist ideology, we also support strong and resilient communities as important ends themselves.
- In September 2015, Secretary Johnson established the Office for Community Partnerships to build upon the Department’s existing work to counter violent extremism. Since its inception, it has been working to build relationships and promote trust with communities across the country, and to find innovative ways to support those who seek to discourage violent extremism and undercut terrorist narratives.
- We continue to engage local communities and local law enforcement in order to counter violent extremism. Secretary Johnson is personally committed to this, and over the past year has traveled to Boston, Chicago, Columbus, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York City, northern Virginia and suburban Maryland to meet with community leaders as part of the Department’s efforts to engage with local communities, hear many strongly-held views, generate conversations, and build bridges.
- The Department’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties is integral in our efforts, as civil rights and civil liberties are invariably part of the discussion when this Department engages communities. Our Community Engagement Section responds to community concerns and provides information on Department programs, activities, and issues. Working in coordinating with the Office of Community Partnership, the Department’s Civil Rights and Civil Liberties office holds Community Engagement Roundtables, Town Hall Meetings, and Youth Forums across the country to communicate reliable information, obtain feedback and community concerns, and to deepen communication channels between communities and the government in order to facilitate the solution of problems.
Overall, this work builds on the Department’s achievements under the leadership of President Obama. See more on those achievements:
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