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‘One Mission’: Acting Secretary Wolf Delivers 2020 State of the Homeland Address

Release Date: 
September 9, 2020

On Wednesday, Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf gave the annual State of the Homeland Address. The 2020 State of the Homeland Address covers several different issue areas, all of which make up the Department of Homeland Security’s single, overarching mission: Protecting the American people, the homeland, and our values.

These topics include:

  • The Department of Homeland Security’s Mission and History
  • COVID-19 Response
  • Civil Unrest
  • Combating Extremism
  • Border Security
  • Securing International Travel
  • International Partnerships
  • Wall Construction
  • Enforcement of America’s Laws
  • Economic Security and Immigration
  • Economic Security and China
  • Cyber and Election Security

Full video is available below and remarks as prepared are available here.

Social Media Clips

Key Selections

The Department of Homeland Security’s Mission and History

  • “The Department of Homeland Security is bound by one mission, one creed. Answering the call, often times in the most arduous of environments and difficult of circumstances, to safeguard the American people, our homeland, and our values from all threats, all the time—both today, tomorrow, and in the months and years to come.”
  • “We are one team. One mission. One DHS.”
  • “Thanks to the resolve, ingenuity, and technical prowess of the men and women of DHS, and the unwavering support of President Trump, America is more prepared and more equipped to tackle threats to the Homeland than ever before.

COVID-19 Response

  • “Due to what we now know was China’s irresponsible response, COVID-19 was permitted to become the worst global pandemic in more than 100 years. Along with World Health Organization, their actions were inept, their response too slow.”
  • “FEMA processed the first ever nationwide emergency declaration under the Stafford Act. This was in addition to simultaneous major disaster declarations granted to all 50 states, 5 territories, and the District of Columbia.”
  • “Putting this effort in perspective – FEMA was essentially responding to a category 5 hurricane in every state, territory, and the District of Columbia – all at the same time. It’s truly an unprecedented level of emergency support and response needed across America.”
  • “From the very beginning of this pandemic to this very moment, FEMA continues to marshal the power of the federal government to assist our people in their time of need.”

Civil Unrest

  • “Let me be clear, those who seek to undermine our democratic institutions, indiscriminately destroy businesses, and attack law enforcement officers and fellow citizens are a threat to the Homeland.”
  • “The Department has experienced this firsthand in Portland, Oregon, where violent opportunists repeatedly targeted and attempted to burn down a federal courthouse – the seat of justice in downtown Portland.”
  • “For nearly two months, while defending the federal courthouse, our federal officers were assaulted with sledgehammers, commercial grade fireworks, rocks, metal pipes, IEDs, and more. As Portland officials refused to cooperate with DHS, our law enforcement officers suffered over 240 injuries.”
  • “Our Constitution protects the natural right to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly. The Department supports the exercise of everyone’s First Amendment rights. There is, however, no Constitutional right to loot, to burn, or to assault law enforcement officers or fellow citizens.”
  • “The vast majority of reasonable Americans are also proud of the work of law enforcement. We cannot and must not fall victim to the delusion of a fringe minority of Americans who are opposed to the honorable men and women who wear the badge and swear to protect our communities.”

Combating Extremism

  • “I’m proud to say that DHS has taken unprecedented actions to address all forms of violent extremism, to specifically include threats posed by lone offenders and small cells of individuals.”
  • “Last year, the Department released a comprehensive strategy that contextualizes the threats from violent extremists and lays out the DHS mission in preventing such violence, we secured – with the help from Congress – additional funding in FY 2020 for these initiatives, and the President requested a 300% increase in funding for DHS-wide efforts in this area in his FY 2021 Budget Request.”
  • “Let me be clear – DHS stands in absolute opposition to any form of violent extremism. Whether by racially motivated extremists or anarchist extremists.”

Border Security

  • “DHS is unflinching in its resolve to secure America’s territorial sovereignty – through strong border security and bringing integrity back to our immigration system.”
  • “We started with the premise that it is better to stop criminal activity before it gets to America. Specifically, we began pushing our borders out and keeping Americans safe through a layered approach that includes: more effective screening of those who are seeking entry into our country, securing unprecedented international cooperation, fully applying the law to all those who break it, reforming our broken immigration system and—last but certainly not least—building the border wall system.”

Securing International Travel

  • “The U.S. is the world’s most generous and welcoming country, but, unfortunately, there are evil people who seek to travel to the U.S. with the intent of harming and killing Americans.”
  • “That is why the Department, along with our interagency partners, developed a process for evaluating the information sharing cooperation, identity management practices and travel related risk associated with each country in the world.”
  • “Because of this process, we saw multiple countries begin sharing information with us that they had never done before.”

International Partnerships

  • “Over the last 18 months we have signed and implemented security and asylum cooperative agreements with our Central American partners, and we are slowly restoring functionality to our broken immigration system.”
  • “These historic agreements with our partners in the Western Hemisphere have helped curb illegal migration and make all of our countries more secure.”

Wall Construction

  • “Having an effective barrier at our southern border was, at one time, considered a common-sense and bipartisan approach to homeland security. Over 80 Senators in the United States Senate at the time voted for the Secure Fence Act of 2006. Many of those Senators are still in the U.S. Senate today – some complaining loudly about President Trump successfully implementing what they themselves voted for back in 2006."
  • “And while politics may have changed, the facts have not. They cannot. Effective border barriers simply work. The new border wall system allows the U.S. government to decide where border crossings take place - not cartels and not human traffickers.”
  • “In January, we reached 100 miles of new border wall system. In June, we achieved 200 miles. In August, we marked the 300th mile—and by the end of this calendar year we will reach over 450 miles of new border wall system.”

Enforcement of America’s Laws

  • “As hundreds of new miles of border wall system are constructed, they push cartels to traffic their goods at locations precisely where DHS is best equipped—at Ports of Entry.”
  • “Here, we have the infrastructure, staffing, and technology to better detect and interdict their deadly contraband. No longer are cartels able to walk across the border unimpeded.”
  • “Since President Trump took office, we have seized more than 4 million pounds of hard drugs like fentanyl, cocaine, and methamphetamine.”
  • “The Administration’s message is simple: If you are a human trafficker, a drug smuggler, or any criminal seeking to break our laws and illegally enter the United States—you will find no sanctuary in this country.”
  • “We still have more work to do, but looking back, we are here because this Administration did something uncommon here in DC: we did precisely what we said we would do.”

Economic Security and Immigration

  • “Our trade enforcement protects American businesses and consumers, and it ensures that we are globally competitive.”
  • “Our dedicated law enforcement officers are able to disrupt terrorist financing, target fraud and counterfeits, and ensure trade transparency.”
  • “We are also countering mass-marketing fraud, investigating organized retail crime rings, and fighting human smuggling and human trafficking organizations.”

Economic Security and China

  • “China has leveraged every aspect of its country including its economy, its military, and its diplomatic power, demonstrating a rejection of western liberal democracy and continually renewing its commitment to remake the world order in its own authoritarian image.”
  • “From intellectual property theft and stealing trade secrets that rob from American innovators, to harvesting personal data to turn a profit, shattering the privacy of Americans of all ages, to exporting unjust business practices in the form of state backed enterprises that harm American entrepreneurs, to hacking attempts to penetrate and compromise American organizations conducting COVID research, to abusing student visas to exploit American academia, the actions of China may be unabating, but they are not unthwartable.”
  • “We are blocking visas for certain Chinese graduate students and researchers with ties to China’s military fusion strategy to prevent them from stealing and otherwise appropriating sensitive research.”
  • “We are targeting illicit Chinese manufacturers who have exploited the COVID-19 pandemic by producing fraudulent or prohibited PPE and medical supplies that especially endanger our front-line workers.”
  • “We are preventing goods produced by Uighur slave labor from entering our markets and demanding that the CCP respect the inherent dignity of each human being.”
  • “At our borders and our ports of entry, we are leveraging technology and innovation to target and interdict deadly Chinese-made fentanyl before it can destroy American communities and take American lives.”

Cyber and Election Security

  • “Elections are a bedrock of our Constitutional republic, and securing them is paramount to accurately expressing the will of the American people.”
  • “To protect the integrity of our representative government, our ultimate goal must be to ensure that American voters decide American elections.”
  • “Beyond our shores, we face an ever-changing threat landscape as the governments of China, Iran, and Russia target our election systems, each with its own separate and nefarious motives and tactics.”
  • “The right to choose one’s own leaders is rare in the course of history. The Department recognizes this fact and will continue to uphold the integrity of this indispensable American tradition.”

 

Last Published Date: September 9, 2020
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