Ex-Homeland Security officials urge faster action on DACA

3 cite DACA urgency for employers as well as young immigrants By Maggie Haberman, New York Times Published 8:01 pm, Wednesday, January 3, 2018 Photo: TOM BRENNER, STF Image 1of/1 CaptionClose Image 1 of 1 Supporters of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals occupied the office of Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., on Capitol Hill. Nelson has asked President Trump to extend the renewal deadline.  Supporters of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals occupied the office of Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., on Capitol Hill. Nelson has asked President Trump to extend the renewal deadline.  Photo: TOM BRENNER, STF Ex-Homeland Security officials urge faster action on DACA 1 / 1 Back to Gallery Three former Homeland Security secretaries warned congressional leaders and officials of both parties Wednesday that the window for legislative action to protect undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children will close by the middle of January, months before a period outlined by the White House. The letter - signed by Jeh Johnson and Janet Napolitano, homeland security secretaries under President Barack Obama, and Michael Chertoff, a homeland security secretary under President George W. Bush - was sent as congressional leaders and aides to President Donald Trump prepare for a meeting Wednesday on Capitol Hill, where the Obama-era program known as Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, is expected to be discussed. In September, Trump ordered an end to the program, which shields young immigrants in the country illegally from deportation and gave Congress six months to extend those protections, granted by Obama under an executive action in 2012. The policy permits beneficiaries of the program, known as Dreamers, to remain in the country without fear of immediate removal Continue Reading

Trump administration would consider pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients, Homeland Security chief says

SAN DIEGO — The Trump administration would consider immigration legislation that includes a pathway to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of young people, the U.S. Homeland Security secretary said Tuesday, while emphasizing no decision on that issue has been made and a border wall remains the priority. Congress is considering three options, including citizenship or permanent legal status for people who were temporarily shielded from deportation, Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in an interview. Details on qualifying for citizenship, including on how many years to wait and other requirements, would have to be addressed. Asked whether the president would support citizenship, she said, “I think he’s open to hearing about the different possibilities and what it means but, to my knowledge, there certainly hasn’t been any decision from the White House.” In September, Trump said he wouldn’t consider citizenship for DACA recipients — an Obama-era program that Trump said last year he was ending. He gave Congress until March to deliver a legislative fix. The options being considered by Congress include permanent residency, residency for a certain amount of time — perhaps three or four years, subject to renewal — and citizenship, Nielsen said. “It will be interesting to see where (Congress) can get comfortable with what they mean by what is a permanent fix but the idea would be that you move away from a temporary status,” she said. In October, the president presented congressional leaders with a long list of demands to accompany protection for DACA recipient, many of which Democrats greeted with a thud. The secretary said she was hopeful the White House and Congress can reach a deal that includes border and immigration enforcement measures. She said building a wall along the Mexico border was “first and foremost,” and the administration wanted to end “loopholes” on issues that include Continue Reading

White House Homeland Security Advisor Thomas P. Bossert & Palo Alto Networks Chairman and CEO Mark McLaughlin to Speak at the Cambridge Cyber Summit

CNBC and The Aspen Institute to host top business, government and cybersecurity leaders at unique one-day conference on October 4 in Boston Englewood Cliffs, NJ, and Washington, DC, August 23, 2017 – CNBC and The Aspen Institute today unveiled the first set of speakers for the second-annual The Cambridge Cyber Summit on October 4th at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute in Boston, MA. This unique one-day summit brings together top technology leaders, CEOs and government officials to explore the latest in cybersecurity, with a particular focus on how the public and private sectors can work together to safeguard our economic, financial and government assets, while also maintaining convenience and protecting privacy. This year's slate of speakers represents many of the most influential leaders in the cybersecurity industry, including a keynote address by White House Homeland Security Advisor Thomas P. Bossert. Other speakers include Catherine P. Bessant, Chief Operations and Technology Officer, Bank of America; Mike Gregoire, CEO CA Technologies; Jason Matheny, Director, IARPA; Mark McLaughlin, Chairman and CEO, Palo Alto Networks; Joe Sullivan, CSO, Uber; as well as voices from the NSA, FBI, DHS, and foreign intelligence agencies. Additional speakers include: Dave Aitel, Founder & CTO, Immunity Monika Bickert, Head of Global Policy Management, Facebook John Carlin, Chair, Cybersecurity and Technology Program, The Aspen Institute; Former Assistant Attorney General for National Security Oleg Derevianko, Information Security Systems Partners (ISSP) Michael Fey, President and Chief Operating Officer, Symantec Dan Geer, CISO, In-Q-Tel Glenn Gerstell, General Counsel, NSA Andy Continue Reading

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly says he doesn’t ‘have a clue’ what a sanctuary city is

SAN DIEGO — U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told law enforcement officials on a tour of the nation's border with Mexico Friday that he couldn't define a sanctuary city, which President Trump has targeted for withdrawal of federal funding for refusing to cooperate with immigration authorities. Trump's executive order on immigration last month says a "sanctuary jurisdiction" defies federal law by shielding people in the country illegally and that they have caused "immeasurable harm to the American people and to the very fabric of our Republic." While sanctuary cities are broadly understood to mean a refusal to cooperate with the federal government on immigration enforcement, a precise definition has eluded many, including in law enforcement. "I don't have a clue," Kelly told San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman when she asked for a definition. The blunt-spoken, retired four-star general went on to say it was inconceivable why any jurisdiction wouldn't want criminals removed from their communities. "I'm stunned when people say, 'Well, we're not going to cooperate with you even in the event of convicted criminals," he said. Kelly said it would be difficult to justify immigration enforcement grants to cities that refuse to cooperate. "I promise you we'll work with you and will make no Draconian moves until I fully understand what a given locale might be doing or not doing," he told Zimmerman and other local police chiefs and sheriffs. Kelly spoke near the end of a two-day tour of the border in Arizona and California. In San Diego, he joined agents on two house visits to deport people in the country illegally and toured a cross-border drug tunnel. Last week he toured the border in south Texas. The secretary said he got "an earful" of suggestions from his employees on where to extend a border wall with Mexico, which currently covers about 700 miles of the 2,000-mile international Continue Reading

Homeland security chief: 500,000 immigrants will enter U.S. illegally in 2015 even after President Obama’s executive orders on immigration reform

Half a million immigrants will still sneak into the U.S illegally in the next year even after President Obama's new executive orders on immigration, a top administration official conceded Tuesday. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson defended the legality of Obama's plans to shield from deportation more than four million undocumented immigrants who already are in the country. But questioned by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) he said department estimates of total undocumented immigration in 2015 remain at about 500,000. "Very clearly, sir, I would like to see that number come down," Johnson said. Republicans have always insisted that any immigration reform be accompanied by tough new measures to prevent more people from illegally crossing the border. Obama decided to go it alone on immigration after Republicans could not reach an agreement with congressional Democrats on how to proceed. Johnson's testimony was an acknowledgement that Obama's new approach fails to significantly adress the security border issues that have long been paramount to Republicans.  Johnson contended that Obama's executive orders don't constitute amnesty for anybody -- and do not represent a real, permanent solution to the immigration problem. "Unfortunately, we have not had a willing partner in the House of Representatives," said Johnson, explicitly blaming the Republican majority for blocking a comprehensive measure previously passed by the U.S. Senate. No surprise, initial questioning by House Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul (R-Tex.) focused on previous statements by Obama about the legal limits of executive actions on immigration. Republicans believe his recently announced actions reflect both hypocrisy, given past statements on the legalities of what he could do, and amount to executive overreach. Johnson flatly denied that was the case. As White House aides have detailed previously, he went over the process of assessing the legality of various Continue Reading

Homeland Security orders new screening for Ebola

WASHINGTON – Everyone coming to the United States from the three West African countries at the center of the Ebola outbreak will now be screened for the deadly disease at one of five airports, the Homeland Security Department said Tuesday.Earlier this month, Customs and Border Protection officers at New York's Kennedy, Newark Liberty, Washington's Dulles, Chicago's O'Hare and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta airports started screening people arriving from West Africa. The screening includes using no-touch thermometers to determine if travelers have a temperature, one symptom of a possible Ebola infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is also working with DHS on the screening. FDA warns NJ company over Ebola cure claimsThere are no direct flights to the United States from the three Ebola-stricken countries in West Africa. About 94 percent of the roughly 150 people traveling daily from West Africa to the U.S. arrive at the one of the five airports. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Tuesday that now everyone traveling from Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea will have to land in the U.S. at one of the five airports and then fly on to their destination.The new requirement means that people traveling from the region who were not originally passing through one of those five airports will have to rebook their flights.Johnson said DHS now has "measures to identify and screen anyone at all land, sea and air ports of entry into the United States who we have reason to believe has been present in Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea in the preceding 21 days."Concerns about travelers infected with Ebola have risen since a Liberian man traveled from the region to Dallas last month. Thomas Eric Duncan became the first person in the United States diagnosed with Ebola, a few days after arriving from West Africa. He died on Oct. 8.Since then, two nurses who helped care for him have also been diagnosed with Ebola. Mistrust of government fuels Ebola fearsSome Continue Reading

Trump Homeland Security pick: Wall alone ‘will not do the job’

John Kelly, the retired Marine general whom President-elect Donald Trump has tapped to become his Homeland Security secretary, acknowledged Tuesday that a physical barrier, such as Trump's often-proposed wall, by itself won't sufficiently secure the U.S.-Mexico border.Under questioning from Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who strongly supports his nomination, Kelly said a wall would be just one component of a wider-ranging strategy."Certainly as a military person that understands defense and defenses, a physical barrier in and of itself will not do the job," Kelly told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee during a generally friendly confirmation hearing."It has to be really a layered defense," Kelly said. "If you were to build a wall from the Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico, you'd still have to back that wall up with patrolling by human beings, by sensors, by observation devices."Kelly also said that he thought targeting "dreamers" for deportation would not be a priority for the Trump administration.The Senate this week is holding confirmation hearings on several of Trump's Cabinet nominees. Besides Kelly's appearance before the Homeland Security panel, the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday held a first day of hearings on Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., Trump's pick to be U.S. attorney general. Immigration-related issues came up in the questioning of Sessions, too.Trump's hard-line positions against illegal immigration were central to his campaign in last year's Republican presidential primaries and his general-election race against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee for the White House.Trump at various times suggested his administration would pursue a policy of mass deportation and possibly ban Muslims from entering the country. But none of his ideas gained as much attention as his signature campaign vow to construction a massive wall along the U.S.-Mexico border that he would force Mexico to Continue Reading

From Rio to Hattiesburg: Carey graduate adjusts to U.S., now works for Homeland Security

Emerson Toledo arrived in Hattiesburg from Rio de Janeiro in 2003 when he was 20. It was a big change."The city of Rio has over 7 million people," Toledo, 35, said. "Hattiesburg has 50,000. It was totally different — 50,000 people in Brazil is a rural, rural town."Toledo has grown accustomed to the United States and even became an American citizen in 2012. He now works for the federal Department of Homeland Security as a field representative for the Student and Exchange Visitor program, helping 325 schools in three states comply with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement regulations. But it has been a long journey.When Toledo moved here, he at least knew English. He had gone to a private English-speaking school in Rio."We weren't rich," he said. "My parents only attended school up to middle school. I was able to attend the American School of Rio de Janeiro because my dad was part of the custodial staff."After high school, Toledo worked as an interpreter for two missionaries who graduated from William Carey University. They told him about the school and piqued his interest. He applied, received a good scholarship and was on his way.At Carey, Toledo was one of only 20 international students. But he began to work to change that. He talked to a dean at the school about ways to recruit and retain international students, and the dean proposed starting a new Office of International Admissions, with Toledo in charge."The only experience I had was being an international student," he said. "I knew nothing about policy or regulations."I went to several conferences, interacted with other school officials and learned a lot."Toledo was also learning a lot about life in the U.S. The first time he got into an American-made car, he was puzzled."What does P, R, N, D mean, and what do I do with my left foot?" he wondered. "For several weeks I pushed an imaginary clutch."Then I get to a gas station and roll down my window and hold my Continue Reading

Republicans must keep up the heat on homeland security

The Obama administration has been fiercely on the defense since the Christmas Day bomber's botched attempt to blow up an airplane with his explosives-covered thighs. The administration is operating in campaign mode - issuing statements, messaging through press releases and reactively hitting the airwaves while the President birdies and bogeys his way to the bottom of things. The administration has also been trying to deflect and shift blame - a notorious campaign move - by hammering the GOP for playing politics in the hopes that it will scare off discord. But blaming former President George W. Bush will only make the Obama administration appear devoid of answers. As Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) went after President Obama for his silence in the days that followed the attack, Democrats were pointing out that  Bush had waited as long, if not longer, after the 2001 shoe bombing. As though that's supposed to comfort anyone now. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was busy warning Washington against politicizing the attack. "This should not be a tug of war between the two political parties," he said. Translation: We screwed up. Stop pointing it out. Please. Amazingly, in the breath right after they pleaded for Republicans to stop politicizing, Hill Democrats extended their fingers toward Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) for blocking Obama's nominee to head the Transportation Security Administration. If politicization is good for the donkey, it's good for the elephant. And are congressional Democrats really arguing that one bureaucrat in Washington would have stopped this potential tragedy? But the bigger problem here is the feeble complaint about "politicization." What is wrong with making something a political issue when it demands and deserves the attention of the American people? If by "politicize" Democrats mean they take issue with the GOP demanding answers and investigations and criticizing the administration's ignorant response ("the system Continue Reading

Penzone to Homeland Security: Give me a ‘responsible, ethical and legal solution’ on holding migrants

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone is asking for guidance from the director of the Department of Homeland Security about "courtesy detainers" for suspected immigration-law violators and other areas of immigration enforcement.Penzone, in a letter sent Thursday afternoon to DHS Secretary John Kelly, said he wanted his agency to be strong on issues of crime, including illegal immigration, but said, "I will not violate the law or the constitution so the ends justify the means."On Friday, Penzone ended the longstanding practice of "courtesy holds" on the advice of the Maricopa County Attorney's Office. Because of a threat of litigation, Penzone said, the county jails immediately would end the practice of detaining suspected immigration-law violators for ICE officials for up to 48 hours after a criminal court judge had ordered their release on a state charge.That opinion came in the wake of a lawsuit filed against the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office in December challenging the policy.The action led U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a division of DHS, to characterize the move as a "dangerous change.'' RELATED: No more 'courtesy holds' for federal immigration agents "I am not the only Sheriff and Maricopa is not the only County taking this position. In fact, 43 of the 50 states have counties that cannot enforce courtesy holds due to the illegality of the practice," Penzone said in the letter."For far too long, local law enforcement has been forced to take a position without the support, guidance and resources to accomplish our common goal of public safety. This issue is far too important and has gone on far too long without a responsible, ethical and legal solution."Penzone asked Kelly to help state and local law enforcement by providing "consistent, legal and constitutional guidelines." RELATED:  Police show little appetite for Trump immigration order “I request that DHS immediately prioritize this Continue Reading