WASHINGTON- Today the United States Senate confirmed Chad F. Wolf to become the Under Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Strategy, Policy, and Plans (PLCY) with a bipartisan vote of 54-41. President Donald J. Trump nominated Wolf to the position in February 2019. Under Secretary Wolf has served at the Department in various senior leadership positions since its inception and he brings more than 20 years of experience in the government and private sector to the position.
“I want to thank the President for nominating me to this critical position and for the U.S. Senate for taking action. I have served the Department since inauguration day and am honored to serve as the first Under Secretary for Policy,” said Under Secretary Wolf. “I am continually inspired by the tireless and exemplary work of the men and women of the Office of Policy in support of the Department’s mission.”Keywords: Planning, Policy, Strategy
The Senate Democratic Caucus is hiring a communications specialist. This is a full-time position with benefits, including health, retirement and leave. A communications specialist is an experienced communications professional who coordinates media, public and stakeholder activities for Democratic state senators. Successful candidates must be excellent writers who are able to handle multiple tasks, work well under pressure, meet tight deadlines, be proactive and thrive in a team-oriented work environment. Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree in journalism, public relations, communications or a related field. Applicants should have a passion for the legislative process, excellent political and strategic judgment, and an ability to frame complex political issues into a coherent and simple message. Familiarity with the people, politics and press in the Legislature is a plus. Find a full job description and application details here. Interested candidates should apply by Nov. 22, 2019.
WASHINGTON - Today, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin K. McAleenan, in coordination with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, designated Poland into the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Starting November 11, 2019, citizens and nationals of Poland will be able to apply to travel to the United States for tourism or business purposes for up to 90 days without obtaining a U.S. visa. A strong and vibrant economy is essential to United States national security. According to the U.S. Travel Association, 23 million travelers arrived through the VWP in 2017, whose spending generated $190 billion in economic activity and supported nearly one million jobs.
“The inclusion of Poland into the Visa Waiver Program is a testament to the special relationship that exists between our two countries, and the ongoing friendship and close cooperation on our joint security priorities,” said Acting Secretary McAleenan. “We look forward to continuing to work with the Polish government as we deepen our security cooperation as well as make travel easier for our citizens.”
The Visa Waiver Program is a comprehensive security partnership between the United States and a designated country that meets several requirements related to counterterrorism, law enforcement, immigration enforcement, document security, and border management. The primary goal of the program is to encourage travel while increasing security.
Under the Visa Waiver Program, citizens and nationals of Poland will be able to apply online for authorization to travel to the United States through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). These authorizations are valid for two years. Travelers with B1/B2 visas should continue to use their visa for travel to the United States. While DHS will begin accepting applications on November 11th, the department reminds first-time ESTA applicants that it may take up to 72 hours for processing. ESTA applications may be found here.
This designation demonstrates the strong partnership and cooperation between the United States and Poland, its trusted partner. The Visa Waiver Program will expand cultural ties and strengthen the economy of both nations by encouraging tourism and business exchanges. Poland will be the 39th member of the program. More information on the Visa Waiver Program can be found here.Keywords: International Travel, Visa Waiver Program (VWP)
WASHINGTON – Attorney General William Barr, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan, Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, FBI Director Christopher Wray, U.S. Cyber Command Commander and NSA Director Gen. Paul Nakasone, and CISA Director Christopher Krebs today released the following joint statement:
Today, dozens of states and local jurisdictions are hosting their own elections across the country and, less than a year from now, Americans will go to the polls and cast their votes in the 2020 presidential election. Election security is a top priority for the United States Government. Building on our successful, whole-of-government approach to securing the 2018 elections, we have increased the level of support to state and local election officials in their efforts to protect elections. The federal government is prioritizing the sharing of threat intelligence and providing support and services that improve the security of election infrastructure across the nation.
In an unprecedented level of coordination, the U.S. government is working with all 50 states and U.S. territories, local officials, and private sector partners to identify threats, broadly share information, and protect the democratic process. We remain firm in our commitment to quickly share timely and actionable information, provide support and services, and to defend against any threats to our democracy.
Our adversaries want to undermine our democratic institutions, influence public sentiment and affect government policies. Russia, China, Iran, and other foreign malicious actors all will seek to interfere in the voting process or influence voter perceptions. Adversaries may try to accomplish their goals through a variety of means, including social media campaigns, directing disinformation operations or conducting disruptive or destructive cyber-attacks on state and local infrastructure.
While at this time we have no evidence of a compromise or disruption to election infrastructure that would enable adversaries to prevent voting, change vote counts or disrupt the ability to tally votes, we continue to vigilantly monitor any threats to U.S. elections.
The U.S. government will defend our democracy and maintain transparency with the American public about our efforts. An informed public is a resilient public. Americans should go to trusted sources for election information, such as their state and local election officials. We encourage every American to report any suspicious activity to their local officials, the FBI, or DHS. In past election cycles, reporting by Americans about suspicious activity provided valuable insight which has made our elections more secure. The greatest means to combat these threats is a whole-of-society effort.Keywords: Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Justice (DOJ), Election Security, National Security
WASHINGTON – Below is a statement from Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Kevin K. McAleenan on President Trump’s selection of Chad Wolf, Acting Undersecretary for Policy, to serve as the next Acting Secretary of DHS.
“I’ve had the privilege of working with Chad for more than two years and know his experience in multiple roles at DHS will be invaluable when confronting the homeland security challenges the Department will face. Chad understands what it takes to run a vast enterprise such as the Department. He is a proven, thoughtful, and principled executive and I am confident he will serve the president and the American people well as Acting Secretary.
“I am committed to working with the White House and DHS leadership on a smooth transition and remain forever grateful to the men and women of the Department for their steadfast efforts to secure our country. Over the past six months we were able to make tremendous progress mitigating the border security and humanitarian crisis, developing a bold approach to counter terrorist threats and targeted violence, and supporting our State and local partners to secure the 2020 election. I am confident Chad will carry on the important progress we have made.”
###Keywords: Acting Secretary Kevin K. McAleenan
WASHINGTON – Yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) received the 2019 Leadership in Homeland Security Award from the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) at their annual meeting in Chicago. DHS I&A received the award jointly with the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Boston Police Department.
The IACP’s Leadership in Homeland Security Award annually honors excellence and significant contributions to enhancing homeland security. This award recognizes collaborative efforts that demonstrate significant contributions to information sharing and analytical work in the homeland security enterprise.
DHS I&A, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and the Boston Police Department were honored with this recognition based on their successful collaboration resulting from a DHS report shared via the Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN). The report was evaluated by state and local analysts in Texas and Boston, ultimately leading to an arrest. These efforts represent the operational successes resulting from collaboration between federal, state, and local partners including the value of DHS intelligence products, the effectiveness of HSIN as a unique platform for sharing intelligence between all levels of government, the unique expertise of state and local analysts, and most importantly the impact of intelligence in support of operational activities and investigations.
“Collaboration between the DHS Intelligence Enterprise and our state and local partners is a top priority,” said Under Secretary of I&A and Chief Intelligence Officer David J. Glawe. “The actionable intelligence we provide on a daily basis directly enhances the safety and security of our local communities. Our deployed intelligence professionals and the National Network of Fusion Centers are the cornerstone that enable the seamless sharing of information to keep the nation safe, secure, and resilient.”
Mike Sena, President of the National Fusion Center Association and Chair of the Criminal Intelligence Coordinating Council, also recognized the valuable contributions of DHS I&A.
“DHS I&A’s ability to share strategic and tactical threat information better position state and local partners to detect and defend against a wide array of threats, whether terrorism, cyber, or transnational crime,” said Sena. “I&A continues to be one of most valuable agencies for ensuring state and local partners have the information they need to do their job.”
(From left) DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis Law Enforcement Advisor Tom L'Esperance, Major David Cabrera of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Intelligence and Counterterrorism Division, and Texas DPS Intelligence and Counterterrorism Division Chief Dale Avant jointly accepted the International Association of Chiefs of Police 2019 Leadership in Homeland Security Award.
Keywords: Intelligence Information Sharing, Law Enforcement Partnership
WASHINGTON - As of Oct. 28, the Department of Homeland Security has begun processing migrants for return to Mexico under the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) at the Eagle Pass Port of Entry, in Eagle Pass, Texas. This brings the total number of ports of entry where MPP returns will be made to six. Migrants who attempt to enter the U.S. via the southwest border regardless of location may be returned to Mexico to await their immigration court proceedings. The expansion to Eagle Pass reflects the continued effectiveness and importance of MPP across the southern border.
First implemented in January 2019 in accordance with a law passed by Congress in 1996, the program allows certain aliens to remain in Mexico while awaiting court proceedings in the United States. MPP has been a crucial element of DHS’s success in addressing the ongoing crisis, securing the border, and ending catch and release. Since the peak of the crisis in May 2019, the number of aliens encountered at and between the ports of entry has decreased by 64% overall – and approximately 80% for Central American families.
“The President is using every tool available to address the humanitarian crisis at the border to include domestic policy changes and fostering collaboration with our neighbors in the region. The Migrant Protection Protocols has been a key component to the success we have had addressing the crisis,” said Acting Secretary Kevin K. McAleenan. “We are confident in the program’s integrity and ability to adjudicate asylum claims quickly and with all due process. We have already seen individuals granted asylum, and many more fraudulent or non-meritorious cases closed. MPP has been – and remains – an essential part of these efforts. I am grateful to the government of Mexico for their partnership, including accepting MPP returns at Eagle Pass.”
MPP, which is part of DHS’s broader strategy to address the root causes of the current crisis, has been implemented and expanded in close cooperation with the Government of Mexico at San Diego, Calexico, El Paso, Laredo, and Brownsville and surrounding sectors.
Beginning returns at Eagle Pass is consistent with the U.S.-Mexico Declaration of June 7 to further expand MPP. The Government of Mexico has indicated operational capability to accept returns at Eagle Pass. Aliens returned there will receive notices to appear at the temporary hearing facility in Laredo, Texas, for hearings two to four months in the future.
MPP remains a cornerstone of DHS’ efforts to restore integrity to the U.S. immigration system and relieve the crushing backlog of pending cases. Our nation is more secure because of the program, and migrants with meritorious asylum claims can receive protection in months, rather than waiting in limbos for years.
DHS continues to invest in this critical program despite the potential of adverse court action. Disruption of MPP would negatively impact U.S. foreign relations, risk sparking a renewed humanitarian and security crisis at the border, and most benefit those who seek to profit from human misery.
A detailed assessment of MPP is available by following this link.Keywords: Border Security, Mexico
WASHINGTON – Today, at Department of Homeland Security (DHS) headquarters in Washington, D.C., Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin K. McAleenan, El Salvador Foreign Minister Alexandra Hill, and Acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Ken Cuccinelli announced the two countries have signed a number of documents to implement greater collaboration on information sharing, border and aviation security, and international diplomacy, and announced additional time for El Salvadorans with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to repatriate.
“Today’s agreements will significantly help the U.S. and our partners in El Salvador confront illegal migration and will strengthen the entire region as we approach the implementation of asylum cooperative agreements,” said Acting Secretary McAleenan. “We are again thankful for El Salvador’s leadership in the region and close coordination with the U.S. and DHS. Under President Bukele, El Salvador has proven to be a close and trusted ally to the U.S. Our close geographical proximity, common principles, and democratic values have led to a strong partnership over the years, from addressing historical migration flows to efforts to build a more stable and prosperous region.”
“The agreement between our two countries is a tremendous step forward to address security concerns of aliens entering the U.S. at our Southern border,” said Acting Director Cuccinelli. “We are grateful for the leadership El Salvador has shown in realizing that by working together, we can better assure the safety of our people, discourage illegal immigration, and identify potential threats to both of our countries.”
“The Salvadorans protected by the TPS are admirable people, who have worked for 20 years to build a future of well-being. Now, thanks to President Bukele, we can tell nearly 250,000 fellow citizens and their families that with the support of the United States they can continue to fight for their dreams. They are not alone. We will continue to work 24/7 for a permanent solution” said El Salvador Foreign Minister Alexandra Hill.
Acting Secretary McAleenan and Minister Hill signed two more key arrangements as part of the regional, comprehensive approach to irregular migration.
Under the Border Security Arrangement, the U.S. will deploy officials from U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to advise and mentor their El Salvadoran national police, border security, immigration, and customs counterparts to further enhance their current operation model and share best practices to support criminal investigations, countering human trafficking and drug trafficking.
Through the Biometric Data Sharing Program Arrangement, DHS and El Salvador will enhance cooperation to prevent and combat crime and other threats to public security through the expansion of biometric data collection and information sharing.
The agreements signed today are in addition to the recently signed Asylum Cooperative Agreement between DHS and El Salvador on Sept. 20, 2019.
The U.S. and El Salvador continue to make significant progress on a comprehensive regional approach to addressing irregular migration patterns. The two countries are currently cooperating on several initiatives to reduce the flow of irregular migration and ensure the safety and protection of vulnerable populations, especially children.
Follow this link for a DHS fact sheet of recent agreements with El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala to confront irregular migration and transnational criminal organizations.
The Trump Administration is extending the validity of work permits for El Salvadorans with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) through January 4, 2021. Additionally, the Trump Administration is providing El Salvadorans with TPS an additional 365 days after the conclusion of the TPS-related lawsuits to repatriate back to their home country.
Under President Bukele’s leadership, El Salvador has been a trusted and reliable partner in addressing the crisis at the southwest border and repatriating Salvadorian nationals. The U.S. looks forward to El Salvador’s continued cooperation building asylum capacity and commitment to stopping illegal migration in the region. The United States is the most humanitarian country on earth and will continue to be.
TPS is a legal mechanism to provide temporary status for some foreigners who need humanitarian relief. The Administration’s goal is to create an orderly and responsible process to repatriate Salvadorans and help them return home; however, a sudden inflow of 250,000 individuals to El Salvador could spark another mass migration to the U.S. and reinvigorate the crisis at the southern border. Taking into account these concerns, we have decided to provide additional time to work out that plan. We cannot allow the progress the President has made the past several months to be negated.
Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin K. McAleenan, El Salvador Foreign Minister Alexandra Hill, and Acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Ken Cuccinelli announced the two countries have signed a number of documents to implement greater collaboration on information sharing, border and aviation security, and international diplomacy, and announced additional time for El Salvadorans with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to repatriate. (DHS photo by Tim Godbee)
Acting Secretary McAleenan and Minister Hill signed two more key arrangements as part of the regional, comprehensive approach to irregular migration. (DHS photo by Tim Godbee)
Keywords: Acting Secretary Kevin K. McAleenan, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), International Partnership
Acting Secretary McAleenan and Minister Hill shake hands after signing two more key arrangements as part of the regional, comprehensive approach to irregular migration. (DHS photo by Tim Godbee)
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued the following statement of safety and enforcement during the California Wildfires:
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are concerned about the potential impact of the California wildfires in portions of the state. Our highest priority remains the preservation of life and safety. In consideration of these circumstances, there will be no immigration enforcement initiatives associated with evacuations or sheltering related to the wildfires, except in the event of a serious public safety threat.Keywords: Enforcement, Wildfire
WASHINGTON – At a press conference in San Salvador today following a Central American Regional Ministerial meeting, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin K. McAleenan announced the Trump Administration’s resumption of foreign aid to El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala.
“Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras have been outstanding partners, and I look forward to the continued coordination and collaboration between our governments,” said Acting Secretary McAleenan. “I have confidence that we will continue to take the necessary steps to establish a regional framework for migration management and a safer, more secure region.”
The Ministerial took place in the International Law Enforcement Academy in El Salvador with Guatemalan Minister of Government Enrique Degenhart, Salvadoran Minister of Justice and Public Security Rogelio Rivas, and Honduran Minister of Security Julian Pacheco to discuss further collaboration to confront irregular migration and transnational criminal organizations in the region.
The aid for Central America approved by President Trump funds Department of State and Department of Defense programs that are critical to reduce illegal migration, enhance security, and support recently signed U.S. bilateral agreements with El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
While the President and Acting Secretary McAleenan continue to use every tool available to address the crisis at the U.S. Southwest border, the Department still maintains that Congress should act on durable, permanent immigration solutions.Keywords: Acting Secretary Kevin K. McAleenan, International Partnership
WASHINGTON - On Oct. 16, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a partnership with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Houston Airport System (HAS) Director Mario Diaz, forging an outreach campaign to combat human trafficking through Blue Lightning Initiative (BLI) program.
BLI is an element of the DHS Blue Campaign led by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a DHS agency. BLI trains personnel to combat human trafficking within the commercial aviation industry.
HAS is the first airport system in the country to become a formal BLI partner.
“DHS is proud to announce a BLI partnership with the Houston Airport System,” said Kaitlin Seale, Program Manager DHS Blue Campaign. “Airport employees will play a vital role in combating human trafficking in Houston through identifying possible victims and reporting these suspicions to law enforcement. We look forward to continuing this important relationship and further efforts to combat human trafficking in our Country.”
“The DOT is empowering transportation organizations, employees and the traveling public with the knowledge to recognize and report suspected instances of human trafficking,” said David Short, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs. “This BLI partnership is an impressive step forward, one that highlights the dedication of this community in taking a stand to end human trafficking. It will make a difference in many lives.”
“The City of Houston and the Houston Airport System fully support the anti-human trafficking goals of the BLI,” said Mayor Turner. “This agreement affirms and recognizes our goal to completely eradicate all forms of human trafficking. We will do everything in our power to work with the federal government in ending these heinous crimes.”
“The Houston Airport System remains committed to helping our federal partners in their efforts to combat human trafficking,” said Director Diaz. “The practice of human trafficking is a scourge to humanity, and it must end.”
Prior to Super Bowl LI in Houston in February 2017, HAS promoted awareness and education among volunteers and staff on how to identify possible human trafficking victims.
“Since then, we have taken a highly visible and proactive stance to show that human trafficking is not acceptable at Houston’s airports,” said Director Diaz.
All modes of transportation can be unwitting conduits for human trafficking; thus, with proper awareness and training, employees in the transportation industry can be key assets in identifying and reporting suspicious behavior. The new partnership with HAS, one of the largest airport systems in the world, will further discourage human trafficking activity and all HAS employees will be trained to detect the signs of labor and sex trafficking.
When such suspicions are triggered, employees have been instructed to follow the BLI reporting protocol and expeditiously report tips to the DHS Tip Line number at (866) 347-2423.
Click here to learn more about BLI. For airports, airlines and aviation industry organizations looking to learn more about partnering with BLI to train their employees on human trafficking and reporting options, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for more information.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S Department of Transportation are federal agencies of the U.S. Government and are separate and distinct entities from the Houston Airport System.
(From left) City of Houston Houston Mayor, Sylvester Turner looks on as Judson W. Murdock II, CBP Director of Field Operations Houston speaks about the Blue Lightning Initiative Program.
Keywords: Blue Campaign, Combatting Human Trafficking, Department of Homeland Security (DHS)