“We have lost one of the greatest American patriots to ever serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was so much more than a judge; she was one of America’s greatest champions for justice, in the truest sense of the word. Trudi and I are devastated.
Today, Govs. Jay Inslee and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan issued the following statement after reports that the Trump administration rejected a plan to send hundreds of millions of cloth face masks to every U.S.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its component offices have worked diligently to serve the American people across all fronts while making health and safety precautions a top priority. As the American homeland continues to open up, DHS’s components continue to see a return to pre-COVID operations. Most recently, the Transportation Security Administration saw an uptick in travel over Labor Day Weekend.
“Passenger volume on the busiest day of the Labor Day weekend was up 30% from the busiest day of the July Fourth holiday weekend. This is an encouraging trend for the aviation sector as airports, airlines, and TSA work together to ensure a secure and safe travel experience for passengers,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “For travelers who have not flown since the beginning of the pandemic, the TSA checkpoint experience will be noticeably different as compared to last year. Passengers also play an important role in helping us ensure they safely and efficiently get through security screening at our airports while wearing masks and respecting social distancing.”
Providing Grants to States for Supplemental Lost Wages Payments. To ease the economic burden for those struggling with lost wages due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, President Trump authorized FEMA to expend up to $44 billion from the Disaster Relief Fund for lost wage payments. As of September 14th, Administrator Gaynor has approved 49 states, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia for FEMA grants under this unprecedented program. FEMA’s grant funding will allow the approved states to provide those unemployed due to COVID-19 $300 or 400 per week on top of their regular unemployment benefit. As of September 14th, FEMA has awarded more than $35 Billion in support of Lost Wages supplemental assistance. All approved grant applicants receive an initial obligation of three weeks of funding, with additional disbursements made on a weekly basis.
Providing Full Federal Reimbursement for States’ National Guard Forces. On August 3rd, President Trump granted an extension for the use of the National Guard under Federal Title 32 orders to respond to COVID-19 until December 31, 2020. As of September 14th, 16,398 National Guard troops have activated in T-32 duty status and 239 troops have activated in State Active Duty status to help with testing and other response efforts. To date, President Trump has approved 49 National Guard requests for federal support for the use of National Guard personnel in a Title 32 duty status through December 31. For those states and territories that are approved under these criteria, FEMA executed a fully reimbursable mission assignment to the Department of Defense, including reimbursement for pay and allowances of National Guard personnel serving in a Title 32 duty status in fulfillment of the FEMA mission assignment.
Coordinating Deployment of Federal Personnel to Support States’ Efforts. FEMA continues to lead the operational coordination for the federal interagency response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of September 14th, there are over 19,831 federal personnel deployed across the country from FEMA, HHS, CDC, DoD, National Guard, and VA to support state, local, tribal and territorial COVID-19 response efforts. FEMA and our interagency partners are constantly tailoring staffing and resources across agencies, ensuring we can provide support when and where it’s needed most.
Graduating the Next Generation Of Law Enforcement: As of September 11, nearly 2,800 officers and agents have successfully graduated and are now in the field performing work that is critical to protect the homeland since training was restarted on June 17. There are currently 2,179 students attending in-residence training at Glynco, Charleston, and Artesia training delivery points. There are an additional 82 students attending training at the Cheltenham training delivery point. Their graduation in the coming months and the continual influx of new students ensures that our federal law enforcement partners receive the trained personnel they need to help keep our nation secure.
Driving Evidence-Based Policymaking. On September 9, the DHS Science and Technology Directorate updated its Master Question List (MQL), and does so weekly, to compile available research on operationally-relevant questions to aid decision makers in the COVID-19 response. The MQL is a quick-reference guide covering what is known about the virus, what additional information is needed, and who may be working to address these fundamental questions. New entries include:
Keeping Americans Safe While Ensuring Continuity of U.S. Travel and Commerce. Between Sept. 6th through Sept 12th, TSA screened more than 5,046,043 passengers, who have all reached their destinations safely. TSA officers are required to wear facial protection and gloves while on duty at the checkpoint. In support of air travel and all other modes of transportation, the agency continues to follow CDC guidance to protect Americans, its workers, and the nation’s transportation system. TSA continues to promote its “Stay Healthy. Stay Secure” campaign which outlines significant airport checkpoint modifications, including new technologies that reduce or eliminate physical contact, implemented to contain the spread of COVID-19, comply with CDC guidelines, and promote healthy and secure summer travel.
Ready to Ensure Safety During the Summer Travel Period. On September 8th, TSA issued a press release announcing it had screened nearly 1 million passengers on Sept 4 as well as surpassed 3 million passengers during the Labor Day weekend. In the announcement, the agency spotlighted its push to aggressively implement self-service and touchless technologies to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. On September 9th, TSA issued a press release regarding the deployment of a new CT scanner at Eppley Airfield that allows the TSA officer to view a 3-D image that can be rotated on three axes for thorough visual image analysis by a TSA officer. Such technologies help TSA officers to clear items without having to open the bag, thus reducing physical contact with the traveler’s property. On September 10th, TSA announced the deployment of new acrylic barriers at checkpoints throughout La Guardia Airport in NYC. The acrylic barriers are part of TSA’s efforts to minimize contact between TSA officers and passengers. On September 11, TSA hosted a commemoration ceremony in honor of the victims of the 9/11 attacks. TSA Administrator David Pekoske said:
“September 11th was a traumatic day and a tragedy that continues to be felt by all Americans, including many TSA employees who were directly affected by the attacks and subsequently joined the newly-formed agency. We continue to commemorate this day to comfort each other, to strengthen our resolve and to recommit ourselves to the mission entrusted to us by our fellow Americans. We also continue to aggressively adapt and mature as an agency in the face of new challenges. The pandemic has given us a renewed urgency in our pursuit of new solutions to enhance transportation security.”
Monitoring Vessels that Pose a Risk to Public Health. As of September 11th, the USCG is tracking 56 cruise ships moored, at anchor, or underway in vicinity of a U.S. port, or with potential to arrive in a US port, with approximately 9,340 crewmembers. This includes an estimated 200 American Citizens crewmembers dispersed among 33 vessels. The Coast Guard is working with the CDC based on its extension of the No Sail Order for cruise ships, which permits the off-loading of crewmembers following submission of a plan to the CDC.
Reservists. As of September 11th, the USCG has recalled and deployed 429 Reservists in support of COVID-19 operations. They are activated to serve in numerous types of roles, including work in IT support, medical clinics, PPE warehouses, command centers and other incident management roles, notably assisting federal partners such as HHS, and supporting state emergency operations centers on behalf of FEMA.
Keeping the Public Safe from COVID-19-related Fraud. ICE’s Operation Stolen Promise (OSP) targets fraudulent activity stemming from the pandemic. The initiative combines ICE’s Homeland Security Investigation’s (HSI) expertise in global trade investigations, financial fraud, and cyber investigations with robust private and public partnerships to disrupt and dismantle this criminal activity and strengthen global supply-chain security. As of September 8, as part of OSP, the agency has made 83 criminal arrests, analyzed 61,424 COVID-19-related domains, seized more than $10,045,590 million in illicit proceeds, disrupted 48 instances of illicit activity, sent 1,339 leads to domestic and international field offices, executed 97 search warrants and made 1,117 COVID-19 related seizures to include prohibited test kits and pharmaceuticals, counterfeit masks and more.
Getting American Citizens Home Safe. As of September 14, 2020, CBP had referred 790,444 travelers at the 15 funneling airports to DHS CWMD for enhanced health screening. CBP also continues to collaborate on a daily basis with the Department of State (DOS) to facilitate the safe travel of American citizens currently abroad to return home. CBP also works closely with DOS and foreign consulates to review 212(f) National Interest Waiver requests.Keywords: Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Transportation Security Administration (TSA), U.S. Coast Guard (USCG)
Updated Dates: April 21, 2020, May 20, 2020, June 16, 2020, July 16, 2020, August 14, 2020
Original Date: March 23, 2020
In order to limit the further spread of coronavirus, the U.S. has reached agreements with both Canada and Mexico to limit all non-essential travel across borders. Working closely and collaboratively, the Department of Homeland Security is part of a North American approach to stop the spread of the virus.
Additionally, CBP will no longer detain illegal immigrants in our holding facilities and will immediately return these aliens to the country they entered from – Canada or Mexico. Where such a return is not possible, CBP will return these aliens to their country of origin.
These measures were implemented on March 21, 2020 and were originally in place for 30 days, subject to reevaluation and further extension in light of the fluid nature of the coronavirus pandemic. On April 20, 2020, these measures were extended for an additional 30 days; on May 19, 2020, these measures were extended until June 22, 2020; on June 16, 2020, these measures were once again extended until July 21, 2020; and on July 16, 2020, these measures were extended until August 20, 2020. On August 14, 2020, these measure were once again extended through September 21, 2020. On September 18, 2020, these measures were again extended until October 21, 2020.
The U.S., Mexican, and Canadian governments are taking necessary action to fight against this pandemic together.
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The US-Canada land border serves as an economic engine that supports over $1.7 billion (USD) dollars in daily cross-border trade. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States and Canada are temporarily restricting all non-essential travel across its borders. In each of our countries, we are encouraging people to exercise caution by avoiding unnecessary contact with others. This collaborative and reciprocal measure is an extension of that prudent approach.
“Non-essential” travel includes travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature.
The United States and Canada recognize it is critical we preserve supply chains between both countries. These supply chains ensure that food, fuel, and life-saving medicines reach people on both sides of the border. Supply chains, including trucking, will not be impacted by this new measure. Americans and Canadians also cross the land border every day to do essential work or for other urgent or essential reasons, and that travel will not be impacted.
This decision was implemented on March 21, 2020, at which time the US and Canada will temporarily restrict all non-essential travel across the US-Canada land border. These measures were originally in place for 30 days, subject to reevaluation and further extension in light of the fluid nature of the coronavirus pandemic. On May 19, 2020 these measures were once again extended until June 22, 2020. On August 14, 2020, these measures were again extended until September 21, 2020. On September 18, 2020, these measures were again extended until October 21, 2020.
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The strong partnership and close cooperation between the United States and Mexico has allowed us to maintain a productive border environment. We value the health and safety of our citizens and keep that at the forefront of joint decisions made by our respective leaders regarding cross-border operations.
Recognizing the robust trade relationship between the United States and Mexico, we agree our two countries, in response to the ongoing global and regional health situation, require particular measures both to protect bilateral trade and our countries’ economies and ensure the health of our nations’ citizens. We agree to the need for a dedicated joint effort to prevent spread of the COVID-19 virus and address the economic effects resulting from reduced mobility along our shared border.
The U.S. and Mexican governments further recognize critical services such as food, fuel, healthcare and life-saving medicines must reach people on both sides of the border every day. Essential travel must therefore continue unimpeded during this time. In order to ensure that essential travel can continue, the United States and Mexico are also temporarily restricting all non-essential travel across its borders.
“Non-essential” travel includes travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature. Additionally, we are encouraging people to exercise caution by avoiding unnecessary contact with others.
This collaborative and reciprocal initiative is an extension of our nations’ prudent approach that values the health and safety of our citizens in the joint decisions made by our respective leaders regarding cross-border operations.
This joint initiative will commence at 00:01 Saturday, March 21 throughout the US-Mexico land border. These measures were originally in place for 30 days, subject to reevaluation and further extension in light of the fluid nature of the coronavirus pandemic. On May 19, 2020 these measures were once again extended until June 22, 2020. On August 14, 2020, these measures were again extended until September 21, 2020. On September 18, 2020, these measures were again extended until October 21, 2020.
CBP is the first line of defense of our nation’s borders. To help prevent the introduction of COVID-19 into our border facilities and into our country, aliens subject to the order will not be held in congregate areas for processing by CBP and instead will immediately be turned away from ports of entry.
Those encountered between ports of entry after illegally crossing the border similarly will not be held in congregate areas for processing and instead, to the maximum extent feasible, will immediately be returned to their country of last transit. These aliens are processed in stations designed for short-term processing, where distancing is not a viable option, creating a serious danger of an outbreak.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined that these conditions present a serious infection control challenge and are a risk to public health. Should an outbreak occur at these facilities, local medical facilities would be forced to devote extensive resources and may become overwhelmed.
This action will also protect the health of our country’s dedicated border agents and other law enforcement personnel, who are vital to the security of our Nation.
Apprehension of illegal immigrants along both borders between POEs:
Although CBP has policies and procedures in place to handle transmittable diseases, COVID-19 will impact already strained holding capacities and place an extreme burden on what is forecasted to be a stretched healthcare system and the nation’s critical medical professionals who are needed to attend to U.S. citizens and legal residents.
Migrants should shelter-in-place in their homes and communities, rather than attempting a long and dangerous journey to the United States borders at the hands of traffickers and smugglers.
U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents and certain other travelers are exempt from this action. They will receive the same processing, evaluation and potential CDC medical screening that all entrants undergo at U.S. Ports of Entry.
Effective at March 21, 2020 at 12:00 a.m. EDT, CBP will, as authorized, implement CDC authority under 42 U.S.C. § 265 to prohibit entry of certain persons into the United States. CBP will assist the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to protect against the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) by implementing the emergency authorities under 42 U.S.C. § 265 at the nation’s land borders to prohibit the introduction of certain persons in the interest of public health.
CORONAVIRUS CASE COUNTS & COUNTY UPDATES Pierce County holding on to lower COVID-19 case totals but not yet ready for Phase 3 (The News Tribune) BUSINESS, ECONOMY & LABOR Hiring plummets in Washington state as employers look to an uncertain autumn and a long recovery (The Seattle Times) Workforce Southwest Washington gets funding for virus... Read more »
YAKIMA, Wash. — A federal judge in Yakima, Wash., today granted Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s request to grant a nationwide injunction forcing the U.S. Postal Service to immediately halt drastic operational changes.
Judge Stanley A. Bastian's order requires the Postal Service to:
CORONAVIRUS CASE COUNTS & COUNTY UPDATES COVID-19 outbreak at Port Orchard nursing home linked to 16 cases (Kitsap Sun) Cowlitz County investigating COVID cases at long-term care facilities (The Daily News) 300 visitors to Washington chiropractic office asked to quarantine over potential coronavirus exposure (The Oregonian) BUSINESS, ECONOMY & LABOR State unemployment rate drops as... Read more »
On Wednesday, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) refused DHS’s multiple offers to have a senior department official present at a hearing on worldwide threats.
In response to this transparent and brazen attempt at beltway political theater, Senior Official Performing the Duties of Deputy Secretary (SOPDDS) Ken Cuccinelli issued the following statement:
Chairman Thompson can complain all he wants, but the facts are clear, and they are not on his side. Longstanding precedent says that pending nominees don’t testify to other committees as their nomination is pending. In light of that precedent, DHS offered to accommodate their request to hear about threats. I had testimony prepared and had my schedule clear to show up at this morning’s hearing. Instead, the committee majority decided that they would rather put on a show for the media. Instead of serving the American people and working to keep them safe, they would rather use the American people’s time and money to stage a political spectacle. Sadly, putting politics ahead of public safety has become far too common for many politicians across the country in recent months, and the swamp is no exception.
SOPDDS Cuccinelli’s full prepared and submitted testimony for Thursday’s hearing can be found here.
In response to the House Homeland Security Committee’s brazenly partisan and unnecessary subpoena of Secretary Chad Wolf issued last week, Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs sent a letter to Chairman Thompson Wednesday once again reiterating the department’s standing offer to accommodate the committee by sending the department’s second in command, Senior Official Performing the Duties of Deputy Secretary (SOPDDS) Ken Cuccinelli.
Assistant Secretary Spivey’s most-recent letter to Chairman Thompson can be found here.
Furthermore, the majority has demanded that the acting head of the department appear at this hearing; however, have not placed the same requirement on either the Department of Justice or the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which are being represented by the FBI director and the National Counterterrorism Center director, respectively.
SOPDDS Cuccinelli’s availability was just the latest of good-faith efforts to accommodate the committee’s requests:
The details of these accommodation efforts are laid out plainly the September 11 letter, which can be read in full here.Keywords: Congress, Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
9:00 a.m., Thursday, September 17, 2020
310 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, DC
Good morning Chairman Thompson, Ranking Member Rogers, and distinguished members of the Committee. Thank you for the opportunity to testify before you on behalf of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regarding today’s threats to the Homeland. Born out of the ashes of 9/11, the American people tasked DHS with one purpose: to protect this great Nation and keep our citizens safe.
As Acting Secretary Wolf said in his recent State of the Homeland remarks, “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.”
Although the threats facing our nation 17 years ago when DHS was founded have evolved significantly, DHS continues to be motivated to adapt in order to address these new and emerging threats.;
DHS addresses these emerging threats with a clear mandate from President Trump: the safety, security and prosperity of the American people comes first. DHS, using our unique authorities, and in collaboration with our federal, state and local partners, will continue to make good on this promise.
Indeed, under the leadership of President Trump, the 240,000 men and women of the DHS family have been empowered to overcome new and challenging threats, as well as accomplish our enduring no-fail missions. Specifically:
Nearly four years ago, the American people elected President Trump with a mandate to secure our borders and enact an America First immigration policy.
To stem the tide of human smuggling, drug smuggling, and criminal gangs flooding across our border and into our country, the Trump Administration has constructed more than 300 miles of the border wall system. Our work is not finished. We are on track to complete 450 miles by the end of 2020.
We have interdicted more than 4 million pounds of illegal drugs on the Southern Border, including methamphetamine, cocaine, as well as fentanyl and drug analogues originating from China. Most of these drugs are supplied by transnational crime organizations making billions in profits while tens of thousands of Americans die due to overdoses. With these effort’s, the Trump Administration has inhibited the ability of these transnational criminal organization to further devastate our communities—including every congressional district in America.
Building the wall system is not a stand-alone solution to these problems. The wall fits into a greater, holistic approach to secure the border.
Through President Trump’s diplomatic agreements and arrangements with our neighbors to the south, our allies have taken steps to secure their own borders. These include historic border security arrangements with Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. A secure Mexico means a secure United States. A secure Honduras means a secure United States. A secure El Salvador and a secure Guatemala means a secure United States.
Under President Trump, we have made regulatory changes to enforce our immigration laws as Congress originally intended. We also have been able to enact a common-sense approach that not only supports our national security requirements but also protects the American worker. We have done so by terminating the dangerous “catch and release policy” and closing loopholes that led to asylum fraud and employment authorization abuse.
Our immigration system is not only designed to support national security requirements, but also protect American workers. Tightening our immigration system also fortifies economic security.
The days are over of looking the other direction while allowing unfettered illegal foreign labor to flood our domestic labor markets, depress American wages, and strain our municipalities.
The nation continues to face threats from foreign and domestic terrorists inside our borders—the threats that animated the Department’s founding. I’m proud to stand with the Acting Secretary and say that DHS has taken unprecedented actions to address all forms of violent extremism.
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 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.
We recently released a Public Action Plan that outlines dozens of separate actions across the DHS enterprise designed to combat domestic terrorism, and just yesterday announced our FY20 Terrorism Prevention grant recipients.
Let me be clear: DHS stands in absolute opposition to any form of violent extremism. We will continue our daily efforts to combat all forms of domestic terror.
Of all the threats DHS has confronted in the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has posed one of the most formidable, rapidly evolving, and uniquely challenging.
President Trump’s decisive and rapid action led our federal government to pursue a Whole-of-America response, which continues to deliver results through a locally-executed, state-managed, and federally-supported strategy.
Early on, President Trump acted swiftly, banning travel from hot spots like China, to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. Despite criticism from certain politicians, the President’s action saved lives. Our efforts to secure the border also directly correspond to DHS’ unique authorities and mission to combat the spread of COVID-19.
CBP and FEMA play a particularly important role in serving the American people during this crisis.
On the domestic front, FEMA has marshalled all available resources to support President Trump’s strategy to combat the pandemic and safely reopen America. 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.
Following the emergency declaration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requested DHS assistance in enforcing the Director’s order issued under Title 42, which suspended the introduction into the United States of certain persons from countries where a communicable disease exists. To date, CBP has halted and expelled over 90 percent of aliens crossing the Southern Border within two hours of encountering them—an incredible feat and of critical importance to the public health and the protection of our workforce in response to COVID.
Under President Trump’s direction, we utilized the Defense Production Act to procure more than 220 million respirators from the 3M Company, saving American lives. By taking historic action to better collaborate with the private sector, we have helped deliver and allocate billions of pieces of scarce PPE to our frontline healthcare workers and first responders.
FEMA has delivered millions of units of personal protective equipment (PPE) to our federal, state, territorial, and tribal government partners, allocated billions of dollars in public and individual assistance, and provided tremendous guidance to local officials.
In August, in the absence of Congressional action, President Trump authorized FEMA to use $44 billion from the Disaster Relief Fund to alleviate the effects of lost wages due to COVID-19, allowing states to make supplemental payments to those receiving unemployment insurance compensation. FEMA acted in short order. As of September 8, FEMA has already provided more than $29 billion to 47 states for Lost Wages Assistance to support American workers.
While responding to the pandemic, we have simultaneously worked to combat the violence that has erupted in several metropolitan areas across the country.
In cities like Portland, Oregon, arsonists, looters, and agitators attacked federal property, law enforcement officers, and local small businesses.
For more than 60 days, DHS law enforcement personnel in Portland were under siege by a violent mob intent on destroying a federal courthouse. Federal law requires DHS to protect buildings, grounds, and property that are owned, occupied, or secured by the Federal government and the people on that property. Despite hundreds of injuries, our officers courageously held the line and fulfilled their statutory duty to defend federal property.
President Trump has offered federal assistance to every community that has suffered from this type of violence. DHS is proud to support our Department of Justice counterparts as they execute their Constitutional mandate to keep order in American cities when requested by our local partners and governments.
DHS is ready to assist in restoring peace should the communities request our support.
The Department continues our role overseeing natural disaster response efforts during these unprecedented times.
DHS recognized early on that we would likely have to respond to the 2020 hurricane season while also continuing our efforts to counter COVID-19.
As Hurricane Laura was about to make landfall just last month, President Trump immediately authorized emergency disaster declarations for Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas. And DHS personnel are responding to Hurricane Sally as we speak.
The President’s decisive action and FEMA’s prevention and preparedness measures continue to enable DHS to rapidly respond to that hurricane and any future natural disasters.
DHS is committed to ensuring that our election system functions free from interference, both foreign and domestic. In that vein, the Administration has continually called out malign actors, such as China, Russia, and Iran, which seek to interfere in our elections and threaten our democracy.
DHS, through our Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), continues to make progress securing the election systems and our nation’s critical infrastructure. The 2018 midterm elections were the most secure in modern history, and DHS is working diligently with state and local election officials to make the 2020 elections even more secure.
As such, CISA is currently working with representatives from all 50 states, thousands of local jurisdictions, and our election technology partners to make sure they have the resources they need to keep our elections secure and resilient.
Cyber threats to the homeland, from both state affiliated actors and cyber criminals have been and will remain one of the most prominent threats facing our nation. All levels of government and entities across the private sector, to include the vast array of critical infrastructure upon which we rely, are facing a constant barrage of multifaceted cyber-enabled threats. These threats are designed to access and collect sensitive information, to hold operational technology at risk, and interrupt the accessibility of vital networks.
DHS, including through the operations of CISA, the United States Secret Service, the U.S. Coast Guard, ICE-Homeland Security Investigations, and the Transportation Security Administration, is, leveraging its full suite of authorities to mitigate this cyber threat, increase the resilience of those systems upon which our critical infrastructure sectors rely and impose costs on malicious cyber actors looking to leverage vulnerabilities for financial or other gain.
In addition, DHS, through its Science and Technology Directorate, works in collaboration with CISA and our federal partners to characterize and better understand emerging technological and science-based threats facing our nation's critical infrastructure.
Surveying the threat landscape, one menacing actor is ever-present—China.
In the midst of our complex challenges, DHS must also confront an aggressive nation-state. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) seeks to assert its influence in both overt and covert ways to achieve a variety of geopolitical and domestic goals. The Peoples Republic of China’s (PRC) increasingly aggressive and bold actions—from undermining long-standing Hong Kong autonomy to attempting to build a data collection network that spans the globe—imperils the United States and the international rules-based order that DHS has helped to sustain and enforce since its inception.
Across a wide range of policy spheres, from threatening U.S. economic security and prosperity, to undermining the core notion of a secure representative democratic process, DHS is on the frontline of growing tensions with the PRC.
President Trump has taken unprecedented action issuing a presidential proclamation restricting travel of certain Chinese graduate students and researchers with ties to entities in China supporting China’s military-civil fusion strategy to prevent them from stealing and otherwise appropriating sensitive research. DHS is working closely with the Department of State to enforce that presidential proclamation.
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 forced labor from entering our markets and demanding that China respect the inherent dignity of each human being. CBP continued that effort just this week with the announcement of five Withhold Release Orders.
At our borders and our ports of entry, we are leveraging technology and innovation to target and interdict deadly Chinese-made fentanyl and fentanyl-like substances before they can destroy American communities and take American lives.
DHS is working with our interagency and industry colleagues to protect our information and communications infrastructure from intellectual property theft and nefarious data collection by China.
China’s relentless barrage of attacks aimed at undermining American workers, American economic dominance, and the American way of life cannot be allowed to stand—and under President Trump, it won’t. A policy of appeasement is not an option; it is a proven road to failure.
The power dynamic DHS is witnessing between the United States and China will be a focus for many years to come. In the near-term, DHS will continue to relentlessly respond to the threat posed by Beijing, consistent with the National Security Strategy and the Strategic Approach to the People’s Republic of China.
DHS continues to demonstrate its ability to take on and overcome wide ranging and diverse threats.
As we seek to fulfill our mission, the men and women of DHS look forward to continued cooperation with Congress so that together we can keep our citizens safe and secure.
Thank you again. I will now be happy to take your questions.Keywords: Congress, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Homeland Security
WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security has awarded $10 million to 29 select projects to support the development of a nationwide Terrorism and Targeted Violence Prevention (TVTP) Framework. These awards were made through a competitive process under the Fiscal Year 2020 Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention Grant Program.
“With these grants, DHS has prioritized programs aimed at improving communities’ ability to prevent individuals from mobilizing or radicalizing to violence. These programs will create or enhance locally-based prevention frameworks to address these emerging threats,” said Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad F. Wolf. “DHS stands in absolute opposition to violent extremism, no matter its motivation or form. We will continue our constant efforts to combat all forms of domestic terror.”
These projects address the wide range of violent ideologies and mobilization factors that lead to targeted violence. This Fiscal Year’s program prioritized countering domestic terrorism. The TVTP Grant Program builds on the promising practices in the field of prevention. It is the only federal grant program dedicated to enhancing prevention capabilities in local communities.
Projects selected under the TVTP Grant Program cover many aspects of prevention, including building resilience, intervention, recidivism prevention, and reintegration programs at the local level. The projects selected directly support the objectives of the September 2019 DHS Strategic Framework for Countering Terrorism and Targeted Violence. Making these funds available for local prevention partners is a key milestone in the implementation of the Strategic Framework.
DHS evaluated 95 eligible applicants based on selection criteria, prioritization of grant program objective, and diversity of applicant types, activities, and geographic distribution as outlined in the FY20 Notice of Funding Opportunity. TVTP Grant Program funds support the development of local prevention capabilities at a time when DHS is observing an uptick in online efforts for terrorism recruitment and radicalization from a variety of sectors.
For more information, including full list of grant awardees, please see the TVTP Grant Program site at https://www.dhs.gov/tvtpgrants.Keywords: Grant, Grant Funding, Terrorism
CORONAVIRUS CASE COUNTS & COUNTY UPDATES Washington state reports 327 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday and 9 deaths (Tri-City Herald) Washington state surpasses 2,000 COVID deaths (The Spokesman-Review) Lower number of new COVID-19 case counts reported in area (Walla Walla Union-Bulletin) 3 new deaths reported from COVID-19 in Tri-Cities area; new cases very low (KEPR TV)... Read more »
Defunct for-profit school pressured students into accepting terms of high-interest PEAKS loans
"Trudi and I are saddened by the death of Bill Gates Sr., a monumental civic figure in our region and the world at large.
On Monday, Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Joseph Cuffari sent a letter to House Chairs Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) declining to issue an opinion on the Government Accountability Office’s erroneous and partisan August 14 report on the succession of leadership at DHS.
DHS Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs Alexei Woltornist issued the following statement on Inspector General Cuffari’s letter:
"The inspector general has concurred with what both the facts and the law made clear from the start: GAO’s report was erroneous, non-binding, and issued under highly questionable authority under federal law. Once again, the department urges GAO to reconsider its incorrect and transparently partisan report for the sake of the truth as well as the office’s dwindling reputation as a supposedly nonpartisan oversight mechanism."Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Office of Inspector General (OIG)
CORONAVIRUS CASE COUNTS & COUNTY UPDATES Washington state reports 312 new COVID-19 cases Monday and 15 deaths from weekend (The News Tribune) County adds 76 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend (The Columbian) Timeline of St. Michael’s COVID-19 outbreak: Why was the public not notified sooner about the virus’ spread? (Kitsap Sun) Walla Walla County... Read more »
Gov. Jay Inslee today extended two proclamations related to truck driver hours.
CORONAVIRUS CASE COUNTS & COUNTY UPDATES Washington state reports 350 new COVID-19 cases (The News Tribune) Coronavirus updates: State reaches 79,826 cases (The News Tribune) Three deaths linked to St. Michael’s COVID-19 outbreak, Kitsap Public Health reports (Kitsap Sun) Tri-Cities COVID cases up last week. State health officials concerned (Tri-City Herald) Umatilla numbers jump Friday... Read more »
WASHINGTON – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued five Withhold Release Orders (WRO) today on products from the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The products subject to the WROs are produced with state-sponsored forced labor in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, where the Chinese government is engaged in systemic human rights abuses against the Uyghur people and other ethnic and religious minorities.
“By taking this action, DHS is combating illegal and inhumane forced labor, a type of modern slavery, used to make goods that the Chinese government then tries to import into the United States. When China attempts to import these goods into our supply chains, it also disadvantages American workers and businesses,” said Acting DHS Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli. “President Trump and this Department have, and always will, put American workers and businesses first and protect American citizens from participating in these egregious human rights violations.”
“The Trump Administration will not stand idly by and allow foreign companies to subject vulnerable workers to forced labor while harming American businesses that respect human rights and the rule of law,” said Acting CBP Commissioner Mark A. Morgan. “Today’s Withhold Release Orders send a clear message to the international community that we will not tolerate the illicit, inhumane, and exploitative practices of forced labor in U.S. supply chains.”
The new WROs direct CBP Officers at all ports of entry to withhold release on the following goods:
“The series of actions CBP has taken against imports from China demonstrates the pervasive use of unethical and inhumane labor conditions in China, and CBP will not turn a blind eye,” said Brenda Smith, Executive Assistant Commissioner of CBP’s Office of Trade. “Allowing goods produced using forced labor into the U.S. supply chain undermines the integrity of our imports. American consumers deserve and demand better.”
In Fiscal Year 2020, CBP has issued an unprecedented 12 WROs in a single fiscal year, including 8 WROs on products from China. All WROs are publicly available and listed by country on CBP’s Forced Labor Withhold Release Orders and Findings webpage.
Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1307) prohibits the importation of all goods and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in any foreign country by forced labor, convict labor, or/and indentured labor under penal sanctions, including forced child labor. CBP combats import risks, detects high-risk activity, deters non-compliance, disrupts fraudulent behavior, and thoroughly investigates allegations of forced labor.
CBP receives allegations of forced labor from a variety of sources, including the general public. Any person or organization that has reason to believe merchandise produced with the use of forced labor is being, or likely to be, imported into the United States can report detailed allegations by contacting CBP through the e-Allegations Online Trade Violation Reporting System or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT.Keywords: Chinese, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Trade
In September 2019, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued its Strategic Framework for Countering Terrorism and Targeted Violence (CTTV Framework) and now offers this corresponding Public Action Plan demonstrating the Department’s efforts to combat emerging threats and improve information sharing. The Public Action Plan provides a high-level outline of the goals set by DHS, including efforts to secure cyberspace, deter lone wolf attacks, and secure soft targets such as churches and schools, along with the ability to dynamically modify DHS resources as new threats emerge.
“Nineteen years ago today, the American people came to understand the threat of terrorism in a new way. With the subsequent establishment of DHS, our nation vowed to prevent, disrupt, and deter terrorism of all sorts,” said Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad F. Wolf. “Today, DHS continues to take unprecedented actions to address all forms of violent extremism. This new framework draws upon the Department’s intelligence, prevention, and preparedness capabilities and lays out discrete actions DHS will undertake to further safeguard our communities, schools, places of worship, cyberspace, and public gatherings.”
In September 2019, the CTTV Framework was published. In September 2020, the Department finalized the Public Action Plan—the public version of the Department’s internal Implementation Plan, also finalized this year. Collectively, these documents describe specific actions and milestones to achieve the CTTV Framework’s goals.
This Public Action Plan does not describe the full complement of actions the Department is taking to combat terrorism and targeted violence. Rather, it provides an overview and examples of our work in order to be transparent with the American people and to underscore the Department’s commitment to fulfilling the goals and objectives outlined in the CTTV Framework.
Goals of the framework include:
Beginning in FY21, DHS will provide annual assessments to the salient congressional committees. By 2023, DHS will demonstrate measured improvements in its ability to understand current threats and accurately forecast emerging ones; detect threats before they reach the United States and deny terrorists’ attempts to enter our Nation; prevent terrorism and targeted violence in our communities; and enhance our infrastructure and community preparedness.
The successful implementation of the CTTV Framework will achieve a strategic end-state characterized by an adept and continually adapting Homeland Security Enterprise (HSE)—empowered by private sector and civil society partnerships—that successfully prevents, detects, deters, dissuades, disrupts, and responds to evolving terrorist and targeted violence threats.Counterterrorism, Targeted Violence
CORONAVIRUS CASE COUNTS & COUNTY UPDATES Washington state reports 458 new COVID-19 cases Thursday and seven deaths (The News Tribune) AGRICULTURE & WATER Farmers adjust potato harvest for COVID-19 safety (Skagit Valley Herald) Warnick: Inslee overstepped in Agritourism proclamation (Washington Ag Network/KONA Radio) Farm worker housing emergency rule update increases worker protections (iFiberOne) BUSINESS, ECONOMY... Read more »
DHS Enforcing Critical Identification Requirements to Protect the Homeland
WASHINGTON - The Department of Homeland Security (DHS or the Department) is announcing that after more than 15 years since Congress passed the REAL ID Act, all 50 states are now in full compliance issuing these cards, with most states becoming compliant in the last four years. To date, the 50 states have issued more than 105 million REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards, representing 38 percent of all driver’s licenses and identification card holders.
On October 1, 2021 – less than 13 months away – full enforcement of REAL ID will take effect at all federally regulated airports, federal facilities, and nuclear power plants.
The Department continues to urge Americans to obtain a REAL ID-compliant card or acceptable alternative, such as a U.S. passport or passport card prior to the October 1, 2021 enforcement deadline.
Passed by Congress in 2005 following a 9/11 Commission recommendation, the REAL ID Act establishes minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards and prohibits federal agencies, like the Transportation Security Administration, from accepting licenses and identification cards for official purposes from states that do not meet these standards after specific deadlines.
Security standards include incorporating anti-counterfeiting technology, preventing insider fraud, and using documentary evidence and record checks to ensure a person is who he or she claims to be. It also prohibits federal agencies from accepting non-compliant licenses and identification cards for access to federal facilities, nuclear power plants, and commercial aircraft. These standards have significantly improved the reliability and accuracy of state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards.
Because of the potential for confusion about the REAL ID Act enforcement milestones, residents can use the following guidelines to be fully informed and prepared.
DHS continues working closely with all states and territories to implement REAL ID Act requirements. The women and men of DHS will continue to work tirelessly to keep our country and our people safe.Keywords: Acting Secretary Chad Wolf, REAL ID Act of 2005
As communities across America continue to re-open with COVID-19 safeguards and prevention measures in place, the Department remains focused on ensuring communities are protected from fraudulent COVID-19 products and from individuals who seek to exploit the system.
“Operation Stolen Promise continues to show tremendous results in its ongoing efforts to protect the American people from fraudulent coronavirus related products,” said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Director Tony H. Pham. “ICE is and will continue to be relentless in the pursuit to identify and bring to justice those who would take advantage of this unprecedented pandemic for personal financial gain.”
Providing Grants to States for Supplemental Lost Wages Payments. To ease the economic burden for those struggling with lost wages due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, President Trump authorized FEMA to expend up to $44 billion from the Disaster Relief Fund for lost wage payments. As of September 8th, Administrator Gaynor has approved 47 states for FEMA grants under this unprecedented program. FEMA’s grant funding will allow the approved states to provide those unemployed due to COVID-19 $300 or $400 per week on top of their regular unemployment benefit. As of September 8th, FEMA has obligated $28.8 Billion in support of Lost Wages supplemental assistance. All approved grant applicants receive an initial obligation of three weeks of funding, with additional disbursements made on a weekly basis.
Providing Full Federal Reimbursement for States’ National Guard Forces. On August 3rd, President Trump granted an extension for the use of the National Guard under Federal Title 32 orders to respond to COVID-19 until December 31, 2020. As of September 8th, 16,478 National Guard troops have activated in T-32 duty status and 242 troops have activated in State Active Duty status to help with testing and other response efforts. To date, President Trump has approved 49 National Guard requests for federal support for the use of National Guard personnel in a Title 32 duty status through December 31. For those states and territories that are approved under these criteria, FEMA executed a fully reimbursable mission assignment to the Department of Defense, including reimbursement for pay and allowances of National Guard personnel serving in a Title 32 duty status in fulfillment of the FEMA mission assignment.
Coordinating Deployment of Federal Personnel to Support States’ Efforts. FEMA continues to lead the operational coordination for the federal interagency response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of September 8th, there are over 20,528 federal personnel deployed across the country from FEMA, HHS, CDC, DoD, National Guard, and VA to support state, local, tribal and territorial COVID-19 response efforts. FEMA and our interagency partners are constantly tailoring staffing and resources across agencies, ensuring we can provide support when and where it’s needed most.
Driving Evidence-Based Policymaking. On September 1, the DHS Science and Technology Directorate updated its Master Question List (MQL), and does so weekly, to compile available research on operationally-relevant questions to aid decision makers in the COVID-19 response. The MQL is a quick-reference guide covering what is known about the virus, what additional information is needed, and who may be working to address these fundamental questions. New entries include:
Keeping Americans Safe While Ensuring Continuity of U.S. Travel and Commerce. Between August 30th and September 5th, TSA screened more than 5,124,083 passengers, who have all reached their destinations safely. TSA officers are required to wear facial protection and gloves while on duty at the checkpoint. In support of air travel and all other modes of transportation, the agency continues to follow CDC guidance to protect Americans, its workers, and the nation’s transportation system. TSA continues to promote its “Stay Healthy. Stay Secure” campaign which outlines significant airport checkpoint modifications, including new technologies that reduce or eliminate physical contact, implemented to contain the spread of COVID-19, comply with CDC guidelines, and promote healthy and secure summer travel.
Ready to Ensure Safety During the Summer Travel Period. On September 1, TSA Administrator Pekoske visited Newark Liberty International Airport where he toured the checkpoint modifications implemented as a result of COVID-19 and held a virtual town hall with the TSA workforce. On September 1, TSA announced a pilot at Reagan National Airport using credential authentication technology with camera (CAT-C) that automatically matches a traveler’s picture taken to the photo on their ID. The technology also further minimizes physical contact between the TSA officer and the traveler. On September 3, TSA issued a press release outlining 7 easy steps airline travelers can take to efficiently and quickly get through the TSA screening checkpoint during the holiday travel weekend while adhering to new checkpoint changes as a result of COVID-19.
Monitoring Vessels that Pose a Risk to Public Health. As of September 2nd, the USCG is tracking 58 cruise ships moored, at anchor, or underway in vicinity of a U.S. port, or with potential to arrive in a US port, with approximately 10,277 crewmembers. This includes an estimated 200 American Citizens crewmembers dispersed among 33 vessels. The Coast Guard is working with the CDC based on its extension of the No Sail Order for cruise ships, which permits the off-loading of crewmembers following submission of a plan to the CDC.
Reservists. As of September 4th, the USCG has recalled and deployed 419 Reservists in support of COVID-19 operations. They are activated to serve in numerous types of roles, including work in IT support, medical clinics, PPE warehouses, command centers and other incident management roles, notably assisting federal partners such as HHS, and supporting state emergency operations centers on behalf of FEMA.
Keeping the Public Safe from COVID-19-related Fraud. ICE’s Operation Stolen Promise (OSP) targets fraudulent activity stemming from the pandemic. The initiative combines ICE’s Homeland Security Investigation’s (HSI) expertise in global trade investigations, financial fraud, and cyber investigations with robust private and public partnerships to disrupt and dismantle this criminal activity and strengthen global supply-chain security. As of September 8, as part of OSP, the agency has made 83 criminal arrests, analyzed 61,424 COVID-19-related domains, seized more than $10,045,590 million in illicit proceeds, disrupted 48 instances of illicit activity, sent 1,339 leads to domestic and international field offices, executed 97 search warrants and made 1,117 COVID-19-related seizures to include prohibited test kits and pharmaceuticals, counterfeit masks and more.COVID-19-related seizures to include prohibited test kits and pharmaceuticals, counterfeit masks and more.
Getting American Citizens Home Safe. As of September 3, 2020, CBP had referred 726,069 travelers at the 15 funneling airports to DHS CWMD for enhanced health screening. CBP also continues to collaborate on a daily basis with the Department of State (DOS) to facilitate the safe travel of American citizens currently abroad to return home. CBP also works closely with DOS and foreign consulates to review 212(f) National Interest Waiver requests.
CORONAVIRUS CASE COUNTS & COUNTY UPDATES Washington state reports 464 new cases, 25 deaths (The News Tribune) Pierce County continues to see low new COVID-19 numbers (The News Tribune) Chelan County provides food to families in COVID-19 isolation or quarantine (The Wenatchee World) BFHD: Counties have more COVID-19 tests than people getting tested (KEPR TV)... Read more »
Preliminary injunction would force USPS to treat all election mail as First Class mail
YAKIMA — Attorney General Bob Ferguson late yesterday asked a Yakima judge to immediately halt the U.S. Postal Service’s drastic operational changes that threaten critical mail delivery nationwide.
Ferguson’s motion for preliminary injunction, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, seeks the following:
CORONAVIRUS CASE COUNTS & COUNTY UPDATES Coronavirus: Washington has the 11th lowest case count per 100,000 residents in the U.S. (KIRO TV) Health officials wait for virus impacts from Labor Day activities (Walla Walla Union-Bulletin) This age group makes up a plurality of new Whatcom COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks (The Bellingham Herald)... Read more »
The Arctic Refuge’s Coastal Plain is one of our nation’s last truly unspoiled places
OLYMPIA — Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced today he is leading a coalition of 15 states filing a federal lawsuit against the Trump Administration to protect America’s pristine and undeveloped Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil and gas development.
CORONAVIRUS CASE COUNTS & COUNTY UPDATES Coronavirus updates: State passes 77k cases (The News Tribune) Whatcom County’s coronavirus assessment improving (KGMI Radio) Yakima Health District to distribute at-home COVID test kits this week; 33 new cases Saturday (Yakima Herald) Nearly 5% of Pasco and 3% of Kennewick has been infected with COVID. Statewide it’s 1%... Read more »
CORONAVIRUS CASE COUNTS & COUNTY UPDATES Coronavirus daily news updates, September 4: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world (The Seattle Times) Nearly one percent of Washington population has been infected with COVID-19, stats show (The Olympian) Face coverings are making a ‘difference’ in COVID-19 activity in... Read more »
Ferguson asserts JUUL committed tens of thousands of violations of the Consumer Protection Act
Law requiring enhanced background checks and waiting periods for semiautomatic assault rifle purchases consistent with the Second Amendment
Trump Administration rule undermining NEPA is unlawful in a multitude of ways
New DHS policy defies Supreme Court decision upholding DACA program
Order forces administration to produce records related to damaging changes at the Postal Service within 10 days
YAKIMA — A federal judge in Yakima today granted Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s motion to expedite discovery in his lawsuit challenging drastic operational changes at the U.S. Postal Service that threaten critical mail delivery and could undermine the national election in November.
Vancouver air duct cleaning companies made over 13 million calls and mailed millions of advertisements over a two-year period
Attorney General Ferguson asserts Honda had information indicating the airbags in its vehicles were unsafe, yet failed to warn the public
OLYMPIA — Attorney General Bob Ferguson today announced that automaker Honda must change its corporate practices as a result of an investigation by state attorneys general into Honda’s use of defective, dangerous airbags made by Takata, a now-defunct manufacturer that worked closely with Honda.
CARES Act relief funds for schools intended to benefit all low-income students