Gov. Jay Inslee announced the extension of 23 proclamations today in response to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. The extensions were approved by the state Legislature.
For this episode of the Everblue State, we spoke with Sen. David Frockt (D-Seattle) who chairs the Senate Special Committee on Economic Recovery. This newly formed committee is designed to help Washington State recover from the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the first hearing on June 16, Frockt and the committee heard from economists and Washington’s Employment Security Department about the challenges Washington and the rest of the United States are facing.
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, and Health and Human Services today issued joint guidance specifically for the air travel industry to better protect passengers, crew, and other airport workers from the COVID-19 pandemic during our economic recovery. This guidance, the “Runway to Recovery: The United States Framework for Airlines and Airports to Mitigate the Public Health Risks of Coronavirus,” lays out a framework for implementing public health measures in the aviation sector to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
“As we reopen the economy under President Trump’s Opening Up America Again guidelines, we are taking aggressive measures to protect the American people from COVID-19 as they reengage their travel plans,” said Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad F. Wolf. “Air travel is critical to our economic recovery and DHS has been working closely with our partners in the aviation industry throughout every step of our response to this pandemic to ensure that we are facilitating travel in a safe and secure manner.”
The guidelines call for public health measures to be implemented at each step in the air travel process, including before, during, and after the flight to minimize the chance for transmission of the virus. Some of the recommendations for airlines and airports include:
The industry guidelines combine the expertise of three federal agencies, DHS, HHS, and DOT, each of which contributed specialized expertise on infectious diseases, public safety, and transportation operations into these guidelines. It is important to note that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has already implemented many of the guidelines being proposed for the airline industry through their “Stay Healthy. Stay Secure.” campaign. The U.S. Government will continually assess these measures, in close consultation with airlines and airports, as Americans begin to travel again.
Keywords: Coronavirus (COVID-19), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Transportation (DOT), Travel, Travel Security
CORONAVIRUS CASE COUNTS & COUNTY UPDATES Washington state reports 611 new COVID-19 cases (Tri-City Herald) Kitsap’s move to Phase 3 halted by state health officials (Kitsap Sun) Kittitas County advances to Phase 3 (Daily Record) Somers: There are no current plans to move back to Phase 1 (Everett Herald) COVID: Yakima County reports 91 new... Read more »
On July 2, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued the following statement on Safety and Enforcement During the 2020 Wildfire Season:
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are concerned about the potential impact of the 2020 wildfire season to western and southwestern portions of the United States, including the current wildfires in Arizona, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada. 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: Wildfire
Gov. Jay Inslee today issued a brief extension of the Safe Start proclamation until July 9, in anticipation of additional modifications that will be made early next week.
Report calls for numerous policy changes within law enforcement, schools and employers
WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are issuing a joint advisory urging U.S. companies to monitor their activities in China, particularly in the Xinjiang region, where the Chinese government is harshly repressing its own people and is committing human rights abuses.
This advisory warns U.S. businesses, individuals, academic institutions, service providers, investors and others that choose to operate in Xinjiang or engage with entities that use labor or goods from Xinjiang will face reputational, economic, and legal risks associated with certain types of involvement with entities that engage in human rights abuses.
The advisory details the abuses: “The PRC government in Xinjiang has, since at least March 2017, detained for indefinite periods more than one million Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, ethnic Kyrgyz, and members of other Muslim minority groups in internment camps designed to eradicate detainees’ cultural and religious identities, and to indoctrinate them with Chinese Communist Party (CCP) ideology. Detainees describe extreme overcrowding, sleep and food deprivation, medical neglect, physical and psychological abuse (including what they describe as torture), forced labor, forced ingestion of unidentified drugs, sexual abuse, forced abortions, forced birth control, sterilization, forced renunciation of religion, denial of prayer and other religious practices (including pressure to consume pork or alcohol), denial of the use of their native languages, and being forced to study and recite CCP propaganda. There is evidence that some have died in the internment camps, or very shortly after release, as a result of abuse and neglect. These abuses are now believed to have spread beyond Xinjiang, with credible reports claiming that victims are currently being sent to other provinces and subjected to forced labor and other abusive labor conditions.”
“Given the kind of atrocities going on in China at the hands of the PRC, every U.S. business needs to review the advisory and thoroughly evaluate their business activities and should examine the impact this exportation of forced labor has on their supply chains and more importantly, their reputations,” said Acting Deputy Secretary of DHS, Ken Cuccinelli.
DHS will take increased enforcement action against businesses in the U.S. who violate the law by contributing to human rights abuses in Xinjiang and elsewhere in China. DHS Customs & Border Protection will continue to issue trade prohibitions on goods produced with forced labor imported into the United States from China, especially Xinjiang. DHS’ Homeland Security Investigations is actively investigating companies and corporate officials who knowingly benefit from forced labor in Xinjiang.
For more information, see the business advisory at https://www.dhs.gov/publication/xinjiang-supply-chain-business-advisory.Keywords: Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
CORONAVIRUS CASE COUNTS & COUNTY UPDATES Washington state reports 571 new COVID-19 cases (The News Tribune) 102nd COVID death reported in Tri-Cities area. Hospital cases are up again (Tri-City Herald) New COVID-19 cases in Pierce County grow by 47 in one day; two new deaths reported (The News Tribune) Thurston County reports a big jump... Read more »
WASHINGTON— Today, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, Chad F. Wolf, announced the establishment of the DHS Protecting American Communities Task Force (PACT), a special task force to coordinate Departmental law enforcement agency assets in protecting our nation’s historic monuments, memorials, statues, and federal facilities.
“DHS is answering the President’s call to use our law enforcement personnel across the country to protect our historic landmarks,” said Acting Secretary Wolf. “We won’t stand idly by while violent anarchists and rioters seek not only to vandalize and destroy the symbols of our nation, but to disrupt law and order and sow chaos in our communities.”
On June 26th, President Trump issued an Executive Order to ensure that our historic monuments and statues will be protected. The Order, “Protecting American Monuments, Memorials, and Statues and Combating Recent Criminal Activity,” directs DHS, within its statutory authority, to provide personnel to assist with the protection of federal monuments, memorials, statues, or property.
As a result, DHS created the PACT, which will conduct ongoing assessments of potential civil unrest or destruction and allocate resources to protect people and property. This may involve potential surge activity to ensure the continuing protection of critical locations. DHS’s Office of Operations Coordination will also partner closely with the Departments of Justice and Interior to establish information and intelligence sharing.
“As we approach the July 4th holiday, I have directed the deployment and pre-positioning of Rapid Deployment Teams (RDT) across the country to respond to potential threats to facilities and property,” said Acting Secretary Wolf. “While the Department respects every American’s right to protest peacefully, violence and civil unrest will not be tolerated.”
Keywords: Acting Secretary Chad Wolf, Federal Facility, Federal Protective Service (FPS), Law Enforcement
Gov. Jay Inslee today announced the state has distributed nearly $365 million in federal funds to help with COVID-19 response and relief efforts across Washington.
CORONAVIRUS CASE COUNTS & COUNTY UPDATES Washington state reports 501 new COVID-19 cases (Tri-City Herald) State passes 32K cases; parks offer tips for safe gathering (The News Tribune) Tri-Cities area COVID deaths top 100. New cases still far above reopening target (Tri-City Herald) Pierce County starts week with 21 new COVID-19 cases (The News Tribune)... Read more »
AG report recommends centralized and easily accessible statewide website on incidents of deadly force
WASHINGTON— As part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) ongoing efforts to support state, local, tribal, and territorial partners, Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf today announced final allocations of $385 million for seven Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 DHS competitive preparedness grant programs. These allocations, together with the more than $1.3 billion in non-competitive grant funding announced by DHS in February and April, total nearly $1.8 billion in FY 2020 granted to assist states, local areas, tribal and territorial governments, nonprofit agencies, and the private sector with their preparedness efforts.
“The Department of Homeland Security and FEMA have led the way in modernizing our preparedness capabilities throughout our nation,” said Acting Secretary Wolf. “Through initiatives like these, we are equipping our state and local partners to protect their communities and keep their residents safe. Never has this been more critical than in today’s environment. As a Department, we look forward to seeing the new initiatives, protocols and resources that will be implemented and bolster security as a direct result of these programs.”
“Last year my Homeland Security Advisory Council presented me with several recommendations to prevent targeted violence against faith-based communities. The Council worked closely with these communities to better understand their needs and how DHS can develop a more agile, scalable framework to inform, train and resource faith communities that are impacted by threats of targeted violence,” said Acting Secretary Wolf. “These grants are another example of DHS’ commitment to following their recommendations for added resources.”
Since 2002, DHS has awarded nearly $54 billion to these partners. Preparedness grants strengthen our nation’s ability to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to and recover from terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies in support of the National Preparedness Goal and the National Preparedness System.
The FY 2020 grant awards will continue to focus on the nation’s highest risk areas, including urban areas that face the most significant threats. Consistent with previous grant guidance, dedicated funding is provided for law enforcement and terrorism prevention activities throughout the country to prepare for, prevent and respond to terrorism-related activity.
The Department is committed to working with the faith-based and non-profit communities. By awarding $90 million toward improving security at these venues, resources are being made available to provide preparedness and resilience to their organizations and houses of worship.
DHS identified four critical priority areas for attention in the FY 2020 grant cycle: cybersecurity, soft targets and crowded places, intelligence and information sharing, and emerging threats. Applicants were required to submit Investment Justifications that address these priorities. In addition, DHS conducted an effectiveness review process to ensure grant funding is allocated to those projects the most effectively address these priorities.
The FY2020 grant guidance continues to focus on the nation’s highest risk areas and national priorities. Grant recipients under the State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSP) and Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) will be required to dedicate a minimum of 20 percent of awards to address four priority areas: cybersecurity (5 percent); soft target and crowded places (5 percent); information and intelligence sharing (5 percent); and emerging threats (5 percent).
As with previous years, new capabilities that are built using homeland security grant funding must be deployable if needed to support regional and national efforts. All capabilities being built or sustained must have a clear linkage to the core capabilities articulated in the National Preparedness Goal.
Preparedness Grant Program Allocations for Fiscal Year 2020:
Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG)—provides $355.1 million to assist state, local, tribal and territorial governments in enhancing and sustaining all-hazards emergency management capabilities.
Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP)—provides more than $1 billion for states and urban areas to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from acts of terrorism and other threats.
Since the enactment of the 9/11 Act, FEMA has required states to ensure that at least 25 percent of the total funds awarded to them under SHSP and UASI are dedicated toward law enforcement terrorism prevention activities (LETPA). The total LETPA allocation can be satisfied from SHSP, UASI or both. In addition, states must obligate at least 80 percent of the funds awarded under SHSP and UASI to local or tribal units of government within 45 days of receipt of the funds.
Tribal Homeland Security Grant Program (THSGP)—provides $15 million to eligible tribal nations to implement preparedness initiatives to help strengthen the nation against risk associated with potential terrorist attacks and other hazards.
Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP)—provides $90 million to support target hardening and other physical security enhancements for nonprofit organizations that are at high risk of a terrorist attack. This year, $50 million is provided to nonprofits in UASI-designated urban areas, and $40 million is provided to nonprofits located in any state or territory.
Intercity Passenger Rail - Amtrak (IPR) Program—provides $10 million to protect critical surface transportation infrastructure and the traveling public from acts of terrorism and increase the resilience of the Amtrak rail system.
Port Security Grant Program (PSGP)—provides $100 million to help protect critical port infrastructure from terrorism, enhance maritime domain awareness, improve port-wide maritime security risk management, and maintain or reestablish maritime security mitigation protocols that support port recovery and resiliency capabilities.
Transit Security Grant Program (TSGP)—provides $88 million to owners and operators of transit systems to protect critical surface transportation and the traveling public from acts of terrorism and to increase the resilience of transit infrastructure.
Intercity Bus Security Grant Program (IBSGP)—provides $2 million to owners and operators of intercity bus systems to protect critical surface transportation infrastructure and the traveling public from acts of terrorism and to increase the resilience of transit infrastructure.
FEMA's mission is to help people before, during, and after disasters.Acting Secretary Chad Wolf, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Grant, Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC), Preparedness Grant
On Wednesday, July 1st, Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf will be traveling with Vice President Mike Pence to Phoenix, Arizona. There, the Acting Secretary and the Vice President will meet with Governor Ducey to discuss DHS efforts to support the state’s response to COVID-19. The Administration looks forward to continuing our partnership with Arizona, as well as our state and local partners across the country, as we mitigate the spread of COVID-19.Keywords: Acting Secretary Chad Wolf, Coronavirus (COVID-19)
The Department of Homeland Security and its dedicated workforce across more than a dozen offices and components have been working diligently with the White House to execute an unprecedented, whole-of America response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As we enter a new phase to reopen the American Economy, DHS is taking decisive actions to accelerate our national economic recovery to ensure that the job market remains open, viable, and accessible for U.S. citizens.
“Since early in the pandemic, under the leadership of President Trump, DHS took aggressive and proactive measures allowing the U.S. to stay ahead of the outbreak.” said Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli. “As we reopen our economy, President Trump is leading the comeback to revitalize our economy and create opportunity for all Americans. DHS remains committed to ensuring Americans are able to regain their jobs and livelihoods - economic security is critical to homeland security.”
Below is a list of some of DHS’s efforts against COVID-19 last week:
Enhanced Screenings at Airports. CWMD contract personnel are continuing to support the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with enhanced screenings for travelers through 15 specially designated airports. As of June 27, CWMD has processed more than 381,690 travelers for enhanced screening, including 1,543 who were referred to CDC for further medical evaluation.
Delivering Cloth Facial Coverings to Keep Critical Infrastructure Workers Safe. As of June 27th, FEMA, HHS and the Cybersecurity Infrastructure and Security Agency (CISA) along with other federal agencies have processed and distributed over 346 million cloth face coverings for critical infrastructure workers. Many of our infrastructure sectors must have access to facial coverings in order to protect their workers and to ensure critical services continue throughout our communities. The federal delivery of facial coverings is being made in a phased approach for infrastructure workers, first responders, and food producers who do not need medical-grade personal protective equipment (PPE) for their daily work.
Expediting Movement of Critical Personal Protective Equipment. FEMA continues to expedite the movement of commercially pre-sourced and commercially procured critical supplies from the global market to medical distributors in various locations across the U.S. As of June 28, Project Airbridge has completed 245 flights with an additional 4 scheduled, or in transit, for a total of approximately 249 flights. Since April 12, 53 non-Airbridge flights carrying over 69.8 million FEMA-procured masks and respirators from 3M have landed in the U.S. Additionally, 95 non-Airbridge flights carrying over 16.2 million gowns from Hanes have landed in the U.S. for distribution across the country.
Supporting Administration’s COVID-19 Testing Strategy. To support the Administration’s Testing Blueprint, FEMA continues to source and procure testing material – specifically, testing swabs and transport media. As of June 26th, FEMA has procured and delivered 29.4 million swabs and 20.5 million units of media. The FEMA-sourced material will be provided to states, territories, and tribes for a limited duration to help increase testing capacity in support of their individualized plans.
Training Resumes At All Facilities. On June 22nd, FLETC resumed training operations at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers in Charleston, South Carolina. All FLETC facilities have now resumed training in a safe and secure environment.
Ensuring Situational Awareness. The Department’s Crisis Action Team (CAT) and National Operations Center continue to work 24/7 on Departmental COVID-19 response. This work includes managing information, situational awareness, and reporting to the interagency and senior officials. OPS supports the Department’s efforts to share information internally and externally during the pandemic. Between June 21st and 27th the CAT produced more than twenty COVID-19 related reports covering Departmental and international actions and impacts on the DHS workforce.
Driving Evidence-Based Policymaking. On June 24th, Science and Technology updated its Master Question List (MQL), a compilation of 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 references of work that show beginning efforts of contract tracing in Japan have linked exposures to clusters associated with social gathering activities involving close contact, i.e. bars, music festivals, restaurants, etc. Additionally, completed serological surveys in New York indicate that through the end of March an estimated 14 percent of adult population were exposed to COVID-19. To date, access of MQL has exceeded 45,000 views.
Keeping Americans Safe While Ensuring Continuity of U.S. Travel and Commerce. Between June 21st and June 27th, TSA screened more than 3,967,161 passengers, who have all reached their destinations safely. TSA officers are required to wear facial protection while on duty at the checkpoint and the agency continues to follow CDC guidance to protect Americans, its workers, and the nation’s transportation system, in support of air travel and all other modes of transportation.
Ready to Ensure Safety During the Summer Travel Period. Between 21st and June 27th, TSA Administrator Pekoske released his Administrator’s Intent 2.0 which acknowledges the agency’s agility and adaptability necessary in the ongoing response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. TSA continues to implement changes across airport screening checkpoints nationwide in an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep the public safe.
Monitoring Vessels that Pose a Risk to Public Health. As of June 26, 2020, the USCG is tracking 6 cruise ships moored, at anchor, or underway in vicinity of a U.S. port, or with potential to arrive in a US port, with 18,882 crewmembers. This includes an estimated 239 American Citizens crewmembers dispersed among 37 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.
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 June 26th, as part of OSP, the agency has made 29 criminal arrests, analyzed 44,583 COVID-19-related domains, seized more than $5,233,128 million in illicit proceeds, disrupted 40 instances of illicit activity, sent 1,106 leads to domestic and international field offices, executed 56 search warrants and made 799 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.
Securing Our Borders to Stop the Spread of COVID-19. CBP’s ongoing construction of the border wall system has helped shaped the behavior of illegal border crossers and smugglers during the COVID-19 pandemic. On June 25th, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) completed the construction of 220 miles of new border wall system, in place of dilapidated or outdated designs and in places where no barriers previously existed, in high priority locations across the Southwest border.
Getting American Citizens Home Safe. As of June 23rd, CBP had referred 372,569 travelers at the 15 funneling airports to CWMD for enhanced health screening.
Keywords: Coronavirus (COVID-19), Public Health
CORONAVIRUS CASE COUNTS & COUNTY UPDATES Washington state reports 348 new COVID-19 cases (Tri-City Herald) Health director: Pierce County ready for Phase 2.5, not Phase 3, as COVID cases increase (The News Tribune) Kitsap County, still in Phase 2, awaits health officials’ approval for Phase 3 (Kitsap Sun) Clark County submits application for Phase 3... Read more »
Gov. Jay Inslee and Sec.
CORONAVIRUS CASE COUNTS & COUNTY UPDATES Washington COVID-19 cases pass 30,000 mark, deaths reach 1,300 Thursday (Tri-City Herald) As COVID-19 spreads in Spokane, Inslee visits and meets unmasked resistance (AP/The SeattleTimes) Inslee: Spokane ‘right on the verge of a very dire situation’ as COVID-19 cases continue rise (The Spokesman-Review) Coronavirus threat grows in Spokane (AP/The... Read more »
Convergent sent 75,466 collection letters pushing Washington consumers to “settle” old debts without disclosing that the statute of limitations had expired
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEJune 26, 2020CONTACT: John Handy, Communications Director | 360-786-5758 Statement from House Republican Leader J.T. Wilcox, R-Yelm:“Governor Inslee overstepped his constitutional authority by vetoing single lines of the transportation budget last year. We are pleased that the court agreed with the Legislature’s understanding of the governor’s veto power and position on this important... Read more »
The post Reps. J.T. Wilcox and Andrew Barkis release statements on the Legislature’s win in Superior Court over the governor’s misuse of veto power appeared first on Washington State House Republicans.
CORONAVIRUS CASE COUNTS & COUNTY UPDATES Washington state reports 483 new COVID-19 cases, 9 deaths (Tri-City Herald) Washington state leaders hesitant about final phase of county-by-county reopening (KNKX Radio) Hospitals treating record number of COVID patients. 130 new cases in Tri-Cities area (Tri-City Herald) Huge supply of PPE set to be distributed in Spokane, as... Read more »
This evening, Acting Secretary Chad Wolf will be traveling to Tampa, FL. Tomorrow, June 25th, Acting Secretary Chad Wolf will host a roundtable discussion with Florida sheriffs to convey the Administration’s support for law enforcement and the Department's commitment to continue a strong partnership with local law enforcement offices to secure the homeland. Following the roundtable, Acting Secretary Wolf will visit U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, where he will receive a briefing from USCG leadership and participate in an aerial tour.Keywords: Acting Secretary Chad Wolf, Law Enforcement
PCB contamination is widespread in Washington’s bays, rivers, lakes and streams
UPDATE: This release has been updated with information on a separate class action settlement with cities, which includes Spokane and Tacoma.
CORONAVIRUS CASE COUNTS & COUNTY UPDATES Washington state reports 516 new COVID-19 cases and eight additional deaths (The News Tribune) 16 more COVID-19 cases confirmed in Clark County; total at 719 (The Columbian) Thurston County announces 6 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, lowers death count by 1 (The Olympian) Kittitas County approved to move to Phase... Read more »
We Heart It app didn’t have proper verification and consent measures in place
CORONAVIRUS CASE COUNTS & COUNTY UPDATES Washington state reports 190 new COVID-19 cases, six deaths (The News Tribune) Spokane County nears 1,000 cases of COVID-19, with increasing community spread (The Spokesman-Review) Nearly 300 COVID cases in 3 days in Tri-Cities, far above reopening targets (Tri-City Herald) Mask up, beg Tri-Cities leaders as coronavirus cases grow... Read more »
Inquiry prompted by Pierce County’s failure to comply with I-940’s requirements for a completely independent investigation, including appointing “at least two non-law enforcement community representatives”
Trump Administration moves to suspend foreign worker visas as nation undertakes economic recovery following COVID-19 closures.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced it will begin implementing a Trump Administration proclamation to protect American workers in the wake of unprecedented unemployment caused by COVID-19.
“The President is taking decisive action to put American families and workers first in the reopening of the economy and the Department stands ready to implement this important executive action,” said DHS Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf. “This proclamation ensures Americans are first in line for American jobs as the economy reopens.”
The proclamation unveiled by President Trump directs the Department of Homeland Security to undertake a two-part approach to ensure employers put Americans first.
First, the proclamation uses presidential authority under Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to temporarily pause the issuance of certain new nonimmigrant visas until December 31, 2020, which could be extended as necessary. The visa categories paused include H-1B, H-2B, L and certain J nonimmigrants. The stipulations will not apply to foreign workers already in the country on existing visas or foreign nationals already in possession of visas at the time of the proclamation’s effective date.
Second, DHS is also directed to use all available tools to transition to a merit-based immigration system, ending often-exploited avenues for fraud and abuse. New provisions include non-displacement provisions, which prohibit companies from laying off American workers only to replace citizen employees with foreign nationals, and new efforts to prevent illegal aliens from obtaining work permits.
DHS is also working with United States Government partners to ensure enhanced medical screening procedures are in place for foreign workers in the event that travel suspensions are lifted as well as to improve biometric collection. Existing policies for both matters will be expanded and improved in the coming days.Acting Secretary Chad Wolf, Coronavirus (COVID-19), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
The Department of Homeland Security remains vigilant against the COVID-19 virus and continues to lead the national response to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on American citizens and workers. As the nation transitions to a phased approach of reopening the economy the Department and its components remain steadfast in their commitment to ensure a safe, secure, and prosperous Homeland for the American people.
“S&T has dedicated it’s research acumen to addressing the needs of the pandemic response efforts with actionable science-based, information,” said William N. Bryan, DHS Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary for Science & Technology. “We began research at the very beginning of the outbreak to determine what was known about the virus, and determined what else we needed to know in order to control the spread. Our efforts have discovered how temperature, humidity, and especially sunlight, can help to limit the spread of the virus from surfaces and in the air. We’ve determined effective decontamination methods for cleaning surfaces with simple household chemicals, and just this week, released information about how to use a multicooker to decontaminate critical PPE, such as N95 masks, for reuse. I am proud of S&T’s team and our abilities to contribute to the global response efforts to control the spread of this deadly disease.”
Below is a list of some of DHS’s efforts against COVID-19 last week:
Delivering Actionable Information Through Applied Research. Personal protective equipment, specifically respiratory protection such as N95 masks, are an effective way to reduce exposure to airborne SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. With high demand resulting in limited supply, S&T focused efforts on finding affordable and easy methods that allow masks to safely be reused. On June 19th, S&T published information about using a multi-cooker as an effective low-technology decontamination option for N95 respirators. A fact sheet, question-and-answer document, concept of operations, and an instructional video were posted on S&T’s website for easy access to the information.
Driving Evidence-Based Policymaking. On June 16th, Science and Technology updated its Master Question List (MQL), a compilation of 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 references to work showing faster rates of transmission associated with a particular mutation (D614G) which is disproportionately represented in phylogenetic samples. Dexamethasone may significantly reduce mortality in severely ill and ventilated patients, and surveys indicate that the majority of Americans were complying with non-pharmaceutical interventions.
Providing COVID-19 Resources for SLTT Governments. On June 17th, CISA released the COVID-19 Disinformation Toolkit designed to help State, local, tribal and territorial (SLTT) officials bring awareness to misinformation, disinformation, and conspiracy theories appearing online related to COVID-19’s origin, scale, government response, prevention and treatment. This toolkit provides resources like talking points, FAQs, outreach graphics, and posters to help spread awareness.
Enhanced Screenings at Airports. CWMD contract personnel are continuing to support the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with enhanced screenings for travelers through 15 specially designated airports. As of June 20, CWMD has processed more than 362,827 travelers for enhanced screening, including 1,538 who were referred to CDC for further medical evaluation.
Delivering Critical Medical Supplies to Keep Americans Safe. As of June 19th, FEMA, HHS, and the private sector combined have coordinated the delivery of,: 95.8 million N-95 respirators, 151.2 million surgical masks, 15.5 million face shields, 74.9 million surgical gowns/coveralls and over 1 billion gloves.
Expediting Movement of Critical Personal Protective Equipment. FEMA continues to expedite the movement of commercially pre-sourced and commercially procured critical supplies from the global market to medical distributors in various locations across the U.S. As of June 22, Project Airbridge has completed 232 flights with an additional 7 scheduled, or in transit, for a total of approximately 239 flights. Since April 12, 53 non-Airbridge flights carrying over 69.8 million FEMA-procured masks and respirators from 3M have landed in the U.S. Additionally, 93 non-Airbridge flights carrying over 15.7 million gowns from Hanes have landed in the U.S. for distribution across the country.
Supporting Administration’s COVID-19 Testing Strategy. To support the Administration’s Testing Blueprint, FEMA continues to source and procure testing material – specifically, testing swabs and transport media. As of June 17th, FEMA has procured and delivered 25.9 million swabs and 16.4 million units of media. The FEMA-sourced material will be provided to states, territories, and tribes for a limited duration to help increase testing capacity in support of their individualized plans.
FLETC Restarts On-site Training. FLETC is making sure that participating organizations have the ability to train officers and agents in a safe and secure environment. The law enforcement profession is one that requires in-person training to effectively simulate real-world situations for the proper use and application of law enforcement tactics, techniques and procedures. On June 17th, FLETC resumed on-site training at FLETC’s training delivery points, students and staff are back using reengineered training programs and safety protocols.
Keeping Americans Safe While Ensuring Continuity of U.S. Travel and Commerce. Between June 14th and June 20th, TSA screened more than 3,609,878 passengers, who have all reached their destinations safely. TSA officers are required to wear facial protection while on duty at the checkpoint and the agency continues to follow CDC guidance to protect Americans, its workers, and the nation’s transportation system, in support of air travel and all other modes of transportation.
Ready to Ensure Safety During the Summer Travel Period. Between June 14th and June 20th, TSA teams across the country were provided guidance on ordering plastic barriers to help prevent cross-contamination between passengers and TSA personnel. In an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as we head into the summer travel season, travelers should expect to see changes at airport screening checkpoints nationwide.
Monitoring Vessels that Pose a Risk to Public Health. As of June 19th, 2020, the USCG is tracking 68 cruise ships moored, at anchor, or underway in vicinity of a U.S. port, or with potential to arrive in a US port, with 21,742 crewmembers. This includes an estimated 269 American Citizens crewmembers dispersed among 38 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.
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 June 19th, as part of OSP, the agency has made 28 criminal arrests, analyzed 43,153 COVID-19-related domains, seized more than $ 5,233,128 million in illicit proceeds, disrupted 39 instances of illicit activity, sent 1,092 leads to domestic and international field offices, executed 50 search warrants and made 759 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 June 17th, 2020, CBP had referred 354,469 travelers at the 15 funneling airports to DHS CWMD for enhanced health screening.
Securing the Border. While commercial activities and essential travel remain unrestricted, CBP continues to collaborate with its partners in Canada and Mexico to limit non-essential travel aimed at preventing COVID-19 from crossing our shared borders. On June 16th, DHS announced the Extension of Non-Essential Travel Restrictions with Canada and Mexico until July 21st. This extension protects Americans while keeping essential trade and travel flowing as we reopen the American economy.
Individuals buying “vaccine” eligible for refunds, owner prohibited from deceptive” marketing
CORONAVIRUS CASE COUNTS & COUNTY UPDATES Inslee to order masks to be worn in Yakima County, where coronavirus is on runaway trajectory (The Seattle Times) Inslee to require masks in Yakima County as it exceeds hospital capacity with surging COVID-19 cases (NW News Network) In Yakima County, as cases soar, community spread increasingly drives the... Read more »
Since 2013, office has recovered $35 for every $1 provided in consumer protection funding
OLYMPIA — Attorney General Bob Ferguson today announced that the consumer protection and other affirmative litigation divisions of the Attorney General’s Office have recovered more than $650 million for Washingtonians and state and tribal governments since January 2013. This represents a return on investment of $35 for every $1 the state has spent on funding for this work.
Sen. Rebecca Saldaña (D-Seattle) on Thursday issued the statement below on the US Supreme Court’s decision to reject the Trump Administration’s attempt to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA):
“This news comes as a tremendous relief for the thousands of DACA recipients living in Washington. From the time the Trump Administration began its racist, xenophobic campaign against immigrant communities across this nation, people who know no other home but this one, have lived in fear.
“In our Washington we have taken strides to ensure immigrants have access to education, health care and jobs. This includes our most recent legislation to include immigration status as a protected class under our Washington Law Against Discrimination.
“This is more important than ever, because while we are happy with today’s decision, the Court’s decision indicates that the Administration still has the authority to end DACA.
“We will continue to fight for immigrant communities in our state, but until those in the other Washington truly take on meaningful, comprehensive immigration policy reform, this broken system will continue to punish and harm our immigrant neighbors, many whom the same Trump Administration has deemed essential.
“There is much work to be done, but this is a victory for our country, and is worth celebrating. I thank the thousands of undocumented young people and their families for the valiance in standing up for what is right.
“We are home.”
OLYMPIA — Attorney General Bob Ferguson released the following statement today after a 5-4 decision from the United States Supreme Court rejecting President Donald Trump’s effort to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program:
OLYMPIA – Sen. Christine Rolfes (D-Bainbridge Island), chair of the Senate Ways & Means Committee, released this statement following today’s Economic and Revenue Forecast Council meeting:
“Today’s forecast gives us a better understanding of the enormous fiscal challenges facing our state in the months to come. We will continue our work to address the immediate impacts of the pandemic and prepare to make smart, informed budget decisions that will protect households from the continued impacts of a sustained downturn.
“While we remain hopeful that our federal partners will act responsibly and support states with a relief package, it will ultimately be up to us to find a budget solution that works in all corners of our state. Now more than ever, we must forge bipartisan solutions to keep our communities whole and build opportunity, prosperity and equity across the state.
“As our state faces many difficult financial decisions in the coming months, the health and safety of all Washingtonians is paramount. Our shared goal is to strategically align our state for a strong economic recovery, and we have a solid foundation on which to rebuild, thanks in part to a healthy rainy day fund.
“The challenge before us will require everybody’s participation and constructive ideas. The hard work and ingenuity of Washington’s workforce built the nation’s strongest economy over the last decade, and in the months to come I’m confident we will rebuild our economy upon the strong foundation we have forged together.”
OLYMPIA – Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig (D-Spokane) released the statement below following today’s Economic and Revenue Forecast Council meeting:
“Since session concluded in March, we have not stopped our work to ensure all working people, businesses and those disproportionately impacted by both the economic and health impacts of COVID-19 receive the support they need to survive this crisis in the short-term and thrive in the long-term.
“Today’s revenue forecast gives us a better understanding of the size of the economic problem and reaffirms that we have a daunting task ahead. As we continue preparation for an eventual special session and the 2021 regular session, we must take a balanced approach that includes budget savings and the use of resources like the budget stabilization account and, potentially, new revenue.
“Gov. Inslee’s decision today to cancel raises and begin furloughs for many state employees was difficult, but under these circumstances, it was the correct call to make.
“The last economic downturn resulted in deep cuts to education, behavioral health, the environment, our safety net and other critical programs, which ended up costing taxpayers more in the long run. We cannot repeat those mistakes. This problem requires creative, thoughtful decisions that keep our long-term goals of opportunity, prosperity and equity in mind as put all options on the table to deliver a sustained recovery for everyone in Washington state.”
Working people and small businesses are facing unprecedented challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. On Tuesday, the Senate Special Committee on Economic Recovery heard from a variety of experts about ways to help people and businesses recover.
The bipartisan committee focused its first meeting on a wide variety of topics, including unemployment, regional challenges, challenges faced by small businesses, short and long-term recovery strategies, supply chain issues, and much, much more.
“Solving this crisis will require us to be thoughtful, creative and resist the temptation to retreat to our ideological corners. I was encouraged by the collaborative nature of this first meeting,” said Sen. David Frockt (D-Seattle) chair of the committee. “Washingtonians are suffering. Small businesses are shuttered. It’s our job to find a way back, and we can only do that together.”
The seven member committee heard from prominent economists, including Austan Goolsbee, Professor of Economics at Chicago University and former Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Obama. Economist Betsey Stevenson, Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Michigan and former Chief Economist at the U.S. Department of Labor also under Obama. Annaliese Vance-Sherman, Labor Economist at the state Employment Security Department and Debra Glassman, Principal Lecturer of Finance and Business Economics at the University of Washington’s Dept of Finance and Business Economics also weighed in.
Frockt said that he felt there were three main takeaways from the inaugural meeting of the recovery committee.
“One, we have to get the virus under control,” he said. “A full recovery simply cannot happen while COVID-19 continues to make its way through our state. Two, we must address access to childcare. People cannot return to work if they do not have reliable, consistent childcare. And three, we must help small businesses and their workforce bounce back, particularly small businesses and workers in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.”
The committee is tentatively scheduled to hold its next meeting on July 21.
Ferguson’s initiative succeeded at eliminating national no poach practices in all corporate chains with a presence in Washington
DeVos decision blocked Dreamers and other students from accessing money in the CARES Act intended to help college students impacted by COVID-19
SPOKANE — A federal judge in Spokane today agreed with Attorney General Bob Ferguson, blocking a U.S. Department of Education decision that deprives thousands of Washington college students from receiving critical aid included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Owner claimed to have made a vaccine in a “half a day” then sold it for $400 per person
OLYMPIA — Attorney General Bob Ferguson released the following statement today on the investigation into the death of Manuel Ellis:
“In 2018, Washingtonians overwhelmingly passed Initiative 940 with nearly 60 percent of the vote. The new law requires that completely independent agencies investigate law enforcement’s use of deadly force.
Freedom Foundation did not report legal services it provided to support ballot propositions, a violation of campaign finance laws
OLYMPIA — Attorney General Bob Ferguson today announced that a Thurston County Superior Court judge ordered the Freedom Foundation to pay $80,000 over its campaign finance violations. This recovery will go into the state Public Disclosure Transparency Account, which funds enforcement of campaign finance laws.
SEATTLE — Attorney General Bob Ferguson issued the following statement:
“I am deeply troubled by the events of the past week and the continued, senseless violence against communities of color, particularly against members of the African American community. The recent murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor ignited movements across the country. But let me be clear — racism has always been a plague on our communities and institutions. It is real and it is pervasive.
An open letter to the people of Washington state:
The Senate Democratic Caucus – fully recognizing that our own state Senate lacks the voice of even a single Black legislator, a voice that needs to ground us today and always – stands with our Black neighbors throughout Washington as we grieve together the violent and unjust killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, David McAtee, Charleena Lyles, Manuel Ellis and too many others, at the hands of law enforcement.
A history of systemic and institutionalized racism and violence leveled against our Black neighbors has manifested in days of protests around our grieving country, including here at home. As the Senate Democratic Caucus, we unequivocally stand with those who are raising their voices in pain, anger and hope to make demands for substantive change.
We are moved by the love and grief displayed over the life and death of George Floyd that has mobilized so many of every background, some for the first time. Though our state and country face a moment of deep pain and renewed trauma, we are also witness to a pivotal moment of potential historic change in public policy; one with an opportunity to craft equitable and compassionate laws that serve all of us.
We recognize that the power to make substantive change lies with us, the policymakers. We recognize this power to make substantive change should have been wielded long ago. We recognize that Black, Indigenous and brown lives have been disproportionately subjected to police brutality in addition to the merciless cycle of incarceration. We are committed to changing these broken institutions.
Our agenda will be shaped by the community. We are committed to listening and working alongside Black leaders and organizers. Their ideas and their solutions to these issues will be elevated so that we may respond to their call for action. Successful efforts toward change have always had their origins at the local level. We are listening.
Know that we grieve with you, stand united in your call for justice and promise to work with you in these next crucial steps toward real change.
On behalf of the Senate Democratic Caucus,
|Sen. Andy Billig
|Sen. Manka Dhingra
Deputy Majority Leader
|Sen. Rebecca Saldaña
Deputy Majority Leader