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DHS Statement On Incident At Manchester Arena

Mon, 05/22/2017 - 22:02
Release Date: May 22, 2017

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

The Department of Homeland Security is closely monitoring the situation at Manchester Arena in the United Kingdom.  We are working with our foreign counterparts to obtain additional information about the cause of the reported explosion as well as the extent of injuries and fatalities.

U.S. citizens in the area should heed direction from local authorities and maintain security awareness.  We encourage any affected U.S. citizens who need assistance to contact the U.S. Embassy in London and follow Department of State guidance.

At this time, we have no information to indicate a specific credible threat involving music venues in the United States. However, the public may experience increased security in and around public places and events as officials take additional precautions.

We stand ready to assist our friends and allies in the U.K. in all ways necessary as they investigate and recover from this incident.

Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this incident.

Topics:  International Keywords:  international

Secretary Kelly's Statement on the Limited Extension of Haiti's Designation for Temporary Protected Status

Mon, 05/22/2017 - 13:47
Release Date: May 22, 2017

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

WASHINGTON—Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly today announced his decision to extend—for an additional six months—the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Haiti.  This extension is effective July 23, 2017 through January 22, 2018.

“After careful review of the current conditions in Haiti and conversations with the Haitian government, I have decided to extend the designation of Haiti for Temporary Protected Status for a limited period of six-months,” said Secretary Kelly. “Haiti has made progress across several fronts since the devastating earthquake in 2010, and I’m proud of the role the United States has played during this time in helping our Haitian friends. The Haitian economy continues to recover and grow, and 96 percent of people displaced by the earthquake and living in internally displaced person camps have left those camps. Even more encouraging is that over 98 percent of these camps have closed. Also indicative of Haiti’s success in recovering from the earthquake seven years ago is the Haitian government’s stated plans to rebuild the Haitian President’s residence at the National Palace in Port-au-Prince, and the withdrawal of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti.”

Secretary Kelly was particularly encouraged by representations made to him directly by the Haitian government regarding their desire to welcome the safe repatriation of Haitian TPS recipients in the near future. “This six-month extension should allow Haitian TPS recipients living in the United States time to attain travel documents and make other necessary arrangements for their ultimate departure from the United States, and should also provide the Haitian government with the time it needs to prepare for the future repatriation of all current TPS recipients. We plan to continue to work closely with the Haitian government, including assisting the government in proactively providing travel documents for its citizens.”

Prior to the expiration of this limited six-month period, Secretary Kelly will re-evaluate the designation for Haiti and decide anew whether extension, re-designation, or termination is warranted. The Department of Homeland Security urges Haitian TPS recipients who do not have another immigration status to use the time before Jan. 22, 2018 to prepare for and arrange their departure from the United States—including proactively seeking travel documentation—or to apply for other immigration benefits for which they may be eligible. “I believe there are indications that Haiti – if its recovery from the 2010 earthquake continues at pace - may not warrant further TPS extension past January 2018. TPS as enacted in law is inherently temporary in nature, and beneficiaries should plan accordingly that this status may finally end after the extension announced today.”

Further details about this extension of TPS for Haiti, including the application requirements and procedures, will appear in a Federal Register notice later this week.

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Keywords:  Haiti, Secretary Kelly

DHS Releases Fiscal Year 2016 Entry/Exit Overstay Report

Mon, 05/22/2017 - 11:37
Release Date: May 22, 2017

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

WASHINGTON—U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released today the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Entry/Exit Overstay Report. The report provides data on departures and overstays, by country, for foreign visitors to the United States who entered as nonimmigrant visitors through an air or sea Port of Entry (POE) and were expected to depart in FY16.

The in-scope population for this report includes temporary workers and families (temporary workers and trainees, intracompany transferees, treaty traders and investors, representatives of foreign information media), students, exchange visitors, temporary visitors for pleasure, temporary visitors for business, and other nonimmigrant classes of admission. This population accounts for 96.02 percent of all nonimmigrant admissions at U.S. air and sea POEs in FY16.

Importantly, the report does not cover all foreign visitors to the United States—such as those who enter the United States through a vehicular or land POE. Nor does the report provide the total estimated in-country overstay population currently in the United States. Rather, it provides data on overstays in a snapshot of time—those foreign visitors who were expected to depart in FY16, and those who did not do so.

The report specifies that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) processed 50,437,278 in-scope nonimmigrant admissions at U.S. air and sea POEs who were expected to depart in FY16—of which 739,478 overstayed their admission, resulting in a total overstay rate of 1.47 percent. Of the more than 739,000 overstays, DHS determined 628,799 were suspected “in-country” overstays, resulting in a suspected in-country overstay rate of 1.25 percent. An individual who is a suspected in-country overstay has no recorded departure, while an out-of-country overstay has a recorded departure that occurred after their lawful admission period expired.

To protect the American people from those who seek to do us harm, and to ensure the integrity of the immigration system, ICE has recently increased overstay enforcement operations. Each year, ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations special agents systematically review approximately one million records of individuals who violate the terms of their visas or the visa waiver program, prioritizing leads that pose national security or public safety threats.

Out of the total population, of the more than 21.6 million Visa Waiver Program (VWP) visitors expected to depart the United States in FY16, 147,282 overstayed the terms of their admission, with 128,806 suspected in-country overstays (a .60 percent suspected in-country overstay rate for VWP travelers). Of the more than 13.8 million non-VWP visitors—excluding Canada and Mexico—expected to depart the United States in FY16, 287,107 overstayed the terms of their admission, with 263,470 suspected in-country overstays. This resulted in a 1.90 percent suspected in-country overstay rate.

For Mexico, the FY16 suspected in-country overstay rate is 1.52 percent of 3,079,524 expected departures. Consistent with the methodology for other countries, this represents only travel through air and sea POEs and does not include data on land border crossings. For Canada, the FY16 suspected in-country overstay rate is 1.33 percent of 9,008,496 expected departures.

This year’s report also includes visitors who entered on a student or exchange visitor visa (F, M, or J visa). Of the 1,457,556 students and exchange visitors scheduled to complete their program in the United States in FY16, 79,818 stayed beyond their authorized window for departure, resulting in a 5.48 percent overstay rate. Of the 79,818, 40,949 are suspected in-country overstays (2.81 percent).

DHS conducts the overstay identification process by examining arrival, departure and immigration status information, which is consolidated to generate a complete picture of an individual’s travel to the United States. Due to continuing departures and adjustments in status, by January 10, 2017, the number of suspected in-country overstays for FY16 decreased to 544,676, resulting in a suspected in-country overstay rate of 1.07 percent.

DHS anticipates that these numbers will shift over time as additional information is reported. Specifically, the overall suspected in-country overstay rate will continue to decline as the number of individuals who have departed or transitioned to another immigration status after their initial period of authorized admission ended grows.

DHS continues to improve its data collection, both biographic and biometric, on travelers departing the United States. CBP has identified a feasible biometric exit solution based upon the successful pilot deployed in June 2016, at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta. As part of the pilot, CBP partnered with an airline to biometrically confirm the identity of departing travelers using facial recognition. To continue biometric exit implementation, CBP will expand the deployment of this technology to seven additional airports in the coming months. DHS is committed to the development and deployment of a comprehensive biometric exit system—as directed by President Trump in Executive Order 13780, Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry in the United States, and as required by law.

Read the full FY16 Entry/Exit Overstay Report here.

 

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Topics:  Immigration Enforcement Keywords:  Customs and Border Protection, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, Visa Waiver Program, nonimmigrants admissions, temporary visitors

Written testimony of CBP, TSA, and S&T for a House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency hearing titled “From the Border to Disasters and Beyond: Critical Canine Contributions to the DHS Mission”

Thu, 05/18/2017 - 00:00
Release Date: May 18, 2017

210 House Capitol Visitor Center

Chairman Perry, Ranking Member Correa, and members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to testify regarding the canine programs at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Science and Technology Directorate (S&T). Canine teams at TSA, CBP and S&T provide the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with reliable and mobile detection capabilities and a visible deterrent against criminal and terrorist threats. Detection canines are the best and most versatile mobile detection tool that we have protecting the homeland today. Canines have been used by law enforcement and first responder agencies for decades to protect the homeland.

At our Nation’s air, land, and sea ports of entry (POEs) and at preclearance locations abroad, CBP officers utilize specially trained canines for the interdiction of narcotics, firearms, and undeclared currency, as well as in support of specialized programs aimed at combating terrorism and countering human trafficking. In between the POEs, the U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) uses canines to detect illegal aliens, intercept narcotics, and stop smugglers at checkpoints and along our borders. The CBP Canine Training Program maintains the largest and most diverse law enforcement canine training program in the country. It is primarily responsible for the initial training of 1,342 of the over 1,448 deployed CBP canine teams throughout the United States.1

TSA procures, trains, and deploys explosives detection canine teams to secure our Nation’s transportation systems through visible deterrence and timely, mobile operations that support airports, mass transit, and other transportation facilities across the country.

The mission of the Detection Canine Program within the Explosives Division of S&T’s Homeland Security Advance Research Projects Agency is to provide the Homeland Security Enterprise with the tools, techniques, and knowledge to better understand, train, and utilize the domestic detection canine. S&T works with DHS partners, including the TSA, CBP, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), other federal agencies, state and local law enforcement and international partners, to provide a focal point for the Homeland Security Enterprise on canine research, development, testing, and evaluation. S&T’s primary objectives are to promote intra-Department and interagency coordination, to drive the development of broadly-applicable technologies, and to increase the operational proficiency of domestic detection canine teams. The events of the Boston Marathon bombing and recent attacks in Brussels, Paris, and Russia have spurred a specific focus within S&T’s program on Person-Borne Improvised Explosive Device (PBIED) detection canines.

1 Of the current 1,448 canines deployed today in CBP, the CBP Canine Training Program trained 1,342; the remaining 106 are agriculture canines trained by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Newnan, Georgia.

 

CBP Canine Training Program History

During the latter part of 1969, the former U.S. Customs Service carried out a study to determine the feasibility of using detection canines in the fight against drug smuggling. As a result of that study, canine trainers from various branches of the U.S. military were recruited, and on April 1, 1970, the U.S. Customs narcotic detector dog training program was established in San Antonio, Texas. Initially, efforts were concentrated on training dogs to detect the odors of marijuana and hashish, but the ever increasing smuggling of narcotics would make the detection of heroin and cocaine equally critical to stop the threat these drugs pose to our citizens.

In July 1974, the U.S. Customs Service detector dog training operation was relocated from San Antonio to its current location 70 miles west of Washington, D.C., in the town of Front Royal, Virginia. In 1991, Congress approved additional funding for the facility in Front Royal, which led to the construction of a new 100-run kennel, academic building, small arms firing range, and vehicle training areas. These new additions brought the detection training program facility up to date as it continued to produce canines trained in disciplines such as searching pedestrians and detecting the odors of narcotics, currency, and firearms.

In 1986, in response to an alarming increase in illegal alien apprehensions and narcotics seizures, the USBP created a pilot training program of canine teams trained to detect concealed humans, and the odors of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana along our Nation’s border. During the first five months of service, those initial canine teams accounted for numerous apprehensions of concealed people and over $150,000,000 in seized narcotics. The operational impact of a trained detection canine team was clear.

In order to establish consistency in training and certification standards, in 1993, the USBP established its own canine training facility in El Paso, Texas. The USBP National Canine Facility adopted ideologies and disciplines from European working dog standards and received numerous accolades and recognition from local, state, federal, and various international law enforcement agencies.

In the aftermath of the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001, as a component of the newly formed CBP, USBP and Office of Field Operations’ (OFO) canine training programs were consolidated under CBP's Office of Training and Development (OTD) and renamed Canine Center El Paso (CCEP) and Canine Center Front Royal (CCFR). On October 1, 2009, the CCEP and CCFR were merged to create the CBP Canine Training Program. An integrated core curriculum was adopted combining the best practices of the legacy OFO and USBP training programs, each rich with history, tradition, and success. Training has been customized to ensure that the unique requirements of OFO and USBP are met.

The primary mission of the CBP Canine Training Program is to provide the initial basic training and certification to CBP officer/agent canine handler teams and instructors in the detection and apprehension of illegal aliens, and the detection and seizure of controlled substances and other contraband utilized to finance terrorism or transnational criminal organizations. Under the direction of OTD, the CBP Canine Training Program also offers formal training to various federal, state, and local, and tribal law enforcement agencies.

Additionally, the CBP Canine Training Program supports canine training initiatives under the direction of the Office of International Affairs, in coordination with the Departments of Defense and State and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), by providing foreign partners capacity building and technical assistance. As a resource center, the CBP Canine Training Program provides guidance on canine training issues, legal requirements, and certification standards to the operational components - OFO and USBP. While OTD develops and establishes the initial training requirements of CBP’s canines, based on the components’ needs and input, the utilization, maintenance, and deployment of canine teams is managed by CBP’s operational components.

CBP Canine Training Disciplines

CBP’s training cadre is comprised of experienced law enforcement officers and agents, also known as Course Developer Instructors, who come from existing field canine units and serve a three to five year instructor assignment. The CBP Canine Training Program possesses a unified training cadre consisting of OFO and USBP personnel who deliver training to integrated classes made up of CBP officers and USBP agents. This commonality brings with it the opportunity to seamlessly interchange staff to further integrate the CBP Canine Training Program. New canine teams and instructors continue to be trained in disciplines such as concealed human detection, pedestrian processing, detecting the odors of narcotics, currency and firearms, tracking and trailing, patrol, search and rescue, and human remains detection.

Concealed Human and Narcotic Detection

The Concealed Human Narcotic Detection Handler course includes in-depth training and certification in all aspects of canine behavior, along with handling, training and employing a passive indication detection canine, as well as canine policy, case law, and canine first-aid. Both the officer/agent and the canine are taught proper search sequences when searching private and commercial conveyances, freight, luggage, mail, open areas of land and structures. Concealed Human and Narcotic Detection Canines are taught to detect concealed humans and the odors of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, hashish, and ecstasy. This discipline makes up the largest portion of canines deployed within CBP totaling approximately 1,227 teams.

OFO deploys specialized detection canine teams throughout the Nation, trained to detect drugs and concealed humans. The majority of the canine teams are concentrated in four field offices along the Southwest border. In addition to the canine teams OFO deploys to the POEs, the USBP Canine Program deploys over 800 specialized detection canine teams — trained to detect concealed humans and narcotics — throughout the Nation. The majority of the canine teams are concentrated in the nine Sectors along the Southwest border. During FY 20162016, USBP canine teams were responsible for 41,807 human apprehensions and the seizure of 419,175 pounds of narcotics and $5,918,862 in currency.

The use of canines in the detection of narcotics is a team effort. CBP’s Laboratories and Scientific Services Directorate (LSSD) produces canine training aids and provides analytical support to the CBP Canine Training Program, including controlled substance purity determinations, pseudo training aid quality analyses, and research on delivery mechanisms that maximize safe vapor delivery during training exercises. From FY 20162016 to midyear FY 20172017, LSSD produced and delivered over 3,200 training aids to the Canine Program for training and certifications, representing a 72 percent production increase.

In addition to traditional scientific support, LSSD has been conducting special research aimed to determine the detection and identification of signature odor profiles for fentanyl compounds. OTD, OFO, USBP, CBP’s LSSD, Office of Chief Counsel, and Labor Employee Relations are working together to conduct a pilot course to assess the feasibility of safely and effectively adding fentanyl as a trained odor to OFO’s deployed narcotic detection canine teams. The project will continue through the remainder of FY 20172017, with evaluations conducted at scheduled benchmarks.

Search and Rescue

The Search and Rescue Handler course includes in-depth training and certification in all aspects of canine behavior, along with handling, training, and employing a dual-trained search and rescue trailing canine, as well as canine policy, case law and canine first-aid. Both the agent and canine are taught obedience, tracking/trailing, and large area search. The canine teams receive training in rappelling for helicopter operations, backtracking, and deployments in various environments (snow, desert, forest, and mountains). During FY 20162016, USBP search and rescue canines rescued 15 individuals.

During one notable rescue, occurring on May 14, 2016, El Centro Sector received a request from the Imperial County (California) Sheriff’s Office to respond to a 911 call. An El Centro Sector canine handler responded, and deployed his canine in an attempt to locate these subjects in the El Centro Station area of operations. While hiking into the area, the canine alerted to and located the four subjects in distress. All four subjects were provided medical treatment by the El Centro Sector Operators, and then turned over to Agents of the ELS Station for further processing.

A regimen added to the Search and Rescue capability, some canine teams are also trained in human remains and cadaver detection. This ability enables the team to assist in a myriad of situations ranging from locating the remains of persons who have expired in remote areas to assisting local law enforcement with suspicious death investigations and responding in recovery operations during natural disasters and terrorist attacks.

In FY 20162016, USBP human remains detection (HRD) canines assisted with a total of 11 human remains recoveries. On January 13, 2017, San Diego Sector USBP received a request from the Chula Vista Police department for HRD canine assistance near Otay River National Park. The search request was in regards to a Chula Vista Police Department missing person/homicide investigation that has been ongoing for approximately 12 years. USBP HRD canine handlers responded, and successfully recovered human remains.

Tracking/Trailing

The Tracking/Trailing Handler course is an added capability to teams previously trained in detection or patrol. This course includes in-depth training involving conditioning a canine to follow the route of a person or persons traversing various types of terrain. Groups of aliens and smuggling organizations routinely travel cross-country. In areas where the ground surface is rough, such as mountainous environments, canine teams are able to track and trail where tracking is otherwise difficult or impossible.

Track/trail canine teams are also used in the search for specific individuals. For example, USBP track/trail canine teams assisted in the manhunt for suspected cop killer Matthew Eric Frein in September 2014 in Pennsylvania, in what became a seven week deployment cycle. The USBP Special Operations Group (SOG) and Special Operations Detachments responded to the support request from the Pennsylvania State Police. Over the course of seven weeks, over 100 Border Patrol Tactical Unit, Border Patrol Search, Trauma and Rescue and SOG-Intelligence Unit (SOG-IU) personnel, mission essential gear and equipment were deployed to Pennsylvania in search of the fugitive who ambushed two troopers, killing one. Frein was successfully apprehended on October 30, 2014.

Patrol

The Patrol Canine Handler course includes in-depth training and certification in all aspects of canine behavior, along with handling, training and employing a patrol canine to search, detain and when necessary physically subdue violent combative subjects. This course also includes training in canine policy, case law, and canine first-aid.

In FY 20162016, USBP Patrol canines assisted in a total of 167 apprehensions, including in the execution of 14 arrest warrants and 18 physical apprehensions. A notable canine deployment occurred on February 2 and 3, 2015 in the USBP Buffalo Sector in Erie, Pennsylvania. Named Operation Northern Stop, this operation involved the Drug Enforcement Administration; Homeland Security Investigations; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation; United States Attorney’s Office; United States Postal Inspection Service; United States Marshal’s Service; Pennsylvania State Police, and Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General. The target of this operation was a large drug trafficking organization linked to the Knights Templar Cartel, based in Mexico. This organization was active coast-to-coast in multiple states, and was responsible for the importation and distribution of large quantities of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine into and throughout the United States. Lauded a major success, and a significant blow to drug trafficking and distribution throughout the area, the operation resulted the arrest and prosecution of 30 subjects; the searching of 17 locations in northwestern Pennsylvania; the seizure of $1,285,006 in United States currency; the seizure of $432,252 in jewelry; and the seizure of 23 vehicles.

Canine Currency/Firearms Detection

The Currency/Firearms Detection Handler course includes in-depth training and certification in all aspects of canine behavior, along with handling, training and employing a passive indication detection canine, as well as canine policy, case law and canine first-aid. Both the officer and the canine are taught proper search sequences when searching pedestrians, private and commercial conveyances, freight, luggage, mail, open areas of land and structures. Only a few days ago, on May 2, 2017, a canine team in the El Centro Sector aided in the detection and seizure of $18,000 in currency, as well as narcotics valued at more than $1.3 million, including 20.6 pounds of heroin, and 20.1 lbs. of methamphetamine in a single event.2

Canine Instructor

The CBP Canine Training Program trains experienced agents/officers to function as canine instructors in each of the varied disciplines for their respective components. This consists of extensive academic and practical training on canine methodology and the theory of problem solving. The instructor develops the canines and handlers to function as a team from the initial point of training through to certification and graduation. Upon completion of training, instructors return to their respective stations/ports to provide policy mandated maintenance training, as well as exercises designed to enhance skill and performance levels for all certified teams. In addition, the instructor cadre provides insight and guidance to administrative staff and serves as subject matter experts on canine training, canine handling, canine deployment, and canine program related courtroom testimony.

Operational canine instructors are tasked with the team’s development throughout their tour within the canine unit. USBP currently has 304 canine instructors who train, enhance, and certify its 856 operational canine teams, providing a 1:3 ratio of instructors to handlers. USBP has determined that this instructor/handler ratio helps canine instructors better address complex subjects such as the operant3 conditioning principles and various problem solving issues that the most advanced level canine training entails.

2 Cash - $18,000; Heroin (20.6 lbs) - $659,200; Meth (20.1 lbs) - $643,200; Total Narcotics value $1,320,400
3 Operant conditioning is a type of learning where behavior is controlled by consequences, such as rewarding good behavior (positive reinforcement).

 

CBP Agriculture Canines

In 2003, when USDA transferred Plant Protection and Quarantine Officers to CBP, approximately 74 canine teams were included. Today, about 106 CBP agriculture canine teams provide screening at the border crossings, preclearance locations, air passenger terminals, cruise terminals, cargo warehouses, and mail facilities that process international passengers and commodities. All CBP agriculture specialist canine handlers and their canine partners complete the initial 10-13 week CBP Agriculture Specialist Canine Training at the USDA National Detector Dog Training Center (NDDTC). All the detector dogs at the NDDTC are adopted from rescue shelters in the United States or come to the program from private donations.

During a single week this month Murray, an agricultural canine and new addition to CBP, alerted to and helped intercepted more than 46 pounds of exotic fruit, peppers and beef found in checked bags at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The seized food products- including potatoes, chili peppers, tomatoes, banana passion fruits, yellow Dragon fruits and beef- were destroyed and the travelers were not penalized as they declared the agriculture products to CBP. Prohibited food items, invasive weed seeds and insects, and plant and animal diseases pose a significant threat to U.S. agricultural industries and our nation’s economy. On a typical day in FY 2016, CBP agriculture specialists discovered 404 pests at U.S. POEs and 4,638 materials for quarantine, helping keep our Nation and our economy safe.

CBP Canine Program Partnerships

CBP’s Office of International Affairs (INA) Technical Assistance Division (INA/ITAD) conducts International Border Interdiction training, funded by Department of State, for various countries worldwide. These courses provide instruction on multiple aspects of border security, including targeting and risk management, interdiction, smuggling, search methodologies, analysis, canine enforcement, and narcotics detection identification. INA/ITAD has conducted anti-smuggling training in heroin and opiate source countries such as Panama, Guatemala, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, Indonesia, India, Thailand, Afghanistan, Kenya, Cambodia, and the Philippines.

In 2015, at the request of the Government of Tanzania, the previous CBP Commissioner, and U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania, the CBP Canine Training Program conducted an initial assessment of the Government of Tanzania’s capabilities with detection canines and canine training. The need and suitability of a start-up ivory and narcotic canine detection program to counter illegal wildlife and narcotics trafficking was identified. Immediately following the assessment, the CBP Canine Training Program developed a customized curriculum, with ivory as a newly trained odor, and were able to train four Tanzanian police officers who are posted at the Dar es Salaam Seaport and Airport. This entire effort was accomplished in approximately five months and led to one ivory trafficking arrest and narcotics seizure.

OTD is also active in sharing expertise in the United States. In 2016 the CBP Canine Training Program provided canine handler and instructor training for the Warren County Sheriff’s Department; El Paso County Sheriff’s Office; the National Park Service; Shelby County Sheriff’s Office; Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo Tribal Police Department; Washington State Police; New Mexico State Police; and the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

TSA’s National Explosives Detection Canine Team Program

TSA procures, trains, and deploys explosives detection canine teams to secure our Nation’s transportation systems through visible deterrence and timely, mobile operations that support airports, mass transit, and other transportation facilities across the country. TSA’s National Explosives Detection Canine Team Program (NEDCTP) began as the Federal Aviation Administration’s Explosives Detection Canine Program in 1972 and transferred to TSA in 2002. Congress has recognized the value of TSA’s NEDCTP through its continued support and funding, including through increased funding in Fiscal Year FY 2017 appropriations. TSA’s NEDCTP is currently the largest explosives detection canine program in DHS, and the second largest in the federal government, with 1,047 funded National Explosives Detection Canine teams currently stationed at more than 100 of the Nation’s transportation venues. The success of TSA’s NEDCTP is a prime example of federal, state, and local governmental entities working together with a common goal—to protect the American people and secure transportation.

Given the security effectiveness of high quality explosive detection canines, TSA partners with the Department of Defense (DOD) as well as private industry to ensure a reliable and adequate supply of canines. TSA partners with DOD’s Military Working Dog Program to procure up to 280 canines per year. In addition to our work with DOD, TSA has contracts with several domestic vendors for suitable trained and untrained passenger screening canines. To support ongoing expansion of TSA’s canine program, TSA has made significant investments in infrastructure at the Canine Training Center (CTC). These investments have enabled TSA to increase throughput by 20 percent from Fiscal Year (FY) FY 2016 to FY 2017, including new teams for growth and attrition replacement.

Once TSA procures a canine, TSA pairs it with a federal, state, or local handler to be trained to operate in the aviation, maritime, mass transit, or cargo environments. The majority of canine teams working in the aviation environment today are comprised of a canine and a state or local law enforcement officer. For these teams, TSA provides and trains the dog, trains the handler, provides training aids and explosive storage magazines, and conducts on-site canine team training and re-certifications. TSA partially reimburses each participating agency for operational costs associated with maintaining the teams, including veterinarians’ fees, handlers’ salaries, dog food, and equipment. In return, the law enforcement agencies agree to use the canines in their assigned transportation environment for at least 80 percent of the handler’s duty time. State and local law enforcement participation in the program is voluntary, and these organizations play a critical role in TSA’s mission to ensure the safe movement of commerce and people throughout the Nation’s transportation security environment.

In addition to state and local law enforcement-led teams, TSA handlers lead 372 funded canine teams, including Passenger Screening Canine (PSC) teams, which are specifically trained to detect explosives’ odor on passengers and property as they traverse the terminal, in addition to their conventional explosives detection role. This number includes fifty new teams that were funded by Congress in FY 2017 appropriations.

TSA and state and local law enforcement handlers travel from across the country to TSA’s CTC, located at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, to be paired with a canine and complete a 10-12 week training course. The canine teams learn explosives detection in an intense training environment, using 17 venues located on the CTC premises that mimic a variety of transportation sites such as a cargo facility, airport gate, passenger screening checkpoint, baggage claim area, aircraft interior, vehicle parking lot, light rail station, light rail car, and air cargo facility, among others. Teams are trained to detect a variety of explosives based on intelligence data and emerging threats.

Once a team graduates from the training program, they return to their duty station to acclimate and familiarize the canine to their assigned operational environment. Approximately 30 days after graduation, an Operational Transition Assessment (OTA) is conducted to ensure each team demonstrates operational proficiency in their environment. OTAs include four key elements: the canine’s ability to recognize explosives’ odors, the handler’s ability to interpret the canine’s change of behavior, the handler’s ability to conduct logical and systematic searches, and the team’s ability to locate the explosives’ odor source. Upon successful completion of the OTA, NEDCTP canine teams are then evaluated on an annual basis under the most stringent of applicable certification standards.

TSA allocates canine teams to specific cities and airports utilizing risk-based criteria that take into account multiple factors, including threat, passenger volume and throughput, and number of insiders with access to secure areas of the airport. PSC teams are critical to TSA’s risk-based security efforts and are deployed to operate during peak travel times at 42 of the Nation’s largest airports, where they have the opportunity to screen tens of thousands of passengers every day. PSC teams are trained to conduct traditional screening of objects such as luggage, cargo, and vehicles, and are an especially flexible security option. The additional teams recently funded by Congress will expand our ability to respond to transportation plots whether they target public areas, passenger screening checkpoints, or leverage an insider with access to the secure area.

In addition to deployments at passenger screening checkpoints, TSA and law enforcement-led teams conduct a variety of search and high visibility activities that address potential threats throughout the transportation domain. For example, canine teams provide visible deterrence and conduct explosives detection operations in transportation system public areas, and also conduct operations that mitigate insider threats in secured areas.

Canine teams have been proven to be one of the most effective means of detecting explosive substances. They are critical to TSA’s focus on security.

S&T’s Detection Canine Program

S&T’s Detection Canine Program has historically focused on specific explosives threats facing the homeland and how we can better understand the strengths and limitations of the specially-trained explosive detection canine. As a result, we can then inform our partners on how to best utilize this extremely capable detector in a comprehensive concept of operations. S&T maintains open lines of interaction with CBP and FEMA to address challenges with narcotics detection, human tracking, and urban search and rescue. In 2017, the scope of the detection canine program at S&T officially expanded to an all-threats focus.

The S&T canine program has three specific focus areas:

  • Development and testing of canine training aids: Primary focus has been on (1) low-cost, non-hazardous training aids that can be used to improve and test canine ability to detect new threats and (2) a laboratory instrumentation method to measure the training aid at or below the level of the detection of the canine.
  • Canine operational testing and evaluation: Provide an expert independent operational test and evaluation capability for detection canines, discover canine strengths and weaknesses by performing in-field assessments, and use a scientifically-rigorous approach with statistically-significant results to enhance and validate testing methods.
  • Canine research and development structure and function: Focus on more basic understanding of canine behavior, genetics, olfaction, and cognition of this detector to improve operational efficiencies and training methods.

S&T’s PBIED canine initiative was started in 2012 to understand the strengths and limits of canines specially trained to detect PBIEDs being carried by people, either on their person or in bags, in mass transit and large crowd event operational environments. S&T is the first to conduct this type of parametric study and testing, which is critical to scientifically determine the limits of performance.

In 2017, the Detection Canine Program transitioned a patented non-hazardous peroxide-based training aid for operational use by the TSA canine program. This training aid addresses the threat used in Brussels and Paris and allows for use in operational scenarios including vehicle, baggage, and person-based threats. This aid is in use by all TSA canine teams at over 100 airports nationwide. The aid is also licensed for commercial production and sale to over 4,000 domestic explosive detection canine teams in the law enforcement community.

S&T has established critical enduring capabilities to facilitate rapid response to emerging threats. Coupling partnerships with National Capital Region detection canine teams and world-renowned laboratory analysis capabilities has allowed an integrated approach to our test and evaluation focus. S&T’s contributions to the Homeland Security Enterprise include understanding of both the inherent capacity for the canine to detect a new threat and how to establish proficiency where needed. S&T, supporting DHS and interagency partners, has contributed rapid determinations of the canine detection capability on many threats.

S&T has established strong international partnerships for explosives detection canine use that have significantly impacted our international air cargo policy. In 2015, at the request of TSA, S&T conducted extensive assessments of the use of Remote Explosive Scent Tracing (REST) methodologies - which involves detection canines inspecting vapor samples on special filters - in the United Kingdom (UK), France and the Netherlands to determine if the screening method met or exceeded TSA standards for explosives screening. Following S&T’s work, the TSA Administrator authorized incoming air cargo from Dutch and French airports that use REST. Additionally, S&T identified improvements that could be made to the UK’s methodology. This input informed the UK to re-evaluate their certification methods and improve their screening methodology for detection of explosive materials in air cargo.

This year, S&T’s detection canine program launched the Regional Explosives Detection Dog Initiative (REDDI) in support of the state and local law enforcement canine community. This extends outreach for our program to the state and local community to create better partnerships and validate capability gaps. REDDI events aim at advancing the knowledge and capability of our Nation’s explosive detection canine teams. S&T will provide a series of regionally-based events for detection canine teams in the law enforcement community, including odor recognition trials, reality-based operational search scenarios, odor exercises and demonstrations, shared knowledge on IEDs emphasizing homemade explosives, and an overview on explosive odor chemistry. The first REDDI event was held in southwest Florida in March 2017, with a second event in Connecticut in April 2017. Several events are planned throughout the country in the coming months. Alongside canine teams gaining valuable experience and an independent evaluation of their operational readiness, S&T gathers valuable data to validate current program priorities, guide future investments, and increase the knowledge base to share with the whole detection canine community.

S&T has already begun to expand into other mission areas with potential to benefit from canine detection:

  • S&T has a Memorandum of Agreement with FEMA to address some of the challenges of urban search and rescue teams. S&T is in the second phase of development of a canine-wearable vest that will provide fully-stabilized video, high-fidelity location in GPS-denied situations, and communications from canine to handler to command center. This effort is executing through S&T’s Small Business Innovative Research Program.
  • The canine program is also one of the first participants in S&T’s Silicon Valley Initiative Program, through which the Department reaches out to non-traditional performers and those who have not previously contracted with the government to address DHS research and development needs.
  • S&T has an active effort with CBP to identify canine-wearable technologies that monitor health of the canine while being ruggedized to survive the environments where they train and deploy.

The Detection Canine Program is a prime example of how S&T helps operators and end users in the Homeland Security Enterprise harness science and technology to more effectively and efficiently achieve their missions. The program has been enormously successful building a detection canine community and using that community to develop and transition powerful new capabilities to operators.

Conclusion

DHS’s canine teams offer unique capabilities across various disciplines and can be deployed throughout diverse operating environments, and will continue to consistently adapt to meet the DHS mission while providing a more mobile and rapid response in order to lead the way into the future. Thank you for the opportunity to discuss this important program with you today.

Topics:  Explosives, Preventing Terrorism Keywords:  Canines, detection canines, National Explosives Detection Canine Team Program, explosive detection canine, Passenger Screening Canine

Written testimony of USCG Commandant Admiral Paul Zukunft for a House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security hearing titled “Requirements, Priorities, and Future Acquisition Plans”

Thu, 05/18/2017 - 00:00
Release Date: May 18, 2017

2007 Rayburn House Office Building

Good morning Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the Subcommittee. I appreciate the opportunity to testify today and thank you for your enduring support of the United States Coast Guard.

As the world’s premier, multi-mission, maritime service, the Coast Guard offers a unique and enduring value to the Nation. The only branch of the U.S. Armed Forces within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), a federal law enforcement agency, a regulatory body, a first responder, and a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community – the Coast Guard is uniquely positioned to help secure the border, combat transnational criminal organizations (TCO), and safeguard America’s economic prosperity.

Indeed, the Coast Guard’s combination of broad authorities and complementary capabilities squarely align with the Administration’s priorities, and I am proud of the return on investment your Coast Guard delivers on an annual basis.

I appreciate the unwavering support of this Subcommittee to address our most pressing needs. I will continue working with Secretary Kelly, the Administration, and this Congress to preserve momentum for our existing acquisition programs and employ risk-based decisions to balance readiness, modernization, and force structure with the evolving demands of the 21st century.

Appropriately positioned in DHS, the Coast Guard is a military Service and a branch of the Armed Forces of the United States at all times.1 We are also an important part of the modern Joint Force,2 and a force multiplier for the Department of Defense (DoD). I am proud of our enduring defense contributions to Combatant Commanders around the globe.

In addition to the six cutters operating as part of Patrol Forces Southwest Asia (PATFORSWA) since 2003, other defense operations include:

  • Port Security Units (PSUs) support Combatant Commanders with 24-hour protection of vessels, waterways, and port facilities. These specialized teams have deployed almost continuously to strategic ports in Kuwait and in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, since 2002.
  • Deployable Specialized Forces Advanced Interdiction Teams support U. S. Central Command (CENTCOM) vessel board, search, and seizure operations.
  • Aircrews perform rotary-wing air intercept operations in support of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). Specially trained aviators intercept aircraft that enter restricted airspace in the National Capital Region and during National Security Special Events around the country.
  • Assets and personnel deploy worldwide in support of defense operations and fully participate in major international exercises. As the Coast Guard is similar in size, composition, and missions to most of the world’s navies, we are a frequent engagement partner of choice to support Combatant Commander goals.

Like the other military Services, the Coast Guard supports all efforts to rebuild the Armed Forces.

Secretary Kelly leads the Department’s efforts to secure our borders, and the Administration’s strategy “to deploy all lawful means to secure the Nation’s southern border…”3 relies on the Coast Guard supporting a comprehensive security strategy. The Coast Guard protects the maritime border – not just here at home, but also off the coast of South and Central America. As Secretary Kelly has stated, “…the defense of the southwest border really starts about 1,500 miles south…”4

We continue to face a significant threat from TCOs, and the Coast Guard is positioned to attack these criminal networks where they are most vulnerable, at sea. We leverage over 40 international maritime law enforcement bilateral agreements to enable partner nation interdictions and prosecutions, and employ a robust interdiction package to seize multi-ton loads of drugs at sea before they can be broken down into small quantities ashore.

In close collaboration with partner Nations and agencies, the Coast Guard works to engage threats as far from U.S. shores as possible. In 2016, Coast Guard and partner agencies interdicted more cocaine at sea than was removed at the land border and across the entire nation by all federal, state and local law enforcement agencies – combined. A service record 201.3 metric tons of cocaine (7.1% of estimated flow)5 was removed from the western transit zone, 585 smugglers were detained, and 156 cases were referred for prosecution.

Coast Guard readiness relies on the ability to simultaneously execute our full suite of missions and sustain support to Combatant Commanders, while also being ready to respond to contingencies. Your Coast Guard prides itself on being Semper Paratus – Always Ready, and predictable and sufficient funding is necessary to maintain this readiness in the future. Prudence also demands we continue investing in a modernized Coast Guard. Indeed, recapitalization remains my highest priority, and today’s activities will shape our Coast Guard and impact national security for decades. Your support has helped us make tremendous progress, and it is critical we build upon our successes to field assets that meet cost, performance, and schedule milestones. I am encouraged by our progress to date.

In 2016, we awarded a contract to complete build out of our fleet of 58 Fast Response Cutters – at an affordable price – and the last four ships (numbers 19 through 22) were delivered by Bollinger Shipyards with zero discrepancies. In September, we achieved a monumental goal with the award of a contract for Detail Design and Construction of the Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC). These cutters will eventually comprise 70 percent of Coast Guard surface presence in the offshore zone. OPCs will provide the tools to more effectively enforce federal laws, secure our maritime borders by interdicting threats before they arrive on our shores, disrupt TCOs, and respond to 21st century threats. With the continued support of the Administration and Congress, we anticipate ordering long lead time material for the first OPC later this year, and plan for its delivery in 2021.

We also generated momentum to build new polar icebreakers. In July of last year I made a commitment to partner with the Navy to establish an Integrated Program Office to acquire new heavy icebreakers. This approach leverages the expertise of both organizations and is delivering results. The recent award of multiple Industry Studies contracts – a concept the Navy has utilized in previous shipbuilding acquisitions to drive affordability and reduce schedule and technical risk – is an example of the positive results of this partnership. We will continue refining the system specification and prepare to release a request for proposal for Detail Design and Construction in FY 2018.

We are also making progress with unmanned aerial systems. A recent small Unmanned Aerial System (sUAS) proof of concept aboard a National Security Cutter (NSC) validated this capability and will enhance the effectiveness of these cutters. In its inaugural month underway, STRATTON's sUAS flew 191 flight hours, providing real-time surveillance and detection imagery for the cutter, and assisting the embarked helicopter and law enforcement teams with the interdiction or disruption of four go-fast vessels carrying more than 5,000 pounds of contraband. In addition, we are exploring options to build a land-based UAS program that will improve domain awareness and increase the cued intelligence our surface assets rely upon to close illicit pathways in the maritime transit zone. While long-term requirements are being finalized, I can fully employ a squadron of six platforms outfitted with marine-capable sensors now and am moving out to field this much-needed capability.

In addition to the focus on recapitalizing our surface and aviation fleets, we are also mindful of the condition of our shore infrastructure. Investments in shore infrastructure are also critical to modernizing the Coast Guard and equipping our workforce with the facilities they require to meet mission.

America’s economic prosperity is reliant on the safe, secure, and efficient flow of cargo through the Maritime Transportation System (MTS), which sees $4.5 trillion of economic activity annually. The Nation’s maritime industry and the MTS face many challenges, including growing demands, a global industry-driven need to reduce shipping’s environmental footprint, and the ever-increasing complexity of systems and technology.

Coast Guard marine safety programs employ our unique capabilities to ensure a safe, secure, and environmentally sound MTS. We do this by developing risk-based standards, training and employing a specialized workforce, and conducting investigations into accidents and violations of laws so standards can be improved. We are mindful of the need to facilitate commerce, not impede it, and remain committed to our prevention missions.

While readiness and modernization investments will improve current mission performance, the right force is central to success. I am incredibly proud of our 88,000 active duty, reserve, civil service, and auxiliary members. I am working aggressively to validate a transparent and repeatable model to identify the appropriate force structure required for the Coast Guard to simultaneously respond to global, national, and regional events.

Funding 21st century Coast Guard platforms and people is a smart investment, even in this challenging fiscal environment. Modern assets bring exceptional capability, but our greatest strength will always be our people. Coast Guard operations require a capable, proficient, and resilient workforce that draws upon the broad range of skills, talents, and experiences found in the American population. Together, modern platforms and a strong, resilient workforce will maximize the Coast Guard’s capacity to meet future challenges.

History has proven that a responsive, capable, and agile Coast Guard is an indispensable instrument of national security. With the continued support of the Administration and Congress, the Coast Guard will continue to live up to our motto. We will be Semper Paratus – Always Ready. Thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today and for all you do for the men and women of the Coast Guard. I look forward to your questions.

1 14 USC § 1.
2 In addition to the Coast Guard’s status as an Armed Force (10 U.S.C. § 101), see also Memorandum of Agreement Between the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security on the Use of Coast Guard Capabilities and Resources in Support of the National Military Strategy, 02 May 2008, as amended 18 May 2010.
3 Executive Order on Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements, 25 January 2017.
4 Secretary Kelly Hearing Testimony, “Ending the Crisis: America’s Borders and the Path to Security” before the House Homeland Security Full Committee and Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security Joint Hearing on America’s Borders, Panel 1, 07 February 2017.
5 [US Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General, Review of U.S. Coast Guard’s Fiscal Year 2016 Drug Control Performance Summary, OIG Report, OIG-17-33, February 1, 2017. ]

 

Topics:  Air, Border Security, Maritime Keywords:  acquisitions

Joint Statement by the European Commission and DHS on Aviation Security Cooperation

Wed, 05/17/2017 - 14:31
Release Date: May 17, 2017

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

BRUSSELS – Today, European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, and European Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc, hosted a delegation from the United States in Brussels, led by Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke, to discuss issues related to aviation security and safety.

At the meeting, both sides exchanged information on the serious evolving threats to aviation security and approaches to confronting such threats. Participants provided insight into existing aviation security standards and detection capabilities as well as recent security enhancements on both sides of the Atlantic related to large electronic devices placed in checked baggage.

The United States and the European Union reaffirmed their commitment to continue working closely together on aviation security generally, including meeting next week in Washington D.C. to further assess shared risks and solutions for protecting airline passengers, whilst ensuring the smooth functioning of global air travel. 

 

# # #

Topics:  Air Keywords:  deputy secretary, aviation security, europe

Statement By Secretary Kelly On The Reissuance Of The NTAS Bulletin

Tue, 05/16/2017 - 08:18
Release Date: May 16, 2017

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

WASHINGTON – Today, Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly announced the issuance of an updated National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) Bulletin pertaining to the homegrown terror threat.

“After careful consideration of the current threat environment and input from intelligence and law enforcement partners, I have made the decision to update and extend for six months the NTAS Bulletin based on the persistent threat from homegrown terrorists,” said Secretary Kelly. “We are in a generational fight against terrorist groups and those they inspire, and for us to protect our homeland we will need constant vigilance and clear focus on staying a step ahead of the enemy.”

This marks the fourth iteration of the Bulletin on the homegrown threat, which has been reissued twice previously since the initial Bulletin was released in December 2015.

To read the new NTAS Bulletin, click https://www.dhs.gov/national-terrorism-advisory-system.

# # #

Topics:  DHS Enterprise, Homeland Security Enterprise, National Terrorism Advisory System Keywords:  NTAS, Bulletin, National Terrorism Advisory System

Fact Sheet: The Fiscal Year 2017 Budget

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 07:57
Release Date: May 15, 2017

On May 5, 2017, President Donald J. Trump signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017, which provides the Department of Homeland Security with $42.4 billion in net discretionary funding to carry out its five primary missions: prevent terrorism and enhance security; secure and manage our borders; enforce and administer our immigration laws; safeguard and secure cyberspace; and strengthen national preparedness and resilience. This is $1.8 billion more than the original FY 2017 Budget Request and $1.5 billion more than the FY 2016 enacted level.

The budget sustains current DHS operations while offering enhancements to border security and immigration operations in support of the President’s Executive Orders on Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements. It also includes funding for 40 miles of replacement border fencing, and funds FEMA state and local grants to prepare states, local governments, tribes, and territories at $2.7 billion, sustaining FY 2016 enacted levels, including $1.3 billion for state, local and tribal grants, $690 million for firefighter assistance grants, and $350 million for Emergency Management Performance Grants.

Additionally, it funds U.S. Coast Guard operations at $344 million above the FY 2017 budget request, allowing the Coast Guard to continue procurement of advanced ships, aircraft and unmanned systems, as well as to address backlogs and repairs to facilities damaged by Hurricane Matthew.

Additional highlights of the 2017 budget include:

  • $2.7 billion in grants for state and local communities; $501 million above the FY 2017 budget request.
  • $7.3 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF), of which $6.7 billion supports emergency funding for major disasters.
  • $10.5 billion for the U.S. Coast Guard.
  • $292 million for 40 miles of replacement fence along the Southwest border.
  • $79 million for border technology, $16 million for an additional multi-role enforcement aircraft, $32 million for six additional light enforcement helicopters, $44 million for continued deployment of Integrated Fixed Towers, and $19 million for the small unmanned aerial system program.
  • $3.2 billion to support ICE’s enforcement and removal operations supporting custody, transportation, and the Alternatives to Detention program.
  • $50 million for White House fence replacement.
  • Provides the National Protection and Programs Directorate with $225 million for Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigations which protects agencies against exploitation by unauthorized and unmanaged hardware and software.
  • Provides the National Protection and Programs Directorate with $468 million for the National Cybersecurity Protection System which provides a wide range of cybersecurity capabilities for the .gov domain including intrusion detection, intrusion prevention, advanced cyber analytics, information sharing, and core infrastructure using classified and unclassified information.

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Topics:  DHS Enterprise Keywords:  budget, 2017 budget request

DHS Statement on Ongoing Ransomware Attacks

Fri, 05/12/2017 - 19:49
Release Date: May 12, 2017

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security is aware of reports of ransomware known as WannaCry affecting multiple global entities.  Ransomware is a type of malicious software that infects a computer and restricts users’ access to it until a ransom is paid to unlock it.  Microsoft released a patch in March that addresses this specific vulnerability, and installing this patch will help secure your systems from the threat. Individual users are often the first line of defense against this and other threats, and we encourage all Americans to update your operating systems and implement vigorous cybersecurity practices at home, work, and school.  These practices include:

  • Update your systems to include the latest patches and software updates.
  • Do not click on or download unfamiliar links or files in emails.
  • Back up your data to prevent possible loss, whether you are at a home, work, or school computer.

We are actively sharing information related to this event and stand ready to lend technical support and assistance as needed to our partners, both in the United States and internationally.  DHS has a cadre of cybersecurity professionals that can provide expertise and support to critical infrastructure entities.

DHS also leads the federal government’s efforts to protect civilian executive branch agency systems and networks. In partnership with each agency’s Chief Information Officer we are ensuring our own networks are protected against the threat.

For more information, DHS has previously released information on best practices to address ransomware. That information is available on our website at https://www.us-cert.gov/security-publications/Ransomware.

# # #

Topics:  Cybersecurity Keywords:  cyber incident, Cybersecurity, cybersecurity activity

President’s Executive Order Will Strengthen Cybersecurity for Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure

Thu, 05/11/2017 - 17:21
Release Date: May 11, 2017

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

WASHINGTON – The Executive Order signed by the president today, Strengthening the Cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure, follows through on a key campaign promise made to the American people. It reaffirms the important role the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plays in strengthening the security and resilience of federal networks and the nation’s critical infrastructure.

“Our nation’s economic and national security rely on a safe, secure, and reliable cyber space,” said Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly. “DHS has long been a leader in protecting our nation against cyber threats and this executive order reaffirms our central role in ongoing cybersecurity efforts. We have developed strong operational relationships with our government partners to protect federal civilian networks and have established trusted partnerships with the private sector to improve the cybersecurity of the nation’s critical infrastructure.”

The Executive Order, which builds on DHS’s legal authorities, directs the department to assess and report on a number of key actions in order to secure federal networks. While each department or agency is responsible for the cybersecurity of its networks, DHS leads these efforts and ensures a baseline level of security across the civilian executive branch. The Executive Order bolsters this work by:

  • Directing agency heads to immediately use the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework for risk management, and to provide within 90 days a risk management report to DHS and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on the implementation of the framework and risk management strategies employed by the department or agency.
  • Directing DHS and OMB to assess federal agencies’ cybersecurity risk management strategies in order to determine the adequacy of cyber protections across federal networks and identify any unmet budgetary or policy needs.
  • Directing DHS and OMB to provide a plan to the president, within 60 days of receiving the agency reports, on how to protect the executive branch enterprise.
  • Directing DHS and other agencies to provide the president with a report within 90 days on the technical feasibility to transition all agencies to one or more consolidated network architectures and shared IT services.

The Executive Order also enhances the department’s ability to support the cybersecurity efforts of the nation’s critical infrastructure owners and operators. This includes:

  • Directing DHS to lead the coordination with other departments and agencies to identify federal resources and capabilities best suited to protect critical infrastructure where a cyber incident could have catastrophic effects.
  • Directing DHS and the Department of Commerce to provide a report within 90 days to the president on how best to promote market transparency of cyber risk management practices by critical infrastructure entities.
  • Directing DHS and the Department of Commerce to lead efforts to improve the resilience of the nation’s core communications infrastructure; providing a preliminary report within 240 days and a final report within one year.
  • Enhancing DHS’ partnership with the Department of Energy to assess the resilience of the electric grid and provide an assessment within 90 days of any gaps in the security of the nation’s electric subsector.
  • Directing DHS, the Department of Defense and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to provide a report within 90 days to the president assessing the cybersecurity of the defense industrial base.

The Internet is part of the underpinning of the American economy, and the Executive Order affirms that it is the policy of the United States to promote an open, interoperable, reliable and secure Internet. In furtherance of this policy, the Executive Order:

  • Directs an interagency team, including DHS, to submit a report within 90 days to the president on the nation’s strategic options for deterring adversaries and better protecting the American people from threats in cyberspace.
  • Directs an interagency team, including DHS, to submit a report within 45 days on international cybersecurity priorities; and within 90 days of the submission of the priorities report, develop an international cybersecurity engagement strategy.
  • Directs DHS and Department of Commerce to lead coordination with other agencies and submit a report within 120 days the findings and recommendations to support the growth and sustainment of the Nation’s cybersecurity workforce.

Strengthening the security and resilience of cyberspace is an important part of the homeland security mission. The president’s Executive Order builds upon existing capabilities and authorities while strengthening the department’s ability to carry out its mission of protecting federal networks, supporting critical infrastructure owners and operators, and ensuring an open and reliable Internet for all Americans.

# # #

Topics:  Critical Infrastructure Security, Cybersecurity Keywords:  Critical Infrastructure Cyber Community, Cybersecurity, cybersecurity activity, critical infrastructure

Readout of Secretary Kelly's trip to Jordan and Saudi Arabia

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 16:55
Release Date: May 9, 2017

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

WASHINGTON – Secretary John F. Kelly visited Aqaba, Jordan and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, from May 5 to May 8 to participate in high-level meetings with foreign partners and to advance cooperation on a range of security issues.

In Jordan, the Secretary met with His Majesty King Abdullah II and discussed current challenges in the region, including the dynamic threat from terrorist groups, as well as shared interests in aviation and border security.  He later participated in the Aqaba Process, a multi-national forum led by King Abdullah to examine the growing terror threat in South East Asia and how to better counter radicalization.

The Secretary also visited a Jordan-Israel border crossing to observe screening processes and discuss how information systems are used to detect and interdict illicit cargo, criminals, and extremists, while facilitating legitimate trade and travel.

In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Secretary met with Saudi Crown Prince and Minister of the Interior Mohammed Bin Nayef Abd Al-Aziz Al Saud and other senior officials regarding bilateral cooperation, including counterterrorism, information sharing, border and maritime security, cyber threats, and aviation security.

Secretary Kelly visited the historic Al-Shafi Mosque located in the Old City of Jeddah.  He also toured the Beyt Nasseef Heritage House, located in Jeddah’s historic district.

The Secretary also visited the Mohammed Bin Nayef Center for Counseling and Care to observe the Kingdom’s unique rehabilitation efforts focused on preventing terrorist recidivism through training, reintegration, and teaching counter-extremist ideology.

Opportunities for further collaboration were explored across the broad DHS portfolio, to include cyber- crime capacity building, counter-illicit finance investigations, maritime and aviation security, and border screening technology.

The Secretary was joined in Saudi Arabia by the President’s Homeland Security Advisor, Thomas Bossert.

 

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Keywords:  Secretary Kelly, counterterrorism, Border Security, aviation security, Maritime

Written testimony of USCG for a House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation hearing titled “Maritime Transportation Regulatory Issues”

Wed, 05/03/2017 - 00:00
Release Date: May 3, 2017

2167 Rayburn House Office Building

Good morning Chairman Hunter, Ranking Member Garamendi, and distinguished members of the Subcommittee. It is my pleasure to be here today to discuss the Coast Guard’s regulatory program.

America’s economic prosperity is reliant on the safe, secure, and efficient flow of cargo through the Marine Transportation System (MTS). The Nation’s waterways support $4.5 trillion of economic activity each year, including over 250,000 American jobs.1 U.S. economic stability, production, and consumption, enabled by the intermodal transportation of goods through the midstream economy, are critical to American prosperity and national security. This trade-driven economic prosperity serves as a wellspring for our power and serves as a leading source of our influence in the world. The Coast Guard’s marine safety program and regulatory process advance American prosperity by leveraging our unique capabilities to ensure that the MTS operates safely, predictably, and securely. We are mindful of the need to facilitate commerce, not impede it, and our marine safety program does this by helping to level the playing field for industry through a federal framework of common-sense regulations, that are enforced in a predictable and consistent manner across America’s 360 ports. Coast Guard regulations and our regulatory compliance functions provide the means for investors and operators to evaluate and manage risk, promoting investment and innovation throughout the maritime sector. This federal framework levels the playing field, enabling U.S. shipping to compete internationally and U.S. ports to compete equally against each other, while protecting American interests from the risk of foreign-flagged sub-standard shipping in our ports and waters.

The maritime industry is a dynamic industry that includes many components. The maritime industry includes ships and mariners that sail our waters, the ports and facilities they call upon, the waterways upon which commerce moves, and water-bourne access to maritime natural resources. Our maritime industry provides vital transportation along marine highways, enables the harvesting of marine and offshore natural resources, supports recreation, and facilitates interstate and international trade. By providing access to transportation, trade, and natural resources, the maritime industry supports our Nation’s economic prosperity and is a key driver for our national economy.

As the lead federal regulator for the maritime industry, the Coast Guard must be attentive to the industry’s changing needs and dynamic challenges. Amidst emerging trends and needs within the MTS and the maritime industry, the Coast Guard’s underlying concept of operations and our approach to continuous improvement remains unchanged. The Coast Guard continues to conduct our work, using the same concept of operations that has guided us for decades: the Coast Guard develops standards for safe, secure, and environmentally soundoperations in the MTS; the Coast Guard assesses and enforces compliance with those standards; and when failures occur, the Coast Guard aggressively investigates them and drives the lessons learned back into our compliance and standards activities. These three phases of operations rely on our ability to leverage our marine safety workforce, engage other governmental, non-governmental, and industry partners, and manage risks and information. As shown in Figure 1, this operating concept applies across all of our prevention responsibilities including marine safety, maritime security, and environmental protection. Further, this concept of operations guides our interaction with each segment of the maritime industry including the vessels, facilities, mariners, and waterways. Lastly, this concept of operations is a reminder that the vessels and mariners operate within a broader MTS and that our responsibilities for marine safety extend beyond the vessels and mariners to include safe navigation and safe port operations.


Figure 1: Prevention Concept of Operations

 

Our concept of operations and service desire for continuous improvement are foundational strengths which will enable us to adapt to changing industry demands while meeting public expectations for effective oversight.

1 “Ports’ Value to the U.S. Economy: Exports, Jobs & Economic Growth.” American Association of Port Authorities, http://www.aapa-ports.org/advocating/content.aspx?ItemNumber=21150, Accessed April 17, 2017.

 

Challenges from a Dynamic Maritime Industry

Over the past decade, legislative and regulatory changes have led to increased oversight of fishing and towing vessels with the Coast Guard now examining or inspecting as many as 30,000 additional commercial fishing vessels and 5,000 additional commercial towing vessels. While the recent downturn in domestic oil production eroded much of the previous years' petroleum related growth, current shipment of other commodities, such as liquefied natural gas exports, set new highs. In addition to meeting the challenges of a dynamic industry, the Coast Guard regulatory and compliance programs must contend with the growing capacity of the MTS and address the increasing complexity in the maritime industry.

In the face of these challenges, our fundamental approach remains the same. The Coast Guard will continue to strive to reduce casualties, improve service, improve mission management, and continue to inform common-sense regulations that are consistently applied around the country. The Coast Guard must continue to adapt our standards and compliance processes, enhance our technical competency, and increase the productivity of our workforce to keep pace with advancements in the maritime industry.

Updates to the Coast Guard Regulatory Program and Status of Implementation of Regulations
Figure 2: Number of Active Rulemaking Projects

 

With progress made on older rulemakings, the average rule development time has been reduced from 6.2 years at the end of FY 2009 to 5.7 years in 2017. The Coast Guard anticipates further reductions by prioritizing completion of older rulemaking projects. Further, the Coast Guard is actively participating in a DHS-wide (and interagency) effort to identify, consolidate, eliminate, and revise regulations where possible. We recognize the necessity of soliciting public comments and working with Advisory Committees, standards organizations, and many industry partners in our rulemaking projects, and any potential regulation reductions or consolidations, to develop clear economic impact analyses. Our disciplined, detail-driven approach takes time, but results in rules and regulatory changes whose benefits outweigh the costs.

Noteworthy Publications

Table 1 shows the notable publications in FY 2016 and thus far in FY 2017.

Table 1: Notable Publications Fiscal Year Rule (Date Published) Phase 2016 Cargo Securing Manuals (May 9, 2016)
International agreement provision
Implements requirements for a cargo securing manual on certain vessels operating on international voyages. Final Rule Inspection of Towing Vessels (June 20, 2016)
Statutory mandate
Adds towing vessels to the list of vessels requiring Coast Guard inspection. Final Rule Commercial Fishing Vessels – Implementation of 2010 and 2012 Legislation (June 21, 2016)
Statutory mandate
Aligns regulations with legislation for training, equipment, vessel examinations, and voyage termination for unsafe operations. Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Tanker Automatic Pilot Systems July 11, 2016)
Harmonizes with international standards for automatic pilot systems on tankers operating in safety fairways and traffic separation schemes. Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) Reader Requirements (August 23, 2016)
Statutory mandate
Establishes standards for devices used to read TWIC cards. Final Rule 2017 International Maritime Organization Polar Code Certificate (November 22, 2016)
International agreement provision
Adds the Polar Code Certificate to the list of certificates the Coast Guard or a Recognized Organization can issue. Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Marine Casualty Property Damage Threshold (January 23, 2017)
Raises the threshold for required accident reporting. Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Great Lakes Pilotage – 2017 Annual Review and Adjustment (April 5, 2017)
Statutory mandate
Proposes updated rates for pilotage of vessels on the Great Lakes Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Recreational Boat Flotation Standards--Update of Outboard Engine Weight Test Requirements (April 5, 2017)
Statutory mandate
update the table of outboard engine weights used in calculating safe loading capacities and required amounts of flotation material Interim Rule

 

The rules noted in Table 1 are priority rulemaking actions including Congressional mandates, rules required to implement international agreement provisions, and discretionary rulemakings to improve vessel and mariner safety or update equipment standards.

A current list of active regulatory projects, for which information is publicly available, is maintained at www.reginfo.gov, and at http://www.uscg.mil/hq/cg5/cg523/projects.asp. These lists also contain links to the Unified Agenda, dockets, and other information sources.

Progress on Statutory Mandates

Of the 59 rules in the regulatory development portfolio, 21 are statutory mandates. Table 2 lists 9 rules published in the 2016 Fall Regulatory Agenda that originate from a statutory mandate.

Table 2: Rules with Statutory Mandate listed in the Fall 2016 Regulatory Agenda Title RIN Stage Numbering Undocumented Barges 1625-AA14 Proposed Rule Outer Continental Shelf Activities 1625-AA18 Proposed Rule Offshore Supply Vessels of at Least 6000 GT ITC 1625-AB62 Final Rule Higher Volume Port Area – State of Washington 1625-AB75 Final Rule Revision to Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) Requirements 1625-AB80 Proposed Rule Revision to Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) Requirements for Mariners 1625-AB80 Final Rule Stage Commercial Fishing Vessels--Implementation of 2010 and 2012 Legislation 1625-AB85 Proposed Rule Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010 1625-AB91 Final Rule Seafarer’s Access to Maritime Facilities 1625-AC15 Final Rule Great Lakes Pilotage Rates – 2017 Annual Review and Adjustment 1625-AC34 Final Rule

 

Updates to Implementation of the revised International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW)

The 2010 amendments to STCW entered into force on January 1, 2017. The Coast Guard issued a final rule on December 24, 2013, to incorporate these updates to U.S. regulations. Since that time, the Coast Guard has issued over 30 additional policy and guidance documents to assist U.S. mariners and the maritime and training industries in compliance with the new requirements.2 As noted by the Government Accountability Office in a report to this committee in January 2017, the vast majority of the industry was prepared to implement STCW amendments and was pleased with the Coast Guard’s implementation of the new requirements. This initiative serves as a prime example of the Coast Guard’s ability to partner with industry in the implementation of a new regulatory regime, enabling American mariners to remain competitive worldwide while providing ship operators assurance of the competence and skill of their crews.

2 U.S. Government Accountability Office, “Most Training Providers Expect to Implement Revised International Maritime Standards by the Deadline Despite Challenges,” GAO-17-40, January 2017.

 

Update on Implementation of Fishing Vessel Examinations

The requirement for mandatory dockside safety examinations of commercial fishing vessels at least once every five years was implemented in October 2015. The Coast Guard conducted extensive stakeholder outreach prior to the implementation, including dockside courtesy visits by Coast Guard personnel, presentations by Coast Guard personnel to various regional fisheries management councils and safety advisory committees, and a letter to industry distributed in August 2015 followed by a Marine Safety Information Bulletin issued in October 2015. In general, the commercial fishing vessel industry has been receptive to these requirements and compliance rates have been high.

Update on Implementation of Towing Vessel Inspections

The Final Rule implementing mandatory inspection of towing vessels was published on June 20, 2016, and became effective on July 20, 2016. This rule applies to approximately 5,500 U.S.-flag towing vessels, increasing the U.S. certificated fleet by approximately 50 percent. The rule, published in 33 CFR Subchapter M, provides two distinct compliance options:

  • The Towing Safety Management System, or “TSMS Option,” using a Coast Guard authorized SMS along with an associated scheme of audits and surveys by a Third Party Organization (TPO) to verify compliance; or,
  • The traditional Coast Guard annual inspection or the “CG Inspection Option.”

We developed and are executing a multi-pronged implementation strategy, including preparation of additional guidance documents, training of Coast Guard personnel on the new requirements, and engagement of stakeholders on a recurring basis and in a variety of venues. We will begin issuing Certificates of Inspection to existing towing vessels on July 20, 2018, but are already well along in our outreach and TPO approval process. This two-year delay permits Coast Guard review of TPOs, and allows existing vessels to implement SMS and procure any equipment needed to comply with these new requirements.

Conclusion

The Coast Guard continues to sustain and improve its regulatory development and compliance program to ensure safety, security and environmental compliance within the MTS. Through streamlining internal processes, balancing input from maritime stakeholders, careful analysis of alternatives, and thorough evaluation of the cost and benefit of each rule, we are focused on ensuring every Coast Guard action sustains the smooth operation of the MTS, without imposing unnecessary costs on U.S. entities competing in a global industry.

Thank you for your continued support and the opportunity to testify before you today. I am happy to answer any questions you may have.

Topics:  Maritime Keywords:  Maritime Transportation Regulations

Written testimony of CBP, ICE, PLCY for a House Committee on Homeland Security, Task Force on Denying Terrorist Entry into the United States hearing titled “Preventing Terrorists from Acquiring U.S. Visas”

Wed, 05/03/2017 - 00:00
Release Date: May 3, 2017

210 House Capitol Visitor Center

Chairman Gallagher, Ranking Member Watson Coleman, and distinguished Committee Members.

Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the efforts of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to prevent terrorists and other criminal actors from entering the United States, either by acquiring U.S. visas or traveling through the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). This work involves close interagency collaboration and partnership with foreign governments. Ultimately, traveler screening and vetting is an integral component of our responsibility to protect the homeland, and DHS employs a multi-layered strategy to do so.

Furthermore, as called for in Section 5 of the President’s Executive Order (EO) 13780, Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States, DHS is diligently working with the Departments of State (DOS) and Justice and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) to implement a uniform baseline for screening and vetting standards and procedures. These standards seek “to identify individuals who seek to enter the United States on a fraudulent basis, who support terrorism, violent extremism, acts of violence toward any group or class of people within the United States, or who present a risk of causing harm subsequent to their entry.”

DHS Secretary John F. Kelly has made clear that blocking terrorists and criminals from accessing the United States is one of his highest priorities, and the Administration is undertaking serious and sustained efforts to ensure that we keep bad actors from reaching our shores and endangering our people. As part of this effort, we are modernizing screening, expanding information sharing within our government and with foreign partners, and exploring innovative approaches for detecting threat actors. By focusing on better obstructing terrorists and criminals, we can more effectively facilitate legitimate trade and travel.

Pushing Out the Zone of Security

Secretary Kelly noted in his remarks at George Washington University on April 18, 2017, that “[t]he more we push our borders out, the safer our homeland will be.” The Secretary went on to highlight in those remarks the importance of knowing who is coming into the country and what their intent for coming is prior to their arrival “at our doorstep.” There are a multitude of activities, efforts, and programs that DHS and its Component Agencies undertake to do just that.

In Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, U.S Customs and Border Protection (CBP) inspected over 390 million travelers at 328 ports of entry (POE), of which over 119 million flew into air POEs. CBP’s pre-departure strategy is one of the ways by which DHS assists our interagency, foreign government, and private sector partners to deny international travel to potential terrorists and criminals. A major component of this strategy is the recommendation of denial of visas, as well as denial and/or revocation of visa waiver approvals to individuals who may present a risk to national security or public safety. It is a risk-based, intelligence-driven strategy that extends our border security efforts outward to detect, assess, and mitigate, at the earliest possible point in the travel continuum, any risk posed by travelers before they reach the United States. As threats evolve, CBP works in close partnership with our foreign counterparts – including those in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East – to develop greater situational awareness of emerging threats, leverage partner capabilities to affect threat networks, and coordinate enforcement actions. These concerns are not limited to the United States and there is a growing international commitment to combating these shared threats to our security.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) also actively works to push our defenses outward. To achieve this goal, ICE forward deploys personnel to 66 offices in 49 countries. ICE’s international staff works in conjunction with overseas law enforcement counterparts to detect, disrupt, and dismantle transnational criminal groups and individuals who seek to harm our country and people. Furthermore, ICE special agents investigate transnational crime by conducting a wide range of criminal investigations in coordination with our foreign and domestic partner agencies, targeting the illegal movement of people, merchandise and monetary instruments into, within, and out of the United States.

Visa and Travel Authorization Security

As President Trump has stated, “Homeland Security is in the business of saving lives, and that mandate will guide our actions.” Since taking office this Administration has worked tirelessly to enhance border security, promote public safety, and minimize the threat of terrorist attacks by foreign nationals in the United States. Part of this process is ensuring the security of international travel by preventing dangerous persons from obtaining visas, travel authorizations, and boarding passes. Before boarding a flight or vessel destined for the United States, most foreign nationals must obtain a non-immigrant visa from the DOS — issued at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The visa process involves multiple security checks, including screening of applicants against a wide array of criminal and terrorist databases to verify the individual’s identity and to detect derogatory information that might lead to an inadmissibility determination, as well as an in-person interview with the applicant.

CBP also conducts vetting of all valid immigrant and non-immigrant visas. Although the visa application and adjudication processes rest with the DOS, CBP’s National Targeting Center (NTC) conducts continuous vetting of U.S. immigrant and nonimmigrant visas that have been recently issued or revoked. Recurrent vetting ensures that changes in a traveler’s admissibility and eligibility for travel are identified in near real-time, allowing CBP to immediately determine if it is necessary to take action prior to subject’s arrival to the United States, such as a “no board” recommendation to a carrier, and/or a recommendation to the DOS to revoke the visa.

In an effort to augment and expand visa security operations, ICE manages the Visa Security Program (VSP) for DHS. VSP’s primary purpose is to identify terrorists, criminals, and other individuals who pose a threat or are otherwise ineligible for visas prior to visa adjudication or application for admission to the United States. VSP operations are currently conducted at 30 visa-issuing posts in 25 countries.

Through the VSP, ICE deploys special agents to visa issuing posts worldwide to utilize available investigative resources, in-person interviews, and collaboration between U.S. agencies and our foreign counterparts, in order to investigate and disrupt the travel of suspect individuals during the visa application process. Experience has shown the Department that there is no technological substitute for having experienced ICE special agents deployed overseas to apply law enforcement capabilities to the visa process through investigative measures, informed interviews with suspect applicants, and leveraging local contacts for information.

Special Agents assigned to international VSP posts are supported through domestic-based screening and vetting of visa applicants the Pre-Adjudicated Threat Recognition and Intelligence Operations Team (PATRIOT). PATRIOT is an interagency endeavor between ICW and CBP’s NTC. Through PATRIOT, VSP conducts automated screening of visa application information against DHS holdings, as well as holdings of other U.S. agencies, prior to the visa applicant’s interview and visa adjudication. Derogatory information discovered during automated screening is manually vetted and analyzed by domestic PATRIOT personnel using law enforcement, open source, and classified information. PATRIOT analysts then provide deployed VSP personnel with relevant information prior to interviews and other investigative activities. Following an analysis of all known derogatory information, deployed ICE special agents provide a unified DHS recommendation on visa eligibility to DOS consular officers.

In FY 2016, VSP deployed special agents and PATRIOT personnel facilitated the screening and vetting of more than 2.2 million visa applicants, recommended the refusal of more than 8,500 visas, and submitted 1,669 Terrorist Screening Center Database nominations. The VSP will expand to two additional posts in FY 2017 and is tentatively scheduled to add an additional two posts in FY 2018.

If travelers are eligible to travel under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), they must apply for and be approved for a travel authorization via the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). Through ESTA, CBP conducts enhanced vetting of potential VWP travelers to assess whether they are eligible to travel under the VWP or could pose a risk to the United States or the public at large. All ESTA applications are screened against security and law enforcement databases, and CBP automatically refuses authorization to individuals who are found to be ineligible to travel to the United States under the VWP. Similarly, current and valid ESTAs may be revoked if concerns arise through recurrent vetting.1

In November 2016, CBP launched the Electronic Visa Update System (EVUS). Similar to ESTA, EVUS is an online system used by visa holders to periodically update their biographic information to facilitate their travel to the United States.2 To maintain a valid visa for purposes of seeking admission to the United States, travelers with designated nonimmigrant visas from identified countries are required to maintain a valid EVUS enrollment before travelling to the United States. Enrollments generally last for two years or when the traveler’s visa or passport expires, whichever comes first. Data collected through EVUS helps us determine whether such travel poses a law enforcement or security risk by checking against select law enforcement databases and queries law enforcement databases that include terrorist screening, lost/stolen passports, INTERPOL wants/warrants, and immigration violations.

Finally, thanks to the support of Congress, the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 20153 provided the necessary funds for CBP to initiate counter-network operations within the NTC. The newly-established Counter Network Division’s (CND) mission supports CBP, other DHS Components, and interagency law enforcement and intelligence community partners to develop an interoperable counter-network process that provides a comprehensive understanding of emerging threats, including those emanating from terrorism, special interest aliens, transnational organized crime and illicit trade networks. Informed through identification of the tactics, techniques, and procedures of adversarial networks – including their efforts to exploit legitimate travel pathways and processes such as the visa process and the VWP – the CND quickly develops analytic solutions and makes those available across DHS components to mitigate further risk.

Visa Waiver Program

An important way in which DHS is pushing out the zone of security is to work with our international partners, including those countries who are members of the VWP. DHS’s focus and priority for the VWP is to make it a comprehensive security partnership with America’s closest allies. The VWP must be a security program first and foremost—merging together best practices in national security, law enforcement security, and immigration security; and providing the United States with an effective tool for fostering and deepening our national security relationships with key partner countries. As Secretary Kelly recently indicated, we have to continue to look at ways to strengthen the security of the VWP given the threat of foreign fighters returning from the battlefields of Syria and Iraq. DHS is committed to fully ensuring that VWP is serving the security interests of the United States.

Currently, 38 countries4,5 participate in the VWP, which allows their nationals to travel to the United States for business or tourism for stays of up to 90 days (with certain exceptions) after applying and being approved through the ESTA.6 In return, these countries must prove that measurable and consistently high requirements are met, including: that information sharing practices enable the rapid relay of information concerning known and suspected terrorists and serious criminals; that lost and stolen passport information is consistently and timely reported; that robust border and travel document security practices are in place; and that effective traveler and migrant screening practices are standard operations. VWP countries also undergo regular, in-depth security assessments conducted by DHS in consultation with DOS to ensure compliance with these requirements.

The assessments of a VWP country’s security standards and operations are among the broadest and most consequential reviews conducted under any U.S. Government program. Rigorous national-level assessments are used to ensure that countries meet the security standards required for continued participation in the Program. DHS, in coordination with the DOS and the Intelligence Community, conducts statutorily-required reviews of each VWP country at least once every two years. The VWP assessment evaluates the country’s counterterrorism and law enforcement capabilities, immigration enforcement policies and procedures, passport production and issuance processes, and border security traveler screening capabilities. As needed, the review may also include a site visit where an integrated U.S. Government team conducts thorough inspections of airports, seaports, land borders, and passport production and issuance facilities in the VWP country and holds discussions with the host government counterterrorism, intelligence, law enforcement, border security, and immigration officials. DHS submits a Report to Congress upon the completion of the assessment. Notably, both the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the DHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) have reviewed and written favorably of the methodology DHS uses in conducting these assessments.7

Separately, DHS also conducts an annual assessment of all 38 VWP countries against the risk criteria defined in the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 (VWP Improvement Act), passed under this Committee’s leadership, and engages in ongoing monitoring of member countries to rapidly identify emerging threats and vulnerabilities.

The bottom line is that in order to join or continue in the VWP, a country cannot represent a threat to the United States and must be working as a partner to prevent terrorist travel. In all instances, the Secretary of Homeland Security retains the statutory authority to suspend or terminate a country’s participation in the VWP if there is a credible threat originating from that country that poses an imminent danger to the United States or its citizens.

Under the VWP Improvement Act of 2015, VWP countries are now required to issue high-security electronic passports (e-passports); implement information sharing arrangements to exchange criminal and terrorist identity information; establish mechanisms to validate e-passports at each key POE; report all lost and stolen passports to INTERPOL or directly to the United States no later than 24 hours after the country becomes aware of the loss or theft; conclude a U.S. Federal Air Marshals agreement; collect and analyze Advance Passenger Information (API)/Passenger Name Record (PNR) information to identify high-risk travelers; screen international travelers against the INTERPOL Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) database and notices; report foreign fighters to multilateral security organizations, such as INTERPOL or EUROPOL; and cooperate with the United States in the screening of refugees and asylum seekers.

Since passage of the Act, DHS has confirmed the following changes among VWP countries:

  • An increase in the sharing of terrorist and criminal identity information;
  • Several countries8 have increased the frequency of their reporting of lost and stolen passports — VWP countries account for over 70 percent of the almost 73 million lost and stolen travel documents reported to INTERPOL;
  • Several countries have agreed to adopt new technologies to work with DHS to jointly vet asylum, refugee, and other immigration applications against each other’s data, establishing a formidable force multiplier for detecting criminals, terrorists and unqualified applicants; and
  • All VWP countries are now issuing and using for travel to the United States fraud-resistant e-passports that meet or exceed the International Civil Aviation Organization standards.

In addition, following the enactment of the VWP Improvement Act, DHS has taken several steps to apply enhanced restrictions on visa-free travel under the VWP for individuals who have traveled to Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, or Yemen or individuals who are dual nationals of Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria. Beginning January 13, 2016, CBP initiated a protocol to identify ESTA holders who had travelled to Iraq, Syria, Iran, or Sudan since March 1, 2011 who may be ineligible for future travel if they do not meet the criteria for a waiver allowed for under the Act. On February 18, 2016, DHS announced that individuals who had travelled to Libya, Somalia, and Yemen also may be ineligible for future travel if they do not meet the criteria for a waiver.9 Additionally, on January 21, 2016, CBP began denying new ESTA applications and revoking existing ESTAs for individuals who indicated dual nationality with Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria.

In November 2014, in response to increasing concerns regarding foreign terrorist fighters, DHS strengthened the security of the VWP through the addition of new data elements to the ESTA application. These enhancements included a series of additional questions a VWP traveler must answer on the ESTA application, to include other names/aliases, citizenships, contact information, and city of birth.

1 Recurrent vetting is ongoing throughout the period of validity of the ESTA. ESTA applicants who are denied may apply for a NIV.
2 At this time, EVUS is only a requirement for individuals travelling on passports issued by the People’s Republic of China who have been issued unrestricted, maximum validity B-1 (visitor for business) or B-2 (visitor for pleasure) visas, generally valid for 10 years, Chinese nationals. The requirement is new, and the U.S. Government expects that it may be applied to additional countries or nonimmigrant categories may be designated in the future.
3 Pub.L. No. 114-4.
4 VWP-eligible countries: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, Czech Republic , Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino , Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom.
5 Per the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, all references to “country” or “countries” in this document also apply with respect to Taiwan.
6 Exceptions include citizens of countries under other visa exempt authority, such as Canada. Citizens of countries under visa exempt authority traveling to entering the U.S. via air are subjected to CBP’s vetting and inspection processes prior to their departure for the United States. In the land environment, they are subject to CBP processing upon arrival at a U.S. port of entry.
7 DHS report OIG-13-07 “The Visa Waiver Program,” November 2012. GAO report GAO-16-498 “Visa Waiver Program,” May 2016.
8 Including Brunei, Greece, Hungary, and Portugal.
9 In FY 2016, since implementing the new travel and dual nationality restrictions to the Visa Waiver Program, CBP denied, canceled, or revoked 39,303 ESTA applications. These individuals would not be eligible to travel under the VWP.

 

Arrival Processing

CBP’s use of advance information, its pre-departure targeting operations, and its overseas footprint all comprise critical parts of CBP’s multi-layered security strategy to address concerns long before they reach the physical border of the United States. U.S. law requires all private and commercial air and sea carriers operating routes to, from, or through the United States to provide API and PNR data to CBP. These data, which include travelers’ biographic and travel reservation information, are screened against U.S. and international law enforcement and counterterrorism databases to identify high-risk individuals before they fly to the United States. Even if issued a visa or other travel authorization, however, it is important to note that upon arrival in the United States, all persons are subject to inspection by CBP Officers. CBP Officers review entry documents, query CBP and other law enforcement databases, collect biometrics (including from VWP travelers),10 and interview all travelers to determine the purpose and intent of their travel, and whether any further inspection is necessary based on, among other things, national security, admissibility, customs, or agriculture concerns.

Of note, CBP’s Tactical Terrorism Response Teams (TTRT) are deployed at U.S. POEs and consist of CBP Officers who are specially trained in counterterrorism response. TTRT Officers utilize information derived from targeting and inspection to mitigate possible threats. TTRT officers are immersed in the current and developing threat picture through the continuous review of information, and are responsible for the examination of travelers identified within the Terrorist Screening Database, and other travelers suspected of having a nexus to terrorism who arrive to a POE. For FY 2017 to date11, as a result of the dedicated efforts of the men and women serving on CBP’s TTRT, and the information discovered during secondary inspection, nearly 600 people who had been granted visas or other travel documents, or had an approved ESTA, have been refused admission to the United States. CBP Officers and Agents remain our last line of defense against those who would seek to enter the country to do us harm

In addition, CBP Officers remove from circulation counterfeit, fraudulent, and altered travel documents, as well as lost or stolen travel documents presented for use by an individual other than the rightful holder, such as those presented by impostors. CBP currently uses 1:1 facial comparison technology at select primary lanes at John F. Kennedy International Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport on U.S. and non-U.S. travelers arriving in the United States. This technology enables CBP Officers to use facial recognition technology as a tool to assist in determining whether an individual presenting a valid e-passport is the same individual whose photograph is contained in that passport. In those cases where the CBP Officer is unsure of the traveler’s true identity, the traveler is referred for additional checks to confirm identity or to document fraudulent use of a passport. Since this technology was deployed in early 2016, over 400,000 travelers have had their identities confirmed with the use of 1:1 facial comparison technology.

Finally, CBP’s Fraudulent Document Analysis Unit (FDAU) serves as the central repository and point of analysis for all fraudulent travel documents interdicted or recovered by CBP personnel. FDAU analysis of fraudulent documents provides intelligence, alerts and training back to the field, as well as serves as a mechanism to remove fraudulent documents from circulation to prevent their further use – a lesson learned from the 9/11 Commission Report. This cyclical process adds a layer of security to the homeland by removing an additional opportunity for misuse.

 

Identifying and Apprehending Threats to National Security and Public Safety within the United States

An important mission of DHS is to actively identify and initiate enforcement action on persons who have overstayed their terms of admission in the United States and who pose a threat to national security, border security, or public safety. ICE undertakes this very important activity for DHS . Within ICE, there are dedicated units, special agents, analysts, and systems in place to address nonimmigrant overstays. Through investigative efforts, ICE analyzes and determines which overstay leads may be suitable for further national security investigation. Once leads are received, ICE conducts both batch and manual vetting against government databases, public indices, and social media (when appropriate). This vetting helps determine if an individual who overstayed has departed the United States, adjusted to a lawful status, has a pending immigration benefit application, or would be appropriate for an enforcement action.

As part of this tiered review, ICE prioritizes nonimmigrant overstay cases through risk-based analysis. ICE Homeland Security Investigation’s (HSI) Counterterrorism and Criminal Exploitation Unit (CTCEU) oversees the national program dedicated to the investigation of nonimmigrant visa violators who may pose a national security risk and/or public safety concern. Each year, CTCEU analyzes records of hundreds of thousands of potential status violators after preliminary analysis of data from various government systems, including the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and CBP’s Arrival and Departure Information System (ADIS), along with other information. After this analysis, CTCEU establishes compliance or departure dates from the United States and/or determines potential violations that warrant field investigations.

CTCEU proactively develops cases for investigation in furtherance of the overstay mission, monitors the latest threat reports, and addresses emergent issues. This practice, which is designed to detect and identify individuals exhibiting specific risk factors based on intelligence reporting, travel patterns, and in-depth criminal research and analysis, has contributed to DHS’s counterterrorism mission by initiating and supporting high-priority national security initiatives based on specific intelligence.

In FY 2015, CTCEU reviewed 971,305 leads regarding potential overstays. Numerous leads were closed through an automated screening and vetting process. The most common reason for closure was subsequent departure from the United States. A total of 9,968 leads were sent to HSI field offices for investigation. As a result in FY 2015 alone, HSI made 1,910 arrests, secured 86 indictments, and obtained 80 convictions.

CTCEU refers leads that do not meet ICE HSI criteria for further investigation to ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations’ National Criminal Analysis and Targeting Center.

10 Biometrics are collected for most foreign nationals arriving at U.S. airports.
11 As of April 19, 2017

 

Conclusion

The men and women of DHS and its Component Agencies do a tremendous job every day to protect our country. As terrorists and criminals change their methods and tactics and technologies continue to evolve, DHS will work with its interagency and foreign partners— as well as private sector partners — to adapt and respond swiftly and effectively to prevent their entry into the United States.

Thank you again for the opportunity to testify today. We look forward to answering your questions.

Topics:  Immigration Enforcement, Preventing Terrorism Keywords:  VWP, Visa Waiver Program, ESTA, Electronic System for Travel Authorization, International partnerships

Readout Of Secretary Kelly’s Meeting With German Interior Minister Thomas De Maizière

Tue, 05/02/2017 - 19:42
Release Date: May 2, 2017

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly and German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière met in Washington to discuss mutual approaches to advancing security priorities and strengthening transatlantic cooperation. Primary topics of discussion included current threats, counterterrorism, border security, aviation security and cybersecurity.  Both Secretary Kelly and Minister de Maizière agreed to continue the close partnership between the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Ministry of Interior, and to enhance joint efforts in these areas, particularly through the established Security Cooperation Group.

“The current threat environment and number of terrorist attacks that have occurred recently requires decisive and coordinated international action.  Cooperation between the United States and Germany is essential,” Secretary Kelly emphasized.

“The United States has always been one of Germany’s most important partners, especially in counterterrorism. I am glad to say that cooperation is already excellent but we have nevertheless agreed not only to maintain but to intensify this cooperation,” Minister de Maizière said.

Today’s meeting reaffirmed the longstanding partnership between DHS and the German Federal Ministry of the Interior, as well as the importance of working together to address threats and issues of mutual concern to provide for the safety and security of the citizens of the United States and Germany.

Secretary Kelly and German Interior Minister De Maiziere meet at U.S. Customs and Border Protection headquarters. (DHS Photo/Jetta Disco)

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DHS Announces New CIS Ombudsman Julie Kirchner

Tue, 05/02/2017 - 10:41
Release Date: May 2, 2017

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

WASHINGTON – Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly has appointed Julie Kirchner as the fifth Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) Ombudsman.  Ms. Kirchner was most recently an advisor to the Acting Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, Kevin McAleenan.  Before serving as executive director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), Ms. Kirchner worked as counsel at the Minnesota House of Representatives and as a private litigator and criminal prosecutor.  She earned her B.A. at Yale University and received her J.D. with high distinction at the University of Iowa College of Law.

The Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman is dedicated to improving the quality of citizenship and immigration services delivered to the public by providing individual case assistance, as well as making recommendations to improve the administration of immigration benefits by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Created by section 452 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, the Ombudsman is an impartial and confidential resource that is independent of USCIS.

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Topics:  Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman Keywords:  CISOMB, cisombudsman

Readout of Secretary Kelly's Briefing with FEMA Senior Leaders and Regional Administrators on Severe Weather in the South and Midwest

Mon, 05/01/2017 - 17:47
Release Date: May 1, 2017

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

WASHINGTON – Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly participated in a conference call briefing today with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Acting Administrator Bob Felton, senior leadership, and Regional Administrators, where he was briefed on the severe weather, tornadoes, and flash flooding that is affecting much of the Midwest and central southern states. Secretary Kelly thanked FEMA personnel for their work and pledged the continued support of the department for the affected states.

FEMA, through its regional offices in Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; Denton, Texas; and Kansas City, Missouri, continues to monitor the effects of this severe weather. A FEMA liaison has been deployed to state emergency operations centers in Arkansas, Missouri, and Texas to help coordinate any requests for federal assistance. There are currently no unmet requests for assistance.

It is important for all residents in affected areas to follow the instructions of state, tribal, and local officials, and to monitor local radio or TV stations for updated emergency information. Individuals are urged to download and monitor the FEMA App or a NOAA Weather Radio and their local news for updates and to follow directions provided by their local officials. If roads are closed or there is water over a road, individuals should not drive through the water.

Participants in today’s call included FEMA Acting Administrator Bob Fenton, Regional Administrator for Region IV Gracia B. Szczech, Acting Regional Administrator for Region V Janet M. Odeshoo, Regional Administrator for Region VI Tony Robinson, Acting Regional Administrator for Region VII Kathy Fields, Chief of Operations of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Storm Prediction Center Bill Bunting, and NOAA Liaison to FEMA Daniel Porter.

Secretary Kelly participates in a conference call briefing from FEMA on severe weather affecting multiple states (DHS Photo/Barry Bahler)

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Topics:  Disasters Keywords:  FEMA, Severe Weather, Secretary Kelly

Written testimony of TSA for a House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation and Protective Security hearing titled “Checkpoint of the Future: Evaluating TSA’s Innovation Task Force Initiative”

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 00:00
Release Date: April 27, 2017

210 House Capitol Visitors Center

Good morning, Chairman Katko, Ranking Member Watson Coleman, and distinguished Members of the Subcommittee. Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Innovation Task Force (ITF) and its role in fulfilling our mission to protect the nation’s transportation systems to ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce. I appreciate the committee’s interest in and support of this initiative as we work with our airport, air carrier, and other industry partners to demonstrate emerging technologies at our nation’s airports.

Background

TSA prioritizes its technology investments based on the latest intelligence concerning terrorist capabilities and intent. This is accomplished by performing risk analyses which serve as the foundation for deriving operational needs and requirements. These analyses take into consideration potential threats, vulnerabilities to those threats given current system capabilities, and the consequences in the event of an attack. To meet the challenges posed by these risk factors, TSA and industry partners must continually adapt and evolve screening technologies, processes, and systems.

TSA laid out a plan to improve our technology capabilities in the Strategic Five-Year Technology Investment Plan for Aviation Security (the Plan), mandated under the Transportation Security Acquisition Reform Act (P.L. 113-245). In the Plan, initially released in August 2015, TSA laid the foundation for what would become the ITF. One of TSA’s five focus areas in the Plan includes “Increasing Transparency in Engagement with Stakeholders to Enable Innovation.” The Plan acknowledges that one of the difficulties with the development and integration of new capabilities is the integration of these capabilities into TSA’s operational environment, given the difficulties of simulating the operational environment prior to formal testing in the field. In addition, the Plan provides a commitment to increase stakeholder access to the operating environments these capabilities are designed to improve or enhance. To deliver on this commitment, TSA established the ITF in the spring of 2016.

TSA launched the ITF to demonstrate emerging capabilities in the passenger screening checkpoint and the checked baggage screening areas and charged the agency to re-envision the entire transportation security system as an integrated whole; increasing security effectiveness, while reducing friction to the traveler. ITF accomplishes this through the establishment of innovation sites. An innovation site is a designated airport where TSA is actively partnering with the airport authority and/or air carrier(s) to demonstrate one or more prototype technology, process, or staffing solutions. The ITF has led to the deployment of Automated Screening Lanes (ASLs) and is planning new projects ranging from aesthetic improvements to new detection technologies.

Site Selection Process

TSA selects innovation sites based on several criteria to ensure TSA resources are utilized efficiently, and in compliance with the requirements of the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016 (P.L. 114-190). Under our current methodology, TSA selects Category X airports where it will establish innovation sites based on the following site-selection criteria:

  • Ability to begin the reconfiguration and installation of security systems expeditiously;
  • Ability to share costs through federal funding, airport funding, or otherwise;
  • Infrastructure, and space needed to reduce vulnerabilities and reconfigure existing security systems, and not negatively impact current screening capacity;
  • Impact to security effectiveness and efficiency, including consideration of detection capabilities; and
  • Ability of operational staff and stakeholders to support the initiative.

Sites are continually assessed and may be rotated to minimize resource impacts and secure a representative sample of the field environment.

Automated Screening Lanes

ITF’s first innovation solution was Automated Screening Lanes (ASLs) demonstrated at Atlanta-Hartsfield Jackson Airport (ATL). In less than nine weeks, the ITF established ATL as an innovation site and demonstrated ASLs in partnership with Delta Air Lines. ASLs augment existing x-ray screening technology for carry-on baggage and include multiple divestiture stations, enhanced bin tracking and data capabilities, and automated bin returns. TSA, airports, airlines, vendors, and travelers have recognized ASLs as ground-breaking in advancing security effectiveness, increasing throughput, and improving the passenger experience.

Taking into account the recent terror attacks on public airport areas that took place at Brussels, Los Angeles, and Fort Lauderdale, ASLs provide TSA the capability to address long held concerns regarding crowding in the public areas. ASLs assist in the security of public areas by increasing checkpoint throughput and reducing the number of individuals waiting in line. In September 2016, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) approved an Urgent Operational Need (UON) justification which authorizes the deployment of up to 220 ASLs at 21 specified airports by January 31, 2018. While the UON authorizes 220 ASLs, deployment at this scale is contingent upon TSA establishing partnerships with stakeholders for additional lane deployments.

After the demonstrated success of the ASLs in Atlanta and after the DHS approval of the UON, TSA partnered with additional airlines and airports to deploy the capability at 25 lanes at 4 airports by the close of calendar year 2016. Since the start of 2017, we have deployed 23 additional ASLs at these airports, bringing the total to 48. TSA and our partners deployed 17 of these lanes earlier this month at Newark Liberty International Airport in what was our largest single ASL deployment to date. In addition to Atlanta-Hartsfield and Newark, ASL’s are operational at, Los Angeles, and Chicago-O’Hare International Airports. These efforts are paying measurable dividends in effectiveness, efficiency, and even employee morale.

Other ITF Technologies

While ASLs were the ITF’s first demonstrated technology solution, they are not our only planned demonstration. The ITF continues to expand to explore new solutions through temporary demonstrations at airports nationwide.

One such new technology involves utilization of computed tomography (CT) to screen carry-on baggage and accessible property. CT, a mainstay for checked baggage screening, utilizes 3D-imaging and detection software to help operators automatically identify threats and may eliminate the need for divestiture of electronics and liquids for passenger accessible property screening. The demonstration for CT is planned for June of this year at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

ITF’s Biometric Authentication Technology (BAT) proof of concept unit uses contact or contactless fingerprint scanning to verify TSA PreCheck passenger identity. In the long term, BAT could automate the Ticket Document Checker (TDC) process by verifying passenger identity and Secure Flight vetting status, eliminating the need for a boarding pass, and grant or deny access to passengers via an electronic gate to the security checkpoint. The proof of concept will compare the passenger’s fingerprint to the fingerprint the passenger provided to TSA during TSA PreCheck enrollment. BAT will be demonstrated initially at Denver International Airport and Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport for proof of concept testing before the end of the fiscal year.

Additionally, ITF’s Passenger Communications initiative streamlines checkpoint operations by presenting passengers with an avatar discussing various procedures such as divesting of carry-on property. TSA is working with airports and terminal operators to demonstrate a variety of passenger communication tools and techniques and provide data for future checkpoint enhancements and designs. TSA plans to demonstrate Passenger Communications by July 2017 at Atlanta-Hartsfield and Newark.

In an effort to improve our understanding of existing market capabilities, TSA issued a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) in July 2016 following a June 2016 industry day. TSA received 81 responses and completed over 200 technical reviews with over 30 reviewers from across TSA and the DHS enterprise. Fifty-two percent of the solutions submitted had not been previously deployed domestically or internationally. TSA selected eight of these technologies to potentially join the portfolio of ITF solutions, and referred two solutions to airports for further consideration. Planning activities for these eight technologies are underway. Additionally, TSA plans to release the second innovation-related BAA in May 2017 highlighting specific areas of interest to include mobile screening, queuing and passenger flow, and new detection capabilities.

To be clear, the ITF does not provide a shortcut around traditional DHS acquisition processes. While data gathered from ITF demonstrations may be used to inform manufacturers in the design and preparation of their prototype units for testing at the DHS Transportation Security Laboratory and TSA Systems Integration Facility (TSIF), as well as to inform TSA in developing future technology requirements, technologies that are ITF solutions which involve passenger safety and security still need to go through appropriate rigorous testing at these respective facilities as required under standard acquisition processes before becoming a program of record. These processes ensure that before fully investing in a technology, we know it will enhance transportation security, reduce the risk to the traveling public, and function properly in an operational environment.

Conclusion

The ITF is focused on taking a fresh look at the entire aviation security system. We are working with public and private partners to provide a platform for government, industry, and stakeholders to gather requirements for new approaches to transportation security and accelerate the development and deployment of new technologies and improvements to operations.

I would like to conclude by offering you all the opportunity to visit the TSIF, located nearby at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport to see these ITF technologies in action firsthand. I would also like to thank the Subcommittee for its continued support of the ITF, and our airline and airport partners whose support makes this endeavor possible. Thank you for the opportunity to appear here today.

Topics:  Preventing Terrorism, Transportation Security Keywords:  aviation security, Innovation Task Force, ITF

DHS Announces Launch of new Office for Victims of Illegal Immigrant Crime

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 11:24
Release Date: April 26, 2017

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

Office built with input from victims impacted by crime.

WASHINGTON – Today, Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly announced the official launch of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement Office (VOICE).  The VOICE office will assist victims of crimes committed by criminal aliens.

ICE built the VOICE office in response to the Executive Order entitled Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, which directed DHS to create an office to support victims of crimes committed by criminal aliens.

“All crime is terrible, but these victims are unique—and too often ignored,” said Secretary Kelly. “They are casualties of crimes that should never have taken place—because the people who victimized them often times should not have been in the country in the first place.

The key objectives of the VOICE office are:

  • Use a victim-centered approach to acknowledge and support victims and their families.
  • Promote awareness of available services to crime victims.
  • Build collaborative partnerships with community stakeholders assisting victims.

ICE has established a toll-free hotline staffed with operators who will triage calls to ensure victims receive the support they need. The number is 1-855-48-VOICE or 1-855-488-6423.

The types of assistance people impacted by crimes committed by illegal aliens can expect include:

  • Local contacts to help with unique victim requests
    • ICE community relations officers will serve as a local representative explaining to victims what information is available and to help victims understand the immigration enforcement and removal process.
  • Access to social service professionals able to refer victims to resources and service providers
    • ICE has a cadre of 27 victim assistance specialists located across the country available to direct victims to a wide range of resources. The victim assistance specialists possess a high degree of specialized victim assistance expertise and training.
  • Assistance signing-up to receive automated custody status information
    • The DHS-Victim Information and Notification Exchange (DHS-VINE) is an automated service being launched today that will help victims track the immigration custody status of illegal alien perpetrators of crime. More information about DHS-VINE and how to sign-up to receive automated alerts can be found at: https://vinelink.dhs.gov.
  • Additional criminal or immigration history may be available about an illegal alien to victims or their families
    • ICE will work with requesting individuals to determine what releasable information is available to victims about an alien involved in a crime.

ICE is employing a measured approach to building the VOICE office—meaning that it intends to expand the services VOICE offers in the future. This approach allows the office to provide immediate services to victims, but will also allow the agency to collect metrics and information to determine additional resource needs and how the office can best serve victims and their families moving forward.

 

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Topics:  Immigration Enforcement Keywords:  Secretary John Kelly, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, VOICE

Written testimony of ICE for an Senate Committee on the Judiciary hearing titled “Intellectual Property – Driver of Innovation: Making Our Lives Healthier, Safer, and more Productive”

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 00:00
Release Date: April 25, 2017

226 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Chairman Grassley, Ranking Member Feinstein, and distinguished members of the Committee:

On behalf of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today to discuss how enforcement of intellectual property rights by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) has strengthened the spirit of innovation, economic growth, and the health and safety of our country.

Tomorrow is World Intellectual Property Day, a time to celebrate the role that intellectual property rights play in encouraging innovation and creativity. This year’s theme is how innovation is making our lives healthier, safer, and more comfortable by turning problems into progress. We have much to celebrate. The United States is a country of knowledge and innovation, built on the strength of our intellectual property and our protection of an individual’s right to reap the full benefits of his or her inventions.

Investment in ideas requires confidence that industrial, scientific, literary, and artistic innovations will be protected from theft; that consumers can trust that the products they buy are genuine; and that those who seek to profit by stealing the genius of others will be held responsible. ICE works closely with our interagency counterparts, industry, and the public to achieve these goals.

ICE is the largest investigative DHS Component with an extensive portfolio of enforcement authorities. ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), often in coordination with other federal agencies, is responsible for domestic and international criminal investigations arising from the illegal movement of people and goods into, within, and out of the United States. ICE investigates intellectual property rights violations involving the illegal importation and exportation of counterfeit merchandise and pirated works, as well as associated money laundering violations. In coordination with our partners, including U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), we target and investigate counterfeit merchandise and pirated works, and we seize illicit goods associated with these investigations, including those that infringe on trademarks, trade names, and copyrights.

ICE works closely to protect legitimate trade by keeping illegal goods from being sold to U.S. consumers and to deter, disrupt, and dismantle criminal organizations engaged in intellectual property theft. In fiscal year (FY) 2016, ICE and CBP made 31,560 seizures of counterfeit goods, with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of approximately $1.4 billion. ICE HSI arrested 451 people, resulting in 304 indictments and 272 convictions for intellectual property related crimes.

In one case, a Missouri woman was sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to pay more than $8 million in restitution following her conviction for an $80 million online counterfeit cellphone scheme. Despite being notified by CBP that products she was importing from China were being seized as counterfeit, she continued to sell the cellphones and component parts online and tell consumers they were legitimate products from well-known American companies. When law enforcement searched her residence and business, they seized more than 100,000 cellphone and component parts with a retail value of $5.5 million.

Protecting intellectual property requires a whole-of-government approach that includes educating the public, reducing demand, collaborating with industry, enforcing laws, prosecuting criminals, and increasing cooperation with international partners. To focus government efforts and enhance efficiency, the ICE-led, multi-agency IPR Center was founded in 1999. Section 305 of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (TFTEA) (Pub. L. No. 114-125), codified and cemented the IPR Center’s role as the lead office within the U.S. Government for coordinating with other Federal agencies on intellectual property infringement investigations, law enforcement training, and private sector and public outreach, as well as ICE’s role as the leader of this Center.

The IPR Center’s mission is to ensure national security by protecting the public’s health and safety, the U.S. economy, and our war fighters, and to stop predatory and unfair trade practices that threaten the U.S. and global economies. The IPR Center efficiently and effectively leverages the resources, expertise, and authorities of its members to provide a comprehensive response to intellectual property crime.

The IPR Center operates on a task force model and is comprised of 23 federal and international partners. While ICE holds the directorship, the IPR Center includes U.S. Government team members from: ICE; CBP; the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Office of Criminal Investigations (OCI); the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS); the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA) and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO); the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS); the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC); the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Office of the Inspector General; the Naval Criminal Investigative Service; the Army Criminal Investigative Command Major Procurement Fraud Unit; the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AF-OSI); the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; the U.S. Department of State’s Office of International Intellectual Property Enforcement; the Defense Logistics Agency; the U.S. Postal Service Office of the Inspector General; the Inspector General’s Office from the General Services Administration; and the Federal Maritime Commission. In addition, Department of Justice (DOJ) attorneys from the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) regularly provide input and support for ongoing enforcement operations and policy. The Governments of Mexico and Canada, and INTERPOL and Europol, are also IPR Center members.

Criminals have much to gain by stealing intellectual property. The independent Commission on the Theft of Intellectual Property estimated earlier this year that the annual cost to the U.S. economy of counterfeit goods, pirated software, and theft of trade secrets exceeds $225 billion, and could be as high as $600 billion. Copying, piracy, and theft are free from the burden of up-front investment and risk associated with genuine innovation. Accordingly, intellectual property rights violators’ profit margins can be enormous. Given that, it is perhaps not surprising that the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reported in 2016 that international trade in counterfeit and pirated products represented as much as 2.5 percent of total world trade in 2013 and these findings are “significantly higher” than the studies they conducted in 2008 and 2009.. With the vast potential for illicit profits through the sale of counterfeit goods, transnational criminal organizations and gangs have incorporated the theft and sale of intellectual property into their criminal enterprises. These organizations use the sale of counterfeit goods to fund their other criminal activities such as arms purchases, human smuggling, and drug trafficking. Because the penalties for IP crimes are relatively light, criminal organizations have found that these crimes are a very lucrative, low-risk way to profit. The extent of IP crimes, and their impacts, are also discussed in the Fiscal Year 2017-2019 U.S. Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement, which was developed by an interagency committee and submitted to Congress in December pursuant to Title III of the PRO IP Act of 2008 (15 U.S.C. 8111 and 8113); the discussion is in Section 1 (“The Global Scale of Intellectual Property Theft and Its Unlawful Exploitation By Third Parties Poses Serious Threats to U.S. National Interests”).

The global economy and the e-commerce age have changed not only the way that businesses operate, but also the way that intellectual property thieves interact with consumers. In the past, customers would knowingly buy inexpensive, obviously counterfeit goods from small- time hustlers who set up shop on street corners or at flea markets. Now, counterfeiters can interact directly with the consumer at the touch of a screen or keyboard, no matter how many miles apart. Online distributors sell counterfeit and unlicensed software that cannot be updated with the latest security patches, leaving unwitting consumers vulnerable to security threats and identity theft. Sophisticated technology, available at increasingly cheaper prices, allows criminals to create counterfeits that appear to be so realistic that only an industry expert using expensive laboratory tests can determine that the item is fake, at times, after a consumer has been harmed by the counterfeit product. Counterfeit goods can be shipped in small packages through express carriers or postal services, increasing the odds of evading detection through regular customs enforcement methods.

While criminals have been able to turn technological advances into profit, law enforcement, through cooperation with industry, has been able to use these same advances to counteract criminal actions. At the IPR Center, interagency partners collaborate to develop initiatives to address some of the most pressing intellectual property concerns confronting U.S. business owners and American consumers. We meet regularly with industry representatives to stay apprised of the latest trends and to share best practices. We also conduct training on advanced law enforcement techniques to combat intellectual property theft both for domestic law enforcement and for our international counterparts. Today, I would like to tell you about a few of our most innovative and collaborative projects.

The IPR Center is committed to being accessible to everyone who is concerned about intellectual property enforcement. In 2016, the IPR Center improved its lead intake process by creating a new form, which is accessible via the “Report IP Theft” button on the IPR Center’s website, as well as websites of industry and other government agencies. Streamlining lead intake has improved the ability of the public and industry to submit information and the ability of ICE to share and deconflict this information with its U.S. Government partners. The information received is vetted and shared with IPR Center partners. Additionally, unlike before, the new lead intake form allows industry to provide specific CBP-centric information, thus creating a one-stop ability for the public, industry, and law enforcement to report information to DHS. We are also developing a mobile application, or app, that will allow the public to report suspected IP theft directly from their phone and to include photographs of the suspected counterfeit goods in their submission. The app will send out news alerts about the dangers of counterfeits to raise public awareness.

In the field, ICE and CBP work closely to target counterfeit and other illicit goods crossing U.S. borders, including through the co-location of personnel at Trade Enforcement Coordination Centers (TECC) in the Los Angeles, New York/Newark, Detroit, New Orleans, Houston, El Paso, San Juan, Buffalo, Baltimore, and Chicago Ports of Entry. The TECCs enhance communication and combine resources to identify and combat trade fraud and intellectual property crime. The TECCs proactively identify, interdict, and investigate inbound cargo that may enter U.S. commerce in violation of U.S. customs and trade laws. TECCs ensure joint CBP and ICE oversight and prioritization of the enforcement and interdiction process in the local area, and involve ICE early in the enforcement process.

The IPR Center also has full-time agents located at the National Cyber-Forensics & Training Alliance (NCFTA) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The NCFTA is a non-profit organization, which brings together experienced personnel from academia, law enforcement, and industry. By merging a wide range of expertise in one location, the NCFTA provides a neutral forum for information sharing regarding emerging and ongoing threats. In FY 2016, our NCFTA agents, working with IPR Center analysts, vetted 31,406 investigative leads.

Operation Chain Reaction is an IPR Center initiative that combines the efforts of 16 federal law enforcement partner agencies to target counterfeit items entering the Department of Defense (DOD) and other U.S. Government agencies’ supply chains. Operation Chain Reaction partner agencies coordinate their efforts in a whole-of-government approach to more productively protect the U.S. government supply chain from substandard counterfeit parts that could impact the reliability of weapons systems, delay DOD missions, imperil the safety of service members, and waste taxpayer money. In FY 2016, Operation Chain Reaction resulted in 15 arrests, 14 indictments, nine convictions, and the seizure of almost $3.5 million. In one case investigated by ICE, DCIS, FBI, Commerce, and AF-OSI, three Chinese nationals were arrested for attempting to purchase genuine military grade semiconductors that were to be stolen from a U.S. Navy base. As part of the conspiracy, the defendants offered to replace the genuine parts with counterfeits to prevent detection of the theft. When asked if the counterfeits would work, one of the defendants replied that they would look the same, but would not function. Had such nonfunctional fake semiconductors actually been installed in some military applications, their failure could have led to serious injuries to military personnel, as well as potential damage to national security or military equipment. The three individuals’ sentences ranged from time served to 15 months’ imprisonment.

Operation Engine Newity addresses safety threats posed by counterfeit automotive parts, such as airbags, brakes, rims, and diagnostic tools, as well as aerospace, rail, and heavy industry components. These counterfeit parts are not only a health and safety risk to Americans, but they also impact the economic health of these industries. The Fiscal Year 2017-2019 U.S. Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement stated that “[w]hile counterfeit auto parts may have been historically limited to “cosmetic” items like hood ornaments and decals, customs seizure statistics reveal that counterfeit safety components like brake pads, air bags, wheels, and suspension parts are becoming increasingly common….almost every type of auto part can and has been counterfeited.”

In FY 2016, Operation Engine Newity resulted in six arrests, two indictments, four convictions, and the seizure of more than $5.5 million. In a 2016 ICE investigation, two U.S. citizens, one of whom was living in China, were charged with selling counterfeit airbags for Honda, Nissan, Toyota, Mazda, Acura, Subaru, and Hyundai automobiles. The Automotive Anti-Counterfeiting Council, a valuable private sector partner, forwarded this lead to ICE. The counterfeit airbags were sent in pieces to the United States, where they were assembled by one of the men, who, in a conversation over Skype told the other, “It just may work. I can’t see why it wouldn’t but. . . I’m not an airbag expert.” The subjects were preparing for the shipment of large quantities of airbags to the United States when ICE executed the search warrants. To date, more than 400 potential victims have been identified and notified of the potential dangers posed by the counterfeit airbags. ICE’s swift action eliminated the exponential increase in the potential number of victims.

The newest IPR Center initiative, Operation Surge Protector, targets the sale and trafficking of counterfeit consumer electronics and technology. Counterfeit electrical products are often manufactured with inferior materials through sub-standard processes, without regard for any labeled ratings, certifications, or consumer safety requirements, leading to increased risk of malfunctions that may cause serious injuries, including electrical shock and death. Operation Surge Protector combines the expertise of ICE, CBP, CPSC, and others in the execution of investigations and surge operations at international mail facilities, express consignment carrier facilities, and ports of entry throughout the United States.

These operations play a significant role in combatting counterfeit goods that have already entered the United States. They also prevent future shipments of counterfeit goods from continuing to enter U.S. commerce by stopping the criminals from continuing their activities. Additionally, they deter others from committing similar crimes.

The IPR Center also cooperates closely with international law enforcement partners to ensure that counterfeit goods and pirated content are identified and action is taken before they reach the United States. One of the ways that this is done is through our international training program. In 2015, the IPR Center led four regional training events in India, Mexico, Hong Kong, and Brazil, locations identified on the U.S. Trade Representative’s Special 301 Report as being at risk for trafficking of counterfeit goods posing health, safety, and economic implications on a global scale. As a result of the IPR Center’s training program, collaboration between the ICE Attaché in New Delhi and Indian Customs resulted in the interception and seizure of 76,000 pairs of counterfeit sunglasses. Training in Mexico resulted in the seizure of 24,700 liters of counterfeit tequila. Training in Hong Kong bridged future efforts to enhance the capabilities of partners in Asia to combat the rising threat of IP crime. The 2017 International Law Enforcement IP Crime Conference will be held on August 28-29, 2017. For the first time in its 11-year run, it will be held in the U.S. The conference will be in New York at the United Nations and will be hosted by INTERPOL and ICE (via the IPR Center) in partnership with Underwriters Laboratories (UL). The conference will host approximately 500 law enforcement personnel from over 50 countries.

Finally, Brazilian Federal Highway Police have created an IP task force to improve Brazil’s response to intellectual property crimes.

As part of Operation Apothecary, ICE and FDA-OCI represent the United States as the lead law enforcement agencies for INTERPOL-led Operation Pangea and are members of the Pangea Organizing Committee. Operation Pangea engages police, customs, national regulatory authorities, industry, and international organizations such as the WCO and the Permanent Forum of International Pharmaceutical Crime to shut down illicit websites, disrupt payment services, intercept the importation of illicit medicines, investigate pharmaceutical crime, and raise awareness on the dangers of purchasing medicines online. Operation Pangea has been conducted annually since 2008, and culminates in an international week of action organizing the collective efforts of participating countries. INTERPOL reported that Pangea IX resulted in 393 arrests worldwide and the seizure of more than $53 million worth of potentially dangerous medicines.

Project Trans-Atlantic is a joint initiative between the IPR Center, Europol and INTERPOL to cooperate with industry to disrupt and seize domain names of websites that are selling counterfeit and pirated goods. Project Trans-Atlantic is part of Operation in Our Sites, an initiative through which the IPR Center addresses illicit cyber commerce and the sale of counterfeit products through infringing Internet websites. In Project Trans-Atlantic VI, which concluded on “Cyber Monday,” November 30, 2016, international law enforcement agencies seized more than 4,500 domain names, and industry partners seized or shut down 15,000 websites and 48,000 links on e-commerce platforms through civil or administrative actions.

In addition to working with our international partners to seize domain names, the IPR Center, as part of Operation In Our Sites, continues to focus on the development of long-term investigations of the online sale of counterfeit goods and pirated content by identifying targets, assets, and financial schemes used in operating these websites. An example of the impact of these more complex investigations is the Rocky Ouprasith case, in which ICE took down the second largest music piracy cyberlocker in the United States. On November 17, 2015, Rocky Ouprasith, the operator, was sentenced to 36 months’ imprisonment.

Conclusion

As we look toward the future, ICE anticipates that e-commerce and for-profit streaming will continue to be challenges, along with the following emerging technologies: 3D printing, the dark web, and virtual currency. ICE expects that intellectual property criminals will continue to use these technologies, and others we have not yet seen, in furtherance of their criminal activity. ICE futher notes that it expects the issue of e-commerce direct-toconsumer business model that utilize express mail and postal small shipments to become increasingly challenging in the years ahead; there are numerous enforcement weaknesses in these environments that counterfeiters exploit.

While technology and innovation play an essential role in combatting intellectual property crimes, one of the most effective approaches the IPR Center uses is old-fashioned outreach—talking to the public about the dangers of counterfeit products and pirated content. In FY 2016, through Operation Joint Venture, the IPR Center reached more than 14,000 people through 310 outreach and training events. Intellectual property theft is far from a victimless crime. It can affect all of us. Raising awareness of the impact that these illicit goods and content have on the health and safety of our citizens and the economic impact of our country reduces demand, and one of is the most effective approaches law enforcement has.

Thank you again for the opportunity to speak with you about the ways in which the IPR Center’s intellectual property enforcement promotes innovation making our lives healthier, safer, and more comfortable.

Topics:  Fraud and Counterfeit, Intellectual Property Rights, International, Law Enforcement Partnerships Keywords:  IPR Center

Remarks By Secretary Kelly in San Diego

Fri, 04/21/2017 - 14:07
Release Date: April 21, 2017

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

SAN DIEGO - Today, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly delivered brief remarks during a media availability in San Diego:

"In our system of government, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice enforce the laws passed by the United States Congress.  That includes our immigration laws.  These laws exist to keep our people safe and our nation sovereign.    

Both the Attorney General and I are serious about border security and enforcing our immigration laws.  In accordance with the Executive Orders signed earlier this year, we have ended dangerous “catch and release” enforcement policies.  We have significantly increased detainers for deportation.  And we have arrested more criminal aliens. 

We will continue to expand our approach to deterring illegal migration.  That includes constructing a physical barrier, supporting it with technology, and patrolling it with a dedicated and professional workforce. 

It also includes our approach of prosecuting anyone who pays traffickers to smuggle people into the country—especially those who smuggle in children, including family members here.  Human smuggling across our border puts individuals – especially children - at great risk of assault, abuse and even death at the hands of smuggler and coyotes.  There is nothing the Attorney General and I want more than to put human smugglers out of business, and we will do everything in our power—and within the law—to end the flow of illegal migration. 

Our efforts are working.  As I reported back in March, we’ve seen a dramatic reduction in illegal migration across the southwest border. In fact, March apprehensions were 30 percent lower than February apprehensions—and 64 percent lower than the same time last year.

These numbers are lower because DHS and DOJ have shown that we’re serious about border security and enforcing our immigration laws.  The dedicated and selfless men and women who do this important work have the knowledge, the training, and the resources, and—and this is a big one—they know that they have an Administration and a Department that “has their back.

I am honored to serve with the men and women of DHS, who do so much every day to keep our country safe and strong."

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Topics:  Border Security, Immigration Enforcement Keywords:  Border Protections, Border Security, immigration, immigration enforcement, Secretary Kelly, Secretary John Kelly

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