DHS

DHS waives contracting laws in bid to speed up border wall construction

In a move to speed up the construction of 177 miles of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, the Trump administration is waiving a set of laws that applies to how the Department of Homeland Security can work with federal contractors. The 10 laws the waiver applies to stipulate that the department allow open competition for contracts, justify its contractor selections and secure bonds that protect the government from financial loss should the project not be completed correctly, among other things. “Under the president’s leadership, we are building more wall, faster than ever before,” the department said in a statement, according to the Associated Press. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf has the authority to waive these contracting laws under a 2005 provision that gives him sweeping authority to do so when building border barriers. The option has previously been used to waive environmental impact reviews for sections of the border wall. Trump’s administration has invoked the waiver law 16 times, compared with five times under former President George W. Bush. The wall sections to which Wolf’s waiver applies will be built in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. This is just the latest step the Trump administration has taken to advance its immigration agenda. Last week, DHS deployed 100 Customs and Border Protection agents to work with Immigrations Customs and Enforcement in a handful of U.S. cities that have not cooperated with the federal government in enforcing immigration laws. That move drew criticism from Democrats, including Massachusetts Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey, who sent the department a letter over the weekend demanding that it “reverse course” on the decision. Among the 100 agents deployed were members of an elite unit known as BORTAC, essentially the SWAT team of CBP. “Because this initiative is unnecessary, unwelcome, dangerous, menacing, retaliatory and unlikely to achieve its stated goal,” Warren and Markey said, “we write to demand that you reverse course and to pose questions to better understand your rationale for employing paramilitary-style immigration personnel equipped with ‘stun grenades and enhanced Special Forces-type training, including sniper certification’ in Boston and elsewhere in the United States.” Earlier this month, the Trump administration announced its intent to redirect $7.2 billion in funds appropriated for the Pentagon to build the border wall, an action Democrats called a “slap in the face to the members of the Armed Fores and their families.” The Trump administration announced where the funding for $3.8 billion of that $7.2 billion would come from last week. In details first reported by the Washington Post, the Department of Defense plans to divert funding from the construction of 17 aircraft, among other previously planned expenditures.

This is welcome news!  Getting that wall/fence built should be DHS’ #1 priority.  Hopefully the DHS Secretary took that letter from those two self-serving, bloviating Democrat Senators and gave it the Nancy Pelosi treatment…and ripped it up.

DHS on track to nab 100,000 illegals at border this month

The government is on track to catch nearly 100,000 illegal immigrants at the border this month, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Monday, renewing the administration’s plea for Congress to do something. That number would be the worst in more than a decade, and it’s more troubling than the worst years because the migrants are children and families who despite being unauthorized, are almost impossible to deport. “The situation at our Southern Border has gone from a crisis, to a national emergency, to a near systemwide meltdown,” Ms. Nielsen said in delivering an update on the state of her department 16 years after it was established. Ms. Nielsen said the border wall is part of the solution, but also said Congress must change the laws to allow for detention and faster deportations of illegal immigrant children and families. According to the latest numbers, 98 percent of those caught at the border in 2017 is still in the U.S. today, underscoring how difficult it is to remove them in the current framework. March’s nearly 100,000 migrants — which includes those encountered at ports of entry demanding admittance without permission, and those nabbed by agents after they jumped the line between the ports — compares to about 76,000 in February. At the beginning of this decade, the rates were less than 30,000 a month. Ms. Nielsen said her department’s challenges go well beyond the border.

DHS: 300 in Migrant Caravans Are Known Convicts, Gang Members

Department of Homeland Security officials report that nearly 300 members of the migrant caravans en route to the U.S. at this time are either convicted criminals or known gang members. The criminals include individuals with convictions for sexual assault on a child, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, armed robbery, and assault on a female, officials reported. In an effort to lay out the facts about the migrant caravans approaching the U.S. from Central America, DHS officials reported that more than 270 people traveling along the caravan route have criminal histories or are known to be members of violent gangs. ” We continue to be concerned about individuals along the caravan route. In fact, over 270 individuals along the caravan route have criminal histories, including known gang membership. Those include a number of violent criminals – examples include aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, armed robbery, sexual assault on a child, and assault on a female. Mexican officials have also publicly stated that criminal groups have infiltrated the caravan. We also continue to see individuals from over 20 countries in this flow from countries such as Somalia, India, Haiti, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. There is a large segment of this population that we know nothing about and we must be prepared to defend our border and enforce our laws to protect the citizens of our country.” The Mexican ambassador to the United States described some of the caravan migrants as “very violent,” DHS officials stated. “Unfortunately, some of the people in the caravan have been very violent against authority, even though they have offered the possibility of entering in compliance with immigration law and refugee status,” the ambassador said. During a radio interview, Mexico’s Interior Minister Navarrete Prida confirmed that criminal groups and gangs have infiltrated the migrant caravans.

Remember this the next time you see some tool on MSNBC or CNN downplay the threat posed by this so-called “caravan of migrants.”  Kudos to President Trump and his DHS for taking it seriously and enforcing our borders.  This story is developing..

DHS expands power to initiate deportations

The Trump administration has expanded the government’s deportation powers, issuing guidelines urging officers at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services — the agency that oversees legal immigration and naturalization — to begin the removal process for people who use fraudulent documents or who illegally took government benefits. USCIS officers have always had powers, but in the past had usually referred cases to other parts of Homeland Security for decisions on deportation. But new guidance memos reviewed by The Washington Times show USCIS is now pushing to advance its own role in policing illegal immigration. “For too long, USCIS officers uncovering instances of fraudulent or criminal activity have been limited in their ability to help ensure U.S. immigration laws are faithfully executed,” L. Francis Cissna, the agency’s director, said in announcing the changes publicly. “This updated policy equips USCIS officers with clear guidance they need and deserve to support the enforcement priorities established by the president, keep our communities safe, and protect the integrity of our immigration system from those seeking to exploit it.” The memos tell agency employees to be on the lookout for people who apply for naturalization or another legal immigration benefit but who have criminal records, used fraudulent documents, lied about their applications or had abused public benefit programs. In the past, those might have been enough to reject the application, but USCIS would either drop the issue or refer the case to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for possible deportation. Under the new guidelines, dated June 28, USCIS employees are now urged to begin the deportation process themselves. That involves issuing a Notice to Appear, or NTA, which signals the beginning of the deportation process. Someone who receives an NTA then must go before an immigration judge, has the chance to appeal, and only then is deported. “When fraud, misrepresentation, or evidence of abuse of public benefit programs is part of the record and the alien is removable, USCIS will issue an NTA upon denial of the petition or application, or other appropriate negative eligibility determination,” the guidance says. The new guidance reclaims USCIS’s role as a gatekeeper and expands the number of government employees on the lookout for deportable migrants. The immediate effect could be to discourage people with bogus claims from coming forward to apply, since they now run a greater risk of ending up in deportation proceedings. People applying under the Obama-era DACA program are exempted from the new guidance, meaning illegal immigrant “Dreamers” won’t generally have to worry about being put in deportation if their claim is rejected. The prohibition on sharing their information with ICE is also still in place..

As the number of illegal aliens here in America is in the tens of MILLIONS, this is nowhere near enough.  But, hey..  It’s a small win.  So, we’ll take it..

DHS, DOJ: More than 70 Percent of Terror-Related Convicts in U.S. Are Foreign Born

U.S. federal courts have convicted at least 549 individuals of “international terrorism-related charges” between 9/11 and the end of 2016, including 402, or 73 percent, who are foreign-born, reveals a new report issued by the U.S. Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Homeland Security (DHS). The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, a component of DHS charged with enforcing American immigration laws within the country, removed 1,716 aliens over “national security concerns” since September 11, 2001, notes the assessment. While briefing reporters on condition of anonymity, a Trump administration official said of the ICE removals linked to national security threats: “This is an important statistic to highlight because it’s not always the case that seeking a criminal conviction in our federal courts to be an ideal outcome to protect our national security and certain national interests. It could be the case that our sources and methods are such that we cannot disclose them or perhaps in some of these cases it’s more ideal to remove the individual through our civil immigration system and get the [individual] out of the continental United States and back to where he or she came from.” DHS and DOJ issued the assessment of terrorism-related activity data in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s Executive Order 13780: Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States. “There were 549 individuals convicted of international terrorism-related offenses in U.S. federal court. Of that 549, roughly three out four — 73 percent — were foreign-born,” revealed the anonymous Trump administration official. In a press release announcing the report, DHS and DOJ further explained: ” Breaking down the 549 individuals by citizenship status at the time of their respective convictions reveals that: 254 were not U.S. citizens; 148 were foreign-born, naturalized and received U.S. citizenship; and,147 were U.S. citizens by birth.”

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DHS Announces Program To Scan American Faces

As TSA agents continue to prove their incompetence in the “War on Terror,” the Department of Homeland Security is now allocating $1 billion in taxpayer funding to create a facial recognition program that will scan Americans’ faces. A study conducted by Georgetown Law’s Center for Privacy and Technology looked at the biometric scanners that are creating an inventory of the faces of individuals leaving the country at airports across the United States. While they are only at certain major airports right now, the full implementation of these scanners could cost Americans up to $1 billion. The study noted that while the “9/11 Response and Biometric Exit Account” created by Congress has the funds for the program, “neither Congress nor DHS has ever justified the need for the program.” In addition to the fact that Congress has never provided a reason why the system is needed in the U.S., the study claimed that DHS has “repeatedly questioned ‘the additional value biometric air exit would provide’ compared with the status quo and the ‘overall value and cost of a biometric air exit capability,’ even as it has worked to build it.” Not only is a government agency pouring $1 billion into a program to increase the country’s security measures even though it lacks full confidence, and has no evidence that the program it is implementing will do so, there is also the fact that the program requires Americans to give up their civil liberties, and it has never been explicitly authorized by the government. As the researchers from Georgetown Law noted: “DHS’ biometric exit program also stands on shaky legal ground. Congress has repeatedly ordered the collection of biometrics from foreign nationals at the border, but has never clearly authorized the border collection of biometrics from American citizens using face recognition technology. Without explicit authorization, DHS should not be scanning the faces of Americans as they depart on international flights—but DHS is doing it anyway. DHS also is failing to comply with a federal law requiring it to conduct a rulemaking process to implement the airport face scanning program—a process that DHS has not even started.” The study also found that the biometric scanners used by DHS are not reliable, and often make mistakes. In fact, “according to DHS’ own data, DHS’ face recognition systems erroneously reject as many as 1 in 25 travelers using valid credentials.” This means that at the country’s busiest airports, more than 1,500 travelers could be wrongfully denied boarding in a single day. As The Free Thought Project has reported, while the biometric scanners are currently located at the major airports in Boston, Chicago, Houston, Atlanta, New York City and the District of Columbia, DHS has made it clear that they plan to roll this program out nationwide by January 2018. Sens. Ed Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, and Mike Lee, a Republican from Utah, criticized the privacy implications, and called for Homeland Security to halt the facial recognition scanning program in a letter to DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielson: “We request that DHS stop the expansion of this program, and provide Congress with its explicit statutory authority to use and expand a biometric exit program on U.S. citizens. If there is no specific authorization, then we request an explanation for why DHS believes it has the authority to proceed without congressional approval. Additionally, we ask that you address a number of our privacy concerns with the program.” Markey told The Hill that DHS should never have started testing and implementing the biometric scanners without first receiving congressional approval, and the United States Congress should take the time to weigh the implications of the program before handing the department a blank check. “When American citizens travel by air internationally, they should not have to choose between privacy and security,” Markey said. “The implementation of the Department of Homeland Security’s facial recognition scanning program for passengers leaving the country raises a number of concerns around accuracy, transparency and basic necessity.”

Definitely some disturbing implications here..  This is a toughy..and it pits two competing conflicting values; privacy and security.  Here at The Daily Buzz we are ALL for securing biometric data from those NON-U.S. citizens coming to America, especially illegal aliens.  With the ever growing threats to our national security and our homeland, that is just basic common sense.  However, we need to be VERY careful that such efforts, and the technologies used to implement those efforts, are not used against law-abiding American citizens, without a proper warrant or other court order.  We’ll keep an eye on this developing story…

DHS to open office for victims of crimes by illegal immigrants

Homeland Security on Wednesday will officially open its office to assist victims of crimes committed by illegal immigrants, making good on a promise President Trump made during the campaign. Mr. Trump has identified victims of illegal immigrant crime as a forgotten population in the immigration debate and has given parents whose children were killed by illegal immigrants an unprecedented platform to make their case for stiffer enforcement. Democrats counter with exampled of high-performing illegal immigrants, and say creating a special office could give Americans an inflated sense of the criminal threat from illegal immigrants. The new office is dubbed Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement or VOICE. “It really is to give a voice to victims of crimes committed by those who are in the country illegally,” said Homeland Security spokesman David Lapan. The Obama administration had resisted such an office for victims. Instead, it created a new position that advocated for illegal immigrants within the administration.

And that’s because Obama was a “community organizer” that fought for illegal aliens, instead of for actual American citizens.  His job was to enforce the law.  But, he was very open about his undermining the rule of law to advance an agenda.  Glad to see President Trump fighting for the victims of criminal aliens and making sure that those victims have a VOICE.