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Tag: Homeland Security

FBI Investigating Terrorism in All 50 States As Threat Reaches a High

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly warned that America is facing its “highest terror threat in years,” with active investigations in all 50 states.

“The threat to our nation and our American way of life has not diminished,” Kelly said during a speech at George Washington University on Tuesday, the New York Post reports. “In fact, the threat has metastasized and decentralized.” 

Kelly said the country is experiencing an “unprecedented spike” in homegrown terrorism.

“We are under attack from terrorists both within and outside of our borders,” he said.

Over the past year, the FBI has handled 36 cases of homegrown terrorists in 18 states.

Kelly said the radicalization of Americans is “notoriously difficult to predict and control.”

Homeland Security Secretary Lashes Out at Critics of Trump’s Immigration Policies

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly lashed out at lawmakers and critics of President Trump’s aggressive crackdown on undocumented immigrants, saying they should “shut up” or change the country’s deportation laws, the Houston Chronicle reports. 

“If lawmakers do not like the laws that we enforce, that we are charged to enforce, that we are sworn to enforce – then they should have the courage and skill to change those laws,” Kelly said in a combative speech. “Otherwise they should shut up and support the men and women on the front lines.”

Kelly depicted his department as demoralized as the U.S. faces a dangerous world.

“Make no mistake,” he said, “we are a nation under attack.”

Kelly, a retired four-star Marine General, suggested lawmakers have demoralized his workforce with political debates over immigration policies.

“For too long, the men and women of my department have been political pawns,” he said. “They have been asked to do more with less, and less, and less.”

Twitter Sues Homeland Security to Protect Anonymity of Trump Critic

twitter-birdBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Twitter is suing Homeland Security after it threatened court action if the social media giant didn’t reveal the identity of a Twitter account – “@ALT_uscis” or “Alt Immigration” – that has been critical of the Trump administration.

The lawsuit alleges Homeland Security received a summons demanding the name, login information, phone number, mailing address and IP address of the Twitter user, NPR reports.

Twitter ignored Homeland Security’s request to not reveal the summons and instead wants a federal court to declare the summons “unlawful and enforceable.”

The account is one of several “rogue” accounts believed to be created by anonymous employees of the federal government, though that has not been confirmed. The Associated Press reports that they were told the account was run by “employees and former employees of the agency.”

Lawyers for Twitter said the summons violates the First Amendment rights of @ALT_uscis and is therefore unenforceable.

Homeland Security Secretary Concedes Full Border Wall Is ‘Unlikely’

Border fence along Mexico and the U.S.

Border fence along Mexico and the U.S.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s homeland security secretary conceded Wednesday that it was doubtful that a full border wall with Mexico will be built.

The statement from John F. Kelly is in stark contrast to Trump’s oft-repeated pledge to build a wall along the entire border with Mexico, the New York Times reports. 

“It is unlikely that we will build a wall from sea to shining sea,” Mr. Kelly told senators on the Homeland Security Committee.

Instead of a “beautiful wall” that Trump has promised, the federal government likely will build fencing and concrete walls in places that make the most sense.

Congress has yet to act on Trump’s request for funding for the wall.

Trump’s budget calls for $1.4 billion to begin building the wall.

Homeland Security Secretary Kelly Considers Body Cams for Border Patrol Agents

Body cams, via Wikipedia

Body cams, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

As complaints continue about President Trump’s toughened immigration policies, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said Tuesday that he will consider body cameras for Border Patrol and ICE agents, the San Antonio Express-News reports.

Kelly met with Congressional Hispanic Caucus members and said he would investigate credible charges of civil rights violations.

In a meeting three weeks ago with Democratic lawmakers, Kelly insisted the agency lacked enough money to buy body cameras.

“We believe that this would increase transparency and would make sure that ICE agents are doing their jobs properly, that Border Patrol agents are doing their job properly,” said U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, who has led the push for the body cameras. “He (Kelly) said he is committed to that, and hopefully that will become ‘part of our job.’”

Castro called out Kelly’s claims that the agency doesn’t have enough money for body cams, noting that Trump’s budget calls for an infusion of $2.8 billion for discretionary spending at Homeland Security.

“There are tremendous safety and accountability benefits to having video records of law enforcement activity – both for the officers and for the public,” Castro wrote.

DHS Releases List of Jails, Municipalities That Won’t Cooperate with Immigration Officials

jail2photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security fired back at municipalities that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration officials, releasing a list of jails and jurisdictions that have denied immigrant detainer requests. 

Those requests are directed at cities and counties that are holding an inmate who is in the country illegally.

The so-called “sanctuary jurisdictions” have stated various reasons for not cooperating, including the fear that it would undermine policing and cooperation with law enforcement.

The list was published Monday and includes more than 200 unnamed individuals who ICE says committed “countable criminal activity.” Also listed are the jails where the undocumented immigrants are lodged.

Overall, less than 10% of municipalities refused to cooperate.

“When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release serious criminal offenders, it undermines ICE’s ability to protect the public safety and carry out its mission,” Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan said.

Other Stories of Interest

Feds May Lower Hiring Standards to Hire More Border Patrol, ICE Agents

ICE agents, via ICE.

ICE agents, via ICE.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security may have to lower its hiring standards to increase immigration enforcement and shut down the border with Mexico.

The agency, which has struggled to fill vacant positions, wants to hire 5,000 additional Border Patrol agents and 10,000 more ICE agents.

Strict hiring standards have made it difficult to fill those positions, so now DHS is considering eliminating the polygraph test, requiring less thorough background checks and making an entrance exam easier, according to a DHS memo obtained by Vice

“The idea that they would be able to hire 5,000 additional Border Patrol agents without lowering the standards always struck me as unrealistic,” said Stephen Legomsky, who served as senior counsel to DHS under President Barack Obama. “It would be a terrible idea to eliminate the [lie detector] test, but if they don’t, I don’t see how they could meet their hiring target.”

The hiring standards are so strict that a vast majority of applicants never make it through the process. For example, about 65% of applicants fail the polygraph test.

Homeland Security Pledges to Help Investigate Uptick in Hate Crimes

Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center.

Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security pledged to help investigate a rise in hate-based crimes, from bomb threats to Jewish institutions to shootings of Indian nationals.

Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly said Thursday that the “apparent hate-inspired attacks and harassment against individuals and communities” are “unacceptable.”

DHS’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and the Office of International Engagement will be used in the investigations.

So far this year, about 90 Jewish community centers and schools have received threats, often about bombs.

Homeland Security’s help is long-awaited as civil rights leaders have questioned the Trump administration’s slow response to addressing an uptick in hate crimes.

Full Homeland Security statement:

Over the past few weeks, our country has seen an unacceptable and disturbing rise in the number of apparent hate-inspired attacks and harassment against individuals and communities. I strongly condemn any violent acts to perpetuate fear and intimidation not only against individuals, but entire communities. I pledge the full support of the Department of Homeland Security to assist local, state, and federal investigations into these incidents.

In response to these attacks, I have directed the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties to work with impacted communities. We will heighten our outreach and support to groups affected by these incidents to enhance public safety. The Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties will hold Incident Communication Coordination Team calls with impacted communities. The DHS Office of International Engagement will also continue to work with foreign governments whose nationals have been affected by these violent acts.

The United States has a history of welcoming and accepting individuals regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or national origin. Freedom of religion is a cherished American value, guaranteed by the United States Constitution. DHS is committed to protecting all people’s right to that essential freedom.