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Tag: Homeland Security

Homeland Security Watchdog Finds ‘Egregious Violation’ at ICE Detention Facilities

A shower stall and bathroom pictured in the report.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Nooses in detainee cells, inadequate medical care, unreported security incidents, moldy and dilapidated bathrooms, rotting food and overly restrictive segregation were among the findings at immigration detention facilities.

Homeland Security’s internal watchdog made the discoveries during unannounced visits to four facilities in California, Colorado, Louisiana and New Jersey between May 2018 and November 2018, according to a report published by the Office of Inspector General on Thursday.

The discoveries raise serious questions about how the Trump administration is handling the dramatic increase in Central American migrants crossing the border.

Just last month, Border Patrol agents apprehended 132,887 migrants. It was the first time the apprehensions topped 100,000 since April 2007.

“All ICE detainees are held in civil, not criminal custody, which is not supposed to be punitive,” the reported stated.

According to the report, the unannounced visits uncovered “immediate risks and egregious violations of detention standards at the Adelanto and Essex facilities.”

“Overall, our inspections of the four detention facilities revealed violations of ICE’s detention standards and raised concerns about the environment in which detainees are held,” the report states. “Although the conditions varied among the facilities and not every problem was present at each, our observations, interviews with detainees and staff, and reviews of documents revealed several persistent issues.”

Trump’s Crackdown on the Border Could Make Airports Less Safe

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Transportation Security Administration, which protects America’s airports by screening passengers, could lose substantial funding to finance President Trump’s crackdown at the southern border.

The Department of Homeland Security is asking for $232 million from the TSA to fund increased security measures at the border, a controversial move that underscores the dramatic shifts in priorities after the 9/11 attacks.

Homeland Security is requesting the money in case Congress doesn’t support a $1.1 billion funding request, according to documents obtained by NBC News.

A DHS spokesman said the agency is “considering all options” to combat the influx of migrants at the southwest border.

“We will continue to work with our workforce to find dynamic solutions and funding to address this very serious problem. As part of this effort, it is our responsibility to explore fiscal mechanisms that will ensure the safety and welfare of both our workforce and the migrant population, which is also reflected in the supplemental request submitted to Congress,” said DHS spokesman Tyler Houlton.

Acting Homeland Security Director Appoints New CBP Commissioner

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

In the latest staff shakeup at the Department of Homeland Security, the new acting secretary, Kevin McAleenan, named a replacement to fill his former post as Customs and Border Protection commissioner.

McAleenan, who was appointed acting DHS secretary to replace Kirstjen Nielsen following her April 7 resignation, tapped CBP Chief Operating Officer John Sanders to become acting CBP commissioner Monday.

Acting CBP Commissioner John Sanders

“John Sanders has proven instrumental to advancing CBP’s mission and organizational priorities across the agency,” McAleenan said in a statement, Fox News reports. “In addition to bringing greater focus on the agency’s operational requirements, he has provided strategic direction and oversight to critical enterprise services and operations support functions across the agency.”

He added: “With John Sanders’ leadership, CBP will continue to excel, remain ever vigilant, and accomplish the mission with steadfast resolve.”

Last week, U.S. Secret Service Director Randolph “Tex” Alles resigned after he was told to “prepare an exit plan.”

Career Secret Service member James M. Murray will replace Alles in May.

Other shakeups included DHS acting deputy secretary Claire Gradey, who also resigned last week, and ICE Acting Director Ron Vitiello, who is stepping down at the end of this week.

Bias? Feds Worried Black Activists Would Join ISIS, Other Terrorists

File photo of President Trump protesters in Ypsilanti, Mi. Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal authorities became worried in 2014 that black activists who were calling for an end to the police killings of African Americans would join international terrorist groups such as ISIS.

Unsurprisingly, authorities found no evidence to substantiate their baseless concerns, according to documents obtained by the government transparency group Property of the People and shared exclusively with The Intercept.

The records “reveal that officials with the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence exaggerated the significance of isolated social media activity, mostly by foreign accounts, advocating for a connection between the domestic movement against police brutality and foreign terrorism.”

As protests broke out in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014 and Baltimore in 2015, DHS officials worried that ISIS may try “to use the situation in Ferguson as a recruitment tool” or call on “Baltimore rioters to join them.”

A year later, as protests spread to other cities, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, a cabinet position, issued a memo about a single, foreign pro-Al Qaeda Facebook user who urged “‘Black’ Americans to take up arms” and “start armed war against the U.S. government.”

This wasn’t the first time federal law enforcement warned of black activists.

In a 2017 threat assessment report, the FBI came up with the label, “Black Identity Extremism,” to warn about potential homegrown violence stemming from anger over police shootings.

No evidence was ever found to tie black activists with terrorism.

“They try to make it more scary, it’s like, ‘If we link Islam to it, and we link Muslims to it, then people will see this as a real threat, because nothing is scarier than Muslims,’” Umar Lee, a well-known St. Louis activist, who is Muslim, told The Intercept. “Nothing is scarier than, ‘Hey, if the Muslims get together with these scary black dudes, then we got a real problem, so we need every resource available to stop this.’”

DHS Secretary Nielsen Resigns Amid Shakeup to Address Immigration

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen resigned Sunday to address the Trump administration’s concern over illegal immigration.

In a tweet Sunday, Trump thanked Nielsen for her service and announced that Kevin McAleenan, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection commissioner, would become the acting DHS secretary.

 

McAleenan is a longtime border official who has fostered a good relationship with Congress and the Trump administration.

Nielsen met with Trump at the White House on Sunday, unaware she was going to be forced to resign, two people familiar with the decision told the Associated Press.
The sources said the move was part of a shakeup over the number of Central American families spilling across the southern border.

In her resignation letter, Nielsen never mentioned a riff with the Trump administration and said she was proud of her service and the employees at DHS.

“It has been my great honor to lead the men and women of the Department as its sixth Secretary,” Nielsen wrote. “I could not be prouder of and more humbled by their service, dedication, and commitment to keep our country safe from all threats and hazards.”

Ex-Homeland Security Chief: Trump’s Wall Is a ‘Symbol’ and Waste of Tax Dollars

Michael Chertoff

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff called President Trump’s border wall “a symbol” and a waste of tax dollars.

Chertoff, who led the country’s Homeland Security Department from February 2005 to January 2009, told Newsweek that a border wall would “fulfill some sort of visual image” for Trump but would do little to prevent undocumented immigrants from coming to the U.S.

“I think the idea of a wall in and of itself is a symbol. It’s not a real tool,” Chertoff said. “It is not an efficient or effective tool.” 

Chertoff said the better alternative to a wall would be comprehensive reform.

“The right way to do border security is to look at the entire system,” Chertoff said. “And that begins with what is pushing people to leave their countries and come to the U.S. in the first place. In some cases, it’s violence and the rule of law not being in existence.” 

16 Years Ago Today: Department of Homeland Security Began Operations in Response to 9/11

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Today is the 16th anniversary of the Department of Homeland Security beginning operations in response to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The 22-agency department was established by President George W. Bush and was the largest reorganization of the federal government since the Department of Defense was created following World War II.

Bush tapped Tom Ridge, a former Republican governor of Pennsylvania, to lead an agency whose mission was to coordinate all “homeland security” efforts.

Official operations began on Jan. 24, 2003.

The department absorbed border protection, cybersecurity, immigration, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Secret Service.

The Department of Homeland Security operates with a $40.6 million budget and has 240,000 employees.

Senator Urges FBI to Launch Perjury Investigation into Homeland Security Secretary

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley is asking the FBI to investigate whether Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen committed perjury over border rhetoric.

“I am just sick and tired of this administration lying to the American people, lying to Congress, doing it under oath,” the senator from Oregon told CNN‘s John Berman on “New Day.” 

A draft memo released last week contradicted claims by the Trump administration that it had no policy to separate families apprehended at the border. Just last month, Nielsen doubled down on that claim while testifying before Congress.

“I write to request an investigation to determine whether Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen committed perjury during her sworn testimony before the House Committee on the Judiciary on December 20, 2018,” Merkley wrote in his request to FBI Director Christopher Wray. “Compelling new evidence has emerged revealing that high-level Department of Homeland Security officials were secretly and actively developing a new policy and legal framework for separating families as far back as December 2017.”

Merkley said he hasn’t heard back from the FBI yet, adding, “This is the official, right way to initiate referral to the FBI for pursuit of an investigation regarding perjury.

In a written statement, a DHS spokeswoman told CNN the agency “has never had a blanket policy of separating families in custody.

“What this pre-decisional, pre-deliberative memo – as well as previously leaked pre-decisional, pre-deliberative documents – shows is that the Secretary was provided a menu of options to prevent the humanitarian crisis we predicted at that time and which has manifested itself today,” the statement read. “Secretary Nielsen specifically rejected a policy proposal to separate all family units in DHS custody.”