Tagged: work

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Russia, Pakistan Form Anti-Terror Military Cooperation Commission

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN — 

Russia and Pakistan plan to establish a commission on military cooperation to counter the Islamic State threat in the region, accusing the United States of downplaying the terrorist group’s dangerous “proliferation” in Afghanistan.

“We have confirmed Russia’s readiness to continue boosting Pakistan’s counterterrorism capacity, which is in the entire region’s interests,” Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Tuesday in Moscow.

Speaking to reporters along with his Pakistani counterpart, Khawaja Asif, the Russian official said fighting terrorism is one of the priority areas of cooperation between the two countries. He said joint military exercises between Russian and Pakistani special forces, which began in 2016, will continue this year.

FILE - A two-week-long joint exercise, DRUZBA 2017, between special forces of Pakistan and Russia armies is held in Minralney Vody, Russia.
FILE – A two-week-long joint exercise, DRUZBA 2017, between special forces of Pakistan and Russia armies is held in Minralney Vody, Russia.

Lavrov raised Moscow’s “very serious suspicions” about efforts the NATO-led coalition is undertaking in Afghanistan to curb the threat.

According to Russian and Pakistani data, he said, thousands of IS terrorists are present in northern and eastern Afghan border regions and they continue to grow in number. This is increasing the risk of the “terrorists’ penetration” into Central Asia and Russia.

Russian claims

“But we are alarmed because unfortunately, U.S. military and NATO coalition in Afghanistan try to silence or deny these facts to give an impression that it [IS] is not a serious threat,” noted Lavrov.

Russia and neighboring Iran are increasingly accusing the United States of being behind the rise of the Afghan branch of IS. They allege IS fighters fleeing Syria and Iraq are also finding refuge in the war-shattered country.

FILE - People protest against an Islamic State-claimed attack on a shrine earlier this year, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Feb. 17, 2017.
FILE – People protest against an Islamic State-claimed attack on a shrine earlier this year, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Feb. 17, 2017.

Lavrov said Moscow is also waiting for “clarifications” from the U.S.-led coalition about “flights of unmarked helicopters” to Afghan areas that are either controlled by insurgents or host militant bases.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Asif shared Lavrov’s concerns about what he said is “unchecked proliferation of Daesh” in Afghanistan.

“But there is absolutely no acknowledgment, real acknowledgement, by Kabul and Washington of such a large presence of Daesh or the proliferation of Daesh in Afghanistan. … They are a threat to Central Asia, Pakistan, China and ultimately to Russian Federation. … So, this is something, which is very alarming,” he said, using the Arabic acronym for IS.

The number of IS terrorists, Asif said, has surpassed even some Taliban groups operating in Afghanistan because of the arrival of militants from the Middle East.

Washington vehemently rejects as “rumors” charges that it is supporting IS activities in Afghanistan, and maintains that sustained military operations in partnership with Afghan forces against the terrorist group have significantly degraded and reduced the terrorists in the country.

U.S. officials, in turn, denounce Moscow’s overt ties with the Taliban, saying it gives legitimacy to the insurgency and undermines years of efforts to stabilize Afghanistan.

Afghan peace pledge

Lavrov and Asif also pledged to work closely to promote a peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan, alleging the U.S.-led military mission has failed to secure the country. They said illegal opium poppy production, which is directly feeding insecurity, has also increased “manyfold.”

“There are monumental failures in Afghanistan and there is an effort to scapegoat Pakistan … for these failures. We have rejected these baseless allegations. We cannot fight others’ wars on our soil,” said Asif.

FILE - Pakistani protesters burn posters of U.S. President Donald Trump in Lahore, Pakistan, Jan. 5, 2018. Pakistan has expressed disappointment at the U.S. decision to suspend military aid to Islamabad.
FILE – Pakistani protesters burn posters of U.S. President Donald Trump in Lahore, Pakistan, Jan. 5, 2018. Pakistan has expressed disappointment at the U.S. decision to suspend military aid to Islamabad.

He was referring to the Trump administration’s accusations the Taliban and its allies are waging insurgency in Afghanistan from their sanctuaries in Pakistan and with covert support of its military. U.S. and Afghan officials have been demanding that Islamabad take “decisive” action against the militants.

Pakistani officials deny any links to insurgents and say security forces have uprooted all terrorist bases. They, in turn, allege militants who have fled counterterrorism operations have found refuge on the Afghan side of the long, porous border between the two countries and plot terrorist attacks against Pakistan.

Washington has suspended military aid to Pakistan and relations continue to deteriorate as U.S. officials maintain there is no evidence the country is taking action against insurgents on its soil, including those linked to the dreaded Haqqani network.

Pakistan’s closeness with Russia and the cementing of traditionally strong ties with neighboring China stem from the growing U.S. pressure, say analysts.

0

Russia, Pakistan Form Anti-Terror Military Cooperation Commission

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN — 

Russia and Pakistan plan to establish a commission on military cooperation to counter the Islamic State threat in the region, accusing the United States of downplaying the terrorist group’s dangerous “proliferation” in Afghanistan.

“We have confirmed Russia’s readiness to continue boosting Pakistan’s counterterrorism capacity, which is in the entire region’s interests,” Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Tuesday in Moscow.

Speaking to reporters along with his Pakistani counterpart, Khawaja Asif, the Russian official said fighting terrorism is one of the priority areas of cooperation between the two countries. He said joint military exercises between Russian and Pakistani special forces, which began in 2016, will continue this year.

FILE - A two-week-long joint exercise, DRUZBA 2017, between special forces of Pakistan and Russia armies is held in Minralney Vody, Russia.
FILE – A two-week-long joint exercise, DRUZBA 2017, between special forces of Pakistan and Russia armies is held in Minralney Vody, Russia.

Lavrov raised Moscow’s “very serious suspicions” about efforts the NATO-led coalition is undertaking in Afghanistan to curb the threat.

According to Russian and Pakistani data, he said, thousands of IS terrorists are present in northern and eastern Afghan border regions and they continue to grow in number. This is increasing the risk of the “terrorists’ penetration” into Central Asia and Russia.

Russian claims

“But we are alarmed because unfortunately, U.S. military and NATO coalition in Afghanistan try to silence or deny these facts to give an impression that it [IS] is not a serious threat,” noted Lavrov.

Russia and neighboring Iran are increasingly accusing the United States of being behind the rise of the Afghan branch of IS. They allege IS fighters fleeing Syria and Iraq are also finding refuge in the war-shattered country.

FILE - People protest against an Islamic State-claimed attack on a shrine earlier this year, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Feb. 17, 2017.
FILE – People protest against an Islamic State-claimed attack on a shrine earlier this year, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Feb. 17, 2017.

Lavrov said Moscow is also waiting for “clarifications” from the U.S.-led coalition about “flights of unmarked helicopters” to Afghan areas that are either controlled by insurgents or host militant bases.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Asif shared Lavrov’s concerns about what he said is “unchecked proliferation of Daesh” in Afghanistan.

“But there is absolutely no acknowledgment, real acknowledgement, by Kabul and Washington of such a large presence of Daesh or the proliferation of Daesh in Afghanistan. … They are a threat to Central Asia, Pakistan, China and ultimately to Russian Federation. … So, this is something, which is very alarming,” he said, using the Arabic acronym for IS.

The number of IS terrorists, Asif said, has surpassed even some Taliban groups operating in Afghanistan because of the arrival of militants from the Middle East.

Washington vehemently rejects as “rumors” charges that it is supporting IS activities in Afghanistan, and maintains that sustained military operations in partnership with Afghan forces against the terrorist group have significantly degraded and reduced the terrorists in the country.

U.S. officials, in turn, denounce Moscow’s overt ties with the Taliban, saying it gives legitimacy to the insurgency and undermines years of efforts to stabilize Afghanistan.

Afghan peace pledge

Lavrov and Asif also pledged to work closely to promote a peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan, alleging the U.S.-led military mission has failed to secure the country. They said illegal opium poppy production, which is directly feeding insecurity, has also increased “manyfold.”

“There are monumental failures in Afghanistan and there is an effort to scapegoat Pakistan … for these failures. We have rejected these baseless allegations. We cannot fight others’ wars on our soil,” said Asif.

FILE - Pakistani protesters burn posters of U.S. President Donald Trump in Lahore, Pakistan, Jan. 5, 2018. Pakistan has expressed disappointment at the U.S. decision to suspend military aid to Islamabad.
FILE – Pakistani protesters burn posters of U.S. President Donald Trump in Lahore, Pakistan, Jan. 5, 2018. Pakistan has expressed disappointment at the U.S. decision to suspend military aid to Islamabad.

He was referring to the Trump administration’s accusations the Taliban and its allies are waging insurgency in Afghanistan from their sanctuaries in Pakistan and with covert support of its military. U.S. and Afghan officials have been demanding that Islamabad take “decisive” action against the militants.

Pakistani officials deny any links to insurgents and say security forces have uprooted all terrorist bases. They, in turn, allege militants who have fled counterterrorism operations have found refuge on the Afghan side of the long, porous border between the two countries and plot terrorist attacks against Pakistan.

Washington has suspended military aid to Pakistan and relations continue to deteriorate as U.S. officials maintain there is no evidence the country is taking action against insurgents on its soil, including those linked to the dreaded Haqqani network.

Pakistan’s closeness with Russia and the cementing of traditionally strong ties with neighboring China stem from the growing U.S. pressure, say analysts.

0

Russia, Pakistan Form Anti-Terror Military Cooperation Commission

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN — 

Russia and Pakistan plan to establish a commission on military cooperation to counter the Islamic State threat in the region, accusing the United States of downplaying the terrorist group’s dangerous “proliferation” in Afghanistan.

“We have confirmed Russia’s readiness to continue boosting Pakistan’s counterterrorism capacity, which is in the entire region’s interests,” Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Tuesday in Moscow.

Speaking to reporters along with his Pakistani counterpart, Khawaja Asif, the Russian official said fighting terrorism is one of the priority areas of cooperation between the two countries. He said joint military exercises between Russian and Pakistani special forces, which began in 2016, will continue this year.

FILE - A two-week-long joint exercise, DRUZBA 2017, between special forces of Pakistan and Russia armies is held in Minralney Vody, Russia.
FILE – A two-week-long joint exercise, DRUZBA 2017, between special forces of Pakistan and Russia armies is held in Minralney Vody, Russia.

Lavrov raised Moscow’s “very serious suspicions” about efforts the NATO-led coalition is undertaking in Afghanistan to curb the threat.

According to Russian and Pakistani data, he said, thousands of IS terrorists are present in northern and eastern Afghan border regions and they continue to grow in number. This is increasing the risk of the “terrorists’ penetration” into Central Asia and Russia.

Russian claims

“But we are alarmed because unfortunately, U.S. military and NATO coalition in Afghanistan try to silence or deny these facts to give an impression that it [IS] is not a serious threat,” noted Lavrov.

Russia and neighboring Iran are increasingly accusing the United States of being behind the rise of the Afghan branch of IS. They allege IS fighters fleeing Syria and Iraq are also finding refuge in the war-shattered country.

FILE - People protest against an Islamic State-claimed attack on a shrine earlier this year, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Feb. 17, 2017.
FILE – People protest against an Islamic State-claimed attack on a shrine earlier this year, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Feb. 17, 2017.

Lavrov said Moscow is also waiting for “clarifications” from the U.S.-led coalition about “flights of unmarked helicopters” to Afghan areas that are either controlled by insurgents or host militant bases.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Asif shared Lavrov’s concerns about what he said is “unchecked proliferation of Daesh” in Afghanistan.

“But there is absolutely no acknowledgment, real acknowledgement, by Kabul and Washington of such a large presence of Daesh or the proliferation of Daesh in Afghanistan. … They are a threat to Central Asia, Pakistan, China and ultimately to Russian Federation. … So, this is something, which is very alarming,” he said, using the Arabic acronym for IS.

The number of IS terrorists, Asif said, has surpassed even some Taliban groups operating in Afghanistan because of the arrival of militants from the Middle East.

Washington vehemently rejects as “rumors” charges that it is supporting IS activities in Afghanistan, and maintains that sustained military operations in partnership with Afghan forces against the terrorist group have significantly degraded and reduced the terrorists in the country.

U.S. officials, in turn, denounce Moscow’s overt ties with the Taliban, saying it gives legitimacy to the insurgency and undermines years of efforts to stabilize Afghanistan.

Afghan peace pledge

Lavrov and Asif also pledged to work closely to promote a peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan, alleging the U.S.-led military mission has failed to secure the country. They said illegal opium poppy production, which is directly feeding insecurity, has also increased “manyfold.”

“There are monumental failures in Afghanistan and there is an effort to scapegoat Pakistan … for these failures. We have rejected these baseless allegations. We cannot fight others’ wars on our soil,” said Asif.

FILE - Pakistani protesters burn posters of U.S. President Donald Trump in Lahore, Pakistan, Jan. 5, 2018. Pakistan has expressed disappointment at the U.S. decision to suspend military aid to Islamabad.
FILE – Pakistani protesters burn posters of U.S. President Donald Trump in Lahore, Pakistan, Jan. 5, 2018. Pakistan has expressed disappointment at the U.S. decision to suspend military aid to Islamabad.

He was referring to the Trump administration’s accusations the Taliban and its allies are waging insurgency in Afghanistan from their sanctuaries in Pakistan and with covert support of its military. U.S. and Afghan officials have been demanding that Islamabad take “decisive” action against the militants.

Pakistani officials deny any links to insurgents and say security forces have uprooted all terrorist bases. They, in turn, allege militants who have fled counterterrorism operations have found refuge on the Afghan side of the long, porous border between the two countries and plot terrorist attacks against Pakistan.

Washington has suspended military aid to Pakistan and relations continue to deteriorate as U.S. officials maintain there is no evidence the country is taking action against insurgents on its soil, including those linked to the dreaded Haqqani network.

Pakistan’s closeness with Russia and the cementing of traditionally strong ties with neighboring China stem from the growing U.S. pressure, say analysts.

0

Homeland Security part of the fight against opioids in Central Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio — 

With the high number of opioid deaths across the country, the Department of Homeland Security is heavily involved in trying to fight this epidemic. The Resident Agent In Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Columbus says Central Ohio has been the epicenter of the heroin epidemic.

“It’s coming through here. What’s going to the east coast, to Chicago, to Pittsburgh. It’s the crossroads of America here in Central Ohio, ” said Nathan Emery.

To combat the drugs flowing through our city, agents have formed unique partnerships with local law enforcement.

“Day in and Day out our agents are embedded with state and local law enforcement officers. We work it from the ground up,” Emery said.

Agents have seized not only drugs but guns and money.

“We have cases where we’ve worked it up from the street level buys and take down full cells here in Central Ohio, ” said Emery.

Last year agents seized more than $15 million in drug money. Their efforts caught the eye of Hollywood, and now HSI and Franklin County’s Hope Task Force are both spotlighted in Showtime’s docu-series “The Trade.” Cameras followed investigators for six months as part of the show.

“It was a little surreal having cameras in your face around the clock,” said Emery.

The show gives viewers an inside look into how these agencies are going after the dealers.

“There’s no place they can hide in the country or in the world for that matter, ” said Emery. “We’re able to take our tools, especially from Homeland Security Investigations and go after these organizations in their home countries.”

Bottom line, they say they’re refusing to let the drug war win.

0

Homeland Security part of the fight against opioids in Central Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio — 

With the high number of opioid deaths across the country, the Department of Homeland Security is heavily involved in trying to fight this epidemic. The Resident Agent In Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Columbus says Central Ohio has been the epicenter of the heroin epidemic.

“It’s coming through here. What’s going to the east coast, to Chicago, to Pittsburgh. It’s the crossroads of America here in Central Ohio, ” said Nathan Emery.

To combat the drugs flowing through our city, agents have formed unique partnerships with local law enforcement.

“Day in and Day out our agents are embedded with state and local law enforcement officers. We work it from the ground up,” Emery said.

Agents have seized not only drugs but guns and money.

“We have cases where we’ve worked it up from the street level buys and take down full cells here in Central Ohio, ” said Emery.

Last year agents seized more than $15 million in drug money. Their efforts caught the eye of Hollywood, and now HSI and Franklin County’s Hope Task Force are both spotlighted in Showtime’s docu-series “The Trade.” Cameras followed investigators for six months as part of the show.

“It was a little surreal having cameras in your face around the clock,” said Emery.

The show gives viewers an inside look into how these agencies are going after the dealers.

“There’s no place they can hide in the country or in the world for that matter, ” said Emery. “We’re able to take our tools, especially from Homeland Security Investigations and go after these organizations in their home countries.”

Bottom line, they say they’re refusing to let the drug war win.

0

Homeland Security part of the fight against opioids in Central Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio — 

With the high number of opioid deaths across the country, the Department of Homeland Security is heavily involved in trying to fight this epidemic. The Resident Agent In Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Columbus says Central Ohio has been the epicenter of the heroin epidemic.

“It’s coming through here. What’s going to the east coast, to Chicago, to Pittsburgh. It’s the crossroads of America here in Central Ohio, ” said Nathan Emery.

To combat the drugs flowing through our city, agents have formed unique partnerships with local law enforcement.

“Day in and Day out our agents are embedded with state and local law enforcement officers. We work it from the ground up,” Emery said.

Agents have seized not only drugs but guns and money.

“We have cases where we’ve worked it up from the street level buys and take down full cells here in Central Ohio, ” said Emery.

Last year agents seized more than $15 million in drug money. Their efforts caught the eye of Hollywood, and now HSI and Franklin County’s Hope Task Force are both spotlighted in Showtime’s docu-series “The Trade.” Cameras followed investigators for six months as part of the show.

“It was a little surreal having cameras in your face around the clock,” said Emery.

The show gives viewers an inside look into how these agencies are going after the dealers.

“There’s no place they can hide in the country or in the world for that matter, ” said Emery. “We’re able to take our tools, especially from Homeland Security Investigations and go after these organizations in their home countries.”

Bottom line, they say they’re refusing to let the drug war win.

0

Homeland Security part of the fight against opioids in Central Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio — 

With the high number of opioid deaths across the country, the Department of Homeland Security is heavily involved in trying to fight this epidemic. The Resident Agent In Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Columbus says Central Ohio has been the epicenter of the heroin epidemic.

“It’s coming through here. What’s going to the east coast, to Chicago, to Pittsburgh. It’s the crossroads of America here in Central Ohio, ” said Nathan Emery.

To combat the drugs flowing through our city, agents have formed unique partnerships with local law enforcement.

“Day in and Day out our agents are embedded with state and local law enforcement officers. We work it from the ground up,” Emery said.

Agents have seized not only drugs but guns and money.

“We have cases where we’ve worked it up from the street level buys and take down full cells here in Central Ohio, ” said Emery.

Last year agents seized more than $15 million in drug money. Their efforts caught the eye of Hollywood, and now HSI and Franklin County’s Hope Task Force are both spotlighted in Showtime’s docu-series “The Trade.” Cameras followed investigators for six months as part of the show.

“It was a little surreal having cameras in your face around the clock,” said Emery.

The show gives viewers an inside look into how these agencies are going after the dealers.

“There’s no place they can hide in the country or in the world for that matter, ” said Emery. “We’re able to take our tools, especially from Homeland Security Investigations and go after these organizations in their home countries.”

Bottom line, they say they’re refusing to let the drug war win.

0

White House Proposes Shifting Kansas Bio-Defense Lab From Homeland Security To USDA

Since its inception over a decade ago, the Department of Homeland Security has had authority over the $1.25 billion National Bio and Agro-defense Facility[1], or NBAF, under construction on the campus of Kansas State University.

The 2019 federal budget[2] released this week proposes transferring authority over the facility to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The transfer wouldn’t happen until the facility operational, scheduled for 2022[3]. But officials say the USDA will work closely with DHS long before the lab opens.

“USDA would begin (staffing) up the operations of NBAF by learning how to operate the facility during the commissioning process, purchasing equipment and hiring employees,” DHS spokesman John Verrico said in an email.

NBAF is to replace the aging Plum Island Animal Disease Center[4] in the Long Island Sound.  For over half a century, the lab was operated by USDA for the study of foreign animal diseases. It was the only place in the country with a large-animal bio-containment facility capable of studying live foot-and-mouth disease virus, which is highly contagious among cattle and sheep. The labs at NBAF will expand research on foot-and-mouth and have the capacity to do experiments on large numbers of livestock at one time.

In 2002, with the passage of the Homeland Security Act[5], authority of the lab at Plum Island was transferred to the newly- formed DHS.

Lawmakers and some officials are saying it’s too early to know the impact of placing the Plum Island’s replacement back under the oversight of USDA.

U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall, whose district includes NBAF, sits on the House Agriculture and Science and Technology committees. He said he’s focused on making sure the facility is built on schedule and has adequate funding.

“While the proposal to move operational control to USDA is new, we have always expected USDA to play a major role in the research underway at the facility,” Marshall said in an email.

But one scientist who’s been intimately involved with biosecurity research says it’s a mistake to move the Level 4 bio-containment lab away from Homeland Security.

Daniel Gerstein oversaw operations at Plum Island while it was under DHS. He says Homeland Security and agriculture officials had a strong working relationship — even developing the first licensed foot-and-mouth vaccine[6].

But prioritizing homeland security in animal disease research may be more important today than ever, he says.

“If you had some sort of deliberate attack, you’d certainly want to have your Department of Homeland Security involved.”

References

  1. ^ National Bio and Agro-defense Facility (www.dhs.gov)
  2. ^ 2019 federal budget (www.whitehouse.gov)
  3. ^ scheduled for 2022 (www.dhs.gov)
  4. ^ Plum Island Animal Disease Center (www.dhs.gov)
  5. ^ Homeland Security Act (www.dhs.gov)
  6. ^ first licensed foot-and-mouth vaccine (veterinarynews.dvm360.com)
0

Former Homeland Security official calls out agency for publishing …

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a series of “press releases” panning various bipartisan immigration amendments Thursday, on the same day senators made moves to debate elements of a framework that provides permanent protections for certain undocumented immigrants and secures the border.

Ultimately on Thursday, the Senate failed to pass any amendments to move forward on immigration. Senators neither approved bipartisan proposals nor the framework set forth by the Trump administration that included “four pillars” to change the immigration system.

The open debate on the Senate floor comes months after the Trump administration ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provided temporary work authorization and deportation relief for immigrants who came to the country as children and became undocumented or entered the country without inspection. In September 2017, President Donald Trump called on Congress to pass a bill granting permanent protections for these young immigrants known as “Dreamers.”

Published prior to the Senate votes, the five DHS press releases all strongly criticized the immigration system and called for strong border security measures. One press release[1] panned an immigration proposal put out by Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Mike Rounds (R-ND), and Susan Collins (R-ME) as an amendment that “destroys” the ability of Homeland Security that could create “amnesty” for “illegal aliens” and “criminals.” Another press release[2] claimed that kids and families “are flooding the border” because of legal loopholes that allow them to be reunited with family members while waiting for their court proceedings. Others called for a border wall[3] to “make America safe again,” an end to family migration and the “reckless” diversity visa lottery[4], and the elimination of so-called sanctuary cities[5], again, to “make America safe again.” A press release[6] published Wednesday said another immigration proposal from Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Chris Coons (D-DE) would “increase illegal immigration” and “give a pathway to citizenship to convicted alien felons.”

All the press releases contain numerous inaccuracies and half-truths about the citizenship process. Criminals, for example, can never apply for citizenship in part because immigrants applying for the naturalization process have to answer dozens of questions about their background including whether they’ve ever been convicted of crimes. Those forms also require people to provide documentation of any arrests. Lying on these forms could be punishable by a prison sentence.

The press statements were not well received by people familiar with the DHS agency. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who also proposed his own bill that failed to get enough votes during open debate on Thursday, released his own statement[7] criticizing the DHS press statement.

“It’s highly unusual — I’ve never seen something like that before — I think it’s highly unhelpful,” a former DHS official told ThinkProgress on background. “The other parts… that raised a lot of questions in my mind: there’s no attribution. Normally, a press release when we put it out, we say ‘it’s a statement from the Secretary [of Homeland Security].’”

The former DHS official questioned the utility of publishing a press releases that read like a “screed” based on the length alone and the lack of attribution, especially since the DHS agency itself has a legislative affairs staff “whose job is to communicate” concerns about congressional bills, amendments, and other pieces of legislation. The individual also expressed surprise and frustration over the citation of old reports to support a claim made by the White House over potential diversity visa fraud.

“Making this public serves no good purpose,” the former official said. “If DHS has concerns, then they should communicate that through the normal legislative channels — not by a press release.”

“Press releases — unless something is put into quotations in the release — are supposed to be about fact,” the individual lamented. “This is full of accusations [and] opinions that are cited as quotes. It’s one thing for the Secretary or the head of ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency] to say, ‘it eviscerates the authority of the Department of Homeland Security,’ but to put that down as fact doesn’t meet the normal standard of being in a press release.”

The former DHS official also expressed disappointment over how the president had “moved the goalpost. This was supposed to be about finding a solution to DACA.”

In January, the president told a group of lawmakers that he was willing to sign whatever they put in front of him and “take the heat” to pass a bipartisan framework. Instead, the Trump administration has doubled down hard on its harsh rhetoric against immigrants with one senior administration official characterizing Graham as “a problem” during a White House background call Thursday.

As of Thursday, many more DACA recipients are left without a permanent solution. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would end debate[8] on immigration reform on Friday.

References

  1. ^ press release (www.dhs.gov)
  2. ^ press release (www.dhs.gov)
  3. ^ called for a border wall (www.dhs.gov)
  4. ^ an end to family migration and the “reckless” diversity visa lottery (www.dhs.gov)
  5. ^ the elimination of so-called sanctuary cities (www.dhs.gov)
  6. ^ press release (www.dhs.gov)
  7. ^ statement (www.lgraham.senate.gov)
  8. ^ would end debate (thinkprogress.org)
0

Former Homeland Security official calls out agency for publishing 'accusations' in press releases

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a series of “press releases” panning various bipartisan immigration amendments Thursday, on the same day senators made moves to debate elements of a framework that provides permanent protections for certain undocumented immigrants and secures the border.

Ultimately on Thursday, the Senate failed to pass any amendments to move forward on immigration. Senators neither approved bipartisan proposals nor the framework set forth by the Trump administration that included “four pillars” to change the immigration system.

The open debate on the Senate floor comes months after the Trump administration ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provided temporary work authorization and deportation relief for immigrants who came to the country as children and became undocumented or entered the country without inspection. In September 2017, President Donald Trump called on Congress to pass a bill granting permanent protections for these young immigrants known as “Dreamers.”

Published prior to the Senate votes, the five DHS press releases all strongly criticized the immigration system and called for strong border security measures. One press release[1] panned an immigration proposal put out by Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Mike Rounds (R-ND), and Susan Collins (R-ME) as an amendment that “destroys” the ability of Homeland Security that could create “amnesty” for “illegal aliens” and “criminals.” Another press release[2] claimed that kids and families “are flooding the border” because of legal loopholes that allow them to be reunited with family members while waiting for their court proceedings. Others called for a border wall[3] to “make America safe again,” an end to family migration and the “reckless” diversity visa lottery[4], and the elimination of so-called sanctuary cities[5], again, to “make America safe again.” A press release[6] published Wednesday said another immigration proposal from Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Chris Coons (D-DE) would “increase illegal immigration” and “give a pathway to citizenship to convicted alien felons.”

All the press releases contain numerous inaccuracies and half-truths about the citizenship process. Criminals, for example, can never apply for citizenship in part because immigrants applying for the naturalization process have to answer dozens of questions about their background including whether they’ve ever been convicted of crimes. Those forms also require people to provide documentation of any arrests. Lying on these forms could be punishable by a prison sentence.

The press statements were not well received by people familiar with the DHS agency. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who also proposed his own bill that failed to get enough votes during open debate on Thursday, released his own statement[7] criticizing the DHS press statement.

“It’s highly unusual — I’ve never seen something like that before — I think it’s highly unhelpful,” a former DHS official told ThinkProgress on background. “The other parts… that raised a lot of questions in my mind: there’s no attribution. Normally, a press release when we put it out, we say ‘it’s a statement from the Secretary [of Homeland Security].’”

The former DHS official questioned the utility of publishing a press releases that read like a “screed” based on the length alone and the lack of attribution, especially since the DHS agency itself has a legislative affairs staff “whose job is to communicate” concerns about congressional bills, amendments, and other pieces of legislation. The individual also expressed surprise and frustration over the citation of old reports to support a claim made by the White House over potential diversity visa fraud.

“Making this public serves no good purpose,” the former official said. “If DHS has concerns, then they should communicate that through the normal legislative channels — not by a press release.”

“Press releases — unless something is put into quotations in the release — are supposed to be about fact,” the individual lamented. “This is full of accusations [and] opinions that are cited as quotes. It’s one thing for the Secretary or the head of ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency] to say, ‘it eviscerates the authority of the Department of Homeland Security,’ but to put that down as fact doesn’t meet the normal standard of being in a press release.”

The former DHS official also expressed disappointment over how the president had “moved the goalpost. This was supposed to be about finding a solution to DACA.”

In January, the president told a group of lawmakers that he was willing to sign whatever they put in front of him and “take the heat” to pass a bipartisan framework. Instead, the Trump administration has doubled down hard on its harsh rhetoric against immigrants with one senior administration official characterizing Graham as “a problem” during a White House background call Thursday.

As of Thursday, many more DACA recipients are left without a permanent solution. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would end debate[8] on immigration reform on Friday.

References

  1. ^ press release (www.dhs.gov)
  2. ^ press release (www.dhs.gov)
  3. ^ called for a border wall (www.dhs.gov)
  4. ^ an end to family migration and the “reckless” diversity visa lottery (www.dhs.gov)
  5. ^ the elimination of so-called sanctuary cities (www.dhs.gov)
  6. ^ press release (www.dhs.gov)
  7. ^ statement (www.lgraham.senate.gov)
  8. ^ would end debate (thinkprogress.org)