Posted tagged ‘Department of Homeland Security’

3 Out of 4 Convicted Terrorists Came to U.S. Legally Via Current Immigration System

January 18, 2018

3 Out of 4 Convicted Terrorists Came to U.S. Legally Via Current Immigration System, Judicial Watch, January 17, 2018

“The United States faces a serious and persistent terror threat, and individuals with ties to terror can and will use any pathway to enter our country,” the new DHS/DOJ report states. “Accordingly, DHS has taken significant steps to improve the security of all potential routes used by known or suspected terrorists (KST) to travel to the United States to ensure that individuals who would do harm to Americans are identified and detected, and their plots are disrupted. These figures reflect the challenges faced by the United States and demonstrate the necessity to remain vigilant and proactive in our counterterrorism posture.”

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Illustrating the national security threats created by the nation’s immigration system, the overwhelming majority of individuals convicted of terrorism are foreigners who entered the United States legally through various federal programs. Three out of every four convicted terrorists between September 11, 2001 and December 31, 2016 are foreign born and came to the United States through our immigration system, according to a new report issued jointly by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ).

At least 549 individuals were convicted of terrorism-related charges in American federal courts since 2001 and 402 of them—approximately 73%–were foreign-born, the report says. Here’s the breakdown by citizenship at the time of their convictions; 254 were not U.S. citizens, 148 were naturalized and received American citizenship and 147 were U.S. born. Additionally, 1,716 foreigners with national security concerns were removed from the United States. The Trump administration stresses that figures include only those aliens who were convicted or removed and therefore do not represent the total measure of foreign terrorist infiltration of the United States. Statistics on individuals facing terrorism charges who have not yet been convicted will be provided in follow-up reports that will be made available to the public.

This DHS/DOJ report, issued this month, is disturbing enough and reveals that a significant number of terrorists entered the country through immigration programs that use family ties and extended-family chain migration as a basis for entry. Among them is Mufid Elfgeeh, a national of Yemen who benefitted from chain migration in 1997 and was sentenced to more than 22 years in prison for attempting to recruit fighters for ISIS. Sudanese Mahmoud Amin Mohamed Elhassan came to the U.S. in 2012 as a relative of a lawful permanent resident and eventually pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support to ISIS. Pakistani Uzair Paracha was admitted to the U.S. in 1980 as a family member of a lawful permanent resident and in 2006 was sentenced to more than three decades in prison for providing material support to Al Qaeda. Khaleel Ahmed, a national of India, was admitted to the United States in 1998 as a family member of a naturalized United States citizen. Ahmed eventually became an American citizen and in 2010 was sentenced to more than eight years in prison for conspiring to provide material support to terrorists.

Other convicted terrorists came to the U.S. through the controversial visa lottery program, the multi-agency probe found. Among them is Abdurasaul Hasanovich Juraboev, a national of Uzbekistan who was admitted into the country as a diversity visa lottery recipient in 2011. In 2015, he pleaded guilty to conspiring to support ISIS and in 2017 Juraboev was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Sudanese Ali Shukri Amin was admitted to the U.S. in 1999 as the child of a diversity visa lottery recipient and subsequently obtained American citizenship through naturalization. In 2015, he was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison for conspiring to provide material support and resources to ISIS. Amin admitted to using social media to provide advice and encouragement to ISIS and its supporters and facilitated ISIS supporters seeking to travel to Syria to join the terrorist group. Amin also helped a Virginia teen named Reza Niknejad get to Syria to join ISIS in 2015.

“The United States faces a serious and persistent terror threat, and individuals with ties to terror can and will use any pathway to enter our country,” the new DHS/DOJ report states. “Accordingly, DHS has taken significant steps to improve the security of all potential routes used by known or suspected terrorists (KST) to travel to the United States to ensure that individuals who would do harm to Americans are identified and detected, and their plots are disrupted. These figures reflect the challenges faced by the United States and demonstrate the necessity to remain vigilant and proactive in our counterterrorism posture.”

Trump Ends Temporary Protected Status For 200,000 El Salvadorans

January 8, 2018

Trump Ends Temporary Protected Status For 200,000 El Salvadorans, BreitbartNeil Munro, January 8, 2017

Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Donald Trump’s deputies are ending the often-extended ‘TPS’ temporary refugee status for up to 200,000 El Salvadoran migrants, which was first granted when earthquakes hit their home country in 2001.

The TPS decision — reported by numerous media outlets — underlines Trump’s determination to enforce the nation’s immigration laws, and to push his “Buy American, Hire American”  inauguration-day promise, despite growing pressure from the GOP’s business-first wing, Democrats and their allies in the establishment media.

The decision also pressures Democrats to accept Trump’s immigration reforms —  or else run as the pro-amnesty political party in November 2018.

The secretary of the Department of Homeland Security is responsible for deciding whether or not to extend TPS status, based on whether the original disaster is still damaging the country. Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is Trump’s DHS secretary.

Most of the 200,000 El Salvadoreans will return home by September 2019, likely boosting the small nation’s economy with savings and skills earned in the United States during the last 17 years.

The decision will free up jobs for American citizens and other legal immigrants.

Many of the El Salvador migrants were living illegally in the United States when the earthquake hit their home country in 2001. Since then, the “Temporary Protected Status” has been 11 times by Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

TPS. An official at the Comite Hispano de Virgina in Falls Church takes a photo of Salvadoran national Douglas Garcia Martinez 11 November, 2002, to attach to his paperwork to extend his Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

The Washington Post offered several examples of illegals who have used the TPS program to establish themselves in the United States:

Losing TPS “would be catastrophic for my family,” said Edwin Murillo, a 41-year-old father of two reached by phone at his home in Texas …

Murillo had studied business administration in El Salvador but left in 1999 because, he said, jobs were scarce. He entered the United States on a visa, which he overstayed, and in 2001, following the earthquakes back home, he and his wife jumped at the chance to apply for TPS.

A second  Washington Post article quoted two more illegals who used the TPS program:

[Oscar] Cortez, a father of two, said he came to the United States in 2000, after he dropped out of college in El Salvador because he couldn’t afford the tuition and was downsized out of a job at a textile factory. Undocumented at first, he worked low-wage, sporadic jobs laying carpet or cutting lawns …

His co-worker Jaime Contreras, a welder on the project that will extend Metrorail to Dulles International Airport, said his job has transformed his family’s lives, both in Maryland and in El Salvador. As a child in El Salvador, Contreras went to school in the mornings and to work in the afternoons, painting houses at age 7 and welding at 11.

At 20, he moved to the United States seeking higher wages.

Trump’s deputies have also ended TPS status for migrants from several other countries, including Haiti and Nicaragua. DHS deputy secretary Elaine Duke, however, gave a short extension to 57,000 Hondurans in late 2017.

Democrats and pro-migration advocates strongly criticized the decision to end temporary protected status for the El Salvador migrants:

The Trump administration’s decision to end TPS for El Salvador breaks with our country’s moral obligation to care for our neighbors who desperately need our help and safe refuge. https://twitter.com/washingtonpost/status/950379353967341569 

DHS has ended TPS for El Salvadorians – another step of Trump’s racist agenda to force people of color into the shadows.

Congress must act now to save TPS or they’ll be complicit in mass expulsion of people who have lived in the US for nearly 20 years.http://wapo.st/2FhaIMn 

Demonstrators march Dec. 6 in Washington during a rally in support of the Deferred Action for the Childhood Arrivals and Temporary Protected Status programs. (Jose Luis Magana/AP)

OK some thoughts on today’s cruel decision to terminate  for 200K Salvadorans. This was completely unnecessary and leaves hundreds of thousands of people in limbo (not to mention their families.) https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/world/wp/2018/01/08/200000-salvadorans-will-be-forced-to-leave-the-u-s-or-face-deportation-as-trump-administration-ends-immigration-protection/?tid=ss_tw-bottom&utm_term=.c468c8f7dc46 

TPS for El Salvador was ended this morning, with an 18 month extension. This devastating news affects 200,000 individuals. This TPS group makes up about 60% of all TPS holders & have 193,000 US citizen children. This decision is going to break families apart.

DHS ends TPS for Salvadorans, continuing their assault on immigrants in America with deep ties and strong equities. Expelling Salvadorans and others with TPS, many of whom own homes and have US citizen children, is cruel and heartless. It’s now up to Congress to step up.

Trump calls ICE union chief after complaints of betrayal

November 23, 2017

Trump calls ICE union chief after complaints of betrayal, Washington Times, November 23, 2017

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers escort an arrestee during a series of early-morning raids on March 3, 2015, in the Bronx borough of New York. (Associated Press) **FILE**

The new administration’s leaders have announced a phaseout of the 2012 DACA program, and have reversed the Obama administration’s priority system that put more than 80 percent of illegal immigrants out of any substantive danger of deportation.

But the ICE Council says Obama holdovers are still thwarting a full revamp of the agency. The council did not name the holdovers.

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President Trump has reached out to the country’s deportation officers and asked for a meeting after their union president, Chris Crane, wrote a letter expressing disappointment in the slow pace of change at Homeland Security.

In the Nov. 13 letter, first reported by The Washington Times, Mr. Crane, president of the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Council, said what was happening at the government’s chief interior immigration enforcement agency was “an embarrassment.”

Mr. Crane told the president of officers ordered to remove bullet proof vests for fear of angering illegal immigrants, and of dysfunction within agency leadership.

The ICE Council endorsed Mr. Trump during the presidential campaign and had anticipated having an open line of communication but Mr. Crane said that hasn’t happened, blaming the president’s aides for shutting stifling the relationship.

“Attempts to communicate concerns to you and requests for meetings with you are simply ignored,” Mr. Crane wrote, saying the union felt “betrayed.”

After the letter the president reached out and asked for a call, Mr. Crane says on jicreport.com, a new website the ICE Council set up to tell its story.

“I’m not going to discuss the content of our call publicly without the president’s consent,” Mr. Cranesaid on the site. “But as always the president treated me with the utmost respect, was polite and sincere, and asked a lot of questions to which I gave him straight answers. In the end, President Trump suggested a meeting which I of course accepted.”

“As I’ve told our officers and employees from the beginning, I trust this president and I know he’s going to keep his word and help us drain this swamp,” Mr. Crane continued. “He hasn’t forgotten us. He’s just busy running the country. The fact that he would take time out of his hectic schedule to call me should be proof of that.”

The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The National ICE Council had asked for meetings with President Barack Obama during the previous administration and had sought to be included in conversations about immigration policy, but say they were shut out.

They chafed as Mr. Obama instead met with illegal immigrant Dreamers and advocacy groups who pushed the president to announce the 2012 DACA deportation amnesty, which Mr. Crane challenged in court on behalf of ICE deportation officers.

Mr. Crane and other deportation officers said they’d hoped Mr. Trump would move quickly to change the guidance from the Obama years.

The new administration’s leaders have announced a phaseout of the 2012 DACA program, and have reversed the Obama administration’s priority system that put more than 80 percent of illegal immigrants out of any substantive danger of deportation.

But the ICE Council says Obama holdovers are still thwarting a full revamp of the agency. The council did not name the holdovers.

Homeland Security issues waivers to ramp up improved border fencing

September 12, 2017

Homeland Security issues waivers to ramp up improved border fencing, BreitbartUPI, September 12, 2017

(The district courts in the 9th Circus Circuit will be busy with this for a long time. — DM)

Sept. 12 (UPI) — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced Tuesday it has issued waivers of environmental and historical preservation laws to speed construction of fencing between California and Mexico.

The waivers protect border barriers near Calexico, Calif., from federal regulations such as Endangered Species Act and the National Historic Preservation Act, the department said in a news release.

The department described it as “an area of high illegal entry” that is a “critical sector for border security.” In fiscal year 2016, the United States Border Patrol “apprehended more than 19,400 illegal aliens and seized approximately 2,899 pounds of marijuana and approximately 126 pounds of cocaine in the El Centro Sector,” according to Homeland Security.

This project is approximately a three-mile segment that starts at the Calexico West port of entry and extends westward, replacing approximately two miles of the existing primary pedestrian fence with a new “bollard wall,” the department said.

The Border Patrol plans to build 18-to-25-foot fencing that replaces the existing 14-foot fencing built in the 1990s, The Hill reported. The waiver also allows improvement of Border Patrol service roads.

DHS Acting Secretary Elaine Duke published the waiver in the Federal Register.

According to the notice, “The Secretary of Homeland Security has determined, pursuant to law, that it is necessary to waive certain laws, regulations and other legal requirements in order to ensure the expeditious construction of barriers and roads in the vicinity of the international land border of the United States near the city of Calexico in the state of California.”

Existing budget appropriations cover some repairs and improvements to existing fencing, including the prototypes.

The White House requested $1.6 billion for 2018 to begin new construction for the wall between the United States and Mexico, which was a campaign promise by President Donald Trump.

“The Department is implementing President Trump’s Executive Order 13767, Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements, and continues to take steps to immediately plan, design and construct a physical wall along the southern border, using appropriate materials and technology to most effectively achieve complete operational control of the southern border” according to the release.

Last week, DHS announced prototypes for a wall in the San Diego sector, west of El Centro.

A Welcome Resignation at DHS

July 31, 2017

A Welcome Resignation at DHS, Power Line,  Paul Mirengoff, July 31, 2017

(Please see also, Break out the champagne: State Department officials quitting over “complete and utter disdain for our expertise.” Another pro-Islam official,  the Director of Countering Violent Extremism, leaves the Department of Homeland Security. — DM)

Selim’s resignation is evidence of a clear and welcome break by the Trump administration from Obama-era policy on countering radical Islam

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I try to write about both the good and the bad of the Trump administration, as I see things.Here’s an important addition to the good column:

George Selim, a prominent Obama administration holdover known for engaging fringe Islamic radicals, has resigned from the Department of Homeland Security. Selim left his post as director of Countering Violent Extremism (CVE). . . .

A DHS source familiar with the situation. . .explained that Selim often clashed with Trump administration officials who sought to do away with the past president’s policies. Senior officials effectively quashed Selim’s efforts to maneuver Obama White House policies and strategies into the new administration, leaving a frustrated Selim with resignation as his only option.

I wrote about CVE here, describing it as a slush fund for CAIR and the Muslim Brotherhood. Indeed, Jordan Schachtel of Conservative Review notes that Selim admitted to hosting hundreds of meetings with officials from the CAIR, an Islamic advocacy group that federal prosecutors have labeled as a Muslim Brotherhood front group that was created to achieve the ends of Hamas (a U.S.-designated terrorist organization).

The premise of CVE is that the best way to fight violent extremists is with “non violent extremist” Salafi clergy who have the most influence on them. As Daniel Greenfield has said:

What it really comes down to is paying Muslims to argue with other Muslims on social media. And hope that the Muslims we’re paying to do the arguing are the good kind of extremists, like the Muslim Brotherhood, and not the bad kind of extremists, like ISIS. Even though they’re both vicious killers.

Greenfield added:

CVE not only doesn’t fight terrorism, it perpetuates the whole reason for it by outsourcing our interaction with domestic Muslims to the Saudis and the Muslim Brotherhood. That’s a big part of how we got a terrorism problem in the first place. CVE’s promoters have convinced us that the best way to fight Islamic terrorism is by partnering with Islamic terrorists.

In reality, the best way to fight Islamic terrorism is not to “parse different flavors of Islam,” as Greenfield put it, but to distinguish between those citizens whose allegiance we have and those whose allegiance we do not have. However, to quote Greenfield again, CVE “rejects the idea that Muslims should be expected to show their allegiance [to the United States] and instead demands that the United States show its allegiance to them.” It thus “inverts the balance of citizenship and invests the United States in an unspoken religious debate.”

One of the consequences of this approach was the watering down the FBI’s counterterrorism training materials, including the elimination of valuable information that would help agents identify terrorists. According to Patrick Poole, this “purge” contributed to clues being missed by the FBI in major terrorism cases, including last year’s bombing of the Boston Marathon

Thus, Selim’s resignation is evidence of a clear and welcome break by the Trump administration from Obama-era policy on countering radical Islam.

Feds Spends Millions on Failed Program to Combat Extremism in America

July 28, 2017

Feds Spends Millions on Failed Program to Combat Extremism in America, Washington Free Beacon, , July 28, 2017

Members of a Federal Bureau of Investigation SWAT team are seen during an FBI field training exercise / Getty Images

“The time has come to definitely have a more direct approach,” said Raheel Raza, president of Muslims Facing Tomorrow, which seeks to counter extremist ideologies. “Fluff stuff and interfaith dialogue hasn’t really led to much deradicalization. There needs to be specific policies put in place that tackle the ideology.”

Raza also called on Congress to formally designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization due to its efforts to foment radical ideologies.

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The U.S. government has spent millions in taxpayer dollars on programs to combat violent extremism, despite the absence of evidence these programs have prevented the growth of terrorists in the United States, according to Congress, which criticized the FBI and Department of Homeland Security for enacting policy preventing its authorities from referencing “Islam” and “Islamic terrorism.”

The FBI and DHS are still providing upwards of $10 million dollars to fund a slew of community organizations committed to countering the rise of homegrown terrorism. Nevertheless there is little evidence these programs have had an impact, and in some cases, the money has been awarded to “partisan” organizations that have ties to the anti-Israel movement and radical groups such as Black Lives Matter, according to Congress.

The matter sparked a heated debate Thursday between congressional officials on the House National Security Subcommittee and senior law enforcement officials in the Trump administration.

Lawmakers accused DHS and the FBI of relying on Obama-era policies that downplay Islamic terrorism, despite clear guidance from the Trump administration that it does not support this approach.

Law enforcement anti-extremism training manuals—which were codified under an Obama-era program known as Countering Violent Extremism, or CVE—continue to ban the use of such terms as “Islamic extremism.”

While government reports have concluded that these programs are a failure, federal agencies continue to rely on them, sparking concern in Congress amid an uptick in domestic terrorism cases.

The FBI continues to have active terrorism investigations in all 50 states and at least 128 individuals have been charged in the last three years of attempting to aid ISIS.

Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), chair of the subcommittee on national security, verbally sparred with officials from DHS and FBI, who continue to maintain that these CVE programs have been a success.

“Radical Islamic extremism is the primary driver of this problem and deserves the federal government’s immediate attention,” DeSantis said during the hearing.

“Currently, [DHS] still follows the Obama-era policies related to CVE,” DeSantis added. “The guidance developed during the Obama administration specifically limits any intelligence or law enforcement investigative activity through CVE.”

“The government manuals, they will not mention radical Islam, they don’t use anything associated with the word Islam,” he said.

“By leaving this information on the table, CVE efforts are potentially missing opportunities to identify and disrupt terrorist plots,” DeSantis said. “Obama era guidance also fails to properly identify the threat of radical Islamic ideology.”

The Obama-era guidance on the matter, which is still being used, “does not even mention radical Islamic terrorism at all,” DeSantis said.

Grants totaling some $10 million for community organizations that are part of the CVE effort are still being awarded to groups with “questionable agendas,” DeSantis said, noting instances in which grants were given to partisan organizations and those with stated anti-Israel agendas.

DHS has declined to share information on these grant recipients with Congress and also has refused multiple requests from these lawmakers for a briefing on the situation, DeSantis disclosed.

Experts who testified alongside officials from DHS and the FBI also described the CVE programs as a failure.

“The time has come to definitely have a more direct approach,” said Raheel Raza, president of Muslims Facing Tomorrow, which seeks to counter extremist ideologies. “Fluff stuff and interfaith dialogue hasn’t really led to much deradicalization. There needs to be specific policies put in place that tackle the ideology.”

Raza also called on Congress to formally designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization due to its efforts to foment radical ideologies.

Raza pointed to polls showing that 27 percent of Muslims support the execution of non-believers, while around 26 percent of young American Muslims believe that suicide bombing against non-Muslims can be justified.

Jeh Johnson: Trump’s ‘Rhetoric’ Has ‘Scared Off’ Illegal Immigrants

July 20, 2017

Jeh Johnson: Trump’s ‘Rhetoric’ Has ‘Scared Off’ Illegal Immigrants, Newsmax, Mark Swanson, July 20, 2017

(Good! — DM)

Former head of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson said President Donald Trump’s “rhetoric” has led to a decrease of “illegal migration on our southern border.”

Trump has “scared off” a lot of illegal immigrants, Johnson told CNN’s “New Day” morning program.

“Basically because, through his rhetoric he’s scared off a lot of women and children in central America who would rather stay in their desperate circumstances or just migrate to Mexico and stop there,” Johnson said.

Though Johnson worked for a president many called the “deporter-in-chief,” he said Trump and his administration should bring more compassion to fighting illegal immigration.

“We have to enforce our immigration laws consistent with our values and consistent with humanity,” Johnson told CNN.

“At the end of the day, when you enforce immigration laws, you have to be able to look yourself in the mirror, look your own family in the eye, recall the women and children who are desperate, to say, ‘I did my best to enforce the law consistent with our priorities and consistent with our values,'” Johnson said.

“And I hope that the current administration does not lose sight of that.”