Secretary Napolitano Issues Immigration and Border Security Action
Release Date: January 30, 2009
For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano
announced today a wide-ranging action directive on immigration and border
The directive requires specific department offices and components to work
together and with state and local partners to review and assess the plans and
policies to address: criminal and fugitive aliens; legal immigration benefit
backlogs; southbound gun smuggling; cooperation with the National Guard; widows
and widowers of U.S. citizens; immigration detention centers; and electronic
Secretary Napolitano has already issued 11 action directives: Federal
Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) state and local integration; national
planning, cybersecurity; northern border strategy; critical infrastructure
protection; risk analysis; state and local intelligence sharing; transportation
security; state, local and tribal integration; first responder health surge
capacity and Hurricane Katrina.
Today’s directive is the last in an initial series on a wide variety of
issues impacting the department’s critical missions: Protection, Preparedness,
Response, Recovery and Immigration.
The full action directive is below:
- Immigration and border security. America is a nation of
immigrants – and it is the Department of Homeland Security's role to manage
America’s borders in a way that furthers this heritage, promoting legal
immigration and cross-border commerce, while upholding the rule of law. The
department must also enforce the law, targeting border criminals who use
violence and fraud to smuggle people and drugs into the United States. But,
the department must facilitate international travel and the naturalization of
immigrants into our society. Smart, resolute enforcement by the department can
keep Americans safe, foster legal immigration to America, protect legitimate
commerce, and lay the groundwork for a more comprehensive reform.
this end, the relevant components and offices of the department are asked to
provide the following assessments about current programs, including metrics of
success, gaps in service/ resources, partnerships with state and local
governments and other federal agencies as well as offer suggestions for
reforms, restructuring, and consolidation where needed.
assessment, a final report is due Feb. 20.
The Secure Communities Program works with
state, local, and tribal law enforcement to identify and remove aliens
unlawfully present who are involved in criminal activity. How can we best
accelerate its development and expansion?
The Institutional Removal Program facilitates
the entry of final removal orders before aliens convicted of crimes are
released from criminal custody. What measures are needed, and with what
priority, to secure expansion of this resource-saving program? Which state
or federal facilities are the main targets of opportunity for efficient
expansion? What specific cooperation is needed from the Department of
Justice (DOJ) to facilitate expansion?
Fugitive Operation Teams. Please provide the
current metrics of fugitive apprehension and removal (clearly differentiate
the number of fugitives that are actually removed versus those aliens
unlawfully present who are simply encountered by the teams while on
assignment). How can fugitives be more effectively prioritized for these
purposes and what steps can be taken to expedite removal?
The Electronic Travel Document Program
facilitates the travel of persons subject to removal orders. How can the
department best secure an expansion of this program to include the
consulates of additional countries?
The 287(g) program provides for agreements
whereby federally trained and supervised state and local law enforcement
officials can participate in the investigation, apprehension, and transport
of unauthorized aliens. How many officers have been trained to date? How
many agreements have been signed with state and locals to date and how many
are ready to be signed? What is the current turnaround time to sign an
agreement and what can be done to expedite more agreements? How does this
model compare in cost, effectiveness, and administration, to other forms of
cooperation with these officials or entities? What are the strengths and
challenges with jail model agreements versus task force model
agreements?Legal Immigration Benefit Backlogs.
What progress has been made in reducing the significant backlogs that had
developed in the adjudication of naturalization petitions and adjustment of
status (green card) applications? Which regional offices still lag behind in
making progress toward target processing times, and what specific steps are
recommended for providing priority resources to those offices?
provide an assessment of information-sharing with the Department of State’s
Bureau of Consular Affairs on projected adjustment caseloads, to be used by
that Bureau in setting each month’s cutoff dates on waiting lists for
immigration categories that are limited by a yearly quota. What steps have
been taken and what further steps are recommended to make sure that the full
quota of permanent immigration spaces is used each fiscal year? What
regulatory or legislative changes (including a possible pre-application filing
procedure for adjustment cases) are recommended to facilitate caseload
planning and make optimum use of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Southbound Gun Smuggling. A
growing wave of criminal violence in Mexico’s border communities and in the
interior of the country, fueled by the availability of guns and currency
smuggled south from the U.S. poses a serious threat to Mexico’s security and
portends deepening problems for our nation’s border regions. How are U.S.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection
currently addressing southbound smuggling and how can these efforts be
improved? Include an assessment of potential infrastructure needs,
investigative and interdiction capabilities, and cooperation with other
agencies or offices such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and
Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), or the Department of
State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, and with
intelligence centers (the DEA El Paso Intelligence Center and DOJ National
Drug Intelligence Center). Also assess the prospects for enhanced use of
investigations and prosecutions for money laundering or other financial
offenses to disrupt the illicit firearms trade. Please explain how these
efforts will be enhanced with funding from the Merida Initiative and how this
is being coordinated with the states and the Office of National Drug Control
National Guard. Describe and assess the
current deployment of the National Guard at or near the border. What
overarching plans exist for coordinating with the Guard at the border? How
could the arrangements for the Guard’s presence be made more effective for
support of DHS missions?
Widows and Widowers of U.S.
Citizens. Recent media accounts have highlighted the cases of widows
and widowers of U.S. citizens who had petitioned for the alien spouse’s
immigration, but whose petitions were not adjudicated before the citizen
spouse’s death. Because of the death of the petitioning spouse, the petitions
were denied. What are the regulatory, legislative, and litigation options that
could be considered to immediately address the situation of these widows and
Immigration Detention Facilities. What is
the current status of the Performance Based National Detention Standards
(Standards), and in what ways do they improve upon previous detention
standards? To which facilities do they apply at present, and what are the
plans for full application of the standards to all facilities housing ICE
detainees? How do the Standards address concerns associated with the treatment
of families and unaccompanied children? What are the arrangements for
monitoring compliance with the Standards, and what corrective actions or
sanctions are applied in the case of violation or shortfall? What steps are
taken to segregate ordinary detainees from those with a serious criminal
record (either immigration detainees or other inmates of a facility that may
also house prisoners in the criminal justice system)? What are the prospects,
advantages, and disadvantages of expanding the use of community-based
alternatives to detention or of less-restrictive models of detention as have
been used in Broward County, Fla.?
Verification. Reducing unauthorized employment is crucial for
controlling the problem of illicit migration. E-Verify has been a key
component in proposals for comprehensive immigration reform and holds real
promise as a central element in effective immigration enforcement that
combines border efforts with interior measures. But E-Verify has encountered
criticism both for false negatives (persons who are authorized to work but who
nonetheless receive a tentative non-confirmation from the system) and for
false positives (unauthorized aliens who receive a confirmation because they
have borrowed or stolen the identity of an authorized worker).
the status of the employer monitoring and compliance efforts of the E-Verify
system? How can DHS expand such monitoring, including alternative strategies
such as electronic detection of suspicious patterns, with an indication of
What strategies are available to minimize false
negatives? What steps and resources are needed to secure a systematic and
detailed study of the origin, prevalence, and types of erroneous
non-confirmations, including measuring the rate of correct non-confirmations,
and how much time would be required for such a study?
What is the
status of measures (such as photo tools) designed to minimize false positives?
Currently, photo tools are useful for only certain types of documents
presented by the worker. What would be needed to make the photo tool
applicable to all identity documents presented by covered employees? What is
the prospect for using biometrics as part of the screening (done either by the
employer or at an offsite location by specialized offices)? What role could
data-mining or other innovative strategies play in helping to identify false
positives and false negatives? What steps would be most effective both in the
short and long term to deter and detect identity fraud? Please also provide an
assessment of the laws and regulations on administrative fines for employers.
This page was last reviewed/modified on January 30, 2009.
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