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Napolitano speaks to Appropriations Committee on DHS priorities

13 May 2009 2 Comments

The Secure Communities program, targeting criminal aliens and E-Verify are just three of the Department of Homeland Security’s priorities, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano spoke about in a hearing in front of the House Appropriations Committee on Homeland Security Tuesday.

One key thing to note is that when asked about alternatives to detention, Napolitano expressed that alternatives were as expensive as detention, which could suggest that the current demand for detention beds will continue.

From Napolitano’s written testimony:

E-Verify: Total funding of $112 million and 80 new positions are requested to support improvements to the employment eligibility verification system, E-Verify. The growth of the E-Verify program will increase the need for monitoring and compliance activities to protect employees from discriminatory practices, safeguard privacy information, and enhance program efficacy. The FY 2010 program increase is primarily for monitoring and compliance activities, as well as IT-related business initiatives to improve system

Secure Communities: Total funding of $39.1 million is requested to hire, train, and equip 80 new enforcement personnel who will identify suspected criminal aliens, determine subjects’ alien status, prioritize ICE enforcement actions against the highest threat criminal aliens, and assist in the removal of apprehended criminal aliens. Funding will also support the continued investment in information technology to improve efficiencies within ICE criminal alien identification prioritization and removal processes.

Detention and Removal Operations Modernization (DROM): Total funding of $25 million is requested for improvements to the system of detaining and removing illegal immigrants. The funding will be dedicated to developing and deploying the Detainee Location Tracking Module as part of the Bed Space and Transportation Management System, expanding the ICE Data warehouse data capacity and reporting capability to support the DRO IT data, and expanding Web services to allow the Electronic Travel Document application to communicate with other internal or external applications. DROM will effect improvements in the areas of real-time dynamic data reporting, detainee management, management of detention beds and tracking detainees, bed-space availability management, and transportation management for improved efficiency in detention and removals.

Law Enforcement Systems Modernization: Total funding of $49 million is requested to fund the ICE Law Enforcement Systems Modernization initiative, including a number of case management, information sharing, and operational support service projects that will improve access to law enforcement information. For example, the case management Traveler Enforcement Communication System (TECS) system modernization effort will support the investigative arm of ICE and update a 20-year-old system, giving ICE improved capabilities for case management, money laundering tracking and reporting, telephone
analysis, intelligence reporting and dissemination, Bank Secrecy Act data access, information sharing of subject record data, and statistical/ performance reporting. The funding will also support the design and development for the integration of ICE- Agreements of Cooperation in Communities to Enhance Safety and Security (ACCESS) and Information Sharing.

Immigrant Integration: Total funding of $10 million is requested for an Immigrant Integration program within USCIS, in order to improve the integration of immigrants into the United States. This program allows USCIS and the Office of Citizenship to work across the Federal Government and with state and local governments, U.S. businesses, non-profits, academia, and faith-based organizations to support effective integration efforts across the country.  USCIS will provide grants to community-based organizations
for citizenship preparation programs; facilitate English language learning through improved web resources; build volunteer capacity by developing a training certification framework for volunteers and, promote citizenship with integration messages at the workplace, among federal agencies, and the general public.

US-VISIT Identity Management and Screening Services: An $11.2 million increase is requested to support the increased workload demands associated with the transition from 2- to 10- fingerprint biometric capture for foreign visitors. The increase will support biometric identifications and verifications, latent print processing, data sharing with other agencies, and the growing Secure Communities initiative, which shares biometric
information with local law enforcement. The funding will also support information sharing and technical assistance to select foreign governments to promote the adoption and use of common biometric identity management standards in order to advance the ability to screen travelers to and workers within the United States.

Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI): A $20.9 million increase is requested to continue maintaining and operating the WHTI program that supports Departmental efforts to facilitate the efficient movement of people at the land border POEs.  WHTI provides a tool to conduct the necessary authentication at the time of crossing and it also accelerates the verification process mandated by law to the extent possible with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology and communications technology.

To read the rest of her testimony click here.


  • MaryElizabeth said:

    These detention systems are a threat to our society. We are a proud nation of immigrants and I am very disappointed with Janet Napolitano and the Obama administration to allow an expansion of these in-humane detentions that utilize our taxdollars to detain people while spliting up familys. There are many people that are detained in these systems that are exposed to abuse such as beatings, rapes and neglect in medical attention. Many of the detained are relatives of US borned citizens. I am very disappointed with what is going on in our country. We have fought wars abroad to protect people against horrific things like this. When is the madness going to stop in our own country.

  • sam hammock said:

    If even one in 1000 or 1 in 10000 or 1 in 100000 detainees have the intent to commit and act of terrorism on US soil, then these detention methods will continue. These programs indicate that DHS and ICe have thought out what needs to be done. Better integration ac ross programs and data sharing needs to continue.

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