Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released the number of enforcement actions at the southwest border for the month of December.  Due to the lapse in funding, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is unable to publish the enforcement actions for December on its website.

    Total Enforcement Actions (individuals apprehended in between the ports of entry and deemed inadmissible at the ports of entry) for the month of December in Fiscal Year 2019 was 60,782. December marks the third consecutive month of enforcement actions surpassing 60,000.

    The United States Border Patrol apprehended 50,753 individuals (83.5% of all enforcement actions) between the ports of entry on the southern border. The total number of individuals deemed inadmissible for entry at the ports of entry was 10,029.

    Key statistics:

    The total number of family unit aliens (FMUA) apprehended in between the ports of entry and deemed inadmissible at the ports of entry: 31,901

    • In Fiscal Year 2017, CBP averaged 13,210 family units and unaccompanied alien children each month – in Fiscal Year 2019 CBP is now averaging 31,188 a month. That is a 136% increase.
    • The total number of FMUAs apprehended in between the ports of entry was 27,518. December was a record-breaking month for FMUAs apprehended at the border.
    • FMUA apprehensions through December total 75,794 – higher than 5 out of the last 7 years FY totals – exceeding all but FY16 and FY18, but currently tracking 253% higher than FY16 and 280% higher than FY18 for the same time frames.
    • Of FMUA apprehensions in December, 95% are from Northern Triangle. 96% for the first quarter.
      • For the first quarter, 77% of family units are from Guatemala and Honduras alone.
    • This month marks the third time FMUA apprehensions exceeded Single Adult apprehensions.
      • Apprehensions from Guatemala exceeded Mexico for the third consecutive month (only happened four times) and Honduras has exceeded Mexico for the second consecutive month.

    The total number of unaccompanied children apprehended in between the ports of entry and deemed inadmissible at the ports of entry: 5,121

    • Total number of unaccompanied children apprehended in between the ports of entry: 4,766
    • Total number of unaccompanied children deemed inadmissible at the ports of entry: 355

    The total number of single adults apprehended in between the ports of entry and deemed inadmissible at the ports of entry: 23,682

    • Total enforcement actions for single adults fell by 10.87% in December from November.


    Keywords: CBP

  • MYTH/FACT: Known and Suspected Terrorists/Special Interest Aliens

    In recent days, the terms “Special Interests Aliens” (SIAs) and “Known and Suspected Terrorists” (KSTs) have become more frequently used as part of discussions about the federal budget and border security.  These terms are not synonymous nor interchangeable, but are two separate terms that are commonly used in the national security community to describe different types of potential threats.  These are generally well understood terms that are, unfortunately, being misunderstood or mischaracterized as part of the current shutdown debate.

    The facts are clear:

    • There are thousands of individuals on the terrorist watchlist that traveled through our Hemisphere last year alone, and we work very hard to keep these individuals from traveling on illicit pathways to our country.
    • We work with foreign partners to block many of these individuals and prevent them from entering the United States. But effective border security is our last line of defense.
    • The threat is real. The number of terror-watchlisted individuals encountered at our Southern Border has increased over the last two years. The exact number is sensitive and details about these cases are extremely sensitive. But I am sure all Americans would agree that even one terrorist reaching our borders is one too many.
    • Overall, we stop on average 10 individuals on the terrorist watchlist per day from traveling to or entering the United States—and more than 3,700 in Fiscal Year 2017. Most of these individuals are trying to enter the U.S. by air, but we must also be focused on stopping those who try to get in by land.
    • Additionally, Last year at our Southern Border, DHS encountered more than 3,000 “special interest aliens”—individuals with suspicious travel patterns who may pose a national security risk—not to mention the many criminals, smugglers, traffickers, and other threat actors who try to exploit our borders.

    What is a Special Interest Alien?

    Generally, an SIA is a non-U.S. person who, based on an analysis of travel patterns, potentially poses a national security risk to the United States or its interests.  Often such individuals or groups are employing travel patterns known or evaluated to possibly have a nexus to terrorism.  DHS analysis includes an examination of travel patterns, points of origin, and/or travel segments that are tied to current assessments of national and international threat environments.

    This does not mean that all SIAs are “terrorists,” but rather that the travel and behavior of such individuals indicates a possible nexus to nefarious activity (including terrorism) and, at a minimum, provides indicators that necessitate heightened screening and further investigation.  The term SIA does not indicate any specific derogatory information about the individual – and DHS has never indicated that the SIA designation means more than that.

    This term isn’t new and neither is the threat from SIAs. In 2016, Secretary Johnson ordered that DHS form a “multi-DHS Component SIA Joint Action Group” to drive efforts to “counter the threats posed by the smuggling of SIAs.” Just this month, the House Homeland Security Committee released a report outlining the threat posed by SIAs, as well as unknown and other potentially dangerous individuals, traveling to the United States using illicit pathways.  The report can be found here:

    What is a Known or Suspected Terrorist?

    KST is a term commonly used by law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

    First, a “known terrorist” is an individual who has been (a) arrested, charged by information, indicted for, or convicted of a crime related to terrorism and/or terrorist activities by U.S. Government or foreign government authorities; or (b) identified as a terrorist or a member of a terrorist organization pursuant to statute, Executive Order, or international legal obligation pursuant to a United Nations Security Council Resolution.

    Seconda “suspected terrorist” is an individual who is reasonably suspected to be engaging in, has engaged in, or intends to engage in conduct constituting, in preparation for, in aid of, or related to terrorism and/or terrorist activities.

    The use of KST is generally accepted to refer to someone for whom we have a reasonable suspicion to believe that they have or are likely to be engaged in terrorist activity, as that term is defined in U.S. law.

    Why are these confused publicly?

    In a document released by the White House, on Friday January 4, 2019, the White House, using data compiled by the Department of Homeland Security, mentioned a number of KSTs who were prevented from traveling to or entering the United States.

    The presentation stated that “3,755 known or suspected terrorists were prevented from traveling to or entering the United States by DHS (FY17).” This statistic has been used repeatedly by the Department and the Administration (e.g. “CBP prevents an average of 10 individuals on the terrorist watchlist per day from traveling to or entering the United States”). The majority of such individuals are attempting to travel to the United States by air, but others are encountered arriving by land and through maritime routes—and have been encountered attempting to enter the country through the Southern Border.

    A number that was not included in the presentation, yet has recently been used by Administration officials is Friday: “DHS encountered more than 3,000 Special Interest Aliens last year at the Southern Border.” These KST and SIA figures are not the same and should not be conflated.

    Despite what some media has reported, SIAs are not simply people who “traveled from a country that had terrorism.”  The targeting information and analysis done by DHS is more sophisticated and incorporates a number of factors.  Often these are individuals who have obtained false documents, or used smugglers to evade security across multiple countries.  In addition, some have engaged in criminal activity that could pose a danger to the United States, and some are found to have links to terrorism after additional investigative work and analysis by CBP personnel.

    The bottom line is that significant numbers of threat actors have attempted, and continue to attempt, to enter the United States surreptitiously and without authority.  DHS and other national security agencies remain concerned about the volume of terrorist-watchlisted individuals, SIAs, convicted criminals, gang members, and others who pose a threat to the homeland, attempting to enter the United States. And we will take all appropriate action to legally block their entry.

    Keywords: CBP

  • CBP Issues Statement on Illegal Border Crossings in San Diego Sector

    The following is based on initial operational reporting. Last night, an approximately 150 migrants attempted to illegally enter the United States by climbing over and crawling under border fence in San Diego Sector. Due to CBP’s increased presence, a first group of 45 turned back towards Mexico. Shortly thereafter, migrants began throwing rocks over the fence at the CBP agents and officers. Several teenagers, wrapped in heavy jackets, blankets and rubber mats were put over the concertina wire. Border Patrol agents witnessed members of the group attempt to lift toddler sized children up and over the concertina wire and having difficulty accomplishing the task in a safe manner. Agents were not in a position to safely assist the children due to the large number of rocks being thrown at them.

    To address the rock throwers assaulting agents and risking the safety of migrants attempting to cross who were already on the U.S. side, both smoke and minimal countermeasures were deployed. Agents deployed smoke, pepper spray and CS gas to a position upwind of the rock throwers and south of the border fence.  The deployments were not directed at the migrants attempting entry on the U.S. side or at the fence line.  The rock throwers were located south of the fence, in an elevated position both above the border fence area and the incursion attempt.

    These countermeasures successfully suppressed the rock throwers causing them to flee the area. Most of the migrants attempting the incursion, to include those with children, returned to Mexico via a hole under the fence and by climbing over the fence.  No agents witnessed any of the migrants at the fence line, including children, experiencing effects of the chemical agents, which were targeted at the rock throwers further away.  Twenty-five apprehensions, including two teenage migrants, were made.  Under CBP use of force policy, this incident will be reviewed by CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility.


    Keywords: CBPCustoms and Border Protection

  • CBP Commissioner: Continued Humanitarian Crisis – Increase in Medical Emergencies on the Southern Border

    Today, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is releasing data regarding the very high number of referrals being made for medical care of arriving migrants by U.S. Customs and Border Protection to medical providers along the Southwest Border.

    CBP is releasing this information to provide greater context to the ongoing border security and humanitarian crisis on our border.  The dramatic increases in both families and unaccompanied children crossing our border over the last three months have resulted in larger numbers of young children coming into CBP custody.  Over the past three months, CBP has apprehended or deemed inadmissible for entry over 2,000 arrivals today, and 65% in December were comprised of families and children.

    These increases, combined with the stress of the journey, crowded conveyances, and flu season have resulting in significant requirements for referrals to medical providers. A referral to a medical provider is made based on a determination by a Border Patrol Agent or CBP Officer, and/or a medical professional on staff at a CBP facility.

    Please note that the below numbers are based on operational reporting and is subject to change on a daily or hourly basis. As of December 22 through December 30, 2018:

    • The United States Border Patrol has referred 451 cases to a medical provider. Of those, 259 were children. 129 children are under the age of five. 88 are between the ages of six and fourteen, and 42 between the ages of 15 to 17.
    • 17 individuals including six children are currently hospitalized with illnesses.
    • On average, the Border Patrol is referring approximately 50 cases a day to medical providers. December 26, 2018, Border Patrol referred 82 cases to a medical provider.

    The following statement is attributable to Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan, U.S. Customs and Border Protection:

    “We are facing an unprecedented crisis on the southern border that is putting the most vulnerable populations at risk. 129 children under the age of five have been referred for emergency medical care in the last week. The care of those in CBP custody is paramount, and the United States Border Patrol is doing everything in its power to handle this crisis.  The status quo is not acceptable.  As Secretary Nielsen has stated, the system is at the breaking point.  Border Patrol stations built decades ago are not resourced to handle this crisis and are not the best facilities to house children with their parents for extended periods.”

    In light of recent events, the Commissioner has directed the following actions:

    • On December 26, CBP completed secondary medical reviews of children in Border Patrol custody by Contract Physicians’ Assistants or CBP Agent and Officer EMTs and Paramedics on all children in our custody.  The checks involve the following:
      • Talking to each child and parent to determine if they have any current medical complaints using a general questionnaire;
      • Talking to each child and parent to determine a medical history to identify any past illnesses or medical concerns;
      • Taking basic vital statistics, including blood pressure, pulse, respiration, temperature, and blood sugar, and referring children with abnormal results for further evaluation; and,
      • Asking each parent if they wanted further medical review of their child, and making those referrals upon the parents’ request.
    • As of December 26, the United States Coast Guard began to deploy surge medical assistance teams to the Southwest border. These teams have been deployed to Yuma, Tucson, and RGV Sectors.  This week, the Public Health Service will also deploy additional teams to increase CBP’s capacity to perform medical checks of children at intake.
    •  The Department of Homeland Security is also coordinating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to assess the situation with infectious diseases presenting among the people in our custody, and develop recommendations.
    • Lastly, DHS and CBP are seeking advice from external medical experts, including the American Pediatric Association and others.
    • In the fall, Secretary Nielsen and Commissioner McAleenan requested that the Homeland Security Advisory Council review best practices in the care of children and families and make recommendations to better inform CBP policies and procedures in the future. Chaired by former DEA Administrator Karen Tandy, the HSAC panel has already toured CBP facilities and met with nongovernmental experts, and will continue to do so as they complete their work early in the new year.  CBP continues to support these efforts and will pursue recommendations from this process.

    Keywords: CBPCustoms and Border Protection

  • Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen Statement on Passing of Eight Year Old Guatemalan Child

    Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen today released the following statement on the eight year-old Guatemalan national who passed away shortly before midnight on December 24 at Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center in Alamogordo, New Mexico:

    “In the evening hours of December 24th, a child who had been apprehended with his father by the Border Patrol attempting to illegally enter the United States, died at an El Paso hospital after being taken for emergency treatment for the second time in less than 12 hours.  This tragedy, the death of a child in government custody is deeply concerning and heartbreaking. In the last 24 hours, I have a directed a series of additional actions to care for those who enter our custody.

    “In recent months, we have seen a dramatic increase at the border of families and unaccompanied children crossing our border illegally.  In the last two months alone, the Border Patrol has apprehended 139,817 illegal aliens on the Southwest Border as compared to 74,946 during the same time frame of FY 2018.  This is an increase of 86%.  In just two months into this fiscal year we have seen 68,510 family units and 13,981 unaccompanied children.  This is a dramatic change from historical trends and has only become starker in December.

    “This changing dynamic is the direct result of obvious draw factors: an immigration system that rewards parents for sending their children across the border alone, a system that prevents parents who bring their children on a dangerous and illegal journey from facing consequences for their actions, an asylum process that is not able to quickly help those who qualify for asylum, a system that encourages fraudulent claims, and a system that encourages bad actors to coach aliens into making frivolous claims. The bottom line is that 9 out 10 asylum claims are rejected by a federal immigration judge.

    “Our system has been pushed to a breaking point by those who seek open borders. Smugglers, traffickers, and their own parents put these minors at risk by embarking on the dangerous and arduous journey north. This crisis is exacerbated by the increase in persons who are entering our custody suffering from severe respiratory illnesses or exhibit some other illness upon apprehension.  Given the remote locations of their illegal crossing and the lack of resources, it is even more difficult for our personnel to be first responders.

    “We at DHS are committed to continuing to assist those in need – in the past year alone the Border Patrol assisted more than 4,300 people in distress along the border – that’s a 20 percent increase in rescues from the year before.

    “To put this in perspective, there were six migrant deaths while in CBP custody during FY 2018 – none whom were children.  In fact, it has been more than a decade since CBP has had a child pass away in their custody.  It is now clear that migrants, particularly children, are increasingly facing medical challenges and harboring illness caused by their long and dangerous journey.

    “In response to the unprecedented surge of children into our custody, I have directed a series of extraordinary protective measures. I have personally engaged with the Centers for Disease Control to request that their experts investigate the uptick in sick children crossing our borders and identify additional steps hospitals along the border should be undertaking to prepare for and to treat these children. I have asked the US Coast Guard Medical Corps to provide an assessment of CBP’s medical programs and make appropriate recommendations for improvements.  I have also asked for assistance from the Department of Defense to provide additional medical professionals.

    “At my direction, all children in Border Patrol custody have been given a thorough medical screening.  Moving forward, all children will receive a more thorough hands on assessment at the earliest possible time post apprehension – whether or not the accompanying adult has asked for one.

    “I have also spoken with our partners in Mexico to ask that they begin to investigate the causes of these illnesses on their side of the border and to provide medical assistance in shelters as needed.

    “I will be travelling to the border later this week to see first-hand the medical screenings and conditions at Border Patrol stations.

    “These immediate steps described above are in addition to steps taken following the death of a Guatemalan child earlier in the month – to include the staffing of additional Emergency Management trained Border Patrol agents in remote areas. There are 1,500 medically trained agents and officers on duty across the border.

    “As a result of bad judicial rulings from activist judges and inaction by Congress, we are seeing a flood of family units and unaccompanied alien children. The unprecedented number of families and unaccompanied children at the border must not be ignored.  I once again ask – beg – parents to not place their children at risk by taking a dangerous journey north. Vulnerable populations – including family units and unaccompanied alien children should seek asylum at the first possible opportunity, including Mexico.

    “To be clear, Border Patrol stations were never intended to be longer-term holding facilities for any individuals.  Under current law, non-Mexican unaccompanied children cannot be released or removed from the U.S. – they must be turned over to Health and Human Services for placement pending bed space availability.  Moreover, family units are almost always released into the interior – in any case, they cannot be held past 21 days.

    “I am proud of the lifesaving work the men and women of the Border Patrol do every day, but we do not currently have the resources we need to execute the mission as directed by Congress.  To those in Congress who continue to refuse to take action to address the loopholes that cause a flood of humanity to travel north and place children at risk, I once again call on you to do your job, protect vulnerable populations, secure our borders, and provide the men and women of DHS the authorities and resources we need to address this crisis. Please put politics aside, we have common cause – let’s work together to protect family units and unaccompanied alien children. It’s a mission we share.”

    Keywords: CBPCustoms and Border Protection

  • Department of Homeland Security Issues Travel Advisory to the Republic of the Philippines

    The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today announced the determination that aviation security at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL), which serves as a last-point-of-departure airport for flights to the United States, does not maintain and carry out effective security consistent with the security standards established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).  This determination was based on assessments by a team of security experts from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

    In view of this finding and effective immediately, airlines issuing tickets for travel between the United States and MNL are directed to notify passengers in writing of this determination. The Secretary has also directed this advisory be displayed prominently at all U.S. airports that provide regularly scheduled service to MNL and that it be published in the Federal Register, pursuant to sections 114 and 44907 of Title 49 of the United States Code.

    In coordination with the Department of State and the Department of Transportation, TSA representatives have been working with the Philippine government to assist airport and transportation authorities in bringing MNL up to international security standards. TSA will continue to work with the Philippines and assist its aviation authorities with correcting the security deficiencies at the airport. In addition, TSA will continue to assess security measures at the airport and take appropriate actions as warranted.

    Under section 44907 of Title 49 of the United States Code, DHS is charged with the responsibility of assessing security at foreign airports with direct service to the United States to ensure they meet international standards as set by ICAO.

    Keywords: TSA

  • CBP Shares Additional Information about Recent Passing of Guatemalan Child

    An eight year-old Guatemalan national, previously apprehended by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, died shortly before midnight on December 24 at Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center in Alamogordo, New Mexico.  CBP released an initial statement, which can be found here.  Consistent with CBP’s commitment to accountability and transparency, CBP is releasing a timeline reflecting a current understanding of key events that occurred prior to the child’s passing.  These updates are based on initial operational reporting.

    The following statement is attributable to Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan, Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection:

    “This is a tragic loss. On behalf of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, our deepest sympathies go out to the family.

    Deaths in CBP custody are extraordinarily rare.  In light of recent events, the Commissioner has directed the following actions:

    • U.S. Border Patrol is conducting secondary medical checks upon all children in CBP care and custody, including children arriving as part of Family Units (FMUA) and Unaccompanied Children (UACs), with a focus on children under 10 years old;
    • U.S. Border Patrol is engaging U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement regarding available surge options for transportation to Family Residential Centers and/or supervised release.  CBP is also reviewing all available custody options to relieve capacity issues in Border Patrol stations and checkpoints in El Paso Sector, including any options identified by NGOs and/or local partners for temporary housing that can safely accommodate those in our custody;
    • CBP is considering options for surge medical assistance from interagency partners, including receiving support the U.S. Coast Guard, and potentially requesting further aid from the Department of Defense, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and Health and Human Services to assist the U.S. Border Patrol with supplemental medical capabilities.  CBP is coordinating with the Centers for Disease Control on the numbers of children in custody as well; and
    • CBP is also reviewing its policies with particular focus upon care and custody of children under 10 both at intake and beyond 24 hours in custody.

    The following timeline, based on an understanding of the facts at this stage, is in local time, Mountain Standard Time.

    • On December 18, at approximately 1300 hours, an eight year-old child was apprehended with his father at 3.29 miles west of the Paso Del Norte Port of Entry in El Paso, Texas for illegal entry.
    • Driving distance from that apprehension location to Paso Del Norte Port (PDT) is less than 15 minutes; however, groups may be detained in the field until transportation becomes available.
    • On December 18, at approximately 1639 hours, the father and child were transferred to the PDT processing center.
    • While detained at PDT, the child and his father were provided hot food, snacks, juice, and water, and the agents logged six welfare checks.
    • On December 20, at 1200 hours, the child and his father were transferred to El Paso Border Patrol Station (EPS).
      • From December 20 to December 22, the child and his father were provided with showers, food, juice, and water, and the agents logged 17 welfare checks.
    • On December 22, at approximately 2317 hours, U.S. Border Patrol transferred the child and father to the Alamogordo Border Patrol Station (ALA) to finalize processing.  The child and his father were transferred because of capacity levels at the El Paso Station.
    • On December 23, at approximately 0108 hours, the child and his father arrived at the Alamogordo Station.
      • Upon arrival, the child and his father were provided with personal hygiene products and meals, and they received several welfare checks.
    • On December 24, at about 0539 hours, a placement request for the child and his father was e-mailed to Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Enforcement and Removal Operations’ family placement inbox.
    • On December 24, at approximately 0900 hours, a processing agent noticed that the child was coughing and appeared to have glossy eyes.
      • On December 24, at approximately 0930 hours, based on the agents’ observations, the child and his father were transferred to GCRMC with possible influenza symptoms.
    • On December 24, at about 1130 hours, hospital staff conducted several tests on the child for strep throat.
      • On December 24, at about 1245 hours, the child was given a diagnosis of common cold and given Tylenol.
      • On December 24, at about 1320 hours, the child was evaluated for release and found to have a 103 degree fever and was held for continued observation.
    • On December 24, at about 1450 hours, the child was released from the ER with a prescription for amoxicillin and Ibuprofen.
      • The child and his father were transported to temporary holding at the Highway 70 checkpoint.  While at the checkpoint, the child and his father were offered and accepted a hot meal.
      • At about 1700, agents provided the child with a dose of the prescribed medication as ordered by the medical staff and agents conducted several welfare checks that evening.
    • On December 24 at 1900 hours, the child appeared to be nauseous and vomited.  Agents were aware of this and helped clean up the vomit.
      • His father declined further medical assistance as the child had been feeling better.
    • On December 24, at about 2200 hours, the child appeared lethargic and nauseous again.
      • As no EMT was on-duty, out of caution, agents made the decision to return the child and his father to GCRMC.
    • On December 24, during transportation to the hospital the boy began to vomit and he lost consciousness.
    • At 2307 hours, radio traffic indicated that the agent had arrived at GCRMC where he was met by hospital staff.
      • The GCRMC staff were unable to revive the child and pronounced him deceased at 2348 hours on December 24, 2018.
      • The child’s body will be transported to Alamogordo Funeral Home pending transfer to Albuquerque for autopsy.
    • The Guatemalan Consulate was contacted at 0740 hours on December 25, 2018. The father is currently detained at the Alamogordo Station pending transfer to ICE ERO.  He has spoken to his spouse in Guatemala and the Guatemalan Consulate.

    *Welfare check definition:  Agent directly observes all detainees are safe and secure, and attends to any issues observed or relayed by those detained.

    Keywords: Customs and Border Protection

  • Guatemalan national passes away at Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center in Alamogordo, New Mexico

    An eight year-old Guatemalan national previously apprehended by U.S. Customs and Border Protection was died shortly after midnight on December 25 at Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center in Alamogordo, New Mexico.

    According to initial reporting, while in CBP custody earlier on December 24, a U.S. Border Patrol agent noticed that the child showed signs of potential illness.  The father and his son were promptly transferred to the Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center.  The child was initially diagnosed by hospital staff with a common cold, and when evaluated for release, hospital staff found a fever.  The child was held for an additional 90 minutes for observation and then released from the hospital mid-afternoon on December 24 with prescriptions for amoxicillin and Ibuprofen.

    The evening of December 24, the child exhibited nausea and vomiting and was transferred back to the Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center for evaluation and treatment.  The child passed shortly after midnight on December 25.

    The official cause of the child’s death is not known.  Consistent with CBP policy, CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility will conduct a review.  The Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General has been notified.  The Guatemalan government has been notified and is currently engaging the father and any family members in Guatemala. CBP has also made the appropriate Congressional notifications consistent with CBP’s Interim Procedures on Notification of a Death in Custody.  CBP will release more details as available and appropriate, and will ensure an independent and thorough review of the circumstances.

    DHS has continued to see a dramatic increase in unaccompanied children and family units arriving at our borders illegally or without authorization.  Consistent with existing law, these individuals are held at federal facilities pending their removal or release into the interior of the United States with a notice to appear at a court hearing.  During their period of detention they received medical screenings and further treatment as needed.

    Keywords: Customs and Border Protection

  • Joint Statement by Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen

    Since at least 2014, Chinese cyber actors associated with the Chinese Ministry of State Security have hacked multiple U.S. and global managed service and cloud providers. These Chinese actors used this access to compromise the networks of the providers’ clients, including global companies located in at least 12 countries.

    The United States is concerned that this activity violates the 2015 U.S.-China cyber commitments made by President Xi Jinping to refrain from conducting or knowingly supporting “cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property, including trade secrets or other confidential business information, with the intent of providing competitive advantages to companies or commercial sectors.”  China has also made this commitment with G20 and APEC members as well as in other bilateral statements.

    Stability in cyberspace cannot be achieved if countries engage in irresponsible behavior that undermines the national security and economic prosperity of other countries. These actions by Chinese actors to target intellectual property and sensitive business information present a very real threat to the economic competitiveness of companies in the United States and around the globe. We will continue to hold malicious actors accountable for their behavior, and today the United States is taking several actions to demonstrate our resolve. We strongly urge China to abide by its commitment to act responsibly in cyberspace and reiterate that the United States will take appropriate measures to defend our interests.

    Keywords: Cybersecurity
    Topics: CybersecuritySecretary of Homeland Security

  • Secretary Nielsen Announces Historic Action to Confront Illegal Immigration

    Announces Migration Protection Protocols

    WASHINGTON – Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen announced historic action to confront the illegal immigration crisis facing the United States.  Effective immediately, the United States will begin the process of invoking Section 235(b)(2)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.  Under the Migration Protection Protocols (MPP), individuals arriving in or entering the United States from Mexico—illegally or without proper documentation—may be returned to Mexico for the duration of their immigration proceedings.

    “Today we are announcing historic measures to bring the illegal immigration crisis under control,” said Secretary Nielsen.  “We will confront this crisis head on, uphold the rule of law, and strengthen our humanitarian commitments.  Aliens trying to game the system to get into our country illegally will no longer be able to disappear into the United States, where many skip their court dates.  Instead, they will wait for an immigration court decision while they are in Mexico.  ‘Catch and release’ will be replaced with ‘catch and return.’  In doing so, we will reduce illegal migration by removing one of the key incentives that encourages people from taking the dangerous journey to the United States in the first place.  This will also allow us to focus more attention on those who are actually fleeing persecution.

    “Let me be clear:  we will undertake these steps consistent with all domestic and international legal obligations, including our humanitarian commitments.  We have notified the Mexican government of our intended actions.  In response, Mexico has made an independent determination that they will commit to implement essential measures on their side of the border.  We expect affected migrants will receive humanitarian visas to stay on Mexican soil, the ability to apply for work, and other protections while they await a U.S. legal determination.”


    Illegal aliens have exploited asylum loopholes at an alarming rate.  Over the last five years, DHS has seen a 2000 percent increase in aliens claiming credible fear (the first step to asylum), as many know it will give them an opportunity to stay in our country, even if they do not actually have a valid claim to asylum.  As a result, the United States has an overwhelming asylum backlog of more than 786,000 pending cases.  Last year alone the number of asylum claims soared 67 percent compared to the previous year.  Most of these claims are not meritorious—in fact nine out of ten asylum claims are not granted by a federal immigration judge.  However, by the time a judge has ordered them removed from the United States, many have vanished.


    • Aliens trying to enter the U.S. to claim asylum will no longer be released into our country, where they often disappear before a court can determine their claim’s merits.
    • Instead, those aliens will be processed by DHS and given a “Notice to Appear” for their immigration court hearing.
    • While they wait in Mexico, the Mexican government has made its own determination to provide such individuals humanitarian visas, work authorization, and other protections. Aliens will have access to immigration attorneys and to the U.S. for their court hearings.
    • Aliens whose claims are upheld by U.S. judges will be allowed in. Those without valid claims will be deported to their home countries.


    • As we implement, illegal immigration and false asylum claims are expected to decline.
    • Aliens will not be able to disappear into U.S. before court decision.
    • More attention can be focused on more quickly assisting legitimate asylum-seekers, as fraudsters are disincentivized from making the journey.
    • Precious border security personnel and resources will be freed up to focus on protecting our territory and clearing the massive asylum backlog.
    • Vulnerable populations will get the protection they need while they await a determination in Mexico.

    Keywords: Border Securityimmigration enforcementsouthwest border
    Topics: Border SecurityImmigration and Customs EnforcementSecretary of Homeland Security

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