dhs

Homeland Security announces easing of facial recognition rule
Lawmakers, civil rights groups and tech companies have raised privacy concerns

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has clarified that facial recognition scans at airports remain voluntary for U.S. citizens. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images file photo)

Homeland Security officials continue to step back from their published plan to require use of facial recognition technology on American citizens at U.S. airports when they arrive from or depart to international destinations.

The Trump administration’s proposed mandatory use of the technology was included in the so-called unified agenda, published in late November, which sets out the regulatory changes agencies intend to pursue in coming months. The proposal sought to expand mandatory facial recognition at U.S. airports “to provide that all travelers, including U.S. citizens, may be required to be photographed upon entry and/or departure.”

IG: DHS knew it couldn’t track migrant kids separated at border
The findings further illuminate the behind-the-scenes chaos in the lead-up to the ‘zero tolerance’ policy rollout

A woman holds an anti-Zero Tolerance policy sign at the Families Belong Together protest outside of the White House in 2018. A new report found DHS knew it lacked the technology to track more than 26,000 children separated at the border. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Department of Homeland Security knew it lacked the technology to track more than 26,000 children it expected to separate from their parents at the U.S. southern border in 2018 as part of its controversial “zero tolerance” policy. As a result, the roughly 3,000-plus children DHS ultimately estimated as being affected may actually be a severe underestimate, the agency’s inspector general reported Wednesday.

“Because of these IT deficiencies, we could not confirm the total number of families DHS separated during the Zero Tolerance period,” the watchdog office said in a report.

‘Remain in Mexico’ policy faces internal critiques at House hearing
Migration Protection Protocols spurs human rights violations, an asylum officer told Homeland Security panel

A Customs and Border Protection agent processes migrants who recently crossed the border in the Rio Grande Valley Sector of Texas in August. (Jinitzail Hernández/CQ Roll Call)

The Migrant Protection Protocols, a program that has so far forced more than 57,000 migrants to wait in Mexico while their immigration cases wind through the court, is illegal and enables human rights abuses against the vulnerable, a Department of Homeland Security employee told lawmakers Tuesday.

“These policies are illegal, they’re immoral, and they’re the basis for human rights abuses on behalf of our nation," Michael Knowles, president of a union that represents U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services employees and a longtime asylum officer, said in his testimony to a House Homeland Security panel.

Legality of Wolf, Cuccinelli appointments to DHS questioned
Key House Democrats cite new documents in request for review

Chad Wolf, seen here during an Oct. 29 White House task force meeting, was sworn in Wednesday as acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The leaders of the House Oversight and Homeland Security panels on Friday challenged the legality of recent top appointments at the Department of Homeland Security, including newly installed acting secretary, Chad Wolf.

Reps. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, and Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., the acting Oversight and Reform Committee chairwoman, have asked the U.S. Comptroller General to conduct an “expedited review” to determine whether the Trump administration acted legally when it appointed both Wolf and his predecessor, Kevin McAleenan, as acting DHS secretary. They also question Wolf naming Ken Cuccinelli to serve as deputy director.

Mnuchin emerges, again, as key player in budget talks
Treasury secretary reprises role he played when he helped broker July agreement

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is again surfacing as the Trump administration’s liaison with Congress in spending negotiations. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Report: Puerto Rico’s infrastructure failing as federal aid remains on hold
Engineers group says hurricane-ravaged island needs up to $23 billion investment over 10 years

A downed electric pole sits in mud more after Hurricane Maria hit the island in October 2017. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

More than two years after hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the island’s bridges, dams, drinking water, ports, roads and power grids are at a breaking point — and the federal dollars to fix that infrastructure remains out of reach.

So says the American Society of Civil Engineers in a report released Tuesday that assigned the island’s infrastructure an overall grade of D-.

Immigration chief spars with Missouri lawmaker over ‘medical deferred-action’ policy
‘How cruel!’ Rep. Clay responds to Cuccinelli’s testimony

Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., during a House Oversight subcommittee hearing Wednesday on the administration’s policy towards foreigners in the U.S. with serious illnesses. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services faced tough questions from several members of the House Oversight and Reform hearing Wednesday on the agency’s since-reversed decision to end granting foreign nationals with serious medical conditions the temporary ability to stay in the country.

Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., used his allotted five minutes to ask Ken Cuccinelli if he had heard about several cases interest groups had brought to the agency’s attention. Clay characterized them as “truly heartbreaking.” 

Outgoing DHS chief McAleenan will stay on 'if necessary'
No successor formally tapped a day before McAleenan set to step down from role

Outgoing acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan, testifying here during House appropriations hearing in April, said he will stay beyond his scheduled last day of Oct. 31 if “necessary.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A day before he was set to step down as acting Homeland Security secretary, Kevin McAleenan said Wednesday that he would stay on the job “if necessary” since the White House has yet to tap his successor.

“I said in my resignation letter to the president that I would ensure a smooth transition and that remains my position. I want to make sure that it happens for the department,” he told lawmakers during a House Homeland Security Committee meeting.

Trump walks back claim of defeating ‘100% of the ISIS caliphate’
At law enforcement event in Chicago, president says figure is closer to 70 percent

President Donald Trump speaks at the Values Voter Summit at the Omni Shoreham Hotel on Oct. 12 in Washington. (Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images file photo)

A day after announcing the death of Islamic State leader Abu al-Baghdadi, President Donald Trump climbed down from his long-uttered claim that his administration completely wiped out the group’s declared caliphate.

The commander in chief has tweeted seven times a version of the claim that, in his words from a tweet posted just two weeks ago, his administration is responsible for “defeating 100% of the ISIS Caliphate.”

‘If I had known, I wouldn’t have left’: Migrant laments ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents processes migrants who crossed the border in the Rio Grande Valley Sector of Texas on Aug. 20. (Jinitzail Hernández/CQ Roll Call file photo)