Department Of Homeland Security

The Takeaway

Former DHS Chief to GOP: You've Picked The Wrong Battle

Friday, February 27, 2015

Tom Ridge, the nation's first director of Homeland Security, urges members of Congress to pass a clean bill and keep DHS funded.  

Comments [2]

The Brian Lehrer Show

Maybe Another Shutdown?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The DHS will run out of funding on Friday if the Senate doesn't come to an agreement over the agency's budget. NPR's Ailsa Chang explains what that would mean for national security.

Comments [9]

The Takeaway

Judge's Immigration Ruling Leaves Millions in Limbo

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

President Obama's executive action on immigration has been halted by a judge. One 21-year-old undocumented immigrant weighs in on his uncertain future.

Comments [1]

On The Media

Secrecy at the Border

Friday, February 28, 2014

A look at the suspension of rights at the border, murkiness of border policies, and lack of answers from the federal government.

On The Media

Invasive Cavity Search at the Border

Friday, February 28, 2014

"Jane Doe" is a 54-year old US citizen who was crossing into the US at the Juarez/El Paso border when agents took her aside for secondary screening. The screening ended up being 6 hours of invasive cavity searches—which yielded nothing and left her traumatized. Bob speaks with Laura Schauer Ives, an ACLU attorney for Jane Doe about what happened at the border that day.

Comments [26]

On The Media

Investigating Use of Force at the Border

Friday, February 28, 2014

A recent investigation from The Arizona Republic found that since 2005, at least 42 people have been killed by US Customs and Border Protection agents. But getting information about those incidents is no easy task. Bob speaks with Bob Ortega, one of the reporters behind the investigation, about the difficulty in getting answers on use of force at the border.


On The Media

Shedding Light on DHS

Friday, February 28, 2014

Getting information from Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Homeland Security is not just difficult for journalists and private citizens—even members of Congress have a hard time getting answers. Brooke speaks with Representative Beto O'Rourke of Texas' 16th District about the oversight needed to ensure more transparency from DHS.

And a crowdsourcing project to Shed Light on DHS!

Comments [11]

On The Media

Device Searches at the Border

Friday, February 28, 2014

The border is a legal gray area where the same constitutional protections one expects inside the country don't necessarily apply. When graduate student Pascal Abidor had his electronic devices searched and seized at the border back in 2010, he filed lawsuit against the federal government. But in December, a federal judge upheld the government's right to search travelers' devices at the border without a warrant. Brooke speaks with Pascal about his experience at the border and the lawsuit.

Comments [3]

On The Media

Fighting for Information from DHS

Friday, December 06, 2013

The Electronic Privacy Information Center just won a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security, requiring the federal agency to release documents about the so-called "internet kill switch." Bob speaks with EPIC's Julia Horwitz about the lengthy battle with DHS, and the difficulty in getting information out of the notoriously opaque agency.

Comments [2]

On The Media

Listeners Trying to Shed Light on DHS

Friday, December 06, 2013

In October, OTM launched a "Shed Light on DHS" tool, which connects constituents with their representatives in Congress in order to ask for more transparency from the Department of Homeland Security. Brooke speaks with some OTM listeners who have used the tool, Philip Elmer-Dewitt, Alison Dalton Smith and Ehud Gavron, about their experiences.

Oddisee - All Along The River

Comments [1]

On The Media

Shed Light on DHS!

Friday, October 25, 2013

As we've discussed here and here on OTM, the Department of Homeland Security has been unresponsive to journalists' questions about policies related to the rights and treatments of American citizens at airports and border ports of entry into the U.S. As former Congressman Lee Hamilton told Brooke, the best way to get answers from DHS is for constituents to put pressure on their elected representatives. And now you can use the tool below to do just that!

Read More

Comments [25]

The Takeaway

With Napolitano's Exit, New Opportunities for the Department of Homeland Security?

Monday, July 15, 2013

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced late last week that she will be resigning from her post. Napolitano’s departure raises an interesting question: Could her resignation actually help immigration reform’s prospects? Michael Chertoff, is the former Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. He joins The Takeaway to discuss the challenges associated with running the Department of Homeland Security, and how this announcement might impact the immigration overhaul being mulled in Congress.



Young Immigrants Relish Changes New Policy Brought to Their Lives

Friday, June 14, 2013

Cecilio Ximeyo was looking for a job on a recent day in Soho. As he filled out an application at a shoe store, he particularly enjoyed answering one question.

Comments [2]

Transportation Nation

While DC Metro Police Face Cutbacks, Federal Anti-Terror Funds Flow

Thursday, June 23, 2011

(Washington, D.C. - WAMU) Metro's board of directors is scheduled to cast its final vote on the transit system's budget this morning, and that may include a cut for its Police Department - the first such reduction in at least six years. But while Metro's crime fighting resources might be going down, its budget for terrorism prevention is going up.

A person was stabbed here at the Petworth Metro Station, just weeks before Metro announced its random bag check program. (Photo by David Schultz/WAMU)

Late in November, on a Sunday evening, news broke that a person was violently attacked at the Petworth Metro Station. The victim had reportedly been stabbed in the throat. Just a few weeks later, there was another big Metro security story leading the news: Metro was going to start doing random bag searches.

Providing local security on a tight budget

The random bag checks and the stabbing at Petworth are perfect illustrations of the different kinds of threats Metro is dealing with, even as it tries to do more with less.

"Should we ever want to have more police officers? I think every chief of police would say, 'Yeah, bring me more police officers,'" said Metro Transit Police Chief Michael Taborn. "But, in light of the budget, we have to do everything within our means."

One way Taborn is providing security is by collaborating with other law enforcement agencies in the D.C. region.

"This system belongs to everybody in the region, it's not just a Metro situation. So if a bus is patrolling in Prince George's County, in the District of Columbia, if their police officers could hop on the bus, say hello to the bus operator, ride it a block. Or if they're patrolling in and around our stations, in the parking lots, if they could swing through," he said.

Taborn said his counterparts from across the region told him they will be able to help out. And in that, Taborn is very lucky. Police departments across the country are facing serious budget cuts.

Jon Shane, a criminal justice professor at John Jay College in New York, said the recession has brought on an unprecedented downsizing of state and local governments, and that's fundamentally changing the way law enforcement works. "More with less" is a common phrase heard in police stations everywhere.

Federal funding for law enforcement

But what's the role of the federal government in all of this? Not much, Shane said.

"We kind of frown on the fact that we might even suggest that there's a national police force of any kind. The federal government's not going to say, 'Take our money and do what you want with it,'" he said.

But there is one tiny corner of the federal government designed to do exactly that: give money to local law enforcement agencies. Bernard Melekian runs the Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, also known as COPS.

"In my 37-year career in law enforcement, I've never seen layoffs and resource reductions at the local level that have occurred in the last two or three years," he said.

And yet, Melekian's office can only do so much. His office's budget this year is around $250 million, only a quarter of what it was in 2009. Compare that with the Department of Homeland Security's Preparedness Grant Program, which gives out more than $2 billion a year to local agencies for terrorism prevention and response.

Melekian said, ultimately, this can help communities too -- because officers on patrol looking for bombs also deter other types of crime.

"Fighting crime and fighting terrorism are not mutually exclusive," he said.

That's the philosophy Metro has adopted as well. While money for crime fighting dwindles, Metro's status as a high-value terrorist target opens the door to a wealth of Homeland Security dollars. DHS is paying for Metro to beef up its chemical detection capabilities and install a new air vent system that can detect an intrusion.

It's unclear, though, if air vent detection can also help prevent someone from stealing your iPod or from stabbing you in the throat.

Police presence

In the case of the stabbing in the Petworth station, Metro won't release any information, so the public doesn't know if the suspect was identified or caught -- or if the victim even survived.

Six months later, crime is still on the minds of Metro riders. Teri Lott said she actually witnessed a recent assault.

"The other night I was at Deanwood, and some young kids beat up an old lady and the cops came," Lott said.

Despite that, she still feels safe riding Metro because she sees more officers on the platforms and in the trains, she said. But while Lott thinks those officers are there to protect her from being robbed or assaulted, there's a good chance they're actually there looking for potential terrorists. It's the difference between Homeland Security and hometown security.

Read More


Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: 30,000 Unlicensed, Illegal Immigrants Deported After Traffic Violations, Jay St./Metrotech Connector Opens Today, and Boston Fare Jumper Bust

Friday, December 10, 2010

At least 30,000 illegal immigrants who were stopped for common traffic violations in the last three years have ended up in deportation, Department of Homeland Security numbers show. (New York Times)

Jay St./Metrotech subway underground walkway opens today in Brooklyn, connecting the A, C and the F lines with the R. One straphanger's reaction: "Thank God!"  (New York Daily News)  Another reason to be grateful: you'll soon be able to seek a replacement for your faulty Metrocard online.

Virginia governor Robert McDonnell announced that he will ask state legislators to spend $400 million immediately on roads and bridges while borrowing an additional $2.9 billion over the next three years for transportation. "This is the best opportunity in modern Virginia history to build roads," he said. (Washington Post)

NJ Transit to rehab Arrow electric rail cars in hopes of squeezing another five years of life out of them. "These are really tired vehicles. I ride them daily," said James Weinstein, NJ Transit executive director. "They are really threadbare." (Asbury Park Press)

Bus lanes coming to Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. (Los Angeles Times)

Did the Idaho Transportation Department bow to a powerful oil company, ignoring procedure and public will to pave the way for the mega-loads? That's the accusation in a hearing happening this week. (Idaho Reporter)

The Federal Aviation Administration is missing key information on who owns one-third of the 357,000 private and commercial aircraft in the U.S. — a gap the agency fears could be exploited by terrorists and drug traffickers. (NPR)

A surveillance camera catches a Boston fare evader being none other than the Boston transit general manager. (via Radio Boston)

Read More