Opinion DHS Secretary Mayorkas: 20 years after 9/11, the fight for safety includes divisiveness at home
From al Qaeda to QAnon: How the Department of Homeland Security has had to evolve since 9/11
The current head of DHS and two of his predecessors reflect on how the agency has changed in 20 years, and whether it's up to fighting domestic extremism.Twenty years after the attacks, DHS is now the third largest federal agency, with nearly 230,000 employees, and is most visible for its role in enforcing immigration laws at the southern border.
In the aftermath of 9/11, a tree was discovered amidst the rubble of the fallen twin towers. It was a Callery pear tree, in poor shape but still alive. The New York City’s Department of Parks and Recreation salvaged the tree, cared for it, and brought it back to its past vitality. The tree is named the” and it now stands beautiful on the grounds of the 9/11 memorial.
Each year, seedlings from the Survivor Treeto towns and communities that have endured immense suffering of their own. Tragically, there are many. Towns such as Boston, Newtown, Charleston, Orlando, Las Vegas, and others. Seedlings are also planted in destinations of remembrance, tribute, and honor.
Homeland Security chief to travel to US Southern border as thousands crowd in makeshift camp
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Sunday he will travel to the US southern border as the Biden administration grapples with the thousands of migrants who have amassed in Del Rio, Texas, and ramps up deportation flights to Haiti. © Drew Angerer/Getty Images WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 09: U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas speaks during a news conference at the National Press Club on September 9, 2021 in Washington, DC. Mayorkas spoke about a range of issues, including domestic extremism, Afghan refugees and the U.S.-Mexico border.
This week, on thewe in the Department of Homeland Security one of the Survivor Tree’s seedlings on the grounds of our headquarters in Washington, D.C. Present were , some of whom lost loved ones on and after 9/11 and others who were part of the search and rescue operation. Many observed the solemn occasion . All the remarkable people across the Department honor the lives lost by the service we perform to keep the American public safe and our nation’s proud character intact.
Fact check: Social media users misinterpret DHS terrorism bulletin
The advisory suggests that extremist takes on those beliefs and behaviors could lead to future violence.“Behavior the White House and DHS deemed as terrorism today! Resisting Covid regulations, opposing government, spreading ‘misinformation,’ thinking the election was rigged,” reads text in an Aug. 14 Instagram post by the conservative social media agency Voiceban.
Creating the DHS to protect the U.S.
As we continue to uphold our ideals and protect our homeland, we are clear-eyed about the terrorist threat that persists and how it hasover the past two decades. In the years immediately following 9/11, our focus was on the foreign terrorist who sought to harm us within our borders and threaten our interests and assets abroad. It was during this time that was created to protect our homeland from this foreign threat, and we built a new architecture to screen and vet individuals seeking to enter our country by air, land, or sea.
Nation's first DHS Secretary reflects on 9/11:
The security system that we developed included critical federal partners from the law enforcement, counterterrorism, and intelligence communities. We populated our databases, built a multi-layered alert system, identified individuals of concern, and barred some from flying altogether.
Second senior official leaving DHS in a week
David Shahoulian, a senior official at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is leaving his post, making him the second high-ranking official to leave the department this week.A source confirmed to The Hill on Tuesday that Shahoulian, who served as assistant secretary of border and immigration policy, has resigned from his post.Shahoulian is leaving the department for personal reasons, according to CNN, citing a source familiar with the departure. He also served at DHS under the Obama administration, and previously spent time as assistant secretary for border security and immigration.
We accompanied our focus on homeland security with a call for vigilance on the part of local communities and individuals alike. Ultimately, the first major evolution in the terrorist threat emerged in the form of the– the individual in America who was by a foreign terrorist organization’s ideology. That became the most prominent terrorism-related threat to the homeland. In response, we with first responders, social workers, mental health experts, and local communities to identify the signs of radicalization and counter violent extremism before it occurred.
As the threat landscape continued to evolve, so did our approach to keeping our communities safe.
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At the same time, we experienced challenges in our efforts to develop the programs in a way that built trust and respected individuals’ civil rights and liberties and their right to privacy. Technological innovation and the expanding reach of new tools made our challenges that much more complex. While foreign terrorist groups and their radical ideologies remained an important priority, in more recent years theterrorism-related threat to our homeland became , the individual whose radicalization to violence is borne of an ideology of hate or false narrative often spread on social media or other online platforms.
U.S. plans to send at least two Afghan evacuees to Kosovo for further review
At least two Afghans who were evacuated to the U.S. will be sent to Kosovo for more review, but that does not mean they necessarily pose a terror threat.The Afghans will undergo a further review in Kosovo.
Divisiveness foments danger
Too many people have exploited this threat to create divisiveness across our country, including by fomenting a dangerous culture of “us vs. them” that has contributed to the current threat landscape where some Americans are motivated to inflict harm on others here at home. They do so often in protest of our collective drive to achieve equity and racial justice. This threat disproportionately impacts communities of color and other minority groups, and it increasingly targets government facilities and personnel.
Our nation watched in horror as this threat materialized in theon the United States Capitol, when our symbol of democracy was desecrated.
I feared for my country, my colleagues, my husband:
As the threats to America have significantly evolved over the past 20 years, the Biden administration remains committed to developing the agile infrastructure required to defend against an ever-changing threat landscape. We will remain vigilant, and we will not forget that protecting America means that we will defend the principles on which it was founded.
Biden administration seeking faster reviews for asylum cases
President Joe Biden's administration on Wednesday proposed a measure looking to streamline the U.S. asylum system, speeding up the processing of migrants seeking refuge from across borders. © Provided by Washington Examiner The proposal comes as migrant apprehensions at the U.S. southern border reach a 21-year high, with at least 1.3 million encounters, according to Customs and Board Protection.
In the coming months, the seedling on the grounds of the Department of Homeland Security’s headquarters will become a new, beautiful Callery pear tree. It will produce seedlings that we will distribute to other destinations of remembrance, tribute, and honor. The trees that grow will symbolize the enduring strength of the democracy that is America. The women and men of the Department of Homeland Security help make this possible through their service and their sacrifice.
Today of all days, let us stand in solemn tribute to those who swore an oath to protect our nation and who make it all possible. Let us remain strong and united today, just as we did in the days after 9/11.
Alejandro N. Mayorkas is the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Mayorkas is the first Latino and immigrant confirmed to serve as Homeland Security Secretary, and the 7th individual confirmed to lead the department since its creation. Follow him on Twitter:
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY:
Pope Francis Urges Education for Young Afghans Amid Resettlement of Refugees .
"I pray that many countries welcome them and protect those who are seeking a new life," the pontiff said on Sunday."I also pray for the internally displaced so that they have help and necessary protection. May young Afghans receive an education, which is an essential good for human development," he said during his weekly blessing at St. Peter's Square, Reuters reported.