Today's LACP news:
December 21, 2014
Two N.Y.P.D. Officers Are Killed in Brooklyn Ambush; Suspect Commits Suicide
by BENJAMIN MUELLER and AL BAKER
Two police officers sitting in their patrol car in Brooklyn were shot at point-blank range and killed on Saturday afternoon by a man who, officials said, had traveled to the city from Baltimore vowing to kill officers. The suspect then committed suicide with the same gun, the authorities said.
The officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, were in the car near Myrtle and Tompkins Avenues in Bedford-Stuyvesant in the shadow of a tall housing project when the gunman, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, walked up to the passenger-side window and assumed a firing stance, Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said. Mr. Brinsley shot several rounds into the heads and upper bodies of the officers, who never drew their weapons, the authorities said.
Mr. Brinsley, 28, then fled down the street and onto the platform of a nearby subway station, where he killed himself as officers closed in. The police recovered a silver semiautomatic handgun, Mr. Bratton said.
Mr. Brinsley, who had a long rap sheet of crimes that included robbery and carrying a concealed gun, is believed to have shot his former girlfriend near Baltimore before traveling to Brooklyn, the authorities said. He made statements on social media suggesting that he planned to kill police officers and was angered about the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases.
Authorities in Baltimore sent a warning that Mr. Brinsley had made these threats, but it was received in New York at essentially the same time as the killings, officials said.
The shootings, the chase, the suicide of Mr. Brinsley and the desperate but failed bid to save the lives of the officers — their uniforms soaked in blood — turned a busy commercial intersection on the Saturday before Christmas into a scene of pandemonium.
The manager of a liquor store at the corner, Charlie Hu, said the two police officers were slouched over in the front seat of their patrol car. Both of them appeared to have been shot in the head, Mr. Hu said, and one of the officers had blood spilling out of his face. l
“Today two of New York's finest were shot and killed with no warning, no provocation,” Mr. Bratton said at Woodhull Hospital in Williamsburg, where the officers were declared dead. “They were, quite simply, assassinated — targeted for their uniform and for the responsibility they embraced to keep the people of this city safe.”
“Officer Ramos and Officer Liu never had the opportunity to draw their weapons,” he continued. “They may have never even seen the assailant, their murderer.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio, standing beside the police commissioner, said, “It is an attack on all of us; it's an attack on everything we hold dear.”
Mr. de Blasio said he had met with the officers' families, including Officer Ramos's 13-year-old son, who “couldn't comprehend what had happened to his father.”
Late Saturday night, President Obama condemned the “murder of two police officers in New York City,” noting that officers who serve their communities “deserve our respect and gratitude every single day. Tonight, I ask people to reject violence and words that harm, and turn to words that heal — prayer, patient dialogue, and sympathy for the friends and family of the fallen.”
The double killing comes at a moment when protests over police tactics have roiled the city and other parts of the nation. Since a grand jury declined to bring criminal charges in the case of Mr. Garner, a black Staten Island man who died after a police chokehold in July, protesters have filled the streets on numerous occasions. Those protests followed more violent ones in Ferguson, Mo., after there were no charges in the police shooting of Mr. Brown, an unarmed black teenager.
The mayor has taken care to praise officers' work repeatedly since the grand jury decision, but he has stressed the rights of protesters to express themselves and spoken of his personal experience instructing his biracial son, Dante, to “take special care” during any police encounters.
Some union leaders suggested the mayor had sent a message that police officers were to be feared. Cries for the police to use more restraint have been buttressed by historic drops in violent crime. The city has seen roughly 300 killings so far this year, a number so low as to be unheard-of two decades ago.
But the shooting on Saturday seemed reminiscent of decades past, when the city was mired in an epidemic of drugs and violence and, in 1988, a police officer was shot while he sat alone in his patrol car guarding the home of a man who had testified in a drug case. That killing shook the city, sparking an escalation in the war on drugs and an aggressive crackdown on violent crime. Mr. Bratton said that the attack on Saturday was the seventh time since 1972 that partners in the Police Department had been killed at the same time.
The killing seemed to drive the wedge between Mr. de Blasio and rank-and-file officers even deeper. Video posted online showed dozens of officers turning their backs to the mayor as he walked into anews conference on Saturday night.
“There's blood on many hands tonight — those that incited violence on the street under the guise of protests, that tried to tear down what New York City police officers did every day," the head of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, Patrick Lynch, said outside Woodhull Hospital. He added, “That blood on the hands starts on the steps of City Hall, in the office of the mayor.”
Mr. Brinsley, whose records indicate that he was born in New York, had been arrested several times in Georgia and Ohio. He was arrested on accusations of carrying a concealed weapon and stealing in Georgia, and in Ohio in connection with theft and robbery, among other run-ins with the police. His last known residence was in Georgia. Mr. Bratton said the suspect also had ties to East Flatbush, Brooklyn, but would not be more specific.
Earlier on Saturday, law enforcement officials said, Mr. Brinsley shot his former girlfriend in the stomach near Baltimore. She survived.
Mr. Bratton said investigators believed that after the Maryland shooting, Mr. Brinsley posted to an Instagram account that he was headed to New York to attack police officers and that the posting might be his last. Mr. Bratton lamented the timing of the warning from authorities. “The tragedy here is that just as the warning was coming in, the murder was occurring,” he said.
Mr. Bratton said that the Instagram posts reviewed by investigators, which he said had been widely circulated and may have been on the account of a girlfriend, revealed a “very strong bias against police officers.”
In the Instagram posting that was apparently written by Mr. Brinsley, he called the attack retribution for the deaths of Mr. Garner and Mr. Brown.
Mr. Brinsley's sister, Nawaal Brinsley, said on Saturday that she had not seen her brother in two years. “Oh my goodness, oh my goodness,” she said when told of the attack. She said she did not remember hearing her brother express anger at the police.
Mr. Bratton said that Officer Liu had been a seven-year veteran of the force and that Officer Ramos had been an officer since 2012. Officer Liu, he added, had been married two months.
The shootings seemed poised to cool the protests of recent months. The Rev. Al Sharpton, who has been an outspoken backer of the protests in recent weeks, condemned the attack.
“Any use of the names of Eric Garner and Michael Brown in connection with any violence or killing of police is reprehensible and against the pursuit of justice in both cases,” he said.
The Brooklyn borough president, Eric Adams, worried that the attack would “tarnish” the campaign against police brutality that has swept the city.
“It's horrific to have someone intentionally shoot a police officer; it's the wrong message,” he said. “And that is not the message that many have been calling on when they talk about reform.”
The intersection where the shooting occurred, which is dominated by the Tompkins housing project across the street, is a spot where residents often see police keeping watch. The officers had been assigned to patrol the Tompkins Houses in response to an uptick in violence there this year, Mr. Bratton said.
The increased police presence had improved the neighborhood, some said. “It's changed and gotten better through the years,” said Felix Camacho, 40, an airport ramp agent who has lived for eight years on the block where the shooting happened. But other residents worried that the episode on Saturday would inflame relations.
More than 100 officers lined the hospital's exit ramp as the bodies of Officers Liu and Ramos were driven out in ambulances.
Anger at The Cop Killer - And The Police
In the Brooklyn neighborhood where two police officers were brutally murdered, not everyone was grieving.
by M.L. Nestel
Across the street from the hospital where two Brooklyn police officers were brought after being murdered, there were carnations and a makeshift memorial: a cardboard box and a handmade sign in marker reading, "R.I.P. NYPD." Hundreds of cops saluting as the bodies were rolled out with a full escort by highway patrol. Citizens were watching in shock from above on the subway station.
Throughout New York, the execution-style killing of these officers in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn has generated a near-universal sense of horror at the crime -- and sympathy for the victims.
"Now we have two families that's missing someone from the holidays," a Bedford-Stuyvesant resident told a local news station. "Where's your sense of humanity?"
But the scene outside Woodhull Hospital wasn't entirely supportive. "You're a bunch of killers," a passerby told cops standing sentry there, according to one police source. And short distance from the crime scene -- where a crowd was backed up by the police tape -- a few members of the crowd repeated "fuck the cops" within earshot of a Daily Beast reporter.
One 30-year-old local who gave his first name only as Carlos, didn't hear the fatal gunfire but saw the hysteria aftewards and walked to the police tape.
“A lot of people were clapping and laughing,” he said.
“Some were saying, ‘They deserved it,' and another was shouting at the cops, ‘Serves them right because you mistreat people!'” he said.
For Carlos, who walks his 10-year old daughter to school pass the police cruiser posted at Tompkins and Myrtle avenues, the double homicide—just a football field from his home of over a decade—was tragic.
“I walk my kid to school, passed that cop car everyday,” he said. “That's their post. What would people rather not have the cops here to keep us safe?”
“Nobody deserves this,” he added. “If they really wanted to get revenge they should have gone to Staten Island and found the cops that killed Eric Garner.”
Others seemed less sympathetic towards the police, and even seemed to resent that the cops didn't take as much notice of the area's other crimes. While violent offenses are dramatically down in Bed Stuy, pockets of violence persist here.
“Gunshots is usual for this neighborhood,” said Kenneth Otero, 30, who lives in a ninth-floor apartment across the street in Tompkins Houses, the housing projects Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were assigned to.
He says he heard the two shots that killed Liu and Ramos.
“I was watching ‘Daniel The Tiger' with my kid and I heard two shots like ‘boom-boom,'” he said.
But he believes the cops are going too far in the investigation of the murder of two of their own, with scores of cops and idling vehicles, and powerful spotlights turning the night of Tompkins Street into a surreal daylight.
“They've been here all day and now tonight,” he said. “This has happened before and it wasn't this big spectacle.”
Liu and Rafael were there to protect against the common criminality Otero mentioned. It is so common, that 22-year-old Yonas Tenayo was dodging bullets just the night before on her way home to her safer neighborhood of Clinton.
“Each day I walk through here,” she said, pointing to the slots of walkway through the monolithic hi-rises that loom over the area.
“Yesterday I was walking home at around 7 [p.m.] and I hear eight gunshots.
“I ran for my life,” said Tenayo, who is a home attendant for an autistic resident, but wants to transfer because of the crime.
“It's been three weeks,” she said. “But I don't want to be here anymore.”
Crime in NYC drops even as tactics draw criticism
by The Associated Press
NEW YORK — Even as New York's police department takes heat for its tactics in the outrage over the Eric Garner chokehold case, year-end crime statistics show two clear trends: low-level arrests are holding steady and overall crime continues to fall.
The numbers could be seen as an affirmation of Police Commissioner William Bratton's signature "broken windows" tactic, the idea that enforcing smaller crimes like fare beating and public drunkenness help prevent bigger crimes. It has come under intense scrutiny since the July in-custody death of Garner, who was stopped for the minor offense of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes.
Historic drops in crime that continue today "didn't just happen," Bratton wrote in a recent op-ed piece defending the strategy he pioneered as commissioner in the 1990s. "They resulted from thousands of police interventions on the street, which restored order and civility across the five boroughs."
Even NYPD arrests for selling untaxed cigarettes are slightly up from last year. Numbers from the state Department of Criminal Justice Services show there were 515 misdemeanor arrests for the offense through mid-November, compared to 463 over the same period a year ago. And the pace of those arrests continued unabated even in the weeks since Garner's death.
Overall misdemeanor arrests are on track to be about the same as last year, when there were 227,380, most for drug offenses at 58,714. Through October this year, there have been 194,844 arrests, including 51,783 drug busts.
Through Dec. 14, overall serious crime had declined 4.7 percent compared to the same period last year, continuing a downward trend that started in mid-1990s. The murder total stood at 305, a 5.3 percent drop. Reports of robberies were down 14 percent and those of felony assaults dipped about 1 percent.
"Because of the broken windows approach, we are the safest we've ever been," Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday after attending an NYPD promotions ceremony. "I lived through the 1980s and early '90s in this city. I don't want to go back there. I don't think anyone wants to go back there."
The decreases come at a time when the NYPD has dramatically scaled back its highly-disputed strategy of stop and frisk. A federal judge ruled last year the tactic unfairly targeted minorities. The total stops peaked at an annual high of nearly 700,000 in 2011 and are expected to be less than 50,000 this year.
But with stop-and-frisk waning, critics now question broken windows.
To some, stop-and-frisk and broken windows "are the same thing with a different name," said Deborah Wright, president of the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys.
Another critic, City University of New York School of Law professor Steve Zeidman, calls broken windows an outdated and flawed theory. The NYPD takes credit for the declines in crime each year even though larger factors like an aging population play a more significant role, he said.
"Would crime still go down if you stopped arresting people for loose cigarettes? Undeniably yes," he said.
The tactic was one of the reasons officers were at the corner store on Staten Island where Garner died. In an episode captured on video, officer Daniel Pantaleo wraps his arm around Garner and wrestles him to the ground. He died at a hospital after his cries of "I can't breathe" went unaided. A grand jury decided not to indict the officer, prompting mass protests and a public war of words between the mayor and head of the police officer's union, who says the mayor is throwing cops "under the bus."
Zeidman argues that any strategy that unnecessarily increases contact between police and civilians is a threat to community relations.
"The more you increase interactions, the more you increase the likelihood that something can go wrong," he said. "I really thought the Eric Garner case would be the tipping point that would put an end to it."
Most days in criminal court in Brooklyn there's a parade of arrestees "where the only allegation is that they walked through subway cars and because they didn't have ID on them, they get put in the system," said a public defender, Elena Roberts, who participated in a protest last week. "That doesn't really seem right to us."
The suspected offenders "are disproportionately minority men," Roberts added. "I know as a white woman, I'm afforded a certain privilege in my life and my activities that would never put me at risk for even being questioned for something so minor."
Philadelphia has a chance to implement real community policing
by David Kairys
If there is a fix for unnecessary police violence against young black men, or for police misconduct generally, Philadelphia should have it. Over the last half-century, periodic police scandals, usually involving corruption or abuse of civilians, have regularly been followed by reforms, including a reform currently gaining national attention - community policing. So it isn't surprising that President Obama's new task force on policing turned to Philadelphia's commissioner, Charles H. Ramsey, a well-known proponent of community policing.
The basic idea of community policing is to bring police and the communities they serve together to promote understanding, cooperation, and trust. Most departments embrace it in some way, perhaps because it comes with federal funding.
The various understandings fall into three categories: the methods, policies, and practices of day-to-day patrolling; communications and transparency; and attitude. Though communications, transparency, and attitude are important, community policing does not seem to mean much if the focus is not concretely on police methods.
The most significant measures regularly proposed are foot or bike patrols in high-crime areas, assigning officers to particular beats for substantial periods, and police "ministations" integrated into neighborhoods.
This approach has much to offer. Police gain cooperation, safety, and connection to the people they serve. Communities gain input into police policies and practices and hopefully some trust. Police who are integrated into a community are less likely to use unnecessary force, or to have force used against them, and their presence is a deterrent to crime. There are risks, but less than a status quo in which the community perception is of police as an occupying army.
It doesn't resolve everything. We cannot realistically expect any policing reform to eliminate or transcend the tensions between police and the communities they patrol.
Police enforce laws, but they are also the face and fist of social policies that result in extreme economic inequality and unemployment in communities often defined by race and poverty. The fallout has largely been left to the police, who are tasked with keeping order.
The Philadelphia experience with community policing goes back to the mid-1980s. And the pioneers and most significant practitioners were Police Commissioner Kevin Tucker and Mayor W. Wilson Goode.
In 1985, after an officer was killed, police went through the mostly Hispanic Spring Garden neighborhood and took into custody every Latino man on the streets or sidewalks. Federal lawsuits invalidated that sweep and a citywide one the same year of corners often used for drug dealing. (I was lead counsel for the plaintiffs in both cases.)
Those sweeps and the disastrous police bombing of the MOVE house in West Philadelphia led to Philadelphia's adopting community policing. Tucker and Goode established foot patrols and ministations throughout the city.
In 2007-08, the Community Policing Advocate Committee, which grew out of efforts opposing the Spring Garden sweep, urged the incoming police commissioner, Ramsey, to implement community policing.
Since then, Ramsey has encouraged dialogue and cooperation and provided innovative community-oriented policing in many ways.
But foot and bike patrols, which Ramsey publicly favors, are used only in some business areas, as a temporary first assignment for new recruits, and in districts only if requested by the district captain. Such beat patrols have not been our overall or major policing approach, certainly not near the extent during Tucker's tenure. And Ramsey has not established ministations, publicly saying he opposed doing so. Without these basic elements, it is hard to call these efforts meaningful community policing.
That was a lost opportunity in 2008. Six years later, Ramsey and the task force he co-chairs have a chance to revive and expand community policing. The deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and others present an opportunity for reform, not just in Philadelphia but on a national stage.
David Kairys is a law professor at Temple University, author of "Philadelphia Freedom: Memoir of a Civil Rights Lawyer," and a member of the Community Policing Advocate Committee
From the Department of Justice
Attorney General Holder Statement on Assassination of Two New York City Police Officers in Line of Duty
Attorney General Eric Holder released the following statement Saturday regarding the fatal shootings of two New York City police officers:
“I condemn this afternoon's senseless shooting of two New York City police officers in the strongest possible terms. This was an unspeakable act of barbarism, and I was deeply saddened to hear of the loss of these two brave officers in the line of duty.
“On behalf of all those who serve in the United States Department of Justice, I want to express my heartfelt condolences to the officers' loved ones and colleagues. I will make available all of the resources of the Department to aid the NYPD in investigating this tragedy.
"This cowardly attack underscores the dangers that are routinely faced by those who protect and serve their fellow citizens. As a nation we must not forget this as we discuss the events of the recent past. These courageous men and women routinely incur tremendous personal risks, and place their lives on the line each and every day, in order to preserve public safety. We are forever in their debt.
"Our nation must always honor the valor -- and the sacrifices -- of all law enforcement officers with a steadfast commitment to keeping them safe. This means forging closer bonds between officers and the communities they serve, so that public safety is not a cause that is served by a courageous few, but a promise that's fulfilled by police officials and citizens working side by side."
In Memphis, Attorney General Holder Talks About Building Trust Between Communities and Law Enforcement
(Video on site)
Last week, Attorney General Eric Holder traveled to Memphis and held a roundtable discussion on improving the relationship between the city's people of color and local law enforcement.
In the wake of the recent police-involved deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and others, the President has called for an increased effort to help rebuild communities' trust in local law enforcement and the justice system. In that vein, the Attorney General will be holding similar discussions in a number of other cities across the country.
"We want to make sure that law enforcement acts in a way that people will perceive as being fair, and then, in fact, is fair."
-- Attorney General Eric Holder
Attorney General Holder also noted the inefficiency of policing on the basis of stereotypes, saying that this kind of policing will "draw you to places where you shouldn't be, and take you away from places where you, in fact, should be."
The discussion was held at the Lorraine Motel — the site of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination in 1968, and now the home of the National Civil Rights Museum. Attorney General Holder said the museum was the "perfect place" for this meeting, as "it's an indication of how far we've come, but it's also a reminder of how far we have to go." He also linked protesters across the country today to those who are memorialized in the museum — "people who made noise, who disrupted things, all with the hope, with the aim of making our great nation better," he said.
DHS Releases End of Year Statistics
WASHINGTON — As part of Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson's effort to enhance the manner in which the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) collects and reports statistics, today DHS released its fiscal year (FY) 2014 enforcement statistics from the DHS Office of Immigration Statistics, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In a continued focus by Secretary Johnson to promote transparency and timely reporting to Congress and the public, for the first time this year, ICE, CBP, and DHS's consolidated statistics are all being reported and released together.
In FY 2014, DHS conducted a total of 577,295 removals and returns, including 414,481 removals and 162,814 returns. ICE had a total of 315,943 removals or returns, and CBP made 486,651 apprehensions. These figures reflect the Department's commitment to border security and public safety by focusing on smart and effective immigration enforcement that prioritizes the removal of convicted criminals and recent border entrants. Owing in large measure to the rise in illegal migration from Central America this past year, both apprehensions and removals of Guatemalan, Honduran, and El Salvadorian nationals were up. Further, as ICE continues to refine its enforcement priorities to ensure that the agency focuses its resources on public safety and national security threats, 85 percent of ICE's FY 2014 removals and returns from the interior of the United States were of convicted criminals.
“DHS's 2014 year-end enforcement statistics demonstrate that our front line officers and agents continue to execute their critical mission in a smart and effective way, focusing our resources on convicted criminals and those attempting to illegally cross our nation's borders,” said Secretary Johnson. “This year's statistics are informed by a number of complex and shifting factors, most notably the 68 percent increase in migration from countries other than Mexico, predominately from Central America, and a 14 percent drop in Mexican migration since fiscal year 2013. The unprecedented surge of unaccompanied children and families last summer, as well as the increasing number of jurisdictions declining to honor ICE detainers, also impacted DHS enforcement operations. Notwithstanding these challenges, DHS components have adjusted and continue to successfully secure our borders and protect our communities.”
Key findings in FY 2014:
The Border Patrol made 486,651 apprehensions nationwide, nearly all of which were along the southwest border; 468,407 of those apprehensions were of individuals from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
98 percent of ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations' (ERO) FY 2014 removals and returns met one or more of ICE's civil immigration enforcement priorities.
85 percent of all interior ICE removals and returns involved individuals who had been previously convicted of a crime; this number is up significantly from FY 2011 when it was just 67 percent.
The number of Mexican nationals that ICE removed or returned decreased, while the number of Guatemalan, Honduran, and El Salvadorian removals or returns increased.
State and local law enforcement declined to honor 10,182 ICE detainers, which required ICE to expend additional resources to develop and execute operations to attempt to locate and arrest at-large criminal aliens.
CBP Enforcement Efforts at and between Ports of Entry
The nation's long-term investment in border security continued to produce significant and positive results in FY 2014. Illegal migration, as defined by total Border Patrol apprehensions, continues to reflect an overall decline compared to the peak in 2000, when the Border Patrol reported 1.6 million apprehensions. This year, the Border Patrol reported 486,651 apprehensions nationwide, compared to 420,789 last year; the increase is largely attributable to the influx in unaccompanied children and family units in South Texas last summer. While Border Patrol apprehensions of Mexican nationals in FY 2014 decreased by 14 percent from FY 2013, apprehensions of individuals from countries other than Mexico, predominately from Central America, increased by 68 percent.
Enforcement actions at ports of entry continued to yield important border security achievements. In FY 2014, CBP officers at ports of entry arrested 8,013 people wanted for serious crimes, including murder, rape, assault, and robbery. Officers also stopped 223,712 inadmissible aliens from entering the United States through ports of entry, an increase of more than 9 percent from FY 2013. Depending on the circumstances, these individuals were arrested, allowed to voluntarily return to their country of origin, or allowed to withdraw their application for admission into the United States. Inadmissibility grounds included immigration violations, and criminal and national security-related reasons. As part of these efforts, CBP identified 11,494 high-risk travelers who would have been found inadmissible and were prevented from boarding flights destined for the United States.
In addition, CBP officers and agents played a significant counter-narcotics role in FY 2014, seizing more than 3.8 million pounds of narcotics across the country.
For a comprehensive breakdown of CBP's FY 2014 enforcement efforts, please click here.
ICE Interior and Border Enforcement Efforts
In FY 2014, ICE removed or returned 315,943 individuals, 213,719 of whom were apprehended while, or shortly after, attempting to illegally enter the United States, and 102,224 of whom were apprehended in the interior of the United States. Eighty-five percent of ICE's interior removals and returns were previously convicted of a criminal offense; this number is up significantly from FY 2011 when it was just 67 percent.
ICE's 2014 removal numbers illustrate the agency's continued commitment to focusing on the apprehension, detention, and removal of criminal aliens and other immigration violators in the interior of the United States, and the removal of individuals apprehended by ICE and CBP while attempting to unlawfully enter the United States. Ninety-eight percent of ICE's FY 2014 removals and returns fell into one or more of ICE's civil immigration enforcement priorities.
This year, a number of factors and unique challenges contributed to ICE's total removals, and ICE's ability to adjust to these circumstances led to a sustained focus on criminals and public safety threats:
Shifting Migration Patterns and Demographics
In FY 2014, ICE was required to shift resources to effectively manage the influx of Central American family units and unaccompanied children illegally crossing into the United States in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) in South Texas. ICE reallocated personnel and resources to address the challenges posed by this unprecedented migration.
Changing migrant demographics also impacted ICE removal operations. Most notably, removals to Central America increased while removals to Mexico decreased, which is consistent with changes to the apprehension demographics. Removals of non-Mexican nationals require additional detention capacity, efforts to secure travel documents from the host country, and the arrangement of air transportation. As a result, more time, officer resources, and funding are required to complete the removal process for nationals from Central America and other non-contiguous countries as compared to Mexican nationals apprehended at the border.
Increasing Jurisdictions Declining to Honor ICE Detainers
Another significant factor impacting removal operations has been the increase in the number of state and local law enforcement jurisdictions limiting or declining cooperation with ICE detainers, which is now more than 275 jurisdictions nationwide. ICE requests detainers to ensure that dangerous criminals and other priority individuals are not released from prisons or jails into our communities, and are instead transferred into ICE custody. When detainers are not honored, ICE must expend additional resources to develop and execute operations to locate and arrest at-large criminal aliens.
Refined Focus on Convicted Criminals
In recent years, ICE has refined its focus on identifying, locating, apprehending, and removing convicted criminal aliens who are at-large, which requires significantly more officers, time, money, and other resources as compared to those who are in a custodial setting. As a result, while overall removals may have declined, ICE has improved the quality of its removals by focusing on the most serious public safety and national security threats.
Reduced Use of the Alien Transfer Exit Program
The Alien Transfer Exit Program (ATEP) is an ongoing program that transfers Mexican nationals apprehended in one Border Patrol sector to another sector before removing them to Mexico. ATEP disrupts the smuggling cycle by physically separating aliens from the smuggling organizations that will repeatedly attempt to guide them into this country. In 2013 and 2014, ICE began reallocating limited resources away from ATEP to focus on the increasing number of Central American migrants and to effectively manage the influx of family units and unaccompanied children apprehended at the border, which has resulted in reduced ICE ATEP removals.
ICE's interior operations were further challenged by federal court decisions, including the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in Rodriguez v. Robbins, which required bond hearings for all individuals detained for six months or longer, including those subject to mandatory detention. In many instances, individuals request a bond hearing once they reach 180 days in detention, and, if so ordered by an immigration judge, post bond. Once the individual's case is transferred to the non-detained docket, the immigration court process generally takes longer, thereby reducing the number of final orders of removal in the short term.
For a comprehensive breakdown of ICE's FY 2014 removal numbers, please see the FY14 report here.
DHS Reporting Improvements
Statistical reporting currently involves integrating immigration data from multiple DHS agencies. To process and track individuals from the point of encounter through removal, both ICE and CBP currently use multiple systems. Pursuant to Secretary Johnson's direction, DHS is working to improve processes to identify, track, and report immigration data consistently across the Department and with our federal partners.
To improve unity of effort, the Department will create a comprehensive capability to advance DHS's missions and transparently share information with stakeholders and the public. The DHS Office of Immigration Statistics is working with all DHS components to create the capability to collect, maintain, and report data reflecting the numbers of individuals apprehended, removed, returned, or otherwise repatriated. The Office of Immigration Statistics expects to release their detailed 2014 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics in the middle of next year.
From the Department of Homeland Security
Protect Myself from Cyber Attacks
What You Need To Know
The Department of Homeland Security plays an important role in countering threats to our cyber network. We aim to secure the federal civilian networks, cyberspace and critical infrasture that are essential to our lives and work.
DHS's National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) is a 24x7 center responsible for the production of a common operating picture for cyber and communications across the federal, state, and local government, intelligence and law enforcement communities and the private sector.
The following preventative strategies are intended to help our public and private partners proactively look for emails attempting to deceive users into "clicking the link" or opening attachments to seemingly real websites:
Never click on links in emails . If you do think the email is legitimate, whether from a third party retailer or primary retailer, go to the site and log on directly. Whatever notification or service offering was referenced in the email, if valid, will be available via regular log on.
Never open the attachments . Typically, retailers will not send emails with attachments. If there is any doubt, contact the retailer directly and ask whether the email with the attachment was sent from them.
Do not give out personal information over the phone or in an email unless completely sure. Social engineering is a process of deceiving individuals into providing personal information to seemingly trusted agents who turn out to be malicious actors. If contacted over the phone by someone claiming to be a retailer or collection agency, do not give out your personal information. Ask them to provide you their name and a call-back number. Just because they may have some of your information does not mean they are legitimate!
Other practical tips to protect yourself from cyberattacks:
Set secure passwords and don't share them with anyone. Avoid using common words, phrases, or personal information and update regularly.
Keep your operating system, browser, anti-virus and other critical software up to date. Security updates and patches are available for free from major companies.
Verify the authenticity of requests from companies or individuals by contacting them directly. If you are asked to provide personal information via email, you can independently contact the company directly to verify this request.
Pay close attention to website URLs . Pay attention to the URLs of websites you visit. Malicious websites sometimes use a variation in common spelling or a different domain (for example, .com instead of .net) to deceive unsuspecting computer users.
For e-Mail, turn off the option to automatically download attachments.
Be suspicious of unknown links or requests sent through email or text message. Do not click on unknown links or answer strange questions sent to your mobile device, regardless of who the sender appears to be.
Advice about common security issues for non-technical computer users
Information about current security issues, vulnerabilities, and exploits
Weekly Summary of New Vulnerabilities
Stop. Think. Connect.
The Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign is a national public awareness campaign aimed at increasing the understanding of cyber threats and empowering the American public to be safer and more secure online.
Most people use passwords that are based on personal information and are easy to remember. However, that also makes it easier for an attacker to guess or "crack" them.
Although intentionally misspelling a word ("daytt" instead of "date") may offer some protection against dictionary attacks, an even better method is to rely on a series of words and use memory techniques, or mnemonics, to help you remember how to decode it.
For example, instead of the password "hoops," use "IlTpbb" for "[I] [l]ike [T]o [p]lay [b]asket[b]all." Using both lowercase and capital letters adds another layer of obscurity. Your best defense, though, is to use a combination of numbers, special characters, and both lowercase and capital letters. Change the same example we used above to "Il!2pBb." and see how much more complicated it has become just by adding numbers and special characters.