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 Dept. Of Homeland Security, Speeches, Laws, Testimony, Etc.
Posted: Apr 29 2007, 02:54 AM

If you're a troll, you get dead air from me.

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Member No.: 856
Joined: 4-November 06

DHS Announces $24 Million Available to Nonprofit Organizations to Strengthen Security Through UASI Program

Release Date: April 27, 2007

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today that nonprofit organizations in the 46 designated UASI areas are eligible to apply for funds as part of the fiscal year (FY) 2007 Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP). This grant program will provide more than $24 million to eligible 501©(3) organizations who are deemed high-risk for a potential international terrorist attack.

Grants will be awarded to nonprofit organizations through their eligible State Administrative Agency (SAA) according to criteria that includes:

Prior identified and substantiated threats or attacks toward the nonprofit or closely-related organization, either within or outside the U.S., by a terrorist organization;
Symbolic value of a site as a highly recognized national or historical institution that renders it a possible terrorist target;
Organization’s role in responding to or recovering from terrorist attacks; and
Organization’s credible threat or vulnerability, as well as the potential consequences of an attack, as determined by a previously conducted risk assessment.

The federal grant funds must be used for target-hardening activities, which can be accomplished through training or the purchase or installation of security equipment on real property owned or leased by the nonprofit organization. Allowable equipment is limited to physical security enhancements (e.g. alarm systems, bulletproof doors or windows) or inspection and screening systems (e.g. walk-through magnetometers and conveyor-belt x-ray systems used to screen personnel and packages for hazardous materials or devices). Additionally, nonprofit organization security personnel may use NSGP funds to attend security-related training courses and programs. Allowable training-related costs under NSGP are limited to attendance fees for the training, and related expenses, such as materials, supplies, or equipment. Allowable training topics are limited to the protection of Critical Infrastructure/ Key Resources, including physical and cyber security, target-hardening, and terrorism awareness/employee preparedness. Not all eligible nonprofit organizations and UASI communities are guaranteed to receive funding under the FY 2007 NSGP. Allocation decisions will be made based on risk and how well applicants address program requirements through their investment justifications.

Nonprofit organizations must submit applications through their SAA to be considered eligible for an award of up to $100,000. Nonprofit organizations must agree to match 25 percent of federal grant funds in cash or through equivalent, related training. In the case of training projects, awardees must meet the matching requirement through cash. For example, the costs of training security guards on new screening equipment purchased under the grant would meet the match requirement.

In FY 2005, DHS awarded $25 million to 18 high-risk urban areas to support security improvements for nonprofit organizations in their jurisdictions. Together with the FY 2007 grants, DHS direct support to safeguard nonprofit organizations now totals over $49 million.

SAAs must submit applications for the FY 2007 UASI NSGP online at www.grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. EDT on June 22, 2007.

For more information on the FY 2007 UASI NSGP and other DHS grant programs, visit www.dhs.gov.


This page was last modified on April 27, 2007

Posted: May 2 2007, 10:33 AM

If you're a troll, you get dead air from me.

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Remarks by Secretary Michael Chertoff at the Anti-Defamation League's 29th Annual Leadership Conference

Release Date: May 1, 2007

Washington, D.C.

Secretary Chertoff: Thank you, Glen. Thank you for that introduction. But more than that, what a taskmaster. I mean, you've got all the cell phones off, all the plates and the forks are down. I'm very impressed.

It's delightful to be here with you this afternoon, and also to be here with my old friend, Abe Foxman, and with Rick Barton. And, again, thank you to Glen for doing such a fine job with the introduction.

I had a little bit of an opportunity to look at the speakers list, and I know you have had a tremendous roster of speakers address you during this conference. I guess the challenge to me is, since I think I'm the last of the speakers, is how to figure out how to follow all of these very tough acts.

I know your speakers have also talked about a host of issues, many of which actually do intersect with my department, which is not only the third largest in the government, and the newest in the government, but has probably the broadest mandate of any in the United States government. You've dealt with issues and heard about issues such as human rights, immigration, Middle Eastern policy and interfaith relations. And the very breadth of that set of issues points to the indelible imprint left by ADL on so many areas of our life throughout the decades in the past and as we enter into the 21st century, where we have so many new challenges to face around the world.

We've had the opportunity, as Glen said, to partner with the ADL on a number of issues including the protection of refugees and dealing with the challenge of racial profiling. We've partnered on the highly acclaimed advance training school course on terrorism, extremism, and civil liberties. By providing this course since 2003, ADL has equipped hundreds of graduates from over 150 law enforcement agencies with vital information about terror networks, extremist movements and civil liberties protections. I'm glad to say when I was U.S. attorney in New Jersey – going back almost 20 years now – I worked with the ADL in New Jersey on many of these same issues, although, of course, we were not dealing with Al-Qaeda in those days.

And as Glen mentioned, our Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties has been working closely with ADL, and we've just completed a course for over 30 of our colleagues at DHS, working with the ADL, on these issues of terrorism and civil liberties.

So these are all areas of fertile cooperation and joint activity which we want to continue to nurture and see flourish over the years and decades to come. I might also add that just this last Friday, we announced our Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which is part of our effort to partner with other elements of the private sector – including faith-based organizations – to make sure that we are getting them the protection they need in a world in which, regrettably, synagogues and other religious institutions have now become target sets for extremists, along with government buildings and military installations.

I'm going to talk briefly about two issues that fall within the broad range of your concerns today. The first of these is homeland security, and the second is immigration. Both of these have in common the fact that we have to balance things – we have to balance our over-riding commitment to security and public safety, but also our equally important commitment to our values and our way of life. And as we stand here almost six years after September 11th, we have to look at all of these things in the light of a set of challenges of the 21st century that I don't think 10 years ago we would have foreseen.

As we look back on September 11th, we realize now, of course, even with the perspective of several years, that the attacks on that morning were not merely attacks on our fellow citizens – with a tremendous, painful loss of life; they were not merely attacks on our economy – and they were clearly aimed and destined at destroying our economic life; but above and beyond those, they were also attacks on our freedom and our liberties.

And from that basic premise, that the war that was launched by Al-Qaeda is a war on our freedoms and liberties, and not just on our persons and our way of life, comes two very important conclusions. First, if we do care about our civil rights and our civil liberties, and if we are determined to pass them on to our children and to our children's children, then we have to make sure that we are securing our homeland against those who would rob us of our freedoms.

But at the same time as we seek to secure our homeland, we cannot imperil the very freedoms and values that we're trying to defend. To use a phrase that former Attorney General Ashcroft used to use, "We have to think outside the box, but not outside the Constitution." So as I talk to you about homeland security, and when I talk to you about immigration, I want to talk from the perspective of both of these basic principles: the need to protect our liberties against attack, but also the need to do so in a way that fosters and cherishes those liberties.

So let me first talk about the threat we face from Al-Qaeda and from the ideologues of terror. There is certainly no question about the fact that the ideology and the movement that was behind the attacks on September 11th, and the attacks that preceded September 11th in East Africa, and against the USS Cole, and the attacks that have followed September 11th around the world, that ideology wants to destroy liberty and freedom of thought wherever it may be found.

When Al-Qaeda and the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, they were very bold about what their agenda was, their effort to uproot and exterminate any vestige of freedom of thought. They trampled on the rights of women. They destroyed the rights of religious minorities, as vividly exemplified by those images we saw of those great statues going back, I think, to the days of – centuries ago, that were destroyed because they were viewed as somehow inconsistent with the ruling ideology. The Taliban and Al-Qaeda violated every human right in the service of their extreme views and they committed unspeakable atrocities against those who dared to oppose their rule.

There is also no question that the inheritors of that vision of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda who function today have as their aim not only revolution in their own countries, but the propagation of an extreme ideology all around the world. The goal of bin Laden and those who ally themselves with him is a totalitarian, theocratic empire to be achieved by waging war not only on soldiers, but on civilians, as well – indeed, sometimes preferably on civilians, and using any means possible. And that includes literally the use of weapons of mass destruction, or the blackmailing of nations by threats to use such weapons if we should ever be so unfortunate as the day would come that Al-Qaeda and its fellow travelers obtain these weapons.

Now, six years after those attacks, there are some who are beginning to downplay the threat to our homeland that comes each day from these radical ideologues, who say we ought to reconfigure our view of this and really treat it as another species of the kinds of challenges from terrorists that we experienced in the '70s and '80s and '90s, from the Baader-Meinhof gang or the Red Brigade or even the Irish Republican Army. Some people say that even the rhetoric, using the term "war" somehow overstates and inflates the challenge that we face.

I disagree with that. I begin with Osama bin Laden's fatwa of February 23, 1998, which was literally a declaration of war against America and Americans, beginning with a false accusation that America had declared war on all Islam, and ending with a command – and I'm quoting here – to "kill the Americans and their allies, civilian and military, in any country where it is possible to do it."

Those who somehow question whether we are truly at war have forgotten that bin Laden and his allies have spent the past decade doing exactly what they promised that they would do: plotting strikes designed not only to kill as many people as possible, but to topple our global system of security and safety and prosperity. And those who forget that we are at war, forget as well that were it not for the actions that America and her allies have taken – destroying Al-Qaeda's safe haven in Afghanistan; supporting fledgling democracies around the world, including in Iraq; deploying intelligence assets around the globe; capturing or killing terrorist leaders in every continent; and remaining vigilant at home – were it not for these efforts, there could well be and could well have been more 9/11 attacks in this country.

Clearly we are at war, and we are at war not just to defend our country and our people, but to defend freedom of thought for every place in the world. I'm reminded of the fact of that war every single morning, when I sit down and I look at the day's threat assessments and intelligence, all of which are evidence of a militarized, networked enemy, intent on attacking our homeland and destroying our values.

It is true that the enemies we face do not have all of the elements of traditional state power, the kinds of things we remember 50 or 60 years ago we used to see in the Second World War or perhaps in the Korean War. But the fact of the matter is, they are nonetheless as dangerous in terms of intent, capability and possible consequence as any enemy this country has ever faced. And if they are currently stateless, it is not because Al-Qaeda and its fellow travelers do not want to have a state. In fact, what they seek to do is to set down roots, to create states, or at least mini-states, which will be safe havens from which they can construct platforms to launch further attacks in the service of their ultimate vision of a totalitarian caliphate.

The enemy that we face may not have successfully attacked our homeland in over five years, but that's because we've been able to disrupt plots that were designed to attack our homeland, most vividly demonstrated in the recent August plots in London, last year, which were designed to take bombs onto airliners flying from the United Kingdom to the United States and blow them up, killing thousands of people, and attacking the vital network that connects us to the rest of the world. And of course, one cannot fail to have noted the convictions yesterday in Great Britain of those who plotted to use ammonium nitrate to blow up shopping centers and nightclubs and other places of peaceful commerce in the service of the very same enemy and the very same extremist ideology.

And perhaps most sobering of all, this enemy that we face may not yet have acquired weapons of mass destruction, but it is not because they do not wish to do so. And that has not happened only because we continue to work with nations across the world to prevent that nightmare from becoming a reality.

In short, what I would say we face is a threat of an ideological dimension – from a serious enemy that poses the greatest challenge to freedom in the world since the days of Stalinism and Nazism. I've talked about some of the ways we defend against that threat. Some of it is by taking the war to the enemy overseas; some of it is by working with other nations to help them dismantle plots in their own countries – again, as we saw Saudi Arabia announce earlier this week with the arrest and disposition of well over a hundred potential terrorists in that country.

But of course, a lot of what we have to do – and this is largely in the domain of my department – is to secure our homeland by taking numerous measures here at home. And that's where, of course, we always have to be mindful about the second pillar that I talked about at the outset of my remarks. We have to defend our freedom and our way of life, but we have to do so in a way that is consistent with our freedom and our way of life.

So what we are doing at every stage is always asking the question, how do we balance our need for security with a need to carry out that strategic effort in a way that fosters, rather than undercuts, our values.

Now of course, this same issue of balancing the pillar of security with the pillar of our values arises in the issue of immigration. And I know you heard about this, I think earlier today, from Senator Kennedy, who talked to you on this issue, which is now very much on the front burner of people's minds, and, to some degree, the political agenda here in this country.

And again, we're balancing our commitment to the security of the country to making sure that we know who wants to come in and we can determine who we want to admit, with the fact that we want to conduct ourselves in a way that is fair and humane and consistent with our values.

That means recognizing that there are strongly, deeply held passions on all sides of these issues; people who can in positive good faith make arguments that are diametrically contradictory, because this is such a complicated issue and touches so many of us where our core values are.

But let me lay out some basic principles I think which, hereto, reflect the kind of balance that we're trying to achieve. First, I have to say that allowing unrestricted, illegal immigration through uncontrolled borders in a post-September 11th world is a recipe for trouble. And that's why the debate over immigration reform, particularly after 9/11, takes a special urgency. That's why we take border security very seriously. And that's why under President Bush's direction we are doubling the Border Patrol, we've put National Guard on the border to bridge us until we get the Border Patrol fully recruited and trained and deployed, and why we are using modern technology to try to give us the visibility we need across our borders, to make sure that we can continue to admit people through the front door, because we have made sure that the back door is locked.

This, of course, is not merely a matter of dealing with a potential of terrorists coming through, but dealing with drug dealers, human traffickers, and also dealing with economic migrants who may be coming across for motives that are not designed to harm the United States, but who nevertheless pose a challenge to our ability to manage that fundamental element of our own sovereignty, which is the ability to make the decision about who we admit and who we turn away at our border.

We've seen some results in terms of security that are measurable and concrete, and show a significant change for the better. Illegal border crossings have declined dramatically. In fact, apprehensions at our southern border declined by nearly 30 percent this year. Are we making our borders safer? Absolutely. Are we reducing the number of truly dangerous people who are entering our country? We are. And we turn them away every single day. Are we strengthening the security of our homeland in an age of global terror and global crime? Absolutely, yes.

But again, we have to make sure as we do this, we are upholding our deepest values, affirming our country's identity as a nation that was built by immigrants, a land of tolerance and opportunity, a place that welcomes people who come to do real work that our economy needs to have done. And that means while border security and enforcement is an indispensable foundation of our immigration policy, it cannot be the totality of that policy. There has to be a more comprehensive approach to deal with the challenge of immigration in this country.

Any reform plan has to recognize the economic realities that bring people across sometimes deserts or oceans to come into this country in order to do work. It has to reflect the fact that American employers are seeking to fill jobs that can't be filled, and that the people who are doing that work have to be afforded a level of humanitarian protection and fairness that prevents them from being victimized.

These can only be achieved within a system that enforces the borders, enforces the rules within the country, but also sets up a humane path for dealing with people who are in this country in a way that enforces the law, recognizes the rule of law, but also is fair and humane in the way individuals are treated.

We have to recognize that as long as the economy continues to draw people in, we will need to construct a regulated and appropriate temporary worker program to deal with the kind of work that people are now getting accomplished by luring in and employing people on an illegal basis. And I might point out that a temporary worker plan that deals with economic needs actually enhances our border security because it frees our Border Patrol agents and our enforcement officials to go after the people that we are most concerned about: the drug dealers, the criminals, and the terrorists.

And, of course, a reform plan has to recognize that there are between 11 million and 12 million people in this country who are undocumented, many of whom have families here and who have settled down here, and that the process of addressing their presence has to be one that, again, vindicates the rule of law, but does it in a way that is not harsh or at odds with our fundamental set of American values.

Last year, immigration and customs officers arrested seven times the number of employees and employers as were arrested by the old INS in its last full year of operation. That certainly reflects a commitment to enforcing the law that I do not think we've seen in decades.

But I also have to say, it gives me no joy to see television images of crying children, or people who are working here illegally but otherwise not harming the country or doing anything wrong, being frightened and being removed for enforcement reasons that are completely legitimate, but nevertheless, painful on human basis.

We have to find a sensible way to reconcile our need for security and law enforcement with the pain we feel as human beings when we see people suffer. And that means an approach to the issue of immigration reform that vindicates the law; that offers those who are here illegally, who have otherwise not committed crimes, an opportunity to pay their debt to society and vindicate the rule of law; and that then ultimately gives them a way to regularize their status so that we can satisfy our economic needs, treat people in a way that is fair and humane, but also make it clear that we are not granting an amnesty, forgiveness without penalty, and that we're not giving people who broke the law an advantage over those people who are outside the country waiting patiently to come in in observance of the law.

These are very complicated goals, and many of them may seem inconsistent. But I do believe with hard work and a willingness to listen in good faith to other people's points of view, it is possible, and we do have a real prospect, of constructing a smart, sensible, humane alternative that would help our economy, uphold our fundamental values, but also make sure that we have once again demonstrated that the law and the rules must be obeyed.

As we get into a period of renewed debate on this issue of immigration, let me say this. I'm sometimes asked, do I believe we can get immigration reform? And my response is, I'm reasonably optimistic because I think that the public wants a solution to this problem, which has been around for 20, 30, 40 years. And the public is ready for that solution now.

I do not believe, however, that we will get a solution if every group has the sense that they can walk away with all the marbles, or have all of their desires satisfied. No one will get everything that they want in this process, and no one will lose everything. The essence of putting together a total reform is one that acknowledges the fact that everybody will have to make some kind of sacrifice of their wish list in order to put together a solution that is workable, that addresses our fundamental values, that satisfies the things that people must have, but recognizes there also has to be a little flexibility and give.

This, of course, is the spirit of America. It's the same spirit that worked when the framers sat around and wrote the Constitution. You had small states, you had large states, you had mercantile interests, you had agricultural interests. They all had constituencies which were crying out to be satisfied. And the only reason the Constitution got written is because finally the framers got behind closed doors and they made decisions that they would have to make some compromises and find some way to discern the enduring fundamental values in all these competing interests. And that is what created the document which is the foundation of our country.

Without suggesting we're trying to write a constitution here, what I am suggesting is that the spirit of America is a spirit that finds, out of these many diverse views, commonality and union. And that is the spirit we will have to bring to the table if we're going to get immigration reform done this year and finally give Americans a solution to a problem rather than more complaining about it.

Let me conclude with a last point on the issue of how we reconcile our values, and that has to do with making sure that those who are part of this country all feel that they are part of a single community. Of course, the ADL, I believe, was founded originally out of a recognition of the need to defend the rights of Jewish immigrants in the United States, but it has broadened its mandate beyond that to stand up for all communities, to make sure that all of us live in a spirit of tolerance and mutual respect.

One of the projects that we in our department are very concerned about is making sure that we continue to develop, cultivate and maintain partnerships with key leaders in our American Arab, Muslim, and South Asian communities. If we are going to win the struggle against this ideology of evil, which I began my speech talking about, we can only do it by competing with an ideology and a narrative that is more appealing to young people – in fact to everybody – in this country and around the world. You can't beat a set of ideas, even if they're bad ideas, unless you offer competing ideas. And the only way to develop those ideas and to be able to communicate those ideas is by working with community leaders who are, in fact, those who influence thought and education and belief.

And that's why reaching out to embrace these communities – Arab communities, Muslim communities, and South Asian communities – is so important to us. We need to make sure that everybody in this country, whatever their religious belief and ethnic background, feels connected to the American way and to the government. We have to listen to their concerns and ideas. We have to encourage people from these communities to join public service, to become part of the FBI, or DHS, or part of the military, so that they have a full stake in the venture and nobody feels excluded.

It is one of the strengths that this country has had, and an advantage that we have that some countries overseas do not have, that we've been willing to weave new immigrants and second- and third-generation decedents of immigrants into the fabric of our country – living side by side, raising our families together, prospering in our professions and our businesses, and worshiping in accordance with the dictates of our conscience.

The motto on the seal of this country, again, "e pluribus unum," is in many ways a recipe for the best ideology and the most powerful ideology to use against bin Laden and those who subscribe to his evil world view.

And so I encourage this organization and other like-minded organizations to continue to make sure that we deploy the most important weapon we have against the ideologues of terror. That is the spirit of America, the spirit of unity, and the respect within that spirit of unity for the great diversity which has made this country what it is.

Thank you very much.

Question: Secretary Chertoff, I live in a suburb of San Francisco called San Rafael. Approximately a month ago, representatives of the Immigration and Naturalization Service made a series of raids in a portion of the town I live in that is inhabited by Hispanics. The case I'm troubled by that I'd like to share and get your ideas, a gentleman was picked up at 4 a.m. in the morning, and he had a six-year-old son, born in the United States, who was then taken into custody. The father was deported the same day. The reaction of the community was so great that the mayor of the city expressed his outrage. A very important philanthropic organization immediately pledged $30,000 to help the people who had been – their lives had been disrupted by this.

As I listened to your talk, you expressed with great, great clarity your concern of the humane nature of what we're dealing with. This case is very troubling to me, and I'd like your response.

Secretary Chertoff: I'm always limited in what I can say about an individual case, but let me say this. The particular operation you're talking about is an operation in which we – it's called "return to sender," if I'm thinking about the same thing you are. And it essentially involves people who have been put under orders of deportation, and they have – they fled, basically. And let me be clear what that is. It means they not only entered the country illegally, or stayed over illegally, but they directly defied a judge who ordered them to be removed.

Now, it pains me a great deal to see the fact that a child winds up finding their parent removed because their parent has broken the law. But I cannot countenance or tolerate the breaking of the law.

And I can tell you, when I was a prosecutor, it was not uncommon to see at sentencings people being sent away for a long time – a long time in jail, and they had little children. And the defense attorney would get up and say, you're going to take so-and-so away and their children are going to be left without a parent. And the judge used to say, the parent should have thought about that before they committed the crime.

In the end, there has to be a solution to this which finds a way to deal with people who are here illegally, have them pay their debt to society, but give us a way to avoid having to force a family to separate or to do something that's going to cause trauma to a child. But it has to be a legal change. What we cannot do is create a de facto amnesty simply because people come into the country illegally and then have children here.

We do always try to make sure we find a way to get a child in touch with a relative. The child is not held in custody; on the other hand, we're not going to leave a six-year-old by themselves, but you'll understand our point of view. If someone has broken the law, and then – maybe not literally but metaphorically a judge has looked them in the eye and the judge has said, you must do this, and they basically break that judge's commandment, at some point we can't simply release those people because we would be undercutting the rule of law itself.

Question: Thank you.

Question: Judge, thank you so much for being here. My brother-in-law Eric served in the Minnesota National Guard in Baghdad as a squad commander for a year. Assigned to his squad was an Iraqi translator. And I don't know how they would have completed their mission safely without the services of this translator.

This question is not about this particular individual, but generally about Iraqis who have chosen to serve with Americans and now may find their lives in danger, precisely because they serve with Americans.

Many news reports have indicated that, generally speaking, it's been difficult because of, I believe, a lack of resources, for Iraqis who have a legitimate reason to fear for their lives to clear the necessary – and I'm not disputing that they are necessary – necessary background checks for them to come here.

As Jews, I believe we all should be concerned about political refugees who are fearing – who are fleeing persecution. Sir, are you satisfied that your office, your department, is doing everything that can and should be done to process these applications so that these people who really put their lives in our hands by serving with us, when they need to, if they need to, can come here?

Secretary Chertoff: I spoke to the Secretary of State about this last week. We've talked about how we can work together to accelerate the process of clearing people, and particularly those who worked for Americans and can be vouched for. Obviously you understand we do want to make sure we've – if we're going to let people in with asylum or some other basis, that we've checked to make sure we're not letting in bad people. But I agree with you, we do have an obligation, particularly to those who work with us, to make sure that we are not leaving them in harm's way.

And so, I know the Secretary of State is very focused on it. I've told my department to put the efforts into it to make sure we can clear people. I think as we move along, we're going to be able to accelerate the pace somewhat. But I want to make sure, at the same time, we don't do it in a way that compromises our security, as well.

Question: Thank you.

Question: Thank you for coming, Secretary. Pardon my casual appearance, I have to catch a flight back to Boston.

Question, you spoke briefly about –

Mr. Foxman: Who are you and where are you from?

Question: Boston.

Secretary Chertoff: I could have told that.

Question: I'm from Boston, Brookline. You spoke about compromise and sacrifices, and I commend that. The reality of it is that both sides obviously have to make concessions. More specifically, one of the major criticisms, particularly one that I see in the President's proposed temporary workers program, is the lack of incentive that I see on the renewable visa, which I believe is a three-year period, and then maybe potential to get renewed for another three years, for a total of six years, and then with the ultimate end result being a return back to the original nation of origin. In the notion of compromise and sacrifice, as you mentioned, that's clearly probably not going to cut it. What do you see the DHS's or yours or President Bush's part in? I know you can't speak for everyone, but what do you see would be a legitimate compromise or something more that would be more of an incentive for these people to come out of the woodwork, if you would, and put their lives at risk, whereas, as of now, they can kind of stay in the gray area and live their lives?

Secretary Chertoff: Well, I don't think I can negotiate this out here today in front of an audience. I think the basic principle is, whatever we do has got to be workable. It's got to be a way that is sufficiently appealing, that it brings people out of the shadows. It's got to be – have elements that require people to pay their debt to society so we don't have an amnesty. It cannot give people who entered illegally an advantage over those who played by the rules. But it also has to be realistic and recognize that you're not going to be able to deport 12 million people.

Where the sweet spot is, so to speak, is going to be a product of the legislative process. And I think as your question illustrates, you can take any one element of a compromise, and there are going to be legitimate questions about it. In the end, if it's going to work, it's going to require everybody to recognize that a solution to the whole problem, while it may never be ideal in each of its elements, will ultimately be realistic, and therefore actually get the problem corrected. But that value has to triumph over the fact that people may quarrel with an individual element of the scheme, they may feel it's too generous or not generous enough.

So, again, it's always complicated to put a major package like this together. Some people are cynics, and they say it will never get done, politics will overwhelm it, Washington is broken. I actually don't believe that. I think it is hard to do, but I think it's possible to do if we believe we can get it done. And that's why I went back and referenced the founding of our Constitution, because I suspect there were a lot of pundits around in 1786 who said it would be impossible to get a Constitution done, too many conflicting objectives. Think back, by the way – you had slave states, you had free states, and there were some compromises made in that original document, which, in retrospect, look like they were pretty unpalatable compromises, and yet the country was able to come together and form an enduring document.

So I guess I'm still enough of a Pollyanna to believe that – I think there's a lot of goodwill in Washington to try to get something done, if we can resist the forces that are parochial and try to pull us apart.

Question: Thank you.

Question: Good afternoon, Judge. Thank you for being here. I'm from Denver, Colorado. And I wanted to follow up on Ethan's question about specifically the immigrants – or, rather, immigration of political refugees in Iraq. It is my understanding, based on news reports, that there have been a total of 86 political refugees who have assisted the United States military who have been allowed to immigrate. And compare that to Vietnam, where there were 125,000 Vietnamese or more who were allowed to enter as political refugees following and during the war. And is this actually a priority of the Department of Homeland Security to assist these individuals who are in danger of their lives?

And the second part, and really the follow-up, is, wouldn't you agree, or is it your office's policy that assisting these individuals would create goodwill for the United States, therefore increasing the security status of the United States in that region, and also the status and security of our allies, and namely Israel?

Secretary Chertoff: Well, I think as I said a moment ago, and I've talked to the Secretary of State about this, I think we all believe we have an obligation to people who are in danger, particularly those who put themselves in danger helping us. And the challenge is to make sure we put the processes and the resources into effect to allow us to process that as quickly as possible without sacrificing security.

That is the endeavor we are under way to put into effect now. As with any other program, it's always a little bit slower to start up, because you're building it from scratch. And there are challenges in making sure that we are able to do background checks and things of that sort.

But I think for those – we've been very amenable to introducing as much flexibility as we responsibly can into the process of determining who's eligible for this kind of status so that we can be fair and expeditious, in terms of processing these applications.

# # #

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Posted: Aug 31 2007, 11:14 PM

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More Than 1,700 Organizations to Participate in Fourth Annual Homeland Security National Preparedness Month
Release Date: August 31, 2007

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today that more than 1,700 national, regional, state, and local organizations will support the department by participating in National Preparedness Month 2007. This campaign occurs annually in September, and encourages Americans to prepare for all types of emergencies in their homes, businesses, schools, and communities. DHS promotes individual emergency preparedness through the Ready Campaign and the department’s Citizen Corps Program throughout the year.

“Too many individuals remain in a state of denial when it comes to personal preparedness,” said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. “Able-bodied Americans need to be prepared to take care of themselves and their families after an emergency, so that first responders can focus on those who need assistance most. With the help of our coalition members, we encourage Americans to get an emergency supply kit, make a family communications plan, and be informed about the different types of emergencies that may affect them.”

During September, Coalition Members will share preparedness information with their members, customers, employees, and communities. National Preparedness Month activities taking place throughout September (for a complete list of events, visit www.ready.gov) include:

In New York City, the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) will kick off National Preparedness Month with the New York City Citizen Corps Council at seven locations throughout the five boroughs. Various city and community partners will be stationed near major transit hubs to distribute copies of the Ready New York pocket-size preparedness guide, part of OEM's Ready New York Campaign, and educate New Yorkers about ways to prepare for emergencies. Ready New York ads will appear during the month on subways, local newspapers, bus shelters, supermarket circulars, and sanitation trucks. Later in September, OEM will debut its much-anticipated Ready New York for kids guide, which will be distributed to all New York City public school students.
In an effort to prepare citizens for emergencies,Be Ready Alabama is coordinating youth “Be Ready Camps” focused on building preparedness skills and a “Be Ready Sunday” for faith-based organizations across the state to deliver preparedness messages. In addition, there will be a statewide event called “Be Ready Day” which will educate and train individuals on preparing for emergencies, volunteer opportunities in the communities, and first responders’ preparedness and response capabilities.
Several California cities including San Diego, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara will host regional business preparedness events during National Preparedness Month’s Business Preparedness Week. These events will offer California business owners and managers guidance on how to develop a business emergency plan that can help secure their employees, operations and assets.
To promote emergency preparedness in the workplace, Wal-Mart will broadcast Ready Campaign public service announcements on its internal television and radio network in all its United States stores throughout the month of September.
Senate Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Joe Lieberman and Ranking Member Susan Collins, and House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson and Ranking Member Peter King are serving as honorary Congressional co-chairs of National Preparedness Month 2007 and are leading the effort on Capitol Hill to increase public awareness on the importance of emergency preparedness.

For the first time, National Preparedness Month is focusing on different areas of emergency preparedness.

September 1-8: Back-to-School (Ready Kids)
September 9-15: Business preparedness(Ready Business)
September 16-22: Multicultural preparedness(Listo)
September 23-30: Home and family preparedness, including pets, older Americans and individuals with disabilities and special needs (Ready America)
The purpose of National Preparedness Month is to encourage Americans to prepare for emergencies. Although significant progress has been made, there is still a long way to go to ensure that all Americans are prepared. A national survey conducted by The Advertising Council on behalf of Homeland Security in July found that 66 percent of Americans believe it is “very important” for individuals to prepare and 54 percent report having taken some steps to prepare. The study also found progress on emergency preparedness among specific subgroups, including: Hispanic Americans; men, particularly fathers; and employers.

Ready is a national public service advertising campaign produced by The Advertising Council in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security. The Ready Campaign is designed to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to emergencies, including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks. Individuals interested in more information about family, business and community preparedness can visit www.ready.gov or call 1-800-BE-READY to receive free materials. Citizen Corps brings together community, emergency and government leaders to involve community members in emergency preparedness, planning, mitigation, response and recovery. Through Citizen Corps and its program partners and affiliates, individuals can find training and volunteer opportunities to support first responders in an emergency. To learn more and to get involved, contact your nearest Citizen Corps Council by visiting www.citizencorps.gov.

National Preparedness Month events and activities are voluntary. DHS is not financially obligated to any National Preparedness Month Coalition Member. For more information about National Preparedness Month, visit www.ready.gov.

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