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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Community Policing works: Strengthening Community Policing | The White House

FACT SHEET: Strengthening Community Policing | The White House
Pres. Barack Obama speaks to the public about
immigration reform at a community center in
Chicago, Nov. 25 2014. Photo credit: Leslie Jones
McCloud


On Monday, Dec. 1 2014 U.S. Pres. Barack Obama gathered civil rights leaders, community stakeholders, law enforcement, clergy and elected officials in several meetings planned throughout the day to discuss how communities and law enforcement can work together to build trust to strengthen neighborhoods across the country.

Spawned by recent events in Ferguson, Missouri and around the country, the meeting highlighted the importance of strong, collaborative relationships between local police and the communities they protect.  As the nation has observed, trust between law enforcement agencies and the people they protect and serve is essential to the stability of our communities, the integrity of our criminal justice system, and the safe and effective delivery of policing services.

Mayor of Gary, Indiana Karen Freeman-Wilson, was in attendance. According to a released press statement, Freeman-Wilson said she is honored to be one of five mayors included.

"Our work must extend far beyond an invitation to the White House. We are engaged to change the course of this country to ensure that all voices are valued and heard,” the statement read. Freeman-Wilson went on to call the meeting "historic."

“Yesterday, I was humbled to attend a historic meeting at the White House that centered on developing policy solutions to the intractable challenges presented by racial tension, police/community relations, poverty, and the importance that every citizen has confidence in the system of justice.  A diverse group of law enforcement, civil rights activists, faith community members, elected officials and administration officials echoed the collective sense of urgency expressed by President Obama, Vice President Biden and Attorney General Holder.

We discussed the fact that we must be committed to changing policy in a way that positively impacts people’s lives while giving law enforcement officers the training, tools and support needed to do an effective job on behalf of citizens. We agreed that both law enforcement officers and community members have a right to expect to go home to their families at the end of the day and to suggest strategies around community policing, responsible use of the 1033 program, and the utility of technology to aid law enforcement and citizens alike.

The most significant aspect of this gathering was that the individuals present gathered with a mind to work and with the understanding that if we are diligent, our work has the potential to positively impact lives and change the course of this country.  While we understand the gravity of the all of the circumstances related to the lives and deaths of Michael Brown and too many other like him, we are confident that by working under clear guidance provided by the President, we can improve the state of police/community relations in this country and peel away at the layers of poverty and its by-products.  Once again, our President has distinguished himself as a leader who is willing to tackle difficult issues even when it is not politically expedient or comfortable,"  the mayor said.
In August, President Obama ordered a review of federal funding and programs that provide equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies (LEAs). Today, the Obama Administration released its Review: Federal Support for Local Law Enforcement Equipment Acquisition, and the President is also taking a number of steps to strengthen community policing and fortify the trust that must exist between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve.



White House Review: Federal Support for Local Law Enforcement Equipment Acquisition

The White House released its review which provides details on the programs that have expanded over decades across multiple federal agencies that support the acquisition of equipment from the federal government to LEAs.  During the course of its review, the White House explored whether existing federal programs:


  • provide LEAs with equipment that is appropriate to the needs of their communities,
  • ensure that LEAs have adequate policies in place for the use of the equipment and that personnel are properly trained and certified to employ the equipment they obtain, and
  • encourage LEAs to adopt organizational and operational practices and standards that prevent misuse/abuse of the equipment.


The report finds a lack of consistency in how federal programs are structured, implemented and audited, and informed by conversations with stakeholders, identifies four areas of further focus that could better ensure the appropriate use of federal programs to maximize the safety and security of police officers and the communities they serve:

 1) Local Community Engagement
 2) Federal Coordination and Oversight
 3) Training Requirements
 4) The Community Policing Model

Consistent with the recommendations in the report, the President instructed his staff to draft an Executive Order directing relevant agencies to work together and with law enforcement and civil rights and civil liberties organizations to develop specific recommendations within 120 days.  Some broad examples of what process improvements agencies might implement as a result of further collaborative review include:


  • Develop a consistent list of controlled property allowable for acquisition by LEAs and ensure that all equipment on the list has a legitimate civilian law enforcement purpose.
  • Require local civilian (non-police) review of and authorization for LEAs to request or acquire controlled equipment.


Mandate that LEAs which participate in federal equipment programs receive necessary training and have policies in place that address appropriate use and employment of controlled equipment, as well as protection of civil rights and civil liberties.  Agencies should identify existing training opportunities and help LEAs avail themselves of those opportunities, including those offered by the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) and the International Association of Law Enforcement Standards and Training.


  • Require after-action analysis reports for significant incidents involving federally provided or federally-funded equipment.
  • Harmonize federal programs so that they have consistent and transparent policies.
  • Develop a database that includes information about controlled equipment purchased or acquired through Federal programs.


Task Force on 21st Century Policing
The President similarly instructed his team to draft an executive order creating a Task Force on 21st Century Policing, and announced that the Task Force will be chaired by Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey, who also serves as President of the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association, and Laurie Robinson, professor at George Mason University and former Assistant Attorney General for DOJ’s Office of Justice Programs.  The Task Force will include, among others, law enforcement representatives and community leaders and will operate in collaboration with Ron Davis, Director of DOJ’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office. The Task Force will build on the extensive research currently being conducted by COPS; will examine, among other issues, how to promote effective crime reduction while building public trust; and will be directed to prepare a report and recommendations within 90 days of its creation.

Community Policing Initiative
The President also proposes a three-year $263 million investment package that will increase use of body-worn cameras, expand training for law enforcement agencies (LEAs), add more resources for police department reform, and multiply the number of cities where DOJ facilitates community and local LEA engagement. As part of this initiative, a new Body Worn Camera Partnership Program would provide a 50 percent match to States/localities who purchase body worn cameras and requisite storage.  Overall, the proposed $75 million investment over three years could help purchase 50,000 body worn cameras. The initiative as a whole will help the federal government efforts to be a full partner with state and local LEAs in order to build and sustain trust between communities and those who serve and protect these communities.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

President Obama Speaks in Chicago About His Action on Immigration

Pres. Barack Obama at  Copernicus Community Center Nov. 25 2014. Photo credit: Leslie Jones McCloud, Imadeamesss.com

Monday, November 24, 2014

The President Speaks on Fixing America's Broken Immigration System







Three critical elements of the President’s executive actions are:



·         Cracking Down on Illegal Immigration at the Border:  The President’s actions increase the chances that anyone attempting to cross the border illegally will be caught and sent back.  Continuing the surge of resources that effectively reduced the number of unaccompanied children crossing the border illegally this summer, the President’s actions will also centralize border security command-and-control to continue to crack down on illegal immigration.



·         Deporting Felons, Not Families: The President’s actions focus on the deportation of people who threaten national security and public safety. He has directed immigration enforcement to place anyone suspected of terrorism, violent criminals, gang members, and recent border crossers at the top of the deportation priority list.



·         Accountability – Criminal Background Checks and Taxes:  The President is also acting to hold accountable those undocumented immigrants who have lived in the US for more than five years and are parents of U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents.  By registering and passing criminal and national security background checks, millions of undocumented immigrants will start paying their fair share of taxes and temporarily stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation for three years at a time.



The President’s actions will also streamline legal immigration to boost our economy and will promote naturalization for those who qualify.



CRACKING DOWN ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION AT THE BORDER



To build on these efforts and to ensure that our limited enforcement resources are used effectively, the President has announced the following actions:
·         Shifting resources to the border and recent border crossers. Over the summer, DHS sent hundreds of Border Patrol agents and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel to the Southwest border, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) reordered dockets in immigration courts to prioritize removal cases of recent border crossers.  This continued focus will help keep our borders safe and secure.  In addition, Secretary Johnson is announcing a new Southern Border and Approaches Campaign Plan which will strengthen the efforts of the agencies who work to keep our border secure.  And by establishing clearer priorities for interior enforcement, DHS is increasing the likelihood that people attempting to cross the border illegally will be apprehended and sent back.

·         Streamlining the immigration court process. DOJ is announcing a package of immigration court reforms that will address the backlog of pending cases by working with DHS to more quickly adjudicate cases of individuals who meet new DHS-wide enforcement priorities and close cases of individuals who are low priorities. DOJ will also pursue regulations that adopt best practices for court systems to use limited court hearing time as efficiently as possible.

·         Protecting victims of crime and human trafficking as well as workers.  The Department of Labor (DOL) is expanding and strengthening immigration options for victims of crimes (U visas) and trafficking (T visas) who cooperate in government investigations.  An interagency working group will also explore ways to ensure that workers can avail themselves of their labor and employment rights without fear of retaliation.





DEPORTING FELONS, NOT FAMILIES



By setting priorities and focusing its enforcement resources, the Obama Administration has already increased the removal of criminals by more than 80%.  These actions build on that strong record by:

·         Focusing on the removal of national security, border security, and public safety threats.  To better focus on the priorities that matter, Secretary Johnson is issuing a new DHS-wide memorandum that makes clear that the government’s enforcement activity should be focused on national security threats, serious criminals, and recent border crossers.  DHS will direct all of its enforcement resources at pursuing these highest priorities for removal.



·         Implementing a new Priority Enforcement Program. Effectively identifying and removing criminals in state and local jails is a critical goal but it must be done in a way that sustains the community’s trust.  To address concerns from Governors, Mayors, law enforcement and community leaders which have undermined cooperation with DHS, Secretary Johnson is replacing the existing Secure Communities program with a new Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) to remove those convicted of criminal offenses.  DHS will continue to rely on biometric data to verify individuals who are enforcement priorities, and they will also work with DOJ’s Bureau of Prisons to identify and remove federal criminals serving time as soon as possible.



ACCOUNTABILITY – CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS AND TAXES



Every Democratic and Republican president since Dwight Eisenhower has taken executive action on immigration.  Consistent with this long history, DHS will expand the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to include more immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.  DHS will also create a new deferred action program for people who are parents of U.S. Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) and have lived in the United States for five years or longer if they register, pass a background check and pay taxes.



The President is taking the following actions to hold accountable certain undocumented immigrants:

·      

  Creating a mechanism that requires certain undocumented immigrants to pass a background check to make sure that they start paying their fair share in taxes. In order to promote public safety, DHS is establishing a new deferred action program for parents of U.S. Citizens or LPRs who are not enforcement priorities and have been in the country for more than 5 years.  Individuals will have the opportunity to request temporary relief from deportation and work authorization for three years at a time if they come forward and register, submit biometric data, pass background checks, pay fees, and show that their child was born before the date of this announcement.  By providing individuals with an opportunity to come out of the shadows and work legally, we will also help crack down on companies who hired undocumented workers, which undermines the wages of all workers, and ensure that individuals are playing by the rules and paying their fair share of taxes.



·         Expanding DACA to cover additional DREAMers. Under the initial DACA program, young people who had been in the U.S. for at least five years, came as children, and met specific education and public safety criteria were eligible for temporary relief from deportation so long as they were born after 1981 and entered the country before June 15, 2007.  DHS is expanding DACA so that individuals who were brought to this country as children can apply if they entered before January 1, 2010, regardless of how old they are today.  Going forward, DACA relief will also be granted for three years.



The President’s actions will also streamline legal immigration to boost our economy and promote naturalization by:

·         Providing portable work authorization for high-skilled workers awaiting LPR status and their spouses.  Under the current system, employees with approved LPR applications often wait many years for their visa to become available.  DHS will make regulatory changes to allow these workers to move or change jobs more easily.  DHS is finalizing new rules to give certain H-1B spouses employment authorization as long as the H-1B spouse has an approved LPR application.



·         Enhancing options for foreign entrepreneurs.  DHS will expand immigration options for foreign entrepreneurs who meet certain criteria for creating jobs, attracting investment, and generating revenue in the U.S., to ensure that our system encourages them to grow our economy.  The criteria will include income thresholds so that these individuals are not eligible for certain public benefits like welfare or tax credits under the Affordable Care Act.



·         Strengthening and extending on-the-job training for STEM graduates of U.S universities. In order to strengthen educational experiences of foreign students studying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) at U.S. universities, DHS will propose changes to expand and extend the use of the existing Optional Practical Training (OPT) program and require stronger ties between OPT students and their colleges and universities following graduation.



·         Streamlining the process for foreign workers and their employers, while protecting American workers. DHS will clarify its guidance on temporary L-1 visas for foreign workers who transfer from a company’s foreign office to its U.S. office. DOL will take regulatory action to modernize the labor market test that is required of employers that sponsor foreign workers for immigrant visas while ensuring that American workers are protected.



·         Reducing family separation for those waiting to obtain LPR status. Due to barriers in our system, U.S. citizens and LPRs are often separated for years from their immediate relatives, while they wait to obtain their LPR status. To reduce the time these individuals are separated, DHS will expand an existing program that allows certain individuals to apply for a provisional waiver for certain violations before departing the United States to attend visa interviews.

·    

   Ensuring that individuals with lawful status can travel to their countries of origin. DHS will clarify its guidance to provide greater assurance to individuals with a pending LPR application or certain temporary status permission to travel abroad with advance permission (“parole”).

·    

   Issuing a Presidential Memorandum on visa modernization. There are many ways in which our legal immigration system can be modernized to reduce government costs, eliminate redundant systems, reduce burdens on employers and families, and eliminate fraud. The President is issuing a Memorandum directing an interagency group to recommend areas for improvement.

·      

  Creating a White House Task Force on New Americans. The President is creating a White House Task Force on New Americans to create a federal strategy on immigrant integration.

·    

    Promoting Citizenship Public Awareness: DHS will launch a comprehensive citizenship awareness media campaign in the 10 states that are home to 75 percent of the overall LPR population. USCIS will also expand options for paying naturalization fees and explore additional measures to expand accessibility, including studying potential partial fee waiver for qualified individuals.

·    

   Ensuring U.S. Citizens Can Serve: To further our military’s needs and support recruitment efforts, DHS will expand an existing policy to provide relief to spouses and children of U.S. citizens seeking to enlist in the military, consistent with a request made by the Department of Defense.

President Obama Speaks on Immigration at Del Sol High School

Behind-The-Scenes Video: 100 Minutes: Countdown to a Presidential Address





Three critical elements of the President’s executive actions are:



·         Cracking Down on Illegal Immigration at the Border:  The President’s actions increase the chances that anyone attempting to cross the border illegally will be caught and sent back.  Continuing the surge of resources that effectively reduced the number of unaccompanied children crossing the border illegally this summer, the President’s actions will also centralize border security command-and-control to continue to crack down on illegal immigration.



·         Deporting Felons, Not Families: The President’s actions focus on the deportation of people who threaten national security and public safety. He has directed immigration enforcement to place anyone suspected of terrorism, violent criminals, gang members, and recent border crossers at the top of the deportation priority list.



·         Accountability – Criminal Background Checks and Taxes:  The President is also acting to hold accountable those undocumented immigrants who have lived in the US for more than five years and are parents of U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents.  By registering and passing criminal and national security background checks, millions of undocumented immigrants will start paying their fair share of taxes and temporarily stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation for three years at a time.



The President’s actions will also streamline legal immigration to boost our economy and will promote naturalization for those who qualify.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

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