Homeland Security

Suicide Nooses in Cells Prompt ICE Query From Elizabeth Warren, Democrats
Letters come after DHS inspector general found makeshift nooses in detention cells

Sen. Elizabeth Warren is leading a letter to the private companies that run ICE detention facilities. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A group of Senate Democrats want the private prison industry to explain whether it is complying with federal standards for housing at ICE immigration detention centers.

Led by Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the senators have written to CoreCivic and GEO group about their housing practices following reports from the inspector general at the Homeland Security Department.

Mitch McConnell Upbeat About Path Forward for Border Funding After Meeting With Trump
Senate majority leader was among Republicans huddling with the president on Thursday

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell met with President Donald Trump about border security funding on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Returning from a meeting with President Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was optimistic about a deal on finishing off remaining spending bills without a shutdown showdown over building a wall at the border with Mexico.

“We had a good discussion about funding the government and the other sort of end-of-year items, and we’re optimistic we’re going to be able to get that done, get the farm bill done and move on toward the conclusion of the session,” McConnell said.

Border Brawl on Display at Senators-White House Meeting Today
McConnell, Shelby trek to meet with Trump about wall funding

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., front left, will be heading to the White House to discuss year-end spending deals on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Key Republican senators head to the White House Thursday afternoon to meet with President Donald Trump, hoping to resolve a border brawl that could hold up a year-end spending package and lead to a partial government shutdown.

The White House session could make clear whether Trump is prepared to give any ground in his request for a $5 billion down payment on a southern border wall — or whether he’s prepared to trigger a shutdown if he doesn’t get his way. Senate appropriators have offered only $1.6 billion in their bipartisan version of a Homeland Security spending bill.

Pentagon, Homeland Security Helping Private Companies Defend Against Cyber Threats
Agreement signed in the weeks before the midterms

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Defense Secretary James Mattis have signed an agreement that is aimed at increasing defenses agains strategic cyber threats. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security reached an agreement in the weeks before the midterm elections to jointly defend the United States against strategic cyber threats, including offering assistance to private companies, top officials from both agencies told lawmakers on Wednesday.

“This agreement clarifies roles and responsibilities between” the Department of Defense and the DHS “to enhance U.S. government readiness to respond to cyber threats and establish coordinated lines of efforts to secure, protect, and defend the homeland,” DHS Assistant Secretary Jeanette Manfra told a joint hearing of the House Armed Services and House Homeland Security committees.

Despite Evidence of Chaos, Trump Says White House ‘Running Very Smoothly’
But president ignores advice by lashing out at Special Counsel Mueller

President DonaldTrump heads for Marine One on the White House's South Lawn. On Thursday, he denied chaos has returned to the West Wing - then lashed out at Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III. (Photo by John T. Bennett/CQ Roll Call)

Despite evidence to the contrary, President Donald Trump on Thursday denied chaos has returned to the West Wing — then immediately fired off a broadside against Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

Trump was visibly agitated during a weekend diplomatic trip to Paris, including frustration with aides who advised that him canceling a Saturday trip to a cemetery where nearly 2,000 U.S. soldiers who died in World War I are buried would not become a major news story. It did and Trump reportedly let his staff know about his frustration.

The Cabinet Secretary Who Should Have Known Better
Nielsen’s loyalty, harsh immigration policies were apparently not enough for Trump

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen will be mostly remembered as the smiling public face of the heartless family-separation policy at the border, Shapiro writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — As a result of the natural tumult of politics along the corridors of power, Washington has always been filled with ambitious men and women plotting their next career move. This is Cinderella City where a few adroit steps can propel an anonymous staffer to the Cabinet in a golden coach.

At first glance, that is the story of 46-year-old Kirstjen Nielsen, who is nearing her first anniversary as secretary of Homeland Security. Championed by Donald Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly — for whom she had worked at DHS and in the White House — Nielsen was put in charge in late 2017 of a sprawling Cabinet department with nearly a quarter of a million employees.

In Appropriations Endgame, All Roads Lead to Border Wall
Dec. 7 funding deadline fast approaching

Border Patrol vehicles stand guard along the United States-Mexico border fence in on Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014. The fence runs through the cities of Calexico, Calif., and Mexicali on the Mexico side. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sooner or later, President Donald Trump will have to confront the political reality that Congress is extremely unlikely to provide the $5 billion he wants to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

That realization has to occur in less than a month, with the House and Senate both in session for only 12 legislative days before the current stopgap funding measure expires Dec. 7.

Coast Guard Bill Returns ‘Delta Queen’ Steamboat to Spotlight
Senate reauthorization measure would exempt boat from safety regulations

A provision in the Senate’s Coast Guard authorization bill would allow the Delta Queen, a wooden steamboat, to operate as an overnight cruise ship despite safety concerns. (Al Behrman/AP file photo)

Senate votes this week will help determine whether a 91-year-old wooden steamboat can be revived as an overnight river cruise ship — even though the Department of Homeland Security calls that prospect an “unacceptable” fire risk.

A provision buried deep in a recently modified version of the Senate’s Coast Guard authorization bill would exempt the Delta Queen paddle wheel boat from federal law and Coast Guard regulations that require vessels with overnight accommodations for 50 or more passengers to be made of fireproof materials. The boat’s owner envisions the vessel as a Mississippi River cruise vessel for up to 174 passengers.

Trump Predicts ‘Deal-Making,’ Many Fights Ahead With Democrats
First up, both sides face border funding test in lame-duck session

President Donald Trump talks to reporters Wednesday, the day after the midterm elections. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump appears ready to make some deals — except when he’s threatening Democrats with “warlike” tactics.

Despite losing the House and several governorships in states that could be key for Trump’s 2020 re-election prospects, the president used a press conference last week to send widely divergent messages to lawmakers about just how much he wants to get done in the lame-duck remainder of the 115th Congress and after the 116th is seated in early January.

Trump Rule Would Bar Asylum Claims by Migrants at Border
Officials claim system is ‘overwhelmed’

U.S. Border Patrol agents pause after chasing and detaining an undocumented immigrant on November 6 in McAllen, Texas. Border Patrol agents on the ground, assisted by a helicopter unit of U.S. Air and Marine Operations agents, detained a group of immigrants who had crossed the border illegally from Mexico. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

The Trump administration is moving to block undocumented immigrants from seeking asylum in the U.S. unless they present themselves at a port of entry, senior administration officials said.

Under the new policy, migrants apprehended illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border between ports of entry will not be eligible to seek asylum, said the officials, who spoke to reporters on background because they were not authorized to speak publicly.