Portland Riots July 24 Update

The situation in Portland for the past 55 straight days continues with violent anarchists rioting on the streets of Portland as federal law enforcement officers work diligently and honorably to enforce federal law; they do so by defending federal property and the lives of their fellow officers.


The situation in Portland for the past 55 straight days continues with violent anarchists rioting on the streets of Portland as federal law enforcement officers work diligently and honorably to enforce federal law; they do so by defending federal property and the lives of their fellow officers.

In response to nightly attempts to raze and damage the Hatfield Federal Courthouse, DHS made the decision earlier this week to put up a stronger fence around the building’s perimeter.

While more secure fencing has kept much of the criminal violence away from the courthouse building, it has now become a consistent target of the rioters, who try to tear it down and breach it using ropes and various tools.

As federal officers left the building to address attacks on the fence, night after night they have been met by rioters with hard projectiles, mortar style fireworks and lasers that can cause permanent blindness. Reports on the ground also indicate that rioters’ laser attacks have increased in intensity.

The Past 24 Hours:

By 9:15 p.m. local time over 1500 protestors had peacefully assembled near the Hatfield Federal Courthouse.

Around 10:49 p.m. local time the attack on federal property and officers began when the rioters began to use lasers that can cause permanent blindness against federal officers in the courthouse.

At 11:33 p.m. local time the crowd began to throw trash over the fence protecting the courthouse. At 11:38 p.m. local time federal officers arrived at the scene and immediately came under heavy laser attack.

At 11:45 p.m. local time it was reported that the first fireworks were launched at the courthouse.

At 11:49 p.m. rioters attempted to climb the fence, despite repeated warnings not to do so. Laser attacks continued against the courthouse and officers.

Shortly after midnight local time rioters set fire to trash that had been thrown over the fence earlier in the evening. Some rioters then threw objects over the fence and used leaf blowers to increase the spread of the flames. The rioters persisted with their mortar-style firework attacks.

Around 12:30 a.m. local time law enforcement officers were forced to use pepper balls as rioters began to rock the fence aggressively despite the officers’ repeated warnings to cease. Minutes later at 12:39 a.m., rioters started tying rope to the fence in an effort to tear it down. The rioters then began using tools such as hacksaws and bolt cutters in an effort to tear down the fence. When federal officers exited the courthouse building in response to the attempted destruction of the fence, they were immediately assailed with hard projectiles, mortar-style fireworks and lasers.

After officers had reentered the courthouse building, violent anarchists began attaching multiple ropes to the fence in an effort to pull it down while others continued to try to raze the fence with tools.

Around 1:10 a.m. local time rioters breached a door of the fence. When federal officers responded to the breach, they were once again attacked with mortar-style fireworks. Other rioters continued their attempts to push over the fence and lift the jersey barrier.

At 1:24 a.m. local time the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) tweeted that there was “violent and unlawful behavior occurring outside the Federal Courthouse” and warned people to “Stay out of the area.”

At 1:26 a.m. local time federal officers had to go outside of the fence in order to repel the rioters and thereby protect the courthouse and personnel inside. As they entered the street they were immediately assailed with mortar-style fireworks and hard projectiles. Around this time, knives that were previously thrown over the fence at federal officers were recovered.

At 2 a.m. local time PPB finally declared a riot and urged people to leave the area. A total of three fence panels had been torn down by rioters.

At 5:20 a.m. local time there were still fires in the vicinity of the courthouse.

At 5:30 a.m. local time violent opportunists were observed attempting to take down additional fence panels. Pepper balls were deployed but protesters successfully breached the fence.

At 5:50 a.m. local time, officers deployed to extinguish a fire that had been started by the crowd and were assaulted yet again with fireworks and projectiles. The officers moved back inside the building.

DHS officers conducted 7 total arrests resulting from the night’s violence.

One injury to a DHS officer has been reported and no injuries to protestors or rioters have been reported.

Blogs to Follow:

DHS.gov (July 2020) Portland Riots Read-out: July 24

DHS Announces Imposition of Visa Sanctions on Burundi

Earlier this week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in coordination with the Department of State, announced the imposition of visa sanctions on Burundi due to lack of cooperation in accepting its citizens and nationals ordered removed from the United States.


Burundi Has Failed to Accept Return of Nationals Subject to Removal Orders

Earlier this week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in coordination with the Department of State, announced the imposition of visa sanctions on Burundi due to lack of cooperation in accepting its citizens and nationals ordered removed from the United States.

Pursuant to his authority under Section 243(d) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf notified Secretary of State Michael Pompeo that the Government of Burundi has denied or unreasonably delayed accepting its citizens and nationals ordered removed from the United States.

As a result, Secretary of State Pompeo has ordered consular officers to implement visa restrictions on certain categories of visa applicants. The suspension will remain in place until the Secretary of Homeland Security notifies the Secretary of State that cooperation on removals has improved to an acceptable level.

The decision to sanction a recalcitrant country is not taken lightly.

DHS makes significant efforts, in collaboration with the Department of State, to encourage countries to accept the prompt, lawful return of their citizens or nationals who are subject to removal from the United States. Those efforts include diplomatic communications at the highest levels of government.

The U.S. Government stands ready to renew efforts with the Government of Burundi to facilitate the removal of Burundian nationals subject to final orders of removal.

As a general matter, countries that refuse to issue travel documents frustrate the United States’ removal process as enacted by Congress in the INA, and such countries also fail to meet their international obligations to take back their nationals who have been ordered removed.

“This announcement is about ensuring the safety of the American people and upholding the rule of law. Given that Burundi has failed to cooperate with the United States on these serious matters of immigration and public safety, we have no choice but to impose sanctions. As the leadership changes for Burundi, we’re hopeful for a renewed commitment to cooperation between our nations for the benefit of each country’s citizens. We look forward to future discussions to resolve this ongoing issue,” said Secretary Chad F. Wolf.

Further, based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Zadvydas v. Davis, with narrow exceptions, aliens with final orders of removal, including aliens determined to pose a threat to the community or considered a flight risk, may not be detained beyond a presumptively reasonable period of six months if there is no “significant likelihood of removal in the reasonably foreseeable future.”

By delaying or refusing to issue travel documents to their citizens and nationals, the most common of which is a passport, countries that refuse to accept their citizens and nationals within that period have forced U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to release thousands of dangerous criminals into communities across the United States. Without a travel document issued by an alien’s home country to confirm identity and nationality, ICE cannot complete the removal process, with very limited exceptions.

Due to lack of travel document issuance, ICE continues to be compelled to release Burundian nationals into U.S. communities, some with serious criminal convictions, including violent offenses and drug convictions.

Specific sanctions effective June 12, 2020 are listed below:

As of June 12, 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Bujumbura, Burundi has discontinued issuance of all nonimmigrant visas (NIVs) for Burundian citizens and nationals applying in Burundi except for A1, A2, C2, G1, G2, G3, G4, NATO1, NATO2, NATO3, NATO4, NATO5, and NATO6 visas, and other whose travel is covered by Section 11 of the U.N. Headquarters Agreement, subject to limited exceptions.

DHS.gov (June 2020) DHS Announces Imposition of Visa Sanctions on Burundi

Former Acting Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Indicted on Theft of Government Property and Scheme to Defraud the United States Government

A federal grand jury in the District of Columbia returned a 16-count indictment against a former Acting Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and a former subordinate for their alleged theft of proprietary software and confidential databases from the U.S. government as part of a scheme to defraud the U.S. government.


A federal grand jury in the District of Columbia returned a 16-count indictment against a former Acting Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and a former subordinate for their alleged theft of proprietary software and confidential databases from the U.S. government as part of a scheme to defraud the U.S. government.

Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Shea for the District of Columbia, DHS Inspector General Joseph V. Cuffari and Inspector General Tammy L. Whitcomb for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) made the announcement.

The indictment charges Charles K. Edwards, 59, of Sandy Spring, Maryland, and Murali Yamazula Venkata, 54, of Aldie, Virginia, with conspiracy to commit theft of government property and to defraud the United States, theft of government property, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft.  The indictment also charges Venkata with destruction of records.

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According to the allegations in the indictment, from October 2014 to April 2017, Edwards, Venkata, and others executed a scheme to defraud the U.S. government by stealing confidential and proprietary software from DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG), along with sensitive government databases containing personal identifying information (PII) of DHS and USPS employees, so that Edwards’s company, Delta Business Solutions, could later sell an enhanced version of DHS-OIG’s software to the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Agriculture at a profit. 

Although Edwards had left DHS-OIG in December 2013, he continued to leverage his relationship with Venkata and other DHS-OIG employees to steal the software and the sensitive government databases.

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The indictment further alleges that, in addition to stealing DHS-OIG’s software and the sensitive government databases, Venkata and others also assisted Edwards by reconfiguring his laptop so that he could properly upload the stolen software and databases, provided troubleshooting support whenever Edwards required it, and helped him build a testing server at his residence with the stolen software and databases, which contained PII. 

As further part of the alleged scheme, Edwards retained software developers in India for the purpose of developing his commercial alternative of DHS-OIG’s software.

The indictment is the result of an ongoing investigation by DHS-OIG and USPS-OIG and is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Victor R. Salgado of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney David B. Kent of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.

An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. 

Justice.gov (March, 2020) Former Acting Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Indicted on Theft of Government Property and Scheme to Defraud the United States Government

DHS Implements Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds Final Rule

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security today implemented the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds final rule. Under the final rule, DHS will look at the factors required under the law by Congress, like an alien’s age, health, family status, assets, resources, and financial status, education and skills, among others, in order to determine whether the alien is likely at any time to become a public charge.


The U.S. Department of Homeland Security today implemented the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds final rule. Under the final rule, DHS will look at the factors required under the law by Congress, like an alien’s age, health, family status, assets, resources, and financial status, education and skills, among others, in order to determine whether the alien is likely at any time to become a public charge.

The rule now applies nationwide, including in Illinois. 

Self-sufficiency is a long-standing principle of immigration law. Since the 1800s, inadmissibility based on public charge has been a part of immigration law. Since 1996, federal laws have stated that aliens seeking to come to or remain in the United States, temporarily or permanently, must be self-sufficient and rely on their own capabilities and the resources of family, friends, and private organizations instead of public benefits. 

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“President Trump continues to deliver on his promise to the American people to enforce our nation’s immigration laws. After several judicial victories, DHS will finally begin implementing the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds final rule,” said Ken Cuccinelli, the acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. “This rule enforces longstanding law requiring aliens to be self-sufficient, reaffirming the American ideals of hard work, perseverance and determination. It also offers clarity and expectations to aliens considering a life in the United States and will help protect our public benefit programs.”

The final rule defines “public charge” as an alien who has received one or more public benefits (as defined in the rule) for more than 12 months, in total, within any 36-month period. 

The final rule defines “public benefits” to include any cash benefits for income maintenance, Supplemental Security Income, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, most forms of Medicaid and certain housing programs.

Applicants for adjustment of status who are subject to the final rule must show that they are not likely at any time to become a public charge by submitting a Form I-944, Declaration of Self-Sufficiency, when they file their Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

To determine whether an alien is inadmissible on the public charge grounds, USCIS will not consider, and applicants and petitioners do not need to report, the application for, certification or approval to receive, or receipt of certain previously excluded non-cash public benefits (such as SNAP, most forms of Medicaid, and public housing) before Feb. 24, 2020. Similarly, USCIS will not consider as a heavily weighted negative factor receipt of previously included public benefits (such as SSI and TANF) before Feb. 24, 2020, in a public charge inadmissibility determination. 

The final rule requires most aliens seeking to extend their nonimmigrant stay or change their nonimmigrant status to show that, since obtaining the nonimmigrant status they seek to extend or change, they have not received public benefits (as defined in the final rule) for more than 12 months, in total, within any 36-month period beginning Oct. 15, 2019. Due to litigation-related delays in the final rule’s implementation, DHS is applying this requirement as though it refers to Feb. 24, 2020 rather than Oct. 15, 2019.

Therefore, with respect to applying the public benefits condition to applications and petitions for extension of nonimmigrant stay and change of nonimmigrant status, DHS will not consider, and applicants and petitioners need not report an alien’s receipt of any public benefits before Feb. 24, 2020.  

Certain classes of aliens are exempt from the public charge ground of inadmissibility (such as refugees, asylees, certain VAWA self-petitioners, U petitioners, and T applicants) and therefore, are not subject to the Final Rule. 

After today, USCIS will reject prior editions of affected forms, including in Illinois where the rule remained enjoined until Feb. 21, 2020, when the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay of the statewide injunction.

If USCIS receives an application or petition for immigration benefits using prior editions of the forms postmarked on or after Feb. 24, 2020, then USCIS will inform the applicant or petitioner of the need to submit a new application or petition using the correct forms. For applications and petitions that are sent by commercial courier (such as UPS, FedEx and DHL), the postmark date is the date reflected on the courier receipt. 

DHS.gov (February, 2020) DHS Implements Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds Final Rule

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Raising the Global Travel Security Bar: DHS Announces New Travel Restrictions on Six Countries and Updated Process for Evaluating Foreign Country Compliance

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf announced that President Donald J. Trump signed a proclamation, which places new, tailored visa restrictions on six countries that failed to meet a series of security criteria, demonstrating that they could be a risk to the homeland.


Burma, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania Will Face New Restrictions

Today, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf announced that President Donald J. Trump signed a proclamation, which places new, tailored visa restrictions on six countries that failed to meet a series of security criteria, demonstrating that they could be a risk to the homeland.

Acting Secretary Wolf also announced that the Department has updated the methodology it uses to assess compliance with the security criteria established under Executive Order 13780 in 2017.

This enhanced review process raises the bar for global security by requiring nations to meet the Department’s stronger security standards and by making it clear to countries what they must do to meet those standards. The updated criteria enhance our screening and vetting capabilities and allow DHS to better identify terrorists and criminals attempting to enter the United States.

“The top responsibility of the President and the Department of Homeland Security is the safety and security of the American people, and these new vetting criteria accomplish that goal and are raising the bar for global security,” said Acting Secretary Wolf. “It is logical and essential to thoroughly screen and vet everyone seeking to travel or immigrate to the United States.

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However, there are some countries from which the U.S. does not receive the necessary information about its travelers and, as a result, pose a national security or public safety risk that warrants tailored travel restrictions.”

Wolf continued: “DHS has refined its robust security standards, including enhanced screening and vetting capabilities that allow us to better identify terrorists and criminals attempting to enter the United States. These screening and vetting capabilities are most effective when foreign governments contribute to our ability to verify a traveler’s identity and assess whether they pose a national security or public safety risk. For a small number of countries that lack either the will or the capability to adhere to these criteria, certain travel restrictions have become necessary to mitigate potential threats. The new, additional restrictions are not blanket restrictions. These tailored restrictions will make the U.S. safer and more secure. And countries that make the necessary improvements will have their restrictions removed accordingly, as was done in 2018.”

About the Refined Methodology

Pursuant to Executive Order 13780, DHS established identity-management, information sharing, national security, and public safety risk criteria all foreign governments are expected to adhere to in order to facilitate accurate and fair admissibility decisions under the Immigration and Nationality Act.

In its most recent review, DHS, in consultation with other departments and agencies, updated the methodology by which it reviews a foreign government’s performance. The update included refining and modifying specific performance metrics for each criteria, collecting additional data on foreign practices, and weighting criteria based on their degree of significance to U.S. national security. For example, DHS now considers whether a foreign government reports lost and stolen passports at least every 30 days, instead of considering whether they have ever shared such information. By reporting regularly, DHS officers can determine passport validity with higher confidence.

These changes give DHS a more detailed picture of a country’s compliance with the individual criteria and to hold them accountable for regular cooperation. In doing so, the updated methodology helps guide U.S. government discussions with foreign governments. Since implementing these measures, the Administration has recorded improvements in identity management and information sharing with multiple foreign governments, and because of this Administration’s actions, our international partners have raised their own baseline requirements.

About the New Restrictions

The Acting Secretary, in coordination with the Secretary of State, Attorney General, and Director of National Intelligence has conducted the fourth review required by Proclamation 9645. After further coordination with the other members of the cabinet and the National Security Council, the Acting Secretary submitted his recommendations to the President on September 13, 2019.

The travel restrictions imposed by the President today are tailored to the country-specific deficiencies identified during the review process and an assessment of travel-related risk. The new restrictions imposed by the President are less restrictive than the existing restrictions. Like the seven countries that continue to face travel restrictions pursuant to Proclamation 9645, the six additional countries added for restrictions are among the worst performing in the world; however, there are prospects for near-term improvement for these six countries. Each has a functioning government and each maintains productive relations with the United States. In each case and consistent with those restrictions imposed in 2017, the President has imposed specific travel restrictions to mitigate the risks posed. The restrictions imposed by this proclamation reflect the U.S. government’s greater confidence that these countries can make meaningful improvements in a reasonable period of time.

If that expectation is met, the President may remove travel restrictions at any time. Conversely, the President has also determined that if improvements are not made, additional restrictions may be added. Those travelers who have already been issued visas by the U.S. government will not be affected by the new restrictions.

Newly Imposed Restrictions

Burma: Burma has begun to engage with the United States on a variety of identity-management and information-sharing issues, but it does not comply with the established identity-management and information-sharing criteria assessed by the performance metrics.

Suspension of entry for Immigrants, except as Special Immigrants whose eligibility is based on having provided assistance to the U.S. Government.

Eritrea: Eritrea does not comply with the established identity-management and information-sharing criteria assessed by the performance metrics.

Suspension of entry for Immigrants, except as Special Immigrants whose eligibility is based on having provided assistance to the U.S. Government.

Kyrgyzstan: Kyrgyzstan does not comply with the established identity-management and information-sharing criteria assessed by the performance metrics.

Suspension of entry for Immigrants, except as Special Immigrants whose eligibility is based on having provided assistance to the U.S. Government.

Nigeria: Nigeria does not comply with the established identity-management and information-sharing criteria assessed by the performance metrics.

Suspension of entry for Immigrants, except as Special Immigrants whose eligibility is based on having provided assistance to the U.S. Government.

Sudan: Sudan generally does not comply with our identity management performance metrics and presents a high risk, relative to other countries in the world, of terrorist travel to the United States.

Suspension of entry for Diversity Immigrants, as described in section 203(c) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1153(c).

Tanzania: Tanzania does not comply with the established identity-management and information-sharing criteria assessed by the performance metrics.

Suspension of entry for Diversity Immigrants, as described in section 203(c) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1153(c).

The remarks as prepared can be found here: www.dhs.gov/news/2020/01/31/2020-travelvisa-restrictions

DHS.gov (February, 2020)  Raising the Global Travel Security Bar: DHS Announces New Travel Restrictions on Six Countries and Updated Process for Evaluating Foreign Country Compliance