U.S. Department of Homeland Security | KERA News

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Since his inauguration, President Donald Trump has kept his campaign promises of tougher immigration policies, leading to a constant flow of policy changes — from scaling back on programs like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to his “zero-tolerance” policy along the border that’s led to separation of parents and children attempting to cross into the U.S.

All of these individual actions amount to a broader strategy that is now becoming clear.

The Department of Defense plans to start building tent encampments on two military bases in Texas to house migrant families apprehended at the border. Construction is expected to begin after the July 4 holiday.

The Pentagon said in a statement that the Department of Homeland Security asked the Defense Department to house and care for an "alien family population" of up to 12,000 people.

The Trump administration has released its plan for reuniting children who have been separated from their parents as a result of the president's "zero tolerance" immigration policy, but in a fact sheet issued on Saturday, it provided no timeline for when those reunifications will happen.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen defended the administration's "zero tolerance" policy that calls for separating families who cross the border illegally, saying the undocumented immigrants shouldn't get special treatment.

"That's no different than what we do every day in every part of the United States — when an adult of a family commits a crime," she told NPR. "If you as a parent break into a house, you will be incarcerated by police and thereby separated from your family."

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen called a 200 percent spike in illegal border crossings in March compared with a year ago "a dangerous story" as she pressed lawmakers Wednesday to provide funding for President Trump's proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Nielsen appeared before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security to push for approval of the Trump administration's $47.5 billion FY 2019 budget request for her department, which includes $18 billion for the border wall.

Updated at 5:22 p.m. ET

President Trump is nominating Kirstjen Nielsen to be the next homeland security secretary, the White House announced Wednesday.

Nielsen would succeed now-White House chief of staff John Kelly in the position if confirmed by the Senate. She currently serves as Kelly's principal deputy chief of staff and was also his chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security.

The Department of Homeland Security put a notice in the wonky Federal Register that caught widespread attention this week: It plans to keep files on the social media activity of immigrants.

That touched off concern among immigrant rights groups that this was a new level of surveillance and an intrusion in their lives.

But Homeland Security officials say this is nothing new. In fact, the agency says, it has been collecting social media information on immigrants for years.

Updated at 4:50 p.m. ET

The Department of Homeland Security announced Tuesday that it will use its authority to bypass environmental laws and other regulations to "ensure the expeditious construction of barriers and roads" near the U.S.-Mexico border south of San Diego.

Updated 5:25 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is releasing more on its plans to crack down on illegal immigration, enforcing the executive orders President Trump issued in late January. Those orders called for increased border security and stricter enforcement of immigration laws.

The Department of Homeland Security issued the new rules on Tuesday, laid out in two documents signed by Secretary John Kelly.

Twelve Syrian refugees were expected to arrive in Texas on Monday, including a family of six in Dallas.

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As our devices get smarter, they also are at risk of more sophisticated cyber security attacks.

Yes, that car connected to the internet makes tracking trips and monitoring teen drivers easier, but it also means killing the motor with a few keystrokes is no longer science fiction.

Federal Halt On Immigration Executive Action Stalls Anti-Deportation Program

Feb 17, 2015
Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff's photostream / Flickr Creative Commons

WASHINGTON-- The Homeland Security Department is ceasing preparations for a program designed to shield millions of immigrants from deportation. That decision comes as a result of Monday's federal court ruling temporarily halting it.

Border Apprehensions In Texas Spiked In 2014

Dec 22, 2014
Doualy Xaykaothao / KERA News

Federal immigration agents apprehended nearly 97,000 more people trying to enter the U.S. illegally through Texas’ southern border during the 2014 fiscal year than they did in 2013, the Department of Homeland Security announced on Friday.

Joe Berti

State emergency officials say the West Fertilizer plant where an explosion killed 14 people was under no obligation to have an evacuation plan. A Homeland Security Hearing also revealed that other North Texas Counties store ammonium nitrate, a substance that was kept at the blast site.

Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw told lawmakers there are more than 1,000 facilities statewide that store it in some capacity

A University of Texas professor recently hacked into the GPS system of a drone. He was able to take control of the unmanned aircraft using less than $1,000 worth of equipment. Era Sundar reports on what this means for the future use of drones in the United States and how this could affect national security.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins wants to suspend the County’s Homeland Security Advisory Commission to study whether it’s needed at all. KERA’s BJ Austin says the move came as speakers lined up to oppose the re-appointment of Aaron McCarthy to the Commission.