2022 Year in Review: DHS Responded to Wide-Ranging Threats and Challenges, Built Capacity for the Future

DHS is, fundamentally, a department of partnerships. To better enable its partners to prevent and respond to acts of terrorism and targeted violence in their local communities, DHS focused much of its efforts on equipping its partners with the resources and tools they need to do so.

  • The Department launched the first-ever “DHS Intel” smartphone application, which provides law enforcement and first responders across the country with real-time mobile access to intelligence products.
  • The Department distributed $250 million in the Nonprofit Security Grant program, a $70 million increase in funding over the prior year. The grants help at-risk organizations prepare for and respond to terrorist attacks and targeted violence. New funding was focused particularly on high-risk faith-based institutions, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and LGBTQI+ non-profit organizations. The Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 budget will further increase funding to $305 million.
  • DHS announced over $20 million in Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention (TVTP) grants to 43 state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, non-profit organizations, and institutions of higher education in 20 states to establish or enhance capabilities to prevent targeted violence and terrorism, including domestic violent extremism, and to counter mobilization to violence that occurs online.
  • In FY 2022, the U.S. Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) delivered over 280 trainings and briefings to over 28,000 participants, the most in the NTAC’s history, including to state and local law enforcement, government officials, educators, mental health professionals, faith-based leaders, and workplace security managers.

The threat of cyberattacks from adverse nation states and criminal actors has only increased, and the attacks are greater in both sophistication and number. The Department is confronting these threats through its partnership with local governments, the private sector, and others.

  • The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) launched the “Shields Up” campaign to enable every organization —large and small— to protect against and respond to disruptive cyber incidents that could result from the U.S. response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. CISA hosted or participated in engagements reaching tens of thousands of partners and the Shields Up webpage has been visited hundreds of thousands of times.
  • As directed by President Biden’s Executive Order, DHS established the Cyber Safety Review Board (CSRB), a public-private group of industry and government cyber leaders, to conduct authoritative fact-finding and make recommendations to the community in response to cybersecurity incidents. In July, the CSRB released its first report, a review of the Log4j software vulnerability, and in December announced that it will next review Lapsus$, a hacker group known for cyber extortion.
  • As directed by President Biden’s National Security Memorandum on Improving Cybersecurity for Critical Infrastructure Control Systems, DHS released the first-ever cross sector Cybersecurity Performance Goals to help organizations of all sizes and capabilities prioritize their investments in cybersecurity, outlining the highest-priority baseline measures using easily understandable criteria such as cost, complexity, and impact.
  • DHS announced the $1 billion State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program, a first of its kind effort that will help state and local governments across the country better address cybersecurity risks and threats to information systems.
  • To enhance the cybersecurity of our critical infrastructure, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) developed a new security directive regulating designated passenger and freight railroad carriers, revised and reissued security directives for the nation’s critical pipelines, and took measures to improve cybersecurity in the aviation sector.

The Department took concrete steps and operationalized new strategies to address a surge in encounters at our Southern border, the result of an unprecedented level of migration throughout the Western Hemisphere and the world.

  • The Department launched a $60 million campaign to disrupt and dismantle human smuggling networks that led to the arrests of over 6,400 smugglers and the disruption of over 6,700 smuggling operations. This unprecedented initiative is part of a first-of-its kind Human Smuggling Task Force, in collaboration with regional partners, which surged over 1,300 personnel in Latin America and along the Southwest border.
  • DHS added over 3,000 processing personnel to the Southwest border, helping return Border Patrol Agents to the field. By adding processing personnel, implementing facilities improvements, and digitizing files and procedures, DHS reduced the time noncitizens spend in U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody by over 30%. CBP now has 23,000 Agents and Officers working along the Southwest border. The FY 2023 budget will allow DHS to hire 300 additional Border Patrol Agents, which will be the first increase since 2011.
  • DHS enforcement processes resulted in over 1.4 million noncitizens who crossed the border without a legal basis to stay in the United States being removed under Title 8 or expelled under Title 42 in FY 2022, more than any previous year.
  • DHS announced a new parole process that allows qualifying Venezuelans to fly directly to interior ports of entry lawfully and safely. Venezuelans who entered the United States without authorization were returned to Mexico. As a result, encounters of Venezuelan nationals at the Southwest border declined from 1,100 per day to an average of fewer than 100 per day in only a few weeks.
  • In its relentless fight against forced labor, DHS implemented the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, stood up the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force, and released the “Strategy to Prevent the Importation of Goods Mined, Produced, Or Manufactured With Forced Labor in the People’s Republic of China.”

The Department continues to rebuild the nation’s legal immigration system, removing barriers to relief and fulfilling the goals of programs that Congress passed long ago.

  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) welcomed more than 967,000 new United States citizens at more than 35,000 naturalization ceremonies in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and overseas military installations. This is the highest annual number of naturalizations in the last 15 years.
  • In coordination with the Department of State, USCIS used more than 281,000 employment-based visas in FY 2022, twice the typical statutory annual allotment, helping to address an acute labor shortage in the U.S.
  • USCIS provided nearly 142,000 supplemental H-2B seasonal non-agricultural temporary worker visas, including tens of thousands set aside for nationals of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Haiti.
  • DHS and the Department of Justice began implementing a new rule on asylum processing in May that aims to more efficiently adjudicate claims. Early results are promising: under the new process, the median time from filing to completion is 45 days compared to several years under the former process.
  • DHS codified a new public charge rule to ensure that individuals who access health benefits and supplemental government services that are legally available to them are not unjustly penalized in the immigration system for doing so.
  • DHS fought to preserve and fortify Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in the courts and codified the 2012 DACA policy in USCIS’ regulations  to protect DACA recipients to the fullest extent possible as the nation awaits Congressional action to provide permanent protections for Dreamers.
  • Through its leadership of the Family Reunification Task Force, DHS reunited more than 540 children with their families who were unjustly separated under the prior administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy. This effort continues to reach and reunite more families.

The effects of climate change have been evident in the increasing frequency and gravity of extreme weather events that have devastated communities across the country. Through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its other agencies, DHS has responded quickly in providing response and recovery assistance to the impacted communities.

The Department has executed on a wide range of actions designed to strengthen the organization, support its people, improve its processes, and better serve the American people.

  • DHS conducted a hiring sprint to increase the representation of newly-hired women in law enforcement or related occupations at DHS to 30% by 2023. As a result, the Department extended approximately 1,200 temporary job offers to law enforcement candidates, including 340 women, nearly four times more than the same period in 2021.
  • Transparency and accountability are a top priority of DHS. The Department responded to nearly 500,000 Freedom of Information Act requests, more than half those requested of the entire federal government in 2022.
  • DHS championed legislative efforts to modernize TSA pay structure, that would ensure TSA’s frontline workforce is paid at a level commensurate with their counterparts on the General Schedule pay scale.
  • As the federal agency with the greatest number of sworn law enforcement officers in the country, DHS rolled out the first of 30,000 fully electric federal law enforcement vehicles entered into service. This is the largest fleet of its kind in the federal government.
  • DHS designed a new Office of Homeland Security Statistics that will work with the Department’s Chief Data Officer to oversee the development of enterprise-wide standards for operational and statistical data and conduct independent reporting and analysis for all DHS mission domains.
  • DHS launched a hiring initiative recruiting hundreds of experts in digital user experience and design for the Customer Experience Program. This year, DHS worked to improve the overall experience for those accessing government services and benefits by accepting mobile driver’s licenses, reducing processing times for immigration benefits, and simplifying FEMA policies when applying for assistance.

For more information on the impact DHS delivers each day for the American people, visit DHS.gov/TodayDHSWill.

Originally published at https://www.dhs.gov/news/2022/12/29/2022-year-review-dhs-responded-wide-ranging-threats-and-challenges-built-capacity

originally published at Global News - Social Gov