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Trump Orders Halt to ‘Catch and Release,’ But There’s a Catch

Among the long list of directives included in the executive order President Trump signed on Wednesday on border security and immigration enforcement was a provision to end the practice known as “catch and release.”

Specifically, the order directs the secretary of Homeland Security to “immediately take all appropriate actions to ensure” that any non-citizens caught in the country in violation of immigration law be apprehended until they can be deported:

“The Secretary shall issue new policy guidance to all Department of Homeland Security personnel regarding the appropriate and consistent use of lawful detention authority under the INA, including the termination of the practice commonly known as "catch and release," whereby aliens are routinely released in the United States shortly after their apprehension for violations of immigration law.

It sounds simple enough, but it’s a problem lawmakers and Homeland Security officials have struggled to cope with for more than a dozen years. Back in 2004, Government Executive highlighted the myriad challenges inherent in arresting and detaining immigrants, adjudicating their cases and then deporting them. It takes a lot of skilled personnel—law enforcement officers; detention facility operators; immigration judges, of which there is a severe shortage; and a deportation force...

‘Patriots Day’ Shines a Spotlight on Federal-State-Local Law Enforcement Radio Woes

Beginning on Friday, theaters across the country will return willing viewers to the trauma of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing via the new movie thriller “Patriots Day.”

The cast of notables includes Kevin Bacon (as FBI agent in charge Richard DesLauriers), John Goodman (as Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis) and Mark Wahlberg (as a composite of real characters in Boston police Sgt. Tommy Saunders). They recreate the tick-tock of the four-day hunt for the domestic terrorists whose pressure-cooker bombs caused three deaths and injured more than 200.

Co-written and directed by Peter Berg, the movie effectively draws in the audience by introducing all the key players—victims, law enforcement professionals, politicians and tipsters—first in intimate situations in their homes with loved ones. Gradually the role each played in the whole-of-community response is made clear.

Among the many tense and poignant clashes the movie recreates are the inevitable tensions between differing law enforcement agencies—particularly as the all-powerful FBI bigfoots its way in to the manhunt. The Massachusetts governor, Boston mayor and police commissioner are at first reluctant to declare the crime an act of terrorism, which means the FBI comes in to set up the unified command center and...

Should DHS Move to Des Moines?

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, proposed an interesting idea Monday. As Eric Katz reported, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman plans to push for a resolution expressing the “sense of the House” that federal agencies should seek more opportunities to move their offices and employees outside of Washington.

Specifically, Chaffetz said, the Homeland Security Department could relocate to Des Moines, Iowa, and save the government a significant amount of money. We’re not sure how Chaffetz calculates the savings—DHS employees need to work closely with other Washington-based agencies and flights between Des Moines and D.C. could add up quickly, plus there’s that $10.2 billion new headquarters campus.

Nonetheless, the idea has us thinking outside the National Capital Region. Why not move more agencies out of the overcrowded, overpriced region? Do Agriculture and Interior need to be headquartered in Washington? Health and Human Services? There must be more than one National Park Service headquarters employee who’d happily trade the commute on Interstate 95 for one less enervating. For the most part, agency missions are not geographically bound. Why should their headquarters be?

Tell us what federal agency you’d move out of Washington, where you...

Lawmaker: New Congress Is 'A Moment to Reimagine the Federal Government'

For decades, political players have invoked the so-called “Washington Monument” strategy of threatening to close the capital city’s tallest structure to win a budget battle.

This Wednesday, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., head of the Republican conference, offered a new twist on the strategy as she appeared with Vice President-elect Mike Pence to usher in the 115th Congress.

“It’s a moment to think big. It’s a moment to reimagine the federal government and put people back at the center of it,” she said. “You know, just down the road is the Washington Monument, and right now it’s closed to visitors. You think about families, individuals that travel from all around the country. From Eastern Washington it’s a long trip, maybe a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit the Washington Monument, and yet they’ll be met with a ‘closed’ sign, because the federal government is going to take more than two years to fix an elevator.”

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Rogers likened the elevator repair to another roadblock in everyday American life. “This is how the government has come to operate,” she said...

Remembering Veterans on Pearl Harbor Day

Seventy-five years after Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor slaughtered 2,403 Americans and launched an unprepared nation into World War II, that conflict remains for many, the “good war.” The war was unavoidable (though the U.S. long tried to avoid it); the stakes and battle lines were clear, and it accelerated the American Century.

For good reason, public officials have used the occasion to laud the nation’s veterans. As Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., the ranking House Armed Services Committee member, put it:

“Today, we commemorate the heroism and sacrifice of the more than 2,400 Americans who lost their lives in the attack on Pearl Harbor. We will never forget them or their deeds, nor those of the millions more who fought to defeat fascism and forge a new international order that helped to secure peace around the globe. It is our profound duty to continue honoring them, by providing for our veterans and ensuring that we care for our men in women and uniform second to none.”

Few would disagree with Smith on the need to honor veterans. But in a nation where few serve in the military, too often that duty is tainted with...

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