Justice Dept. attorneys to step up immigration enforcement

The Federal Headlines is a daily compilation of the stories you hear discussed on Federal Drive with Tom Temin.

In today’s Top Federal Headlines, Attorney General Jeff Sessions met with Customs and Border Protection employees to assure them DOJ will be increasing focus on crimes related to illegal immigration.

  • The Justice Department has new priorities for its U.S. attorneys. Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke to Customs and Border Protection employees on the Arizona-Mexico border. But his new policy is for prosecutors. They’re supposed to step up prosecutions for transporting or harboring aliens, and those who enter the U.S. illegally a second time. He told attorneys to get tougher on gangs, identity thieves and assaults on law enforcement. Each U.S. attorney’s office must name a border security coordinator. (Department of Justice)
  • The federal hiring freeze is over, but agencies are now under pressure to reduce their workforces, improve employee performance management and restructure mission areas. The Office of Management and Budget released a 14-page memo detailing a series of short- and long-term steps to accomplish these goals. The first goal is June 30, when agencies must develop draft restructuring plans. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Office of Managment and Budget’s memo to reshape the government builds on several existing initiatives. OMB is telling agencies to further streamline mission support functions in areas such as technology, HR, acquisition and financial management. In a new memo outlining plans to reshape the government, the administration said the use of federal shared services, outsourcing to the private sector and automating administrative processes is strongly encouraged for these areas. OMB also is pushing agencies to use multiple award contracts such as the GSA schedules or governmentwide acquisition contracts as much as possible. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission said it sees the presidential transition as an opportunity to get its employees involved in engagement improvements. SEC rose from 27th to sixth among mid-sized agencies in the Best Places to Work rankings over the past five years. SEC Chief Human Capital Officer Lacey Dingman said the agency has been focusing on better training and communications. Its partnership with the National Treasury Employees Union has helped as well. (Federal News Radio)
  • More nominations are put forth by the president. Managing Director for Business Intelligence Services Marshall Billingslea is tapped to be Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing at the Treasury Department. Also, John Marshall Mitnick, Senior VP for the Heritage Foundation is nominated to General Counsel at the Homeland Security Department.
  • One senator is calling for a review of a potential Hatch Act violation committed by a White House aide. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) wrote to the Office of Special Counsel, asking the office to investigate a personal tweet from Dan Scavino, social media director for President Donald Trump, which encouraged the president’s supporters to defeat Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) in his primary. (Federal News Radio)
  • At least one person is dead and four others are hurt after an explosion at an Army ammunition plant in Missouri. The accident happened at the Lake City munitions facility near Kansas City. More than 1,800 workers were evacuated from the plant and are awaiting directions on whether it’s safe to return to work today. Army officials said the explosion happened in a building where chemicals are mixed, but they offered few other details on what caused the blast. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and OSHA are launching their own investigations. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Army cast off almost 700 soldiers in the second half of 2016. Until this year, the Army was trimming down its active-duty force. Now with the passage of the 2017 Nation Defense Authorization Act, it needs more active-duty soldiers. The Army needs about 1,000 new troops, but it still does not have the money to hire them from Congress. (Federal News Radio)
  • Four lawyers who work at Guantanamo Bay are suing the Defense Department, claiming it put them at risk of getting cancer. Reuters reports the complaint said the Navy never properly investigated whether environmental hazards at Camp Justice were linked to nine cancer cases since its 2008 opening, leaving the attorneys to choose between health and defending their clients. (Reuters)

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