USCIS Rule Strengthens Employment Eligibility Requirements for Asylum Seekers

Source: US Department of Homeland Security

Headline: USCIS Rule Strengthens Employment Eligibility Requirements for Asylum Seekers

USCIS today announced a regulatory change to deter aliens from illegally entering the United States and from filing frivolous, fraudulent, or otherwise non-meritorious claims for asylum to obtain an employment authorization document. This rule does not alter asylum eligibility criteria in any way and will be effective on Aug. 25.

USCIS Publishes Interim Final Rule Implementing the Northern Mariana Islands U.S. Workforce Act of 2018

Source: US Department of Homeland Security

Headline: USCIS Publishes Interim Final Rule Implementing the Northern Mariana Islands U.S. Workforce Act of 2018

On May 14, 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will publish an interim final rule (IFR) implementing the Northern Mariana Islands U.S. Workforce Act of 2018, which protects U.S. workers in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and ensures that U.S. workers will not be displaced or encounter a competitive disadvantage for employment compared to non-U.S. workers.

DHS Offers Flexibilities to Increase Food Security, Stabilize U.S. Supply Chain During COVID-19

Source: US Department of Homeland Security

Headline: DHS Offers Flexibilities to Increase Food Security, Stabilize U.S. Supply Chain During COVID-19

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced a temporary final rule to change certain H-2B requirements to help support the U.S. food supply chain, maintain essential infrastructure operations and reduce the impact from the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency.  

DHS and USDA Move to Protect American Farmers and Ensure Continued Flow of America’s Food Supply

Source: US Department of Homeland Security

Headline: DHS and USDA Move to Protect American Farmers and Ensure Continued Flow of America’s Food Supply

The Department of Homeland Security, with the support of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), has announced a temporary final rule to change certain H-2A requirements to help U.S. agricultural employers avoid disruptions in lawful agricultural-related employment, protect the nation’s food supply chain, and lessen impacts from the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency.

USCIS Launches New Online Form for Reporting Fraud

Source: US Department of Homeland Security

Headline: USCIS Launches New Online Form for Reporting Fraud

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today launched a new online tip form to help the public provide the agency with information about immigration fraud. The new online form, available on the USCIS public website, prompts the form user for the information that the USCIS’ fraud investigators need to investigate allegations of immigration benefit fraud or abuse.

Arizona Department Of Health Services Releases School Benchmarks

Source: US State of Arizona

Benchmarks To Serve As A Guide For Schools As They Determine Plans For Reopening

PHOENIX⁠ — 

With the health of students, teachers, and staff as their top priority, the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) and the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) have partnered in the development of guidance to support the safe reopening of in-person learning in Arizona schools. 

Per Governor Ducey’s June 23 Executive Order, Arizona: Open for Learning, ADHS has established benchmarks in collaboration with local public health officials and education partners to guide decisions by public school districts and charter schools on when to offer virtual, hybrid, or in-person instruction amid the current COVID-19 pandemic. Benchmarks are classified into minimal, moderate, and substantial transmission categories as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and align with the Arizona Department of Education’s Roadmap for Reopening Schools

In the newly released Benchmarks for Safely Returning to In-Person Instruction, ADHS recommends schools consider county-specific public health benchmarks that provide recent information about community transmission. This document is designed to be used in conjunction with ADE’s Roadmap. These include benchmarks around new cases, diagnostic test percent positivity, and COVID-19 related hospitalizations measured through syndromic surveillance. For initial reopening of a hybrid based model that offers both virtual and in-person learning, ADHS recommends the following county-level benchmarks:

  • Cases: a two-week decline in weekly average cases OR two weeks below 100 cases per 100,000 population
  • Diagnostic test percent positivity: two weeks with positivity below 7% 
  • COVID-19-Like-Illness Syndromic Surveillance: two weeks with less than 10% of hospital visits due to COVID-like illness  

“Our focus is ensuring that Arizona students and teachers have a safe and successful academic year, even though it may look different because of the ongoing pandemic,” Governor Ducey said. “We know the critical services that in-person instruction provides for our children. These benchmarks use public health data guided by recommendations from county, state, and federal experts to inform our schools on implementing a safe return to the classroom.”

A dashboard available at http://azhealth.gov/schoolsCOVID19 indicates whether counties meet the recommended benchmarks for initial reopening of in-person learning in schools. ADHS recommends that all three benchmarks fall into the moderate or minimal transmission ranges before schools in a county consider a hybrid approach of virtual and in-person learning. When one or more benchmark categories are in the range of substantial transmission, ADHS recommends that schools work with their local health departments and start preparing for virtual learning. Data on the dashboard will be updated weekly on Thursdays. 

“The public health benchmarks released today by the Arizona Department of Health Services provide our school communities much needed clarity on the safe reopening of schools,” said Kathy Hoffman, Superintendent of Public Instruction. “While it is clear that Arizona is not currently ready to resume traditional in-person or hybrid learning, we now have clear goals for knowing when it is safer to return to the classroom amid COVID-19. I urge all school leaders to use these benchmarks to make safe decisions about learning in this school year.”

ADHS has developed materials offering schools guidance on subjects such as what to do when someone is found to have COVID-19 symptoms. For children, ADHS materials include instructions on wearing masks, washing hands, physical distancing, and understanding COVID-19 symptoms.

“As a mother and public health professional, I know that getting kids back in the classroom safely is important to their overall health,” said Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. “The level of COVID-19 transmission in the community is an important factor, along with the health of our health care system, in determining when it is safe to begin in-person instruction.”

The agency has also partnered with Embry Women’s Health and several Valley school districts to offer no cost testing for students, staff, their families, and the community. ADHS will continue to expand community testing throughout the state. 

For more information about schools and COVID-19, visit www.azhealth.gov/schoolsCOVID19.

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Former Milwaukee Alderman Sentenced to Prison for Wire Fraud

Source: US State of Wisconsin

Matthew D. Krueger, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced that earlier today Willie C. Wade (age: 57), a former Milwaukee alderman, was sentenced by United States District Judge Lynn Adelman to four (4) months in prison for executing a wire fraud scheme.  Following his term of imprisonment, Wade also must serve three (3) years on supervised release.

According to court filings, Wade obtained $30,000 in cash from a cooperating businessman by falsely claiming that he was negotiating on behalf of a current Milwaukee alderman to accept a bribe in exchange for a vote in favor of a license to operate a downtown strip club.  Court filings confirmed that the alderman was not aware of Wade’s representations and had never agreed to accept any bribe.

In imposing sentence, Judge Adelman explained that offenses like this are “extremely serious” as they can undermine public confidence in government by suggesting that public policy can be “bought and paid for.”  Judge Adelman found that even though there was no actual bribe, incarceration was necessary to deter others and to convey the importance of maintaining trust in government.

Consistent with the terms of a plea agreement filed in the case, Judge Adelman ordered Wade to repay the money he received as a condition of his supervised release, and Wade made an initial payment of $10,000 toward this obligation before his sentencing hearing.

This case was investigated by the FBI and was assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Richard G. Frohling for prosecution.

The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.

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For further information contact: Public Information Officer Kenneth Gales                        

(414) 297-1700

 

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MDC invites public to Aug. 14 night hike at Cape Girardeau Nature Center

Source: US State of Missouri

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – The outdoors world becomes a different world at night. People can learn more about nature after dark on a night hike at the free Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) program “Discover Nature: Night Hike.” This program, which will consist of an evening hike guided by MDC staff along the Paw Paw Valley Trail at MDC’s Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center will be from 8-9 p.m. on Aug. 14.

Participants in this program will be required to observe social distancing (between individuals and family groups) and people ages 9 and up will be required to wear a face covering.

The hike will be approximately one mile and is rated moderate to steep. Participants are encouraged to bring flashlights. During a portion of the hike activities, flashlights will be required to be turned off so participants can get a true experience of the nocturnal outdoors world around them.

People can register for the program at mdc-event-web.s3licensing.com/Event/EventDetails/173927

Though this program is free, registration is required. MDC’s Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center is located at 2289 County Park Drive. For more information, contact 573-290-5218.

Staff at MDC facilities across the state are holding programs. A listing of these programs can be found at mdc.mo.gov/regions.

Sen. Justin Brown’s Legislative Column for Aug. 6, 2020

Source: US State of Missouri

Beginning the Fight Against Crime

An extra legislative session called by the governor, which began July 27, continued this week. The General Assembly is tasked with passing a package of legislation to address violent crime in Missouri’s largest cities. The Senate Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Policy Committee heard testimony on Senate Bill 1 last week and sent the legislation onto the full Senate this week. As a member of that committee, I listened as a number of law enforcement officials and prosecutors spoke in favor of the governor’s proposals.

Senate Bill 1 contains six specific measures to help police and prosecutors combat the alarming level of lawlessness Missouri is experiencing. The legislation will not end violence in St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield and elsewhere, but I believe the proposals the governor put forward will help, and I hope they can be approved during the brief time we have available during the extra session.

One of the reforms the governor proposed relates only to St. Louis, where the municipal police department has been understaffed for years. The department says it is currently short 142 officers – more than 10 percent below their full force of 1,348. Every newly hired police officer in St. Louis must reside within the city limits during their first seven years of employment. This residency requirement, I believe, discourages good cops from wanting to serve in the city. Senate Bill 1 removes this requirement.

Two other provisions of SB 1 address witness intimidation. The legislation eases rules regarding hearsay testimony so that statements from witnesses can be admitted into court when the witness is afraid to appear at the trial in person. The bill also establishes a special fund to help cover the cost of providing security for witnesses in criminal trials.

An individual who encourages a juvenile to commit a violent criminal act could be charged with endangering the welfare of a child if SB 1 becomes law. The measure also increases the penalty for knowingly selling or transferring a firearm to a minor without permission from the child’s guardian. In my opinion, both measures are aimed at criminal gangs who enlist juveniles. Finally, any juvenile charged with armed criminal action or unlawful use of a weapon would have to appear before a judge who will determine whether the child should be tried as an adult.

The Senate is expected to finish its work on the anti-crime bill this week, at which point the legislation will move to the House of Representatives. We’ll see how events unfold in the coming days.

In my opinion, these measures alone will not solve the alarming epidemic of violence in Missouri’s largest cities. More will need to be done, but I believe this legislation provides police and prosecutors valuable tools to address specific problems. As I listen to my colleagues and read news reports, I see there are many opinions about other possible solutions. I expect we will revisit this subject when the 101st General Assembly convenes in January.

It’s my honor to serve as your senator for the 16th District. If you have questions or need any assistance, please call my office at 573-751-5713 or log onto my webpage at https://www.senate.mo.gov/brown for more information.

Brown formally installed as 22nd Air Force Chief of Staff

Source: United States Air Force

Headline: Brown formally installed as 22nd Air Force Chief of Staff

In remarks following the formal “Change of Responsibility” ceremony in which he took over from retiring Gen. David L. Goldfein, the 21st Chief of Staff, Brown acknowledged an array of people who influenced his life. Among them were his wife, Sharene, and his parents, as well as a list of Air Force colleagues, including Goldfein and other “extraordinary leaders.”