As the President said in his State of the Union address, in the face of violent extremism, “we are responding with the strength of our communities.” A vast majority of people in every American community resoundingly reject violence, and this certainly includes the violent, al-Qaeda-style ideology that claims to launch attacks in the name of their widely rejected version of Islam. We must use these facts as a tool against the threat of homegrown violent extremism. In conjunction with these communities and with the Department of Justice and the Program Manager for the Information Sharing Environment, we have published guidance on best practices for community partnerships, which has been distributed to local law enforcement across the country. DHS also holds regular regional meetings – which include state and local law enforcement, state and local governments, and community organizations – in Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis. These regional meetings have enabled participants to provide and receive feedback on successful community-oriented policing and other programs aimed at preventing violence.
So we all have to do our part to have a system that works. At the end of the day, when it comes to immigration, people need to be able to trust the system. Americans need to know that their government is committed to enforcing the law and securing the border—and that it takes this responsibility seriously. Law enforcement needs to have better legal tools and the necessary resources to deal with border-related and immigration-related crime. Businesses must be able find the workers they need here in America, rather than having to move overseas. Immigrants need to be able to plan their lives—they need to know that once we reform the laws, we’re going to have a system that works, and that the contours of our immigration laws will last. And they need to know that they will have as many responsibilities as they do rights.
Pass ID is a bill that I support. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) worked with governors and other stakeholders to provide technical assistance in its drafting and—so the approach that Pass ID takes to fix REAL ID is one that I support. I think it makes sense. This is an important piece of national security legislation that is designed to help fulfill the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the Federal Government set security standards for driver’s licenses.