WASHINGTON – Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., Jan. 16, 2018. The hearing provides an opportunity for the people’s representatives to investigate and question the policies and actions of the executive branch. Official DHS photo by Jetta Disco.

WASHINGTON – 2.6.2018  Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen released the following statement on President Donald J. Trump’s signing of a National Security Presidential Memorandum to establish a National Vetting Center (NVC):

“As part of the President’s efforts to raise the global bar for security and protect Americans, we’ve put in place tougher vetting and tighter screening for all individuals seeking to enter the United States.  The National Vetting Center will support unprecedented work by DHS and the entire U.S. intelligence community to keep terrorists, violent criminals, and other dangerous individuals from reaching our shores.  This is yet another step towards knowing who is coming to the United States – that they are who they say they are and that they do not pose a threat to our nation.  Our frontline defenders need real-time information to protect our country, and the Center will ensure they are able to fuse intelligence and law enforcement data from across the government in one place to detect threats early.  As part of this effort, DHS and its partners will make certain that mechanisms are in place to ensure that the National Vetting Center is able to accomplish its mission while protecting individuals’ privacy, civil rights and civil liberties.”

The NVC, which will be housed within the Department of Homeland Security, will help fulfill the President’s requirement that departments and agencies improve their coordination and use of intelligence and other information in the vetting process.

On February 6, 2017, President Donald J. Trump signed a National Security Presidential Memorandum to establish a National Vetting Center (NVC), which will be led by the Department of Homeland Security. The NVC will coordinate the efforts of Federal officials to vet people seeking to enter or remain within our country.  It will help fulfill President Donald J. Trump’s requirement that departments and agencies improve their coordination and use of intelligence and other information to identify potential threats to national security, border security, homeland security, and public safety.

  • Ensuring the safety and security of the American people is the highest priority for this Administration.
  • This includes conducting vetting activities to identify individuals who present a threat to national security, border security, homeland security, or public safety.
  • The ad hoc nature of current Federal vetting efforts impedes our ability to keep up with today’s threats.
  • The President’s National Security Presidential Memorandum directs Federal departments and agencies to improve their coordination and use of intelligence and other information to identify potential threats to national security, border security, homeland security, and public safety.
  • As part of these efforts, the Administration will establish the NVC, led by the Department of Homeland Security, which will coordinate vetting efforts throughout the Federal Government and apply an integrated approach that leverages relevant information from across the Nation’s national security apparatus, consistent with law and policy.
  • The NVC will improve the Government’s ability to identify terrorists, criminals, and other nefarious actors, including those who seek a visa, visa waiver, or an immigration benefit, or a protected status; attempt to enter the United States; or are subject to an immigration removal proceedings.
  • The NVC will develop an integrated approach to use relevant information, as appropriate, from across the Federal Government to protect our Nation.
  • The NVC’s operations will be governed by a National Vetting Governance Board, which will establish both a dedicated legal working group and a separate dedicated privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties working group to ensure compliance with applicable law and protect individuals’ privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties.
  • The President has directed the development of an implementation plan to operationalize the NVC, ensure it receives appropriate support from departments and agencies, and set up the National Vetting Governance Board.  The implementation plan must be developed within the next six months.