Here are three short updates to stories previously covered at Homeland Stupidity. We’ve got good news and bad news. First, the good news.
Immigration officials said that they probably won’t have to activate a contingency contract to build emergency detention centers to house illegal immigrants, because immigration arrests dropped in fiscal year 2006, from 1.2 million last fiscal year to 1.1 million this year. Julie Myers, head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said that as long as arrests continue to decline, the agency won’t need to build the detention centers. The contingency contract with Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root is potentially worth $385 million over five years.
Nobody really wanted the so-called REAL ID Act of 2005, and states are scrambling to implement its provisions by a May 2008 deadline. In Kansas, a controversy has been over whether people will be able to renew their driver licenses locally, or travel hundreds of miles to a special regional center. The Department of Homeland Security has said that it won’t require such regional centers, and counties can continue to issue licenses — as long as they cooperate with whatever DHS wants. And DHS hasn’t yet decided what it wants.
The government has lost yet another laptop with personal information on it, this time 4,600 people who applied for Reserve Officers Training Corps scholarships. The Army’s Accessions Command in Ft. Monroe, Va. reported the computer missing this week and is notifying the people affected. The command said that it is implementing security measures for laptops with personal information, including encryption. Numerous government agencies have reported data breaches this summer after the House Government Reform Committee asked for reports. And each report is yet another reason to simply not give the government any personal information.