Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff at Yale tonight
and Victor Zapana
Special to the Register
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, co-author of the U.S. Patriot Act and fierce opponent of illegal immigrant amnesty, will speak at the Yale Law School about “threats” to the United States today.
Chertoff will a give a public speech entitled “Confronting the Threats to Our Homeland.” The speech is the keynote for the first annual Heyman Federal Public Service Colloquium, an event that will held earlier today.
The talk begins at 4:30 p.m. in Room 127 at Yale Law School, 127 Wall St.
The speech is the highlight event for the Yale Law School’s Heyman Federal Public Service Fellowship Program this year. The program, which started in 2006, allows for law students to work “closely” with “high-level” federal government officials, according to a prepared statement on the address.
Law school officials said they are excited about Chertoff’s visit.
“We are very pleased that Secretary Chertoff is able to take time from his schedule,” law school spokeswoman Janet Conroy said in an email.
Conroy said the Yale Law School was able to catch Chertoff because he is a mentor to Andrew DeFilippis, one of the students in the Heyman program.
Chertoff has led the Department of Homeland Security since February 2005. As secretary, he improved communication between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and municipal governments, Yale officials said.
But despite Chertoff’s achievements, he might encounter some resistance.
In 2006, members of the Yale Law School American Constitution Society, a student civil liberties organization, sued Homeland Security officials twice, first over an ignored Freedom of Information Act request on Operation Front Line — a Homeland Security initiative aimed at targeting illegal immigrants — and later for a violation of civil rights during Danbury immigration raids, which led to the detainment of 11 Latino residents accused by the government of being illegal immigrants. Law professor Michael Wishnie led both suits.
Wishnie and other members of the organization could not be reached for comment Friday.
Chertoff also has been criticized by national civil liberties organizations for his work on the Patriot Act — a bill that expanded the powers of federal enforcement officials, which the organizations say encroach on personal freedoms — and his role in constructing a 700-foot-long wall along the Mexican border in order to help prevent illegal immigration.
Repeated messages with the Office of Public Affairs for the Department of Homeland Security were not returned Friday afternoon.