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Laws & Regulations

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Laws and regulations listed below include links from this Web site and from Department of Homeland Security component agency Web sites.

Border Security

Real ID Final Rule. The Department of Homeland Security has issued a final rule to establish minimum standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards in accordance with the REAL ID Act of 2005.

US-VISIT Air and Sea Exit, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. Establishes biometric exit procedures at all U.S air and sea ports of departure for most non-U.S. citizens.

Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). Final rules that require travelers to present a passport or other approved secure document denoting citizenship and identity for all travel into the United States.

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Travel Security

Changes to the Visa Waiver Program to Implement the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) Program: Interim Final Rule. Requires Visa Waiver Program travelers to provide certain biographical information to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers electronically before departing to the United States.

Advanced Information on Private Aircraft Arriving and Departing the United States: Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. The proposed rule will require more detailed information to be filed with CBP's eAPIS system about arriving and departing private aircraft and persons onboard within a timeframe necessary to assess the risks that certain flights may pose to national security.

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Infrastructure Protection

Critical Infrastructure Information Act. The Critical Infrastructure Information Act of 2002 (CII Act) seeks to facilitate greater sharing of critical infrastructure information among the owners and operators of the critical infrastructures and government entities with infrastructure protection responsibilities, thereby reducing the nation’s vulnerability to terrorism. Read the entire text of the Critical Infrastructure Information Act (PDF, 11 pages - 53 KB).

Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards: Interim Final Rule. The Department has released an interim final rule that imposes comprehensive federal security regulations for high risk chemical facilities.

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Chemical Security

Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2007 Public Law 109-295 (PDF, 109 pages  - 289 KB), enacted October 4, 2006. An Act of Congress mandating that the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security establish risk-based performance standards for the security of high-risk chemical facilities within six months of the enactment of the Act. Also mandated was the development of vulnerability assessments as well as the development and implementation of site security plans for high-risk chemical facilities. The Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) interim final rule was created to fulfill the requirements of this Act. Public Law 110-161, Section 534 (Consolidated Appropriations Act, for FY 2008 (PDF, 614 pages - 1.65MB)), enacted December 2007, amended Section 550 of P.L. 109-295 by adding a new section (h). Attached in pdf format is the statutory language authorizing the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Regulations (6 CFR Part 27) consolidated from the two statues.

Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standard (CFATS). Published December 28, 2006. In order to fulfill the requirements of H.R. 5441, the Department of Homeland Security developed and published this Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, indicating that a new standard was in development, and requesting public comments on the proposed rule.  Comments were accepted from all sources until February 7, 2007.

Interim Final Rule: Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standard (CFATS). Published April 9, 2007. After gathering and incorporating comments from individuals, trade associations, companies, and numerous other organizations, the CFATS was published as an Interim Final Rule.  An essential part of this rule is Appendix A, or the list of Chemicals of Interest (COI) as well as the quantities of those COI that would require chemical facilities to comply with the standard and complete a Top Screen in the online Chemical Security Assessment Tool (CSAT).  DHS stated that for the purpose of the regulation, facilities would have 60 days from the publication of Appendix A to complete a Top Screen.

Appendix A to the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standard, Final Rule. Published November 20, 2007. This list consists of approximately 300 hazardous chemicals as well as Screening Threshold Quantities (STQ) and security hazard classifications for each chemical.  This is the document that allows chemical facilities to determine if they are covered under the CFATS and are therefore required to submit a Top Screen.  A facility that possesses a COI at a quantity at or above the listed STQ for any period of time is covered by the standard, and must submit a Top Screen within 60 calendar days of the publication of Appendix A.  Although 60 days after the publication is January 19, 2008, the Assistant Secretary of Infrastructure Protection exercised his regulatory authority in shifting the due date for all Top Screens to January 22, 2008. 

CSAT Paperwork Reduction Act Submission. Published November 23, 2007. Federal agencies are required to provide justifications before requesting information from individuals and groups, to ensure that the information is necessary and will used effectively.  The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) manages this requirement and grants approval for requests of information.  The Department of Homeland Security ensured that all the information requested from covered chemical facilities as part of the Top Screen was necessary to develop vulnerability assessments as mandated by H.R. 5441 Section 550.  In addition, DHS ensured that the time and financial commitments required from covered chemical facilities to complete the Top Screen was not overly burdensome. 

CSAT Privacy Impact Assessment (original, published March 25, 2007) (PDF, 15 pages - 211 KB) and CSAT Privacy Impact Assessment Update (update, published May 25, 2007) (PDF, 10 pages - 216 KB). In the course of completing a CSAT registration, Top Screen, and Site Vulnerability Assessment (SVA), representatives of covered chemical facilities will provide personal information to the Department of Homeland Security.  H.R. 5441 Section 550(c) requires DHS to protect this information from public disclosure.  To ensure this requirement is being fulfilled, this Privacy Impact Statement was developed. 

System of Records Notice, Published December 29, 2006. The Privacy Act of 1974 mandates that an agency must file a public System of Records Notice (SORN) when a new system is created that will collect and/or house personal information. 

Federal Register CSAT Registration Reminder. Published April 25, 2007. A reminder to chemical facilities to begin registration for the CSAT program, published in the Federal Register.

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Employment Issues

E-Verify. An online system operated jointly by the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration (SSA) where employers can check the work status of new hires online by comparing information from an employee's I-9 form against SSA and Department of Homeland Security databases.

Social Security No-Match: Safe-Harbor Procedures for Employers Who Receive a No-Match Letter.  Amends the regulations relating to the unlawful hiring or continued employment of unauthorized aliens. The amended regulation describes the legal obligations of an employer, under current immigration law, when the employer receives a no-match letter from the Social Security Administration or the Department of Homeland Security. A

Optional Practical Training Interim Final Rule. An interim final rule extending the period of Optional Practical Training (OPT) from 12 to 29 months for qualified F-1 non-immigrant students with a degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics who are employed by businesses enrolled in the E-Verify program.

H-2A Temporary Agricultural Worker Program Proposed Changes. The proposed changes to the rule reduce current limitations and certain delays faced by U.S.employers and relax current limitations on employers’ ability to petition for multiple, unnamed agricultural workers.

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On August 31, 2007, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued a temporary restraining order in AFL-CIO, et al. v. Chertoff, et al. (N.D. Cal. Case No. 07-CV-4472 CRB). The temporary restraining order against the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration enjoins and restrains those agencies from implementing the Final Rule entitled "Safe-Harbor Procedures for Employers Who Receive a No-Match Letter."

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This page was last reviewed/modified on August 18, 2008.