WNPR

Shirley Henry

The Department of Homeland Security is considering a request by members of Congress to waive shipping restrictions to Puerto Rico, senior DHS officials said Wednesday.

The request is to waive restrictions under the Jones Act, which restricts shipping of goods between U.S. coasts to U.S.-flagged vessels (as opposed to foreign-flagged vessels).

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson says he will soon announce a new national alert system aimed at better informing the public given the "new phase" of the global terrorist threat the U.S. is facing.

The department used to have a color-coded terror alert system that was put into place after Sept. 11, but that was replaced by the National Threat Advisory System (NTAS) in 2011.

Johnson said NTAS has never been used because it sets too high a bar, namely that it depends on there being a specific, credible threat to the homeland.

The Obama administration has announced some changes to the visa waiver program, which allows travelers from some 38 countries including France, Belgium and other European countries, to come to the U.S. without a visa.

The White House announced several steps, including attempting better tracking of past travel, fines for airlines that don't verify passport data, assisting other countries on the screening of refugees and with border security.