Two prominent federal officials will visit St. Croix today, though they won’t be doing any public appearances.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator William B. “Brock” Long and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen will fly into St. Croix for the span of a few hours today, said FEMA spokeswoman Lauren Lefebvre. They intend to take briefings from local FEMA officials, visit a school on St. Croix, and speak with Acting Gov. Osbert Potter, Lefebvre said.

Gov. Kenneth Mapp is out of the territory, according to a Government House press release.

“It should be a pretty low-key visit,” Lefebvre said.

Long is the top-ranking official at FEMA, one of a grouping of organizations within the Department of Homeland Security, on par with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services, the Coast Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Secret Service, and the Transportation Safety Administration.

Long’s agency has a $4.4 billion budget for fiscal year 2018, in addition to stewardship of the $20.8 billion Disaster Relief Fund, which is used to reimburse eligible costs associated with declared presidential disasters.

Simply put, Nielsen is Long’s boss. As the Homeland Security secretary, she oversees the department’s $55.6 billion budget, all of the agencies at FEMA’s level, 13 offices, ranging from the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties to the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office, as well as three directorates.

Nielsen is also a member of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet, along with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, who visited the territory on Monday, and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, whose office serves as the primary federal interface with Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and other U.S. territories.

Nielsen has in the past been tasked with publicly explaining the administration’s now-suspended policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the border.

The Secret Service will provide security for the unusual visit of a Cabinet-level official to the territory, though Lefebvre said local residents shouldn’t expect to see interference to daily routines.

“There’s nothing that people have to watch out for,” she said.

— Contact Brian O’Connor at 340-714-9130 or email

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