• Immigration
    Carmen Monico

    Insecurity is a primary factor pushing thousands of young Central Americans to leave their homes and travel north. In fiscal year 2016, nearly 60,000 youth from Central America and Mexico crossed the U.S. border without a parent or guardian. During the peak of the crisis in 2014, more than 68,000 made the perilous trek. The vast majority of these minors are arriving from what are called Northern Triangle countries in Central America: Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. U.S. foreign policy in Central America has focused on funding a militarized war on drugs, which in turn has fueled the root causes that push people to migrate. But some efforts have been made to identify and address these root causes. In 2014, the U.S. government committed $9.6 million in emergency funding to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to assist migrants returned from the U.S. USAID launched a five-year, $40 million program to improve security in Guatemala. Programs that strengthen the regional socioeconomic fabric of affected communities stand as alternatives to anti-drug operations. These programs could establish conditions for children and youth to stay in their countries of origin and live more productive and healthy lives.

  • Visas

    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has instructed U.S. diplomatic missions to identify “populations warranting increased scrutiny” and tighten screening for visa applicants in those groups, diplomatic cables obtained by Reuters show. Tillerson has also ordered a “mandatory social media check” for all applicants who have ever been present in territory controlled by Islamic State, in what two former U.S. officials said would be a broad, labor-intensive expansion of such screening.

  • Immigration

    As a candidate and now as president, Donald Trump has described undocumented immigrants as a threat to public safety and has promised to create a “deportation force” to remove millions of immigrants from the country. Through his words and actions, President Trump has indicated that he aims to enlist state and local law enforcement in this deportation force through both inducement and coercion, by aggressively promoting the 287(g) program and threatening to cut federal funding of so-called sanctuary jurisdictions. Law enforcement personnel already face enormous challenges with limited resources. In the coming months, many state and local officials and local law enforcement agencies will face a choice: whether and how to assume a greater role in enforcing federal immigration laws.

  • Privacy

    Border agents must obtain a warrant to search travelers’ phones, tablets, and laptops, which contain a vast trove of sensitive, highly personal information that is protected by the Fourth Amendment, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) told a federal appeals court the other day. The EFF says that searches of devices at the border have more than doubled since the inauguration of President Trump — from nearly 25,000 in all of 2016, to 5,000 in February alone. This increase, along with the increasing number of people who carry these devices when they travel, has heightened awareness of the need for stronger privacy rights while crossing the U.S. border.

  • Immigration & crime

    The number of immigrants in the United States has risen from 3.5 million in 1990 to 11.1 million in 2014, but two new studies show that an increased number of immigrants in the country might have been associated with a historic decline in crime rates. The studies – Immigration and Public Safety from the Sentencing Project and Criminal Immigrants Their Numbers, Demographics, and Countries of Origin from the CATO Institute — also shows that immigrants are less likely than U.S.-born citizens to commit crimes and be imprisoned.

  • Travel ban

    Two internal government reports appear to weaken the case the Trump administration has been making for the temporary travel ban. The implementation of the second version of the ban has been halted by judges in Hawaii and Maryland. The first report, prepared by DHS, found that most of the suspected or confirmed foreign-born terrorists probably became radicalized after they arrived in the United States, not before. The second report, based on data collected by the FBI, shows that most of the suspected or confirmed foreign-born terrorists had come from countries not among the six countries to which the travel ban would apply. The data in the two reports “points to the central question about the travel ban, which is, are you addressing the issues you need to address when it comes to the threat?” says one expert.

  • Travel ban

    Research of various measures to restrict immigration — a policy response common for countries that have experienced terrorist attacks in the past — has pointed to unintended long-term consequences of similar controls on immigration. “Some recent research shows that umbrella restrictions on migration control can backfire,” says one researcher. “Instead of mitigating radicalization, these restrictions tend to have blowback effects. Insofar as the ban against a set of states is an umbrella ban, it’s likely to have the same unintended negative effects.”

  • Privacy

    Increasingly frequent and invasive searches at the U.S. border have raised questions for those who want to protect the private data on their computers, phones, and other digital devices. A new guide released last week by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) gives travelers the facts they need in order to prepare for border crossings while protecting their digital information.

  • Border security

    Unisys Corporation and CSIRO’s Data61 last week announced a collaboration to develop an advanced data analytics solution for automated security risk assessment of travelers and cargo at air, land, and sea borders.

    Under the collaboration, Unisys will fund joint research with Data61 to develop an advanced data analytics solution capable of detecting potential border security risks posed by travelers, visa applicants, cargo and parcels.

  • Border security
    Julián Aguilar

    The Department of Homeland Security said there was an unprecedented drop in illegal crossings at the country’s Southwest border since the president took office 20 January. The number of apprehensions fell about 40 percent from January to February, according to DHS statistics released Wednesday evening.

  • Border security

    A British academic who has extensively studied communities on the borderlands between the United States and Mexico, says these communities’ strong cross-border cultural identity and economic ties make them undaunted by the possibility of a physical wall.

  • Travel ban
    Steven Mulroy

    President Trump’s new executive order on immigration addresses some of the legal problems found by courts in the Jan. 27 original order, but is still vulnerable on some of the same legal grounds. As a constitutional law professor who has recently written on this topic, I’d contend that Trump’s lawyers are not out of the woods yet. Ultimately, the only way to know for sure the legal effect of this new executive order is to wait for a court ruling. Given that the American Civil Liberties Union has already pledged to challenge the new executive order in its ongoing litigation against the immigrant ban, we may not have to wait long.

  • Travel ban

    President Donald Trump has signed a revised travel ban which will go into effect on 16 March. The revised executive order will halt entry to the United States for ninety days for people from six Muslim-majority nations who are seeking new visas. Iraq has been removed from the list of travel ban countries, and Syrian refugees will now be treated as other refugees. Religious minorities will not be given preferential treatment.

  • Visas

    Member of the European Parliament have issued a deadline for Brussels to impose visa requirements for American citizens traveling to EU countries. The measure comes as European lawmakers have criticized a requirement by the United States that citizens of Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Cyprus, and Poland – all EU members or associate members — apply for a U.S. visa if they want to enter the United States.

  • Border wall
    Kiah Collierand Neena Satija

    There’s been a lot of debate about how effective the Bush-era border barrier has been at keeping out illegal crossers and drug smugglers. Some data indicates the barriers have encouraged people to cross in places where there isn’t one, and handprints on the existing border wall show that a determined person can still easily scale it. What the border fence has kept out instead, according to environmentalists, scientists, and local officials, is wildlife. Experts say that if President Donald Trump makes good on his promise to turn the border fence into a continuous, 40-foot concrete wall, the situation for wildlife along the border — one of the most biodiverse areas in North America — will only get worse. A mix of vehicle barriers and pedestrian fencing currently covers only about one-third of the nearly 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border – but even with all those gaps, the barriers have made it harder for animals to find food, water, and mates. Many of them are already endangered.

  • Border wall

    President Donald Trump’s pledge to use existing funds to launch the construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border has run into an obstacle: There is only little money available to start the project. DHS has identified only $20 million that can be reallocated to the $21 billion project. DHS searched for available funds only within its $376 million budget for border security fencing, infrastructure and technology. Redirecting funds from other departmental accounts would require congressional approval. The funds currently available would cover 0.1 percent of the project’s cost — or pay to build 2.5 miles of border barrier.

  • Immigration
    Mariana Alfaro

    Two weeks ago, ICE arrested dozens of undocumented immigrants across the nation in what they said was a routine action. But the immigrant community was already on edge because of rising anti-immigrant rhetoric during the presidential campaign, and the ICE actions sent many undocumented families into a panic. Fearing deportation, immigrant families are crowding passport lines across Texas as undocumented parents seek U.S. passports for their American children.

  • Immigration
    Mark Humphery-Jenner

    President Donald Trump has pledged to deport several million undocumented immigrants and recently set a plan in motion targeting those with criminal records (of any kind). While the ethical issues with mass deportations have received lots of attention, the economics haven’t been explored as comprehensively. And the costs of mass deportations will likely be significant. Deportation-related economicfactors mean that the government must think carefully before aggressively pursuing undocumented immigrants. There are significant costs associated with deportations and the government should consider them carefully when weighing its policy objectives.

  • Deportations

    A key element in President Trump’s deportation scheme is the deportation to Mexico of everyone crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally, regardless of the deportee’s nationality. The deportation scheme indicates that the United States expects Mexico to build detention facilities for the hundreds of thousands which will be deported. Mexican officials, in meetings with Rex Tillerson and John Kelly last Thursday, said that Mexico would not, under any circumstances, agree to accept and hold deportees who are not Mexican nationals.

  • Border wall

    Turkey has completed more than half of a planned 317-mile wall along its border with Syria. The wall is not built as a regular wall would: It consists of portable concrete blocks, each weighing seven tons, placed next to each other. The concrete blocks are 6.5-foot thick at the base and 10-foot high. Each block is topped with three feet of razor wire. The government says the wall will improve security, but human rights groups warn refugees fleeing war will be tapped on the Syrian side.