• Gangs

    A six-week nationwide gang operation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) concluded this weekend with 1,378 arrests across the United States – the largest gang surge conducted by HSI to date. The operation targeted gang members and associates involved in transnational criminal activity, including drug trafficking, weapons smuggling, human smuggling and sex trafficking, murder and racketeering.

  • Texas’s sanctuary ban

    The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) issued a “travel alert” informing anyone planning to travel to Texas in the near future to anticipate the possible violation of their constitutional rights when stopped by law enforcement. The ACLU says that the alert comes amid the passing of a Texas law known as SB4. The law gives a green light to police officers in the state to investigate a person’s immigration status during a routine traffic stop, leading to widespread racial profiling, baseless scrutiny, and illegal arrests of citizens and non-citizens alike presumed to be “foreign” based on how they look or sound.

  • Texas’s sanctuary ban
    Julián Aguilar

    The question isn’t whether or not the Texas attorney general’s office will be hauled to court over a Texas Senate bill to ban “sanctuary” policies in Texas — but, more likely, when they’ll be asked to defend Senate Bill 4 (SB4) in a federal court. The legislation makes sheriffs, constables, police chiefs and other local leaders subject to a Class A misdemeanor and possible jail time if they don’t cooperate with federal authorities and honor requests from immigration agents to hold inmates who are subject to deportation. It includes civil penalties for entities that violate the provision that begin at $1,000 for a first offense and climb to as high as $25,500 for subsequent infractions. It also applies to public colleges.

  • Border wall

    A U.S. government report shows that drug traffickers adapt their techniques in response to increased overland security, undermining the argument that a border wall will prevent the entry of illicit drugs into the United States. Most of the drugs enter the United States concealed in passenger vehicles or hidden among legitimate goods on freight vehicles. Government agencies say that there are better ways than building a wall to address cross-border trafficking. These would include improved detection technology, inter-agency coordination, and better techniques for gathering and analyzing information and intelligence.

  • Screening

    The State Department is planning to ask people who apply for visas to live and work in the United States, to allow government officials to review their social media post going back five years. The State Department will also ask applicants for their email addresses and phone numbers, and for their work and travel history during the previous fifteen years. Applicants will also have to provide the names and dates of birth of immediate family members. The new measures would apply only to individuals who have been identified as requiring additional security screening – for example, people who have travelled to countries and areas where known terrorist organizations are active. The State Department estimates that the new policy would apply to about 65,000 people a year, or about 0.5 percent of visa applicants.

  • Screening

    Earlier this week, two lawsuits were filed in federal court to demand that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) release information about how federal officials have treated travelers who are Muslim or who are perceived to be Muslim at United States borders, including airports. The lawsuits highlight the numerous recent reports of individuals who are or are perceived to be Muslim having their electronic devices searched while traveling or having their trusted traveler status revoked without explanation.

  • Border security

    As DHS has increased the security of overland smuggling routes, transnational criminal organizations have adapted their techniques to smuggle drugs and humans through alternative methods. These methods include cross-border tunnels, ultralight aircraft, panga boats, and recreational maritime vessels. GAO says that while these methods account for a small proportion of known smuggling, they can be used to transport significant quantities of drugs or for terrorist activity.

  • Hemispheric security
    Jessica Trisko Darden

    President Donald J. Trump has called the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) our “worst trade deal.” After flip-flopping between scrapping NAFTA altogether and saying that the agreement required only tweaks, Trump is trying to force a renegotiation of a deal that supports three million American jobs. This may seem like just another trade dispute, but NAFTA has bound together North America’s economic and security considerations. The renegotiation of NAFTA may thus have serious implications not only for trade and the continental economy, but also for immigration and border security. Bad deal or not, NAFTA has fundamentally reshaped North America’s immigration and security policies. Any changes to NAFTA will certainly have repercussions that reach far beyond the economy.

  • Border security

    Human Rights First on Wednesday released a new report documenting dozens of instances in which U.S. border agents illegally turned away asylum seekers from the U.S. southern border. “We’ve documented dozens of cases in which individuals seeking protection from violence and persecution have been unlawfully turned away. These actions by U.S. border agents not only violate U.S. laws and treaty commitments, but put individuals’ lives in danger by sending them into the hands of persecutors, traffickers, or cartels,” said the lead researcher on the report.

  • Border control

    Baxter Reid, A 26-year old Australian, has been detained by U.S. border officials for overstaying his visa for just over an hour. Baxter and his American girlfriend were traveling to Canada to comply with the requirement of leaving and re-entering the United States every six months, in order to keep his five-year visa valid. They arrived at the border crossing near Buffalo with two hours to spare – but paperwork problems on the Canadian side forced them to stay on the U.S. side, and Baxter was arrested at 1:30 a.m. for overstaying his visa by an hour-and-a-half. He is being kept in a Buffalo jail, and was told he could face six months in jail before his case is heard by a judge.

  • Immigration
    Kelly Lytle Hernandez

    It was not always a crime to enter the United States without authorization. In fact, for most of American history, immigrants could enter the United States without official permission and not fear criminal prosecution by the federal government. That changed in 1929. On its surface, Congress’s new prohibitions on informal border crossings simply modernized the U.S. immigration system by compelling all immigrants to apply for entry. However, in my new book City of Inmates, I detail how Congress outlawed border crossings with the specific intent of criminalizing, prosecuting, and imprisoning Mexican immigrants.

  • Crime

    Homeland Security secretary John Kelly the other day announced the official launch of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement Office (VOICE). The VOICE office will assist victims of crimes committed by criminal aliens. ICE built the VOICE office in response to the Executive Order entitled Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, which directed DHS to create an office to support victims of crimes committed by criminal aliens.

  • Crime

    Earlier this week Germany’s Interior Ministry released the 2016 police crime statistics, including statistics of politically motivated crime. Compared to 2015, the number is up by 6.6 percent and has reached a new high. The main factor is the soaring number of politically motivated crimes by foreigners, which has risen by 66.5 percent to a total of 3,372 offenses. The backlash against the large number of migrants allowed into Germany in 2015 and 2016 manifests itself in crime statistics as well: While the number violent offenses motivated by left-wing extremism fell by 24.2 percent, the number of violent offences committed by right-wing extremists rose by 14.3 percent.

  • Gangs

    There has been a surge since 2014 in the number of unaccompanied minors coming to the United States, mostly from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Most of the minors are entitled to federal anti-trafficking protections, and subsequent resettlement. Suffolk Country is ranked fourth in the U.S. in the number of unaccompanied minors resettled in the county, and neighboring Nassau County ranks tenth. Violent gangs such as MS-13 actively recruit these unaccompanied minors. Local and federal leaders say there is a need to do more – from better vetting to gang prevention programs to better law enforcement – to address the growing gang violence.

  • Immigration
    Patria de Lancer Julnes and Jennifer C. Gibbs

    Police need public cooperation. The police rely on the public to report and help solve crimes. This is especially true now that police departments face budget cuts and increasing demands on their time – an environment that pressures police to get things done through innovative partnerships with citizens. But cooperation and partnerships rely on trust, something that’s in short supply between citizens and police. A tough stance toward enforcing immigration laws can make immigrants, as well as the general public, cynical toward police, weakening their trust and legitimacy. Police are right when they say forcing them to work with ICE will make their job harder.

  • Visa Waiver program

    Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly said the Trump administration is considering making changes to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), making it harder for Europeans travelling to the United States. Kelly said the existing rules, which do not require citizens of thirty-eight countries to get a visa for a trip of less than three months to the United States, should be re-evaluated in light of concerns about terrorism. “We have to start looking very hard at that [visa waiver] program,” he said.

  • Border wall
    Julián Aguilar

    As the Trump administration sets its sights on building a barrier on the country’s southern border, a group of Texas attorneys aims to help border residents ensure they are properly compensated for whatever land the government seizes. The Texas Civil Rights Project says it will focus its efforts on lower-income residents who don’t have the skills or knowledge needed to fight through the complicated eminent domain process that’s looming as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security moves ahead with plans for the wall’s construction.

  • Immigration

    The number of immigrants with no criminal records arrested has more than doubled under President Donald Trump. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement made 21,362 arrests from January to mid-March, which is an increase of roughly one-third compared to 16,104 during the same period last year. The number of non-criminals arrested doubled to 5,441, suggesting Trump’s administration is enforcing immigration laws more aggressively than the previous administration.

  • Immigration
    Jonathan Hiskey

    A fundamental shift in U.S. immigration patterns is well underway. Recent rhetoric from President Donald Trump and the focus of U.S. immigration policies suggest that Mexicans entering the U.S. without authorization are the principal challenge facing policymakers. That is no longer the case. The era of Mexico as the primary source of immigrants to the U.S. appears to be coming to a close. An increasing number of individuals are now arriving at the U.S. southwest border because of crime, violence and insecurity in Central America. These are now far more decisive factors in decisions to emigrate than the traditional pull of economic opportunity in the U.S. This change in the profile of those arriving at the border suggests two things. First, far more emphasis should be placed on improving the U.S. immigration court system than on efforts to strengthen an already well-fortified border. Second, there is a need to move beyond a view of those arriving at the U.S. southwest border as a monolithic group driven by purely economic motives.

  • Immigration
    Julián Aguilar

    The Trump administration may not be able to move mountains — literally — in its quest to build a coast-to-coast wall along the nation’s southern border. But that doesn’t mean the White House won’t review some long-standing treaties that have stymied past administrations in their efforts to erect such barriers, Former immigration and border officials say the Trump administration is floating ideas that range from nullifying treaties to expanding employment screenings.