• Border security
    Jeremy Schwartz and Perla Trevizo

    Months after the “Lamborghini” of border walls was built along the Rio Grande, the builder agreed to an engineering inspection of his controversial structure. Experts say the wall is showing signs of erosion that threatens its stability.

  • Visas & the economy
    Rob Garver

    President Donald Trump’s executive order this week to extend and expand a ban on issuing visas to certain classes of foreign workers — ostensibly to preserve 525,000 jobs for hard-pressed American workers — was celebrated by advocates of decreased immigration. But business leaders and economists worry that in addition to doing short-term damage to some sectors of the U.S. economy, it could also make talented professionals from overseas less willing to relocate to the United States in the future. 

  • Border security

    Defense Strategies Institute will hold its 8th Border Security & Intelligence Summit on 29-30 July 2020 in Alexandria, Virginia. This year’s summit will focus on the policies and technologies aiming to help secure the U.S. homeland by bolstering the protection and security of the nation’s borders. The theme of this year’s summit is “Enhancing Homeland Security Through Intelligence Sharing and Targeted Enforcement.”

  • Border security technology

    JEOL USA has been awarded a contract by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection (DHS-CBP) for five JEOL AccuTOF-DART Direct Analysis in Real Time, Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometers. The AccuTOF-DART systems will be used by CBP scientists as a non-destructive, rapid means to analyze many types of forensic samples including drugs, suspected controlled substances, unknown substances, and general organic materials.

  • Border security technology

    Every day, undocumented migrants attempt to enter the U.S. between the ports of entry, specifically at our southwest border. Oftentimes, they face life-threatening circumstances. They are miles away from shelter, food, and water; exposed to harsh terrain and drastic changes in temperature; and lack the means to receive help if they need it. To better monitor migrant activity and provide life-saving aid when needed, ICE and DHS S&T collaborated to implement the Missing Migrants Program.

  • Visa restrictions & the economy

    The Trump administration is expected to set limits on a popular program — the Optional Practical Training (OPT) — which allows international students to work in the U.S. after graduation while remaining on their student visas. The administration says the aim is to help American graduates seeking jobs during the pandemic-fueled economic downturn. Economists, however, argue that immigrant rights enhance the lives and livelihoods of native-born workers in many ways.

  • Immigration
    Megan Janetsky

    From March to April, when the U.S. began to lock down, total apprehensions along its southern border dropped by 50 percent, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data. Apprehensions and expulsions have plummeted, going from 109,415 in April 2019 to just 16,789 in April 2020.

  • Immigration

    The economic benefits of illegal immigration are greater than the costs of the public services utilized, according to experts. Indeed, for every dollar the Texas state government spends on public services for undocumented immigrants, new research indicates, the state collects $1.21 in revenue.

  • Nuclear detection

    Nations need to protect their citizens from the threat of nuclear terrorism. Nuclear security deters and detects the smuggling of special nuclear materials—highly enriched uranium, weapons-grade plutonium or materials that produce a lot of radiation—across national borders. A new algorithm could enable faster, less expensive detection of weapons-grade nuclear materials at borders, quickly differentiating between benign and illicit radiation signatures in the same cargo.

  • Immigration

    U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order restricting immigration for a period of 60 days because of the coronavirus pandemic. The measure does not apply to any nonimmigrant visas, including those allowing temporary workers into the country for seasonal jobs in agriculture. It also exempts health professionals and wealthy investors seeking to move to the country. It does halt permanent resident visas (known as green cards) for parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, but not spouses. The order also excludes from suspension the cases of those who are in the country seeking to change their immigration status.

  • Immigration

    New research shows that higher levels of education and increasing workforce participation in both migrant and local populations are needed to compensate for the negative economic impacts of aging populations in EU countries.

  • COVID-19: Policy responses

    EU leaders on Tuesday approved the closure of the EU external border for 30 days. Some member states, notably France, have closed their borders to entry from other EU members, in effect suspending the Schengen Agreement. In all, the new policy will affect 32 European states, including both Schengen and non-Schengen countries. Lines of trucks have been forming at border crossings across the continent, with the Brenner Pass, which connects Italy and Austria, seeing traffic jams extending more than 80 miles.

  • Border

    The acting head of the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency acknowledged that agents were out of line last month when they detained dozens of Iranian-Americans and Iranians at a border crossing near Canada in Washington State. Mark Morgan, the agency’s acting commissioner, said agents behaved in a way “that was not in line with our direction,” when they held more than 60 U.S. citizens of Iranian heritage for up to 10 hours or more for questioning.

  • Deportations

    A disturbing new report from Human Rights Watch found that at least 138 people deported from the United States to El Salvador since 2013 have been killed. The 117-page report also says that researchers identified at least 70 deportees who were sexually assaulted, tortured, or kidnapped. Immigration advocates argue that it is not hard to guess what would be the fate of asylum seekers who offer details on their asylum application forms of specific acts of violence by specific criminal gangs – and then have to stay in El Salvador, exposed to these gangs’ revenge, while waiting for a decision in a U.S. court. Since September, the Trump administration has required the Central American country to keep asylum seekers in El Salvador while they await the results of their asylum claims.

  • Travel ban
    Charles Kurzman

    Over the past two decades, how many people have been killed in the U.S. by extremists from the six countries on the Trump administration’s new travel ban list? The answer is zero, according to data from Department of Justice. The same is true for the original travel bans imposed in 2017. There were, and still are, zero fatalities in the United States caused by extremists from the countries on those lists, too.

  • Syria

    Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday said that Turkish airstrikes in northwest Syria killed up to thirty-five Syrian soldiers. The Turkish strikes came in retaliation for airstrikes conducted by the Assad regime against Turkish troops deployed inside Syria in the Idlib province. The Assad regime has agreed to Turkish military operations on Syrian soil against the Syrian Kurds, but it is opposed to Turkey’s plan to settle one million Syrian Sunni refugees, now in tent cities in Turkey, in Idlib Province.

  • Tunnels

    Last week the DEA announced the discovery of the longest drug-smuggling tunnel ever to be found on – or, rather, under — the U.S.-Mexican border. The tunnel was more than 1.3 kilometers long, and it was dug 21 meters below the surface. It is equipped with rail cart system, elevator, high voltage electrical cables, ventilation, and a drainage system.

  • Border security

    The border between the United States and Canada is the longest in the world. It stretches across remote wilderness for 5,525 miles, from Maine to Alaska, and presents a formidable surveillance challenge. Though the terrain can be treacherous, illegal crossings and smuggling still occur. However, a unique opportunity for detection exists in the form of a cleared stretch of land at the border that is approximately 20-feet wide, 1,349 miles long, and is referred to as the “Slash.”

  • Privacy
    Alex Ellerbeck

    The Trump administration is pushing ahead with a project that could lead to the government collecting DNA from hundreds of thousands of detained immigrants, some as young as 14 years old, alarming civil rights advocates. Once fully underway, the DNA program could become the largest U.S. law enforcement effort to systemically collect genetic material from people not accused of a crime.

  • Perspective

    In the late 1930s, roughly 300,000 additional Jewish refugees could have gained entry to the U.S. without exceeding the nation’s existing quotas. The primary mechanism that kept them out: the immigration law’s “likely to become a public charge” clause. “Many – perhaps most – were forced into hiding, imprisoned in concentration camps and ghettos, and deported to extermination centers,” Laurel Leff writes. “As someone who has studied European Jews’ attempts to escape Nazi persecution and immigrate to the U.S., the administration’s evocation of the public charge clause is chilling.”