• Border security
    Robert Lee Maril

    During this 2016 election year, there are basic security facts about the wall between Mexico and the United States that every American should clearly understand before he or she considers the merits of the policy solutions offered by our political parties. Security facts about the border wall are not always intuitive, based upon what passes for common sense, or even easily available to the general public. In contrast, abundant myths and falsehoods, regardless of how often they are repeated, are rarely based upon documented evidence produced by serious researchers. Instead, these assertions may be of part of election motives and agendas throughout the ballot from top to bottom. Americans should continue to learn more about our entire border security system in this region. These facts about our border security matter, and will continue to matter, long after this election day.

  • Immigration & wages

    A new report on the impact of immigration over the past twenty years on the U.S. labor market and wages of native-born workers, found that the impact of immigration on the wages of native-born workers overall is very small. To the extent that negative impacts occur, they are most likely to be found for prior immigrants or native-born workers who have not completed high school — who are often the closest substitutes for immigrant workers with low skills. There is little evidence that immigration significantly affects the overall employment levels of native-born workers. Some evidence on inflow of skilled immigrants suggests that there may be positive wage effects for some subgroups of native-born workers, and other benefits to the economy more broadly. Immigration has an overall positive impact on long-run economic growth in the United States.

  • Visas

    The United States, responding to the refusal by The Gambia to accept some 2,000 Gambians the United States has been trying to deport, will deny visas to Gambian officials. DHS secretary Jeh Johnson made the decision, which is only the second time the United States used the denial of visas to force a country to accept its deported citizens (President Bush used it in 2001 against Guyana). More than twenty countries refuse to take back their citizens – with Cuba refusing to accept more than 30,000 Cubans ordered to leave the United States.

  • Refugees

    Wealthy countries have shown a complete absence of leadership and responsibility, leaving just ten countries, which account for less than 2.5 percent of world GDP, to take in 56 percent of the world’s refugees, said Amnesty International in a comprehensive assessment of the global refugee crisis published today. Amnesty says that the report sets out a fair and practical solution to the crisis based on a system that uses relevant, objective criteria to show the fair share every state in the world should take in in order to find a home for 10 percent of the world’s refugees every year.

  • Immigration

    The Supreme Court handed to Obama administration a major defeat, saying the court will not reconsider President Barack Obama’s plan to protect undocumented immigrants from deportation. Back in June, the court deadlocked over whether or not to revive the Obama administration’s plan to protect about four million undocumented immigrants from deportation and allowing them to work legally while they pursue a path to legalization in the United States.

  • Immigration

    A two-part report on the experience of Black immigrants in the United States — The State of Black Immigrants — sheds light on the issues facing the over 3.7 million immigrants in the United States from Africa, the Caribbean, Afro-Latino countries, and elsewhere, due in large part to their race. The number of undocumented Black immigrants in the United States increased by nearly 50 percent from 389,000 in 2000 to 602,000 in 2013.

  • Refugees
    Jim Malewitz

    Texas’ top elected officials have not exactly welcomed refugees over the past year. Last week, for example, Gov. Greg Abbott threatened to end state cooperation with the nation’s refugee resettlement program unless federal officials “unconditionally approve” a Texas plan requiring extra vetting of applicants. But everyday Texans seem to be more willing to help refugees from Syria and elsewhere start new lives in the Lone Star State. Nonprofits that resettle refugees say volunteer turnout has increased — in some cases dramatically — since Abbott first suggested they threatened security.

  • Refugees

    Viktor Orban, Hungary’s outspoken prime minister, has urged the EU to “round up” all illegal immigrants on the continent and deport them to guarded camps “on an island or North Africa.” His comments are not likely to ease the growing tensions with EU governments, which have already strongly criticized Hungary’s hard line on immigration, saying Hungary’s truculence flouts both international law and fundamental European values.

  • Refugees
    Alexa Ura

    As part of its ongoing fight to keep Syrian refugees out of the state, Texas is threatening to withdraw from the nation’s refugee resettlement program if federal officials refuse to “unconditionally approve” a state plan requiring additional vetting of relocated people.

  • U.S.-born Mexicans

    About 550,000 children born in the United States are currently living in Mexico because their parents had been deported or voluntarily repatriated themselves (since 2010, the United States has deported 1.4 million Mexicans). These children face many hurdles – legal, social, cultural, linguistic, educational – trying to integrate themselves into life in Mexico. The U.S. and Mexican governments have reached an agreement on a plan to ease bureaucratic obstacles blocking these children from gaining access to health and education.

  • Refugees

    British prime minister Theresa May said in New York that more than £100 million of the U.K. foreign aid budget will be spent on returning Somali and other African refugees to their countries, and encouraging people escaping war zones not to cross the Mediterranean. May said that the principle guiding the government’s new approach to the refugee problem also applies to the question of Syrian refugees: It would be better to help a greater number of refugees at camps in countries bordering Syria than to resettle a smaller number in the United Kingdom.

  • Vetting & citizenship

    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) granted U.S. citizenship to at least 858 individuals from special interest countries — individuals who had been ordered deported or removed under another name. DHS IG says that this happened because neither the digital fingerprint repository at DHS nor the repository at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) contains all old fingerprint records of individuals previously deported. Currently, about 148,000 fingerprint records of aliens from special interest countries who had final deportation orders or who are criminals or fugitives have yet to be digitized.

  • Border control

    Critics say that Germany’s Federal Migration Office (BAMF) has not resolved severe security flaws which resulted in officials failing to detect counterfeit passports used by refugees entering the country. The attorney general for the state of Brandenburg, Erado Rautenberg, is now seeking to seize around 18,000 records from BAMF. Fake passports were seized in the southern German state of Bavaria. What is troubling security agencies is the fact that the passports were previously determined to be legitimate by the asylum office. Some 3,300 more passports are also being reanalyzed in the north-eastern state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

  • Border security
    Robert Lee Maril

    Political parties debate crucial immigration issues, including a call for a new border wall, but an essential component — frequently neglected in the run up to the November elections — is the efficacy of the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) contract acquisition and management process. What is frequently overlooked is the “business side” of CBP – but the business side of CBP is crucial to any immigration policy. CBP agents and officers finally are benefiting from the much-delayed delivery of the Integrated Fixed Tower (IFT) surveillance technology program, but the status of the Remote Video Surveillance Systems (RVSS) and Ultra-Light Aircraft Detection (ULAD) surveillance technology programs has not been ascertained. After many needless Office of Technology Innovation and Acquisition (OTIA) delays and problematic contract management decisions, both the MVSS program, along with the Mobile Surveillance Capabilities (MSC) program, now appear to be dead in the water. 

  • Refugees
    Jeffrey H. Cohen

    This week, the Obama administration announced that it plans to accept 110,000 refugees from around the world in 2017, a 57 percent increase. This comes after the United States met its goal in August of settling a minimum of 10,000 Syrians in 2016, as part of its commitment to do more for Syrian refugees. Focusing on violence and terror drives xenophobia and resentment but does little to change the status quo. It also misrepresents the refugees who have settled in the United States. The vast majority of refugees, Syrian refugees included, are peaceful and looking forward to integrating into U.S. society. In 2015, the Obama administration acknowledged that the United States could effectively settle more Syrian refugees. The United States has a unique opportunity to safely settle more Syrian refugees as part of a united response to the country’s ongoing civil war. Time will tell whether the current ceasefire will lead to a lasting peace and allow Syrians to rebuild their lives and contemplate a return to their homeland.

  • European security

    In a Tuesday interview with the German newspaper Die Welt, foreign minister of Luxembourg, Jean Asselborn, called for Hungary to be “temporarily, or in the worst case, permanently” excluded from the European Union. “We cannot accept that the basic values of the European Union are being massively violated,” Asselborn said. Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Peter Szijjarto reacted angrily, describing Asselborn as “an intellectual lightweight” and as a “sermonizing, pompous, and frustrated” individual whose actions would ultimately destroy Europe’s security and culture.

  • Border wall

    The U.K. government announced it was going to build a 13-foot wall in Calais to block refugees from crossing the channel. The 13-foot barrier will stretch for one kilometer along the dual carriageway approaching the port. The barrier aims to prevent refugees from climbing into trucks and other vehicles in an attempt to smuggle themselves into the United Kingdom.

  • Land dispute

    Mexico’s Senate is considering a bill to revoke Mexico’s bilateral treaties with the United States, including the 1848 agreement which transferred half the country’s territory to the United States. The 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed to bring a two-year war between the two countries – a war which Mexico lost — to an end. As part of the treaty, Mexico gave the United States a vast swath of territory, which is now New Mexico, California, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and parts of Wyoming and Colorado. The proposal contains a clause which stipulates that the bill will go into effect only if Donald Trump is elected president – and if he insists on Mexico paying for the border wall he pledged to build along the U.S.-Mexico border, and goes ahead with unilateral changes to NAFTA.

  • Immigration
    Jay Root

    Austin is set to become the first sanctuary city in Texas. And in a move that would defy not just Republican orthodoxy but also the Obama administration’s policy on deporting criminal immigrants, the county where Austin sits is on the verge of ending cooperation with the federal government on immigration matters.

  • European security

    Rob Wainwright, the chief of Europol, the EU’s law enforcement agency, said that 200 counter terrorism officers will be deployed to the Greek islands within weeks in an effort to thwart a “strategic”-level campaign by ISIS to infiltrate terrorists into Europe. The new task force will be deployed alongside Greek border guards and use technologies developed by British security forces at Heathrow to help spot potential terrorists.