• Border securityTrump administration awards $2.3 million to Texas for border security

    By Julián Aguilar

    The Texas Military Department has received a $2.3 million boost from the federal government to help with the state’s border-security efforts. The state’s military presence has been concentrated in the Rio Grande Valley since 2014 when a surge of undocumented migration from Central America created a crisis situation. Proponents of the move said it was needed to help an overwhelmed U.S. Border Patrol, whose agents were ill-prepared to handle the influx and concentrate on border security efforts.

  • Border securityMexico’s Southern Border Program lacks “structure and a clear-cut road map”

    Mexico’s Programa Frontera Sur (Southern Border Program or PFS) is not meeting its goals of containing the mixed migration flows from Central America to Mexico and the United States, a new study found. “Despite the fact that PFS was conceived as an instrument of state policy intended to foster development and reinforce border security while mitigating migrants’ vulnerability, the program’s results so far raise deep concerns as to whether it has complied with its stated spirit,” says one researcher.

  • Immigration & crimeImmigration does not raise crime: Studies

    Immigration has no effect on crime, according to a comprehensive examination of fifty-one studies on the topic published between 1994 and 2014. The meta-analysis is the first on the relationship between immigration and crime. The reviewed studies most frequently found no relationship between immigration and crime. But among those that did find a correlation, it was 2.5 times more likely that immigration was linked to a reduction in crime than an increase.

  • ImmigrationAttorneys spar over Texas immigration law in federal court

    By Julián Aguilar

    Monday was the first day of what could be a lengthy legal battle over Senate Bill 4, which has been billed as the toughest state-based immigration bill in the country. Opponents of Texas’ state-based immigration law told a federal judge that allowing the controversial measure to stand would pave the way for a nationwide police state where local officers could subvert the established immigration-enforcement powers of the federal government.

  • ImmigrationLawyers convention leaves Texas over state's new immigration law

    By Julián Aguilar

    A 15,000-member association of attorneys and law professors said on Wednesday that it is relocating its 2018 convention out of Texas in response to the state legislature passing Senate bill 4, a sweeping and controversial immigration enforcement measure. About 3,000 people were expected to attend the event.

  • Border securityNew training to improve operational security at U.S. border

    Drug smugglers, human traffickers, illegal immigrants, and even potential terrorists crossing the United States border do their best to, literally, cover their tracks. It is the responsibility of the United States Border Patrol (USBP) to pursue and apprehend these individuals. Without proper training, tracking people who do not want to be found is a nearly impossible task, and it can be extremely difficult even with training. S&T’s First Responders Group (FRG) has developed training to assist in increasing tracking abilities.

  • VettingGermany failing to use language and dialect recognition tech to ID asylum-seekers, extremists: Critics

    Critics in Germany say that the country’s immigration agency has failed to use a language recognition software which would have helped immigration agents identify the country of origin of asylum-seekers who have no other ID documents. German authorities could have also identified Islamist and far-right terror suspects earlier if available language recognition software was used, these critics say.

  • Visa overstays739,478 visitors to U.S. in FY2016 overstayed their visas – and 628,799 are still in U.S.

    DHS earlier this week released the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Entry/Exit Overstay Report. The report provides data on departures and overstays, by country, for foreign visitors to the United States who entered as nonimmigrant visitors through an air or sea Port of Entry (POE) and were expected to depart in FY16. CBP processed 50,437,278 in-scope nonimmigrant admissions at U.S. air and sea POEs who were expected to depart in FY16—of which 739,478 overstayed their admission, resulting in a total overstay rate of 1.47 percent. Of the more than 739,000 overstays, DHS determined 628,799 were suspected “in-country” overstays, resulting in a suspected in-country overstay rate of 1.25 percent. An individual who is a suspected in-country overstay has no recorded departure, while an out-of-country overstay has a recorded departure that occurred after their lawful admission period expired.

  • Border wallBorder walls may pose serious challenges to biodiversity, but smaller challenges to humans

    With the prospect of a U.S.-Mexico border wall looming, research and reporting on the ecological impacts of walls is both important and timely. Reporting in BioScience on such barriers’ known effects on wildlife, science journalist Lesley Evans Ogden describes the potential effects of the proposed structure along the 2000-mile U.S.-Mexico border. “If the wall is completed, it will create a considerable biodiversity conservation challenge—one unlikely to disappear anytime soon,” she writes.

  • Border wallBorder wall will not stop drug smugglers: Studies

    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.

  • ScreeningSome visa applicants would be asked to provide five years’ worth of social media posts

    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.

  • ScreeningLawsuits filed about electronic privacy, profiling abuses at borders, airports

    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 securityEfforts to prevent alternative methods of border crossing need better monitoring: GAO

    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 securityRewriting NAFTA has serious implications beyond just trade

    By 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 securityU.S. border agents illegally turning away asylum seekers at U.S. border: Report

    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.