• Refugee crisisGermany should expect up to 1.5 million asylum seekers in 2015: Government report

    According to a classified internal German government report obtained by the German daily Bild, the German authorities expect up to 1.5 million asylum seekers to arrive in Germany this year, an increase from the previous estimate of 800,000 to one million. The newspaper quoted the report to say that given family structures in the Middle East, this would mean each individual from that region who is granted asylum bringing an average of four to eight family members over to Germany in due course.

  • Border securityCritics question Texas spending on border security

    The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), and other state agencies, are prepared to spend between about $500 million and $800 million on border security. Critics maintain that whatever the final amount the Texas state legislature actually spends this year, it is money that would be better spent on items like education or health care rather than poorly defined “border security,” which is not the primary responsibility of either DPS or the state.

  • CBPHow many times does CBP’s Mark Borkowski get to fail?

    By Robert Lee Maril

    Once again Mark Borkowski has testified before Congress in recent months, detailing the status of the Arizona Technology Plan, or what he calls the “Plan.” According to Borkowski’s testimony, new border wall surveillance infrastructure and technology are already failing to meet management deadlines; he also acknowledges a highly critical GAO report on the status of his newest border security plan. The Plan is the lynchpin of the Southern Border and Approaches Campaign – previously called the Secure Border Initiative Network (SBInet). SBInet never worked and fell hopelessly behind schedule, and in 2011 DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano pulled the plug on it. SBInet was preceded by other costly border-security technology failure – for example, the Intelligent Computer-Aided Detection system (ICAD11 and ICAD 111), the Integrated Surveillance Intelligence System (ISIS), the American Shield Initiative (ASI),the Secure Border Initiative Tactical Initiative (SBI TI), and Project 28. Despite these failures, the CBP has not constructed a reasonable way in which to measure the success or failure of its new $1 billion dollar Plan. How many times does CBP’s Borkowski get to fail?

  • Border securityU.S. Border Patrol agent indicted in killing Mexican teen by shooting him through border fence

    A federal grand jury has indicted Border Patrol agent Lonnie Swartz for shooting Jose Antonio Rodriguez, 16, through the border fence between Arizona and Mexico in October 2012. The case sparked outrage and came amid criticism that the Border Patrol uses force indiscriminately, a charge the agency has adamantly denied. In a similar case in June 2010, in which a 15-year old Hernandez Guereca was shot across the border and killed, a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals originally said Hernandez Guereca’s family could sue Mesa, but the full court overturned that ruling in April. 

  • Refugee crisisAustralia processes first group of 200 Middle Eastern refugees to be settled in the country

    Australian immigration minister, Peter Dutton, has confirmed that Australian officials are conducting health and security checks on 200 Syrian refugees who are slated for resettlement in Australia. In early September, the then-prime minister, Tony Abbott, said Australia would make 12,000 additional permanent humanitarian visa places available for Syrians and Iraqis fleeing their countries. Dutton stressed that Australia was not going to be “slack” when it came to security and background checks.

  • Refugee crisisEU emergency summit tonight to approve contentious refugee quotas deal

    EU leaders are preparing for an acrimonious summit this evening in Brussels in which the fractious EU will try, yet again, to come up with a cohesive approach to the continent’s refugee crisis. Yesterday, EU governments forced through a contentious agreement to impose mandatory refugee quotas on the twenty-eight member states to accept a total of 120,000 refugees. The interior ministers of the EU member states yesterday reached the agreement on sharing the 120,000 refugees in order to avoid fights and squabble during today’s emergency summit. The UN says almost 480,000 people have arrived by boat in Europe so far this year.

  • view counter
  • Refugee crisisFencing off the east: how the refugee crisis is dividing the European Union

    By Jan Culik

    Two very different responses to the crisis are emerging on each side of Europe. The West might be failing to handle the crisis well but the east is simply rejecting any role in it. Resentment is building on both sides and is threatening European unity. Racism of course exists in Western Europe, but the strength of feeling in eastern and central Europe, among politicians as well as the general public, has caused alarm. Western Europeans are disgusted by how refugees are being treated in the east, which is even beginning to cause diplomatic tension. This crisis has raised a lot of questions about what it means to be European, nowhere more so than in the east of the continent. Fissures are appearing under the strain and if common cultural ground can’t be found soon, this could signal an end to the union.

  • RefugeesU.S. to accept 30,000 additional refugees over two years, 10,000 of them from Syria

    Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday that the United States will accept an extra 30,000 refugees from around the world over the next two years. Kerry said the total number of refugees taken by the United States yearly would rise from 70,000 to 85,000 next year and to 100,000 in 2017. Earlier this month, the White House said it would take in at least 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next year, and raising the cap on the total number of refugees would allow this move. U.S. officials noted that the names of the Syrian refugees accepted by the United States over the next year would be drawn from a list of about 18,000 that the United Nations prepared before the current influx of migrants in Europe.

  • RefugeesCentral European states will no longer block refugees from entering on way to Austria

    Hungary, Slovenia, and Croatia, the three central European countries most vocal in their opposition to allowing massive waves of refugees to enter the EU zone, have over the weekend suspended their policies of blocking refugees from using the three countries’ territories as a corridor for reaching Austria, Germany, and other countries in northern Europe. The three countries will now allow refugees to enter but not stay, and help facilitate the transfer of tens of thousands of refugees toward Austria, reversing most recent attempts to block their passage.

  • RefugeesEurope’s refugee crisis: the last time round it was much, much worse

    By R. M. Douglas

    During the immediate postwar years, Germany – then divided into West Germany and East Germany – absorbed between 12 and 14 million people of German descent who were forcibly expelled from Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Romania, and the Soviet Union. At least 500,000 had died as a result of hunger or disease. Substantial though today’s exodus from the Middle East may be, it pales in comparison to the situation Germany faced and surmounted after the war. The arrival of up to a million newcomers in 2015 presents real challenges, but a prosperous European Union with a population in excess of 500 million has the means to overcome them. The fact that nearly three-quarters of the refugees are healthy working-age men, in contrast to the expelled population of seventy years ago, will further reduce the economic burden of absorption. The problem is different: Long before the limits of Europe’s demographic or economic absorptive capacities are reached, voters are likely to rebel against open-ended commitments to find homes for the victims of collapsing states and civil wars in the Middle East. If the continent’s leaders are not to bring about fundamental political and cultural changes – changes which are acceptable to an increasingly anxious population – then it seems clear that they will have to demonstrate their ability to address the problem of forced migration at its source.

  • CBPMore significant CBP leadership changes: Possible reorganization

    By Robert Lee Maril

    Recently rocked by the largest scandal in its history, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) appears to be making significant personnel changes in recent months. There are also rumors of a major agency reorganization, rumors which have not been denied by agency leadership. Presumably such changes at CBP would be grounded in and address James F. Tomsheck’s allegations which find support in a number of government reports about significant problems at CBP. These institutional problems include increased employee violence, graft, and corruption as well as an institutional failure at CBP IA to investigate charges against its own employees.

  • RefugeesEuropeans concerned over thriving trade in fake, stolen Syrian papers

    The EU countries trying to formulate a cohesive policy to deal with the hundreds of thousands of refugees trying to enter the EU zone are now facing a new problem: The burgeoning trade in stolen Syrian identity documents. Most European countries are yet to agree to accept more than a token number of Syrian refugees, but Germany and Sweden have made it known that while the EU is grappling with the issue, the asylum system in both countries would offer preferential treatment for Syrians. This preference has made Syrian passports into a must-have document for non-Syrian immigrants who would otherwise not be likely to qualify as refugees.

  • RefugeesEU states should take 200,000 more refugees: UN

    António Guterres, the UN high commissioner for refugees, has called on European Union countries to admit up to 200,000 refugees as part of a large-scale relocation program which would be mandatory for all EU states. Guterres said the EU was facing a defining moment and must “mobilize full force” toward a common approach to the migration crisis. Guterres’s appeal followed a joint call by France and Germany for binding EU quotas which would require all EU member states to share the burden of the influx of migrants and refugees. The wave of tens of thousands of refugees has hit Greece, Italy, and countries in south-eastern and central Europe especially hard.

  • Migration & refugees: EuropeBalkans at center of Europe’s worst refugee crisis since WWII

    Europe is searching for a solution to its worst refugee crisis since the Second World War. Hungary is building a fence along its 110-mile border with Serbia, and is considering using its military to protect its southern border, as thousands of migrants, many of them fleeing Syria, are desperately trying to enter the European Union zone. Greece saw fifty thousand refugees arrived on Greek shores during the month in July alone, . and the Greek authorities have taken to ferrying many of them – mostly Syrian refugees — from Greece’s overwhelmed islands to Athens, from where they head north by buses provided by the government. The Serbia authorities said that about 10,000 refugees were passing through Serbia at any time. As Hungary border fence building advances, more and more of these refugees remain in Serbia, unable to cross into Hungary or go back into Greece.

  • Migration & refugees: EuropeU.K. foreign-born population exceeds 8 million

    This Thursday, the U.K. Office for National Statistics (ONS) will publish a new set of migration statistics. The data will cover many different topics, but two numbers are likely to attract attention: one relating to the “flow” of migrants in and out of the United Kingdom, the other relating to the “stock” of foreign-born people living in the United Kingdom. In the last quarter’s data, net migration was estimated to stand at 318,000 — just 2,000 below the highest level previous recorded in 2005. The U.K.’s foreign-born population is expected to exceed eight million for the first time in the published ONS data. Experts say that the more fundamental questions about migration policy successes and failures are more nuanced than a set of figures, and these questions include how immigration affects the U.K. labor market and whether it makes existing U.K. residents wealthier.