• Climate change will displace millions of people. Where will they go?

    The 1951 Refugee Convention defines a protected refugee as someone who leaves his or her home country due to racial, religious, or social persecution, or reasonable fear of such persecution. These refugees have the right to seek asylum and protection from participating members of the United Nations (though these countries are not obligated to take them in). However, people displaced by climate change do not fit this definition. At the international level, there is no legal mechanism in place to protect climate migrants’ rights and to ensure assistance from other countries. For climate relocation to work, governments need to care and commit to international responsibility and burden-sharing. However, in the current global political context of fear of terrorism, an increased refugee influx into Europe, and an overall rise of xenophobia, countries are more likely to opt for stricter policies on cross-border migration.

  • Trump’s “Muslim ban” produced rare shift in public opinion: Study

    President Donald Trump signed Executive Order 13769 on 27 January 2017, effectively barring individuals from seven predominately Muslim countries from entering the United States for ninety days. Within a day of his decree, thousands of protesters flooded airports around the country in opposition to what was quickly deemed a “Muslim ban,” and by 6 March, the order had been formally revoked. Researchers say that the profound response to the ban represents “one instance in which the priming of American identity shifted citizens’ opinions toward more inclusive, rather than restrictive, immigration-related policy stances.” Overall, the findings suggest that American identity can be “primed” to produce shifts in public opinion. It also demonstrates that public opinion may be more malleable than previously thought.

  • DHS’s airport biometric exit program faces budgetary, legal, technical, and privacy questions

    DHS has installed experimental face-recognition system in nine U.S. airports. If DHS’s current plans are executed, every traveler flying overseas, American and foreign national alike, will soon be subject to a face recognition scan as part of this “biometric exit” program. A new report notes that neither Congress nor DHS has ever justified the need for the program. Congress never provided a rationale for it. Congress never provided a rationale for it while DHS has repeatedly questioned “the additional value biometric air exit would provide.” The biometric exit program also stands on shaky legal ground, and to make matters worse, the face scanning technology used by DHS may make frequent mistakes. “The privacy concerns implicated by biometric exit are at least as troubling as the system’s legal and technical problems,” the report notes.

  • Hotter temperatures will accelerate asylum-seekers migration to Europe

    New research predicts that migrants applying for asylum in the European Union will nearly triple over the average of the last fifteen years by 2100 if carbon emissions continue on their current path. The study suggests that cutting emissions could partially stem the tide, but even under an optimistic scenario, Europe could see asylum applications rise by at least a quarter.

  • With border arrests down, some question Trump administration's push for more agents

    The Department of Homeland Security’s announced this week a near-record decline in the number of people caught trying to enter the country illegally. Yet the Trump administration still wants to hire thousands of more border agents.

  • Israel demolishes Gaza tunnel, killing 9 Palestinian militants

    The Israel military (IDF) on Monday morning destroyed a tunnel Hamas fighters were building under the Israel-Gaza Strip. The Hamas Health Ministry in Gaza said that nine Palestinians were killed and eight others were wounded when the IDF blew up the tunnel. Israel this summer began work on an underground barrier meant to counter attack tunnels.

  • Hundreds of U.S. citizens continue to be detained: Immigration data

    An analysis of U.S. government data shows that the U.S. government detained more than 260 U.S. citizens for weeks and even years, most in private prisons under contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). They were released after asserting their U.S. citizenship claims in immigration court. The average time of detention for U.S. citizens was 180 days. ICE acknowledges that it is unlawful for ICE to detain U.S. citizens under deportation laws.

  • EFF to court: Border agents need warrants to search contents of digital devices

    Searches of mobile phones, laptops, and other digital devices by federal agents at international airports and U.S. land borders are highly intrusive forays into travelers’ private information that require a warrant, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) said in a court filing Monday.

  • Border wall would put more than 100 endangered species at risk: Experts

    President Donald Trump’s desire for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border has elicited endless questions since it was introduced as a major theme in his campaign. Who will pay for it? How will it be constructed? Is it the most effective strategy? What is the timeline? Biologists are asking another question: What are the ecological and evolutionary consequences of the wall?

  • Construction of first border wall segment to begin sooner than expected along Rio Grande

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection will begin constructing the first segment of President Trump’s border wall in November through a national wildlife refuge, using money it has already received from Congress. This is what a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service official recently told a nonprofit group that raises money to support two national wildlife refuges in South Texas, according to the group’s vice president.

  • U.K. revokes citizenship of 150 jihadists to block influx of militants from Syria

    The United Kingdom has stripped more than 150 suspected jihadists and other criminals of their British citizenship in an effort to block them from returning. The government has issued what is called a “deprivation orders,” anticipating that the coming collapse of the Islamic State caliphate will leads to an influx of British Islamist militants from Syria.

  • Border funding bill passes U.S. House; Texans vote along party lines

    The U.S. House on Thursday passed about $800 billion in federal spending, including $1.6 billion worth of funding that will go toward constructing a border wall. While there is almost no chance this legislation will become law, Republican lawmakers can head back to their home districts pointing to the wall funding as a legislative step toward a tenet of the Trump presidential campaign.

  • Trump administration awards $2.3 million to Texas for border security

    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.

  • Mexico’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 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.