• Visa Waiver program more serious threat than refugees: Senate Intel. Comm. chair

    Senator Richard Burr (R-North Carolina), chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, said that terrorists who are citizens of Visa Waiver countries – and who, therefore, can travel from Europe to the United States without a visa — pose a more serious threat to U.S. security than refugees from Syria. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California), vice-chairman of the intelligence committee, said that around 13 million people enter the United States each year through the Visa Waiver program, but she also understands that more than 40 million stolen travel documents are on the black market in Europe.

  • GOP lawmakers try to block funding for Syrian refugees settlement in U.S.

    Republican lawmakers in the House are drafting a bill which would block federal funding for resettling Syrian refugees in the United States until the federal government adopts a “processes to ensure that refugee and related programs are not able to be co-opted by would-be terrorists.” The draft bill also requires that the administration create a “longer-term monitoring process” to track Syrian refugees in the United States.

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  • Growing number of states say they would not accept Syrian refugees

    A growing number of states have said they would not accept Syrian refugees because of security worries in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris. So far, the governors of seventeen states have announced they would refuse to allow Syrian refugees to settle in their states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin.

  • France demands effective suspension of the Schengen open borders agreement

    France will this week call for an effective suspension of the Schengen Agreement on open borders across Europe. The agreement was in 1985 in the town of Schengen in Luxembourg. It removes border checks within Europe, meaning that anyone. France will not call for a formal abrogation of the agreement, but would rather demand that all members of the Schengen Zone begin border identity checks, a move which amount to an effective suspension of the 30-year old agreement

  • As refugee crisis grows, Sweden introduces border checks

    Until earlier this week, Sweden had an open-border policy – literally. Refugees could take the train or board a ferry to Sweden and enter the country unobstructed. Late last week, Sweden’s prime minister, Stefan Löfven, said this policy now poses a threat to national security, and on Tuesday the government, for the first time since the onset of the refugee crisis, ordered the introducing of border checks.

  • 2015 refugee-related costs for Germany estimated at 21.1 billion euros

    The Berlin-based Ifo Institute, a German center for economic studies, has increased its estimates of German government expenditure on refugees. The Ifo Institute now expects the costs to amount to 21.1 billion euros for 2015 alone, based on the assumption that 1.1 million refugees will arrive in Germany by the end of the year. The Institute previously estimated the costs for the state at 10 billion euros for the first twelve months, just to cover accommodation and food for 800,000 people.

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  • Wave of refugees a major boost to German economy, society: Economists

    A leading German economist says that Germany stands to gain from the wave of migrants arriving in the country. The long-term economic gains from the large number of refugees arriving in Germany, he said, will far outweigh the considerable immediate costs Germany faces. Germany is facing an imminent demographic crisis, which would see the country’s working population shrink by around 4.5 million over the next decade unless a sufficient number of immigrants is allowed to come and work. This promises great opportunities for new arrivals to be integrated into the workplace. “In the long run the refugees are an incredible opportunity for Germany,” says Marcel Fratzscher, the head of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW).

  • Finnish security services: Increase in number of asylum seekers raised terrorism threat

    The Finnish Security Intelligence Service (FSIS) on Tuesday said that the rise in the number of asylum seekers had increased the threat of terrorism in Finland. Finland uses a national terrorism warning system, and the FSIS yesterday raised the warning level from “very low” to “low.” Finland expects 30,000-35,000 asylum seekers to arrive this year, compared with 3,600 in 2014.

  • EU member states go slow on relocating refugees

    In September the EU agreed to transfer 160,000 refugees over the next two years from the most affected states, such as Italy and Greece, to permanent locations elsewhere in Europe, but EU member states have so far relocated only 116 refugees and only 1,418 places have been readied by fourteen EU member states. About 770,000 asylum applications were filed in all EU member states in the first nine months of 2015, compared to 625,920 in 2014 and 431,090 in 2013.

  • Slovenia to employ private security firms to deal with wave of refugees

    Slovenia is planning to employ private security firms to help the tiny mountainous country of 2 million manage the flow of tens of thousands of refugees entering the country on their way to countries in northern Europe. The interior ministry said 50-60 private security guards would help the country’s small police force where and when necessary. EU members have committed themselves to sending 400 police officers from different EU countries to Slovenia to help the country deal with the flow of refugees.

  • EU calls urgent Sunday meeting to deal with Slovenia growing refugee crisis

    The EU has called for an urgent mini summit with leaders of several Balkan countries on the refugee crisis. The call came in response to Slovenia’s decision the other to block the entry of refugees into Slovenia, and leave them in a make-shift tent camps on the border between Slovenia and Croatia, where the refugees are exposed to the increasingly cold and wet late-fall weather. Croatia began to direct refugees to Slovenia after Hungary closed its own borders to refugees. Since Saturday, when Hungary sealed off its border with Croatia, more than 24,450 refugees have arrived in Slovenia, a tiny mountainous country of two million people.

  • CBP agent fatally shoots knife-wielding Mexican at border crossing

    A Mexican man who wielded a knife at a California crossing on was fatally shot by a U.S. border inspector Wednesday around midnight. Pete Flores, the San Diego field office director of the Customs and Border Protection (CBP), said the CBP officer fired his gun four times, hitting the man in the chest and neck at the port of entry in downtown Calexico, about 120 miles east of San Diego and across the border from Mexicali, Mexico.

  • Germany 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.

  • Critics 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.

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

    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?