Border monitoring / protection

  • Senate panel considering, and voting on, nearly 300 amendments to immigration bill

    The Senate Judiciary Committee is considering, and voting on, each of the nearly 300 amendments to the immigration overhaul bill. An amendment offered by Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), which would require DHS to transfer all student visa information to border patrol agents at all 329 ports of entry into the United States, was approved unanimously.

  • Panel's draft bill shields DHS funds

    A house panel introduced a bill last week that will protect DHS from budget cuts facing other domestic agencies under the house’s budget plan. This will allow the department to hire 1,600 new agents at Customs and Border Patrol agency, replace cuts to local and state governments, boost spending on cybersecurity, and abandon cuts to the Coast Guard.

  • CBP reports 2012 increase in arrests on the border

    Customs and Border Protection (CBP) chief Michael Fisher told a Senate committee last week that arrests of illegal border crossers have gone up 13 percent this year. The increase in arrests last year breaks a 7-year trend of decreasing arrests along the border.

  • Lawmakers defeat Sen. Cruz’s amendment because of its cost

    Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), saying the Gang of Eight’s immigration overhaul draft does not provide DHS with sufficient incentives to bolster border security, offers an amendment which would substantially increase border security funding. Fellow GOP lawmakers say the price tag — $30-$40 billion – is too high, and defeat the amendment.

  • Sponsors: Immigration bill addresses visa flaws highlighted by the Boston bombing

    Lawmakers behind the bipartisan Senate immigration say bill directly addresses some of the security flaws that may have been exploited by the foreign student who helped Dzhokhar Tsarnaev dispose of evidence after the Boston Marathon bombings.

  • U.S. may acquire additional land for constructing border fence

    A U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) draft plan regarding the final sections of the border fence that separates the United States from Mexico could impact about 100 people, most reside in a nursing home, according to federal documents.

  • DHS instructs border agents to verify all international student visas

    DHS has sent a direct order to its Border Agents telling them that, “effective immediately,” they must verify that every international student who arrives in the United States has a valid student visa The student visa of Azamat Tazhayakov, one of the two Kazakh students charged with trying to destroy evidence related to the Boston Marathon bombing, was terminated before he arrived in New York on 20 January, but the border agent in the airport did not have access to DHS Department’s Student and Exchange Visitor Information System.

  • Immigration reform conditioned on border being secured by unmanned vehicles

    Between 2006 and 2011, CBP spent $55.3 million on drone use and maintenance operations, according to a DHS Inspector General (IG) report. The IG recommended that the agency stop buying drones because the aircrafts are costly to maintain and have flown significantly less than their predicted flight times. The bipartisan immigration proposal drafted by the bipartisan Gang of Eight includes a provision which would create a 24/7 border surveillance system heavily dependent on the use of drones.

  • Lawmakers question Napolitano on border-security measurement methods

    Senators Tuesday grilled DHS secretary Janet Napolitano on what methods her department will use to provide a “meaningful” border-security measurement, which is a key condition for implementing a bipartisan immigration reform legislation unveiled last week.

  • Reducing border inspections delays will benefit U.S. economy

    Inspection of people and vehicles at U.S. border crossings are vital to homeland security. Inspections, however, generate various spillover effects relating to the delays in the flows of passengers and cargo across U.S. borders. A new study concludes that adding thirty-three customs and border protection officers (one at each of the selected thirty-three land and airport locations studied) will potentially lead to an increase in GDP of $61.8 million and employment gains of 1,053 jobs in the United States.

  • Proposed budget shows DHS will have to do with less

    The administration’s proposed 2013 budget shows that DHS will have to do with less: the department $39 billion is $625 million less than the department’s2012 budget, and, in addition, the department has committed to save an additional $1.3 billion by reducing administrative costs. Among the big-ticket items in the new budget: $714 million for a state-of-the-art animal disease lab; $494 million to fund research and development in cybersecurity, explosives detection, and chemical/biological response systems; and $221 million for 1,600 additional Border Patrol agents.

  • Texas Republican lawmakers introduce border security bill

    Two Texas Republican legislators have introduced a bill which will mandate that DHS meet several demanding border security standards, but said that these standards will not delay progress on immigration reform. Senator John Cronyn (R-Texas) and Representative Michael McCaul (R-Texas) filed the Border Security Act of 2013 on Tuesday. The bill requires, among other things, that DHS return to reporting how much of the border is under “operational control,” reporting which the agency discontinued in 2010.

  • Napolitano’s arguments about border security undermined by rise in arrests

    As recently as last Thursday, DHS secretary Janet Napolitano said that border security is at its most robust in years. New numbers released on the same day tell a different story about activity on the border: arrests on the border are up 13 percent compared to this time last year, from 170,223 last year to 192,298 this year. Napolitano argues that arrests alone are not a reflection of how secure the border is, and that crime statistics in border regions – a better measure of border security, she says — are down from previous years.

  • More border security means more business opportunities for tech companies

    At last month’s Border Security Expo in Phoenix, both start-ups and established companies showed off their inventions in an effort to pitch projects to federal agencies. Two themes emerged in the show: the expo demonstrated that many of the systems and weapons systems that were used in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are now becoming available to local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies – and companies expressed concern about the impact the federal budget cuts will have on their pockets.

  • CBP rethinks budget cuts-related furloughs, over-time reductions

    Facing mounting criticism by political leaders and law enforcement in border states, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency has decided to delay the implementation of two-week furloughs and cuts to overtime hours to its employees. The furloughs were originally set to begin later this month, and some said that reduction in hours worked by front-line personnel would have reduced security along the border.