• Trump calls for barring all Muslims from entering U.S. (updated)

    In an extraordinary rhetorical escalation Donald Trump on Monday called for a “total and complete” ban on Muslims entering the United States because, he argued, Islam is rooted in hatred and violence. The ban should be in place until the country’s leaders and security agencies can “figure out what is going on.” Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told the Associated Press that the ban would apply to “everybody,” including both immigrants and tourists.

  • French regional elections: No one can dismiss Le Pen as an also-ran now

    Marine Le Pen probably won’t be the next president of France, but the regional elections are proving that her Front National has truly become a major player. Le Pen’s party has taken 28 percent of the vote in the first of two rounds to elect regional assemblies. The right-wing Republicans, led by former president Nicolas Sarkozy, came a close second, with a shade under 27 percent. The ruling Socialist Party trailed, with just 23 percent of the vote. There is one week to go until the decisive second round, but even if the left and right somehow manage to block their path, the FN has already struck a major blow ahead of the presidential election in 2017.

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  • Trump Calls for preventing all Muslims, including immigrants and tourists, from entering U.S.

    In what must be seen as an extraordinary rhetorical escalation even for a presidential candidate not known for nuance and subtlety, Donald J. Trump on Monday called for the United States to prevent all Muslims, without exception, from entering the United States until the country’s leaders and security agencies can “figure out what is going on.” Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told the Associated Press that the ban would apply to “everybody,” including both immigrants and tourists.

  • 72 DHS employees were found to be on the terrorist watch-list

    Representative Stephen Lynch (D-Massachusetts) was among the forty-seven Democrats who supported a GOP bill to tighten screening requirements for Syrian and Iraqi refugees. He explains: “I have very low confidence [in DHS’s ability to vet refugees] based on empirical data that we’ve got on the Department of Homeland Security. I think we desperately need another set of eyeballs looking at the vetting process.” He also revealed that a DHS IG investigation found that seventy-two DHS employees were on the terrorist watch list.

  • GOP lawmakers draft bill to bolster Visa Waiver security

    About twenty million people use the Visa Waiver program to come to the United States every year. A bill being considered in the House would block anyone who has traveled to Syria, Iraq or a few other nations in the past five years from participating in the Visa Waiver program. It would also require the United States to collect more information about those who avail themselves of the program, codifying a policy already in place.

  • Texas sues to block resettlement of Syrian refugees

    The Texas Health and Human Services Commission on Wednesday filed suits in federal court against the U.S. State Department, the International Rescue Committee (IRC), and other organizations as part of the state effort to block the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Texas.

  • Major reorganization at CBP: Two new offices created

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has been significantly reorganized, according to a recent internal agency memo. CBP’s current four Operations Offices, however, will not be a part of the reorganization. These four offices, which employ 75 percent of CBP’s total workforce, include the Office of Field Operations, the U.S. Border Patrol, Air and Marine Operations, and the Office of International Trade. New offices in the proposed reorganization include Operations Support and Enterprise Services. The CBP reorganization comes in the wake of an unprecedented CBP scandal.

  • U.S. modifies Visa-Waiver program to make it more secure

    The United States announced Monday that it would make changes to the Visa Waiver program in an effort to prevent terrorists who are citizens of Visa Waiver countries from easily entering the United States. The New York Times reports that the White House has admitted that the changes — which would impose higher fines for airlines which fail to verify passengers’ identities and increased information-sharing among countries — are limited, and that more sweeping changes would require Congressional action. Law enforcement and security experts say that the Visa Waiver program — which allows more than twenty million foreigners form the thirty-eight Visa Waiver countries to travel to the United States each year without being interviewed at American consulates and embassies — dwarfs the administration’s Syrian refugee plan, and poses a far greater threat to national security.

  • More than 500 travelers to U.S. flagged daily for “national security concerns”

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data show that every day, hundreds of travelers going through airports, seaports, and land border crossings are flagged for “suspected national security concerns.” In 2014, the average daily number of those flagged for national security concerns was 548.

  • Canada limits Syrian refugee program to women, children, and families

    Canada’s federal government announced its Syrian refugee plan, a central feature of which is limiting those accepted into Canada to women, children, and families only. Sources told CBC News that to address security concerns, unaccompanied men seeking asylum will not be part of the program.

  • Administration asks Supreme Court to uphold president’s executive action on immigration

    One year ago, the administration announced a sweeping initiative to protect some five million undocumented immigrants from deportation for three years and grant them work permits. A coalition of twenty-six Republican-led states challenged the executive action, and earlier this month the challenge was upheld by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. On Friday, the Obama administration formally asked the Supreme Court to uphold the president’s executive action. In a televised address to the nation, the president said: “We are and always will be a nation of immigrants.”

  • FBI director, DHS secretary criticize House Syrian refugee bill

    FBI director James Comey said he is deeply concerned about a bill which passed the house last week which would require him and other top national security officials personally to certify that each refugee from Syria and Iraq whose application for asylum in the United States is accepted, is not a security threat. DHS secretary Jeh Johnson echoed Comey’s criticism.

  • Napolitano, Chertoff: it is possible to welcome Syrian refugees, protect U.S. security

    Two former secretaries of the Department of Homeland Security — Janet Napolitano (2009-13) and Michael Chertoff (2005-9) — wrote to President Barack Obama Thursday, saying it is possible to welcome refugees while ensuring the safety and security of Americans. “The [vetting] process that is currently in place is thorough and robust and, so long as it is fully implemented and not diluted, it will allow us to safely admit the most vulnerable refugees while protecting the American people. Fortunately, these goals are not mutually exclusive,” the two former secretaries write.

  • House votes for an effective ban on Syrian refugees coming to U.S.

    The House of Representatives on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a bill which slows down, if not blocks altogether, the resettlement in United States of refugees from Syria and Iraq. Breaking with their president, dozens of Democrats joined all the Republicans present to pass a bill which requires the directors of the FBI and national intelligence personally to approve the acceptance into the United States of each refugee.

  • Virginia mayor says WWII Japanese internment “inspires” his policies toward Syrian refugees

    Roanoke, Virginia, mayor David Bowers (D) got into hot water on Wednesday when he issued a statement citing the U.S. internment of Japanese during the Second World War as an inspiration for his decision to delay assistance to Syrian refugees. Roosevelt, in the name of national security, ordered the forcible relocation of more than 100,000 Japanese immigrants and Japanese-Americans living in the United States to internment camps for more than three years. The internment is regarded as one of the most serious civil-liberties violations committed by the U.S. government.