Border monitoring / protection

  • Our farblondzhet senators

    The Senate immigration reform bill has been presented as an effort to resolve the many complex problems resulting from the Immigration and Reform Act (IRCA) of 1986. Whether the bill passed by the Senate yesterday will succeed remains to be seen, but what is not in doubt is the fact that the border security provisions in the bill, in the words of Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), read “like a Christmas wish list for Halliburton” and other big defense contractors. This is unfortunate, because the U.S.-Mexico border has become a graveyard for a long list of ambitious, technology-heavy – but ultimately ineffective and exceedingly wasteful – programs.

  • House lawmakers disagree on how to move forward on immigration reform

    If the sweeping immigration overhaul bill passes the Senate, as now appears likely, House Republicans may be under intense pressure to move quickly on their own bill, so the versions may go to reconciliation. Members of the House, though, say they are in no rush, leaving the fate of immigration reform in doubt. Some analysts note that twice in recent months, when the House failed to come up with its own version of a bill, it passed the Senate version as-is: In January, the House passed the Senate-White House compromise to avert tax increases, and in February it passed the Senate version of the Violence Against Women Act.

  • Texas sees rise in number of border crossers dying in the summer heat

    During the hot summer months, dozens of migrants die trying to cross the southern border in Arizona and California. Now, Texas is seeing an increase in the number of immigrant dying as they cross the U.S.-Mexico border and lose their way in the desert.

  • Immigration bill gains more support

    The immigration reform effort has been gaining  support from Republican Senators — and from a couple of wavering Democrats – over the weekend, following a beefing-up of the bill’s security provisions by an amendment authored by Senators bob Corker (R-Tennessee) and John Hoeven (R-North Dakota).

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  • Questions raised about “border security surge”

    This week the Senate will decide whether to approve the immigration legislation drafted by a bi-partisan group of senators. A border provision in the bill calls for adding $30 billion for additional security measures along the southern border, including hiring 20,000 more border security agents. Not everyone is convinced the boost in funding will lead to significant decline in illegal border crossers.

  • Border security provision deal makes immigration bill more acceptable to skeptical lawmakers

    Senators working on the immigration overhaul bill have reached a tentative deal on a border security amendment to the bill, a deal which likely would persuade more Republican lawmakers to support the measure. One of the authors of the amendment, Senator Bob Corker (R-Tennessee), said he hoped it would persuade not only more Senate Republicans to support the bill, but many House Republicans as well. “For people who are concerned about border security, once they see what is in this bill [after his amendment is adopted], it is almost overkill,” he said.

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  • GOP lawmakers want stronger border security provisions in immigration bill

    A border security amendment to the immigration reform bill, offered by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), was defeated by a 57-43 vote last Thursday. Republican senators who supported Grassley’s amendment said they were concerned about a repeat of the 1986 scenario: the Reagan administration pushed through Congress an amnesty for illegal immigrants then residing in the United States, but without bolstering security along the U.S.-Mexico border, prompting millions of illegal immigrants to cross the border in the following decades. Several GOP lawmakers are offering their own border security amendments to the immigration overhaul bill.

  • DHS: electronic devices of border crossers can be searched without reasonable suspicion

    An internal DHS study says there was no legal problem with U.S. border agents searching a traveler’s laptop, cellphone, or other electronic devices based solely on a hunch. The study says that the searches do not violate the First and Fourth amendments, and that a 1986 government policy allowing only a cursory review of a traveler’s documents was insufficient.

  • Rubio will vote against immigration bill unless border security provisions are strengthened

    Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) is a member of the bipartisan Gang of Eight group which drafted a comprehensive immigration reform bill. The bill has cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee and will come to the Senate floor next week. Rubio, however, says he would vote against the bill he helped draft unless the border security provisions in the bill are strengthened.

  • Sen. Rubio proposes that Congress, not DHS, devise border security plan

    Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida), a member of the bipartisan group which drafted the immigration bill which passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and which will be brought to the floor of the Senate next week, is working on a proposal which will dramatically change the approach to devising and assessing border security in the bill. The bill now has DHS entrusted with the responsibility of devising a border security plan and determining whether the plan has been adequately implemented. Rubio proposes that Congress would assume these responsibilities, saying that the current plan for borer security is not robust enough to convince many Republican lawmakers to support the immigration bill.

  • 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.