• Border security, economic downturn slow down illegal immigration

    U.S. economic downturn and tighter border security have led to a steady decline in illegal immigration from Mexico; fewer immigrants who go back to Mexico try to return

  • Department of Transportation launches DOT blog

    The U.S. Department of transportation launches Fast Lane, a departmental blog aiming to air the views of department’s big-wigs, but also to offer a forum for guest bloggers from government, industry, and the transportation community

  • Government scrapping virtual fence on Arizona-Mexico border

    Boeing’s Project 28 — showcasing advanced technologies to be used in making U.S. borders more secure — was hobbled from the start by technological glitches and delays; it delivered much less than what was promised, and DHS decides to scrap it

  • DHS proposes biometric airport and seaport exit procedures

    Moving to implement one more recommendation of the 9/11 Commission, DHS announces that by 30 June 2009 all visitors leaving the United States will have their biometric details taken and recorded

  • U.K. to set up massive national drivers' surveillance scheme

    Hundreds of monitoring stations would be used to track cars every five seconds — with daily itemized accounts of all trips made by Britain’s thirty million drivers; move is part of a national pay-as-you-drive road pricing plan; government says plan will reduce congestion and pollution

  • Quota for visas for professionals met on first day; lottery set

    US authorities said Tuesday they had received too many applications for a visa program for skilled workers for the coming year, meaning a random lottery will determine the winners

  • EU drops border security controls with 9 more countries

    Nine more countries enter the Schengen area as of Sunday; air border checks will no longer be necessary for European passengers to go to of from these new area members

  • U.S. hi-tech companies brace for new squeeze on high-tech visas

    U.S. companies can apply for H1-B visa for a skilled foreign employee beginning 1 April for the fiscal year which begins 1 October; last year, all 65,000 H1-B visas were filled on the first day of application; tomorrow will be no different

  • As Real ID kicks in 11 May, some states may be left in limbo

    Beginning 11 May, individuals who want to enter federal buildings or board a plane will have to show a state driver’s license complying with the Real ID Act — unless their state has been granted an extension by DHS (the extension is until 11 October 2009); Maine and South Carolina do not have Real ID-compliant licenses, and they are yet to apply for an extension (the deadline is today)

  • Security concerns over U.S. decision to outsource e-passport production

    The U.S. Government Printing Office’s (GPO) decision to outsource the production of the new e-passports to companies in Europe and Thailand makes legislators, security experts worry; Thailand is an unstable country with a tradition of corruption and rising Islamic terrorism problem; the Dutch company which operates the Thai e-passport production facilities filed court papers in October 2007 charging that China had stolen the company’s patented technology for e-passport chips

  • JFK now requires 10 fingerprints from visitors

    New York’s JFK joins a list of other U.S. airports now requiring non-U.S. citizens to submit ten fingerprints; on a typical day, JFK sees almost 14,400 international visitors complete USVISIT biometric procedures

  • Texas to revive "neighborhood watch" border protection scheme

    Texas will invest $2 million to place 200 video cameras along its border with Mexico; Texas citizens could watch the videos on their computers at home, and alert the authorities if they see something suspicious

  • Three more EU members on way to visa waver status

    The United States, continuing to defy the EU, grants pre-visa waiver status to Slovakia, Hungary, and Lithuania; EU wants to negotiate a package deal on behalf of the twelve new EU members, while U.S. prefers to deal with each country on its security merits

  • Taking stock of UKVisas program

    UKVisas is part of the U.K. government’s e-border program - and to date has moved faster than other components of the scheme; the program wins a technology award, which is a good occasion to see where the program stands today

  • Bill would double cap on H-1B visas

    The United States allows millions of little-educated, low-skill immigrants to come to the country, while allocating a tiny number of visas to high-skill scientists and engineers; this is going to change, but critics complain that bill still leaves major problems — chief among them: setting wage floor for H-1B employees — unaddressed