• Texas threatens to withdraw from refugee resettlement program

    As part of its ongoing fight to keep Syrian refugees out of the state, Texas is threatening to withdraw from the nation’s refugee resettlement program if federal officials refuse to “unconditionally approve” a state plan requiring additional vetting of relocated people.

  • U.K. to spend £100 million to control immigration from Africa

    British prime minister Theresa May said in New York that more than £100 million of the U.K. foreign aid budget will be spent on returning Somali and other African refugees to their countries, and encouraging people escaping war zones not to cross the Mediterranean. May said that the principle guiding the government’s new approach to the refugee problem also applies to the question of Syrian refugees: It would be better to help a greater number of refugees at camps in countries bordering Syria than to resettle a smaller number in the United Kingdom.

  • Germany's Migration Office failed to detect forged passports

    Critics say that Germany’s Federal Migration Office (BAMF) has not resolved severe security flaws which resulted in officials failing to detect counterfeit passports used by refugees entering the country. The attorney general for the state of Brandenburg, Erado Rautenberg, is now seeking to seize around 18,000 records from BAMF. Fake passports were seized in the southern German state of Bavaria. What is troubling security agencies is the fact that the passports were previously determined to be legitimate by the asylum office. Some 3,300 more passports are also being reanalyzed in the north-eastern state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

  • CBP MVSS border surveillance system: Another border program mired in delays

    Political parties debate crucial immigration issues, including a call for a new border wall, but an essential component — frequently neglected in the run up to the November elections — is the efficacy of the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) contract acquisition and management process. What is frequently overlooked is the “business side” of CBP – but the business side of CBP is crucial to any immigration policy. CBP agents and officers finally are benefiting from the much-delayed delivery of the Integrated Fixed Tower (IFT) surveillance technology program, but the status of the Remote Video Surveillance Systems (RVSS) and Ultra-Light Aircraft Detection (ULAD) surveillance technology programs has not been ascertained. After many needless Office of Technology Innovation and Acquisition (OTIA) delays and problematic contract management decisions, both the MVSS program, along with the Mobile Surveillance Capabilities (MSC) program, now appear to be dead in the water. 

  • With 10,000 Syrian refugees resettled in the U.S., are more on the way?

    This week, the Obama administration announced that it plans to accept 110,000 refugees from around the world in 2017, a 57 percent increase. This comes after the United States met its goal in August of settling a minimum of 10,000 Syrians in 2016, as part of its commitment to do more for Syrian refugees. Focusing on violence and terror drives xenophobia and resentment but does little to change the status quo. It also misrepresents the refugees who have settled in the United States. The vast majority of refugees, Syrian refugees included, are peaceful and looking forward to integrating into U.S. society. In 2015, the Obama administration acknowledged that the United States could effectively settle more Syrian refugees. The United States has a unique opportunity to safely settle more Syrian refugees as part of a united response to the country’s ongoing civil war. Time will tell whether the current ceasefire will lead to a lasting peace and allow Syrians to rebuild their lives and contemplate a return to their homeland.

  • Calls for Hungary to be expelled from EU over refugee policy

    In a Tuesday interview with the German newspaper Die Welt, foreign minister of Luxembourg, Jean Asselborn, called for Hungary to be “temporarily, or in the worst case, permanently” excluded from the European Union. “We cannot accept that the basic values of the European Union are being massively violated,” Asselborn said. Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Peter Szijjarto reacted angrily, describing Asselborn as “an intellectual lightweight” and as a “sermonizing, pompous, and frustrated” individual whose actions would ultimately destroy Europe’s security and culture.

  • Britain building a 13-foot high wall in Calais to prevent refugees from entering U.K.

    The U.K. government announced it was going to build a 13-foot wall in Calais to block refugees from crossing the channel. The 13-foot barrier will stretch for one kilometer along the dual carriageway approaching the port. The barrier aims to prevent refugees from climbing into trucks and other vehicles in an attempt to smuggle themselves into the United Kingdom.

  • Mexico Senate considering bill which would take back land from U.S. if Trump is elected

    Mexico’s Senate is considering a bill to revoke Mexico’s bilateral treaties with the United States, including the 1848 agreement which transferred half the country’s territory to the United States. The 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed to bring a two-year war between the two countries – a war which Mexico lost — to an end. As part of the treaty, Mexico gave the United States a vast swath of territory, which is now New Mexico, California, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and parts of Wyoming and Colorado. The proposal contains a clause which stipulates that the bill will go into effect only if Donald Trump is elected president – and if he insists on Mexico paying for the border wall he pledged to build along the U.S.-Mexico border, and goes ahead with unilateral changes to NAFTA.

  • Austin poised to become first "sanctuary city" in Texas

    Austin is set to become the first sanctuary city in Texas. And in a move that would defy not just Republican orthodoxy but also the Obama administration’s policy on deporting criminal immigrants, the county where Austin sits is on the verge of ending cooperation with the federal government on immigration matters.

  • Europol deploys 200 counterterrorism officers to Greece to thwart ISIS infiltration

    Rob Wainwright, the chief of Europol, the EU’s law enforcement agency, said that 200 counter terrorism officers will be deployed to the Greek islands within weeks in an effort to thwart a “strategic”-level campaign by ISIS to infiltrate terrorists into Europe. The new task force will be deployed alongside Greek border guards and use technologies developed by British security forces at Heathrow to help spot potential terrorists.

  • Put pig heads on Hungary’s border fences to deter Muslim refugees from entering country: Hungarian politician

    A Hungarian MEP (member of the European Parliament) last week proposed placing pigs’ heads on Hungary’s border fences to deter Muslim refugees from entering the Hungary. Earlier this summer the Hungarian government instructed the country’s security forces to make scarecrows and place them along the border to scare refugees from crossing the border. It was in response to criticism over the scarecrow tactic that Gyorgy Schopflin, the MEP representing the center-right European Peoples’ Party in the European Parliament, tweeted: “Human images are haram… pig’s head would deter more effectively.” Of 177,135 asylum applicants to Hungary in 2015, only 146 were approved.

  • 9/11 attacks merged U.S. immigration and terrorism efforts at Latinos' expense: Study

    After September 11, issues of immigration and terrorism merged, heightening surveillance and racializing Latino immigrants as a threat to national security, according to researchers. Latino immigration in the United States has long sparked passionate debates, with Latinos often racialized as “illegal aliens” posing an economic threat. But following the al-Qaeda-led terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the fear of another attack, coupled with Islamophobia, streamlined immigration agendas with anti-terrorism rhetoric, policies, and institutional efforts, racializing Latinos in a new way, the researchers said.

  • Of immigrants and terrorists

    In a speech on Monday at Youngstown State University in Ohio, Donald Trump continued to modify his approach to immigration: Rather than bar all Muslims from entering the United States, or bar Muslims from conflict-saturated regions of the world, he said he would bar immigration from countries “compromised” by terrorism. These proposals, however, have little, if anything, to do with preventing acts of terrorism in the United States or making the United States safer.

  • Europe-wide failure to anticipate, tackle "colossal" migration crisis

    After a year-long inquiry, the U.K. Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee says EU action to address a crisis it should have foreseen has been “too little, too late,” with the EU-Turkey agreement a partial solution at best which raises serious humanitarian, human rights, logistical and legal concerns. The committee notes that current numbers of people seeking to move into Europe are “unprecedented in modern times – with 1,255,640 first-time applications for asylum in EU member states in 2015, double the 562,680 in 2014.

  • CBP expands Global Entry to Colombian citizens

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced the other day the expansion of Global Entry to citizens of Colombia. Global Entry, a CBP Trusted Traveler Program, allows for expedited clearance of pre-approved, low-risk travelers. Colombia becomes the first country in South America and the eighth country overall whose citizens will be eligible to enroll in Global Entry.