• Modernizing DHS border enforcement systems may cost more than $1.5 billion

    TECS is the primary DHS system that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel use to screen foreigners against a variety of watchlists, and it manages case files for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). ICE assignments tracked include money-laundering probes, online pornography investigations, and phone data analyses. A GAO audit last month found that the planned $1.5 billion upgrade to TECS now has no foreseeable end-date or final cost estimate.

  • Africa’s Sahel region threatened by terrorism, organized crime: Ban Ki-moon

    Terrorism, trafficking in arms, drugs, and people, and other transnational forms of organized crime are threatening security in Africa’s vast sub-Saharan Sahel region, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned the Security Council yesterday. He called for continued strengthening of The UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), a 12,600-strong force set up by the Council in April and authorized “to use all necessary means” to carry out security-related stabilization tasks, protect civilians, UN staff, and cultural artefacts in the cou8ntry, and create the conditions for provision of humanitarian aid.

  • Government agencies recognized for engagement with industry

    The Washington Homeland Security Roundtable (WHSR) established the Industry Engagement Awards to recognize exceptional efforts by government agencies to collaborate, engage, and partner with industry. Last year, WHSR recognized both the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the U.S. Border Patrol for their engagement and programs with industry through WHSR. At their upcoming 4 December holiday reception, WHSR will again recognize various government leaders of DHS component agencies for their contributions to partnering and engaging with industry.

  • Sahel-Sahara countries to build joint security training center in Rabat

    At a meeting on common security challenges in north and west Africa, government officials from nineteen Sahel, Sahara, and Maghreb countries agreed to build a joint security training center in Rabat, Morocco, to increase the competency of the region’s security forces to deal with growing terrorist and jihadist threats. The nineteen countries will also increase information sharing and harmonize the legal means they use to fight security threats. The ministers said that one of the first steps toward improving security in west and north Africa would be to improve monitoring of border and increase border security.

  • TCOM’s aerostat systems help U.S. Border Patrol

    Several TCOM aerostat systems are being evaluated by Border Patrol agents in operational environments along U.S.-Mexico border. TCOM’s aerostat systems enable operators to view activity along the border. The system can typically remain aloft for two weeks to one month at a time. With operational altitudes of up to 5,000ft, the aerostats provide monitoring of thousands of square miles.

  • Going underground: More sophisticated tunnels built under U.S.-Mexico border

    Law enforcement officials in San Diego recently discovered a “super tunnel” used to smuggle drugs from Tijuana, Mexico to an industrial park in San Diego. Considered the most sophisticated tunnel discovered to date, the tunnel is only one of 140 drug trafficking tunnels discovered since 1990. The 600-yard tunnel was equipped with lighting, ventilation, and an electric rail system. Experts say that smugglers turn to tunnels because above-ground border security has been bolstered.

  • Pyreos, ultra‐low power consumption IR sensor specialist, secures $4 million investment

    Edinburgh, Scotland-based Pyreos Limited, a specialist in ultra‐low power consumption infrared sensor technology, the other day announced plans for international expansion after securing a further funding round of $4 million. It is possible to use Pyreos sensor arrays in many applications, among them border security, where they can identify human movement at distances of several kilometers.

  • Strike Two: The CBP’s failure to polygraph its future employees

    Two recent reports – one by the DHS OIG, the other by the GAO — raise an alarm not just about CBP’s failure to monitor and ameliorate the use of excessive force by its agents and officers, but also call into question the quality and character of CBP’s current work force. Rather than reassure the public that the CBP is transitioning into a modern, professional law enforcement agency, these two reports highlight the need for increased congressional oversight and study of an agency which is so vital to our national security.

  • Senior U.S., Canadian government officials to gather at US/Canada Border Conference

    For two days on 12-13 September, Detroit’s renovated Cobo Center will be host to a gathering of U.S. and Canadian border security officials and industry professionals meeting to discuss a myriad of important issues relating to border protection and facilitation of legitimate trade and travel between the United States and Canada.

  • More resources allocated to border security without a clear measure of effectiveness

    Billions of tax-payer dollars have been spent to secure the U.S-Mexico border from illegal immigration and drug trafficking. Yet, according to two federal oversight agencies, it is not clear whether the investments made are providing a favorable return. More importantly, there is no mechanism to measure the effectiveness or success of the investments made to secure the border.

  • DHS takes control of Arizona border blimp, grounding it for repairs

    A 208-foot long white blimp has been floating two miles above Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, using radar continuously to scan the area along the border, looking for low-flying aircraft drug smugglers use to bring drugs into the United States. The sensors on board can detect activity in distances of up to 230 miles. The blimp, had been operated by the U.S. Air Force, but DHS has now assumed responsibility for it. It is one of eight aerostats deployed along the U.S. southern border.

  • CBP drones may be armed with non-lethal weapons

    Customs and Border Protection (CBP) currently has eight Predator drones used on the northern and southern borders, and two more drones watching the Caribbean. The drones are equipped with high-tech cameras. Critics say drones are not an efficient way to monitor the border, and that they lead to few arrests and seizures. Other critics are worry about something else: a recent CBP report show that the agency is considering arming these drones with “expendables or non-lethal weapons designed to immobilize [targets of interest].”

  • Senate immigration bill could yield billions in federal contracts

    The Senate immigration bill will see billions of dollars go to defense and technology companies as a result of billions of dollars in new and expanded federal contracts aiming to bolster border security.

  • 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.

  • 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.