• U.S. may acquire additional land for constructing border fence

    A U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) draft plan regarding the final sections of the border fence that separates the United States from Mexico could impact about 100 people, most reside in a nursing home, according to federal documents.

  • Immigration reform conditioned on border being secured by unmanned vehicles

    Between 2006 and 2011, CBP spent $55.3 million on drone use and maintenance operations, according to a DHS Inspector General (IG) report. The IG recommended that the agency stop buying drones because the aircrafts are costly to maintain and have flown significantly less than their predicted flight times. The bipartisan immigration proposal drafted by the bipartisan Gang of Eight includes a provision which would create a 24/7 border surveillance system heavily dependent on the use of drones.

  • Critics say drones make little contribution to border security

    A new report says that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) drones are a wasteful giveaway to defense contractors and a threat to civil liberties. The report cites CBP own figures, the contribution drones make to border security is minimal. According to CBP calculations, drones have played a role in only 0.003 percent in drug seizure and 0.001 percent in illegal border crossing apprehensions.

  • Lawmakers question Napolitano on border-security measurement methods

    Senators Tuesday grilled DHS secretary Janet Napolitano on what methods her department will use to provide a “meaningful” border-security measurement, which is a key condition for implementing a bipartisan immigration reform legislation unveiled last week.

  • More border security means more business opportunities for tech companies

    At last month’s Border Security Expo in Phoenix, both start-ups and established companies showed off their inventions in an effort to pitch projects to federal agencies. Two themes emerged in the show: the expo demonstrated that many of the systems and weapons systems that were used in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are now becoming available to local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies – and companies expressed concern about the impact the federal budget cuts will have on their pockets.

  • DHS helps tear down technological “Tower of Babel” along U.S. borders

    First responders and international officials on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border had been preparing since last fall for the Canada-U.S. Enhance Resiliency Experiment (CAUSE) — demonstrating the ability to exchange information between local, state, provincial, and national systems and software applications. With these preparations, a recent joint experiment held in Maine and New Brunswick proved that even across borders, any immediate confusion or lack of information following an incident should not greatly affect overall rescue efforts.

  • Discovery Channel special on protecting U.S. northern border

    The Discovery Channel  on Wednesday aired a documentary on DHS, called “Under Siege: America’s Northern Border.” The show will be shown several more times in the coming weeks. The  one-hour special focuses on the northern border of the United States, which was a  crossing point for some of the terrorists behind the first World Trade Center attack.

  • Our primary border security system cannot distinguish between a cow and a terrorist

    One of the main security components along the U.S.-Mexico border is a system of 12,000 aging ground sensors. These sensors, however, cannot distinguish between human beings trying to cross the border, a grazing cow, or a pack of javelin – the wild boar that roams this area along the Rio Grande. DHS has so far spent billions on trying to find a technology which would better secure the border. The question that should be asked is why DHS has not adopted a proven system of sophisticated ground sensors, like the one which the U.S. Army has successfully deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • Problems-plagued border sensor program put on hold by CBP

    Two years ago, DHS cancelled SBInet, the ambitious Bush-era project to install advanced sensing technology along the border. The project was cancelled after more than $1 billion were spent on a few towers equipped with sensors which were built along a 28-mile stretch and the Arizona-Mexico border. Now CBP has put on hold one of SBInet’s successors, a project aiming to install sophisticated ground sensors along the U.S.-Mexico border.

  • DHS secretary says El Paso border is secure

    During a visit to El Paso, Texas on Tuesday, DHS secretary Janet Napolitano highlighted improvements in border security, as many in Congress argue that the path to immigration reform begins with making sure the U.S.-Mexico border is secure.

  • Portable X-ray source offers a mobile terrorism prevention tool

    The hand-held scanners, or tricorders, of the Star Trek movies and television series are one step closer to reality now that a engineers have invented a compact source of X-rays and other forms of radiation; the radiation source, which is the size of a stick of gum, could be used to create inexpensive and portable X-ray scanners for use by doctors, as well as to fight terrorism and smuggling and aid exploration on this planet and others

  • U.S. cuts budget for nuclear monitoring at foreign ports

    In 2003 the United States decided to install radiation detection equipment in 100 large ports around the world, and train local personnel in using the equipment, so that ship containers could be scanned for nuclear material before the ship left for the United States; so far, equipment has been deployed in forty-two ports; after GAO criticism of the quality of the scanning equipment and of lack of coordination between two similar container scanning programs, the National Nuclear Security Administration’s 2013 budget will be cut by 85 percent, and further installations will be canceled

  • Detecting tunnels -- used to smuggle drugs, weapons, or people – is not easy

    It seems reasonable to assume that it would be easy to use seismic waves to find tunnels dug by smugglers of drugs, weapons, or people, but this assumption is wrong; scientists are trying to get a better look at the ground around tunnels to learn why seismic data finds some tunnels but not others – and come up with a seismic detection process for the border and other areas where tunnels pose a security threat

  • CBP wants more drones, but lawmakers want more details about their use

    The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) wants to have a fleet of twenty-four drones to patrol the northern and southern borders of the United States, but Congress has yet to appropriate funding beyond the first ten drones; so far in 2012, drones have been credited with leading to more arrests and drug seizures than ever before, but their contribution is still small

  • Border Patrol relies in obsolescent surveillance gear

    An Obama administration plan to update equipment the Border Patrol is using did not materialize, and now officials are concerned about  outdated equipment putting the lives of agents in danger; the sensors now in use were originally said to be able to put Border Patrol agents in position to capture 90 percent of border invaders, but the DHS inspector general determined that just 4 percent of the alarms were confirmed cases of smugglers and border crossers; 34 percent were false alarms, and 62 percent were undetermined