• 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).

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Defense companies turn their attention to border security

    The U.S. involvement in the Iraq war is over, and the country will soon withdraw its troops from Afghanistan. Federal budgets cuts shrink agencies’ ability to conduct research and development. Faced with these realities, military contractors have begun to focus on border security. What many defense companies find especially appealing is the fact that the Senate immigration bill conditions any move toward legalizing the status of more than eleven million illegal immigrants in the United States on the strengthening of security along the U.S.-Mexico border.

  • Laser-driven neutrons to detect nuclear smuggling

    Researchers have successfully demonstrated for the first time that laser-generated neutrons can be enlisted as a useful tool in the war on terror, as Los Alamos shows first nuclear material detection by single short-pulse-laser-driven neutron source.

  • Senators debate border security measurement methodology

    The immigration reform bill contains $4 billion for border security. The problem is that no one is quite sure how to measure border security, how do we decide that the border is secure, and who would make that decision.

  • 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.