• Visa Waiver programU.S. considering major changes to Visa Waiver program

    Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly said the Trump administration is considering making changes to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), making it harder for Europeans travelling to the United States. Kelly said the existing rules, which do not require citizens of thirty-eight countries to get a visa for a trip of less than three months to the United States, should be re-evaluated in light of concerns about terrorism. “We have to start looking very hard at that [visa waiver] program,” he said.

  • Border wallBorder wall plans spur effort to help Texas landowners with eminent domain

    By Julián Aguilar

    As the Trump administration sets its sights on building a barrier on the country’s southern border, a group of Texas attorneys aims to help border residents ensure they are properly compensated for whatever land the government seizes. The Texas Civil Rights Project says it will focus its efforts on lower-income residents who don’t have the skills or knowledge needed to fight through the complicated eminent domain process that’s looming as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security moves ahead with plans for the wall’s construction.

  • ImmigrationSharp increase in number of non-criminal undocumented immigrants arrested by ICE

    The number of immigrants with no criminal records arrested has more than doubled under President Donald Trump. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement made 21,362 arrests from January to mid-March, which is an increase of roughly one-third compared to 16,104 during the same period last year. The number of non-criminals arrested doubled to 5,441, suggesting Trump’s administration is enforcing immigration laws more aggressively than the previous administration.

  • ImmigrationThe face of Latin American migration is rapidly changing. U.S. policy isn’t keeping up

    By Jonathan Hiskey

    A fundamental shift in U.S. immigration patterns is well underway. Recent rhetoric from President Donald Trump and the focus of U.S. immigration policies suggest that Mexicans entering the U.S. without authorization are the principal challenge facing policymakers. That is no longer the case. The era of Mexico as the primary source of immigrants to the U.S. appears to be coming to a close. An increasing number of individuals are now arriving at the U.S. southwest border because of crime, violence and insecurity in Central America. These are now far more decisive factors in decisions to emigrate than the traditional pull of economic opportunity in the U.S. This change in the profile of those arriving at the border suggests two things. First, far more emphasis should be placed on improving the U.S. immigration court system than on efforts to strengthen an already well-fortified border. Second, there is a need to move beyond a view of those arriving at the U.S. southwest border as a monolithic group driven by purely economic motives.

  • ImmigrationTrump likely to eye treaties, E-Verify as part of immigration strategy

    By Julián Aguilar

    The Trump administration may not be able to move mountains — literally — in its quest to build a coast-to-coast wall along the nation’s southern border. But that doesn’t mean the White House won’t review some long-standing treaties that have stymied past administrations in their efforts to erect such barriers, Former immigration and border officials say the Trump administration is floating ideas that range from nullifying treaties to expanding employment screenings.

  • Border securityDeveloping data-driven solutions for faster, more secure border

    Unisys Corporation and CSIRO’s Data61 today announced a collaboration to develop an advanced data analytics solution for automated security risk assessment of travelers and cargo at air, land and sea borders. Under the collaboration, Unisys will fund joint research with Data61 to develop an advanced data analytics solution capable of detecting potential border security risks posed by travelers, visa applicants, cargo and parcels.

  • Biometric databasesNew technology helps protect biometric databases

    More and more people are leaving their fingerprints behind – in passports, when logging in to online banking or their mobile phones. Have you thought about where your fingerprint information is stored and who has access to it? Whether we store fingerprints on our mobile phone chip, with our server host or in the cloud, security is always a concern. Scientists are constantly searching for new and better security solutions to protect your information.

  • ImmigrationEducating children in Guatemala before they decide to migrate to the U.S. border

    By Carmen Monico

    Insecurity is a primary factor pushing thousands of young Central Americans to leave their homes and travel north. In fiscal year 2016, nearly 60,000 youth from Central America and Mexico crossed the U.S. border without a parent or guardian. During the peak of the crisis in 2014, more than 68,000 made the perilous trek. The vast majority of these minors are arriving from what are called Northern Triangle countries in Central America: Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. U.S. foreign policy in Central America has focused on funding a militarized war on drugs, which in turn has fueled the root causes that push people to migrate. But some efforts have been made to identify and address these root causes. In 2014, the U.S. government committed $9.6 million in emergency funding to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to assist migrants returned from the U.S. USAID launched a five-year, $40 million program to improve security in Guatemala. Programs that strengthen the regional socioeconomic fabric of affected communities stand as alternatives to anti-drug operations. These programs could establish conditions for children and youth to stay in their countries of origin and live more productive and healthy lives.

  • VisasState Department tightens visa screening

    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has instructed U.S. diplomatic missions to identify “populations warranting increased scrutiny” and tighten screening for visa applicants in those groups, diplomatic cables obtained by Reuters show. Tillerson has also ordered a “mandatory social media check” for all applicants who have ever been present in territory controlled by Islamic State, in what two former U.S. officials said would be a broad, labor-intensive expansion of such screening.

  • ImmigrationProblems associated with enlisting local police for immigration enforcement

    As a candidate and now as president, Donald Trump has described undocumented immigrants as a threat to public safety and has promised to create a “deportation force” to remove millions of immigrants from the country. Through his words and actions, President Trump has indicated that he aims to enlist state and local law enforcement in this deportation force through both inducement and coercion, by aggressively promoting the 287(g) program and threatening to cut federal funding of so-called sanctuary jurisdictions. Law enforcement personnel already face enormous challenges with limited resources. In the coming months, many state and local officials and local law enforcement agencies will face a choice: whether and how to assume a greater role in enforcing federal immigration laws.

  • PrivacyBorder agents should obtain a warrant to search travelers’ phones, EFF tells court

    Border agents must obtain a warrant to search travelers’ phones, tablets, and laptops, which contain a vast trove of sensitive, highly personal information that is protected by the Fourth Amendment, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) told a federal appeals court the other day. The EFF says that searches of devices at the border have more than doubled since the inauguration of President Trump — from nearly 25,000 in all of 2016, to 5,000 in February alone. This increase, along with the increasing number of people who carry these devices when they travel, has heightened awareness of the need for stronger privacy rights while crossing the U.S. border.

  • Immigration & crimeU.S. crime rates declined in period of high immigration: Reports

    The number of immigrants in the United States has risen from 3.5 million in 1990 to 11.1 million in 2014, but two new studies show that an increased number of immigrants in the country might have been associated with a historic decline in crime rates. The studies – Immigration and Public Safety from the Sentencing Project and Criminal Immigrants Their Numbers, Demographics, and Countries of Origin from the CATO Institute — also shows that immigrants are less likely than U.S.-born citizens to commit crimes and be imprisoned.

  • Travel banTwo government reports do not strengthen case for travel ban

    Two internal government reports appear to weaken the case the Trump administration has been making for the temporary travel ban. The implementation of the second version of the ban has been halted by judges in Hawaii and Maryland. The first report, prepared by DHS, found that most of the suspected or confirmed foreign-born terrorists probably became radicalized after they arrived in the United States, not before. The second report, based on data collected by the FBI, shows that most of the suspected or confirmed foreign-born terrorists had come from countries not among the six countries to which the travel ban would apply. The data in the two reports “points to the central question about the travel ban, which is, are you addressing the issues you need to address when it comes to the threat?” says one expert.

  • Travel banImmigration bans tend to create unintended consequences

    Research of various measures to restrict immigration — a policy response common for countries that have experienced terrorist attacks in the past — has pointed to unintended long-term consequences of similar controls on immigration. “Some recent research shows that umbrella restrictions on migration control can backfire,” says one researcher. “Instead of mitigating radicalization, these restrictions tend to have blowback effects. Insofar as the ban against a set of states is an umbrella ban, it’s likely to have the same unintended negative effects.”

  • PrivacyNew guide helps travelers protect their digital information at the border

    Increasingly frequent and invasive searches at the U.S. border have raised questions for those who want to protect the private data on their computers, phones, and other digital devices. A new guide released last week by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) gives travelers the facts they need in order to prepare for border crossings while protecting their digital information.