• Travel ban has “scant national security justification”: Terrorism expert

    One of the leading authorities on Jihadist terrorism warns that while the travel ban, which was announced by the Trump administration on Friday, has “scant national security justification,” it does have serious negative consequences for U.S. national security, and for its ability effectively to combat Islamist terrorism.

  • Of immigrants and terrorists (updated)

    If you were an ISIS operative in Raqqa plotting to launch a terrorist attack in the United States, and you proposed to your bosses to use the U.S. immigration system to infiltrate terrorists into the United States, they would summarily execute you for rank incompetence. Use the U.S. immigration system, with all its vetting and with a waiting time measure in years (if you are accepted!) to launch a terrorist operation? Any competent terrorist would choose the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) to enter the United States: There are enough ISIS followers in the thirty-eight VWP countries, and using the VWP is not only quicker: It is a sure thing. You will make it into the United States in hours or days, and without a hassle — not years, as is the case with the immigration route (for which a typical young would-be terrorist may not be eligible in any event).

  • Citizens of 7 travel-ban Muslim countries never implicated in mass killings in U.S.: Experts

    On Friday President Donald Trump imposed a travel ban to the United States of citizens from seven Muslim countries —- Syria, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen. Security experts note that citizens of these seven countries have so far never been implicated in mass killings in the United States. The major terrorist groups that have attacked the United States and other Western countries — al Qaeda, the Taliban, and ISIS — trace their roots to other Sunni such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Qatar.

  • Lessons from a former Somali refugee on the fight against Islamist extremism

    Nobody could seriously argue that Islam is a united body. It is more accurately understood as a culture in the grip of a brutal civil war—between Shi’a and Sunni, between secular authoritarians and radical clerics, between competing jihadi schools—that is simultaneously linked, ideologically and operationally, to monstrous acts of terrorism against non-Muslims inside and outside the Muslim world. We need to learn from the past by understanding that Islam’s internal fissures can work to our advantage. But there is nothing to be gained from a situation in which the very word “refugee” becomes a pejorative, as is more and more the case in America, or when we face legislative proposals that could, for example, prevent Kurdish Muslims from Iraq and Syria—traditionally our close allies—from entering our country.

  • Trump’s policies will affect four groups of undocumented immigrants

    President Donald Trump is expected to order the deportation of millions of “criminal aliens” this week. Administrations prioritize the removal of some immigrants over others because immigration enforcement resources are limited. Since the mid-1990s, previous administrations have focused on removing immigrants with criminal convictions, regardless of whether they have legal residency. Trump’s focus on deporting “criminal aliens” and his suggestion that he might offer reprieve to certain immigrant youth suggest there could be some continuity between his enforcement priorities and those of Obama. But the new president’s emphasis on mass deportation promotes fear. This, in turn, may make noncitizens less likely to apply for naturalization, attend school, seek medical care or challenge violations of labor laws.

  • DHS OIG recommends USCIS suspend plans to use ELIS for naturalization application processing

    The Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (DHS OIG) recommended that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) stop plans to reinstate use of the Electronic Immigration System (ELIS) to process naturalization benefits for immigrants. The OIG says that its urgent recommendation stems from an ongoing review which discovered alarming security concerns regarding inadequate background checks and other functionality problems with ELIS.

  • Six years after first attempt, fight over anti-sanctuary cities bill has changed

    Bills targeting “sanctuary cities” failed to pass the Texas Legislature in 2011 and 2015, but similar efforts this session have better chances of making it to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk.

  • U.S. ends preferential treatment of Cuban migrants

    The Obama administration has decided to end a 20-year-old preferential treatment of Cuban immigrants – a policy known as Wet Foot, Dry Foot – which allowed most Cuban migrants who reached the United States – typically on boats – to receive a Green Card after one year. Ending the policy means that undocumented Cuban immigrants will from now be treated the same way as migrants from all other countries who enter the United States without proper papers.

  • Nearly 500,000 immigrants deported from U.S. in 2016

    The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency reported that nearly half million immigrants were deported in 2016. The agency did not offer details about the nationalities of the deported immigrants. In all., 530,250 individuals were apprehended across the United States in 2016 – of which 450,954 were removed.

  • Trump’s immigration policies will pick up where Obama’s left off

    In 2017, the Trump administration will likely continue and expand the Obama administration’s focus on removing immigrants convicted of crimes. Whether Trump will break ground for a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico is far less certain. To increase crime-based removals, the Trump administration will probably seek greater state and local assistance in federal immigration enforcement, but Trump is likely to encounter the same resistance that Obama did in working with state and local governments on immigration enforcement.

  • Robotic lie detector for border, aviation security

    When you engage in international travel, you may one day find yourself face-to-face with border security that is polite, bilingual and responsive — and robotic. The Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real Time (AVATAR) is currently being tested in conjunction with the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) to help border security agents determine whether travelers coming into Canada may have undisclosed motives for entering the country.

  • European border security agency warns ISIS is manipulating refugees

    Frontex, the European border and coast guard agency, warned that ISIS may be trying to manipulate refugees into carrying out terrorist attacks in Europe. The border agency said that its officials were also worried about ISIS sneaking in trained fighters among the mass movements of people fleeing war, hunger, and extreme poverty. Europol, the EU law enforcement agency,  noted that as of April 2016, there have been approximately 300 cases in which ISIS tried to recruit refugees entering Europe.

  • Newspaper apologizes for saying terror links prevented U.K. Muslim family from going to Disneyland

    The Mail Online, the Web site of the British newspaper Daily Mail, has issued an apology for running stories depicting a Muslim family as extremists, after family members were denied entry to the United States last year for a vacation in Disneyland. Two articles by Mail reporter Katie Hopkins suggested that Mohammed Tariq Mahmood and his brother, Mohammed Zahid Mahmood, were extremists with links to al Qaeda.The Mail Online has agreed to pay “substantial damages” totaling £150,000 to the Mahmood family. Hopkins also tweeted an apology on Monday.

  • Survey of Texans in Congress finds little support for full border wall

    None of the thirty-eight Texans in Congress offered a full-throated endorsement of a complete border wall, a position popular with President-elect Donald Trump’s supporters. Instead, several members of the Texas delegation called for new policies on the border, including fencing and walls in some places, and beefing up security in other ways such as employing new surveillance technology and adding more federal agents.

  • Working the system is easy for undocumented immigrants

    This is the economic and social reality in which millions of unauthorized immigrants find themselves: a country so reliant on cheap labor that substantial portions of the economy are built largely on the backs of immigrants willing to do work most Americans won’t, and for lower pay. An underground labor market provides abundant employment opportunities for undocumented immigrants in the United States. But working in the shadows often means accepting exploitation.