Borders

  • What you haven’t heard about immigration reform and border security

    The Senate and House must find a way to resolve our current immigration dilemmas. We owe a fairer, more just system of laws to all our immigrants, both illegal and legal. And, yes, we must find ways to address issues of national security as well. It’s not going to be easy to shape such legislation, but we should demand no less from both Democrats and the Republicans.

  • 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.

  • DHS tentatively grants asylum to seven Mexicans

    DHS has tentatively granted asylum to seven Mexican immigrants. Some of the immigrants were previously living the United States illegally, but left and tried to re-enter as part of a protest against the U.S. deportation policies, and in support of granting citizenship to immigrants who were to the United States as children.

  • House GOP caucus grapples with immigration issue

    During a closed-door meeting of the House Republican caucus on Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) urged fellow GOP lawmakers to pass an immigration bill. Boehner reiterated his position that no immigration bill will be brought to the House floor without the support of the majority of the House GOP caucus. Participants in the meeting all agreed that they did not trust the Obama administration to enforce either immigration laws or border security provisions.

  • House speaker clarifies position on immigration reform

    House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told reported on Monday that improvements in border security must be “in place” before a pathway to immigration is to begin. Boehner will head a special meeting of the House Republican Conference today to debate immigration reform.

  • 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.

  • Lawmakers want to ease travel to U.S. as part of immigration legislation

    A bi-partisan group of House lawmakers is working to include a provision in the House immigration legislation which will make it easier to travel to the United States. Travel industry groups support the effort, having fought for years to get the government to relax security measures. The industry has argued that these measures have turned off many foreigners from traveling to the United States.

  • Following DOMA decision, DHS will offer gay couples same benefits as straight couples

    DHS secretary Janet Napolitano said that following the Supreme Court’s decision to declare the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional, her department will work to give benefits to same-sex legally married couples.

  • Senate passes historic immigration reform bill

    The Senate yesterday, on a vote of 68-32, approved a sweeping immigration overhaul bill, the most important immigration measure since the 1986 Immigration and Reform Act (IRCA). The measure offers a path to citizenship to about eleven million illegal immigrants currently in the United States and allocates billions of dollars to bolstering 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.

  • House lawmakers disagree on how to move forward on immigration reform

    If the sweeping immigration overhaul bill passes the Senate, as now appears likely, House Republicans may be under intense pressure to move quickly on their own bill, so the versions may go to reconciliation. Members of the House, though, say they are in no rush, leaving the fate of immigration reform in doubt. Some analysts note that twice in recent months, when the House failed to come up with its own version of a bill, it passed the Senate version as-is: In January, the House passed the Senate-White House compromise to avert tax increases, and in February it passed the Senate version of the Violence Against Women Act.

  • 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.

  • 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).