• Texas smugglers say Trump's border wall wouldn't stop immigrants, drugs from pouring across the border

    If the Trump administration follows through on the president’s promises to build a border wall, would it actually stop undocumented immigrants and illegal drugs? Two former smugglers explain how they’d work around it.

  • New algorithm to help resettle refugees, improve their integration

    In recent years, a record number of people have been displaced as a result of war, persecution, and other human rights violations, surpassing the numbers seen after the Second World War. In 2016 alone, about 65.6 million people were forced to flee their homes. Researchers have developed a new machine learning algorithm which could help governments and resettlement agencies find the best places for refugees to relocate, depending on their particular skills and backgrounds.

  • Administration waives more than 30 environmental laws for New Mexico section of border wall

    The Trump administration on Monday waived more than thirty environmental laws to speed construction of twenty miles of border wall in eastern New Mexico, the third time the waiver has been used by the Trump administration. The waiver is meant to allow construction of the New Mexico border wall section without having to comply with laws that protect clean air, clean water, public lands, or endangered wildlife.

  • Climate change will displace millions in coming decades. Nations should prepare now to help them

    By the middle of this century, experts estimate that climate change is likely to displace between 150 and 300 million people. If this group formed a country, it would be the fourth-largest in the world, with a population nearly as large as that of the United States. Yet neither individual countries nor the global community are completely prepared to support a whole new class of “climate migrants.” The scale of this challenge is unlike anything humanity has ever faced. By midcentury, climate change is likely to uproot far more people than the Second World War, which displaced some 60 million across Europe, or the Partition of India, which affected approximately 15 million. The migration crisis that has gripped Europe since 2015 has involved something over one million refugees and migrants. It is daunting to envision much larger flows of people, but that is why the global community should start doing so now.

  • Climate change will displace millions of people. Where will they go?

    The 1951 Refugee Convention defines a protected refugee as someone who leaves his or her home country due to racial, religious, or social persecution, or reasonable fear of such persecution. These refugees have the right to seek asylum and protection from participating members of the United Nations (though these countries are not obligated to take them in). However, people displaced by climate change do not fit this definition. At the international level, there is no legal mechanism in place to protect climate migrants’ rights and to ensure assistance from other countries. For climate relocation to work, governments need to care and commit to international responsibility and burden-sharing. However, in the current global political context of fear of terrorism, an increased refugee influx into Europe, and an overall rise of xenophobia, countries are more likely to opt for stricter policies on cross-border migration.

  • Early Trump support increased in areas with recent Latino population growth: Study

    Donald Trump announced his presidential candidacy in June 2015 with a bold, double-edged promise: that he would build a “great wall” on the border separating the United States and Mexico, and that he would make Mexico pay for it. That polarizing statement, since repeated ad nauseam by commentators on both sides of the political spectrum, quickly went on to become one of the defining hallmarks of Trump’s presidential campaign. According to three political scientists from the University of California, Riverside, Trump’s remarks also galvanized his voter base in the initial stages of his campaign, particularly in areas that had experienced considerable Latino population growth in recent years.

  • Trump’s “Muslim ban” produced rare shift in public opinion: Study

    President Donald Trump signed Executive Order 13769 on 27 January 2017, effectively barring individuals from seven predominately Muslim countries from entering the United States for ninety days. Within a day of his decree, thousands of protesters flooded airports around the country in opposition to what was quickly deemed a “Muslim ban,” and by 6 March, the order had been formally revoked. Researchers say that the profound response to the ban represents “one instance in which the priming of American identity shifted citizens’ opinions toward more inclusive, rather than restrictive, immigration-related policy stances.” Overall, the findings suggest that American identity can be “primed” to produce shifts in public opinion. It also demonstrates that public opinion may be more malleable than previously thought.

  • DHS’s airport biometric exit program faces budgetary, legal, technical, and privacy questions

    DHS has installed experimental face-recognition system in nine U.S. airports. If DHS’s current plans are executed, every traveler flying overseas, American and foreign national alike, will soon be subject to a face recognition scan as part of this “biometric exit” program. A new report notes that neither Congress nor DHS has ever justified the need for the program. Congress never provided a rationale for it. Congress never provided a rationale for it while DHS has repeatedly questioned “the additional value biometric air exit would provide.” The biometric exit program also stands on shaky legal ground, and to make matters worse, the face scanning technology used by DHS may make frequent mistakes. “The privacy concerns implicated by biometric exit are at least as troubling as the system’s legal and technical problems,” the report notes.

  • Subterranean Challenge: Revolutionizing underground capabilities

    Underground settings are becoming increasingly relevant to global security and safety. Rising populations and urbanization are requiring military and civilian first responders to perform their duties below ground in human-made tunnels, underground urban spaces, and natural cave networks. DARPA two weeks ago announced its newest challenge — the DARPA Subterranean Challenge – to accelerate development of critical lifesaving capabilities.

  • Hotter temperatures will accelerate asylum-seekers migration to Europe

    New research predicts that migrants applying for asylum in the European Union will nearly triple over the average of the last fifteen years by 2100 if carbon emissions continue on their current path. The study suggests that cutting emissions could partially stem the tide, but even under an optimistic scenario, Europe could see asylum applications rise by at least a quarter.

  • DHS details security enhancements to Visa Waiver Program

    Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen last Friday announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in consultation with the Department of State and other federal agencies, is taking action to strengthen the “already robust national security and immigration enforcement elements” of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). The VWP is a comprehensive security partnership with many of America’s allies. VWP permits citizens of 38 countries to travel to the United States for business or tourism for stays of up to 90 days without a visa.

  • The border fence looms over these Texans. Should the government pay them?

    Long before President Donald Trump promised to build a wall, Homeland Security used its powers of eminent domain to seize hundreds of acres of land in south Texas to construct a border fence. Under the law, if the government takes or damages your property, it’s supposed to pay to make you whole again. In Texas, the agency has paid $18 million to landholders over the last decade. But scores of Texas landowners who have lived in the shadow of the border fence for years were never compensated for any damage to their property values.

  • With border arrests down, some question Trump administration's push for more agents

    The Department of Homeland Security’s announced this week a near-record decline in the number of people caught trying to enter the country illegally. Yet the Trump administration still wants to hire thousands of more border agents.

  • Revolutionizing subterranean mapping and navigation

    Subterranean warfare—whether involving human-made tunnels, underground urban infrastructure, or natural cave networks—has been an element of U.S. military operations from the Second World War and Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan. As above-ground commercial and military intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities continue to grow more capable and ubiquitous, adversaries are increasingly heading underground to circumvent detection. Rapid global urbanization, furthermore, is accelerating the frequency and complexity of dangerous subterranean environments faced not just by warfighters, but also by emergency responders performing search-and-rescue missions underground: in collapsed mines, for instance, or municipal or urban settings wrecked by natural disaster. DARPA issues a Request for Information which seeks concepts for novel systems and component technologies to disruptively augment military and civilian operations underground.

  • Climate changes triggered immigration to America in the nineteenth century

    From Trump to Heinz, some of America’s most famous family names and brands trace their origins back to Germans who emigrated to the country in the nineteenth century. Researchers have now found that climate was a major factor in driving migration from Southwest Germany to North America during the nineteenth century.