• How crossing the U.S.-Mexico border became a crime

    It was not always a crime to enter the United States without authorization. In fact, for most of American history, immigrants could enter the United States without official permission and not fear criminal prosecution by the federal government. That changed in 1929. On its surface, Congress’s new prohibitions on informal border crossings simply modernized the U.S. immigration system by compelling all immigrants to apply for entry. However, in my new book City of Inmates, I detail how Congress outlawed border crossings with the specific intent of criminalizing, prosecuting, and imprisoning Mexican immigrants.

  • DHS launches new Office for victims of illegal immigrant crime

    Homeland Security secretary John Kelly the other day announced the official launch of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement Office (VOICE). The VOICE office will assist victims of crimes committed by criminal aliens. ICE built the VOICE office in response to the Executive Order entitled Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, which directed DHS to create an office to support victims of crimes committed by criminal aliens.

  • Germany: Rise in crimes committed by foreigners -- and in crimes by right-wing extremists

    Earlier this week Germany’s Interior Ministry released the 2016 police crime statistics, including statistics of politically motivated crime. Compared to 2015, the number is up by 6.6 percent and has reached a new high. The main factor is the soaring number of politically motivated crimes by foreigners, which has risen by 66.5 percent to a total of 3,372 offenses. The backlash against the large number of migrants allowed into Germany in 2015 and 2016 manifests itself in crime statistics as well: While the number violent offenses motivated by left-wing extremism fell by 24.2 percent, the number of violent offences committed by right-wing extremists rose by 14.3 percent.

  • Local, federal focus on deadly gang violence on Long Island

    There has been a surge since 2014 in the number of unaccompanied minors coming to the United States, mostly from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Most of the minors are entitled to federal anti-trafficking protections, and subsequent resettlement. Suffolk Country is ranked fourth in the U.S. in the number of unaccompanied minors resettled in the county, and neighboring Nassau County ranks tenth. Violent gangs such as MS-13 actively recruit these unaccompanied minors. Local and federal leaders say there is a need to do more – from better vetting to gang prevention programs to better law enforcement – to address the growing gang violence.

  • Does cooperating with ICE harm local police? What the research says

    Police need public cooperation. The police rely on the public to report and help solve crimes. This is especially true now that police departments face budget cuts and increasing demands on their time – an environment that pressures police to get things done through innovative partnerships with citizens. But cooperation and partnerships rely on trust, something that’s in short supply between citizens and police. A tough stance toward enforcing immigration laws can make immigrants, as well as the general public, cynical toward police, weakening their trust and legitimacy. Police are right when they say forcing them to work with ICE will make their job harder.

  • U.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 wall plans spur effort to help Texas landowners with eminent domain

    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.

  • Sharp 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.

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

    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.

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

    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.

  • Developing 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.

  • New 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.

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

    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.

  • State 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.

  • Problems 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.