Borders

  • Border Patrol decides not to purchase a balloon to aid communication among agents

    An Arizona-based company makes a balloon that carries light-weight communication gear at 60,000 to 100,000 feet above the earth, and can extend the range of two-way radios on the ground as much as 40-fold; the Border Patrol showed interest in the balloon as a means to help its agents better communicate with each other and with law enforcement in remote border areas; but Border Patrol decided not the to pursue the balloon option

  • GAO: Virtual border fence "unlikely to live up to expectations"

    SBINet, to ambitious plan to build a fence with the most sophisticated technology along the U.S.-Mexico border, may not be the mother of all boondoggles, but it will surely compete for top honors in a competition for such a title; the Government Accountability Office has just issued a withering report about this troubled-from-the-start, never-up-to-speed project; GAO says that the designers of the virtual fence have lowered the fence’s technical standards “to the point that —-system performance will be deemed acceptable if it identifies less than 50 percent of items of interest that cross the border”; GAO also says that the project has been characterized by “decreasing scope, uncertain timing, unclear value proposition, and limited life cycle management discipline and rigor —-“

  • Despite warnings, sensitive components of U.S. e-Passport are assembled in Thailand

    Security experts have warned about the security risks for a while now, but a U.S. government contractor is still assembling a key passport component in Thailand; the Government Printing Office (GPO) inspector general has warned the GPO lacks a basic security plan for protecting blank e-Passports from theft by terrorists, foreign spies, or counterfeiters

  • Video of shooting contradicts Border Patrol's claims

    The Border Patrol agent who shot and killed a 15-year old Mexican boy last Monday said he was “surrounded” by rock-throwing Mexican youth; a video of the incident shows no such thing: the agent is seen without anyone near him except one Mexican boy he, the agent, had detained; the boy is on his knees near the agent; the agent is seen drawing his gun and firing in the direction of a second suspect, standing about 60 feet away from the officer — on the Mexican side of the border; the video shows the suspect running away when the agent drew and fired his gun

  • Mexican drug cartels smuggling illegals into U.S. create security risk, officials say

    DHS has defined several countries — primarily China, but also Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan — as “special interest countries”; smuggling potential terrorists and citizens of special interest countries across the U.S. border is evolving into a billion dollar industry for Mexican drug cartels, posing a significant threat to the United States

  • Questions about killing of 15-year old Mexican boy by U.S. Border Patrol agent

    A 15-year old Mexican, Sergio Hernandez, was shot dead by a U.S. Border Patrol agent; the agent was on the U.S. side of the border, and Hernandez and his friends on the Mexican side; unnamed U.S. sources say Hernandez was a known ” juvenile smuggler,” and that in 2009 he was charged with alien smuggling; he was also on a “most wanted” list of juvenile smugglers compiled by U.S. authorities in the El Paso area; the Border Patrol says its agents came under “assaulted with rocks” by Hernandez and his friends; the Mexican government wants to know whether it was necessary to shoot a teen-ager dead for throwing rocks

  • Law enforcement questions reporting jailed illegal immigrants to feds

    Secure Communities, a U.S. program to check the immigration status of everyone booked into jail, runs into local rules against such actions; critics of the program say that turning illegal immigrants over to federal authorities would undermine the efforts of local law enforcement to win cooperation from immigrant communities; they worry about providing immigration authorities with the fingerprints of those arrested on petty charges

  • Suspicionless customs search constitutional: federal appeals court

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled that an April 2008 search of the cabin of a crew member of a cargo ship docked in Miami was constitutional; the search of the ship was looking for prohibited agricultural materials, but the searchers found child pornography in the cabin; the court found that the ship was docked at the equivalent of a border, making the act a border search; the court ruled that an individual has a lesser expectation of privacy at a border and the government has a greater interest in searching thus the balance tips more favorably to the government

  • Death threats prompt increased security for Phoenix mayor

    Mayor Phil Gordon has been an outspoken critic of the recent Arizona anti-illegal immigration law which allow law enforcement personnel to approach individuals and ask them to prove their legal status in the united States; the mayor has received more than 5,000 threats — many of them death threats, some graphic in detail — from supporters of the law, and the police has now placed him under 24-hour protection

  • FEMA says immigration status to determine eligibility for disaster relief

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says that the legal status of applicants for disaster relief will be taken into account in determining whether or not they are eligible for the agency’s Individual Assistance program’s grant funds

  • Arizona threatens to stop providing power to L.A. after L.A. votes to boycott Arizona

    Following the signing into law of Arizona-s tough anti-immigration law, the Los Angeles City Council voted 13-1 earlier this month to boycott Arizona and Arizona-based businesses; Arizona provides 25 percent of L.A. power, and the state’s corporate commissioner warned that if L.A. does not retract the boycott decision, then Arizona would stop providing power to L.A.; San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, as well as Boston, Seattle, and Austin, Texas, also voted to boycott Arizona

  • Paper I-94W forms will be no longer be needed for travelers from Visa Waiver nations

    By the end of the summer DHS will do away with paper I-94W forms for travelers from the thirty-six Visa Waiver Program nations; the process will now become completely electronic; travelers will log on to CBP’s Web site, submit their personal and travel information, and answer a list of questions related to public health and criminal activity that could make the traveler inadmissible

  • Why SBINet has failed

    New report says SBINet failed because the U.S. government rushed into it without a well-thought-out plan and without a sufficiently tight supervision of the prime contractor, Boeing; “Instead, [SBINet] has been based more on dreams, hopes and fantasy — and on the widely shared, but faulty, assumption that technology provided by private contractors could meet the challenge of securing the country’s nearly 6,000 miles of land borders with remote surveillance systems”

  • Foreign IT professionals in U.S. get paid more than American professionals

    Foreign IT professionals — holders of H-1B visas — working in the United States do not push down the pay of U.S.-born IT professionals; the reason: foreign-born professionals get paid more, not less, than their American counterparts; the damage too-low caps on H1-B professional visas cause American-born IT professionals comes from the fact that U.S. companies prefer to relocate offshore where they can hire the foreigners they want without paying the H-1B induced premium

  • Rise in immigration may help explain drop in violent crimes

    Contrary to public perception, increased immigration into the United States contributes to a decline in violent crime; new study of crimes rates in 459 American cities with populations of at least 50,000 shows that cities that experienced greater growth in immigrant or new-immigrant populations between 1990 and 2000 also demonstrate sharper decreases in homicide and robbery; the research finds that, controlling for a variety of other factors, growth in the new immigrant population was responsible, on average, for 9.3 percent of the decline in homicide rates, and that growth in total immigration was, on average, responsible for 22.2 percent of the decrease in robbery rates