Borders

  • EU biometric passports not that safe, experts say

    The EU’s e-passports were supposed to be fool-proof, even impossible to counterfeit; Europol has warned, though, that despite the biometric changes to passports, counterfeiting still remains a major problem for criminals or others “who are determined to do so,” with the provision of documents for irregular immigrants being the main driver of the activity

  • Armed escorts to accompany New Mexico livestock inspectors

    Beginning on 26 July, armed deputies will accompany inspectors to the scales in a corridor that stretches southwest from Interstate 10 at Las Cruces to the New Mexico-Arizona border, along Luna, Hidalgo, and Grant counties; the sense of insecurity among ranchers along the border has increased since the highly-publicized 27 March murder of Arizona rancher Robert Krentz

  • Remotely controlled mechanical watch towers guard hostile borders

    South Korea has began to install unmanned guard towers, equipped with sensors and machine-guns, along the DMZ; The South Korean military is emulating the system Israel has built around the Gaza Strip — a system of unmanned, armored towers, about five meters (sixteen feet) tall and two meters (six feet) in diameter; at the top of the tower is an armored shelter that conceals a remotely controlled machine-gun; operators control the surveillance and weapon systems atop these towers from a remote central command-and-control location

  • FBI, ATF aid in inquiry of Mexico's first IED attack

    Car bombs have been used by terrorists and guerrilla groups in the Middle East, Ireland, Spain, and Colombia — but, until last Thursday, not in Mexico; the Juárez bombing involved an elaborate scheme — the perpetrators dressed a man in a police uniform and laid him on the ground to lure others to the body; the explosion occurred right after a paramedic and a federal agent approached the body; the bombing was part of a brutal war drug cartels have been waging to control the Chihuahua state drug smuggling corridor that has claimed more than 1,500 lives so far this year

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  • Neo-Nazi militia patrols Arizona desert

    Various volunteer-based groups patrol the Arizona desert and report suspicious activity to the Border Patrol, and generally they have not caused problems; Arizona law enforcement authorities are worried about the latest addition: a local neo-Nazi militia; members of the militia are outfitted with military fatigues, body armor, and assault rifles — and openly proclaim that only non-Jewish, white heterosexual people should be American citizens and that everyone who is not white should leave the country — “peacefully or by force”

  • Soaring immigrant deaths in Arizona desert in July

    The number of deaths among illegal immigrants crossing the Arizona desert from Mexico is soaring so high this month that the medical examiner’s office that handles the bodies is using a refrigerated truck to store some of them, the chief examiner said Friday

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  • Endangered antelope interferes with Arizona border security

    Environmental concerns and border security clash along the U.S.-Mexico border; the wild Sonoran Pronghorn numbers are down to about 80 in Arizona and they occupy less than 10 percent of their original range — but what is left of their range straddles the border; environmentalists and government stewards of the environment object to the erection of a fence or watch towers, saying they would drive the antelope-like creature to extinction

  • U.S. federal prosecutions of immigrants hits all-time high

    U.S. federal prosecutions of immigrants soared to new levels this spring; the 4,145 cases referred to federal prosecutors in March and April was the largest number for any two-month stretch in the last five years; the number of illegal immigrants in the United States has fallen — as of January 2009, an estimated 10.8 million people were in the country illegally, one million less than the 2007 — but deportations have been increasing, climbing from 185,944 in 2007 to 387,790 last year

  • Increased use of UAVs in border protection hobbled by shortage of UAV pilots

    As hopes that SBInet, the ambitious virtual fence project along the U.S.-Mexico border, will ever live up to its promise recede, DHS has increased the role of UAVs in border monitoring; UAVs require pilots to fly them remotely, though, and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has had trouble finding trained pilots remotely to fly the aircraft; Maj. Gen. Michael Kostelnik, assistant commissioner of CBP’s Air and Marine Office: “The greatest near-term challenge faced is a shortage of pilots and sensor operators, specifically pilots certified to launch and land the aircraft”

  • Utah concludes state resources were used in immigrant list

    Utah Department of Workforce Services database is the source of the list of 1,300 circulated to news outlets in the state; the agency says hundreds had access to database; using state resources to compile the list would violate several state and federal privacy laws, state officials and legal scholars said

  • DHS IG: flawed assumptions about technology, poor contractor oversight plague SBInet

    DHS’s inspector general says the trouble-plagued SBInet program rested on faulty assumptions about technology — assumptions which led both to technology failures and inadequate monitoring by DHS; the SBI program officials stated that the initial assumption that commercial off-the-shelf technology would be available to cover SBInet needs, serving as a basis for determining staffing requirements, ultimately proved to be wrong”; also, officials failed to ensure that one milestone was properly completed before progressing to the next phase, increasing the risk of significant rework and associated project delays; the future of SBInet is unclear, as earlier this year DHS secretary Janet Napolitano froze spending and ordered an assessment of the program to determine if it should continue

  • Senate subcommittee approves about $15 billion to bolster border activity

    Measure allocates $3.57 billion for 20,370 border patrol agents, with 17,000 based on the U.S. Southwest border, more than double the agents in 2004; about $20 million would go toward counter-drug initiatives for southbound operations lanes, personnel, and equipment to stop the outbound flow of weapons and currency used in the drug trade; $20.5 million for one additional unmanned aircraft system and support equipment; the bill include $9 billion for the Coast Guard

  • Detailed list of 1,300 alleged illegal immigrants circulated in Utah

    An anonymous group circulated a list containing the names and personal information of 1,300 people, whom the anonymous group contends are illegal immigrants, to government agencies and news outlets in Utah; most of the names on the list are of Hispanic origin; the list contains highly detailed personal information such as Social Security numbers, birth dates, workplaces, addresses, and phone numbers; names of children are included, along with due dates of pregnant women on the list; the group demands that the people on the list be deported immediately; Governor Gary Herbert ordered an investigation; Utah’s Hispanic community terrified

  • Coalition of Tucson businesses launches campaign against Arizona harsh immigration law

    A coalition of 90 Tucson, Arizona businesses launches a “We Mean Business” campaign to show their resistance to SB 1070 — the harsh immigration law set to take effect 29 July; many of the owners agree there is a need for immigration reform; however they do not think the new law is the most effective approach

  • Second drug submersible seized

    Colombia’s drug cartels frequently use semi-submersible vessels to smuggle large amounts of cocaine past American and Colombian patrol boats to Central America en route to the United States; law enforcement discovers and seizes second submersible in as many weeks: the first was seized in Ecuador, the second in Guatemala