• More border security means more business opportunities for tech companies

    At last month’s Border Security Expo in Phoenix, both start-ups and established companies showed off their inventions in an effort to pitch projects to federal agencies. Two themes emerged in the show: the expo demonstrated that many of the systems and weapons systems that were used in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are now becoming available to local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies – and companies expressed concern about the impact the federal budget cuts will have on their pockets.

  • Bipartisan House immigration overhaul bill offers three paths to legal status

    While a bipartisan Senate group – the Group of Eight – is set to unveil its immigration overhaul proposal next week when Congress returns from a break, a bipartisan group of House members has come up with its own immigration reform draft. The House members’ proposal divides illegal immigrants into three categories – “Dreamers” and agricultural workers; those with families and jobs in the United States; and those who do not belong in either of the two other categories – and offers immigrants in each category a distinct path to citizenship.

  • CBP rethinks budget cuts-related furloughs, over-time reductions

    Facing mounting criticism by political leaders and law enforcement in border states, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency has decided to delay the implementation of two-week furloughs and cuts to overtime hours to its employees. The furloughs were originally set to begin later this month, and some said that reduction in hours worked by front-line personnel would have reduced security along the border.

  • GOP lawmakers say immigration reform bill should not be rushed

    As the unveiling of the bipartisan Gang of Eight’s immigration bill approaches, , Republican lawmakers, including one who  is part of the bipartisan group,  are asking Senate leaders to slow down the consideration of  the bill so as  to avoid making “fatal mistakes.”

  • Immigration violators spend long stretches in Washington jail

    The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can place holds on people booked into jail who may be in the United States illegally. A study of King County, Washington, jail data from 2011 found that about one in eight people with ICE holds were not charged with any crime. It also found that half of the inmates with holds were charged with misdemeanor crimes, including driving without a license. Moreover, if ICE has placed a hold on an individual in the King county jail, that individual will stay in jail an extra month on average. King county officials says all this costs the county too much money, and they want ICE to limit its holds for those who committed serious crimes.

  • Bipartisan Group of Eight to unveil immigration reform bill in early April

    The bipartisan group of senators known as the Group of Eight, currently finalizing the details of a sweeping immigration bill, said on Wednesday that they will be ready to unveil their plan to Congress when it gets back to work in April. Four of the senators visited the U.S.-Mexico border to observe security operations along the border first hand.

  • El Paso to hire more border officers to compensate for CBP budget cuts

    In El Paso, Texas, more than 100,000 residents depend on the activity across the bridges which connect the United States to Mexico. This includes $80 billion in trade a year that crosses the El Paso bridges and millions of shoppers who cross our bridges who spend more than $1.4 billion in the El Paso economy. Sequestration-related cuts, by promising longer wait times at border crossings, will hurt the local economy, and the El Paso city council is looking for ways to minimize the damage.

  • ICE agents tell senators to go slow on in immigration reform

    Chris Crane, the head of the union representing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, has asked the bipartisan group of senators, known as the Gang of 8, which is working on immigration reform to allow ICE agents to offer their input.

  • DHS helps tear down technological “Tower of Babel” along U.S. borders

    First responders and international officials on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border had been preparing since last fall for the Canada-U.S. Enhance Resiliency Experiment (CAUSE) — demonstrating the ability to exchange information between local, state, provincial, and national systems and software applications. With these preparations, a recent joint experiment held in Maine and New Brunswick proved that even across borders, any immediate confusion or lack of information following an incident should not greatly affect overall rescue efforts.

  • DHS late developing new measure for border security

    A little more than two years ago, DHS officials told Congress that they would design a new method to produce more accurate statistics on security along the nation’s border. Last week the department acknowledged that it has not developed this method yet, and will not for some time.

  • Comprehensive bipartisan immigration reform bill to be unveiled early April

    The Gang of 8, a bipartisan group of senators, is finalizing work on a comprehensive immigration reform bill which will be introduced shortly after Congress comes back 8 April. The bill will offer a path to citizenship to illegal immigrants, add up to 200,000 visas per year depending on the U.S. economic conditions and employment needs, increase substantially the number of visas allocated for highly skilled tech workers, and reduce some categories of family visas.

  • ICE agents re-arrest four immigrants released last month

    As part of a departmental belt-tightening move, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) last month released 2,228 immigrants from detention, of which 629 had criminal records. Ten of those were Level One offenders, and four have them have been rearrested by ICE agents.

  • Rise in the number of border-crossers dying along the U.S.-Mexico border

    While fewer people are crossing the border between Mexico and the United States, the region saw a significant spike in immigrant deaths last year, according to a report released on Tuesday. the U.S. Border Patrol identified 477 deaths along the border, a 27 percent increase from the 375 deaths in 2012.

  • Was Mexican border firefight killing 40 real?

    It would seem that drug violence only stops at the Mexican border in the imaginations of Washington politicians. On example: Mexican journalists, because of fear for their own lives and the safety of their families, are increasingly reluctant to cover drug cartels’ violence and mayhem. What has occurred in recent months is that American reporters located in American border cities also have stopped reporting on drug-related violence across the border for the same reasons as their Mexican counterparts.

  • Discovery Channel special on protecting U.S. northern border

    The Discovery Channel  on Wednesday aired a documentary on DHS, called “Under Siege: America’s Northern Border.” The show will be shown several more times in the coming weeks. The  one-hour special focuses on the northern border of the United States, which was a  crossing point for some of the terrorists behind the first World Trade Center attack.