• Gay rights advocates want immigration reform bill to recognize gay couples

    Gay rights advocates are campaigning for changes in the bi-partisan Senate immigration overhaul bill so that it would include homosexual couples. Democrats, however, are being cautious, fearing that adding a reference to gay couples would cause many GOP lawmakers to reject the bill.

  • Critics say drones make little contribution to border security

    A new report says that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) drones are a wasteful giveaway to defense contractors and a threat to civil liberties. The report cites CBP own figures, the contribution drones make to border security is minimal. According to CBP calculations, drones have played a role in only 0.003 percent in drug seizure and 0.001 percent in illegal border crossing apprehensions.

  • Lawmakers question Napolitano on border-security measurement methods

    Senators Tuesday grilled DHS secretary Janet Napolitano on what methods her department will use to provide a “meaningful” border-security measurement, which is a key condition for implementing a bipartisan immigration reform legislation unveiled last week.

  • Deportations go on while immigration reform debate continues

    The Obama administration has continued to deport illegal immigrants even as the fight over immigration reform goes on. President Obama has said his administration will not stop deportation orders until immigration reform has been passed, but immigration reform advocates say the administration should stop deporting immigrants who would be eligible for the path to citizenship under the terms of the Gang of Eight immigration overhaul bill.

  • Reactions to Boston bombing threaten passage of immigration reform

    Reactions to the Boston Marathon bombings could become threaten the passage of immigration reform in Congress. Conservative Republicans who oppose an immigration reform along the lines offered by the bipartisan Gang of Eight have spoken out on the Hill, talk radio, and social networks saying that the bill should be reconsidered in light of the fact that  the suspects were born outside the United States.

  • U.S. hospitals shipping sick immigrants back to their home countries

    Hundreds of immigrants who are in the United States illegally end up in the hospital only to find out they will be sent home through a removal system run by hospitals trying to avoid the high cost of treating illegal immigrants.

  • N.Y. lawmakers oppose proposed hikes in U.S.-Canada border crossing fees

    The U.S. government is considering charging a new fee for every vehicle or pedestrian crossing the U.S.–Canada border. This has upset lawmakers in New York who argue the toll would hurt trans-boundary commerce and undermine efforts to ease the flow of traffic and goods between the two countries. Moreover they suggest that the real purpose of the proposed fees is to subsidize the more expensive security operations along the U.S.-Mexico border.

  • CBP agent acquitted in abuse case

    Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agent Luis Fonseca was acquitted of one count of deprivation of rights last Friday. The CBP has recently been under  scrutiny for its rules on the use of force and the acquittal is considered a victory for the agency.

  • Immigration reform should address visa over-stayers

    As the  Gang of Eight gets ready to release its immigration overhaul plan this week, one topic of discussion is how best to verify that the 150 million foreigners who enter the United States annually actually leave. Some 40 percent of the more than ten million undocumented immigrants in the United States today came legally, but stayed after their visa expired.

  • Sen. Rubio says Gang of Eight proposal not “amnesty”

    Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) rejected arguments Sunday that the Senate immigration bill offers amnesty for illegal immigrants. Rubio has been subjected to pressure from opponents of immigration overhaul, who charge that he went back on his commitment to border security as a condition to immigration reform.

  • Reducing border inspections delays will benefit U.S. economy

    Inspection of people and vehicles at U.S. border crossings are vital to homeland security. Inspections, however, generate various spillover effects relating to the delays in the flows of passengers and cargo across U.S. borders. A new study concludes that adding thirty-three customs and border protection officers (one at each of the selected thirty-three land and airport locations studied) will potentially lead to an increase in GDP of $61.8 million and employment gains of 1,053 jobs in the United States.

  • DHS to focus on combatting human trafficking

    The Obama administration has unveiled a plan which will focus on bolstering the prevention of human trafficking. The Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking has been developed by the White House and several federal agencies including the Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, and Labor.

  • Proposed budget shows DHS will have to do with less

    The administration’s proposed 2013 budget shows that DHS will have to do with less: the department $39 billion is $625 million less than the department’s2012 budget, and, in addition, the department has committed to save an additional $1.3 billion by reducing administrative costs. Among the big-ticket items in the new budget: $714 million for a state-of-the-art animal disease lab; $494 million to fund research and development in cybersecurity, explosives detection, and chemical/biological response systems; and $221 million for 1,600 additional Border Patrol agents.

  • Texas Republican lawmakers introduce border security bill

    Two Texas Republican legislators have introduced a bill which will mandate that DHS meet several demanding border security standards, but said that these standards will not delay progress on immigration reform. Senator John Cronyn (R-Texas) and Representative Michael McCaul (R-Texas) filed the Border Security Act of 2013 on Tuesday. The bill requires, among other things, that DHS return to reporting how much of the border is under “operational control,” reporting which the agency discontinued in 2010.

  • Napolitano’s arguments about border security undermined by rise in arrests

    As recently as last Thursday, DHS secretary Janet Napolitano said that border security is at its most robust in years. New numbers released on the same day tell a different story about activity on the border: arrests on the border are up 13 percent compared to this time last year, from 170,223 last year to 192,298 this year. Napolitano argues that arrests alone are not a reflection of how secure the border is, and that crime statistics in border regions – a better measure of border security, she says — are down from previous years.