• DHS officials meet skeptical reception at Aspen forum on state of U.S.-Mexico border

    Reporter writes that there were audible murmurs of disbelief from the audience when Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Jane Holl Lute noted that her boss, DHS secretary Janet Napolitano, has said “many, many times, the southern border has never been more secure than it is today”

  • Bullets fired from Mexico strike El Paso, Texas, city hall

    The trend of criminal activity in Mexico spilling into the United States is steadily increasing — but this is new: seven bullets struck the ninth-floor office of Assistant City Manager Pat Adauto on the west side of the El Paso City Hall building; the gunfire may have been stray shots from Juarez, Mexico, on the other side of the border, police said; one of the bullets came through the wall and knocked over a picture frame; one city official: “Now that something like this has happened we’ll put in place more formal procedures so that if something like this occurs again we can have a major notification quickly throughout the building so people can move away from the windows”

  • Obama to deliver major speech on immigration today

    In his first major speech on immigration since taking office, Obama hopes to rally new momentum behind the push for an immigration overhaul by explaining why he thinks a comprehensive approach is the only way to fix what he and others say is a system badly in need of repair

  • Arizona to release immigration training plan for police officers

    The tough Arizona immigration law will take effect on 29 July; Arizona officials will today release a training program designed to teach police officers to enforce the crackdown on illegal immigration without racially profiling; an hour-long video and supporting paperwork will be sent to all 170 Arizona police agencies and publicly released

  • U.S. has no plan to keep nuclear bomb materials from crossing border

    In 2006 the George W. Bush administration announced a $1.2 billion project to deploy thousands of scanners for screening vehicles and cargo at U.S. ports to block the importation of radioactive materials that could be used to make a bomb to protect the United States; the scanners — known as the advanced spectroscopic portal (ASP) machines — proved a failure, and in February, following one setback after another, officials abandoned full-scale deployment of the machines; GAO says that the attention and resources invested in the ill-fated ASPs delayed the creation of a “global nuclear detection architecture” to protect the United States

  • Puerto Rico overhauls birth-certificate systems; will annul 5 million birth certificates

    More than 40 percent of all passport fraud cases in the United States start with a stolen Puerto Rican birth certificate; identity thieves have targeted Puerto Ricans because Puerto Rican names provide the perfect cover for Hispanic illegal immigrants entering the United States and are worth as much as $6,000 on the black market; the documents are so valuable that drug addicts trade them for a fix; the Puerto Rican government has decided to change all that: current Puerto Rican birth certificates will no longer be valid after 30 September; between now and then, all Puerto Ricans will have to apply for more secure birth documents

  • Undocumented immigrants flee Arizona ahead of harsh law going into effect

    Undocumented workers begin to flee Arizona ahead of Governor Jan Brewer’s immigration law going into effect; businesses suffer — and experts say the exodus could really hurt the state’s economy

  • More UAVs, personnel, money for U.S.-Mexico border protection

    The Obama administration bolsters U.S.-Mexico border protection; the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved UAV flights over the Texas border from the Big Bend to the Rio Grande Valley; after Republicans in the Senate threatened to seek funds for 6,000 National Guardsmen to stop human and drug smuggling, Obama decided to deploy 1,200 Guard members in Southwest states until more Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers could be hired and trained; the president sent his $600 million funding request to Congress earlier this week to hire 1,000 new Border Patrol agents, 160 ICE agents, 20 CBP officers, and 20 new CBP canine teams

  • Mexican cartels operate permanent lookout bases in Arizona to monitor U.S. law enforcement

    Mexican drug cartels now maintain permanent lookout bases in strategic locations in the hills of southern Arizona from which their scouts can monitor every move made by law enforcement officials; the scouts are supplied by drivers who bring them food, water, batteries for radios — all the items they need to stay in the wilderness for a long time; “To say that this area is out of control is an understatement,” says a border patrol agent

  • Police chief: Cartels threaten U.S. law enforcement in Arizona

    In the first public incident of its kind, Mexican drug cartels are making direct death threats to U.S. law enforcement officials in Nogales, Arizona, the police chief there says; less publicly, the drug cartels have been targeting U.S. law enforcement personnel for intimidation and assassination for sometime now; members of the cartels have even found a new way to make the task easier: using “cloned” Border Patrol vehicles; driving a Border Patrol look-alike vehicle allows the assailants to get closer to their targets without arousing suspicion

  • DHS looking to UAVs to bolster border security

    With the future of SBINet — the ambitious but trouble-plagued virtual fence project along the U.S.-Mexico border — unclear, DHS says it is now considering expanding its UAV fleet to beef up border security

  • $800 million for 53-mile of border fence (it was supposed to be 655 miles)

    The original plan of the Secure Border Initiative (SBINet) called for spending $833 million to build a virtual fence — a system of sophisticated sensors, cameras, and other barriers — along 655 miles of U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona, New Mexico, and a slice of Texas, at a cost of about $1.2 million per mile; Boeing, the prime contractor, used $800 million to build the system along only 53 miles of border at a cost of $15.1 million per mile; the virtual fence’s technology is now judged a failure

  • 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