• Abbott signs sweeping border security bill

    To Gov. Greg Abbott (R-Texas), signing a sweeping, multimillion-dollar border security bill hundreds of miles from the Rio Grande made sense. “Here in Houston, there are more than 20,000 dangerous gang members that are associated with cross border traffic-related crime,” Abbott said Tuesday as he was flanked by lawmakers and peace officers at a Texas Department of Public Safety facility. “More than 100,000 of those gang members operate across the state of Texas.”

  • Computer searches at border subject to case-by-case reasonableness: Court

    A Washington, D.C. District Court has upheld a ruling that U.S. intelligence and border security agents must have “reasonable suspicion” to seize and search any computer or storage media at the border – especially if the computer and storage media belong to an individual about to leave the country. A South Korean businessman, suspected of buying missile parts for China, was stopped at LAX on his way back to Korea. He was allowed to leave, but his laptop and storage media were seized by agents. Judge Amy Berman Jackson stressed that in border searches, the government has a more compelling interest in searching things that are being brought into the country than things that are about to leave the country. Kim’s lawyers asked the judge to suppress any incriminating evidence found on Kim’s laptop during a warrantless search conducted by the case agents, and she granted to lawyers’ motion. DHS says it will appeal her decision.

  • DHS selects U Houston as Center of Excellence for Borders, Trade and Immigration Research

    The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) yesterday announced the selection of the University of Houston as the lead institution for a new DHS Center of Excellence (COE) for Borders, Trade and Immigration Research. S&T will provide the Center for Borders, Trade and Immigration Research with an initial $3.4 million grant for its first operating year.

  • Companies gaming the system to get their H-1B visa applicants approved

    Many foreign applicants for the 65,000 yearly available H-1B U.S. work visas, which allow U.S. companies temporarily to employ foreign workers in specialty positions, are finding that their paperwork is not even being considered due to the fact that many companies are using various behind-the-scenes schemes better to control their own employment interests, disrupting the system while also highlighting the inefficiency of the current registration process.

  • Divided court denies emergency stay of injunction stopping Obama's immigration executive order

    In a disappointing decision for immigration advocates, a divided panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday denied the federal government’s request for an emergency stay of a preliminary injunction which has temporarily stopped President Obama’s deferred action initiatives from being implemented. The court’s order keeps in place the hold on implementation of these initiatives while the Fifth Circuit considers the appeal of the preliminary injunction itself. The Fifth Circuit will hear argument on the appeal in early July.

  • California group blames immigrants for state’s historic drought

    Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS), an anti-immigration environmentalist group, has made a splash with provocative advertisements which feature a young child asking, “If Californians are having fewer children, why isn’t there enough water?” The ad is part of a broader media campaign by the organization which blames immigrant populations for the historic drought in the state. CAPS is calling for stricter enforcement of immigration laws on environmental grounds: it argues that the state’s natural resources cannot sustain the high levels immigration-driven population growth of recent decades. Drought experts and climatologists dismiss CAPS’s claims about the connection between immigration and drought as laughable.

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  • Improving the legal status of undocumented immigrants beneficial to U.S.: Expert

    In 2012 the administration announced two executive orders — the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) — aiming to facilitate the legalization of status of certain groups of undocumented immigrants. An immigration scholar believes that if Obama’s proposed expansion of DACA and the creation of DAPA survive current legal challenges, they could form the foundation for permanent immigration reform. She also says that decades of research show that easing consequences for people in the United States illegally will not encourage more people to come here illegally. Contrary to public opinion, welfare levels and benefits in the United States do not affect migration flows, which are more influenced by economic conditions in the United States and the migrants’ home countries.

  • DHS S&T completes Virtua Shooter robotic device, delivers it to ICE

    The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) the other day announced the successful completion of a robotic device that tests multiple types of handguns and ammunition. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents will use the device to supplement manual testing of the weapons by laboratory staff.

  • EU to launch Mediterranean military operation to end human trafficking

    As soon as 25 June, the EU will launch a sea and air mission aiming to stop human traffickers from bringing more African migrants into Europe. The operation will include the destruction of vessels used by the traffickers, and may involve operations on Libyan territory against traffickers’ targets. So far this year, more than 1,800 migrants have lost their lives crossing the Mediterranean on their way from Libya to Italy. The EU operation, which will initially be authorized for one year, will be run out of Rome and will be under the command of an Italian rear admiral, Enrico Credendino. Refugee rights groups have expressed concern over the EU plan.

  • ICE to review conditions in detention centers housing women, children

    U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), pending a judge’s decision on the legality of immigration detention centers, will appoint an in-house official to review living conditions at three detention centers in Texas and Pennsylvania used to house women and children who illegally crossed the southern border. Immigrant rights advocates, who have sued to end the detention of families, called the announcement made last Wednesday insufficient.

  • DHS implements new deportation scheme to replace Secure Communities

    After months of working to improve Secure Communities, the Obama administration recently announced the Priority Enforcement Program, under which jails will be asked to notify ICE agents when a deportable immigrant will be released — so agents can be waiting — instead of holding him or her in jail until ICE agents arrive. This new approach is a response to criticism of Secure Communities from local law enforcement units that said the program strained local budgets as jails became overbooked with nonviolent criminals.

  • U.K. high-tech industry wants more skilled immigrants to be allowed into Britain

    The British tech industry is pushing for immigration reform that will help startups reach up to 500 million European Union customers and allow U.K. firms to attract a global talent pool. The tech industry is worth £100 billion to the U.K. economy, but companies are increasingly unable to find sufficient talent to fill vacancies.To help tackle the skills gap, British officials are investing in STEM education with the introduction of a new computing curriculum to schools and a pledge to train 17,500 math and physics teachers in the next five years, but industry insidersstress that immigration must be addressed if the U.K. tech and start-up scene is ever going to develop a firm the size of Google or Facebook.

  • DHS deportations undermine efforts to get immigrants to provide leads on radical suspects

    DHS counterterrorism teams rely on cooperation from immigrant communities to obtain leads on radical individuals and pending terrorism plots, but many of these communities are becoming more wary of federal law enforcement as the number of deportations increase. “It’s ironic that you’ve got them coming in and trying to get information from our communities even as they’re detaining and deporting us at an alarming rate,” says one immigration activist. “That trust is just not going to be there. You can’t have it both ways.”

  • EU planning military attacks on trafficking networks in Libya to stop migrant boats

    The European Union (EU) is planning military attacks on trafficking networks in Libya to try and stop the influx of migrants across the Mediterranean. Today (Monday) several EU member states will try to secure a UN mandate for armed action by NATO in Libya’s territorial waters. Britain is drafting the UN Security Council resolution to authorize the mission in Libya’s territorial waters, and Federica Mogherini, the EU’s chief foreign and security policy coordinator, will be briefing the UN Security Council today (Monday) on the plans for a “chapter seven” resolution authorizing the use of force. Military experts say such action would require EU vessels to operate in Libyan territorial waters, accompanied by helicopter gunships to “neutralize” identified traffickers’ ships used to send tens of thousands of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East on the perilous voyage from the Libyan coast to southern Italy.

  • Bill allowing Border Patrol activity within 100 miles of border unnecessary, damaging: Environmentalists

    The U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee last Wednesday approved S.750, a bill which would waive all laws for any Border Patrol activity within 100 miles of Arizona’s border with Mexico. Environmental organizations say that the bill, marketed as an improvement for Border Patrol’s access to public lands, is more about overreach and overkill than access, and will result in more harm to U.S. public lands, including those far from the border.