Borders

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.