Borders

  • Our farblondzhet senators

    The Senate immigration reform bill has been presented as an effort to resolve the many complex problems resulting from the Immigration and Reform Act (IRCA) of 1986. Whether the bill passed by the Senate yesterday will succeed remains to be seen, but what is not in doubt is the fact that the border security provisions in the bill, in the words of Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), read “like a Christmas wish list for Halliburton” and other big defense contractors. This is unfortunate, because the U.S.-Mexico border has become a graveyard for a long list of ambitious, technology-heavy – but ultimately ineffective and exceedingly wasteful – programs.

  • House lawmakers disagree on how to move forward on immigration reform

    If the sweeping immigration overhaul bill passes the Senate, as now appears likely, House Republicans may be under intense pressure to move quickly on their own bill, so the versions may go to reconciliation. Members of the House, though, say they are in no rush, leaving the fate of immigration reform in doubt. Some analysts note that twice in recent months, when the House failed to come up with its own version of a bill, it passed the Senate version as-is: In January, the House passed the Senate-White House compromise to avert tax increases, and in February it passed the Senate version of the Violence Against Women Act.

  • Texas sees rise in number of border crossers dying in the summer heat

    During the hot summer months, dozens of migrants die trying to cross the southern border in Arizona and California. Now, Texas is seeing an increase in the number of immigrant dying as they cross the U.S.-Mexico border and lose their way in the desert.

  • Immigration bill gains more support

    The immigration reform effort has been gaining  support from Republican Senators — and from a couple of wavering Democrats – over the weekend, following a beefing-up of the bill’s security provisions by an amendment authored by Senators bob Corker (R-Tennessee) and John Hoeven (R-North Dakota).

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  • Questions raised about “border security surge”

    This week the Senate will decide whether to approve the immigration legislation drafted by a bi-partisan group of senators. A border provision in the bill calls for adding $30 billion for additional security measures along the southern border, including hiring 20,000 more border security agents. Not everyone is convinced the boost in funding will lead to significant decline in illegal border crossers.

  • Border security provision deal makes immigration bill more acceptable to skeptical lawmakers

    Senators working on the immigration overhaul bill have reached a tentative deal on a border security amendment to the bill, a deal which likely would persuade more Republican lawmakers to support the measure. One of the authors of the amendment, Senator Bob Corker (R-Tennessee), said he hoped it would persuade not only more Senate Republicans to support the bill, but many House Republicans as well. “For people who are concerned about border security, once they see what is in this bill [after his amendment is adopted], it is almost overkill,” he said.

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  • GOP lawmakers want stronger border security provisions in immigration bill

    A border security amendment to the immigration reform bill, offered by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), was defeated by a 57-43 vote last Thursday. Republican senators who supported Grassley’s amendment said they were concerned about a repeat of the 1986 scenario: the Reagan administration pushed through Congress an amnesty for illegal immigrants then residing in the United States, but without bolstering security along the U.S.-Mexico border, prompting millions of illegal immigrants to cross the border in the following decades. Several GOP lawmakers are offering their own border security amendments to the immigration overhaul bill.

  • Defense companies turn their attention to border security

    The U.S. involvement in the Iraq war is over, and the country will soon withdraw its troops from Afghanistan. Federal budgets cuts shrink agencies’ ability to conduct research and development. Faced with these realities, military contractors have begun to focus on border security. What many defense companies find especially appealing is the fact that the Senate immigration bill conditions any move toward legalizing the status of more than eleven million illegal immigrants in the United States on the strengthening of security along the U.S.-Mexico border.

  • DHS: electronic devices of border crossers can be searched without reasonable suspicion

    An internal DHS study says there was no legal problem with U.S. border agents searching a traveler’s laptop, cellphone, or other electronic devices based solely on a hunch. The study says that the searches do not violate the First and Fourth amendments, and that a 1986 government policy allowing only a cursory review of a traveler’s documents was insufficient.

  • Rubio will vote against immigration bill unless border security provisions are strengthened

    Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) is a member of the bipartisan Gang of Eight group which drafted a comprehensive immigration reform bill. The bill has cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee and will come to the Senate floor next week. Rubio, however, says he would vote against the bill he helped draft unless the border security provisions in the bill are strengthened.

  • Laser-driven neutrons to detect nuclear smuggling

    Researchers have successfully demonstrated for the first time that laser-generated neutrons can be enlisted as a useful tool in the war on terror, as Los Alamos shows first nuclear material detection by single short-pulse-laser-driven neutron source.

  • Sen. Rubio proposes that Congress, not DHS, devise border security plan

    Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida), a member of the bipartisan group which drafted the immigration bill which passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and which will be brought to the floor of the Senate next week, is working on a proposal which will dramatically change the approach to devising and assessing border security in the bill. The bill now has DHS entrusted with the responsibility of devising a border security plan and determining whether the plan has been adequately implemented. Rubio proposes that Congress would assume these responsibilities, saying that the current plan for borer security is not robust enough to convince many Republican lawmakers to support the immigration bill.

  • Critics: Gang of Eight bill will create new surge of illegal immigration

    The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a nonprofit organization critical of U.S. policies toward both legal and illegal immigration, says the Gang of Eight bipartisan immigration reform bill will not solve the U.S. illegal immigration problem, but rather exacerbate it. FAIR notes that in 1986, the Reagan administration pushed a bill through Congress which gave amnesty to nearly three million illegal aliens — but the problem of illegal immigration has only grown worse.

  • DHS cannot locate 266 “illegal overstays of concern”

    According to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, and 21 May 2013 Hill testimony by Rebecca Gambler, director of the Homeland Security and Justice for GAO, DHS, since 2011, has identified 1,901 “illegal overstays of concern.” As of March 2013, 14 percent of them, or 266, are still missing.

  • Border entry fee opposed by border-state lawmakers, businesses

    DHS, in its 2014 budget proposal, asked for permission to conduct a study about imposing fees at U.S. land border crossings. The proposal is bitterly opposed by both businesses on the northern border, which make most of their money from Canadians who cross into the United States just to shop, and lawmakers from states along the U.S.-Canada border, who say such fees will hurt both commerce and relations between the United States and Canada.