Borders

  • Our primary border security system cannot distinguish between a cow and a terrorist

    One of the main security components along the U.S.-Mexico border is a system of 12,000 aging ground sensors. These sensors, however, cannot distinguish between human beings trying to cross the border, a grazing cow, or a pack of javelin – the wild boar that roams this area along the Rio Grande. DHS has so far spent billions on trying to find a technology which would better secure the border. The question that should be asked is why DHS has not adopted a proven system of sophisticated ground sensors, like the one which the U.S. Army has successfully deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • DHS reasserts right for search and seizure without probable cause

    Thousands of times a year  people are stopped as they cross into the United States, and their cell phones, tablets, and laptops are taken from them. Their e-mails and photos and other important documents are searched thoroughly without  probable cause.

  • Problems-plagued border sensor program put on hold by CBP

    Two years ago, DHS cancelled SBInet, the ambitious Bush-era project to install advanced sensing technology along the border. The project was cancelled after more than $1 billion were spent on a few towers equipped with sensors which were built along a 28-mile stretch and the Arizona-Mexico border. Now CBP has put on hold one of SBInet’s successors, a project aiming to install sophisticated ground sensors along the U.S.-Mexico border.

  • Gang of Eight: DHS secretary to determine if border is secure

    Even supporters of immigration reform admit that security along the U.S.-Mexico border should be improved so that legalizing the status of the eleven million undocumented immigrants currently in the United States would not become a magnet for drawing even more undocumented immigrants into the country. How do we know, however, whether the border is secure enough for the legalizing process to begin? A bipartisan group of senators, known as the Gang of Eight, has an idea: under the terms of the bipartisan framework for immigration reform, DHS secretary Janet Napolitano would make the final determination about whether or not the border is secure. Once she makes the determination that the border is secure, the eleven million undocumented immigrants would start on their path to a legal status in the country.

  • DHS secretary says El Paso border is secure

    During a visit to El Paso, Texas on Tuesday, DHS secretary Janet Napolitano highlighted improvements in border security, as many in Congress argue that the path to immigration reform begins with making sure the U.S.-Mexico border is secure.

  • Why some immigrants get citizenship

    For immigrants, the path to citizenship in many countries is filled with hurdles: finding a job, learning the language, passing exams. For some people, however, the biggest obstacle of all may be one they cannot help: their country of origin.

  • Mexican officials hope for real changes in U.S. gun policy

    The majority of the guns used in drug-related violence in Mexico have come from the United States. Numbers from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives show that  almost 70 percent of the 99,000 weapons seized in Mexico in 2012 came from the United States. Mexican officials are hoping that president Obama’s speeches on changing the U.S. gun policy will be more than just talk.

  • Controversial full-body scanners at U.S. airports to be replaced

    The  controversial full-body airport scanners which  upset many  passengers because of the anatomically accurate images they produced, will be removed from U.S. airports by June, according to the Transportation Security Administration(TSA), ending a $40 million contract with Rapiscan Systems, the manufacturer of the scanners. Rapiscan’s backscatter X-ray scanners are being replaced by less intrusive millimeter wave scanners.

  • Ariz. Governor Brewer offers a softer approach to illegal immigration

    Arizona governor Jan Brewer has made a name for herself for always taken a her hard line stance on the subject of illegal immigration, but recently she has begun to soften her tone on the issue. While Brewer’s position has not changed —  she prefers border security over immigration reform — her tone has, as the State of the State address last week suggests.

  • Advocates of immigration reform eye Canada’s guest worker program as a model

    When many Mexicans head north for seasonal work, they no longer have to smuggle their way through the U.S.–Mexican border; now they can hop a fight to Canada; in a government-to-government deal between Mexico and Canada, almost 16,000 temporary Mexican workers are able to earn good wages in Canada as part of a guest worker program; as discussions about immigration reform in the United States continue, some eye the Canadian guest worker program as a model to be emulated

  • Portable X-ray source offers a mobile terrorism prevention tool

    The hand-held scanners, or tricorders, of the Star Trek movies and television series are one step closer to reality now that a engineers have invented a compact source of X-rays and other forms of radiation; the radiation source, which is the size of a stick of gum, could be used to create inexpensive and portable X-ray scanners for use by doctors, as well as to fight terrorism and smuggling and aid exploration on this planet and others

  • U.K. political activist enters U.S. using a friend’s passport

    Stephen Lennon, the 30-year old leader of the English Defense League, a street protest group active in organizing demonstrations against what group members regard as the growing influence of Islam in British life, was sentenced to ten months in jail for using a friend’s passport to enter the United States

  • New Mexican government to set up a new police force to fight drugs, crime

    Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto has said his government would create a new national police force as part of a new approach to dealing with drugs, crime, and violence; Pena Nieto took office on 1 December; the new, militarized police force would have about 10,000 officers initially, but would eventually grow to 40,000

  • U.S. cuts budget for nuclear monitoring at foreign ports

    In 2003 the United States decided to install radiation detection equipment in 100 large ports around the world, and train local personnel in using the equipment, so that ship containers could be scanned for nuclear material before the ship left for the United States; so far, equipment has been deployed in forty-two ports; after GAO criticism of the quality of the scanning equipment and of lack of coordination between two similar container scanning programs, the National Nuclear Security Administration’s 2013 budget will be cut by 85 percent, and further installations will be canceled

  • Detecting tunnels -- used to smuggle drugs, weapons, or people – is not easy

    It seems reasonable to assume that it would be easy to use seismic waves to find tunnels dug by smugglers of drugs, weapons, or people, but this assumption is wrong; scientists are trying to get a better look at the ground around tunnels to learn why seismic data finds some tunnels but not others – and come up with a seismic detection process for the border and other areas where tunnels pose a security threat