• 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • GOP lawmakers say immigration reform bill should not be rushed

    As the unveiling of the bipartisan Gang of Eight’s immigration bill approaches, , Republican lawmakers, including one who  is part of the bipartisan group,  are asking Senate leaders to slow down the consideration of  the bill so as  to avoid making “fatal mistakes.”

  • Immigration violators spend long stretches in Washington jail

    The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can place holds on people booked into jail who may be in the United States illegally. A study of King County, Washington, jail data from 2011 found that about one in eight people with ICE holds were not charged with any crime. It also found that half of the inmates with holds were charged with misdemeanor crimes, including driving without a license. Moreover, if ICE has placed a hold on an individual in the King county jail, that individual will stay in jail an extra month on average. King county officials says all this costs the county too much money, and they want ICE to limit its holds for those who committed serious crimes.

  • 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.

  • ICE agents tell senators to go slow on in immigration reform

    Chris Crane, the head of the union representing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, has asked the bipartisan group of senators, known as the Gang of 8, which is working on immigration reform to allow ICE agents to offer their input.

  • Comprehensive bipartisan immigration reform bill to be unveiled early April

    The Gang of 8, a bipartisan group of senators, is finalizing work on a comprehensive immigration reform bill which will be introduced shortly after Congress comes back 8 April. The bill will offer a path to citizenship to illegal immigrants, add up to 200,000 visas per year depending on the U.S. economic conditions and employment needs, increase substantially the number of visas allocated for highly skilled tech workers, and reduce some categories of family visas.

  • ICE agents re-arrest four immigrants released last month

    As part of a departmental belt-tightening move, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) last month released 2,228 immigrants from detention, of which 629 had criminal records. Ten of those were Level One offenders, and four have them have been rearrested by ICE agents.

  • Napolitano says she had no part in immigrant releases

    DHS secretary Janet Napolitano said  she was not part of the decision to release hundreds of immigrants from detention last week. The immigrants were released as the agency scrambled to prepare for sequestration-related budget cuts. She also said that the timing of the announcement was poor.

  • Sharp increase in border crossings in 2012

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    There has been a sharp rise in border crossings into the United States, both legal and illegal, in 2012, giving ammunition to lawmakers who insist that the issue of border security should be addressed as a condition for an overhaul of the U.S. immigration system.

  • DHS official in charge of immigrant removal resigns

    On the same day it was reported that hundreds of illegal immigrants facing deportations were released from federal detention because of upcoming sequestration-related budget cuts, the senior DHS official in charge of arresting and deporting illegal immigrants announced his retirement. The administration says the retirement of the official, Gary Mead, is unrelated to the decision to release the detainees.

  • With budget cuts looming, ICE releases undocumented immigrants from detention

    With budget cuts hanging over federal agencies, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has started to prepare for the cuts by releasing detainees from its detention facilities across the country on Monday.

  • Senate Judiciary Committee launches immigration hearings

    Wednesday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing featured testimony from DHS secretary Janet Napolitano and Jose Antonio Vargas, a former journalist who started the group Define American, which campaigns for immigration reform. The hearing focused largely on border security and enforcement, with an entire panel devoted to just one witness — Napolitano. Napolitano said that border security was often used as an excuse to prevent meaningful changes.