• GangsLocal, federal focus on deadly gang violence on Long Island

    There has been a surge since 2014 in the number of unaccompanied minors coming to the United States, mostly from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Most of the minors are entitled to federal anti-trafficking protections, and subsequent resettlement. Suffolk Country is ranked fourth in the U.S. in the number of unaccompanied minors resettled in the county, and neighboring Nassau County ranks tenth. Violent gangs such as MS-13 actively recruit these unaccompanied minors. Local and federal leaders say there is a need to do more – from better vetting to gang prevention programs to better law enforcement – to address the growing gang violence.

  • Flood insuranceRising flood insurance costs a growing burden to communities, NYC homeowners

    Flood insurance is already difficult to afford for many homeowners in New York City, and the situation will only worsen as flood maps are revised to reflect current risk and if the federal government continues to move toward risk-based rates, according to a new study.of-its-kind study by the RAND Corporation.

  • EarthquakesSeismic monitoring network helps locate, determine origins of earthquakes in Texas

    Almost a decade ago, the ground around the densely populated Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex started shaking. As the frequency and intensity of earthquakes increased in a region poorly prepared for the seismic activity, the risk became a priority for the state. Residents, politicians, and oil-gas industry leaders reached out to the Bureau of Economic Geology. The bureau is the oldest and second largest research unit at the university, made up of more than 250 scientists, engineers, and economists. The organization also functions as the State Geological Survey of Texas — a broker of information among industry, academia and government agencies.

  • Critical mineralsEvaluating critical mineral-resource potential in Alaska

    A new method for evaluating the resource potential for large, underexplored regions for critical minerals in Alaska is now available online. Critical minerals are used in products that are vital to national security, technology, and also play an integral role in our everyday modern life.

  • Water securityEPA awards $100 million to Michigan for Flint water infrastructure upgrades

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week awarded a $100 million grant to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to fund drinking water infrastructure upgrades in Flint, Michigan. The funding, provided by the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act of 2016, or WIIN, enables Flint to accelerate and expand its work to replace lead service lines and make other critical infrastructure improvements.

  • ResilienceRecovery lessons from Hurricane Sandy to help improve resilience, disaster preparedness

    Purdue University will lead a $2.5 million, four-year research to determine why some communities recover from natural disasters more quickly than others, an effort aimed at addressing the nation’s critical need for more resilient infrastructure and to enhance preparedness. The research team will apply advanced simulations and game-theory algorithms, access millions of social media posts and survey data collected along the New Jersey shore, which was devastated by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

  • GunsAssault weapons not protected by Second Amendment: U.S. appeals court

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth circuit ruled 10-4 to uphold Maryland’s ban on assault weapons, ruling that assault weapons are not protected under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. “Put simply, we have no power to extend Second Amendment protection to the weapons of war,” Judge Robert King wrote. “Both before and after Newtown, similar military-style rifles and detachable magazines have been used to perpetrate mass shootings in places whose names have become synonymous with the slaughters that occurred there,” he wrote.

  • U.S-MexicoTexas agriculture experts: Mexico may retaliate if U.S. imposes tariffs

    By Mariana Alfaro

    Texas agricultural experts say President Trump’s threatened tariff on Mexican goods could lead to retaliation that would hurt Texas farmers and ranchers — as well as consumers. The idea of a tariff on Mexican imports or a radical change to the North American Free Trade Agreement worries many Texas agriculture industry leaders, who say it is in the state’s best interest to continue fostering a positive trade relationship with Mexico rather than imposing tariffs on their imports.

  • Sanctuary citiesSix years after first attempt, fight over anti-sanctuary cities bill has changed

    By Julián Aguilar

    Bills targeting “sanctuary cities” failed to pass the Texas Legislature in 2011 and 2015, but similar efforts this session have better chances of making it to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk.

  • Sanctuary campusesAbbott vows to cut funding for "sanctuary campus" schools

    By Patrick Svitek

    Rebuking a growing movement aimed at protecting undocumented students under incoming President Donald Trump, Gov. Greg Abbott vowed Thursday to cut funding for any Texas school that declares itself a “sanctuary campus.” The definition of a “sanctuary campus” is murky, but Abbott  made it clear they are not welcome in Texas.

  • Immigration & businessLawmaker wants to crack down on illegal hiring by state contractors

    By Julián Aguilar

    The federal E-Verify system, operated by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, screens for undocumented workers by comparing the information that job applicants submit to an employer with records maintained by the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration. A measure filed Monday in the Texas Senate would beef up punishment for employers that hire undocumented workers and seek to do business with the state.

  • Muslim registryNYC mayor said city would sue U.S. government over Muslim registry

    New York City mayor Bill de Blasio said that the city would sue the U.S. government if Muslims were required, under a Donald Trump administration, to sign up to a “registry.” “We will use all the tools at our disposal to stand up for our people,” he said. The Muslim registry plan advanced by Trump supporters like Kris Kobach, the secretary of state of Kansas, would require all Muslims in the United States sign to a registry in which they would reveal their identity, religious beliefs, and political affiliations. In its original form, the registry requirement would apply to Muslim visitors to the United States – students, business people, and tourists – as well as to Muslim citizens of the United States.

  • U.S. Muslims Georgia lawmakers mull bill prohibiting wearing hijabs, niqabs, and burqas in public

    A Georgia lawmaker wants to prohibit Muslim women from wearing hijabs, niqabs, and burqas in public. The proposed law would modify the original 1951 anti-masking law which targeted Ku Klux Klan members. The purpose was to prevent them from committing violence while preserving their anonymity by wearing their Klan hoods. The bill’s sponsor said the law would be expanded to women driving on public roads, making it a misdemeanor to wear a Muslim traditional headwear while driving. The language of House Bill 3, however, suggests the prohibition would apply to any public property, not only public roads.

  • Border securityMost border arrests by Texas troopers are not for drug smuggling

    By Josh Hinkle

    Officers with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) have recorded 31,786 law violations along the Texas-Mexico border from late June 2014 through September 2016. Just 6 percent of the offenses were felony drug possession by “high-threat criminals,” or HTC — the criminals troopers were largely sent to stop. The other HTC priority is supposed to be human smugglers, but they made up just 1 percent of offenses. DPS has added more troopers to the border under the assumed objective that they are going after drug and human smugglers — but a close examination shows that most of their arrests are for drunk driving and misdemeanor drug possession.

  • GunsFlorida's Stand Your Ground law linked to rise in homicide rates in the state

    Before 2005, Florida’s so-called “Castle doctrine” allowed the use of lethal force in situations where individuals believed there was an imminent threat of death or serious physical harm from an intruder within their own home. In 2005 Florida enacted the Stand Your Ground law, extending the “no duty to retreat” clause of the Castle doctrine, giving individuals immunity for using lethal force to defend themselves in public places, as well as on private property. Anew analysis shows that thechange in Florida’s self-defense laws has been linked with the state’s homicide rates going up by nearly a quarter.