• Immigration matters

    Following the signing into law of Arizona-s tough anti-immigration law, the Los Angeles City Council voted 13-1 earlier this month to boycott Arizona and Arizona-based businesses; Arizona provides 25 percent of L.A. power, and the state’s corporate commissioner warned that if L.A. does not retract the boycott decision, then Arizona would stop providing power to L.A.; San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, as well as Boston, Seattle, and Austin, Texas, also voted to boycott Arizona

  • By the end of the summer DHS will do away with paper I-94W forms for travelers from the thirty-six Visa Waiver Program nations; the process will now become completely electronic; travelers will log on to CBP’s Web site, submit their personal and travel information, and answer a list of questions related to public health and criminal activity that could make the traveler inadmissible

  • New report says SBINet failed because the U.S. government rushed into it without a well-thought-out plan and without a sufficiently tight supervision of the prime contractor, Boeing; “Instead, [SBINet] has been based more on dreams, hopes and fantasy — and on the widely shared, but faulty, assumption that technology provided by private contractors could meet the challenge of securing the country’s nearly 6,000 miles of land borders with remote surveillance systems”

  • Foreign IT professionals — holders of H-1B visas — working in the United States do not push down the pay of U.S.-born IT professionals; the reason: foreign-born professionals get paid more, not less, than their American counterparts; the damage too-low caps on H1-B professional visas cause American-born IT professionals comes from the fact that U.S. companies prefer to relocate offshore where they can hire the foreigners they want without paying the H-1B induced premium

  • Contrary to public perception, increased immigration into the United States contributes to a decline in violent crime; new study of crimes rates in 459 American cities with populations of at least 50,000 shows that cities that experienced greater growth in immigrant or new-immigrant populations between 1990 and 2000 also demonstrate sharper decreases in homicide and robbery; the research finds that, controlling for a variety of other factors, growth in the new immigrant population was responsible, on average, for 9.3 percent of the decline in homicide rates, and that growth in total immigration was, on average, responsible for 22.2 percent of the decrease in robbery rates

  • Immigration matters

    In the past, U.S. federal authorities have taken action against companies that have knowingly hired illegal immigrants; punishments included fines and jail time; now, in an unusual step, federal authorities are seeking the forfeiture of an operating San Diego-area bakery

  • Immigration matters

    The suspect in the Times Square car bombing attempt is the latest in a series of U.S. citizens and green card holders to be implicated in a terror plot inside the United States, raising questions about the naturalization process that turns foreigners into Americans

  • Immigration matters

    New immigration law could hurt Arizona’s technology industry, keep top foreign students from schools in the state; in the long run, and depending on how it is enforced, the law could slow down the willingness of companies to invest in Arizona if these companies hire — legally hire — a lot of non-citizens

  • Immigration matters

    The problem with the debate about what to do about illegal immigration in the United States is that until it is resolved, nothing can be done about addressing the necessary reforms in the laws governing legal immigration; it is difficult to think of a law that needs more reforming than the current U.S. immigration law; there are many reasons for this, but the most important one is this: the law as currently written undermines the U.S. economic welfare and national security

  • Lawmakers call for a $300 million grant program for border law enforcement officials for counties on the U.S.-Mexico border; counties will be able to apply for expedited grant funding to buy monitoring equipment, communications technologies, night view cameras, laptops, vehicles, drones and helicopters

  • Senators Charles Schumer and Lindsey Graham have proposed a mandatory Work ID for all working Americans; the bill they are proposing would require “all U.S. citizens and legal immigrants who want jobs to obtain a high-tech, fraud-proof Social Security card.”; critics say the scheme is too expensive and will be ineffective in curbing illegal immigration

  • A Montana company offers a new way to secure U.S. borders and critical infrastructure facilities: TerraEchos teams up with IBM to embed new IBM technology into a system of fiber-optic sensors; the sensors are capable of gathering real-time acoustic information, alerting of a possible security breach in remote and often unmanned areas

  • U.S. lawmakers grow impatient with U.S.-Mexico border virtual fence scheme; Senator Joseph Lieberman: “By any measure, SBInet, has been a failure. A classic example of a program that was grossly oversold and has badly under-delivered”; Senator John McCain: “The virtual fence has been a complete failure.”

  • After 9/11, the United States effectively created a northern border where none had existed before, at least since the late 1800s; this occurred without much big-think strategizing or discussion; people who live along the border say there should be more thinking about how effectively to manage the long border, balancing security and commerce, before a new rounds of security measures is embarked on

  • The security situation in Mexico is spiraling out of control; the drug cartels, heretofore content to kill members of rival cartels and the occasional local politician, have now dropped all restraint in their assault on the Mexican state; the cartels are now attacking the Mexican army directly, while no longer bothering to limit collateral damage to the civilian population; the Mexican government, in desperation, has deployed the army so extensively in its anti-drug campaign because it feels the police cannot be trusted; drug cartels with massive resources at their disposal have repeatedly managed to infiltrate the underpaid police, from the grassroots level to the very top; efforts are under way to rebuild the entire structure of the Mexican police force, but the process is expected to take years

  • Mexico: descent into chaos

    Until recently, few criminals dared to touch the factories and offices of the hundreds of multinational corporations — or maquilas — in Reynosa, Maxico; amid a violent three-way war among two cartels and the military, the maquilas are no longer untouched; none of the 140 maquiladoras in Reynosa’s eleven industrial parks have pulled out of the area, but many have developed exit strategies in case the violence does not abate

  • Mexico: descent into chaos

    Drug-fueled triangle of death engulfs Rio Grande region; Mexico’s Gulf, La Familia, and Sinaloa drug cartels have formed an alliance in order to destroy Los Zetas — a group of mostly former and AWOL Mexican soldiers who began as a security and hit squad for the Gulf cartel, but last year broke from its employer

  • Chile is deploying full-body scanner at border crossing along its border with Peru to prevent drug smuggling; during a 1-year test period, two million people were scanned, and 51 kilograms of cocaine, carried by 42 different border-crossers, seized

  • There is a new twist in the on going war along the U.S.-Mexico border: Mexican smugglers now use “cloned” Border Patrol vehicles to smuggle drugs into the United States; there is an added danger here, as Mexican drug cartels have launched an assassination campaign against U.S. law enforcement personnel along the border; driving a Border Patrol look-alike vehicle allows the assailants to get closer to their targets without arousing suspicion

  • The United States is replacing broad screening of all in-coming travelers with a more targeted approach; the intelligence-based security system is devised to raise flags about travelers whose names do not appear on no-fly watch lists, but whose travel patterns or personal traits create suspicions