• There has been a 75 percent in the number of illegal immigrants attempting to cross the Mona Passage from the Dominican Republic into Puerto Rico in the past two years; the Coast Guard is not sure the drop is all due to the service’s biometric measures, but it thinks the technology has something to do with it

  • Cameron County, Texas, must decide which option is more beneficial to it: DHS’s fence plan which the county does not like, but which will see $37 million in contracts go to local businesses, or resubmitting the county’s alternative fence plan, which DHS had already rejected, exploiting the fact that DHS has postponed the 31 December fence deadline

  • Immigration matters / David B. Palinsky

    The U.S. immigration services received more than 163,000 petitions for the 65,000 regular H-1B visas allocated for FY2009; the homeland security, hi-tech, and services sectors, as well as academic and research institutions, need another way to bring to the United States qualified foreign workers and researchers; one such way is the O-1 “Extraordinary Ability” visa

  • The Free And Secure Trade (FAST) program allows truckers who drive back and forth across the U.S. border to pre-register with Customs, thus giving them the status of low-risk traveler; one FAST-certified driver used status to smuggle drugs

  • TWIC aims to provide 1.2 million U.S. port workers with forgery-proof biometric IDs; so far only 500,000 workers have been enrolled, and DHS pushed completion of enrollment from 25 September to 15 April; lawmakers are not happy

  • New York State leads the nation in the adoption of enhanced license technology, and state residents may now apply for an enhanced driver’s license; they have an incentive to do so, because beginning 1 June 2009 U.S. citizens will have to present either a passport or an enhanced driver’s license when re-entering the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean

  • 9/11 + 7: Taking stock

    Since its creation more than five years ago, DHS has made significant progress — uneven progress — in protecting the United States from dangerous people and goods, protecting the U.S. critical infrastructure, strengthen emergency response, and unifying department operations

  • Immigration matters / David B. Palinsky

    Any required labor-market test must facilitate extraordinary alacrity; delays of years, months, or even weeks are unacceptable; similarly, H-1B workers should be paid the same wage as their U.S. counterparts: The H-1B program should not be a means by which “cheap foreign labor” is imported

  • Cameron County’s, Texas, proposed to build miles of combined border wall and levee along the border’s southernmost point; DHS rejects proposal, saying it is not feasible

  • Colombian drug smugglers now use “semi-submersibles” to smuggle drugs into the United States; counterterrorism officials fear that what drug runners now use to deliver cocaine, terrorists could one day use to sneak personnel or massive weapons into the United States

  • TSA suspended company from the Registered Traveler program after one of its computer, containing the personal details of 33,000 customers who had registered for the program, was lost; lap top was recovered and handed over to TSA for forensic review; company now allowed to register passengers

  • TSA began storing the information in late June, tracking many people who said they had forgotten their driver’s license or passport at home; the database has 16,500 records; agency says it is changing its policy on the list

  • Dutch researcher uses his own software, a publicly available programming code, a £40 card reader, and two £10 RFID chips to clone and manipulate two passport chips to a point at which they were ready to be planted inside fake or stolen paper passports; the altered chips were then passed as genuine by passport reader software used by the UN agency that sets standards for e-passports; the researcher took less than an hour to alter the chips

  • Part of the U.S.-Mexico border fence would have cut across the campus of the University of Texas-Brownsville/Texas Southmost College; the university and DHS reached a compromise — but the university must finish building its proposed border protection solution by the end of the year

  • The ACLU says there are one million names on the DHS terrorist watch list, while TSA says there are only 400,000; whatever the exact figure is, TSA wants to make sure that the airlines do not misidentify innocent passengers as terrorists, and threatens to sue airlines which do so

  • Technology will allow border control staff to conduct biometric checks on inbound and outbound passengers

  • Today the first Border Patrol RFID readers go into use at El Paso, Texas, border crossing; during the next two months many more RFID readers will be installed in order to speed up traffic across borders

  • Program in the spotlight

    James Jasinski, CEO, Cogent Systems, comments on a young program that is discharging an immense responsibility

  • The terrorist watch list debate

    ACLU claims terrorist watch list reached one million names; launches online watch list complaint form

  • The terrorist watch list debate

    The Transportation Security Administration refutes the facts and figures used by the ACLU in the latter’s claim that the list is now 1-million strong