• U.S. illegal immigrant population declines

    The population of illegal immigrants in the United States has declined by 7 percent – from an estimated 11.6 million to 10.8 million – for the year ending January 2009, compared to the previous year; about 37 percent are believed to have entered the country in the last decade; 44 percent entered the United States during the 1990s and 19 percent during the 1980s

  • U.S.-Mexico border fence hobbled by delays, technical problems

    The future of the U.S.-Mexico border fence is in doubt; the project, contracted by DHS to Boeing, has been plagued by technical glitches from the start; among other things, the radar system had trouble distinguishing between vegetation and people when it was windy; also, the satellite communication system took too long to relay information in the field to a command center; by the time an operator moved a camera to take a closer look at a spot, whatever had raised suspicion was gone; Obama’s proposed 2011 budget cuts $189 million from the venture

  • E-Verify urged for Baltimore County

    Federal program aims to keep illegal immigrants off job sites; a coalition of labor unions wants Baltimore County Council members to adopt a new requirement that contractors working for the county verify the immigration status of their employees or risk losing county business; the hourly pay rate of members of the Ironworkers Union – a pay which includes health and retirement benefits — is about $40; workers in the United States illegally often get $12 an hour with no benefits

  • Japanese biometric border fooled by tape

    Two South Korean women have managed to fool Japan’s expensive biometric border-control system by using special tapes on their fingers; the invisible tape carries the finger prints of another person, and the South Korean broker who supplied the tape also provided false passports to go with it; this is the third known case of South Korean women using the fingerprint-altering tape to enter Japan; in all three cases, the women managed to fool the biometric screening, but were later caught because they over-stayed their visas

  • Native American companies profit from detaining immigrants

    Native American companies may not have expertise in running detention centers, but they have something more important: preference rights; preference gives Alaska Native corporations a priority shot at getting federal contracts; immigrant detention means business, and several Native American firms are profiting from the get-tough policy on immigration; contract awards to Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs) by all federal agencies increased by 916 percent from 2000 to 2008, rising from $508.4 million in 2000 to $5.2 billion in 2008

  • ACLU challenges U.S. laptop border searches

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents searched more than 1,500 electronic devices at the U.S. border over a period of nine months between October 2008 and June 2009; customs agents forwarded electronic files found on travelers’ devices to other agencies almost 300 times; civil liberties groups argue this policy is overly broad without meaningfully contributing to U.S. security

  • New visa to make it easier for foreign entrepreneurs to launch start-ups in U.S.

    A proposal will be debated in Congress to create a new class of visa eligibility; the start-up visa would be granted to foreign entrepreneurs if their business plan attracts either $250,000 from a venture capital operating company that is primarily U.S. based or $100,000 from an angel investor; they must also show that the business will create five to ten jobs or generate a profit and at least $1 million in revenue

  • GPS cell phone app directs illegal border crossers to water

    Researchers at the University of California-San Diego develop GPS-based cell phone application aiming to help illegal immigrants by directing them to prepositioned water bins in the desert; critics say this amounts to aiding law-breaking, while supporters argue this is the humane thing to do

  • 2010: Topics for homeland security discussion

    The only thing we can say for sure about 2010 is terrorists, criminals, and mother nature will surprise us at some point during 2010; still, based on what we do know, we offer a short list of topics we predict will dominate the homeland security discussion in the coming year – from whole-body scanners to 100 percent air cargo screening to social Web sites to communication interoperability to the consequences of climate change (or is there a climate change?)

  • Canada’s remote border crossing programs pose “security concerns” evaluation says

    Canada has a long borders, and before 9/11 the Canadian federal government made it easier for travelers to cross into Canada at remote border crossing where security is not as tight as it is in major cross points; a new study says this system must change because it is not secure enough

  • Ferry giant refuses ID card

    A husband and wife from Hull trying to take a ferry to Rotterdam for Christmas shopping were denied boarding after the ferry’s crew refused to accept the U.K.’s new biometric ID card as a means of identification; the couple applied for the card when it was offered on a voluntary basis to the public in Greater Manchester; the card is meant to allow travel across Europe as an alternative to a passport, but the crew, saying they had never seen such a card before, insisted on the couple producing their passports; since the couple had left their passports at home, they could not take their trip

  • A first: Arizona firm punished under hiring law

    For the first time in Arizona, a company employing illegal immigrants has been punished for violating the law; the company has its business license suspended for ten days and was put on a 3-year probation; the punishment is symbolic because the company is already out of business

  • U.K. e-Borders scheme thrown into confusion by EU rules

    The U.K’s. £1.2 billion e-Border scheme would mandate that, say, someone flying from the United Kingdom to Spain would be required to submit their name, date of birth, and passport details ahead of a flight and well before they got to the airport, or face the risk of being prevented from boarding; the EU says this violates the union’s rules on free movement within the EU region.

  • House to consider new immigration bill

    An Illinois Democrat introduces an immigration reform bill that would allow illegal immigrants currently in the United States to gain legal status and possibly citizenship; they would have to demonstrate they had been working, pay a $500 fine, learn English, and undergo a criminal background check, among other provisions; unlike previous proposals in Congress, they would not have to return to their homeland first, something known as “touchback”

  • Technological action-reaction along U.S.-Mexico border

    Illegal border crossers into the United States are becoming more sophisticated – the latest is a GPS application which is supposed to help crossers evade Border Patrol agents – but those in charge of protecting U.S. borders are also employing advanced technology to keep the border secure.