February 5, 2014
The Internet, modern transportation systems, supply chains, climate change, and transnational groups from criminal syndicates to nongovernmental organizations all confound boundaries set down on a map. As a result, managing our borders in a way that balances security with commerce, enforcement with freedom of movement, and now the physical with the virtual world has become even more difficult. Unfortunately, much of the U.S. debate about border management still dwells on the southern border and the interdiction of undocumented immigrants and contraband.
That’s important, but the larger and more demanding task the U.S. faces is to build a border management system suited to the complexities of the 21st century. Here are some of the challenges that must be overcome:
A foreign-flagged vessel carrying containers from China to Los Angeles, one of several hundred a day that form a critical link in global supply chains, notifies the U.S. Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection of its arrival 96 hours in advance. En route, a satellite-based system tracks the ship’s position, course and speed. The vessel’s history, its owner, cargo and other information are vetted against databases for anomalies. If necessary, the vessel is held offshore until it is boarded, or met by inspectors at the dock. Containers are subject to random inspections and detection technologies, but few are actually inspected. In most cases, the analysis of shipping information constitutes the virtual clearance of the cargo into the country — a balance of security and trade that informs a new vision of the border.
February 3, 2014
NY Times, 1/31/14
President Obama and his allies may soon confront a difficult decision: whether to abandon the creation of a new path to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants and accept tough border security and enforcement measures that they have long criticized.
Those are some of the concessions that Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio signaled he would demand in exchange for a willingness to overhaul the immigration system. Mr. Boehner outlined those standards in a one-page document released on Thursday, and if they lead to legislation, Democrats and immigration advocates will be pressured to compromise. Mr. Obama hinted in an interview broadcast on Friday that he was open to a plan that would initially give many undocumented workers a legal status short of citizenship, as long as they were not permanently barred from becoming citizens.
January 29, 2014
Fox News, 1/29/14
An Arizona legislator wants the state to spend $30 million for a high-tech surveillance network near the U.S. border with Mexico. Sen. Bob Worsley, R-Mesa, said the “virtual fence” consisting of 200 radar-camera units would monitor cross-border movement by people and vehicles to see if the federal government keeps its promises to secure the border.
Under Worsley’s bill, the new surveillance system would be erected within 20 miles of the border. Funding for the project also could include the approximately $260,000 in donations that the state has already collected under previously enacted legislation for an as-yet-unbuilt border fence, the Arizona Capitol Times reported.
January 29, 2014
Washington Post, 1/28/14
It’s one of the U.S. Border Patrol’s most controversial practices: shooting at migrants and suspected drug runners who throw rocks and other objects at agents. Many law enforcement experts say the best option is to take cover or move elsewhere, rather than use lethal force. A law enforcement think tank — hired last year by parent agency U.S. Customs and Border Protection to review the Border Patrol’s practices — recommended restraint when agents encounter rock throwers who don’t pose an imminent threat of serious injury or death.
But when the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general released a report in September on the Border Patrol’s use of force, officials blacked out that call for holding back in such incidents, among other recommendations, according to an uncensored copy reviewed by the Center for Investigative Reporting.
January 28, 2014
The Christian Science Monitor, 1/27/14
Gov. Rick Snyder (R) of Michigan put forward a new and controversial plan Thursday to award 50,000 visas over five years to immigrants willing to settle and work in Detroit as part of his efforts to revitalize the bankrupt city. The move would require a federal action to increase in the employment-based visas for immigrants, as well as a drastic change in the way that such visas are awarded. As a result, immigration experts are skeptical that Governor Snyder’s plan will become a reality. Yet some remain intrigued by the long-shot proposal’s potential to change the national conversation around immigration reform.
Snyder is, after all, a Republican, which puts an unusual twist on the usual national debate about immigration. In recent years, much of the discussion – primarily among Republicans – has revolved around the societal costs of immigration and the strain that immigrants place on services and unemployment levels. But Snyder’s request highlights that immigrants can also be job creators, says Rick Su, a law professor at the State University of New York Buffalo Law School.
January 24, 2014
The New York Times, 01/23/2014
For Detroit, a city that has watched a population in free fall, officials have a new antidote: immigrants.
Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan on Thursday announced plans to seek federal help in bringing 50,000 immigrants to the bankrupt city over five years as part of a visa program aimed at those with advanced degrees or exceptional abilities in science, business or the arts.
Under the plan, which is expected to be formally submitted to federal authorities soon, immigrants would be required to live and work in Detroit, a city that has fallen to 700,000 residents from 1.8 million in the 1950s.
January 22, 2014
Context Series, Wilson Center, 01/17/2014
While immigration reform efforts in Washington have been stymied by partisan politics, the pattern of movement between the United States and Mexico is changing on its own. The organization Mexicans and Americans Thinking Together (MATT) released the results of a study that reveal surprising reasons for the emergence of this new trend in migration. MATT’s Executive Director, Aracely Garcia-Granados provides highlights from the findings.
January 14, 2014
As 1.4 million Mexicans returned to Mexico between 2005 and 2010. MATT recognized a gap in the resources and services available to these migrants upon their return. In response, MATT created an initiative called Yo Soy Mexico, which works to match returning immigrants with job, education and investment opportunities in Mexico. It was as a result of its work with Yo Soy Mexico that MATT identified the need to learn more about this returning population in order to better assist them.
MATT launched its comprehensive study in mid-2013 in collaboration with Southern Methodist University and the Government of Jalisco, Mexico. The study captured data through in-depth, in-person interviews with 600 returning immigrants in the state of Jalisco. With its diverse mix of metropolitan, mid-size and rural cities, Jalisco served as a foundational model for future studies MATT is planning to conduct in additional Mexican states.
Find the results of the study here.
January 9, 2014
The Los Angeles Times, 01/08/2014
Seeking to make an overhaul of immigration laws a priority, House Speaker John A. Boehner vowed Wednesday that he would soon release a document of conservative “principles” on the issue intended to prod Republicans to pass a series of bills this year.
The high-profile promise from the Ohio Republican, who is drafting a one-page list with his leadership team, comes as he is eager to press ahead on a topic that is important to his party’s political future. But the speaker faces continued resistance from powerful conservative groups and an intractable flank of House Republicans who oppose citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants in the country illegally.
November 27, 2013
San Diego Union Tribune, 11/26/2013
Video footage, anonymous leaflets, and eyewitness accounts on Tuesday offered some insights into last weekend’s incident that saw more than 100 people rush a heavily patrolled stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border in broad daylight.
But the larger questions remained unanswered: Exactly who instigated the mass action on Sunday afternoon one quarter-mile west of the San Ysidro Port of Entry? And for what purpose?