U.S., Mexican officials to discuss asylum pact via @politico

05/16/2018 Politico

us mex flagPresident Donald Trump has criticized Mexico for not doing enough to stop the flow of Central American migrants toward the U.S. — but an asylum deal under discussion this week could change that.

Officials from the Trump administration and the Mexican government will meet Thursday and Friday to discuss a possible “safe third country” agreement, according to two sources, one from the Homeland Security Department and one from the Mexican government.

Under such a pact, migrants would be required to seek asylum in Mexico if they passed through that country en route to the U.S. The U.S. and Canada inked a similar deal in 2002.

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Trump officials warn of arrests as migrant caravan reaches U.S. border

04/25/2018 Reuters

immigrantsHundreds of Central American migrants from a caravan through Mexico reunited in Tijuana on Wednesday and planned to cross into the United States together this weekend, in defiance of threats by President Donald Trump to repel them.

The timing of the migrants’ arrival could compromise a flurry of talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which Trump has repeatedly threatened to scrap if Mexico does not crack down on the flow of Central Americans through its territory.

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen said her agency was monitoring the caravan and would prosecute anyone who illegally entered the United States or made “a false immigration claim.”

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Homeland security secretary visits Calexico border construction

04/18/2018 The San Diego Union-Tribune

kirsjen.jpgHomeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen visited Calexico’s replacement border barrier project on Wednesday after holding a town hall with local Border Patrol agents and officials from other immigration-related agencies.

The new chief of the Border Patrol in El Centro, Gloria Chavez, gave Nielsen a piece of the old Vietnam War landing mats that separated Calexico from Mexicali before the construction project began in February. A 30-foot fence made of bollards — posts placed close enough together that people can’t pass between them — will replace just over two miles of the landing mats.

Construction has progressed since February with well over a football field length of fence already in place.

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DHS Secretary: Spike In Illegal Border Crossings Shows More Money Needed For Wall

04/11/2018 NPR

US-Mexico_border_fenceHomeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen called a 200 percent spike in illegal border crossings in March compared with a year ago “a dangerous story” as she pressed lawmakers Wednesday to provide funding for President Trump’s proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Nielsen appeared before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security to push for approval of the Trump administration’s $47.5 billion FY 2019 budget request for her department, which includes $18 billion for the border wall.

She said the number of unaccompanied children apprehended at the border was up over 800 percent in March 2018 compared with 2017, and the number of families apprehended increased more than 680 percent. While the increases are dramatic, they are also not unexpected. The number of illegal border crossings has traditionally increased in the spring, and the total for March of this year remains below peak levels, according to Customs and Border Protection.

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NEW ESSAY | Homeland Security as a Theory of Action: The Impact on U.S./Mexico Border Management

By Alan D. Bersin and Michael Huston

Anatomy of a RelationshipThe terrorist attack on 9/11 in effect closed America’s borders.  The drawbridges were raised, airports and seaports shut down and cross-border traffic at land ports of entry was reduced to a trickle.  Defense and security and enforcement became the exclusive orders of the day.

The U.S. reaction generally and particularly on the Southwest Border was understandable, though it remained more instinctive than considered.  We had experienced a new vulnerability in our “homeland,” a concept that seemed foreign, strange and distant before 9/11.  Reflexively we retreated behind our borders and hunkered down behind the boundaries of Fortress America.

It soon became evident that the costs of “hunker down security,” i.e. the impact of closing the borders, would deliver an unacceptable, catastrophically self-defeating blow to our economy.  The events of 9/11, accordingly, initiated a wrenching turn in the way Americans viewed globalization and the manner in which their government understood and practiced internal security and external defense.  Policymakers were compelled to formulate new theories of action and respond to a dramatically altered threat environment.  Specifically, policy makers grappled with the challenge of how to secure the homeland in a world that was increasingly borderless.  The evolving policy and operational results may be the lasting legacy of September 11, 2001.

This paper examines these developments from the perspective of the relationship between Mexico and the United States and their shared management of a common border.  Although the emergence of a U.S. homeland security doctrine has significantly affected all trade and travel to and from the United States, it has had special importance for and a distinctive impact on U.S. – Mexico bilateral relations.

The above text is an excerpt from the introduction to the essay. This essay is part one of our series “The Anatomy of a Relationship: A Collection of Essays on the Evolution of U.S.-Mexico Cooperation on Border Management.” 

Read the essay. 

Controversial nomination at Department of Homeland Security goes to Senate floor

500px-US_Department_of_Homeland_Security_Seal.svgThe Washington Post, 12/11/2013

President Obama’s nominee for the No. 2 spot at the Department of Homeland Security advanced to the full Senate for consideration after winning a vote Wednesday from a deeply divided Senate panel.

The Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee made a party-line decision after a Republican senator unsuccessfully sought a delay, in part by revealing previously undisclosed official findings of problems with a visa program the nominee administers.

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Obama’s pick to lead DHS suggests priority shift from immigration to national security

500px-US_Department_of_Homeland_Security_Seal.svgThe Washington Post, 10/18/2013

President Barack Obama’s selection of a former top Pentagon lawyer to head the Homeland Security Department suggests the agency will be stepping back from its preoccupation with immigration to focus more on protecting the nation from attack.

Jeh C. Johnson, if confirmed by the Senate, would replace Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who left the DHS last month to become president of the University of California system. Obama was expected to announce Johnson’s nomination Friday.

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