26 Items

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) seal is seen during a news conference with acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan in Washington, Friday, June 28, 2019.

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Analysis & Opinions - The Hill

Congress Needs Bipartisan Commission to Fix Homeland Security

| Feb. 07, 2020

The House of Representatives recently held a hearing concerning continued poor workforce morale at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). As important as workforce morale is, the problem at DHS is a symptom, not a cause. The big issue plaguing DHS is that the department is essentially broken.

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Paper

Beyond CVE: Evolving U.S. Countering Violent Extremism Policy to Prevent the Growing Threat of Domestic Terrorism

    Author:
  • Alexander Guittard
| Dec. 01, 2019

U.S. counterterrorism agencies lack the authorities, funding, and political direction to meet the evolving terrorist threat to the United States. Efforts to expand the counterterrorism toolkit to include prevention of all types of terrorism, known under the Bush and Obama Administrations as “countering violent extremism,” or CVE, and under Trump as “terrorism prevention,” have struggled to take hold and the programs have been underfunded and politically unpopular.  These efforts have also suffered from the perception that they were biased towards stopping al-Qaeda and ISIS-inspired terrorism and have ignored the threat posed by “right-wing” terrorists. The United States must accept that counterterrorism should evolve beyond relying on law enforcement and intelligence alone to prevent the growing threat of domestic terrorism. This evolution should include developing a bipartisan consensus for addressing all forms of terrorism; funding the types of CVE programs we deliver overseas at home; and updating our terrorism laws to incorporate preventative and restorative approaches that build on the best practices and lessons learned from tackling other forms of crime and targeted violence, such as hate crimes and gang violence.

Image of Phone and Map

Image by TeroVesalainen from Pixabay

Paper

The City-Sized Hole in U.S. GPS Planning

    Author:
  • Steven Polunsky
| Nov. 21, 2019

Our society has become highly dependent on constant, real-time information about position, navigation, and timing. We typically access this information through cell phones or other devices that receive global positioning system (GPS) signals. Cities are particularly vulnerable to GPS failures and will become more so as Smart City initiatives produce results. Yet, we are missing opportunities to protect localities from potential disaster. This paper recommends efforts at all levels of government that could improve local government resilience, coordinate efforts, involve the private sector, and integrate these initiatives with federal planning for the future.

American Passport over Map of World

cytis/Pixabay

Analysis & Opinions

Visa Overstays Play Outsize Role in Unauthorized Migration

    Author:
  • Blas Nunez-Neto
| Sep. 24, 2019

On April 22, 2019, President Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum directing the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security “to find effective ways to combat the rampant number of overstays.” The White House fact sheet released with this announcement notes that twenty countries have visa overstay rates above 10 percent, and that one action being considered could be to limit the issuance of visas to countries with high rates of visa overstays. This paper will tackle the following questions: How big is the visa overstay problem? How does it compare to other forms of unauthorized migration? And what policy options are available to policymakers?

The US/Mexico Border

WikiImages/Pixabay

Paper

The New Reality of Migrant Flows at the U.S. Southwest Border

| June 26, 2019

In this first publication of the Belfer Center Homeland Security Project Paper Series, Alan Bersin and Nate Bruggerman write about the dramatic changes in numbers of migrants crossing the border between the U.S. and Mexico and the urgent need for attention and response from the U.S. Congress and executive branch of the government.

A TSA pre check sign at a security checkpoint is on display for travelers to easily see at the Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport on Friday, June 29, 2018, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The TSA projected that Friday would be its busiest day ever, with agents screening more than 2.7 million people.

(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Announcement - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Call for Homeland Security Papers

| Apr. 10, 2019

The Homeland Security Project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs is pleased to announce the creation of a paper series examining current and critical issues in homeland security. The Homeland Security Project seeks a variety of viewpoints, and the paper series is non-partisan. The intended audience for the paper series is broad, including policymakers in Congress and the Executive Branch, the homeland security community, and the general public. This call for papers is open to policy practitioners, scholars, the private sector, and non-governmental organizations.

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Analysis & Opinions - The Denver Post

Trump Left an Opening in his Wall to Actually Discuss Border Security

| Jan. 11, 2019

During his oval office address, President Trump painted a dire picture of the southwest border, which has left him no choice but to shut down the government. The president’s speech was, however, a sleight of hand that obscures the real dispute and misrepresents the issues at the border.

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Analysis & Opinions - San Diego Union-Tribune

What U.S. can do to reduce, deter illegal migration

| Nov. 21, 2018

President Donald Trump has talked tough on border security and immigration enforcement, with extreme rhetoric and harsh actions. Yet his administration has not materially changed the situation at the southwest border.

As measured by apprehensions of those who cross illegally, the southwest border today looks similar to what it was under the Obama administration. In fiscal year 2017, President Trump’s first year, the U.S. Border Patrol apprehended 310,531 people. Apprehensions were up in fiscal year 2018 to 396,579. By comparison, apprehensions during the Obama administration’s last six years ranged from 340,252 to 486,651. President Trump’s numbers are toward the lower end, but they are not materially different.

His failure to drive down the number of unauthorized migrants results from policy prescriptions that are not grounded in the reality attendant to illegal crossing. To the contrary, the administration’s policies — zero tolerance, troops at the border, prohibiting asylum claims — have been geared to stir political effects not achieve operational results.

There are effective steps that can be taken to further reduce and deter illegal migration. Migrants continue to arrive at the border because they succeed in entering the country in a legal way by claiming asylum, establishing credible fear (a low standard), and then being granted entry to await immigration proceedings. These proceedings, however, occur years later because of a hopelessly backlogged immigration court system.

The immigration courts require an infusion of resources to hire more judges and expand capacity so that cases can be fairly resolved in weeks — not years. Since the majority of cases that go to a decision result in a denial of asylum, fair but expedited proceedings would create an effective deterrent to irregular migration. The costs of undertaking a dangerous journey more likely than not to end in deportation would close the loophole that is the essence of the illegal migration problem today. The president’s current gambit of restricting asylum by executive decree, by contrast, is both legally questionable and does not address the underlying court-capacity problem.

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Analysis & Opinions - The Hill

The Looming Border Clash Over Canadian Marijuana

| Oct. 02, 2018

Canada’s national legalization of marijuana has put it at odds with the United States where, despite growing state-level legalization, marijuana remains strictly illegal at the federal level. It was inevitable that the different approaches to marijuana would create friction between the two countries. It appears increasingly likely that this friction will be felt most acutely at the border.

Mexican presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the Democratic Revolution Party shows his election ink-stained thumb after casting his vote at a polling station in Mexico City on Sunday, July 1, 2012.

AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo

Analysis & Opinions - El Universal

Border Police, an Opportunity for AMLO

| Aug. 16, 2018

The security situation in Mexico remains poor, with the country experiencing renewed violence at unacceptable levels. 2017 was among the most violent in Mexico’s history, and the violence has continued through this year. The large-scale breakdown of law-and-order helped propel Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) to Mexico’s presidency. Although how precisely AMLO intends to restore public safety remains generally unclear, one early proposal is quite promising for both Mexico and the United States.