International Security & Defense

139 Items

Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post

Immigrants Help Keep Americans Safe

| Apr. 01, 2019

By and large, only immigrants can deliver true native language ability and deep cultural understanding. Those with such skills have been in high demand in recent decades. Many have left normal American lives to answer the call. They often have deployed to the world’s most dangerous war zones to serve as contractors alongside U.S. troops and intelligence officers. And a number of them have been killed or wounded.

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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 - The Hill

Migrant Activists and Human Smugglers Collaborated at the Southern Border: Innocents Lost

| Dec. 29, 2018

Over the past generation, migrant smugglers — at the outset known as "polleros" (or chicken herders) — have been viewed as a necessary evil by migrant advocacy groups. Smugglers acted illegally, to be sure, but for a worthy cause: To assist migrants to arrive at their destination and achieve a better life. Migrant activists, including church groups and human rights organizations, not only turned a blind eye to the law-breaking but affirmatively extended their support networks (and credibility) both to the smuggled migrants and to the (perceived) Robin Hoods who were smuggling them.

In what might have once seemed a marriage of convenience for a noble purpose, smugglers operated hand-in-hand with human rights advocacy groups along Mexico’s migration corridors. All of them viewed their activities as akin to the pre-United States civil war Underground Railroad: A network of safehouses, finances and routes through which slaves could be smuggled out of the South and brought to freedom.

Though it may have started out innocently enough, over the past ten years, the smuggling enterprise has changed dramatically and become thoroughly criminalized.

As security conditions improved steadily on the Southwest border and irregular entrance into the United States was further restricted, the price charged by smugglers rose disproportionately. In turn, as the amount of money generated by human smuggling grew, criminal groups operating along the migration routes — including drug cartels and corrupt law enforcement authorities — became major participants, and human smuggling became a central feature of their criminal businesses.

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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.

Professor Nicholas Burns talking to an audience in Greece via Skype.

YouTube / The Pappas Post

Analysis & Opinions

Nicholas Burns at Hellenic American University Conference: Europe Hasn’t Done Enough to Support Greece

| Sep. 21, 2018

Professor Nicholas Burns, Chair of the Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship, commented on the inner-European crises and the United States' interest in a stable Europe in a live video conversation with the audience at the Europe in Discourse II conference at the Hellenic American University in Athens, Greece, .