December 14, 2005 | WebMemo on Department of Homeland Security

The Heritage Foundation's Research on Immigration and Border Security

Congress and the Naturalization of Immigrants

by Joseph Bessette

December 1, 2005

Few powers are more fundamental to sovereignty than the control over immigration and the vesting of citizenship in aliens (naturalization). What does the Constitution have to say about it?


Bush at the Border

by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., and Matthew Spalding, Ph.D.

November 29, 2005

Speaking in the shadow of the border in Tucson, Arizona, President George W. Bush outlined his vision for comprehensive border security and immigration reform. The President got it exactly right. If Congress delivers a legislative package that meets the President's goals, it will go a long way toward making America a more secure, free, and prosperous nation. To do anything less would be just plain wrong.


Safeguarding America's Sovereignty: A "System of Systems" Approach to Border Security

by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D.

November 28, 2005

Any effective solution for reducing illegal border crossings and the unlawful population in the United States must address all three aspects of the problem: internal enforcement of immigration laws, interna­tional cooperation, and border security. However, these initiatives will not be enough. To fix the problem, the Administration must build a "system of systems" that welds all of the nation's border assets into a single coherent security enterprise that deploys the right asset to the right place at the right time to do the right thing.


"Recapturing" Visas: A Sensible Temporary Fix for America's Foreign Worker Problem

by Kirk A. Johnson, Ph.D., and Tim Kane, Ph.D.

October 19, 2005

On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to mark up a technical amendment to the Immigration and Nationality Act as part of a reconciliation bill that would recapture unused H-1B and immigrant employment visas from previous years. Chief among the benefits of this reform are that it would increase flexibility in hiring foreign workers, would reduce the current visa backlog, and could serve as a basis for future immigration reform, such as a more comprehensive guest worker bill in 2006.


Rule of Law at Stake in Immigration Debate

by Edwin Meese III and James Jay Carafano

October 7, 2005

When you reward someone for doing something, you encourage others to engage in similar behavior. That's why amnesty programs are the wrong way to address illegal immigration.


How Immigration Reform Could Help Alleviate the Teacher Shortage

by Kirk A. Johnson, Ph.D.

October 5, 2005

Each academic year, public school districts must try to recruit teachers in hard-to-fill specialties like math and science. Congress can help by expanding the H-1B visa program to 195,000 visas per year and by not limiting the increase to any specific profession, thereby allowing the program to respond quickly to any shifts in demand in the labor market.


The Cornyn-Kyl Immigration Reform Act: Flawed But Fixable

by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., Janice L. Kephart, and Alane Kochems

September 23, 2005

Any effective solution to illegal border crossings and the unlawful population must address internal enforcement of immigration laws, international cooperation, and border security. Effective immigration reform must be a key component of these reforms. The legislation proposed by Senators John Cornyn and Jon Kyl offers such a comprehensive approach but falls short by not adequately deterring illegal entry.


The Visa Process: Strategic Direction for a 21st Century System

by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D.

September 13, 2005

In the wake of 9/11, the Congress and the administration turned its attention to strengthening the issuance and management of visas. They were right to do so and make this effort a very high priority in the global effort to diminish terrorist travel. Terrorists have tried virtually every means available to get to the United States. The overwhelming number of known and suspected terrorists, however, have traveled and remained here in the same manner as most foreign visitors, employing a nonimmigrant visa, which can be obtained from any of the 211 American consulates around the world or under certain circumstances within this country.


The McCain-Kennedy Immigration Reform Bill Falls Short

by James Jay Carafano, Ph. D., Janice L. Kephart, and Paul Rosenzweig

July 27, 2005

Immigration reform will succeed only if it enhances national security, promotes economic growth, and protects freedom and liberty. The Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act (S. 1033) introduced by Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Edward Kennedy (D-MA) does not achieve these ends.


On Becoming American: Reasserting Citizenship in the Immigration Debate

by William E. Simon, Jr.

July 21, 2005

There are two vital priorities for immigration policy. One is a clear, firm commitment to stating and enforcing our policies. The other is to create a clear, efficient and attainable path toward citizenship that clearly inculcates American principles into all who seek to become citizens.


Immigration Removal Procedures Implemented in the Aftermath of the September 11th Attacks

by Paul Rosenzweig

June 30, 2005

The Federal government has very wide Constitutional authority to deal with matters of immigration. And it also has a Constitutional obligation to insure national security. 


Alternatives to Amnesty: Proposals for Fair and Effective Immigration Reform

by Edwin Meese III, James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., Matthew Spalding, Ph.D., and Paul Rosenzweig

June 2, 2005

Congress and the President must reduce the number of individuals unlawfully present in the United States through a comprehensive solution that fosters national security, a growing economy, and a strong civil society. This should include a realistic program to help unlawfully present individuals return to their countries of origin before applying for legal reentry to the United States.


Building the Alliance for Freedom: An Agenda for Improving and Expanding the Visa Waiver Program

by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., and Richard Weitz, Ph.D.

May 6, 2005

With post-9/11 improvements and more vigilant oversight, the Visa Waiver Program will significantly enhance security, trade, and travel. The VWP should include such strategic nations as India, South Korea, and the new Eastern European democracies, and a certification road map for selected partner nations should be established with a goal of achieving full certification within five to 10 years.


North American Youth Gangs: Patterns and Remedies

by Stephen Johnson

April 21, 2005

Throughout history, youth gangs have flourished wherever there have been population shifts and unstable neighborhoods. However, recent growth in numbers and global affiliation of gangs pose a public security threat. Gangs that flourished in Los Angeles during the 1960s now have fraternal links to some 130,000 to 300,000 members in Mexico and Central America and have expanded across the United States to both major cities and rural communities in the eastern seaboard. 


North American Transnational Youth Gangs: Breaking the Chain of Violence

by Stephen Johnson and David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D.

March 21, 2005

Policymakers can help to stabilize gang neighborhoods through migration reforms, by denying time and space to delinquent activities, and by increasing coordination between law enforcement agencies. The United States should promote the rule of law and free-market reforms in Mexico and Central America to boost employment while fostering cooperative security links to track gang member migration.



Border Security: Setting the Right Federal Priorities

by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D.

March 18, 2005

Protecting the nation against terrorists, transnational crime, and environmental and economic threats requires money, time, and effort. Improving the infrastructure and programs that oversee and support lawful trade and travel should be funded first. Investing in internal enforcement and working with point-of-origin countries will probably offer a greater return on investment than will emphasizing interdiction at the border.


Merging the Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection and Immigration-Customs Enforcement Agencies

by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D.

March 10, 2005

Specifically regarding challenges related to border security the task force observed that before the creation of DHS, seven agencies, among others, were involved in securing our borders, enforcing our immigration laws, and protecting our transportation system.


An Agenda for Increasing State and Local Government Efforts to Combat Terrorism

by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., Paul Rosenzweig, and Alane Kochems

February, 24 2005

While the Bush Administration's effort to consoli­date the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Pro­gram grants into the general state grant program is worthwhile, part of what replaces it should be a set of targeted initiatives. Specifically, such a plan would focus on improving information analysis capabilities, strengthening the means of state and local law enforcement to conduct terrorism-related immigration investigations


The Principles of Immigration

by Edwin Meese III and Matthew Spalding

October 19, 2004

Because immigration is inextricably connected to the principles upon which this nation is founded, policymakers must step back from the politics of the moment and develop a policy that considers real concerns related to national security, illegal immigration, welfare policy, economic responsibility for immigrants, enforcement of immigration laws, and the impact on state and local governments.


Insource More Jobs by Raising the H-1B Visa Cap

by Kirk A. Johnson, Ph.D.

October 13, 2004

H-1B visas allow highly skilled foreign workers, such as computer specialists, physicians, teachers, and a handful of other professionals, to work in America for a set amount of time (usually between three and six years). There are a number of regulations regarding H-1B visas.


America's Borders: The Terror War's Front Line

by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D.

June 14, 2004

National efforts to enhance the security of the goods, people, and services that everyday cross the thousands of miles of land borders and tens of thousands of miles of coastline ringing the United States are a vital component of protecting the homeland. In my testimony, I would like to reaffirm the importance of this task as an essential component of the national homeland security strategy


No Need for the CLEAR Act: Building Capacity for Immigration Counterterrorism Investigations

by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D.

April 24, 2004

The 9-11 Commission hearings are a powerful reminder of the need to build up counterterrorism, but the Clear Law Enforcement for Criminal Alien Removal Act takes the wrong approach; instead, Congress should promote the use of Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Naturalization Act as a better mechanism for enabling state and local law enforcement to join in the global war against terrorism.


The United States and Mexico: Partners in Reform

by Stephen Johnson and Sara J. Fitzgerald

December 18, 2003

Mexico's population is still growing faster than its economy can supply jobs, and its recent democratic, free-market evolution has slowed, stalling the implementation of President Vicente Fox's reform agenda. As a result, each year, more than a million Mexicans illegally cross into the United States from Mexico looking for work.


Better Intelligence Sharing for Visa Issuance and Monitoring: An Imperative for Homeland Security

by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., and Ha Nguyen

October 27, 2003

Since September 11, 2001, keeping visas out of the hands of terrorists has been a top priority for the Administration and Congress. Congress needs a more effective committee structure to oversee the information technology and human capital programs required to support the new system, and the Administration needs to institute organizational changes and establish appropriate measures of effectiveness to ensure that the current system operates as efficiently as possible.


Securing America's Borders While Safeguarding Commerce

by Robert C. Bonner

September 12, 2003

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, part of the Department of Homeland Security, comprises most government the agencies with significant border responsibilities. The agency is using beefed-up staffing and technology, as well as innovative partnerships with the trade community and foreign countries, to better protect the entire supply chain against exploitation by terrorists.


Providing Security, Fairness, and Efficiency in the Immigration Deportation Processes

by Michael Scardaville

July 21, 2003

The Departments of Homeland Security and Justice must assess whether illegal aliens have hostile intentions and factor that assessment into the adjudication process. New laws and procedures must respect the alien's rights to due process in the immigration courts, and Congress must exercise due oversight to prevent abuse. These steps will make it possible to achieve the benefits of screening for terrorist ties while also preserving civil liberties and the rule of law.


Strengthen Citizenship in INS Reform

by Matthew Spalding, Ph.D.

April 8, 2002

For good reason, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) will not likely survive much longer in its current form. Not only is its bureaucracy not meeting the requirements of increased border security demanded in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks, but the visa notification for two of the terrorists, which arrived a full six months after the attacks, is undeniable evidence of the agency's habitual inefficiency.

About the Author