Leading immigration and border-issue researchers at the University of Arizona will now be collaborating with the Department on Homeland Security.
UA researchers and Homeland Security personnel will be working together at the new Center of Excellence for Border Security and Immigration. The center openedSept. 3. It is funded by the Department of Homeland Security,and isplanned to serve as a research institution forborder and immigration-related issues.
"The University of Arizona will be leading the research aspect of the center, while the University of Texas, El Paso will be leading the education part," said Elyse Golob, associate director of the center.
About 30 researchers will operate at the center, most of whom are current researchers or professors at the UA. The center will receive $16 million in funding over a six-year period.
The Center for Border Security and Immigration is one of 13 Centers of Excellence established by the Department of Homeland Security. The centers were designed to group leading research experts into their specific discipline related to homeland security and to foster collaboration, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
Other Centers of Excellence include the Center for Maritime, Island and Port Security led by the University of Hawaii, the Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events led by the University of Southern California and the National Center for Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Disease Defense led by Texas A&M.
"One of the reasons the UA and UTEP were chosen was because of their locations near the border and the experts involved with the universities," Golob said. "In addition to leading the research for this center, the UA will collaborate research with other centers of excellence."
Jay Nunamaker Jr., a regents professor of management information systems, computer science and communication, will be the executive director of the center. Other universities collaborating with the UA and UTEP include Arizona State University, New Mexico State University, New Mexico Tech, San Diego State University, the University of Texas-Pan American, the University of Minnesota, the University of Washington, West Virginia University, the University of Southern California and the University of Albany.
The center organized its activities into four technical and scientific projects and four policy-related projects.
The technical and scientific project categories are: detection, which will focus on identifying deception techniques of individuals crossing the border; networks, which will try to improve communication between border agents; fusion, which will focus on making information easier to interpret; and risk, which will formulate a system to measure risks in border issues.
The policy-related categories are: population, which will try to get better estimates of the numbers of illegal immigrants in the U.S.; immigration, which will analyze the impact illegal immigration has on the economy, education and the justice system; governance, which will research ways to foster collaboration between the governments of the United States, Mexico and Canada; and law, which will try to improve methods of law enforcement.
While the UA was chosen in large part because of its proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border, Golob said the research will also be directed toward the U.S.-Canada border.
"The Department of Homeland Security has focused a lot of its effots on the southern border," Golob said. "Now it's going to take the lessons it has learned and apply them to the northern border."