Border Technology and Immigration Reform

Immigration Reform is not a new topic but, is expected to become one of the top priorities when President-elect Donald Trump takes office in 2017. While all of the aspects of this new focus on border security have not been clearly defined by our new President-elect, we can expect it to include elements of both physical security protections as well as advanced technology.

Technology solutions are already helping to verify that travelers are who they say they are when they present a passport or other travel documents at the nation’s 328 ports of entry. These solutions have prevented suspected terrorists from boarding U.S.-bound planes half a world away and also have been to apprehend individuals for illegally crossing U.S. borders.

At border crossings today, U.S. Border Patrol agents monitor the borders utilizing a software program that ties together government databases to enable them to gather biographic information about individuals, look for instances when they’ve previously crossed the border, and see whether they have any outstanding warrants. This is all accomplished by a combination of gate systems, mobile handheld devices and RFID technology which are able to more efficiently identify and process pedestrians crossing the U.S. Mexico border by collecting their biometric and biographic data well before they reach the border control office.

This discussion covers:

  • There’s been a great deal of discussion around building a wall as a way to solve our immigration issue, but, isn’t there also a need for a “digital fence”? How would a “digital fence” help move the needle with Immigration Reform efforts?
  • Border security is a broader topic, it’s a global issue. How are borders being redefined to create “safe cities” through digital technologies?
  • How is Digital Government changing the focus from technology-focused to mission-focused?
  • What’s different with Immigration Reform this time around? What needs to change?



 Tom Temin, Federal News Radio

Tom Temin is the host of Federal Drive, airing weekdays from 6-9 a.m. on Federal News Radio 1500AM. Tom Temin has 30 years’ experience in journalism, mostly in technology markets. He was a long-serving editor-in-chief of Government Computer News and Washington Technology magazines, both of which were regular winners of national reporting awards. Before joining Federal News Radio, Tom wrote (and continues to write) a column on government IT and acquisition topics. He was a regular guest on Federal News Radio before joining the team.



amy rallsAmy Rall, Group Vice President, Homeland Security and Critical Infrastructure, Unisys

Amy Rall is a group vice president for Unisys Federal and leads the Homeland Security and Critical Infrastructure team. Amy is responsible for building client relationships and program delivery for key Department of Homeland Security IT programs that help secure the nation and support the free movement of trade and travel. She also leads Unisys weather, Department of Energy, and Department of Transportation accounts for Unisys.

Prior to being named group vice president, Amy was vice president of the Customs and Border Protection / Immigration and Customs Enforcement practice. During that time she led several mission critical government IT programs for Unisys.

Prior to joining Unisys, Amy worked for Qinetiq North America (Apogen Technologies) where she was vice president of Homeland Software and Information Assurance Solutions. During that time she was responsible for software and security teams supporting CBP, ICE, FEMA, TSA, and U.S. Coast Guard. While at Qinetiq North America, Amy received the President’s Award for Outstanding Performance.

Amy began her career as a software developer supporting large scale software delivery programs. She spent ten years developing software and managing project teams responsible for delivering solutions that supported the advancement of scientific research.

Throughout her career, Amy has gravitated towards IT solutions and services that make a difference. Whether it’s supporting the advancement of scientific research, or solutions used to protect the homeland, Amy is most proud of the track record of the teams that she leads – consistently deploying and supporting mission critical IT solutions

Amy has a bachelor degree from American University and is a certified project manager.


aguilar_5fhiresDavid Aguilar, Former Acting Commissioner and Chief of the Border Patrol, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security

Commissioner David V. Aguilar is a Partner at GSIS. Mr. Aguilar was appointed Acting Commissioner of U. S. Customs and Border Protection on December 30, 2011. As Commissioner Mr. Aguilar led the United States government’s largest law enforcement organization with a workforce of 60,000, including 43,000 uniformed law enforcement officers. He strategically planned, formulated, and executed a yearly budget of nearly 12 billion dollars and was responsible for the management of the largest civilian Law Enforcement Air Force in the world. Prior to being named Acting Commissioner Aguilar had been CBP Deputy Commissioner since April 11, 2010. As Acting Commissioner and as Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Homeland Security’s agency responsible for leading the world’s only unified integrated border management agency, Aguilar was responsible for securing the over 6,000 miles of land border between the ports of entry against the smuggling of illegal entrants into the United States, illicit goods, narcotics, and weapons for use against the population of the United States. Mr. Aguilar also served as Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol. During that time, he oversaw the largest expansion of the Border Patrol in its 88-year history, doubling its size to over 21,000 Agents. Prior to his becoming Chief of the Border Patrol, Mr. Aguilar was Chief Patrol Agent of the Tucson Sector the largest and most active Border Patrol Sector in the nation. His leadership has earned him numerous awards, including the Presidential Rank Award in 2008, the President’s Meritorious Excellence Award in 2005, the Department of Homeland Security Distinguished Service Medal, the Washington Homeland Security Roundtable Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement Lifetime Achievement Award. At GSIS, Mr. Aguilar advises clients on a broad range of national homeland and international security matters including border operations, security management, global trade and commerce, supply chain management and security, critical infrastructure protection, risk management, viability assessments and strategic planning and implementation. Aguilar retired from government service on March 31, 2013 after a 35-year career with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Mr. Aguilar holds an associate degree in accounting from Laredo Community College and attended Laredo State University and the University of Texas at Arlington. He is a graduate of the Senior Executive Fellows program at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

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