Technology & Innovation

‘Remain in Mexico’ policy faces internal critiques at House hearing
Migration Protection Protocols spurs human rights violations, an asylum officer told Homeland Security panel

A Customs and Border Protection agent processes migrants who recently crossed the border in the Rio Grande Valley Sector of Texas in August. (Jinitzail Hernández/CQ Roll Call)

The Migrant Protection Protocols, a program that has so far forced more than 57,000 migrants to wait in Mexico while their immigration cases wind through the court, is illegal and enables human rights abuses against the vulnerable, a Department of Homeland Security employee told lawmakers Tuesday.

“These policies are illegal, they’re immoral, and they’re the basis for human rights abuses on behalf of our nation," Michael Knowles, president of a union that represents U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services employees and a longtime asylum officer, said in his testimony to a House Homeland Security panel.

Trump calls Pelosi ‘incompetent’ for launching impeachment inquiry
White House official says Trump ‘is expected to sign’ short-term spending bill

President Donald Trump argues at December meeting about border security with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as Vice President Mike Pence looks on in the Oval Office. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Continuing their yearslong feud, President Donald Trump on Tuesday called Speaker Nancy Pelosi “incompetent” over House Democrats’ impeachment probe.

The president also lashed out at the media, saying their coverage of his unscheduled visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Saturday shows news outlets are “sick.” There also were indications from the president’s staff that he will not trigger another government shutdown later this week.

Christians turn to artificial intelligence to stop porn use
Evangelical groups increasingly relying on technology in budding ‘purity-industrial complex’

Michigan-based tech firm Covenant Eyes has developed an app that uses artificial intelligence to detect pornography on a user’s screen and alert "allies" about it.

Evangelical groups are turning to artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to help their members fight addiction to online pornography in a budding industry that one scholar calls an emerging “purity-industrial complex.” 

As pornography has exploded beyond just websites to apps and social media platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, Tumblr and others, tech companies closely affiliated with church groups are capitalizing on the fears of devout Christians that “porn is the greatest threat to Christian purity and even the moral standard of the nation,” said Samuel Perry, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Oklahoma and author of “Addicted to Lust.”

Banks see Fed payments proposal opening door to fintech rivals
Banking industry pushes for tight rules on companies moving into banking-like services

Prompted by the Federal Reserve’s plan to build an instant payment system, banks are pushing for tight rules on tech firms moving into banking-like services. (iStock)

A plan by the Federal Reserve to build its own network to transfer funds quickly has pitted technology firms seeking a foothold in the financial sector against banks that have traditionally dominated the payments business. 

Tech firms see the new payment system as an opportunity to get into the payments business, and banks, facing a new rival, are pushing for tight rules on companies moving into banking-like services, according to advocates on both sides of the issue.

Legality of Wolf, Cuccinelli appointments to DHS questioned
Key House Democrats cite new documents in request for review

Chad Wolf, seen here during an Oct. 29 White House task force meeting, was sworn in Wednesday as acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The leaders of the House Oversight and Homeland Security panels on Friday challenged the legality of recent top appointments at the Department of Homeland Security, including newly installed acting secretary, Chad Wolf.

Reps. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, and Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., the acting Oversight and Reform Committee chairwoman, have asked the U.S. Comptroller General to conduct an “expedited review” to determine whether the Trump administration acted legally when it appointed both Wolf and his predecessor, Kevin McAleenan, as acting DHS secretary. They also question Wolf naming Ken Cuccinelli to serve as deputy director.

Trump goes after Adam Schiff at Louisiana rally for GOP governor nominee
President’s ‘brand is winning’ so ‘losing anything, anywhere … hurts that brand,’ Republican strategist says

President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., on Nov. 4. He was in Louisiana on Thursday night for a rally for GOP gubernatorial nominee Eddie Rispone. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Thursday night used a political rally in Louisiana, billed as a late-race assist to the Republican candidate for governor, to blast the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry and insult House Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff.

“While we are creating jobs and killing terrorists, the radical left — Democrats — are ripping our country apart,” he said to boos from the crowd inside the CenturyLink Center in Bossier City. He later accused Democrats of trying to “sabotage our democracy.”

Suddenly, Ken Cuccinelli is No. 2 at DHS
The immigration hardliner became acting deputy secretary after Chad Wolf sworn in as acting DHS chief

Ken Cuccinelli is moving into the role of acting deputy secretary at the Homeland Security Department. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Shortly after being sworn in as acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf — who the Senate confirmed as the agency's policy undersecretary just hours earlier — conducted his first order of business. 

He moved Ken Cuccinelli, a favorite of immigration hardliners, into the No. 2 position. 

Chad Wolf sworn in as acting DHS chief
Wolf takes over just hours after Senate confirmed him as undersecretary

Chad Wolf is the fifth person to lead the Department of Homeland Security in less than three years. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Chad Wolf was sworn in Wednesday as acting director of the Department of Homeland Security, the fifth person to head the agency in the Trump administration.

A DHS spokesperson confirmed Wolf's new position to CQ Roll Call by email.

‘Dreamers,’ Democrats push for DACA
While Dreamers await Supreme Court decision, Democrats push Senate leadership to pass DACA bill

DACA recipients, including Jirayut “New” Latthivongskorn (left) Carolina Fung Geng, (3rd from left), plaintiff Martin Batalla Vidal (center) and Eliana Fernández (3rd from right) pump their fists before entering the U.S. Supreme Court before Tuesday’s arguments. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Waving American flags and holding up signs that read “Defend DACA” and “Make SCOTUS great again,” hundreds of young immigrants, activists and their supporters demonstrated Tuesday outside the Supreme Court steps as justices inside heard arguments regarding the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Just a few blocks away at the Capitol, meanwhile, congressional Democrats urged Senate leadership to take up House-passed legislation that would ensure protections for this population.

Supreme Court grapples with end of ‘Dreamers’ program
Decision next year could ultimately reshape decades-old immigration debate

A protester holds up a sign during a rally outside of the Supreme Court on Tuesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

A divided Supreme Court appeared reluctant Tuesday to undo the Trump administration’s decision to end an Obama-era program that gives nearly 700,000 so-called Dreamers the ability to work in the United States and avoid deportation.

During more than an hour of oral arguments, attorneys for challengers told the justices that the Department of Homeland Security — while it has the authority to end the discretionary program — did not adequately explain why the administration chose to do so.

Google looks past Project Maven to work anew with the Pentagon
Company’s 2018 withdrawal from drone video program sent shockwaves through national security world

A Google sign at its 2019 Developer Days conference in Shanghai, China. (Lyu Liang/VCG via Getty Images)

More than a year after pulling out of a contract with the Pentagon that relied on technologies based on artificial intelligence to sort through drone videos, Google says it is ready to work with the Defense Department on a wide variety of applications that don’t involve weapons.

Google’s decision to engage with the Pentagon on non-weapons-related technologies stems from the company’s artificial intelligence principles published last year, said Kent Walker, senior vice president for global affairs at Google.

Immigrant ‘Dreamers’ look to Supreme Court, Congress for help
Supreme Court considers DACA cases

Immigration rights demonstrators hold signs in front of the Trump International Hotel in Washington in September 2017 to oppose the president’s decision to end the DACA program for “dreamers.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Samuel Cervantes can’t ever imagine returning to Mexico. He hasn’t been back since his family moved to Houston when he was 5. He now fears being deported if the federal government ends the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

He also fears for his life if forced to return to a country he barely even remembers. 

Proposed foreign investment scrutiny adds to fintech deal risk
New rules would expand the types of transactions that come under CFIUS jurisdiction

New foreign investment rules proposed by the Treasury Department are compounding regulatory risks for mergers and acquisitions in the global fintech market. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

New foreign investment rules proposed by the U.S. Treasury Department are compounding regulatory risks for mergers and acquisitions in the global financial technology market, analysts say.

The proposed rules, which are expected to be finalized and in force by early 2020, expand the types of transactions that come under the jurisdiction of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a Treasury-led interagency panel that probes national security issues in cross-border deals.

Fintech Beat explains how open banking is poised to revolutionize financial services
Open Banking 101, Ep. 28

Open banking is shaking up financial experiences for customers across the globe (iStock).

Open banking is set to shake up financial experiences for customers across the globe, enabling customers to allow third parties to access financial information needed to develop new apps and services. Fintech Beat sits down with the head of policy at Plaid, a unicorn fintech sitting in the middle of the revolution, to discuss the process of information sharing and how regulation shapes it.

Supreme Court cases could stir politics on ‘Dreamers’
Suits challenge Trump attempt to revoke Obama deportation protections

The Supreme Court building (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court hears oral arguments Tuesday in a trio of cases with the potential to reshape the nearly two-decades-old push in Congress for more permanent protections for immigrants who arrived in the United States as children.

The cases center on whether the Trump administration properly decided to cancel an Obama-era program that gives nearly 700,000 so-called Dreamers the ability to work and avoid deportation to countries they left at such a young age that they may not even remember.