BTI Institute begins 5 new research projects

over the course of last month with the last two kickoff meetings taking place September 28, 2017

HOUSTON – The Borders, Trade, and Immigration Institute initiated five new research projects over the course of last month with the last two kickoff meetings taking place September 28, 2017.

The BTI Institute is a federally-funded Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence and is a resource available to governmental, non-governmental and private industries. The BTI Institute conducts research and provides educational materials to enhance the nation’s ability to secure our borders, facilitate legitimate trade and travel, and ensure the integrity of our immigration policies.

”The BTI Institute is excited to welcome such an outstanding group of researchers to the team,” said Ioannis Kakadiaris, Ph.D., director of the BTI Institute.

For more information on the BTI Institute and its partners and projects, go to

The five projects grow the BTI Institutes portfolio by addressing real-world challenges in the areas of transnational flows of people and transnational flows of good. The principal investigators will work closely with subject-matter experts to develop tools, systems or processes depending on what best serves those who will utilize the output of the research. 

“Our end-users are entrusting us, through our research, to meet their needs,” said Kakadiaris.

The five projects are:

  • Missed Detections: From Data to Actionable Estimates which aims to help the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency and other agencies assess and document performance; get early warning of change; assess trends in a timely fashion; and understand the effect of specific resource allocations on deterrence and detection. The principal investigator of this project is Dennis Egan, assistant director of Command, Control, and Interoperability Center for Advanced Data Analysis (CCICADA) Center at Rutgers University.
  • The Impact of Central American Child and Family Migration on U.S. Communities which aims to research varying levels of capacity and response across diverse community contexts; to map the landscape of local government and community services available to this population; and to determine how those factors are shaping newcomers’ ability to adapt and integrate. The principal investigator of this project is Eric Hershberg, Ph.D., director for the Center for Latin American and Latino Studies at American University.
  • Modeling International Flows: Theory, Evidence and Forecasts which aims to advance the current state of understanding regarding migrant flows and offer insights into predicting future increases in migration. The principal investigator of this project is David Leblang, Ph.D., director of the Global Policy Center at the University of Virginia.
  • Central America’s Immigrant and Refugee Crisis: Limiting Unauthorized Migration through the Alliance for Prosperity and Reintegration Efforts which aims to implement the Alliance for Prosperity to combat crime, violence, and poverty and develop reintegration programs for children and families that offer promise to ensure safe and orderly repatriation and deter future migration. The principal investigator of this project is Randy Capps, Ph.D., director of research of U.S. programs at the University of Houston.
  • Secure and Transparent Cargo Supply Chain: Enabling Chain-of-Custody with Economical and Privacy Respecting Biometrics and Blockchain Technology which aims to increase maritime trade compliance, efficiency and security by providing open platform enabled chain-of-custody approaches for all parties involved in maritime supply chain to share cargo information while providing adequate levels of confidentiality and privacy protection. The principal investigator of this project is Weidong “Larry’ Shi, Ph.D., associate professor at the University of Houston.

 “We have a remarkable team of researchers, collaborators and experts,” said Kakadiaris. “They work very diligently to ensure we are meeting the important work that our end-users are asking us to accomplish.”

These investigators and those that have ongoing projects will have an opportunity to showcase their progress during the BTI Institute’s 2017 Performers’ Showcase schedule for December 4-5, 2017 at American University in Washington D.C.

The Borders, Trade and Immigration Institute is a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence led by the University of Houston. We are problem solvers that partner the Nation’s finest researchers and scientists with experienced subject matter experts to develop innovative solutions to operational issues and concerns.