Borders, Trade, Immigration

Research Areas

Cross-Border Movement of People: Monitoring & Facilitation and Organized Crime

Cross-Border Movement of Goods: Port of the Future and Trade Compliance

Homeland Security Enterprise Education and Workforce Development

About Us

University of Houston         
4730 Calhoun Rd., Rm 385
Houston, TX 77204-6022
Tel:  713-743-7306

BTI Factsheet


Tony Ambler, Ph.D., Director and PI
Kurt Berens, Executive Director

Project Search

Borders, Trade, & Immigration

The Borders, Trade, and Immigration (BTI) Institute, led by the University of Houston, conducts and transitions research, develops innovative solutions, and provides education that enhances the Nation's ability to secure the borders, facilitate legitimate trade and travel, and ensure the integrity of the immigration system. Through a multi-disciplinary team of national and international experts, the BTI Institute delivers transformational technology-driven solutions, data-informed policies, workforce development opportunities for today's Homeland Security Enterprise, and trans-disciplinary education for the next generation of homeland security experts.

Center Activity

Institute Spotlight

New Project | Modeling International Flows: Theory, Evidence and Forecast

David Leblang, Ph.D., principle investigator, aims to advance the current state of understanding regarding migrant flows and offer insights into predicting future increases in migration. 

New Project | Missed Detections: From Data to Actionable Estimates

Dennis Egan, Ph.D., principle investigator, aims to help U.S. Customs and Border Protection 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. 

BTI Annual Report:

2016 Annual Report

Research Themes

Cross-Border Movement of People

Cross-Border Movement of Goods

 Immigration System Integrity

Border Management Operations

Katie McKeon, from Rutgers University and the Command, Control, and Interoperability Center for Advanced Data Analysis, a DHS Center of Excellence, presented her project, The Modified Online Delphi Process Software during the 2018 DHS COE Summit May 29-31, 2018. 


Victor Reyes, Jr., from the University of Texas at El Paso, presented his research project, Homeland Security Symposium Series. The series brings subject-matter experts from a variety of disciplines to present trends from the ever-changing environment of homeland security to practitioners and first-responders.

The BTI partners are listed below. Minority Serving Institutions (MSI) are noted with an asterisk.


Academic Partners:

American University

Middlebury Institute of International Studies, CA

Migration Policy Institute

Rutgers University, NJ  *

Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, TX

Texas A&M International University, TX *

Texas A&M Transportation Institute, TX

University of Arizona, AZ *

University of Houston, TX *

University of Minnesota, MN

University of North Carolina - Charlotte, NC

University of Texas, El Paso, TX *

University of Virginia, VA

West Virginia University, WV


Corporate Partner:

Mitre Corporation, VA

SAS Institute Inc., VA

Voir Dire International, LLC, TX


External Advisory Board:

The EAB consists of public leaders with significant expertise in border and coastal security, immigration, and trade issues. 

David Aguilar

Alan Bersin (lead)

Gustavo Mohar Betancourt

Maria Luisa Boyce

Sheriff Joe Frank Martinez

Luc Portelance

Jon Spaner

Julie Myers Woods