Borders, Trade, Immigration

Research Areas

Border Security Legitimate Trade and Travel Immigration

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

Release | Border Security Expo 2019

The BTI Institute participated in and hosted a booth during the Border Security Expo 2019 in San Antonio, TX March 26, 27, 2019. 

Published | Border Management Magazine

BTI Institute featured in the first edition of the Border Management Magazine. 

News Story | Magee, Pereira speak at Women's Conference

Drs. Abria Magee and Maura Pereira De Leon spoke at the EMPOWER Women's Leadership Conference at the University of Houston. 

News Story | Brown Bag, Blockchain

Blockchain is transforming global supply chain security. A lunch-and-learn hosted at the University of Houston. 

News Story | Brown Bag, Human Trafficking

The role of the legal and medical professions in combating human trafficking. A lunch-and-learn hosted at the University of Houston. 

Research Update | Hershberg presents findings
Researcher Eric Hershberg presents findings on his research to the American University Washington College of Law. Video available.

Release | Homeland Security Summer Internship Program
The BTI Institute Homeland Security Summer Internship program highlights. 


Performance Year 2: Annual Report

Research Themes

Border Security

Legitimate Trade and Travel


Associated with project Missed Detections: From Data to Actionable Estimates. Principal Investigator: Dennis Egan, Ph.D., Rutgers University. 

   Technical Report | Report on Deterrence: Summary and Sources

   Technical Report | Report on Selected Data Sources

   Technical Report | Report on Aggregating Imperfect Estimates of several key variables

   Technical Report | Estimating Missed Detections by Combining Diverse 1 Sources: Algorithms Missed Detections Working Report-002

   Technical Report |Estimating Missed Detections: A "Two Types" Model. Missed Detections Working Report ECR-003

Associated with project Modeling International Migrant Flows: Theory, Evidence and Forecast. Principal Investigator: David Leblang, Ph.d., University of Virginia

   Report | Temporary Protected Status and Immigration to the United States

Associated with project The Impact of Central American Child and Family Migration on U.S. Communities. Principal Investigator: Eric Hershberg, Ph.d., American University

   Report | Newcomer Central American Immigrants' Access to Legal Services

Associated with project Uncovering Human Smuggling Patterns from Guatemala to the U.S. Principal Investigator: Gary Hale, Voir Dire International, LLC

   Presentation | 2018 Final Presentation to DHS

Associated with project A Systematic Process for Vulnerability Assessment of Biometric Systems at Borders. Principal Investigator: Bojan Cukic, Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Charlotte

   Report | A Methodology for Prevention of Biometric Presentation Attacks 

   Report | Robust and Interoperable Fingerprint Spoof Detection via Convolutional Neural Networks

   Report | Attack Trees for Preventing Biometric Systems Against Evolving Presentation Attacks

Associated with project Participatory Operational Assessment (POA): Evaluating and Predicting the Operational Effectiveness of Cargo Security Processes at Ports of Entry. Principal Investigator: Maria Burns, University of Houston

   Report | Participatory Operational & Security Assessment on homeland security risks: an empirical research method for improving  security beyond the borders through public/private partnerships

Associated with project Modeling Methodology and Simulation of Port-of-Entry Systems. Principal Investigator: Ben Melamed, Ph.D., Rutgers University

  Paper | Modeling and Simulation of Port-of-Entry Systems

Associated with project Homeland Security Symposium Series. Principal Investigator: Victor Manjarrez, Jr., Ed.D., University of Texas El Paso

  Report | Research in Brief (for symposia 1 through 14) 

Associated with project Image and Video Person Identification in an Operational Environment. Principal Investigator: Ioannis A Kakadiarsi, PH.D., University of Houston   

   Article | Multi-view 3D face reconstruction with deep recurrent neural networks

   Article | Monocular 3D facial shape reconstruction from a single 2D image with coupled-dictionary learning and sparse coding

   Article | End-to-end 3D face reconstruction with deep neural networks

   Article | UHDB31: A Dataset for Better Understanding Face Recognition across Pose and Illumination Variation

   Article | Confidence driven network for point-to-set matching

   Article | Annotated face model-based alignment: a robust landmark-free pose approach for 3D model registration

   Article | GoDP: Globally Optimized Dual Pathway deep network architecture for facial landmark localization in-the-wild

   Article | Facial 3D model registration under occlusions with sensiblepoints-based reinforced hypothesis refinement

   Article | Evaluation of a 3D-aided pose invariant 2D face recognition system

   Article | Patch-based face recognition using a hierarchical multi-label matcher

   Article | Local Classifier Chains for Deep Face Recognition


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.

Researcher Partners:

The following is a list of institutions or organizations who are associated with the BTI Institute through research funding, formal partnerships or intentional collaboration. 

Academic Partners:

Corporate Partners:

Non-profit Think Tank Partners:

Other Partners