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

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. 

Highlight | Intern Profile Cadet Nagle
A profile of one of the BTI Institute's Homeland Security Interns. 

Highlight | Intern Profile Cadet Boardman
A profile of one of the BTI Institute's Homeland Security Interns.

Highlight | Intern Profile Cadet Hughley
A profile of one of the BTI Institute's Homeland Security Interns. 

Highlight | Intern Profile Cadet Gonzalez
A profile of one of the BTI Institute's Homeland Security Interns. 

Release | Summit of innovation, research
Researchers and staff from BTI Institute participated in the DHS COE Summit 2018. 

Upcoming Event | Hershberg to speak in Houston
Dr. Eric Hershberg, with American University, will speak in Houston on his research about Central American Migration and U.S. communities.

Release | Ambler named new Director/PI
Dr. Tony Ambler, UH College of Technology Dean, has been named as the new director and PI of the BTI Institute. 

Performance Year 2: Annual Report

Research Themes

Cross-Border Movement of People

Cross-Border Movement of Goods

 Immigration System Integrity

Border Management Operations

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.