Sunday, October 31, 2010

Who’s Really Dividing the Country?

The Democrats are going nuts over Sharron Angle’s latest anti-illegal immigration ad, “The Wave.”

Senator Robert Menendez (R-NJ) called the ad “racist” and “despicable” because it tries to “portray all Latinos in this country in a negative light in a state that has such a large, vibrant and productive population.”

TV Talk show host Joy Behar was less restrained. She described is as “a Hitler Youth commercial” and called Angle “evil,” “a moron,” a “bitch,” and even says the ad is enough to warrant her eternal damnation.

So what exactly makes this ad so bad? The ad begins by stating the facts about illegal immigration noting: “Waves of illegal aliens streaming across our border, joining violent gangs, forcing families to live in fear.”

This is simply the truth. There are between 12 and 20 million illegal aliens in this country, over 2/3 of whom came to here by crossing the Southern Border illegally. Calling that a “wave” is an understatement. As for violent gangs, the FBI considers MS 13 to be the most dangerous and fastest growing gang in the country.

Many of these gang members such as Alejandro Enrique Ramirez Umana who was just sentenced to death for two counts of murder are illegal aliens. And you can be sure that Americans who live near these gang members or on the Southwest border are living in fear.

The ad then states: “And what's Harry Reid doing about it? Voting to give illegal aliens Social Security benefits, tax breaks, and college tuition. Voting against declaring English our national language -- twice. And even sided with Obama and the President of Mexico to block Arizona's tough new immigration law. Harry Reid, it's clear whose side he's on -- and it's not yours.”

Again, every word is true. The anti-amnesty group NumbersUSA gives Reid a F- grade for his votes in favor of amnesty, increasing legal immigration, and giving rewards to illegal aliens.

Behar, Menendez, and the rest of the opponents of the ad do not even attempt to dispute the facts. But they say it is racist because the illegal aliens portrayed in the ad are Hispanic.

But that is simply reflects the reality of the demographics of illegal immigration. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, 78% of all illegal aliens are Hispanic. This number is much higher in the Southwest.

I sympathize with the law abiding Hispanics who feel stimagitzed by illegal aliens. But it is not fair to attack people as “racist” for simply pointing out the facts. Rather, patriotic Hispanics have all the more reason to support deporting the illegal aliens who give them a bad name.

The truth is that Hispanics are among the biggest victims of illegal immigration. The violent gangs often prey on members of their own community. Cheap illegal alien labor undercuts the wages of legal Hispanic immigrants.

Yet Obama and the Democrats insultingly assume that all Hispanics support amnesty and do not care about any other issue besides immigration.

When Univision host Eddie "Piolín" Sotelo interviewed Barack Obama, he gave the president a choice of topics to discuss, “A.) Immigration reform B.) Immigration reform, C.) Immigration reform D.) All of the above.” Obama responded, “I think I'll take D.) All of the above. Absolutely.”

He continued to tell Sotelo that Latinos need to “punish our enemies” who he had defined as those “who are supportive of the Arizona law, who talk only about border security but aren't willing to talk about the other aspects of this, who don't support the Dream Act, who are out there engaging in rhetoric that is divisive and damaging that -- those aren't the kinds of folks who represent our core American values.”

When the Pew Hispanic Center asked Hispanic Voters what their top issues were, Immigration was listed as the number 5 issue. The Center for Immigration Studies asked Hispanic voters if they would prefer to deal with the illegal immigrant population by either "Enforcing the Law and causing them to return home over time", or "granting legal status and a pathway to citizenship to most illegal immigrants,” Hispanics supported enforcement over amnesty 52 percent to 34 percent.

By assuming that all Hispanics support amnesty, Univision, Sen. Menendez, and President Obama are the ones who are perpetuating stereotypes to divide the country.


Migrants to Britain took 9 out of 10 jobs created under Labour Party rule

Nearly nine out of ten jobs created under Labour went to foreign-born workers, astonishing figures revealed last night. Official statistics showed the vast majority of the rise in the employment total under the last Government was accounted for by workers born abroad.

Total numbers of those in work went up by two million during 13 years of Labour. But of those jobs, 1.8 million individuals were classed as ‘non-UK born’. Just a quarter of a million declared themselves to be born in the UK.

The figures, from the Office for National Statistics’ Labour Force Survey, are an indictment of the last Government’s failure to control the influx of migrants, train British workers and tackle welfare dependency. Just as startlingly, the figures also revealed that the proportion of the foreign-born workforce nearly doubled under Labour – from 7 per cent to 13 per cent.

Sir Andrew Green, chairman of the Migrationwatch think-tank, said: ‘This is stunning evidence of the need to cut back on the immigration of foreign workers. ‘As long as foreign skills can be obtained “off the shelf”, employers will have no incentive to train British workers.’

The figures were released in a written parliamentary answer to Tory MP James Clappison. He said: ‘This is a reflection of the huge increase that took place under the previous Government. It does nothing to lessen the case for a cap on migrant numbers.’

The data showed there were just over 26million people aged 16-64 in employment between April and June 1997. Of those 1,946,000 were foreign born, leaving 24,058,000 born in the UK. By the same period this year, the total in jobs was up more than two million, to 28,107,000. Of those, 3,787,000 were born abroad, and 24,314,000 born in the UK. It means 88 per cent of the rise in employment was accounted for by workers born abroad, and just 12 per cent by those born in the UK.

Immigration minister Damian Green said: ‘These figures show just why the Government is introducing a limit on immigration, so that new jobs are available for UK workers. ‘We need to control immigration and to improve our training and welfare systems and the Government is tackling all of these areas.’

As Prime Minister, Gordon Brown said economic migration would fall by up to 12 per cent. But his points-based system for overseas workers actually led to totals of foreign workers going up 20 per cent and foreign students by more than 30 per cent.

This week another hole in the points system was revealed as Home Office figures showed just one in four of the 18,780 ‘highly skilled’ migrants allowed in last year managed to find a highly skilled job.

There were also fears a new EU deal with India will lead to ‘British jobs for Indian workers’, by allowing Indian firms to transfer unlimited numbers of staff to the UK without first offering the posts to Britons.

David Cameron has pledged to limit the numbers of non-EU migrants allowed in, saying he wants net migration – the number of arrivals minus those departing – to fall from 196,000 last year to ‘tens of thousands’. The final details of the limit are to be revealed later this year and the cap will come into force in April.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

For U.S. jobless, illegal immigration can be a sore point

Javier Gonzalez believes he would have a job today were it not for illegal immigration. "I think that illegal immigrants do take jobs away from native workers, especially out here in the Bay Area," said the 43-year-old son of Mexican immigrants. "I'm unemployed, but I shouldn't have to be. I'm from the area. I was born here and I can't get a job here."

For the jobless, especially those who work in the trades, the thought of competing against an illegal work force of undocumented immigrants can be a sore point. Labor market economists have long differed about whether such fears are grounded in reality.

But a study released Friday by the Pew Hispanic Center adds fuel to the fire, finding that as the economy slowly recovers, foreign-born workers are taking up jobs faster than their native-born counterparts. Immigrants, both legal and illegal, gained 656,000 jobs since June 2009, which is the month that federal economists consider to be the end of the Great Recession. Native-born workers lost 1.2 million jobs in the same period of economic recovery, according to the report.

"There are some reasonable explanations," said Rakesh Kochhar, associate research director of the nonpartisan think tank. "I think the main one would be that the recession started earlier for foreign-born workers. They were hit hard earlier in the recession. Now, it seems they are bouncing back quicker."

The study does not distinguish between legal and illegal immigrants because such data is not available, but unauthorized workers are undoubtedly a big part of the picture, Kochhar said.

Immigrants who come to the United States with limited job skills and educational backgrounds are typically the most vulnerable when there are volatile changes in the job market, he said. They also, however, tend to be more flexible in a bad economic environment, willing to move from one region or occupation to another. "They are more sensitive to the business cycle," Kochhar said. "They get hit harder, but they bounce back sooner."

Because they are denied unemployment insurance, undocumented workers are also more desperate to take whatever job they can find, even if the work is sporadic and earns them a low wage. The study found that though immigrants found more jobs in the past year, they were not doing much better financially -- the median weekly earnings of immigrants dropped 4.5 percent since summer 2009, while remaining relatively steady for U.S.-born workers.

Several variables affected the results, including the loss of thousands of temporary census jobs in the spring and summer. This disproportionately affected U.S.-born workers, because illegal immigrants are disqualified from jobs in the federal government.

The stagnant construction industry accounted for more than half the 1.2 million jobs lost by native-born workers. It was also the sector that saw the starkest difference between foreign-born and U.S.-born workers, especially among those who identify themselves as Latino.

Latino immigrants gained 98,000 construction jobs from 2009 to 2010, but Latinos who were born in the United States lost 133,000 construction jobs in the same period, along with 92,000 jobs in transportation, warehousing, wholesale and retail trade.

The study may help confirm and challenge beliefs of those who hold strong views on immigration, but Kochhar cautioned against drawing easy conclusions. "There are so many things, really, that we don't know," he said.

Born in San Francisco, Gonzalez attended community college to obtain a communication degree, paying out of his own pocket, but couldn't really find a job in that field. His father was a migrant farmworker who moved to California from Mexico in the 1950s, though Gonzalez is not sure how he was able to get in. "He's never really given me the exact story, the details of what path he took," Gonzalez said.

The majority of his American family members went into municipal trash collection. Gonzalez has also spent years working in labor-intensive jobs, but today finds most of those jobs unavailable. He considers illegal immigration a chief culprit, though he says finding a constructive solution is difficult.

Gonzalez is not alone in his thinking. Another study released by the Pew Hispanic Center on Thursday found that Latinos, though traditionally sympathetic to the challenges faced by illegal immigrants, have increasingly mixed feelings about the issue.

The national survey of about 1,400 Latino adults found that just 29 percent felt that illegal or undocumented immigration had a positive impact on Latinos already living in the United States. In contrast, half of those who took a similar survey three years ago said the impact of illegal immigrants was positive.


Over 100 Tamils arrested en route to Canada: Kenney

Thai authorities have arrested more than 100 Tamil migrants who were probably on their way to Canada, says Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. Thai media reported Friday that 114 Sri Lankans were detained for being illegal migrants. Reports said many of the detainees had improper identification or none at all, and some were suspected of being linked to the Tamil Tigers. It was unclear if they were travelling by boat.

Kenney said the arrests -- along with proposed legislation to crack down on human smuggling -- should deter other migrants hoping to sneak into Canada. "We understand that they ... detained over 100 illegal immigrants who apparently were planning on coming to Canada through a smuggling operation," Kenney said. "We think this sends a strong message to the smugglers and their would-be customers that they should think twice."

Opposition critics said they were supportive of Canada helping to crack down on human smuggling, but urged the government to make sure the operations are not endangering the safety of asylum-seekers. "Where we need to be careful is that that doesn't bleed over ... interfering with legitimate movement of refugees and migrants who are truly seeking to escape persecution," NDP public safety critic Don Davies said.

Kenney wouldn't say whether Canadian officials were involved in the arrests, but he made a point of highlighting increased co-operation between Canadian law enforcement and authorities in southeast Asia, especially in Thailand. The co-operation is part of Ottawa's efforts to prevent ships of smuggled migrants from coming to Canada by disrupting their operations before they set sail.

"We acknowledge that the best way to stop boats from arriving in Canada is to stop them from leaving the transit countries in the first place," Kenney said. "So local police action against illegally smuggling rings is essential. And for that reason we congratulate the Thai authorities for their alertness."

There was no immediate detail about charges against the detained Sri Lankans. In the past, Thailand has moved to deport migrants without proper documentation.

Canada has seen two boatloads of Tamil migrants land on its shores in the last year. When a ship carrying almost 500 Sri Lankans landed in Vancouver in August, Kenney and his cabinet colleagues promised a crackdown, both through legislation and by increasing Canadian co-operation overseas.

Earlier this month, Thai officials arrested more than 150 Tamil migrants in an operation that Canada may also have played a role in. But that's only the tip of the iceberg, Kenney warned. "We're aware ... of more than one smuggling syndicate, very active, that are specifically targeting Canada, with the capacity to potentially bring several large steel-hulled vessels with hundreds of passengers each year," he said. "Hundreds of people, we believe, have paid upfront fees."

The federal government is proposing new legislation that would impose stiffer jail terms on human smugglers, detain smuggled migrants for up to a year and put them on a type of probation for five years. The aim is to scare off not just the human smugglers, but their customers as well. Ottawa wants to destroy the business model that makes human smuggling to Canada a profitable enterprise, Kenney explained.

But opposition parties have been reluctant to support the bill -- and the government's operations overseas -- for fear of penalizing legitimate asylum-seekers. "I hope that it's a case of going after smugglers and that the hundred people arrested were indeed traffickers in human beings and smugglers, and not asylum seekers who are in a very vulnerable position," Liberal immigration critic Justin Trudeau said.

The Bloc Quebecois has said it will oppose the smuggling bill, while the Liberals and the NDP have reserved judgment, suggesting that they will propose amendments instead.


Friday, October 29, 2010

Hispanics in U.S. more divided over illegal immigrants

How Hispanics view immigrants' influence on the United States:

Hispanics are growing more divided about how they view illegal immigration, and native-born Hispanics aren't as convinced of the contributions of illegal immigrants as they used to be, according to a study released today.

Hispanics are split when asked to assess the effect of illegal immigration on Hispanics living in the United States: 29% say it has had a positive impact, 31% negative and 30% believe it made no difference, according to the study from the non-partisan Pew Hispanic Center. That is a sharp decline from a 2007 survey, when 50% of Hispanics said illegal immigrants were having a positive impact.

The study also finds a split between Hispanics who were born in the United States and those who came from another country. When asked if immigrants are a strength, 69% of native-born Hispanics agreed, compared with 85% of new arrivals.

Bob Dane, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which advocates lower levels of legal and illegal immigration, said he is disturbed by what he calls a contradiction in the findings.

While more Hispanics are viewing illegal immigration as a burden on Americans, he said, there is still a collective opposition to limit immigration. The study found that 53% of Hispanics believe illegal immigrants should pay a small fine but not be deported, and 28% say illegal immigrants should not face any punishment. Only 13% of Hispanics believe illegal immigrants should be deported.

A large majority of Hispanics, 79%, oppose Arizona's immigration law, which would require police officers to determine the immigration status of suspects stopped for another offense if there was "reasonable suspicion" they were in the country illegally. The law is on hold because of a legal challenge.

Dane said that attitude stems from Hispanic organizations trying to "blur the line" between legal and illegal immigration and painting efforts to curtail illegal immigration as "discriminatory and draconian." "Over time, I think we will see a narrowing of that gap between their recognition of the problem and their opposition to the solution," Dane said.

Mark Lopez, associate director of the center and co-author of the report, says the apparent disconnect between Hispanics who view illegal immigration as having a negative impact while still opposing some anti-immigration efforts simply mirrors the complicated opinions that all Americans have over immigration.

He says polls have shown that a majority of Americans support Arizona's immigration law, but also favor providing illegal immigrants with some way to become legal. The same goes for Hispanics, who he said largely oppose worksite immigration raids and building a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border, but support placing more U.S. customs officers on the border.

"On different policy questions, Latinos have different points of view," Lopez says. "But you see that nationwide."

Lisa Navarrete of the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic civil rights group, says the survey doesn't reflect a trend of Hispanics suddenly turning on illegal immigrants. Instead, she says the survey shows that the uproar over illegal immigration has hurt Hispanics.

Between Arizona's immigration law, copycat bills filed in other states and a hyper-charged election season that has seen political ads targeting illegal immigrants, Navarrete said Hispanics living legally in the U.S. feel they are also becoming targets.

"It's not that people are angry at the immigrants themselves, but they are concerned over the impact the uproar is having on their lives," Navarrete said. "It?s taking a toll."

The findings are from a national survey of 1,375 Hispanic adults conducted in English and Spanish Aug. 17 to Sept. 19. The margin of error is +/— 3.3 percentage points.


The case for immigration enforcement

If you support immigration, you have to ask yourself this question: What kind of enforcement system would you want if we were starting from zero and there were no unauthorized immigrants in the country? Would it be reasonable to deport anyone new who came and stayed illegally? If so, would it be reasonable for police to be able to fairly and easily check someone's citizenship? What about for someone who is arrested?

I think that most Americans - like citizens in other countries - would find such enforcement actions reasonable. I do.

But they present a quandary for immigrant activists, and it can be seen at its most elemental level in their opposition to a program called Secure Communities.

Field-tested in Boston, installed first in Houston two years ago, Secure Communities requires that local, state and federal jails check the fingerprints of everyone booked - regardless of color, crime or language - against national immigration and FBI databases. More than 660 jurisdictions in 32 states now participate in the program, and the Obama administration is pressing hard to install it in all of the nation's 3,100 state and local jails by 2013.

Some communities, such as the District, Arlington and Santa Clara, Calif., have tried to opt out but are discovering that they can't. The immigration check is automatic when a community checks with state and federal fingerprint databases.

Activists and some editorialists are furious, accusing the administration of caving in to bullying immigration restrictionists and nativists. The program's priority is to find unauthorized immigrants who are criminals. But critics charge that Secure Communities leads to discriminatory profiling of all Hispanics, and Asian, African and Caribbean Americans. They also say it undermines vital police relationships in immigrant communities, impairing the ability of police to fight violent crime.

These are valid concerns. But they are not enough to stop Secure Communities. The universal check of everyone arrested forecloses profiling inside the jails, while a claimed link from the jails to police actions on the street and to community relations is tenuous.

Arizona's immigration enforcement law went too far by requiring local police to seek documentation of immigration status from anyone they have "reasonable suspicion" of being here illegally. But in polls, one reason most Americans said they supported the Arizona law is that the principle of involving local police is not wrong; many European countries do the same. At some point, we have to trust our police.

Besides, there are many other controls against discriminatory harassment and arrests, including lawsuits such as the one brought this week accusing the New Haven, Conn., police department of targeting Latinos.

What, then, is the right point for local police involvement? Leftist humanitarians and rightist libertarians say almost none at all. They marginalize themselves. But more centrist and influential pro-immigrant groups such as the National Immigration Forum, though supporting enforcement in principle, stretch their credibility by emphasizing their criticism of even Secure Communities. It's as if there is no enforcement measure they like.

But here is the quandary. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced this month that a record number of more than 390,000 unauthorized immigrants were deported in this past fiscal year, but roughly half weren't criminals. Like most of the estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the country, they were law-abiding and already part of the American fabric.

The advocacy groups - as well as the administration and most Americans, according to polls - want to legalize them. Secure Communities has been key in contributing to the deportations, as it sweeps up people arrested for traffic violations and other minor infractions.

The nativists and restrictionists have been manipulating the Obama administration and most Americans by demanding tough enforcement measures but refusing to negotiate the legalization and temporary worker program that would make a crackdown fully work and get us back to point zero.

The 1986 amnesty failed precisely because effective enforcement and a legal temporary worker program weren't established. Today's unauthorized immigrants came in under the de facto temporary worker program left in place - crossing the border illegally for whatever jobs they could get.

The administration has no choice but to enforce the law, though it can and has been showing some leniency in putting off some deportations. But the activist groups need to be out in front of the enforcement argument, not trying to block it.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

New immigration uproar: voters need not prove citizenship

This is a disgrace

"Déjà vu all over again" -- that's how some are reacting after the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled federal law trumps Arizona law when it comes to voter registration.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals threw out an Arizona law requiring would-be voters to prove their citizenship. The judges ruled that the Arizona law conflicts with federal law, which does not require such proof. Under the federal law, a voter applicant has to swear that he or she is a citizen, but does not have to prove it.

The Arizona Advocacy Network was a plaintiff in the 5-year-old lawsuit. Its mission is to encourage civic participation by educating voters. Executive Director Linda Brown welcomed the news. "It's a tremendous victory for Arizonans because democracy works best when more of us participate," Brown said.

Brown said that because of the Arizona law, officials have rejected 40,000 voter applications.

The now-rejected statute made Arizona the most stringent state in the Union when it came to processing voters. Arizona voters approved the measure in 2004. It required documentary proof of citizenship, such as a valid driver's license, passport, state birth certificate or tribal ID.

The Arizona Advocacy group said that nearly 10-percent of Arizonans who should be eligible to vote are not able to obtain such documentation. But now all a voter applicant will have to do is to check a box on the federally-approved voter registration form declaring, under penalty of perjury, that he or she is a citizen.

The federal law does still allow election workers to require voters to show an ID, however.

Supporters of Arizona's voided law reacted swiftly, and angrily, to the ruling. "You have to have ID to vote, so how in the world can they say it's a hardship to have ID to register vote? But, then, it's not a hardship to actually complete process of voting?" questioned Tucson Tea Party founder, Trent Humphries.

KGUN9 News relayed that question to the Viewer Advocacy Network. "How are we preventing illegal immigrants from registering to vote if, in fact, you don't have to show proof of citizenship and you can just check it off (on a form)?" KGUN9's Joel Waldman asked Brown. Her reply: "Well, you do need to show last 4 of social (security number), as well as your full name, address and date of birth."

Anyone convicted of lying about citizenship on the federal voter registration form could face a prison term of up to five years.

Pima County Recorder, F. Ann Rodriguez told KGUN9 News that despite the ruling, for now, protocol will stay the same when it comes to registering voters.

That statement did not sit well with Richard Martinez, a Tucson attorney and civil rights activist who filed one of the lawsuits against SB 1070, Arizona's crackdown on illegal immigration. "It actually takes effect now, the decision is controlling," Martinez insisted.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and Secretary of State Ken Bennett issued a joint statement saying, "Today's decision should not impact the election on Tuesday, but could impact our registration requirements and the integrity of local elections being conducted beginning as early as this spring, as well as statewide elections in 2012."


Most Australians want an end to population growth

I do myself. I am sick of having to dodge around roadworks for all my life. But a growing population requires roadworks to accomodate more and more cars. And the Australian birthrate is below replacement anyway so it is immigration that is the problem. An immigration program that focused only on highly desirable immigrants and excluded parasitic "refugees" would help solve the problem

FAMILIES should have no more than two children to limit their environmental impact, one in three Australians say. Almost half say families should consider having three or fewer children, a survey shows.

The Australian National University survey found most Australians want the population to stay at or below current levels, suggesting Julia Gillard hit the right note by rejecting Kevin Rudd's "big Australia" push.

ANU political scientist Professor Ian McAllister, who led the survey, said people opposed population growth for a variety of reasons, including the cost to the environment, urban overcrowding and a lack of housing and transport. The phone poll found just 44 per cent of respondents favoured population growth.

About 52 per cent said Australia had enough people already, and further population growth would harm the environment, push up house prices and place pressure on water resources.

But there were also concerns that skills shortages could hold back the economy, with 83 per cent of respondents calling for more skilled migrants to be allowed into Australia.

And two thirds of respondents were concerned about the impact of the ageing population, with the majority opposed to tax rises to support the elderly.

About 59 per cent of Australians supported an emissions trading scheme to curb carbon pollution. But when asked to rank the nation's most pressing problems, the environment and global warming were ranked only fourth after the economy, health care and education.

Mr Rudd, as prime minister, argued for population growth, suggesting the continent could support 36 million people by 2050. Ms Gillard changed course sharply when she became Prime Minister, arguing for a "sustainable population" in an election pitch to the crowded outer suburbs.

She said Population Minister Tony Burke would deliver a sustainable population strategy. "We made an election promise about a sustainable population policy and we'll deliver it," she said.

Greens Leader Bob Brown said something had to be done to limit population growth or the planet was in trouble. "When I came on to the planet there were 2 1/2 billion human beings, there are now seven billion. We are using more than 100 per cent of the renewable living resources at the moment. Something is going to give."

The ANU poll is a quarterly survey and compares Australian results to international opinion polls.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Hispanic Vote in Next Week’s U.S. Federal Election

A Baseline to Judge Turnout on Nov. 2

Some commentators have argued that Hispanic turnout in the upcoming mid-term elections will be higher than usual, while others have argued that it will be lower. A new report from the Center for Immigration examines these claims and provides a means for evaluating them, based on data collected by the Census Bureau.

“The Hispanic Vote in the Upcoming 2010 Elections” is avaiable online. Among the findings:

* On average 31.8 percent of Hispanic citizens (18+) voted in the 2002 and 2006 midterm elections, compared to 48 percent of non-Hispanic whites and 42 percent of non-Hispanic blacks.

* The extent to which Hispanics differ from the historical average (31.8% ± 1.7), will be an indication of how energized they were in 2010.

* Polling of Hispanic voters indicates that immigration is not one of their most important issues.

* Only 28.2 percent of Hispanic voters in the 2008 election were immigrants themselves. Moreover, just 14.3 percent of Hispanic voters in 2008 lived in the same household as a non-citizen.

* The lack of direct personal experience with immigration may explain why the issue does not rank higher in importance to Hispanic voters.

* Based on past patterns we project that Hispanics will comprise 6.8 percent of the electorate in November 2010. This is a reduction from 7.4 percent in the 2008 presidential election, but is an increase from 5.8 percent in the last off-year election in 2006.

* The Hispanic share of the overall vote in 2010 is a more indirect measure of their enthusiasm because it partly depends on turnout among other groups. If Hispanic participation is average, but participation among non-Hispanic is above average, then the Hispanic share of the vote will be smaller even though their turn out was not unusually low.

* We project that Hispanics in Nov 2010 will comprise 14 percent of the total adult (18+) population and 9.3 percent of the adult citizen population.

* Hispanics comprise a much smaller percentage of voters than they do of the overall adult population because a large share (37.7 percent) of adult Hispanics is not citizens. Also Hispanic citizens register and vote at somewhat lower rates than other groups.

Methods and Data. The data for this analysis comes from the Voting and Registration Supplement of the Current Population Survey (CPS) collected by Census Bureau, which contains about 100,000 adults. The Voting and Registration supplement is conducted in November every other year after Election Day.

The above is a press release dated Oct. 26 from from Center for Immigration Studies. 1522 K St. NW, Suite 820, Washington, DC 20005, (202) 466-8185 fax: (202) 466-8076. Email: Contact: Steven A. Camarota,, (202) 466-8185. The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent research institution which examines the impact of immigration on the United States. The Center for Immigration Studies is not affiliated with any other organization

Obama authorizes additional 80,000 “refugees” to entry country

President Barack Hussein Obama, in a determination letter to Congress, has announced that he will allow an additional 80,000 immigrants – - mostly from Islamic countries – - to resettle in the United States during fiscal year 2011.

Mr. Obama says that the increase in Muslim immigrants “is justified by humanitarian concerns or is otherwise in the national interest.”

The following “goals” for new immigrants has been set as follows:

Africa ........................................15,000
East Asia ..................................19,000
Europe and Central Asia ................2,000
Latin America/Caribbean…..............5,500
Near East/South Asia….................35,500
Unallocated Reserve…....................3,000

Refugee Resettlement Watch and other organizations have expressed grave concern that Mr. Obama is allowing so many immigrants into the country while so many Americans remain out of work and living in poverty.

According to the US Department of Labor, 14.8 million Americans remain unemployed. 6.1 million have been out of work for 27 weeks or over. This figure has been challenged by the Union of the Unemployed who provide statistics that the actual number of unemployed Americans is 31 million.

The U. S. Census Bureau shows that the median household income for Americans has fallen to $49,777 – - a decline of 0.7% in the past year. One in seven Americans no longer can feed themselves. According to The Wall Street Journal, 14.3% of the American people live in abject poverty.

A refugee is defined by The US Department of Immigration and Naturalization as someone who has left one’s country due to persecution or a fear of persecution. This accounts for the sharp rise of Somali communities throughout the country.

However, the definition of refugee is ‘fudged’ in several cases. “Refugees” who have not left their country due to persecution, according to Mr. Obama’s determination letter, can still be called “refugees” if they are from Iraq, one of the Islamic countries of the former Soviet Union, or Cuba.

According to Section 413 (a) of the Immigration and Nationalities Act, the Office of Refugee Resettlement is required to submit an annual report to Congress on the activities of the refugees. The report is supposed to include the number who are on public welfare programs. But no report has forthcoming from the Office of Refugee Resettlement since 2007.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

In Appeal to Hispanics, Obama Promises to Push Immigration Reform

In the final week leading up to the midterm elections, President Barack Obama is encouraging Hispanic voters to turn their frustration over stalled immigration reform against Republicans on Election Day.

Hispanics make up a crucial voting bloc in several battleground states and Democrats are hoping to pick up voters turned off by anti-immigrant discourse.

In a radio interview that aired on Univision on Monday, Mr. Obama sought to assure Hispanics that he would push an immigration overhaul after the midterm elections, despite fierce Republican opposition.

“If Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, ‘We’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us,’ if they don’t see that kind of upsurge in voting in this election, then I think it’s gonna be harder and that’s why I think it’s so important that people focus on voting on November 2.”

Referring specifically to Republicans such as Senator John McCain, who are stressing border security and supporting strict immigration laws like Arizona’s anti-illegal immigration measure, Mr. Obama said, “Those aren’t the kinds of folks who represent our core American values.”

In a pitch for Senator Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, who locked in a dead heat with his Republican opponent, Sharron Angle, Mr. Obama warned voters that Ms. Angle “is completely opposed to comprehensive immigration reform.” He also denounced an ad encouraging Nevada’s Latinos to stay home on Election Day as “cynical.”

Democrats have put forth a number of proposals over the past year aimed at overhauling the nation’s immigration laws, but talks floundered after Senator Lindsey Graham, the lone Republican willing to work with them on the issues, walked away from the talks during a dispute over energy policy.

The Justice Department successfully sued Arizona over its immigration bill, arguing that it interfered with the federal government’s role in enforcing immigration laws. However, Arizona has appealed the ruling.

Comparing the immigration fight to African Americans’ decades-long struggle to gain civil rights, Mr. Obama said, “instead of us giving up, we just have to keep working until it gets done. I’m gonna keep my promise on immigration reform,” Mr. Obama said.

The interview was taped Friday in Los Angeles for a show hosted by Eddie “Piolin” Soltero. Mr. Sotelo’s radio show is immensely popular among California Hispanics. At the start of the interview, the Mexican-American comedian gave Mr. Obama “multiple” choices of what to discuss.

“A.) Immigration reform, B) Immigration Reform, C.) Immigration reform, D.) All of the above.” Mr. Obama took D. “Absolutely,” the president said.


Recent posts on the CIS blog below

See here for the blog. The CIS main page is here.

1. Prospects Are Dim for More Data on USCIS' Immigration Appeals Cases

2. It's Not Illegal, But ...

3. Immigration Court Caseload Climbs – and Offers New Data Source

4. GAO's Shoddy Report on Border Patrol Operations on Federal Land

5. Court Case Illustrates Both Chain Migration and Enforcement Problems

6. Mayorkas to USCIS Staff: Just Say Yes – Or Else!

7. BIA Splits Hairs on Ski Resort Bribery Case

8. ICE's Mission Melt 4: Houston, We Have a Problem

9. President Obama's Silent Immigration Amnesty, Part II: The Consequences of Ignoring Broken Windows

10. Rare Occurrence: A Balanced Immigration Panel

11. The Use of Self-Created Ignorance as a USCIS Defense Mechanism

12. President Obama's Silent Immigration Amnesty, Part I: Ignoring Broken Windows

Monday, October 25, 2010

One third of 'brain surgeon' immigrants to Britain in unskilled jobs

Labour laws designed to bring highly-qualified foreign workers such as brain surgeons into the UK were used by immigrants to get jobs as shop assistants and security guards, the Coalition claimed last night.

Immigration Minister Damian Green unveiled research showing that nearly one in three immigrants in the Labour Government's 'tier one' category for top-level app­licants last year ended up doing ordinary unskilled jobs.

Tier one immigrants are categ­orised as doctors, scientists and entrepreneurs so skilled they could enter the UK without a job offer, said Mr Green. 'These are meant to be absolutely the brightest and the best,' he said in a BBC interview.

But the anomalies had been revealed after a sample was analysed. 'We have discovered that of the visas we issued last year 29 per cent are doing unskilled jobs,' he said. ' They're shop assistants, security guards, supermarket cashiers – all absolutely essential jobs we need for our economy.

'But at a time when we have a couple of million unemployed people in this country and we have 300,000 unemployed graduates, it seems to me pretty perverse if we say we've got to keep bringing in unlimited people because we think they are very highly skilled.'

The full research, based on a sample of 1,184 tier one immigrants out of more than 18,000 given visas in 2009 is to be published this week by the UK Border Agency. It was the first detailed look at how Labour's policies had operated, Mr Green added.

However, the revelations come amid concerns that the Coalition's interim cap on non-EU immmigration, introduced in July, is hurting British businesses and scientific research capability.

Yesterday, Chris Mawtus, chief operating officer of oil service company Expro which employs 1,000 people in the UK, warned: 'We may have to start thinking of reloc­ating some of our operations overseas.'

Former Tory Minister Lord Ryder, chairman of the Institute of Cancer Research, warned a House of Lords debate last week that the cap jeopardised its work and ability to 'bring in the right people at the right time'.

Mr Green insisted yesterday that the Government was being flexible and responding to concerns over the cap. He told The Mail on Sunday: 'It's a new system and there will be difficulties along the way but serious cases can be resolved.'

The current cap level would be reviewed and set at a permanent level next April after consultations, Mr Green added. But he stressed that the country could not go on with Labour's old 'unlimited immigration policy'.


Australia's Leftist policy on illegals will both encourage more to come and stoke opposition to them

IT has taken less than a week for political reality to get in the way of Immigration Minister Chris Bowen's policy response to the ever-increasing numbers of asylum-seekers.

On Monday, Mr Bowen announced a major modification to the policy of mandatory detention, perhaps the biggest change since it was introduced by the Keating government in 1992. Children and at least one parent will now be allowed to live in community housing, run by churches and charities, while their refugee claims are considered. The decision will be welcomed not just by the government's Green allies in the parliament but also by everybody in the community uncomfortable with locking children up. It is hard to imagine anything more unsettling for Australians than the sight of children playing behind razor wire.

But Mr Bowen's compassion comes at a price, and the minister should not underestimate the pitfalls. Too many Labor policies have come to grief at the intersection with the point of delivery.

The minister must start by listening to community concerns in Northam in Western Australia, where single male asylum-seekers will be housed, and Woodside in the Adelaide Hills, where 400 refugees will be housed. While it is easy for politically correct commentators to brush off opposition as unenlightened bigotry, the truth is residents have legitimate questions about what the impact of asylum-seekers' children will be on the local schools and how their health needs, and those of their parents, will be met.

The heavy-handed announcement of the Woodside decision without discussing it with anybody in South Australia, including Premier Mike Rann, will not create confidence. Mr Bowen owes a duty of care to the asylum-seekers he will send into these communities to ensure they stay safe and healthy and that their claims are processed as quickly as possible. But he must also start talking to Mr Rann and Western Australia's Premier, Colin Barnett, to ensure the communities of Woodside and Northam know they will not be overwhelmed.

Before the election, the Gillard government went out of its way to assure the electorate it would not encourage more asylum-seekers, and on ABC TV's Q&A, Mr Bowen acknowledged that detention centres existed for legitimate reasons when he took over the portfolio last month. He also told the network's Lateline he wanted to destroy the "people-smugglers business model".

While a regional processing centre in East Timor was one of the government's original schemes to destroy their industry, his new plan could easily have the opposite outcome. People-smugglers will work hard to argue that it is only a short step from being housed by a church or community group, with children free to attend school, to being accepted as a permanent resident. And if the smugglers make a convincing case, the boats will keep coming.

That Mr Bowen wants to be as kind as he can to the passengers of those that have already arrived is understandable. But releasing children and their parents into Australian communities is not a policy that can easily accommodate the right of asylum-seekers to fair process while respecting community concerns and tempting more people to take their chances on the cruel seas.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Canada unveils law to curb illegal immigration

The Canadian government on Thursday unveiled legislation aimed at curbing illegal immigration and human smuggling by imposing stiff penalties and even detaining asylum seekers.

The arrival of two ships carrying illegal migrants over the past year "clearly demonstrates that human smuggling networks are targeting Canada as a destination and that they believe our generous immigration system can be exploited for profit," said Public Safety Minister Vic Toews.

"We will not tolerate the abuse of our immigration system, either by human smugglers or by those who are unwilling to play by the rules," he said.

The proposed amendments to Canada's immigration act would impose mandatory prison sentences on convicted human smugglers and put smuggled people in mandatory detention for up to one year while their backgrounds are checked.

They would bar illegal immigrants from applying for permanent residency for five years and terminate refugee applications from people who return to their country of origin for vacation or otherwise show they do not need Canada's protection.

The rules would also hold ship owners and operators to account for the use of their ships in human smuggling or other illegal immigration operations.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said this week his government was growing increasingly "concerned" about "mass arrivals through human smuggling."

In many cases, asylum seekers such as the hundreds who have arrived in the past year on Canada's Pacific coast aboard two rickety cargo ships, are seeking to "jump the queue and work around the system," he said.

He warned these illegal arrivals risk undermining public support for Canada's immigration and refugee programs, and was echoed on Thursday by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.

"In Canada we enjoy the highest level of public support for immigration and refugee protection of any developed country in the world. But we have seen a significant erosion of that support since the arrival of the last human smuggling vessel," said Kenney.

"This unlawful behavior is nothing more than jumping the immigration queue, taking up space and resources in our immigration and refugee systems that should be focused on those who are legitimately and lawfully waiting their turn to come to Canada."

Canada, which has a population of around 34 million, accepts an average of 250,000 legal immigrants each year.

Border officials detained 492 illegal Tamil immigrants from Sri Lanka who arrived in August aboard the MV Sun Sea, a leaky cargo vessel. Another 76 were arrested in October 2009 upon arrival aboard another battered freighter.

Canada and Sri Lanka allege that there may be members of the Tamil Tigers -- a group Canada considers a terrorist organization -- hiding among the migrants. After a lengthy civil war, the Tamils were defeated by the Sri Lankan government in 2009.


Protests in Australian towns over plans to hold illegals there

Many of the illegals are fundamentalist Muslims from Afghanistan and fundamentalist Muslims deliberately killed a lot of Australians in Bali. Certainly not ideal neighbours

SENIOR government ministers have warned against public hysteria following an angry backlash against plans to move asylum-seekers.

Immigration officials were jeered as they tried to reassure residents at a public meeting in the Adelaide Hills that having the asylum-seekers in their communities would be a positive and rewarding experience.

Trade Minister Craig Emerson warned against public hysteria over the government's plan to build centres in the two states to handle rising numbers of boat arrivals. "Let's not start this sort of hysteria that they're somehow horrible, dangerous people," he said. "These are people who will be assessed using the normal checks that were put in place many, many years ago."

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen assured residents that resources would not be stripped from local communities, and extra resources for the centres would be provided by the government.

Residents of Woodside in the Adelaide Hills reacted angrily to plans to house up to 400 asylum-seekers on the nearby Inverbrackie defence estate.

At a meeting on Thursday night, many said they were concerned schools could be overwhelmed and crime could rise.

The Coalition leapt on the issue, vowing to push for a parliamentary inquiry to examine the plans for the centres.

Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said the government had created a "rolling detention crisis".

"There are just so many people now that they're trying to accommodate, that the community of Inverbrackie, without any consultation, without any forewarning, has had this forced upon them.

"I'm just amazed that the government is surprised that there would be some reaction from the community when they haven't even been talked to." Mr Bowen "should front up to the community and answer the questions", Mr Morrison said. "He shouldn't be shielding himself behind Immigration officials who too often have to do the dirty work of this government."

Mr Morrison's comments drew criticism from Liberal Bruce Baird, an outspoken critic of John Howard's hard line on immigration, who held the seat of Cook before him. "They're creating myths and scaremongering, and I think that's unfortunate," Mr Baird said. "They're very vulnerable people."

Mr Baird, who is chairman of the Refugee Resettlement Advisory Council, said there was no reason for residents to be concerned. "When we released children and their families in 2005 there was concern that they would abscond and cause problems in the community, and neither of that happened. . . . They would probably be model citizens."

Mr Bowen said health services for asylum-seekers would be provided on-site. "Any additional teaching resources required will be paid for by the commonwealth, as they always are."

Mr Bowen said the residents' concerns about pressure on health facilities and schools were understandable and it was appropriate that the government respond to them. "We are working closely with the Department of Education and schools to ensure that families are accommodated at this centre with no adverse impact on local communities."

The Department of Immigration and service provider Serco would bring in medical experts to the Inverbrackie facility to care for detainees, he said. "There will be no impact on local facilities."

Federal Liberal MP Jamie Briggs wants to introduce a private member's bill establishing a parliamentary inquiry to hear the residents' views.

Mr Morrison said people were rightly upset. "These are not refugees who have been settled into the community, who have had their asylum claims proved. They are people who are maybe there for six months, three months."


Saturday, October 23, 2010

State lawmakers working on "anchor baby" abuse

Lawmakers in at least 14 states announced Tuesday they are working on legislation to deny U.S. citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants, although they weren't specific about how they plan to do it.

Arizona Sen. Russell Pearce said he and the lawmakers have a working draft of their model legislation and have consulted constitutional scholars to change the 14th Amendment and deny automatic citizenship. "This is a battle of epic proportions," Pearce said Tuesday during a news conference at the Arizona Capitol. "We've allowed the hijacking of the 14th Amendment."

Pearce declined to say how the legislation will differ from similar measures that have been introduced in each two-year congressional session since 2005. None of them made it out of committee.

He and another Arizona lawmaker did argue that wording in the amendment that guarantees citizenship to people born in the U.S. who are "subject to the jurisdiction" of this country does not apply to the children of illegal immigrants because such families don't owe sole allegiance to the U.S.

Carlos Galindo-Elvira, vice president of Valle del Sol, a Phoenix group that provides social services to community members and advocates for immigrants, said the part of the amendment Pearce is contending clearly was meant for children of foreign diplomats who are born in the U.S. Pearce's "interpretation is being used to qualify his argument to legitimize bullying babies," he said.

The efforts by Pearce and the other lawmakers come amid calls to change the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment. Supporters cite costs to taxpayers for services provided to illegal immigrants and their children.

Constitutional changes require approval by two-thirds majorities in both chambers of Congress, an impossibility now because Democrats have the majority in both houses and most oppose such a measure. Even if Republicans gain power in November and legislation is passed, an amendment would still need to be ratified by three-fourths of the states.

Pennsylvania state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, the founder of a national group of legislators critical of illegal immigration, said the 14th Amendment "greatly incentives foreign invaders to violate our border and our laws." He had a news conference Tuesday in Harrisburg, Pa., on the multistate endeavor.

The effort could run afoul of the language in the 14th Amendment and lead to a court battle over the constitutionality of the law. But Metcalfe said providing birthright citizenship to children of illegal immigrants is an "ongoing distortion and twisting" of the amendment.

Metcalfe's office said lawmakers in at least 12 other states besides Arizona and Pennsylvania said they were making their own announcements about working on the citizenship legislation. Those other states: Alabama, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah.

Pearce was the main sponsor of a tough new Arizona law that would require police enforcing other laws to question people about their immigration status if there's reason to suspect they're in the U.S. illegally. It was to go into effect this summer, but a judge put on hold key provisions pending the resolution of a legal challenge. Pearce also was the chief sponsor of a 2007 state law targeting employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who signed the 2010 law and who is championing the state's legal defense of it against a court challenge mounted by the U.S. Justice Department, was noncommittal when asked whether lawmakers should approve legislation on citizenship.

However, Brewer said she was "always concerned" by the possibility of involving the state in a court fight. "No one wants to be in court. No one wants to be fighting the federal government," she said.


Striking a balance in Australia's immigration future

By Pallavi Jain (Ms Jain is of Indian origin)

German chancellor Angela Merkel has spoken the unspeakable. In a brutally honest statement she has said that multiculturalism has failed in Germany. This statement comes close on the heels of the recently held elections in Sweden where the far right party, Sweden Democrats, won as many as 20 parliamentary seats, making a significant dent for the first time in mainstream Swedish politics. These developments reiterate the fact that immigration remains a hot button topic in most western democracies. But for all the rhetoric, how does Australia fare when it comes to immigration?

According to the Australian Bureau of statistics in the past year net immigration contributed 64 per cent to population growth while natural growth accounted for 36 per cent. Over the past five years there has been a substantial increase in immigration owing to government policy. It is not surprising then that in the recently held elections, immigration was often discussed in conjunction with increasing population. However, one wonders whether population growth itself would be an issue if it was not associated with a high rate of immigration and was just a result of natural increase.

Over recent decades Australia's per capita income has risen even as its population has increased including a huge influx of immigrants. Moreover given that Australia is ranked second on the UN's Human Development Index which assesses education, health and life expectancy as well as economic factors it is not hard to believe that by global standards Australia is doing well on almost all counts. But is there more here than meets the eye? Are the old and new members of this remarkable country really at ease with each other?

It is perhaps as unwise to criticise immigration altogether and paint all immigrants with the same brush as it would be imprudent not to express apprehension about increased immigration out of political correctness. While a gradual influx of immigrants of all hues and cultures may be tolerated at the worst and welcomed at the best, substantial increases in immigrant population, coming in sudden spurts, may lead to social tensions. Such is human nature.

Every country has a right to decide who should enter their country. In fact extra care should be taken when deciding who can come in, to ensure that a few bad apples don't give all immigrants a bad name. And while it might be difficult, the government must make a thorough assessment of aspiring immigrants. In addition to skills, it is important to establish what they think and feel about the value system that prevails in Australia.

If there is a conflict of interest cultural or otherwise that cannot be resolved, then it may even be better for the person not to immigrate, since there is a high probability of disappointment and alienation. At a macro-level such feelings of discontent could be a recipe for social friction. Last but not the least, there is one important reason why immigrants from all over the world often want to come here. It is not just about the money (immigrants to countries like Saudi Arabia, Libya or Kenya can also make money). It is at least for some about the life choices that Australia offers. It is about fundamental human rights like dignity of life, freedom or a certain level of security.

I have personally been at the receiving end of tough immigration policies when I could not gain full time employment in the UK due to visa restrictions. But even after being denied that opportunity, I did not change my views on immigration into the developed world.

I firmly believe that every nation has a right to decide who can and should stay in their country. In some cases countries may miss out on an outstanding talent because of an error in judgement, or they may sometimes allow in people who perhaps should not have been given entry. But even though one can doubt the wisdom of a specific immigration policy, a nation cannot be denied the right to make that choice.

Yes Australia is not perfect, but by many standards it is one of the best places to live on the planet. You can eat or wear anything, practise your religion, speak your mind without fear — choices that are a luxury in many parts of the world. Moreover in my opinion the task of assimilating into Australian society rests with the immigrant who has made a choice to come here. Assimilation here does not require compromising your identity in any way but rather offers a chance to expand it, making you part of the global narrative. On the other side though, it is important that Australia lives up to the immigrant's expectations of being a fair, egalitarian and free society.

Australia is one of the most developed countries in the world but to maintain that in an increasingly globalised world, it is imperative that it manages its immigration policy well. Very low immigration will deny Australia the benefits of the best minds in the world. Too much immigration may give rise to unforseen social unrest, apart from being a huge burden on the infrastructure and the environment. Striking this balance will be a key to Australia's future.


Friday, October 22, 2010

A Gift to the Drug Cartels: Will New Mexico Become the Next Arizona?

A new Center for Immigration Studies Memorandum explores how seemingly innocuous legislation before the Senate could turn 125 miles of southeast New Mexico’s Dona Ana County into a staging ground for drug cartels and illegal alien smugglers.

S. 1689, the “Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Wilderness Act,” changes the currently designated “public use” of certain Department of Interior lands to a “wilderness” designation. The end result would be to severely curtail the Border Patrol’s ability to operate due to the stringent nature of wilderness laws. New Mexico could suffer the same results as Arizona, as documented by the Center in its mini-documentary series showing the waste, destruction, and unsafe circumstances that borderlands suffer when wilderness laws (and poor federal government policy) create a law enforcement vacuum.

The new Center for Immigration Studies Memorandum, 'A Gift to the Drug Cartels: Will New Mexico Become the Next Arizona?,' authored by Janice Kephart, Director of National Security Policy at the Center and producer of the 'Hidden Cameras' mini-documentary series, leaves no doubt that bill’s goal is to support legitimate environmental conservation. However, through an in-depth examination of current law and policy, Kephart concludes that the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Wilderness Act would leave the Border Patrol with little ability, and little incentive, to do its job. The measure would effectively hand drug cartels 125 more borderland miles for operations; an alternative would be to assure conservation with adequate law enforcement in the area, thus keeping the cartels under control while protecting our public safety and national security.

The measure, co-sponsored by Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources, and Tom Udall (D-NM), was passed out of Chairman Bingaman’s committee in July 2010 and is awaiting consideration on the Senate floor.

The above is a press release from from Center for Immigration Studies. 1522 K St. NW, Suite 820, Washington, DC 20005, (202) 466-8185 fax: (202) 466-8076. Email: Contact: Janice Kephart,, (202) 466-8185. The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent research institution which examines the impact of immigration on the United States. The Center for Immigration Studies is not affiliated with any other organization

U.S. Government Does Not Have ‘Effective Control’ of 1,081 Miles of the U.S.-Mexico Border, DHS Says

The U.S. government does not have “effective control” of 1,081 miles of the 1,954-mile-long U.S.-Mexico border, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) responsible for securing the border.

“Border miles under effective control” is a metric DHS uses in its annual performance reports to measure the performance of the Border Patrol.

As defined by DHS, a mile of the border is under the “effective control” of the U.S. government “when the appropriate mix of personnel, equipment, technology and tactical infrastructure has been deployed to reasonably ensure that when an attempted illegal entry is detected, the Border Patrol has the ability to identify, classify and respond to bring the attempted illegal entry to a satisfactory law enforcement resolution.”

Simply put, a border mile under “effective control” is a place on the border where the U.S. government can be reasonably expected to intercept an illegal crosser.

The Border Patrol, a division of CBP, is responsible for securing a total of 8,607 miles of the U.S. border. This includes all 1,954 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border, approximately 4,000 miles of the U.S.-Canada border, plus sectors of coastline in the Gulf of Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

As of Sept. 30 (the end of fiscal year 2010), the Border Patrol had established “effective control” over 1,107 miles of the 8,607 miles it is responsible for securing, a CPB spokesperson told on Monday.

Of these 1,107 miles that are now under “effective control,” 69 miles are on the U.S.-Canada border, 165 miles are in the coastal sectors covered by the Border Patrol, and 873 are on the U.S.-Mexico border.

That means the U.S. government does not have “effective control” over 1,081 miles of the 1,954-mile-long U.S.-Mexico border.

Still, there has been some improvement over the past year. DHS’s annual performance report said that by the end of fiscal year 2009 the Border Patrol had established “effective control” over only 939 miles of the 8,607 miles of U.S. border it is responsible for securing.

Of those 939 miles under “effective control,” a CBP spokesperson told on Monday, 32 were on the U.S.-Canada border, 165 were in the coastal sectors, and 742 were on the U.S.-Mexico border.

That means that in the past year, the Border Patrol put an additional 37 miles of U.S.-Canada border under “effective control” and an additional 131 miles of U.S.-Mexico border under “effective control.”

In its most recent annual performance report, published on Feb. 1, 2010, DHS had set a goal of having only 939 border miles (out of 8,607) under effective control by the end of fiscal 2010 and then maintaining (not increasing) that number during fiscal 2011. As it turned out, DHS exceeded its 2010 goal by 168 total miles.

When asked what CBP’s new goal would be for border miles under effective control in fiscal 2011, a CBP spokesperson would not give a specific mile number, stating instead only that CBP will maintain or increase the number from 2010.

Meanwhile, with more than a thousand miles of the Mexican border not under “effective control,” CBP officials are downplaying the significance of the metric. asked U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan Bersin last Thursday when he expected to have the full U.S.-Mexico border under “effective control.”

“If you defined it by that characterization of a piece of real state, there are places on the border where it is not a useful characterization. And I have not seen, nor have I developed my own estimate about when using that tactical definition, when some, some final end state will, will occur,” Bersin responded.

“I don’t think that’s a useful way to look at the border as an exclusive lens. What we have to look at the border is in terms of, as I suggested, public safety for our communities, and the sense in which the border is being effectively managed,” he said.

Bersin went on to say that the “best way” to secure the border is to create a “legitimate labor market between the United States and Mexico,” which a CBP spokesperson later said meant a guest worker program.

“It’s about flows of people and securing the border by deterring and preventing illegal immigration,” Bersin said. “The best way to do that is to have a legitimate labor market between the United States and Mexico. Absent that, we will manage the flows and protect the American people in terms of both public safety and in terms of effectively managing the border.

“Absent comprehensive immigration reform, people will attempt to enter this country illegally drawn by the job market,” he added. “It is our job to stop them, and we will do our best to do that.”

CBP is “doing better than ever before” in securing the border, Bersin said, “but this is not about real state.”

CBP spokesperson Kelly Ivahnenko told that miles under effective control “is not the sole manner in which we define – nor is it a comprehensive examination of – effective border management.”

“Effective control of the border was intended in the past as a tactical description used by local commanders, which was defined based on their local terrain, geographic challenges, and existing resources,” she also told

Focusing “solely on previously cited effective miles of border under control” skews “the bigger picture of the need for our agency to be responsive and agile. While that may not be as quantitative as miles under control, it does explain in a more comprehensive fashion the ever-changing environment and the need to apply the right mix of technology, infrastructure and personnel across the border based on unique aspects,” Ivahnenko said.

Those aspects include “smuggling trends/threats, operational intelligence, terrain, and geographic challenges and the ever-evolving border environment,” she said.

“Our goal is to effectively manage risk by using targeting, information sharing and intelligence to segment the cargo or traveler that may pose a threat, which is a small fraction of the trillions in trade and millions of legitimate travelers who enter our country every day,” she said.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hispanic America

Peter Gadiel

A few days ago, KRGV-TV in Brownsville, Texas reported that Eulalia Garcia Maturey of that city has became a United States citizen. That's terrific for her and it could have been a great story about the American melting pot, but there are a few flies in the pot.

Ms. Maturey is one hundred and one years old. She arrived (legally) in the U.S. as an infant with her parents on October 12, 1909, one hundred and one years to the day before she became a citizen.

But you see, the problem is that Mrs. Maturey doesn't speak English, and after becoming a citizen she said "soy una cuidano Americana."

It's not easy learning a foreign language, but one hundred years does seem to be a reasonable period during which prospective citizens should be able to learn the language. Si?

I contrast this with the story of my immigrant family. My mother arrived as a thirty-five year old refugee in 1946, joining my father, from whom she had been involuntarily separated by World War II. Mom spoke not a word of English. But this was America she felt and you couldn't be really American if you didn't speak English. And what Mom wanted was to be American; to read the newspapers; learn the history of her adopted country; be able to hear President Truman when he addressed the Nation. To learn the politics and participate in the social and political life of the United States of America.

So Mom made the effort. She made the basic steps in learning English, and listened to the radio as much as possible so she'd get a true sense and understanding of spoken American English. So, within a year she was nearly fluent. My sister, who arrived speaking only French, mastered English so completely that after six months she refused to utter a single word in anything other than the language of her new country.

Mom's native language was German, and to the end of her life she never lost her German accent. Never once in my life did I hear her say the "th" sound. It was always "ze," as in "ze phone" or "ze car." Similarly, I never heard her say "what, which, where or why," only "vot, vich, vare, and vie." (Until corrected by a teacher in third grade I thought the word "clothes" was pronounced "closes.")

Accented though it was, she spoke, read and wrote in English, the language of her adopted country. As a very old lady living in Florida she would go to a German delicatessen to get her wursts. Hearing her accent the owners would immediately speak to her in German, but she always replied in English only. Though too polite to scold the shop people, she told me: "This is America, we speak English here."

So, forgive me if I find the circumstances of Ms. Maturey's citizenship less than wonderful. One hundred years in our country and she doesn't speak the language. She may not speak English, but she has sent us a clear message that in a whole century she never felt any desire to be, as my mother would say, "really American." She has also communicated to us that the schools and teachers in Texas have failed, failed completely, to make Americans out of foreigners.

When the Maturey family was asked the reason for her deciding to become a citizen after all these years, they didn't say it was because she loves this country, they said it was because her old border crossing card was no longer valid for getting back into the U.S. after visiting her family in Mexico. . . she needed a passport. Thus it is clear that from her infancy to her old age our nation failed to encourage this lady to become integrated into our society or feel a true attachment to our country. When she admitted she became a citizen because she needed the right documents, this one little old lady speaking in Spanish did a better job of exposing that failure than the most eloquent of English speakers could possibly have done.

When KRGV aired this story, it ended with Ms. Maturey's niece, Yolanda Ovalle, speaking of how happy her aunt was to be a U.S. citizen. Ovalle, evidently in her fifties, needed someone to translate her own comments from Spanish into English.

Welcome to the United States.


Foreign worker numbers in Britain surge to a record 2.4m as Eastern Europeans return to Britain

The number of foreigners working in Britain has hit an all-time high despite the fragile state of the recovery. This summer, the total topped 2.4million for the first time after thousands arrived from abroad in the spring.

Some of them were Poles and other Eastern Europeans who began to return to the UK. The number of Eastern European workers also reached a record – of 551,000. It means the workforce of foreigners has surged by more than a ­million in only seven years.

By contrast the number of Britons in jobs fell by hundreds of thousands during the recession.

The growing total of foreign workers comes at a time of deepening concern over the five million British adults who do not work and the intensification of Government efforts to persuade many that jobs are preferable to a life of benefits dependency.

The rush to take jobs in Britain is also adding to immigration and concerns over population growth and overcrowding.

But some ministers, led by Business Secretary Vince Cable, are anxious to stave off the Coalition’s promised cap on immigration from outside the EU to maintain the flow of skilled and cheap, unskilled foreign workers that employers say they need.

The latest count of foreign citizens working in Britain was released alongside unemployment figures by the Office for National Statistics. It showed there were 2.401million non-UK nationals active in the economy between April and June, up by 147,000 on the previous three months.

The previous peak came at the end of 2008, as the recession began to bite, when there were 2.377million foreign citizens working in Britain. After that, Labour ministers maintained that numbers were falling because thousands of Eastern European migrant workers had gone home.

But by this spring they were returning to take jobs in Britain – a signal that work is widely available. Eastern Europeans may be taking jobs that workers here are reluctant to do, possibly because unemployed Britons regard the jobs as either too low paid or too demanding.

The number of workers from Poland and other Eastern European countries in the EU rose by 54,000 over the three-month period to 551,000. Only seven years ago, in the summer of 2003, before the admission of eight Eastern European countries to the EU, there were 1.39million foreign nationals in jobs in this country.

The new figures, drawn from the Labour Force Survey, showed there were 26.530million Britons in jobs, around 650,000 down from the peak in summer 2008.

Librarians at the House of Commons confirmed that the number of foreign workers is the highest since the count was first carried out in 1997, when it was 966,000.

Home Secretary Theresa May has pledged to set a cap on immigration from outside the EU with the aim of reducing net migration – the rate at which immigration exceeds emigration – to 1990s levels.

Sir Andrew Green, of the Migrationwatch think-tank, warned that a new wave of migrant workers would be damaging. ‘The risk is that we will get ­economic growth without encouraging more employment among British workers,’ he said.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Americans split over public education for illegal immigrants, poll shows

Maybe it's the recession. Maybe it's the fight over Arizona's tough new law to step up apprehension of illegal immigrants or the headline news about border violence. For whatever reason, Americans are in no mood to coddle people who are in the United States illegally, even if they are hardworking and peaceable.

Even K-12 education for children brought to the US under the radar by their parents – a benefit that the US Supreme Court has said states cannot withhold – does not enjoy majority backing. Support for educating such children stands at 47 percent, compared with 49 percent who oppose it.

The results may hearten two gubernatorial hopefuls who have urged challenging the relevant 1982 high court ruling: Republican Terry Branstad in Iowa and third-party candidate Tom Tancredo in Colorado. Other GOP candidates for governor have said they would push for tough laws like Arizona's, but Mr. Branstad and Mr. Tancredo alone appear ready to test the Supreme Court education ruling that discrimination based on immigration status serves "no compelling state interest."

Regionally, support for educating young illegal immigrants is weakest in the West, which has absorbed the lion's share of newcomers in the past generation. Forty-two percent of Westerners support public schooling for such children, compared with 47 percent in the South, 50 percent in the Midwest, and 52 percent in the Northeast. For illegal immigrants, the findings in the Monitor/TIPP poll get worse:

* One in 4 respondents says the immigrants should be eligible for food stamps and Medicaid (health care for the poor).

* Eighteen percent are willing for illegal immigrants to receive access to public housing. That issue came to the fore with news reports that President Obama's aunt from Kenya, who stayed in the US illegally from 2004 until gaining asylum this year, lived during that time in Boston public housing.

* Support for allowing undocumented college students to qualify for federal or state education grants is just shy of 18 percent.

Legislation was recently introduced in the Senate to tighten borders, crack down on employers of illegal immigrants, and provide an eventual path to citizenship to undocumented workers who are otherwise law-abiding. Past attempts to bring similar bills to the Senate floor have failed, and the new bill is not expected to fare any better in what remains of the current Congress.

The Monitor/TIPP poll was conducted Sept. 7-12 and has a margin of error of 3.3 percentage points.


Australian PM softens immigration detention policy

JULIA Gillard has dramatically altered the government's policy on asylum-seekers, opening two more detention centres to house 2000 would-be refugees.

The PM has bowed to pressure to release children and their families into the community.

As Australia's detention centre network nears breaking point, with more than 5200 asylum-seekers and crew currently under guard, the Prime Minister yesterday announced plans for new centres in Northam, northeast of Perth, and Inverbrackie, in the Adelaide Hills.

Ms Gillard denied the plans indicated the government had ditched its regional approach to processing asylum-seekers. She said the new centres represented a short-term solution and would allow the closure of temporary detention housing currently being used, including tents and motels.

The decision to release children and their families into communities - effectively subcontracting their day-to-day care to church groups and non-government organisations - was welcomed by the Greens and refugee advocacy groups, who had fought a vigorous campaign to have minors released from detention. The changes will be rolled out over the next eight months.

The new detention centre at Northam will house about 1500 men, while the Inverbrackie facility will be used for about 400 members of family groups. The Northam centre will cost $164.5 million and Inverbrackie $9.7m. Some of this funding has already been provided in the budget and the July economic statement. The government said the new funding of $54.9m would be offset by cuts to follow in other areas.

Ms Gillard said the government was also prepared to use the 11 Mile Antenna Farm outside Darwin and further expand the Melbourne immigration transit accommodation if numbers of unauthorised arrivals continued to swell.

The Rudd government's decision in March to freeze new Afghan and Sri Lankan asylum claims for six and three months respectively and a fall in the proportion of applicants accepted as refugees have led to serious bottlenecks in the detention system. Ms Gillard said the new centres would lead to the closure of inappropriate detention housing, including on Christmas Island and the use of tents. "I don't think it's the Australian way to have kids behind razor wire in the hope that will be a deterrent," she said.

The Prime Minister said the government would continue to pursue a regional solution to the rising number of asylum-seekers coming to Australia. "But in the short term, these measures will give the Department of Immigration a chance to decommission inappropriate accommodation," Ms Gillard said, highlighting the use of temporary tents as accommodation on Christmas Island and motels.

It is not clear exactly how many asylum-seekers will be housed in the community, but with 738 minors in detention - about half of whom arrived as part of a family group - the number is likely to exceed 1000 by June next year.

Church and non-government organisations will be expected to provide accommodation for those under their care, as well as basic services that will include ensuring children are able to attend school.

Asylum-seekers will be subject to reporting requirements to ensure they do not abscond. They will be eligible for a Centrelink payment, under the asylum-seeker assistance scheme, to cover day-to-day living expenses. Government sources told The Australian similar schemes had been trialled with very low absconding rates.

The Prime Minister denied the government's backdown on children in detention was in response to negotiations with the Greens.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said it would cost about the same amount to have children and families housed in the community as in detention centres. Refugee advocate Pamela Curr of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre said yesterday's changes were "long overdue". She said immigration detention put more stress on asylum-seekers, particularly children. "The parents are doing their best to maintain an air of normality, against the odds," Ms Curr said. "(But) if you've got a guard walking into the bedroom, counting the heads of your children, it's very hard to pretend this is normal."

Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said more beds would not stop more boats, and condemned the decision to open more centres.

When asked about the Coalition's position on releasing children from detention centres, Mr Morrison said that if the Coalition were in power, they would all be housed in Nauru.

He said he believed Labor was preparing to overuse the provisions in the Migration Act with its changes. "These provisions were intended to deal with exceptional cases," he said. "They will now be used for a broad-scale exodus for hundreds of adults as well as minors from detention places."

Greens immigration spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young said the decision to remove children and unaccompanied minors and some family members from immigration detention was "testament to the long public campaign by the Greens, key NGOs and concerned members of the community". But she expressed concern that their removal from detention was entirely up to a minister's discretion, and that it would take too long to release the children.

"No new detention centres should be built until there is a legislated time limit placed on the holding of asylum-seekers in detention," she said.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Recent posts at CIS below

See here for the blog. The CIS main page is here.

1. 'Hidden Cameras 3' Video Release with Women in Homeland Security (Transcript and Video)

2. For a Really Excellent Immigration Report, Try Australia's Offering (Blog)

3. Wishful Thinking from the Center for American Progress (Blog)

4. Good and Bad News on the Investors' Visa Program (Blog)

5. Chinese Illegals Coming to U.S. via Haiti (!) and Belize (Blog)

6. Murdoch and Bloomberg Put Profit Ahead of Principle (Blog)

The confusing state of immigration in Europe

Doubts about the utility of immigration is provoking aggressive attitudes toward migrants, Islamic head scarves and a mass political retreat from “multiculturalism”.

Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, says multiculturalism has failed utterly and it is causing a political shudder across Europe. Her complaint – that it was wrong-headed to encourage millions of Turkish immigrants to settle in Germany with no thought about how they would integrate into a liberal, libidinous and mostly irreligious society – is not original. It might have been made in Britain about immigration from Pakistan. It is already being made in France and the Netherlands where politicians are using bans on head scarves to enforce a new public intolerance toward the private intolerance of Islamic culture. In Germany, a senior official of the Bundesbank, Thilo Sarrazin, was sacked for publishing a book that blamed immigrants for dumbing down Germany and causing its decline.

Mrs. Merkel’s outburst is interesting because she is clever and because she is German, the leader of Europe’s largest economy and one that has the biggest political stake in preserving the protocol of human rights and decencies. No German politician could easily contemplate the targeting of a large group of illegal immigrants for summary deportation, as did France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy, with the mass removal of Roma from squatter camps.

Mrs. Merkel is giving voice in measured tones to a simmering public disquiet about immigration. She hopes, as probably did President Sarkozy, that by letting off her own firecracker, she will distract attention from the firebrands of the Far Right. But there is a more interesting question that Europeans are beginning to find troubling. We were told that immigration was good for us, good for the economy; how is it good?

Immigrants are supposed to fill jobs; their consumption creates economic demand for goods and services, and the cultural exchange stimulates creativity and enterprise. That is the theory. In practice, the experience is messy. Germany has a labour shortage of some 400,000 skilled workers, but immigrants in Germany are twice as likely to be unemployed. The Governor of Bavaria, Horst Seehofer, caused a furore when he said immigration from Turkey and Arabian countries should cease because these mainly Muslim people were unable to integrate.

Today, good ideas don’t need an invasion to take root and that may be why we still have problems with migration. The Flemish, the Lombards and the Jews brought useful skills to Britain centuries ago: weaving, banking and finance. The less pleasant truth is that the real value brought by waves of migrants [now] is labour, cheap and more willing than the local muscle can provide. If the migrants don’t or cannot supply cheap labour because of minimum wage laws or generous welfare benefits, then the immigrant labour is not required and migration becomes a burden.

What about the cultural exchange and the great ideas? They are already here. The brilliant Asians writing novel software? They are not queuing up at Ellis Island, they are already writing doctorates at Stanford University or earning six-figure salaries at Microsoft. The music composed by talented African and Latin American musicians is on the Web. The migration that matters is happening in the ether. The rest is about rates per hour.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Thou Shall Not Say "Illegal" and "Immigration" In the Same Sentence

At first, it looked like a glimmer of hope for the beleaguered state of California.

Meg Whitman, an accomplished business executive with the very consumer friendly “Ebay” name attached to her own, was leading slightly in the fight to be California’s next Governor. It was still a tight race, yes, but Democratic gubernatorial nominee (and the guy who was California Governor when I was in 5th grade) Jerry Brown, a perennial government employee, was struggling to find a compelling message amid the anti-Obama backlash.

And then Ms. Whitman (and her entire family) got hit with a very ugly surprise. Nicky Diaz, a former employee of the Whitman family, spoke at a press conference orchestrated by left-winger attorney Gloria Allred to announce that they were suing Meg Whitman for $6, 210.00. Diaz and her attorneys were alleging distress and “damages” from the way Diaz was treated during her term of employment with the Whitmans, and from the fact that Whitman was so insensitive as to have “fired” Ms. Diaz (is employment termination no longer permitted in Obama’s America?).

After this disgraceful press conference, the discussion about who should be California’s next Governor devolved into a TMZ-Perez Hilton – styled gossip fest about Nicky and Meg. While Whitman quickly responded by dismissing the law suit as “Jerry Brown politics,” Jerry Brown insisted he had nothing to do with “it.” Whitman was also forced to abandon her campaign message – at least a little bit, anyway – and to answer questions about her relationship with Nicky Diaz.

Whitman explained that Diaz had been a live-in family housemaid from 2000 to 2009, and earned $23.00 an hour. According to Whitman, Diaz had provided all the appropriate “paperwork” to demonstrate that she was residing in California legally. Whitman apparently did not become aware of Diaz’ “illegal” status until 2009 (the same year that Whitman decided to run for Governor, interestingly enough), whereupon Whitman did the only thing she could do to bring herself into compliance with federal law – she terminated Diaz’ employment.

For her part, Diaz’ story was fascinating. She openly confessed to using somebody else’s Social Security number for the purpose of duping both Whitman, and immigration authorities. And never mind the fact that she held a steady fulltime job for nine years earning $23.00 an hour while living in a plush home the likes of which most Americans will never experience. Being “used” for a time by Meg Whitman and then being callously “discarded” was emotionally painful, and Diaz needed retribution. As she put it, speaking through her broken, Hispanic-tinged English, “I’m doing this for all the other Nicky’s…”

Shortly thereafter when Whitman and Brown met in Fresno for the second of three California gubernatorial debates, Whitman was forced to again tell “her side of the story” – she was given falsified documents that showed Diaz to be “legal,” but when she realized that Diaz was “illegal” she had to fire Diaz. Brown conveniently ignored the legal entanglements, and simply stated that, because she fired Nicky Diaz from her job, Whitman had failed the most basic tests of “decency” and “respect.”

Today, polling data indicates that Brown is leading Whitman by roughly six percentage points. It’s not “over” for Whitman, not by any means, and she could still win. But it is difficult to suggest that she hasn’t been damaged by this embarrassing scenario.

This is an “emotional matter,” to be sure. But let’s step away from the “feelings” for a moment and talk about some facts.

It is a fact that Nicky Diaz has violated U.S. federal law on multiple accounts. She entered into the U.S. illegally; by her own admission she falsified documents for both the Whitman family, and for federal immigration authorities; she stole somebody’s Social Security number (among the citizen class we call this “identity theft,” and many of us spend a lot of money each year trying to protects ourselves from this type of crime); she worked illegally in the U.S.; and so far as we can tell she is still residing illegally in the U.S. today.

Jerry Brown, currently California’s Attorney General and, as such, California’s top law enforcement agent, has had absolutely nothing to say about any of the lawlessness of Nicky Diaz. He has played politics with this matter, and even insisted that Meg Whitman behaved in an “insensitive” and “indecent” fashion by firing the illegal immigrant Diaz.

Yet Meg Whitman hasn’t exactly been forthcoming, either. She has yet to state the obvious about this situation – that Nicky Diaz has violated U.S. federal law, and continues to do so.

It would seem that stating the obvious about crime, and lawlessness, is just too politically “dangerous” – especially when the “obvious” involves illegal immigration.


Immigration Amnesty Pushed Through Back Door In Houston Federal Courts

As voters and candidates debate the issue of illegal immigration and immigration amnesty, a sharply increasing number of illegal immigrants are getting “amnesty” not through Congress but in the courtroom. The Houston Chronicle reports an increase of more than 700 percent in dismissals of immigration violation charges since the Department of Homeland Security started reviewing cases in the Houston federal courts.

According to data provided by the Executive Office for Immigration Review,which oversees the nation’s immigration court system, the number of dismissed immigration cases skyrocketed from 27 in July to 217 in August and 174 in September. The Houston Chronicle reports as follows.
“In early August, federal attorneys in Houston started filing unsolicited motions to dismiss cases involving suspected illegal immigrants who have lived in the country for years without committing serious crimes.

News of the dismissals, first reported in the Houston Chronicle in late August, caused a national controversy amid allegations that the Obama administration was implementing a kind of “backdoor amnesty” — a charge officials strongly denied.

The Houston Chronicle further reports that attorneys in the system are corroborating the story told by the statistics. The Houston Chronicle continues as follows.
In recent weeks, some immigration attorneys reported the dismissals have slowed somewhat, while others reported they now have to ask ICE trial attorneys to exercise prosecutorial discretion in order to have their cases dismissed."

The dismissal of charges against illegal immigration charges does not, however preclude the possibility of the federal government filing charges later.In order to qualify for the dismissal, defendants must not have any record of felony convictions or of certain misdemeanor charges involving DWI, sex crimes or domestic violence.

The de facto amnesty has its defenders. Many immigration lawyers and advocates of immigration reform cite the huge backlog of immigration cases, some of which are already being scheduled to be heard in 2012.

Why is the government effectively jumping over the bench and standing along side the defendants by filing motions for dismissal of charges in these cases? Why is there a sharp increase in dismissals of cases? New guidelines are being quietly circulated and the public has no knowledge of what they might be. Additionally, this lenient treatment in the courts sends a message to others who are contemplating illegal entry into the US that the Americans are not serious about enforcing their laws.

Americans can vote for leaders who share their views on immigration, but there is almost no recourse against judges who overturn or refuse to enforce the nation’s immigration laws. If this is what Americans want, let it be done through the legislature in open debate and not behind the closed doors of judicial chambers.