Monday, August 23, 2010

Tamils playing Canada for fools

If 71% of the ‘refugees’ in Canada feel safe enough to return for a vacation in Sri Lanka, how bad can things actually be?

The lie that Tamils need to go all the way across two oceans to find "refuge" in Canada is one that Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels would be proud of. Sri-Lankan Tamils are welcome and to an extent celebrated in the Tamil "eelam" (homeland) just across the Palk Strait in Tamil Nadu, India. It's just a local trip to all the safety they could want. Comments below by Ezra Levant

How bad is life back in Sri Lanka for Tamil refugees? Are they tortured? Do they have a well-founded fear of persecution? Are things so bloody bad over there that we have to let a boatload of them into Canada, just because they showed up?

That’s what we’re told by immigration lawyers, bleeding heart politicians and fashionable journalists who don’t believe Canada should have any borders at all.

But what about actual Tamil refugees here in Canada? How bad do they think life is back home? As QMI’s investigative report shows, 71% of Tamil refugees here in Canada think things back in Sri Lanka are good enough that they’ve gone back home for a vacation.

Canadian immigration officials randomly surveyed 50 Tamils already here, who are trying to “sponsor” more people to come over, too. Of those would-be sponsors, 31 are refugees. And 22 of those admit to going back to Sri Lanka. That would be like Jews who fled Nazi Germany deciding to go back to Berlin to hear the opera. Sorry, it just doesn’t add up.

The Tamils are playing us for fools. They’re not genuine refugees. Genuine refugees don’t go back to a country that’s persecuting them.

The benign interpretation is that they went back for a vacation. But there’s the real possibility that some went back to help the Tamil Tiger terrorist group wage its war against Sri Lanka.

The no-borders left has argued that because Canada accepted 85% of Tamil refugee claims last year, that’s “proof” Sri Lanka is a bad place. But that high number doesn’t tell us anything about Sri Lanka, a place that the UN High Commissioner on Refugees says is so much improved that no country in the world should assume that Tamils are refugees.

No, what that 85% number tells us is that our Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), the independent judges who are supposed to screen out bogus refugees, is totally broken.

The IRB judges are letting almost all the Tamils in. And many of those they reject stay here anyway. According to Sheila Fraser, the auditor general, 63,000 would-be refugees who have been ordered deported from Canada are still here, and the government has lost track of where 41,000 of them are.

The 85% acceptance figure was suspicious enough, based on the UN’s comments. But now that we know 71% of Tamil refugees travel back and forth to Sri Lanka, it’s more than a scandal. It’s wholesale fraud.

If Jason Kenney, the immigration minister, was responsible for that 85% acceptance rate, and the 71% fraud rate, the opposition would rightfully call on him to resign. But it’s the IRB judges, not Kenney, who make the decisions.

Brian Goodman is the chair of the IRB. It’s his job to make sure his judges are competent and skeptical. At least one of those components is obviously missing. Goodman must go.

But that’s just the start. The only way to restore confidence in the system — and respect for the value of Canadian citizenship — is to have an audit of every Tamil refugee to see if they, too, took vacations back to Sri Lanka, after swearing they were terrified to be there. Those who went back should be denaturalized — stripped of their immigration status and deported immediately.


Tough measures will stop the flood of illegals arriving by boat -- say Australia's conservatives

The second illegal boat intercepted in Australian waters in just 24 hours shows strong policy is needed to stop people smugglers, the coalition says. Shadow minister for immigration Scott Morrison and shadow minister for border protection Michael Keenan said the latest boat arrivals brought the number of illegal vessels to 88 this year.

"The arrival of two boats in one day is another reminder that Australia needs a strong and stable government that can address the challenges we face to restore the integrity of our borders and immigration programme," the MPs said in a statement on Sunday.

"Boats continue to arrive illegally in Australian waters at unprecedented rates. "The people smuggling trade must be combated by the implementation of a raft of tough measures."

Mr Morrison and Mr Keenan said the coalition had presented a clear plan at this election to address the arrival of illegal boats to Australia. "(We) stand ready to implement this plan if given the opportunity during this next term of parliament."

The latest interception comes a day after a boat carrying 23 passengers and two crew was intercepted late on Saturday near Ashmore Island.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

British pollster reveals how Labour's refusal to listen on immigration cost them power... and is now damaging democracy

Deborah Mattinson has run focus groups - snapshots of the voting public - for the past 20 years. In that time she has been made plainly aware of the needs, wants and fears of the British people. She claims that the immigration debate - dismissed too quickly by politicians as bigotry - is in fact a clear cry from voters that they are afraid for their families and their communities. She writes:

I’d started running political focus groups for Labour in the Eighties. This gave me the perfect vantage point to see the birth of New Labour - and its subsequent ups and downs - through the eyes of voters.

What struck me most was the huge gulf between the electorate and the political classes. While politicians in the Westminster village are obsessed with the trivia that purports to be matters of great importance, voters worry about issues that directly impact their families and their communities.

This is deeply damaging to democracy. Above all, this gulf between voters and politicians is felt most strongly when it comes to immigration.

After running focus groups for 25 years, I can honestly say I’ve rarely sat through one without the subject being raised. This week, immigration was never far from the top of the news agenda. First, two Church of England vicars were arrested for allegedly running a bogus immigrant marriage racket.

Then, we heard that ministers were considering a deal to bypass the proposed immigration cap and allow more foreign students into Britain.

It was also revealed that 17,000 immigrants told to leave Britain have won their appeal to stay after Home Office officials failed to turn up to the hearings.

Feelings have always been strong, but are often expressed hesitantly. Someone might say: ‘I’m not being funny or anything . . .’ then introduce the topic nervously, waiting to see if others would agree. Some even say: ‘I’m not being racist or anything . . .’ before making their point.

In my experience, most voters are not racist - they are worried that their homes, jobs and public services are under threat. They fear their livelihoods are being undermined by people who, having come to Britain as recent immigrants, have made a less significant contribution to the country. This, they feel, is fundamentally unfair. Often, these views are most strongly held by the poorest.

At the 2001 General Election, turnout dropped dramatically from more than 70 per cent to less than 60 per cent. Some of the safest Labour seats in working-class strongholds saw a fall of up to 20 per cent.

Labour MP Margaret Hodge’s constituency of Barking & Dagenham was typical. There was widespread concern from the traditional white working class about the number of immigrants there. Mrs Hodge asked me to conduct focus groups to look into the problem of low turnout. I found that many people had not voted because they felt it would not make any difference to their lives.

Politicians’ silence on immigration had fuelled this anger. Mrs Hodge urged the government to address the problem. But her plea was ignored and she was vilified by her Labour colleagues.

Things had worsened by the 2005 General Election. During the campaign, I ran a series of focus groups with women voters in the marginal seat of Watford for Radio 4’s Today programme.

Reporting on the first meeting, the BBC journalist Iain Watson said: ‘So, what issues would sway voters in the next election? Initially, most women talked about public services - health and education, in particular. But then it turned out that there had been an elephant in the room.

‘As soon as one person was brave enough to admit spotting it, suddenly most of the others could see it, too.’ One after another, the women voters said: ‘I’ll be honest: I was too frightened to mention immigration because I thought it wouldn’t be politically correct. ‘You’ve got all the asylum seekers who can come in and we fund them finding houses and they’re saying we can’t have pensions for our own people...’

These views confirmed opinion polls at the time, which showed immigration was at, or near, the top of people’s concerns and that eight out of ten agreed that ‘immigration laws should be much tougher or immigration should be stopped altogether’.

A year before Gordon Brown became prime minister, I ran a major focus group study. By then, immigration had become the main issue. We described our findings to Mr Brown and senior Cabinet members. We explained immigration was a vortex issue - its whirlpool effect engulfing everything in its wake.

Voters were emphatic. They believed the NHS couldn’t cope because too many immigrants were using its services (for example, the Office for National Statistics recently revealed that nearly a quarter of babies born in Britain have immigrant mothers).

They thought schools weren’t able to teach properly because they were struggling with large numbers of immigrant children who couldn’t speak English. They believed people couldn’t find work because immigrants were prepared to take jobs for much less money. And they said families found it impossible to get accommodation because the government gives priority to immigrant families.

It’s important to point out again that, despite the strength of these feelings, it doesn’t mean people are racist. Quite simply, many voters feel the economic security of their families is under threat. In the most part they included young families struggling to pay their mortgages, anxious about unemployment and dependent on public services that they knew were straining at the seams.

People get angry when they think others are getting rewards unfairly, while they work hard and struggle. So they get angry at immigrants and welfare cheats in the same way they get angry at bankers with huge bonuses.

The truth is that none of this is about racism, but simply about fairness - getting what you’ve worked for and deserve. Many politicians fail to understand this. They confuse genuine fears that immigrants are taking up scarce resources with racism.

Indeed, this has been one of the gravest misunderstandings between voters and the political class that cries ‘racism’ or ‘bigotry’ whenever genuine concerns about immigration are raised.

Gordon Brown’s description of Gillian Duffy - the Labour-supporting grandmother from Rochdale who famously tackled him over her concerns about immigration during the election campaign - as a ‘bigoted woman’ is very telling.

I always fed back voters’ views about immigration to Labour’s high command. But despite the subject being such a hot topic, it was never put at the top of the political agenda. There was simply no appetite to listen, let alone act. It was as if politicians were in paralysis.

Hugely frustrated, voters felt they were being silenced on a subject that mattered to their daily lives.

In 2007, when Gordon Brown became Prime Minister, he introduced an Australian-style points system (under which potential immigrants from outside the EU can qualify for entry based only on strict criteria), but by then it was too little, too late.

Back in Margaret Hodge’s constituency, feelings were running high. In the autumn of 2009, the news broke that the BNP leader Nick Griffin was planning to stand against her in the General Election.

I returned to Barking & Dagenham to run another series of focus groups. Mrs Hodge’s reputation was strong - she was known to have worked hard in the constituency - but people felt beleaguered. Once again, immigration was the top issue. The consensus was that Barking ‘had it first and had it worst’. As one resident put it: ‘We’re the dumping ground.’

In this traditional working-class area, people felt neglected and angry. They also complained that the community had changed beyond recognition - not becoming multi-racial in a positive way, but with an uneasy clash of cultures. A typical comment was: ‘It don’t feel like Britain no more.’

Twelve BNP councillors had recently been elected in the constituency and Mrs Hodge was determined not to let her seat fall into BNP hands. She wrote an article for the Daily Mail calling for a points system to give housing priority to local people, stressing that she wanted to see immigrants treated fairly, but that ‘concern for refugees should not prevent us from having the debate about immigration in the context of fairness to the people who have lived in and contributed to the affected communities’.

At the General Election, Mrs Hodge bucked the national trend - her re-election was one of Labour’s decisive victories. The BNP came a derisory third and all 12 BNP councillors lost their seats in the local election. Mrs Hodge was a local hero: here, at last, was a politician who was prepared to listen to voters and speak out on their behalf.

But the debate goes on about immigration. The coalition Government has just announced a cap on non-EU immigration. However, focus groups suggest this may well be another ‘too little too late’ initiative, paying lip service rather than really dealing with the core issues.

In any case, voters are worried about levels of immigration from EU countries as well, and their complaints often centre on the immigrants who are already here rather than those who still want to come to Britain.

In my new book, I use the phrase ‘Peter Pan politics’ to describe how voters are kept in a childlike state by ‘adult’ politicians - fed a drip of promises and soundbites, but excluded from the real debate. What they deserve is a grown-up debate about immigration. This is the only way to heal division and banish racism. It could be the first step in mending our democracy and rebuilding the relationship between voter and politician.


Australia: An absurd and ignorant immigration bureaucracy

They know the Migration Act chapter and verse, but members of the Refugee Review Tribunal may need to brush up on their Bible studies if a recent case is anything to go by.

The tribunal questioned the religious credentials of a Chinese man applying for a protection visa after he was allegedly persecuted in his homeland for his Catholic beliefs. His cousin vouched for their Catholic upbringing and regular attendance at a Sydney church but the tribunal, unimpressed by the cousin's biblical knowledge, found neither was a true believer and refused to grant the visa.

The cousin's explanation of how Jesus was born - that "they stayed in a stable and that night Maria gave birth to Jesus Christ and an angel and a shepherd were around" - was, according to the tribunal, "very vague for someone who claims to have been a practising Catholic since birth and who attends church every Sunday".

As for the story he nominated as his favourite biblical tale, the tribunal declared it was "not familiar with this as a genuine story from the Bible".

In the cousin's version, when Jesus was 12 he disappeared on a visit to his home town. His parents found him in the church, where people "said he spoke very well".

Based on this supposedly inauthentic Bible story offered by his "vague and evasive" cousin, the tribunal found the would-be refugee lacked a true belief in Catholicism.

It was the tribunal, however, whose knowledge of the Bible proved a little rusty, with a federal magistrate who reviewed the case, Kenneth Raphael, describing it as a "very reasonable paraphrase" of Luke 2:41-47.

The passage in Luke describes 12-year-old Jesus staying behind in Jerusalem after spending Passover there with his parents.

He was found in the temple courts, questioning the teachers, and everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and answers.

The Chinese national, who cannot be named, sought a review of the decision in the Federal Magistrates Court, arguing the tribunal had "exceeded its jurisdiction by taking upon itself the role of arbiter of minimum religious knowledge to be a Catholic".

The tribunal "set itself up as an arbiter of religious knowledge", Mr Raphael said. In fact, the cousin's story was not vague or inaccurate but "a very reasonable paraphrase". He ordered the case back to the tribunal for determination.


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Passport giveaway opens UK back door: 2m more Hungarians will have right to work in Britain

This is pretty understandable from a Hungarian viewpoint. Hungary used to be a lot bigger than it was but got chopped back after WWII. So a lot of Hungarians found themselves in another country after the war. I would imagine that most of them will now move to Hungary proper rather than Britain. The big question is whether Romania will give passports to Roma (gypsies). They are a plague and a pestilence and giving them passports would certainly send them Westwards

Hungary is set to hand passports to millions of people living outside the EU – raising the prospect of a new wave of immigration into Britain. From next year, Hungary’s leaders will begin a huge passport giveaway to minority groups who have historic or ethnic ties to the East European country but live elsewhere.

Most of the beneficiaries live in impoverished countries on the fringes of Europe. Once they are given a passport, they will be entitled to full access to the rest of the EU – including Britain.

Similar passport handout schemes – which are legal under EU laws – are under way in Romania and Bulgaria. Together, it is estimated the three countries could add nearly five million citizens to the continent’s population, at a time when it is struggling to bounce back from a deeply damaging recession and financial crisis.

Although they have some control for Romanian and Bulgarian nationals, UK ministers are powerless to place restrictions on arrivals from Hungary. That means the potential impact on Britain of two million new Hungarian passports is much larger. Hungary was one of eight Eastern European nations which joined the EU in 2004.

But Labour ministers, unlike their counterparts in Germany and Austria, rejected the option of imposing work permit controls that would have limited the numbers coming here. That led to an estimated one million arrivals from Eastern Europe – despite predictions the number would be fewer than 20,000. The restrictions on Romanian and Bulgarian nationals will expire in 2013 – opening the door to the UK.

Critics called for limits on the number of new passports member states could hand out to those living outside their borders. Sir Andrew Green, chairman of the MigrationWatch think-tank, said: ‘The sheer scale of this risks getting out of hand. 'When we granted equal access to EU citizens we had no idea that member states would be dishing out passports to anybody they could think of that had some previous link to their countries. ‘There has to be some limit to what member states are allowed to do in this respect.’

From January, Hungary intends to offer passports to millions of ethnic Hungarians living outside its borders. That includes 300,000 living in Serbia and 160,000 in the Ukraine, neither of which is a EU member.

Millions worldwide are eligible for EU passports - but those in prosperous nations rarely take up the option. It's the world's have-nots who are drawn to Europe - and the citizenships offered to outsiders are like winning the lottery. The average annual income in Serbia is around £3,700 a year, and the average Ukrainian worker earns just £1,500 annually.

Last month it emerged some 900,000 Moldovans with ethnic ties to Romania had applied for Romanian passports since the beginning of its scheme. Of those, around 120,000 applications have been approved and the remainder are being processed. The Romanian government claims it is simply giving back citizenship to people who were part of the country until 1940 when Moldova was invaded by Russia and annexed.

Romanian president Traian Basescu has said all Moldovans who think of themselves as Romanian – most of the country’s 3.6million population – should be able to ‘move freely both in Romania and the EU’.

Around 1.4million people living in Macedonia are eligible for Bulgarian passports, as are 300,000 Turks expelled from Bulgaria in the 1980s. Estimates put the total of all those eligible for EU citizenship from Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria at 4.7million. Were every one to take up the offer, it would increase the EU population – estimated at 500million – by 1 per cent.

A UK Border Agency spokesman said: ‘The new Government is determined to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands per year. 'The UK Border Agency will continue to monitor closely any changes in the numbers of Romanians and Bulgarians coming to the UK.’


Senate approves $600 million border security bill

It's only a drop in the bucket but it is a move in the right direction and looks like being passed into law quickly. I was a bit amused by this sentence: "Pelosi said last week that border security "is one of the central pillars of bipartisan comprehensive reform."" Sounds like the conservatives have won that point

U.S. Senators agreed to boost security along the U.S-Mexico border on Thursday by passing an emergency spending bill that appropriates $600 million to be paid for by higher visa fees for foreign companies.

In a voice vote, Senators agreed to provide funding for 1,200 new border patrol agents, 250 new customs and border protection officers, a pair of unmanned airplanes, two operating bases and radio communications equipment.

"This bipartisan effort shows we are serious about making the border more secure than ever," said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, the primary sponsor of the bill and chairman Senate Judiciary Committee's immigration subcommittee.

"Now our attention must turn to comprehensive reform, which is the only way to fully address the problem of illegal immigration," he said.

The House passed a similar, $700 million bill last week and could look at the Senate's version in a special session convened by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, next week to vote on additional funding for states.

The plan will be paid for by higher fees on foreign companies applying for U.S. visa programs that bring foreign workers into the country, according to Sen. Clair McCkaskill, D-MO. "It's paid for in a way that makes sense. We're talking about foreign companies with more than half of their employees, skilled workers ... are on visas," she said. "What it's hopefully going to do is create some vacancies for Americans at some of these higher skilled jobs," she said.

Sen. John McCain, R-AZ, said the money was a "significant step" toward implementing a proposed security plan for the border. "Although, there is a great deal more to be done, I believe today Democrats finally put good policy over politics and agreed we must secure our border first," he said. "I anticipate many of these resources will be placed along the Arizona border,' he said.

Department of Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano said the funding will "add important, permanent resources" for boosting security along the Southwest border. "These assets are critical to bringing additional capabilities to crack down on transnational criminal organizations and reduce the illicit trafficking of people, drugs, currency and weapons," she said.

The bill funding will also pay for new radio communications equipment. Pelosi said last week that border security "is one of the central pillars of bipartisan comprehensive reform."

Analysts say that wide ranging legislation on immigration will not be taken up by Congress until after the November elections. Previous proposals for so-called "comprehensive immigration reform" have not met with support by Congress and President Barack Obama has said there is not enough support from Republican lawmakers.

Proposals for such legislation have included stronger border security, a pathway to legal status for the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants, tougher employer accountability and additional visas for workers in industries facing shortages.


Friday, August 6, 2010

Virginia versus the ACLU over police questioning of illegals

Note that a large part of the ACLU case is, as usual, social rather than legal: "It will also have an adverse effect on public safety as immigrants will be less likely to feel safe cooperating with law enforcement".

Note also that the legal side of the ACLU argument is based on the equal protection clause of the Constitution. Strange that they have no objection to the most blatant breach there is of that clause: "Affirmative action". What's good for the goose is obviously not good for the gander

The ACLU of Virginia today urged law enforcement to ignore Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's opinion on their power to inquire about immigration status while opponents of illegal immigration pushed for more severe action.

Del. Robert G. Marshall, R-Prince William, who sought the opinion that Cuccinelli issued on July 30, sent a letter today to all Virginia sheriffs departments to encourage them "to do all that you can" using the powers described in the opinion to root out gangs.

Meantime, Corey A. Stewart, chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors and a dogged foe of illegal immigration, said he is asking Congress to subpoena Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE, for information about criminal illegal aliens that the agency is no longer taking into physical custody.

The developments extended the contentious debate over illegal immigration that has seized the public discourse following Cuccinelli's opinion that law enforcement in Virginia can ask about the immigration status of any person they stop or arrest if they have reason to suspect that the person violated a criminal immigration law.

Gov. Bob McDonnell, who agrees with Cuccinelli's opinion, took to cable television today to talk about his push for federal approval for Virginia state police "to be cross trained as ICE agents so that we can do civil immigration enforcement" -- not just criminal.

Even Wednesday night in Roanoke, as the governor held the first of eight town hall meetings to pitch his plan for privatizing the state's liquor stores, two of the attendees' first three questions were about immigration.

Stewart's inquiry follows a car crash in Prince William County that killed a nun and critically injured two others. Carlos A. Martinelly Montano, a native of Bolivia and an illegal immigrant, is charged in the crash with third-offense driving under the influence, involuntary manslaughter and driving on a revoked license.

Today was filled with mixed messages to local law enforcement -- from the ACLU of Virginia and from Marshall.

The ACLU of Virginia urged law enforcement to disregard Cuccinelli's opinion, which is advisory and does not carry the force of law. The opinion, according to Rebecca K. Glenberg, legal director for ACLU of Virginia, does not give guidelines as to when it's justified to ask questions about immigration status.

"Because most police officers have not been trained to enforce immigration law, allowing them to question individuals about immigration status is an invitation for racial profiling and potential Equal Protection violations," she writes.

"It will also have an adverse effect on public safety as immigrants will be less likely to feel safe cooperating with law enforcement in reporting and responding to questions about crimes."

Marshall said he "cannot understand" why the ACLU would encourage ignoring the opinion of the highest ranking law enforcement official in the state. "The ACLU's position essentially allows alien terrorists and gang members to be untouchable in this country," he said. "We cannot allow this to continue."

Cuccinelli, in an interview with CNN Wednesday, noted that the new Arizona immigration law -- parts of which were temporarily blocked by a federal judge -- required law enforcement officers to inquire about immigration status. He noted that his opinion says Virginia's law enforcement officers may make such inquiries.

He said he expects that local governments around the state will devise their own policies for how their police and sheriffs should proceed.


Democrats Divided On Politics Of Immigration Lawsuit

Democratic operatives are sharply divided on the political fallout from the intervention by Department of Justice lawsuit against the controversial Arizona immigration law, according to this week's National Journal Political Insiders Poll.

When the Political Insiders were asked, "on balance" whether they thought "the Justice Department's legal challenge to Arizona's immigration law helps or hurts your party in the midterm elections," 49 percent of the 103 Democratic Insiders who responded to the survey said it would hurt the party on Nov. 2. At the same time, 42 percent said it would help the party and another 10 percent volunteered equivocal responses, saying it would both help and hurt, wouldn't have an impact, or would be a neutral factor in the elections.

Conversely, of the 97 GOP Insiders who responded this week, an overwhelming 94 percent said that it would help their party. A tiny four percent said the issue would hurt and two percent gave equivocal responses.

The arguments that Democratic Insiders generally made in favor of the DOJ challenge is that it would it would help motivate Hispanics, an important part of the Democratic base, to go the polls in November and that Republicans were likely to alienate Hispanics by defending the Arizona statute.

Several Democrats who felt the DOJ move would likely hurt the party said that it only highlighted a wedge issue that the White House and Congressional Democrats had failed to fix and it was a distraction from more the paramount issue this year, the economy.
But some Democrats who said that issue would be a negative in the midterms also agreed that the challenge to the law would pay long-term benefits. "Short term, it hurts," said one Democratic Insider. "Long term it is another nail in the Republican's demographic coffin."

Republican Insiders said that the Justice Department action smacked of legal over-reach and would alienate independent and swing voters in districts where Democratic incumbents are already under siege. But even though they saw the issue as a plus for this November, a few GOP Insiders worried about how the immigration debate would play out down the road. As one GOP Insiders put it, "The longer Republicans stand behind a plan of "border security first," the further we move away from Hispanics."