Saturday, January 15, 2011

UC Berkeley Chancellor Links Tucson Shooting to Immigration

About what you expect of UCB but still dishonest and irresponsible. Intellectual standards? Nil

Striking up controversy while commenting on last weekend’s shooting, a University of California Berkeley chancellor sent an e-mail linking the Tucson shooting to Arizona’s war on undocumented immigration, and the downfall of the DREAM Act.

In the e-mail sent Monday, Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau, he stated he was angered by a “climate in which demonization of others goes unchallenged and hateful speech in tolerated.” [So he does some hate speech of his own, directed at Arizonans? Accusing them of complicity in mass murder?]

The chancellor also gave his opinion on why the alleged shooter, Jared Lee Loughner , could have been motivated to kill those six people and injure another thirteen.

“I believe that it is not a coincidence that this calamity has occurred in a state which has legislated discrimination against undocumented persons,” [Whoa boy! It's illegal immigrants who are affected, not "persons" in general] said the e-mail, referring to Arizona’s law that gives local police officers the authority to enforce federal immigration law, by asking anyone appearing to be an undocumented immigrant for proof of their immigration status during a traffic stop.

The comments in the e-mail were picked up by news sources immediately, as this kind of blunt opinion on a matter like this is rather rare occurrence from a university leader.

Birgeneau added that Saturday’s shooting was caused by the “same mean-spirited xenophobia [that] played a major role in the defeat of the DREAM Act by legislators in Washington, [which left] many exceptionally talented and deserving young people, including our own undocumented students, painfully in limbo with regard to their futures in this country.”

["mean-spirited xenophobia". Would calling people that be contributing to the climate of hate by any chance? "Xenophobia" means neurotic fear of foreigners so he is calling Arizonans and conservatives mentally ill. How does that contribute to calming down the debate? His words sound to me like the "anger, hatred and bigotry" that Sheriff Dupnik was talking about. Birgeneau certainly seems to be doing his best to create a climate of hostility -- JR]

While UC Berkeley has a tradition of supporting student activism, college officials are rarely this vocal, and Birgeneau’s e-mail has caused an uproar, with some going as far as demanding his removal.

Holmes says response from the students has been minimal as they are still on winter break.


Immigration is too high, say four in five Britons

Four out of five people want to see cuts in the level of immigration, a large-scale survey carried out for the Government has revealed. More than half the population want to see numbers coming from abroad to live in Britain reduced by ‘a lot’, it found.

The poll, carried out for the Communities Department, showed that public demand for reducing immigration is overwhelming and growing.

It amounts to a warning from Whitehall to David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May that concerns over immigration – which played a central role in last year’s general election – have not gone away and are likely to lead to voter frustration if the Coalition fails to keep its promises.

Ministers have pledged to bring net migration – the number of people added to the population by migration each year – down to 1990s levels of under 100,000. In Labour’s last year in power, net migration was 215,000.

The Communities Department Citizenship Survey – a research project launched while Tony Blair was prime minister – attempts to measure ‘community cohesion’.

Its findings on immigration are notable because the survey was designed to ensure that ethnic minorities and Muslims were ‘robustly represented’ among those consulted.

Some 10,000 people were questioned, but pollsters then gauged opinions from a further 5,000 ethnic minority members and 1,200 Muslims before reaching their conclusions.

The survey found that 78 per cent of the population want to see immigration cut back. A quarter (24 per cent) would like to see immigration reduced a little, while 54 per cent said they wanted it cut ‘a lot’. Fewer than one in five – 19 per cent – said levels should stay the same. Only three people in 100 thought there should be an increase.

The pollsters found no sign that people felt their local areas were becoming more uneasy and divided. They said 85 per cent thought their neighbourhood was ‘cohesive’ and a place where people from different backgrounds got on well together.

However, 22 per cent thought they would get worse treatment from public services because of their race. This proportion is double the size of the ethnic minority population, which is around 10 per cent of the population.

Sir Andrew Green, of the Migrationwatch think-tank, said: ‘These figures are a very clear indication that, despite our economic troubles, immigration remains high among public concerns. The Coalition Government, and especially its Liberal Democrat members, would do well to remember that.’

Some ministers, notably Business Secretary Vince Cable, have been resisting Mrs May’s attempt to cut numbers of visas for workers coming to Britain from outside the European Union. Mr Cable and some other ministers believe industry needs to recruit highly skilled labour from abroad.

But critics who fear the Coalition may be too cautious say that Britain is importing workers while six million people remain idle on benefits.

They also point to tensions caused by competition between immigrants and locals for housing and state services in places such as East London and the growing strain on housing, transport, water and energy supplies because of fast-increasing population levels.

In April, the Government will cap numbers of visas for less skilled workers from outside Europe to 21,700 for 2012, a reduction of a fifth. A consultation on how to cut numbers of student visas is under way.


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