Monday, January 10, 2011

Was it immigration policy that got Rep. Giffords shot?

Based on zero evidence, there have been many attempts to link the Giffords shooting to Arizona's policies towards illegal immigration. Some such attempts are reported in the excerpts below

The final paragraph is true in a way that its speaker probably did not intend. He is right that America is currently "practicing the politics of division and subtraction, not multiplication and addition", but who is to blame for that?

It wouldn't be a Democratic party that pushed through a vast healthcare bill that was clearly unwanted by the majority of Americans (something confirmed on Nov. 2 last year) and a party that has not shown one sign of that "reaching across the divide" which Obama promised in his election campaign, would it? It took the defeats of last November to wring the first compromise out of them.

And which party tried its damnedest to push through the DREAM act when at least two thirds of Americans are opposed to any form of amnesty for illegals?

Another blogger makes similar points but at greater length. And, as noted here Giffords was in fact closer to the GOP policy on illegal immigration than she was to mainstream Democrats. It was a "secure the borders" politician who was shot

Even before the shooting of a U.S. congresswoman Saturday, the state of Arizona was in the throes of a convulsive political year that had come to symbolize a bitter partisan divide across much of America.

The motives of the alleged shooter, who wounded Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and killed six people in Tucson, are not known and they may not be political.

But after an acrimonious election in November that followed months of bitter exchanges, politics looms large in the wake of the shooting and a local sheriff pointedly blamed hateful political rhetoric for inciting violence.

"When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government," Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik told a news conference.

"The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous. And, unfortunately, Arizona I think has become sort of the capital. We have become the Mecca for prejudice and bigotry."

The spark in Arizona's political firestorm was the border state's move to crack down on illegal immigration last summer, a bill proposed by conservative lawmakers and signed by Republican Gov. Jan Brewer.

The law known as SB 1070 "superheated the political divide more than I've ever seen it in Arizona," said Bruce Merrill, a longtime political analyst and pollster at Arizona State University.

A majority of Arizonans supported it, but opponents and many in the large Hispanic population felt it was unconstitutional and would lead to discrimination.

As the law went into effect, U.S. Congressman Raul Grijalva, an Arizona Democrat and opponent of SB 1070, closed a district office in Yuma after staff found a shattered window and a bullet inside.

Giffords favored a softer approach to illegal immigrants and was expected to push for comprehensive immigration reform in the Congress that was sworn in this week in Washington....

Art Hamilton, who served 26 years in the state House and 18 years as its Democratic leader, said there is "no question" that Arizona is at a low point in its governance. "I do believe we see a point in the history of this state that we're practicing the politics of division and subtraction, not multiplication and addition," Hamilton said.


Working illegally in Canada can lead to legal residency

Would-be immigrants to Canada can use illegal work experience to help bolster their application for permanent residency, according to federal documents obtained by QMI Agency.

The documents, a series of emails between senior officials within Citizenship and Immigration Canada, starts with an unnamed official questioning whether illegal work experience can count for someone seeking to enter Canada under the provincial nominee program, a program designed to fill specialized labour shortages in Canada.

“How does CIC count (or not count) illegal work experience?” asked the unidentified person in an email. “We have been asked to consider undocumented work experience in Canada towards accumulation of work experience.”

The email, addressed to Heidi Smith, director of permanent resident policy and programs at the immigration department, goes on to ask if there is a difference between illegal work experience gained in Canada and illegal work experience gained outside of Canada. The email also asks what the policy rationale would be for counting illegal experience.

After being circulated among various officials, a short answer was provided. “We can count illegal work for PNP, but at the same time we need to have a confirmation of the illegal work,” wrote Jacqueline Desjardins, senior analyst at CIC's national headquarters in Ottawa.

The answer shocked lawyer and immigration policy analyst Richard Kurland. “Last time I checked, it's illegal to work without a work permit,” Kurland told QMI. “Why am I advising people to obey the law? Here's a senior official saying you can flout the law.”

While Kurland said it's possible that people working in the country illegally could still be paying taxes, most, he said, would be working under the table, thereby breaking the law.

Many of those working illegally in Canada may also be breaking the law by being in the country illegally, said Kurland, while others might simply be students who have taken a job while studying at a Canadian school.

The activist group No One is Illegal estimates there are 200,000 to 500,000 people living in Canada illegally. Other estimates of the illegal immigrant population are much lower, closer to 100,000.

The federal government has long had difficulty enforcing deportation orders against those in the country illegally. A 2008 report from Auditor General Sheila Fraser showed that the government had lost track of 41,000 people that had been ordered deported.


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