Monday, February 28, 2011

Indians and Pakistanis in Britain also likely to be anti-immigration

Populous is a respectable public opinion poll but the fact that the report of their findings was written by Nick Lowles rather raises eyebrows. Lowles is editor of the "Searchlight" magazine. Searchlight is a fringe-Left organization.

The questions asked, sampling details and all the raw frequencies obtained would have to be independently examined before the findings could be fully credited. The abstract of the report gives no sampling details, which is unusual in an abstract, and the full report was not yet online at the time of writing.

More Asians are now opposed to immigration than white Britons, according to a new poll which reveals that opposition to new arrivals now transcends race.

Research commissioned by the Searchlight Educational Trust found that 39 per cent of Asians, 34 per cent of whites and 21 per cent of blacks believed immigration should be halted either permanently or at least until the UK's economy was back on track. The findings are a stunning rebuke to the Labour government, which opened the doors to untrammelled immigration and then sought to brand voters ‘bigots’ who questioned the pace of change.

The report, titled Fear and Hope: The New Politics Of Identity, reveals that a large proportion of voters, across all races and communities, now have concerns about immigration. Immigration was held to have been on the whole a bad thing for Britain by 63 per cent of whites, 43 per cent of Asians and 17 per cent of black Britons.

The report also reveals that the failure of mainstream parties to speak out about immigration has opened the door for the possible emergence of a far right party.

Almost half of those questioned, 48 per cent, were open to supporting a new far-right party as long as it eschewed 'fascist imagery' and did not condone violence. And 52 per cent agreed that ‘Muslims create problems in the UK’.

The poll, carried out by Populus, was one of the largest studies carried out on the subject, based on 91 questions to more than 5,000 individuals.

It found that peoples’ attitudes to immigration were largely shaped by their level of economic optimism. Those who fear for their jobs and longterm economic wellbeing are more likely to be opposed to further immigration.

The Searchlight Educational Trust said the report 'throws down a challenge' to mainstream political parties to better understand what is happening in the body politic, the Trust said, warning 'dangers' lie ahead if these issues are not addressed.

The report’s author Nick Lowles said young people are more open to living in an ethnically diverse society. But in a clear warning to the political class, he said: ‘This report gives those of us who are campaigning against extremism nowhere to hide.

'The harsh truth is we are in danger of losing touch with the public on race, immigration and multiculturalism. ‘The attitude of all sections of the community to these complex issues is now running far ahead of the politicians and community leaders.’

Labour MP Jon Cruddas said the findings should ‘ricochet through the body politic’ as they showed the potential for the rise of the far-right unless mainstream parties acted soon. In a forword to the report, he wrote: ‘Put simply, unless political parties step up and provide a new language of material well-being, of identity and belonging, then these political forces might refract into more malign forms. As such, the political class has been warned.’

The level of net migration into the UK rose by 36 per cent last year, Office for National Statistics figures show. An estimated 572,000 people entered the UK on a long-term basis in the year to June 2010 while 346,000 emigrated.

Ministers want to reduce net migration levels, the difference between the two figures, to tens of thousands by 2015. To help do this, the coalition plans to cap immigration from outside the European Union.


Australia: An immigration skeptic from the Left

A Labor backbencher says Australia should curb its population growth by slashing the immigration intake - including skilled migration - and abolishing middle-class welfare measures that encourage people to have children.

In his submission to the government's inquiry into population, the Victorian MP Kelvin Thomson says Australia can sustain an ageing population by increasing the productivity of its present population, especially older people, rather than importing migrants and workers.

He also calls for an end to the baby bonus, the large family supplement and family tax benefit A for third and later children. The combined $3 billion in annual savings should be used for building the skills and qualifications of young people and abolishing HECS, he says.

Mr Thomson backs the government's intention to reform the welfare system, especially the disability support pension, to ensure those who are able to work, do so.

But he criticises the government's decision to speed up the rules for importing skilled workers, who come in on 457 visas, to help repair the flood damage in Queensland. "The claim that we will need more skilled migrants in order to cope with the flood damage is insulting and ridiculous," he says. "We were able to build the roads, bridges, schools etc that have been damaged by the floods. To suggest we have lost the skills needed to rebuild this infrastructure is insulting."

Mr Thomson says the reliance on skilled migration is "dumbing Australia down" and driving population pressures. "New arrivals come with a big infrastructure requirement. They bring their families with them and all require houses, roads, schools, hospitals, and many require English language and other forms of assistance."

He says the 457 visa program has become a business, spawning migration agents, labour hire firms and cheap labour for employers. There should be a labour market test for employers to prove they cannot obtain the labour elsewhere.

Australia's unemployment rate is 5 per cent but Mr Thomson scoffs at economists who consider this full employment. He says suburbs such as Broadmeadows in Melbourne have 15 per cent unemployment and labour should be obtained from such areas before being imported.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Muslims are not the same as earlier immigrants to Australia

ALMOST everything George Brandis said this week about Australia's successful creation of an inclusive society "receptive and respectful of people of race and faith" is true.

In an opinion piece in The Sydney Morning Herald, the senator paid tribute to Australian tolerance by recalling his experience growing up in the suburbs in the 1960s. Amid the colonial terraces and semi-detached houses of Petersham in Sydney's inner west, Chinese, Greek and Italian families lived happily alongside their Anglo-Celtic neighbours, and half the youngsters at his local school came from non-English-speaking backgrounds.

The idea that Australia under the rule of Robert Menzies did not resemble apartheid South Africa or the segregated south of the US will shock those who subscribe to the popular view that the coming of Gough Whitlam changed everything.

Brandis usefully reminded us that a multicultural Australia pre-dated the official invention of that policy by the Whitlam government in the 1970s. He also reminded us that our proud and enviable history of integrating migrants since the end of the World War II is attributable in part to the essential decency of the overwhelming majority of ordinary Australians.

Australia became a successful nation of immigrants because the egalitarianism that is central to its national character -- the principle that Jack is as good as his mate -- was extended by "old Australians" to include "new Australians".

Hence there was no white flight from Petersham or other suburbs in response to the influx of migrants from southern Europe in the 50s and Indochina in the 70s because newcomers of all colours and creeds were made welcome and accepted into the workplaces, the schools, the churches and the sporting clubs of suburban Australia.

Brandis was also right to suggest that these achievements should not be put at risk by cheap populism that seeks to exploit prejudice for political advantage. However, the senator for Queensland went too far in trying to shut down the debate about multiculturalism.

The debate was sparked in Coalition ranks by the publication of Scott Morrison's alleged remarks in shadow cabinet about Muslim immigration and community concerns in western Sydney.

"I can still remember the playground taunting of Italian kids, from which I formed my lifelong detestation of bullies who pick on a vulnerable minority," Brandis wrote in a thinly disguised rebuke to his colleagues. "Whether they realise it or not, the same sentiment that drives those who bullied those kids then, animates those who beat up on Muslims now."

This is a variation on a common grievance aired by many members of the multicultural industry: "Australia is a racist country because kids teased me about what was in my sandwiches at lunchtime."

Judging how a civilisation treats minorities based on what eight-year-olds call each other is ludicrous. To equate this with a legitimate debate about the success or otherwise of Muslim integration is just as ludicrous.

This is especially so when this debate is belatedly being had in Britain, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland and Scandinavia, now that the evidence of non-integration and the failures of multicultural policy are undeniable.

Europe has discovered that a nation of tribes united by a common welfare state does not create the harmonious society multicultural theorists said it would.

Instead, divisions between native and immigrant populations have been entrenched and the social fabric frayed. Australia does not confront challenges on the same scale, but we are kidding ourselves if we think we have nothing to worry about.

From Petersham, it is a 15-minute drive southwest to Lakemba. It is 30 years since [mostly Muslim] refugees fleeing the civil war in Lebanon received asylum in this country, and still Lakemba and its surrounds remain ghettofied.

The usual pattern of dispersal by first-generation children of immigrants has not occurred to the same extent and the area is plagued with poor educational achievement, high unemployment and crime.

The community concerns that exist in western Sydney about Muslims and multiculturalism are based on these jarring realities on the disintegration of some parts of Sydney from the mainstream, and the failure to repeat the successful patterns of integration of other ethnic groups.

To blame racial or religious prejudice, whether formed in the playground or otherwise, is avoiding the real issue. So is reaffirming the national commitment to multiculturalism, as the Gillard government has done, as if that and the proposed anti-racism campaign will be a cure-all.

The conventional wisdom among most elites is that we should not discuss these issues because it will unleash the racist sentiments that still lurk in the hearts of most Australians.

I think the opposite is true. It is because most Australians believe in the immigration and integration of all comers that what is going on in southwest Sydney is of concern.

Perceptive politicians have picked up on this. Effective politicians will honestly address the issues and propose solutions. Ineffective ones will shut their eyes and lecture an unimpressed electorate about respecting "diversity".


CA: ICE to review fingerprints of everyone arrested statewide to check on immigration status

Fingerprints now reveal more than just who robbed the bank - linked to all California police agencies, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement now has immediate acces to crooks' immigration status.

Under the Secure Communities program, the fingerprints of everyone arrested by local police are now sent automatically to an electronic database reviewed by ICE, whose agents go to county jails to pick up immigrants thought to be deportable, including illegal immigrants and legal immigrants who may have committed a crime.

"I oppose it because it forces local police to carry out the work, which is really the work of federal government," said Jose Calderon, professor of sociology at Pitzer College in Claremont. President Barack "Obama's administration said they only focus on criminals, but a lot of studies have shown that who they are picking up are individuals with minor offenses such as (expired) driver's license."

Immigration agents say the network has helped bring in and deport 32,645 immigrants from California, including 23,712 who were convicted of a crime since San Diego County became the first county in the state to join in spring 2009 and the 57 other counties followed suit.

Los Angeles County joined the effort in August 2009. Since then, ICE has taken into custody 13,378 immigrants, of which 7,083 were deported, in the county. "It helps people from falling through the cracks," said Capt. Gerald Cooper, who heads the inmate reception center for the county Sheriff's Department. "It helps prevent us from allowing very dangerous people from getting out of custody and back into the community when they should be interviewed by ICE and potentially held by ICE."

The using fingerprint-based biometric identification technology has helped police get accurate information on someone's identity and criminal records, Claremont police Lt. Dennis Smith said. "It will also tell you if a criminal warrant for detainment has been issued by ICE," Smith said. "In that case, if we have any pending charges, they would get resolved first and then ICE would take over the custody of the person. Otherwise, immigration status is not revealed, nor would we inquire about it. We simply don't do that, we are a municipal agency and (immigration) is not our mission."

Since San Bernardino County became a part of the network in April 2010, 577 people were take into ICE custody, of which 369 were deported.

When a person is booked into a county jail, the scan of their fingerprints is sent to Department of Justice, said Cindy Bachman, spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. ICE is then able to review the data. "We have an excellent working relationship with them," Bachman said.

The Obama administration considers Secure Communities an important tool in combating illegal immigration, and the program contributed to record-high deportations in recent years. ICE has described the program as targeting the "worst of the worst," capturing immigrants who committed crimes - known as criminal aliens - and removing them from the country.

Immigrant advocates say ICE's own data contradicts that argument. Serious criminals are a minority among the thousands caught through the system and deported. They point out that 27 percent of the Californians picked up by Secure Communities have no criminal records and that some were sent to deportation proceedings for violations as minor as running a stop sign.

"This type of enforcement prevents local police from developing close relationships in the immigrant communities and pushes them in shadows rather than to open their doors," Calderon said.

Marc Rapp, the acting national director of Secure Communities, countered that ICE prioritizes the people it chooses to pick up, and even those with no criminal record might be wanted for overstaying a visa or illegally re-entering the United States after being deported. "Clearly we're not arresting and removing everyone we receive a match on," Rapp said.

The network has the support of Gov. Jerry Brown, who as state attorney general ratified and repeatedly defended the agreement with ICE to launch the network statewide.

This week, six rural Northern California counties - Alpine, Del Norte, Lassen, Sierra, Siskiyou and Trinity - became the last of California's 58 counties to link up. The agency plans have to Secure Communities activated nationwide by 2013.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Mexican Drug Gang Suspects Rounded Up after shooting

ICE can do it if they want to

Federal, state and local authorities across the country are sending an unequivocal message to Mexican drug cartel members in the U.S. and Latin America: If you kill a U.S. agent, there will be repercussions. "This is personal," Louie Garcia, deputy special agent with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said Thursday as authorities arrested more than 500 people in a nationwide sweep. "We lost an agent, we lost a good agent. And we have to respond."

The massive search for people connected to any Mexican drug cartel working in the United States began Wednesday night as a direct response to the Feb. 15 killing of ICE agent Jaime Zapata in a roadside ambush in Mexico. Fellow ICE agent Victor Avila was wounded in the attack.

As part of the effort coordinated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and ICE, authorities seized at least $10 million in cash and confiscated millions of dollars' worth of illegal drugs. Authorities in Brazil, El Salvador, Panama, Colombia and Mexico conducted similar sweeps in concert with U.S. authorities.

By late Thursday afternoon police and federal agents around the U.S. had seized nearly 300 weapons and more than 16 tons of marijuana along with other drugs. The sweep was expected to continue through Friday.

In the Newark, N.J., area, authorities on Wednesday arrested at least one person with ties to Mexico's ruthless Zetas drug gang — the same gang believed responsible for the deadly attack on Zapata and Avila — and seized about $1 million they believe was bound for cartel bosses in Mexico. Former Mexican special forces soldiers are among the Zetas' members

During a traffic stop north of Los Angeles late Wednesday police arrested one man and seized $2 million in cash along with 86 kilos of cocaine, drugs worth millions of dollars on the street.

In operations in South Texas on Thursday, authorities recovered hand grenades, assault rifles and bulletproof vests.

An officer involved in a raid in Houston was shot and wounded Thursday, though the injury was not life-threatening. The shooting occurred during a raid by agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Houston police. The suspected gunman was also shot and wounded and was in custody, police said.

Nationwide roundups of suspected cartel associates are nothing new. More than half a dozen such sweeps have been touted as blows to major Mexican drug gangs in the last 2 ½ years. But an Associated Press review of those operations showed the arrests have done little to slow the drug trade.

Zapata was killed and Avila was wounded in Mexico on Feb. 15 when the Chevy Suburban they were in was run off the road by at least two vehicles loaded with armed men. Authorities have said the agents, who were driving in a fortified vehicle with diplomatic license plates, identified themselves as U.S. diplomats in the moments before the shooting.

Mexican authorities have arrested three people in connection with the brazen attack.

"We are basically going out to disrupt narcotics distribution here in the United States no matter what cartel their allegiance is to," said Carl Pike, assistant special agent in charge of the DEA's special operations division. "It would be futile to send a message back to one cartel when they all are just as guilty."

Pike said that while the sweeps are a direct response to Zapata's killing, the majority of suspects were already targets of other investigations.

"People actually sacrificed a great deal of work" for these sweeps, Pike said. "For the lost agent's memory it's important, but we're also in a bully situation. If we don't push back, some other 18-year-old cartel member is going to think, 'They didn't do anything, so all U.S. citizens are fair game.'"


Record rise in immigration to Britain as 240,000 given right to stay in just one year

Labour's ‘shambolic’ stewardship of the immigration system was exposed last night by figures showing that almost a quarter of a million migrants were handed the right to stay in Britain last year.

Grants of settlement, which are one step short of a passport, rose 35 per cent to 238,950 in the year to September 2010 – the highest since records began in 1960.

The total includes tens of thousands given full access to Britain’s public services because of the catastrophic failure to deal with their asylum cases swiftly.

Official figures also showed migration added 226,000 to the country’s population in 2010. This net migration figure – the number of arrivals minus those departing – is more than double the level that would be needed if ministers are to fulfil their pledge to reduce the annual net total to ‘tens of thousands’ by 2015.

Among the arrivals were spiralling numbers of students. Study visas issued in Labour’s last year were up by 41 per cent. The Office for National Statistics stated: ‘Long-term immigration to the UK for formal study has trebled over the last decade.’

The backlog of more than 400,000 asylum cases was uncovered more than five years ago and only now are many finally being resolved. Sir Andrew Green, chairman of the MigrationWatch think-tank, said the settlement figures were ‘appalling’.

‘This is what Labour called “managed migration”. It would be hard to imagine a more shambolic inheritance,’ he said.

‘Around one in three of those granted settlement were failed asylum seekers who had been hanging around so long that they acquired a human rights case to stay.’

The ONS confirmed that the foreign-born population rose by 3.2million during Labour’s 13 years in power, as reported in the Mail this week.

Sir Andrew said: ‘These figures are Labour’s legacy to Britain – 3.2million immigrants, including a quarter of a million in their last year alone.

‘Over half a million students in one year with no interviews before arrival and no checks on departure, and a “points-based system” that has increased immigration, not reduced it.’

Immigration Minister Damian Green said that the figures reinforced the need for radical reforms of the immigration system.


Friday, February 25, 2011

Canada welcomes genuine refugees

Canada will welcome 50 Montagnard refugees who had fled persecution in Vietnam, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced Wednesday.

Montagnard hill tribespeople, who come from Vietnam’s Central Highlands, face reprisals in Vietnam because they fought beside the Americans and the Republic of Vietnam. This group fled in 2006 and crossed the border into Cambodia but had to be rushed to Canada because the refugee centre there is closing.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said the group was under risk of return to Vietnam. Kenney said he was pleased to welcome the Montagnard to settle in Quebec City. “Following the fall of Saigon in 1975, more than half a million Vietnamese fled Vietnam. Thanks to the outpouring of support from Canadians, we welcomed more than 60,000 refugees in two years from Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia under the Private Sponsorship Program,” he said in a statement.

Kenney said Ottawa was committed to refugee protection and that the government had increased refugee settlement by 20 percent. He also took the opportunity to raise the issue of human smuggling, which he said is compromising the refugee system.

The Conservatives have introduced Bill C-49 to crackdown on fake refugees, but critics say it goes too far and blurs the lines between refugees and immigrants. Amnesty International takes exception with the bill’s mandatory detention provision which will see arrivals automatically detained if they come on ship that has been labelled as part of human smuggling event under the legislation.

Liberal Immigration critic Justin Trudeau says the Conservatives are using events like the arrival of the MV Ocean Lady, which brought Tamil refugee claimants into Canada, to create fear over fake refugees so they can get support for their legislation.

The government says the ship’s arrival was a human smuggling event and C-49 will take away the incentive for human smugglers to do something similar in the future. Kenney says the bill is needed to protect the integrity of the system and maintain popular support for immigration.


Most illegal immigrants arriving in Australia by boat win legal residency eventually

Nearly every asylum-seeker who arrived in Australian waters during the past three years was granted refugee status, according to figures released under Freedom of Information laws and reported on by The Australian.

According to the report, the figures show that the Immigration Department approved fully 94 per cent of all refugee claims from people arriving by boat between October 2008 and December 22 last year.

Compared with other forms of refugee claims, those seeking asylum by boat had a significantly higher success rate. The Immigration Department approved only 39 per cent of visa requests for non-boat asylum-seekers in the first half of the current financial year. In 2009-10, the department refused 49 per cent of non-boat asylum seekers, and rejected 55 per cent the year before.

Opposition politicians argue that overseas refugee smugglers are keenly aware of the success rate of those arriving by boat, and said the figures will only further contribute to the problem. A spokesman for Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said refugee claims are processed independently of how they arrived in Australia.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Arizona Senate panel OKs sweeping illegal immigration bill

An Arizona Senate committee late Tuesday narrowly approved a sweeping bill that would target illegal immigrants in public housing, public benefits and the workplace.

Republican Sen. Russell Pearce is the sponsor of the bill that the Appropriation Committee approved on a 7-6 vote. It now advances to consideration by the full Senate after a legal review and discussions by party caucuses.

Pearce also authored a controversial illegal immigration law enacted last year. The law touched off a nationwide debate on whether states can enforce federal immigration laws.

The Republican-led Appropriations Committee earlier Tuesday approved a bill designed to set up a U.S. Supreme Court case on automatic citizenship for children of illegal immigrants.


Canada's Immigration minister warns of immigrant enclaves

The children of immigrants must join mainstream society if Canada is to avoid the multicultural collapse now plaguing parts of Europe. That was the notion presented by Jason Kenney, federal minister of citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism, Tuesday in a meeting with QMI Agency's editorial board, where he said Canada needs to focus on reducing the amount of ethnic enclaves locked out of mainstream society for generations.

"I would say by and large Canada's approach to managing diversity has been pretty successful," he said, but added: "We can't take that success for granted."

With Britain and Germany recently declaring multiculturalism at failure in their countries, Kenney said it is crucial immigrants to Canada be provided the education and opportunities needed to integrate themselves into society here.

"There's a natural, inevitable pattern in the settlement of newcomers," he said. "It only concerns me if we end up seeing ethnic enclaves persist into two or three generations. "Eventually, you've got to see those enclaves dissipate."

An influx of Somali immigrants to Canada in the late 1980s and early 1990s was not approached properly, and though there are success stories stemming from some of those newcomers, assured Kenney, many have remained separate to mainstream culture or became involved in crime.

He said there is also a big push from the government for immigration via private sponsorship.

Churches and organizations sometimes spearhead bringing certain individuals or families to Canada, but the work does not stop at filing the papers, said Kenney.

The sponsors often help take care of clothing, language barriers, education opportunities, etc. for the newcomers, which is ideally what all immigrants would have to help them adjust to Canadian society, he said.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

How three million migrants came to UK under Labour in biggest population growth in 1,000 years (... that's nearly one every minute)

Labour's open-door immigration policy led to the largest population explosion since the Saxon invasion more than 1,000 years ago. An audit of official figures last night revealed that during the party’s 13 years in power Britain’s foreign-born population increased by three million. At the same time, nearly a million British citizens left the country.

The report shows that net immigration, the number of immigrants arriving versus those leaving, had reached almost three million by mid-2009.

Campaign group MigrationWatch said figures to be published by the Office for National Statistics on Thursday will show that by mid-2010 that total had reached 3.2million. In recent years, migrants have been arriving at the rate of around ‘one every minute’, the group’s report says. It comes as a poll found, for the first time, that those in the 16-24 age group were more worried about migrant numbers than those in their 30s.

The 3.2million population increase does not include illegal immigrants – of whom there are around one million in the UK.

MigrationWatch says the ‘three million-plus extra people on this island equates to the creation of three cities the size of Birmingham’.

The open-door policy was pursued with no public consultation, the study says. Sir Andrew Green, chairman of MigrationWatch, said: ‘This has been a clear failure of democracy due in large part to the Left’s deliberate tactic of stifling reasoned debate with accusations of racism. ‘In the years to come, immigration will be seen as Labour’s great betrayal.’

The MigrationWatch document says: ‘Immigration under Labour is certainly the largest ever in numerical terms and the largest in relation to population since the Saxon invasions over a thousand years ago. ‘The only two subsequent immigrations – the Huguenots in the 17th century and the Jews in the 19th and 20th centuries were minor by comparison with recent inflows. ‘Net foreign immigration over the past five years has averaged 24,000 a month.’

The report also says that of the 3.2million immigrants, 80 per cent came from outside the EU, and that, since 1997, 75 per cent of extra jobs created went to foreign-born workers. It states that more than a third of new households will be a result of immigration – requiring 330 new homes every working day for 23 years.

And it points out that the percentage of children born to a foreign mother almost doubled under Labour to 25 per cent. This comes as an extra 500,000 children arrived in our primary schools and a similar number do not have English as their first language.

The report says even New Labour’s favourite think-tank, the Institute of Public Policy Research, acknowledged last year ‘that immigration under New Labour has changed the face of the country’.

Sir Andrew said: ‘We would agree, the sheer scale of what has occurred is changing Britain fundamentally and irrevocably and in ways the majority of the population did not ask for, were not consulted about and did not wish to see.’

The MigrationWatch report estimates that 5.5million foreign migrants arrived in 13 years of Labour government, not accounting for those who left. That is the equivalent of 423,000 a year – or 48 an hour. In recent years, the figure rose to around 470,000 per annum – close to one every minute.

Last night, Immigration Minister Damian Green said: ‘Unlimited migration has placed unacceptable pressure on our public services over the years. ‘That is why we are currently carrying out major reform of the system to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands.

‘We have already introduced an annual limit to the number of economic visas from outside the UK alongside new proposals to reform other routes of entry including student, marriage and settlement visas, which have in the past been subject to widespread abuse.’

Critics have insisted Labour adopted a deliberate policy of mass immigration to create a ‘multicultural’ country.

Last night, Labour’s immigration spokesman Gerry Sutcliffe said: ‘This is an unbalanced, misleading and highly political report. Migration levels increased initially because of the strength of the British economy over many years. ‘The most recent figures show net migration from outside the EU was coming down as a result of the points-based system and over a third of “long-term migrants” were in fact students, the vast majority of whom study, pay their fees, and then return home.’


Recent posts at CIS below

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

1. Estimating the Size of the H-1B Population in the U.S. (Memorandum)

2. Two Governors and Immigration (Blog)

3. Lobbyists Spin GAO Report on H-1B (Blog)

4. European Multiculturalism's Lessons for the U.S.: The Psychology of Belonging (Blog)

5. Immigration and the 'Informal Economy'(Blog)

6. Let's Change the Conceptual Framework Used in Migration Decision-Making (Blog)

7. Wikileaks, Visa Fraud, and a Reverse Twist on the Anchor Baby Scheme (Blog)

8. A Statement of Principles for American NGOs dealing with Immigrant Assimilation (Blog)

9. Medicaid, Immigration Game of Chicken (Blog)

10. Reflections from the Border (Blog)

11. Immigrant Assimilation and NGOs: Mixed Messages (Blog)

12. Allowing Illegal Aliens Access to Driver's Licenses All Over Again (Blog)

13. A Little Good News from Social Security, Maybe, Later This Year (Blog)

14. European Multiculturalism's Lessons for the U.S.: The Role of NGOs (Blog)

15. No 'Truce' for Daniels on Immigration (Blog)

16. European Multiculturalism's Lessons for the U.S.: Double Standards (Blog)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Arab revolts raise new immigration fears in Europe

Boats full of illegals arriving fresh from the prisons of Tunis: Just what Italy needs

Europe voiced fears Monday about a new wave of illegal immigration after Libya threatened to break its cooperation on controlling the flow and more Tunisians landed on Italian shores.

With thousands fleeing from Tunisia to Italy in the past 10 days after a revolution ousted Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, European governments reacted with anger and dread after Libya warned that it could suspend its cooperation in retaliation for the EU's condemnation of a crackdown on protesters.

Heading into an EU foreign ministers meeting on the turmoil in the Arab world, German European Affairs Minister Werner Hoyer condemned the Libyan threat and said the EU would "not allow itself to be blackmailed".

Italy, an entry gate for African migrants seeking a better life in Europe, struck a controversial bilateral agreement with Tripoli last year allowing the Italian navy to intercept boat people and return them to Libya.

The European Commission has held talks with Libya for a broader cooperation deal and offered up to 50 million euros (70 million dollars) in aid last year, but no money has been disbursed so far, a commission spokesman said.

"We are extremely concerned about the evolution of the situation in North Africa," said Michele Cercone, spokesman for European home affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem, who visited Libya in October to agree a cooperation agenda.

Libyan officials summoned the Hungarian ambassador last week to warn that they would suspend cooperation if the 27-nation bloc continues to "encourage" protests.

Belgian Foreign Minister Steven Vanackere admitted that the threat made "many people nervous" but he dismissed it as ridiculous. However, diplomats warned that if Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi falls, the floodgates to illegal immigration could blow wide open.

As more Tunisian migrants arrived on the Italian island of Lampedusa on Monday, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini voiced fears that the Libyan unrest and other revolts across the region could increase the pressure. "We Europeans are very concerned about the migratory flows impact, that would be one of the consequences of the turbulences," Frattini told reporters.

Warning that Europe would be "paying the price" of economic collapse in Arab nations, he called for an EU pact to help improve the lives of people in the region, a sort of "Marshall Plan", in reference to the US-led reconstruction programme for Europe after World War II.

The upheaval in its southern neighbourhood marks a new test for European solidarity regarding migration flows, following years of unresolved debate about how to handle the issue. The EU at the weekend launched a mission to help Italy cope with the Lampedusa problem, supplying 30 people, a plane and ships.

"With the migratory pressure centred in some countries -- Greece, Malta, Italy and Spain -- we cannot say to them, 'you're on you're own," said France's European Affairs Minister Laurent Wauquiez. "If we have common borders, we have to exercise community solidarity," he said, noting that 25 European nations share a passport-free travel zone.

The ministers agreed to establish a new partnership with the region to support reform movements and issued conclusions stressing "the importance of strengthened cooperation with Mediterranean countries to address illegal immigration".
EU home affairs ministers will meet Thursday to discuss how to further help Italy with its immigration problem.

"We all agree that very special attention must be paid and very special efforts must be deployed regarding the emergency situation created by the influx of immigrants, for the time being, from Tunisia," said Hungarian Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi whose currently holds the EU presidency.


Ship stowaways in Canada must prove identity

Two stowaways discovered aboard a ship in Halifax harbour last week will be in custody for at least another seven days. The Immigration Refugee Board ruled that the men can't be released because they lack proper identification, said Julie Chamagne, executive director of the Halifax Refugee Clinic.

Chamagne, who represented the men at a closed-door hearing Monday at the Central Nova Correctional Facility, said the two men will appear again in seven days to see if they have identification documents.

The men speak Arabic, Chamagne said, but she doesn't know what country they're from. "If there is a lack of identification, the only thing I can do is show they have been compliant, show they have support to try and and find an alternative to detention," she said. "But, if identity hasn't been satisfied, there is no chance of release."

The men were found last Wednesday aboard the Swedish-owned Atlantic Concert after the ACL vessel arrived in Halifax from Liverpool, England.

"I think anyone who gets on a container ship in February and crosses the Atlantic has to be in a desperate situation," Chamagne said. The men are shaken by the crossing, she said, and by being locked up in the province's largest jail.

"Halifax doesn't have an immigration holding centre. These people are not incarcerated, they are detained on immigration grounds," she said. "But they are in the general population of a criminal facility here, and that's got to be a shock to anyone."

The shipping company has to pay $25,000 each time someone hides away on their ships to get into Canada. The Atlantic Concert left Halifax on Saturday for American ports of call.


Monday, February 21, 2011

UK to let in 20,000 skilled Indians yearly, bypassing government's new immigration caps

Britain would reportedly allow thousands of Indians to enter the country every year under a European Union (EU) trade deal.

The multibillion-pound EU India Free Trade Agreement, which was initiated by former Trade Commissioner Lord Mandelson in 2007, and is expected to be signed by the end of June, will allow Indian workers, mostly skilled IT professionals, to bypass the Government's new immigration caps, the Daily Express reports. he paper also said that Britain is preparing to accept 20,000 skilled Indian workers every year, 40 per cent of the proposed quota for all 27 countries in the EU.

The proposed deal is a contrast to last year's announcement made by Prime Minister David Cameron that Britain would put an annual restriction on at least 20,700 skilled non-EU workers.

The workers would reportedly enter via controversial "intra-company transfer visas" that allow foreign companies to send cheap homegrown labours to Britain for a maximum of five years.

Business Secretary Vince Cable had won a cabinet battle last November to ensure the visas were exempt from the Government's new points-based immigration cap, the paper said.

Meanwhile, the free trade deal has been criticized by many analysts in Britain who think that it would "punch a huge hole in our immigration controls".

Sir Andrew Green of campaign group Migration Watch said: "The negotiations over a trade agreement between the EU and India are threatening to punch a huge hole in our immigration controls. What is the point of the British government limiting economic migration to 20,000 a year and then letting in another 20,000 Indians?"

"Cable's Business Department seem to be blind to the impact on British workers. With unemployment now close to two and a half million it is shameful that these negotiations should be so shrouded in secrecy," he added.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber has urged Cable to urgently clarify the impact on British jobs, adding: "We have long held concerns about intra-company transfers as employers do not have to make a business case for importing oversees staff or look to recruit in the UK first."bout 30,000 intra-company transfer visas have reportedly been issued to Indian nationals in the past two years. (ANI)


Boat children key part of racket, says former Australian immigration minister

Former immigration minister Philip Ruddock says children are being used to pave the way for entire families of refugees

FORMER immigration minister Philip Ruddock says children are being used to pave the way for entire families of refugees following a near-doubling of unaccompanied minors in detention.

As the Immigration Department prepares this week to fly nine-year-old Seena Akhlaqi Sheikhdost, whose parents died in the Christmas Island shipwreck, back to Sydney, figures show the number of unaccompanied minors in detention has increased by more than 40 per cent since November, The Australian reports.

Mr Ruddock said yesterday a "significant portion" of those unaccompanied minors had been sent with a view to paving the way for other family members, although he conceded that some might be seeking to avoid forced conscription or other forms of persecution.

"By the time you've got an unaccompanied minor and they've got a claim up, they would argue that under the Convention of the Rights of the Child they've got a right to bring over their parents," Mr Ruddock told The Australian.

"I would suspect that in the majority of cases, they would not be intent on living here alone without their families once they have succeeded . . . I suspect a significant proportion would have been sent for that purpose."

According to the department, the number of unaccompanied minors jumped from 266 at the beginning of November to 453 as of last Friday -- a 41 per cent increase. Unaccompanied minors account for slightly less than half the 1036 minors presently in detention.

Pamela Curr of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre dismissed the theory that families were sending their children ahead as a way of ensuring their own lawful passage through family reunion schemes. "I speak to asylum-seekers in detention and their stories don't bear that out,' she said.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Canadian changes

Canada’s immigration system has changed profoundly since Prime Minister Stephen Harper took power five years ago. This week, the public got its first glimpse of who the winners and losers are.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney inadvertently pulled back the veil. He announced that immigration reached a 50-year high last year. “While other western countries cut back on immigration during the recession, our government kept legal immigration levels high,” he boasted.

Within a day, Kenney’s story started to unravel. New Canadians complained they were waiting longer than ever to reunite their families. A close look at Kenney’s figures showed why. The number of “family class” immigrants accepted into Canada has dropped by 10,000 since the Conservatives took power. “We can’t satisfy 100 per cent of our immigrant stakeholders,” the minister explained.

Two days later, a Vancouver lawyer released new figures, obtained through an Access to Information request, showing Ottawa planned to cut the number of visas issued to skilled workers.

That contradicted Kenney’s stated goal of increasing economic immigration. Employers were confused and anxious. The minister’s staff claimed the visa statistics understated the number of immigrants likely to be admitted.

By week’s end, Kenney’s good news announcement was in shreds, his credibility was damaged and the ethnic voters he had courted so assiduously were suspicious. But the rest of the electorate finally had enough information to see what the Conservatives have done to the immigration system.

They have made four main changes:

* They have converted a system with one gateway and one set of entry admission criteria into a system with a dozen entry points, each with different rules. The provinces can now nominate immigrants, employers can recruit foreign workers and international students can stay in Canada after university if they’re job ready and fluent in English or French.

* They have opened the floodgates to a stream of temporary foreign workers. What was once a modest program designed to bring in nannies, farm workers and foreigners with specialized skills, is now a major source of low-cost labour. Last year Canada admitted 180,000 “guest workers” to do everything from clean offices to program computers.

* They have made it harder for immigrants to reunite their families. Four years ago, spouses, children, parents and grandparents of new Canadians made up 28 per cent of the total. It’s now down to 21 per cent.

* They have diminished Canada’s role as a haven for people fleeing violence and persecution. The number of refugees allowed into the country has dropped by 25 per cent since they took power.

To their credit, the Tories have made needed reforms. They have better aligned immigration with the job market, reduced the backlog of applications from skilled workers and improved the distribution of immigrants across the country.

But they have deprived newcomers of the family support they need to integrate successfully, off-loaded responsibility for immigration, and given Canada a harsher, more forbidding face.

As Kenney struggles to regain control of his file, Canadians can judge the trade-offs he has made and the overtly self-interested immigration system that has emerged.


Islam's the problem, not Muslims, says conservative Australian Senator

A large proportion of the illegal immigrants to Australia are Muslims

Tony Abbott's official frontbench understudy has reignited immigration tensions by denouncing Islam as a "totalitarian, political and religious ideology".

Liberal parliamentary secretary Cory Bernardi revealed last night he had received death threats after making the comments.

While the immigration debate usually differentiates between the religion of Islam and extreme fundamentalist interpretations, Senator Bernardi confronted the issue head-on yesterday.

"Islam itself is the problem - it's not Muslims," he told radio station MTR. "Muslims are individuals that practise their faith in their own way, but Islam is a totalitarian, political and religious ideology. "It tells people everything about how they need to conduct themselves, who they're allowed to marry and how they're allowed to treat other people."

Senator Bernardi said Islam had "not moved on" since it was founded and that extremists wanted fundamentalist Islamic rule implemented in Australia.

The senator also inflamed the row over funeral expenses for asylum-seekers by declaring that it was "wrong" for taxpayers to foot the bill.

The remarks provoked a strong reaction from Ikebal Patel, president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, who said Senator Bernardi had "crossed the line" with his attack on Islam.

"These comments are more than offensive; they are bigoted," Mr Patel said. "Cory Bernardi needs to have a good read of the Bible if he is a practising Christian. "This is hardly the language of a religious person."

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen also slammed the senator's remarks. "The Liberal Party professes to have said this week it would not make political points out of race and religion, but here we have Tony Abbott's parliamentary secretary launching an attack on a religion," Mr Bowen said.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

ICE "silent raids" target illegals

In accordance with the Obama administration’s apparent preference, the Federal government through the U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement is targeting illegal hires. The Wall Street Journal reported February 17 that ICE is expanding government audits to target employers hiring illegals.

Sources close to the Department of Homeland Security report that ICE is requiring 1000 employers to turn over their employee records. The indication is prospects for audit will be notified in the next few days.

The purpose of the audit is to examine the government form I-9 which requests employee identity and right to employment in the U.S. and is supported by two forms of identification such as social security card, driver’s license, or military service records.

These audits are termed “silent raids” and are the current preference to workforce raids to snag illegals. Both Democrats and Republicans are said to prefer these audits to provide proof of action to curb illegal hiring. This is in lieu of a failure to address the problems of illegal immigration with new legislation.

Denver based Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., was targeted in Minnesota last year according to reports in both the Wall Street Journal and The Denver Post earlier this month. The restaurant chain was forced to lay off hundreds of illegal workers. ICE has advised the company will be audited in Virginia and Washington, D.C. where they operate about 60 restaurants.

The ICE audits have resulted in thousands of illegal workers being caught not only in the restaurant businesses, but in retail clothing stores, apple growers in Washington and other food producers. This will probably result in an increase in the use of the Federal E-Verify system.

California, Arizona, Texas, Missouri, Georgia and Florida are states that now have 10,000 or more employers participating in the E-Verify program. The proficiency of this government run electronic database program has been less than stellar, although now claims greater accuracy. Currently only federal contractors are required to use it.

This accounts for 11% usage of the 7.7 million employers in the U.S. There is a push now among supporters of the system to expand the program on the federal and state level. It is reasonable to believe that innocent employees, with no opportunity to defend themselves are dismissed along with the violators of the system.

The Service Employers International Union, whose members are about 25% immigrants, is critical of the silent raids, stating this does not keep good people employed or help the economy. The SEIU supports amnesty for illegal workers according to a senior staffer, Ben Monterroso.

Companies can be charged with civil and criminal prosecutions if caught violating the hiring procedures. It is a difficult call, however, as prospective employees file false or stolen documents to support their employment-eligibility I-9 forms. Discovery of improper documents will result in immediate dismissal, to the detriment of both employee and employer.


Canada relies on "Guest workers"

This is absurd in a country with 7.8% unemployment

This week, the Minister of Immigration and Citizenship rightly noted that immigrants are Canada’s ticket to economic growth in the coming years.

The untold story is this: Canada’s growing reliance on newcomers is increasingly turning to temporary foreign workers -- “guest workers” -- rather than new immigrants and future citizens to propel growth.

The rise in the number of temporary foreign workers has accelerated over the past decade, most rapidly since 2006. Today their ranks eclipse those of economic immigrants.

Labour market shortages will grow in the coming years, as boomers retire in record numbers. How we bring people into Canada to meet our labour market needs will shape the evolving nature of Canada itself. Immigration and temporary foreign workers are two very different answers to the problem of how to sustain our standard of living.

Immigration is driven by people wanting to settle in this country, and the entry quotas are set by public policy to meet the public interest of Canadians. Temporary foreign work permits are issued to meet the needs of employers who, ostensibly, face labour shortages that cannot be addressed by Canadian workers. This process is not based on quotas. In principle and practice, there are no upper limits.

These workers are brought into Canada as, essentially, the guests of the employer. They have few rights (of which they are often unaware). They have no access to services available to other immigrants. Theirs is rarely a path to permanent residency.

In 2010, Canada allowed 182,322 temporary foreign workers to enter Canada to meet employers’ needs. This is the second-highest number on record, the highest being in 2008.

Some temporary foreign work permits are issued for longer than a year, some only for months. Consequently the total number of temporary foreign workers to address employers’ identified labour market needs is higher than the number of entries in a given year.

In 2010, there were 283,096 temporary foreign workers in Canada, doing work that employers asserted there was no Canadian available to do. That is the highest number of temporary foreign workers on record, but only slightly higher than the number recorded in 2009, during the worst of the recession.

The highest demand for temporary foreign workers stems from the fastest growing economies in Canada: Alberta and Saskatchewan. But every jurisdiction except Newfoundland and Labrador and Nunavut has at least doubled their utilization of these “guest workers”.

The biggest growth in employer demand has been for basic labour or unspecified skills, especially since the recession. In 2000, 11 per cent of temporary foreign workers performed basic labour or unspecified skills; now 34 per cent of them do. They used to primarily fall into the categories of nannies and caregivers, or seasonal agricultural workers. Employers are now using the temporary work permit program to bring in workers for hotels, fast food outlets, janitorial services and factories -- typical Canadian jobs, albeit low-paying.

"The temporary foreign worker program is really about contracting out immigration," says Yessy Byl, a lawyer who volunteers with the Edmonton Community Legal Centre. “In fact the government is setting the stage for a bizarre non-immigration program because those workers can’t immigrate.”

Whether unintentional or not, the shaping of public policy seems to be increasingly off-loaded to private sector interests rather than handled by those charged with addressing the public interest, which include but are broader than employers’ needs.

Local economic needs are an important factor in shaping immigration policy, and the involvement of employers can and should reduce skill mismatches.

But there’s a danger in allowing employers, alone, to define Canada’s immigration policy: Employers are increasingly looking for average workers, not skilled labour. Cheap labour, that is. Workers who increasingly depend on the goodwill of their employer rather than the rule of law.

This week, the Law Commission of Ontario, in its ongoing efforts to make the law accessible to all residents, started looking at what can be done about the rise of vulnerable workers.

By allowing employers to drive the agenda based on their own short-term interests, the federal government has dropped the ball on Canada’s long-term interests and has taken immigration policy down a troubling path: the normalization of migrant labour in Canada.

For a country that has grown into one of the most diverse, peaceful and prosperous nations on the planet, this shift in immigration policy signals a troubling new direction. Throughout our history the long-standing offer to newcomers, through unifying families and providing citizenship, was the promise of becoming full participants in Canadian society.

In its place, official policy increasingly sanctions and supports employers who use newcomers as cheap and disposable labour. It's bad for diversity, it's a terrible trend for workplaces, and it affects everyone.

The role of government is to protect the interests of Canadian workers as well as Canadian employers. That includes protecting the powerless from those willing to exploit our vulnerabilities. Backing away from that job turns immigration into a potential source of social tension, just as Canadians increasingly turn to immigrants to assure our economic future.


Friday, February 18, 2011

ICE insisting on local law involvement in tackling criminal illegals

After months of internal wrangling and confusion over an ambitious nationwide program allowing state and local police agencies to identify immigrants with criminal records, Obama administration immigration officials have decided to take a hard line against communities that try to delay or cancel their participation in the program, according to documents made public late Wednesday.

The program, Secure Communities, was initiated in late 2008 and is a centerpiece of the Obama administration’s strategy for enforcing immigration laws. The documents include e-mails and other materials showing deliberations among officials of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which runs the program.

The documents show that well into the second year of the program, as officials were moving forcefully to extend it to hundreds of law enforcement agencies across the country, the officials remained deeply confused over whether state and local governments could decline to join it. The internal discussions intensified as cities and states — including Arlington County, Va., San Francisco, Santa Clara County, Calif., Washington, and the states of Colorado, New York, Oregon and Washington — were considering whether to opt out.

But late last year, the documents show, officials from ICE, as the federal agency is known, reaffirmed its policy that every local jurisdiction in the country would be required to join the program by 2013. The officials developed a plan to isolate and pressure communities that did not want to participate.

One document, dated Jan. 2, 2011, suggests a “tactical approach to sensitive jurisdictions” for local immigration officers working to expand the program. It recommends that they bring nearby communities into the program, to create a “ring” around the “resistant site.”

The Secure Communities program connects the state and local police to Department of Homeland Security databases, allowing them to use fingerprints to check the immigration history, as well as the criminal record, of anyone booked after arrest. If a fingerprint match shows that the suspect is subject to deportation, both the immigration agency and the police are notified. As of this week, the program had been activated in 1,049 local law enforcement agencies in 39 states.

Agency officials said the program has led to the deportation of about 58,300 immigrants with criminal convictions since it was started in 2008.

Immigrant advocacy groups strongly oppose the program, saying it has led to deportations of thousands of illegal immigrants who had no criminal records, separating established families. Immigrants’ groups have held protests to dissuade local governments from signing on.

About 15,000 pages of agency documents were released through a Freedom of Information Act request by the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, the Center for Constitutional Rights and immigration lawyers at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York. The Associated Press obtained the documents separately and reported on them on Wednesday.

Several dozen documents were culled for release by the groups, which oppose the Secure Communities program.

Sarahi Uribe of the laborers’ group accused the agency of misleading communities by sending mixed signals about whether they could opt out of the program. “The amount of dishonesty revealed in this process would make anyone question whether ICE recognizes it’s operating in a democracy,” Ms. Uribe said.

Immigration officials said they could not respond directly because a court case over the release of the documents remained open. But Brian Hale, an agency spokesman, said in a statement that “deliberative, internal correspondence should not be confused for final policy.”

He said that while communities could not opt out of the program, the police could choose not to receive the results of immigration checks performed when suspects are booked.

A Homeland Security official added that a state could legally refuse to participate in the program, but he said immigration officials were confident that no state would give up its access to national criminal databases.


Immigration laws must be enforced too

As a citizen of a country that boasts that it is a nation of laws, I am extremely concerned about its future, which is looking very grim at the moment because certain elements within our society are fighting tooth and nail to prevent enforcement of our immigration laws — laws, please remember, that were created to protect American workers.

Our immigration crisis exists because:

* Pandering politicians elected to represent the interests of their constituents show more concern and compassion for those who have no respect for our immigration laws and sovereignty but demand that the rest of us respect them.

* Mainstream media for years have portrayed illegal immigrants as victims of a "broken'' immigration policy. Nearly every day, Americans are subjected to news stories that ignore the media's own ethics and standards for fairness and balance, coverage that leaves readers and viewers with the impression that the only people now entitled to "search for a better life'' in this country are the foreign-born, especially those here illegally.

When was the last time you saw a news story and photos of our unemployed who must compete in a horrendous job market while our federal government continues each month to issue 75,000 work permits to newly arrived foreign workers who, for the most part, bring with them few skills and little education?

* A greedy and immoral business community that whines to anybody willing to listen that it can't exist without cheap foreign labor.

I repeat: If both Congress and the media had been doing their respective jobs; that is, being honest with a public entitled to know all the facts, I'm convinced we wouldn't be dealing with issues like whether illegal immigrants are entitled to in-state tuition and driver's licenses.

And we wouldn't be wondering why a president who sold a lot of people a bill of goods about "hope'' and "change'' and who says jobs for Americans are a "top priority,'' is permitting 7 million illegal immigrants to keep their nonagricultural jobs, while 22 million Americans and legal immigrants cannot find full-time employment.

Strict enforcement of our immigration laws, even during healthy economic times, is an absolute necessity if our immigration policy is to be viewed as credible by the rest of the world.

What does such credibility look like? This question was put to the late Texas congresswoman Barbara Jordan when she chaired President Clinton's immigration reform panel. She replied, "Credibility in immigration policy can be summed up in one sentence: Those who should get in, get in; those who should be kept out, are kept out; and those who should not be here will be required to leave.''


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Utah: Immigration bill seeks middle ground in debate

In state legislatures across the country, most of the immigration bills being debated aim to crack down on illegal immigration. Legislators are trying to cut off illegal immigrants from receiving public benefits, deny their U.S.-born children citizenship and force them out of states by granting local police the power to enforce immigration laws.

One bill filed in Utah is being viewed as the possible middle ground that has proven so elusive in a hyper-charged immigration discussion. The Utah bill, known as the Pilot Accountability Permit Program, would grant work permits to illegal immigrants so they could legally work in the state but would require them to undergo criminal background checks, pay taxes and take English classes, and it would force them to leave the state if they lose their jobs.

Under the legislation, the state would report illegal immigrants who commit a major crime to the federal Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) agency.

"It is very rare," Eric Rodriguez, vice president of public policy for the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic civil rights group, said of the bill. "It just feels more meaningful than what we've seen in other states."

The bill was co-sponsored by state Sen. Luz Robles, a Democrat, and state Rep. Jeremy Peterson, a Republican, and has the backing of a conservative think tank in Utah.

Paul Mero, director of the conservative Sutherland Institute, said he became disheartened by the dozens of bills flowing through the Utah Capitol and other state legislatures that focused on trying to catch and deport illegal immigrants. He said the immigration system needs to be fixed by Congress, but meanwhile, Utah should focus on constructive ways to deal with the 110,000 illegal immigrants living in the state.

"You really have two paths," Mero said. "The one path leads to rounding them up or starving them out. Or, you can actually go down this other path of rationality and practicality."

Even though it has bipartisan support in Utah, it is receiving bipartisan criticism from outside.

Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, which supports a path for some illegal immigrants to become citizens, was pleased by the general direction of the bill, but worried that some of the enforcement portions of the bill may go too far.

Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates lower levels of immigration, said the core of the bill is unconstitutional because states cannot regulate immigration numbers. He called the bill "de facto amnesty" and considered it a political gesture since it has little chance of surviving legal challenges.

Robles acknowledged that her proposal delves into uncharted legal territory and said that the state would need a waiver from the federal government to implement it. Even so, she said she is confident the legislation would survive constitutional challenges since it doesn't alter the immigration status of illegal immigrants and her state has been providing driver's licenses for illegal immigrants for years.

Robles said legislators from six states have inquired about the bill. And no matter the outcome of her bill, she said she hopes it changes the tone of the national immigration debate. "People are realizing that the extremes are just not going to work," Robles said. "You're seeing a shift on how people are talking about this issue."


Chavez Funding American Group That Assists Illegal Migrants

President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela is sending $1 million a year of his oil revenue to an American organization bent on keeping America's borders wide open. Casa de Maryland openly helps migrants illegally in the United States. It also receives $4 million from the state of Maryland and Montgomery County out of a total budget of $9.5 million a year.

Chávez is knee deep in potential lawlessness. Evidence has surfaced of his intentions to ship Russian weapons to terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and criminal drug cartels such as FARC, to facilitate terrorist acts against the United States, including blowing up pipelines carrying oil to the United States. He has also promised to ship both uranium to Iran to help Tehran make nuclear weapons material and oil to help break a possible refined petroleum products sanctions law now before the US Congress. How much of this is just talk and how much real? The laptop on which these Chávez plans were found was a real computer, owned by a real FARC senior commander. How much risk do we want to face?

Open borders with the world pose grave dangers to the United States. The San Diego Union described the chaos on our borders this way: “Every night, the understaffed and outnumbered Border Patrol engaged in a losing battle of cat-and-mouse with thousands of illegal immigrants being led by ruthless smugglers. ... San Ysidro residents locked themselves in at night as smugglers and immigrants traipsed through their yards. Caches of drugs were carried across the border by smugglers and the people they were leading. Hundreds of illegal immigrants lingered in the median strip of Interstate 5 waiting for rides northward. Immigrants running across freeways were hit and killed by motorists."

A USA Columnist visited the border to examine the prospects for a fence. She wrote: : “The carnage makes one wonder why environmental groups aren’t out lobbying for a sturdy border fence — instead of arguing against tougher border enforcement.”

But we not only have a problem at the border. The United States still has no reliable system for verifying that foreign visitors have left the country. Federal officials estimate that “40 percent of the…illegal immigrants in the United States came on legal visas and overstayed.”

At a recent community event in Maryland, a veteran Democrat legislator told me there was no problem in Casa de Maryland receiving funding from Chávez because "Venezuela is a model for Latin and Central American development". I thought she must have been kidding. Inflation in the country is over 30% and may reach twice that. Unemployment is skyrocketing. Chávez has so mismanaged the economy the country does not produce enough coffee for domestic consumption for the first time ever. The currency has dropped in value by over half as Chávez prints money wildly.

Casa de Maryland condemns those who advocate effective limits on immigration as racists, as does Chávez. It has threatened civil disobedience should the US Congress not approve amnesty. It publishes pamphlets that instruct people to refuse to cooperate with immigration and law enforcement officials.

The Times Square bomber, or the Detroit underwear bomber, are just a couple of numerous examples of the latest example of the connection between lax immigration laws--or lax enforcement of the laws we already have-- and potential terrorism. In the case of the Times Square clown, it was a case of granting citizenship to someone from a known state sponsored terrorist hotbed (Pakistan) and apparently looking the other way when reviewing what appears to be a sham marriage. How much worse is it to give tax-exempt status to those who actively seek to leave unprotected our borders while supporting themselves with funds from terror supporting states?


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

High-flyers to escape British migration cap

(For non-British readers: "The City" is London's financial district)

High-flyers earning more than £150,000 a year will be exempt from the yearly cap on economic migration, ministers will announce on Wednesday. The move comes in response to fears that the limit would hinder the City’s ability to hire global talent.

The concession will be welcomed by business leaders, who have warned the government that the limit on work permits for non-Europeans threatens to damage important trading partnerships and London’s standing as an international commercial hub.

Lady Valentine, chief executive of London First, a City lobby group that has led opposition to the cap, said: “It is refreshing to see that government is listening to business concerns. Many of London’s biggest global employers will be delighted with the restrictions on high earners being lifted.”

Yearly net migration rose recently to 215,000, although much of that could be attributed to Britons no longer emigrating to Spain.

There is also evidence that immigration from Ireland is rising, as well as from other EU countries such as Latvia and Lithuania, also outside the government’s control.

The points-based system will be ranked to favour jobs where there are skills shortages, scientific researchers and high earners.


A much ignored petition in Australia

Political correctness trumps the voice of the people

The controversial petition calling for a ban on Muslim immigration has been tabled 48 times in Parliament, The Canberra Times can reveal.

ACT Liberal senator Gary Humphries angered the Muslim community when he tabled a petition on behalf of three Sydney residents last week, calling for a 10-year moratorium on Muslim migration to Australia. Several other senators had declined to do so.

However, an analysis of the history of the petition which appears to originate with the Christian Democrat Party reveals it is not the first time Senator Humphries has tabled it. Another 35 politicians 19 Liberals, six Nationals, eight Labor MPs and senators and two Independents have also tabled it since 2007, several more than once.

The petition calls for Christians to be given priority in immigration and for a 10-year ban on Muslims coming to Australia "so an assessment can be made on the social and political disharmony currently occurring in the Netherlands, France and the UK".

Senator Humphries said yesterday he would have tabled it the first time for the same reasons as last week. Although he disagreed with its sentiments, he had a responsibility to allow people's views to be presented to Parliament.

He was "not anxious to become the patron saint of ... extreme points of view" and sorry the publicity had given some people the chance to express bigoted or racist views, but stood by his decision to table it.

"I would do so, and in fact I will do so, again, because this situation is bound to recur in some form or another; not necessarily this issue, but something else that people consider to be controversial," he said.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Thousands of illegal workers claiming British welfare payments: Loophole in the law costs taxpayers millions

Tens of thousands of workers with no right to be in Britain have been claiming benefits thanks to an extraordinary loophole in the law.

Ministers have discovered that Labour allowed 155,000 illegal immigrants to qualify for sickness benefits and maternity pay. Government sources put the cost to the public purse at ‘tens of millions of pounds’.

They say the shambles is a damning indictment of how Labour lost control of both the benefits and immigration systems with taxpayers left to foot the bill. Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith will outlaw the practice in welfare reform legislation expected to be unveiled this week.

Ministers believe most of those abusing the system came to work in Britain for a limited period and overstayed their visa. Others managed to get a job without a work permit.

At present, someone could be illegally in the UK and able to claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), paid to those too sick to work, as well as statutory payments such as maternity or paternity pay and sick pay.

Astonishingly, the Work and Pensions Department has not in the past asked to see work permits when assessing claims for ESA. Employers, meanwhile, have not been asked to show proof that workers are in Britain legally when processing claims for maternity or paternity pay or sick pay.

A Whitehall source said: ‘It cannot be right that people who aren’t eligible to work here can get benefits that are a substitute for earnings.

‘This is a classic example of where the welfare system has been allowed to get completely out of control. It is difficult to track because these are illegal workers, but the cost is likely to be in the tens of millions. ‘Clearly it’s incredibly unfair and ministers are acting to legislate to close the loophole as quickly as possible. 'Work permits showing people are here legally will be needed for ESA claims or an employer will have to show one when they are putting claims through. 'The Bill we are bringing forward will start the root-and-branch overhaul needed to put fairness back at the heart of the system.’

Hundreds of thousands of National Insurance numbers were handed out under Labour to illegal workers as, alarmingly, there was no requirement on JobCentre staff to check whether a person was in the country legally. Many employers wrongly believed that having an NI number meant foreign staff were allowed to work in the UK.

Illegal workers should not be eligible for any state-funded benefit, housing, or anything other than emergency NHS treatment. At the moment, a ‘habitual residency test’ is used to establish whether migrants are eligible for other types of benefit.

To qualify for jobseeker’s allowance, employment support allowance, pension credit and income support, they must demonstrate that they have either worked or have a good opportunity to get a job.

However, the European Commission has warned ministers that the rules may infringe the human rights of EU citizens and are ‘not compatible’ with EU law. It has started legal proceedings against Britain to have restrictions on welfare claims by incomers scrapped.

The Welfare Reform Bill, ministers say, will bring an end to the complex, costly and inefficient series of benefits and tax credits, replacing them with a single universal credit. Cuts to housing and disability benefits will also be confirmed.

The scale of the welfare challenge facing Britain is laid bare today in figures which show at least 330,000 children – around one in 30 – are growing up with a parent claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Mr Duncan Smith said: ‘We know that family is the most important influence on a child’s life, so it is no surprise that with this many children growing up with parents on unemployment benefits we are facing intergenerational worklessness and benefit dependency on such a massive scale. ‘Our broken welfare system has reinforced this destructive cycle for generations.’


Border security fail could be fatal for the Australian Labor Party

After Federal Parliament returns next Monday, there are sufficient grounds for the opposition to move the first no-confidence motion in the Gillard government. The trigger is the disintegrating credibility of Australia's border security, and the compromising of Australia's territorial sovereignty. On this fundamental moral and political issue, the Gillard government is unfit to govern.

The majority of the electorate takes this issue very seriously as a matter of principle. If a federal government cannot maintain territorial integrity the electorate will inflict political pain. That's why the phrase ''we will stop the boats'' were the first words of the mantra constantly repeated by Tony Abbott when he outperformed the robotic Julie Gillard in last year's election campaign. If an Australian government is perceived to be capitulating to the tactic of fait accompli on its borders by people demanding a right of entry, the government faces political death.

This principle is non-negotiable for most Australians. Thus the Coalition's chief pollster and electorate researcher, Mark Textor, put the words ''stop the boats'' first when he wrote that mantra. ''I put them first because it was the issue voters were putting first,'' Textor told me.

Now, six months on from the election, the Middle East is yet again in flux and the legal sieve that passes for Australia's border security is spiralling out of control. Could the Gillard government stop a big influx of illegal entrants? No. It doesn't have the policies.

None of us know whether we are witnessing a political spring or autumn in the streets of Cairo and Tunis. While the euphoria of people power in Egypt and Tunisia allows for hope, the Middle East has been utterly consistent in delivering political dislocations that eventually wash up on Australia's shores.

Literally. Look no further than the 15 bodies that have found their way, at great expense, to a morgue in Lidcombe. They are the remains of people who tried to get into Australia illegally and died in the process when their boat foundered.

Even as arrangements are made for their burial in Rookwood cemetery this week, the bodies, mostly Iraqi nationals, are the subject of legal wrangling.

It is typical of the legal quagmire that the Gillard government, and the Department of Immigration, have allowed to occur. I used to assume that the Department of Immigration was rigorous, impartial and transparent. I no longer make that assumption. In my dealings with the department I have found it both opaque and politely useless. Because there appears to be no point in dealing with the media unit, I am preparing a list of questions for the secretary of the department, Andrew Metcalfe. He will probably fob off the questions but the process will be public.

Metcalfe's department is busy spending an unprecedented amount delivering an ineffective program on the scale of waste comparable to Labor's national roof insulation scheme or school building program. This time the failure is destroying lives and inviting more of the same on a greater scale.

Last Thursday, the Gillard government asked for another $290 million to fund its border protection program. The opposition immigration spokesman, Scott Morrison, responded: ''In 2010-11 the government will spend more than $760 million on people arriving illegally in Australia. This compares to less than $100 million in annual expenditure when the Howard government left office in 2007.''

At this rate of spending, the cost of keeping each detainee has rocketed to $150,000 a year. It is not just the ridiculous cost. It's the mindset. The overwhelming majority of Australians would regard the people smugglers' boats as illegal entries. Yet the Department of Immigration cannot bring itself to use the term ''illegal''. It refers to these incursions into Australian territory as ''irregular''.

No wonder there is backlog of 6000 humanitarian cases clogging the scrutiny and review system. No wonder the Labor government, which railed against the Howard government's detention policies, is opening more and more detention centres. No wonder the centres are all overcrowded, leading the 2010 Australian of the Year, Professor Pat McGorry, to describe them as ''factories for producing mental illness''.

They are mental illness factories, because the vetting process is painfully slow, legal appeals are also ponderous, families are separated, violent disruptions are routine, and self-harm is common.

More than 2000 violent incidents are happening every year in the centres. Last week, in the latest known incident, about 40 detainees were involved in scuffles at the Darwin Airport Lodge detention centre. Six people were hospitalised.

All because this government is achieving the worst of both worlds: encourage the people-smuggler trade then lock up the arrivals.

While the majority of the electorate appear to believe that the last people who should be allowed permanently into the country are those who try to come in illegally, the Gillard government does not even forcibly return people it has ordered to be deported.

It does not automatically reject anyone who arrives without identity papers. Instead, it follows policies laid down by the United Nations Convention on Refugees and other UN protocols.

The combination of more arrivals, more detentions and slow processes means the average time spent in detention has risen to 183 days. Six months. Two years ago the figure was 25 days.

The federal opposition might want to ask why should Australians would want to accept this expensive debacle? A no-confidence motion would also oblige the man who made all this possible, the independent MP Robert Oakeshott, to stand up and defend the indefensible if he voted with the government on this issue.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Enoch was right

Cal Thomas

In a speech to a security conference in Munich, British Prime Minister David Cameron declared state multiculturalism a failure. For good measure, Cameron said Britain also must get tougher on Islamic extremists. Predictably, this has angered Islamic extremists.

A genuinely liberal country, he said, "believes in certain values and actively promotes them. ... Freedom of speech. Freedom of worship. Democracy. The rule of law, equal rights, regardless of race, sex or sexuality."

Britain's policy should be to require -- yes, require -- immigrants to become part of a melting pot and not individual vegetables floating around in a multicultural stew. Otherwise, they should not be admitted.

When critics of multiculturalism and unbridled immigration warned of the inevitability of a loss of nationhood and national identity, they were denounced as alarmists, even racists.

The late British parliamentarian Enoch Powell suffered such attacks (and earned many kudos) when he repeatedly warned about the dangers of open-ended immigration without assimilation. In a controversial speech to a Conservative Party conference in 1968, Powell began his address, known as "Rivers of Blood," with what ought to be an obvious statement: "The supreme function of statesmanship is to provide against preventable evils. In seeking to do so, it encounters obstacles, which are deeply rooted in human nature."

Powell argued that when it comes to multiculturalism and immigration, Britain had failed in that mandate. Looking into the future, Powell accurately predicted what has come to pass from mass and uncontrolled immigration: "Of course, it will not be evenly distributed from Margate to Aberystwyth and from Penzance to Aberdeen. Whole areas, towns and parts of towns across England will be occupied by sections of the immigrant and immigrant-descended population."

Powell wasn't so much railing against immigrants, though his critics read it in those terms, but against Britain's refusal to integrate them into British culture.

And then Powell let the timid class have it with this line: "There could be no grosser misconception of the realities than is entertained by those who vociferously demand legislation as they call it 'against discrimination', whether they be leader-writers of the same kidney and sometimes on the same newspapers which year after year in the 1930s tried to blind this country to the rising peril which confronted it, or archbishops who live in palaces, faring delicately with the bedclothes pulled right up over their heads. They have got it exactly and diametrically wrong."

In 1968, Britain still had time to reverse course, but because its leaders didn't want to be called "racists" and immigrants were doing jobs British citizens were increasingly reluctant to do (sound familiar?) the floodgates were left open. It may be too late for Britain, as it may be too late for France and Germany.

It isn't too late for the United States, though it is getting close. Too many American leaders suffer from the same weak-kneed syndrome that has gripped Britain. Who will tell immigrants to America that the days of multiculturalism are over and if they want to come to America, they must do so legally and expect to become Americans with no hyphens, no allegiance to another country, and no agenda other than the improvement of the United States?

Enoch Powell was right four decades ago. David Cameron is right today. If British leaders had listened to Powell then, Cameron would not have needed to make his Munich speech.


Senator's Bill Picks Up Administration’s Slack on Immigration Enforcement

Senator Orrin Hatch came to The Heritage Foundation on Friday to present his forthcoming immigration bill—“The Strengthening our Commitment to Legal Immigration and America’s Security Act.” His remarks, and the content of his bill, are a step in the right direction on immigration and border security—given that President Obama used his State of the Union address to make another case for amnesty.

The bill was written in collaboration with members of Congress from states along the southwestern border. As Hatch said, it’s important to work with those who, “of all people, know what resources we need to deploy to accomplish the job.” It is founded upon the conviction that federal immigration law needs to be enforced, not ignored. Senator Hatch emphasized the connection between liberty and the rule of law: “Most Americans believe that our laws ought to be enforced…. That’s one of the things that’s kept us so free.”

The bill addresses key areas in which law enforcement has been lacking under the Obama Administration. Enforcement has been weak, of course, because Secretary Napolitano’s model for immigration reform is an inherently unstable, metaphorical three-legged stool—premised largely on an expensive amnesty that would increase, not decrease the illegal immigration problem. Heritage has proposed an alternate “three-legged stool,” absent amnesty—and including internal enforcement, border security, and reforms to the legal immigration system. Senator Hatch’s bill helps to make the border more secure and increase interior enforcement efforts.

Specifically, the bill, among several reforms, would take actions such as remedying systematic abuse of the deferral/parole prerogative in immigration cases and ensuring that jurisdictions that take federal dollars for immigration enforcement aren’t actually acting as sanctuaries for illegal immigration. It would also track welfare payments to illegal immigrants and begin to combat identify theft. One way Hatch’s bill attacks identity theft is requiring the IRS to take a proactive approach to the theft of Social Security Numbers so that no citizen finds himself untangling an identity theft mess built up over fifteen years. Hatch says the IRS is “the federal agency that is best suited to track” identity theft.

Senator Hatch’s bill takes concrete steps to fill up gaps in the enforcement of immigration laws where the current administration will not act. Congress should move to restore the rule of law where it has lapsed.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Italy declares immigration emergency

Italy's government called a humanitarian emergency on Saturday after thousands of asylum-seekers sailed across the Meditarranean from Tunisia, overwhelming authorities on a remote island. "The cabinet today ... has proclaimed a state of humanitarian emergency following the influx of the large number of citizens from North Africa," the government said in a statement.

The statement said that the decision to call an official emergency would enable civil protection officers "to take immediate action needed to control this phenomenon and assist citizens who have fled from North Africa."

In particular, the move will enable the central government to release funds for local authorities in areas which have been inundated by the wave of refugees, most of whom have fled to the tiny island of Lampedusa.

The majority of the asylum-seekers have come from nearby Tunisia, in the wake of the North African country's revolution four weeks ago.

Nearly 3,000 illegal immigrants have landed in Italy since Wednesday, according to a number of sources, including 250 overnight. Most were packed into small fishing boats that were intercepted by coast guards and then taken to Lampedusa where they were given blankets and received medical care after stepping off the boats. Hundreds have had to sleep out in the open at the port because of a lack of facilities on the island, while others were taken to local hotels.

The Italian authorities have organised an airlift and put a ferry into service to take some of the immigrants off Lampedusa, transporting them to identification centres in southern Sicily.

However around a thousand immigrants were still stuck on Lampedusa on Saturday despite the efforts to clear the island.

Italy made a formal request on Friday for aid from the European Union to combat what it warned was a looming humanitarian crisis, saying the EU's justice and home affairs council should meet immediately.

In a joint statement, Interior Minister Roberto Maroni and Foreign Minister Franco Frattini also requested "the immediate deployment of a Frontex mission for patrolling and interception off the Tunisian coast," referring to the EU's border security agency based in Warsaw. [One has to laugh at Frontex being headquartered in Warsaw -- as far away as possible from where most illegal immigration actually occurs -- in the Mediterranean]


Canadian immigration boss accuses courts of undermining immigration system

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is lashing out at the judicial system, accusing judges and lawyers of undermining Canada’s immigration process by indulging spurious refugee cases.

In the text of a speech to the law faculty at the University of Western Ontario in London, Kenney says Federal Court judges are too often second-guessing legitimate policy decisions, working against the reforms legislators have made to improve the system. “If we can’t find a way to reduce the interminable process by which immigration cases creep through the courts, slouching from appeal to appeal, the changes will be of little use and the progress we have made will be for nought,” Kenney said.

In a speech heavy with legal references and stories of refugee claimants playing the Canadian courts for years, at a high cost to taxpayers, Kenney urged the judiciary to be more co-operative.

“We need the judiciary to understand the spirit of what we are trying to do,” he said. “There are serious criminals we have been trying to remove who have been able to delay their deportation through repetitive appeals for almost 20 years.”

Federal courts are flooded with appeals from would-be refugees who are manipulating the system to extend their stay in Canada. But only one per cent of those appeals are successful, Kenney notes. “So it concerns me when I hear that more than half of the cases that come before the Federal Court are immigration- or refugee-related,” he says. “It suggests to me that the integrity of the decisions made by my department is being questioned too often without sufficient justification.”

Both the government and the public are despairing over the ability of unacceptable refugee claimants to take advantage of Canada’s courts, he claimed.

Kenney says the Supreme Court has already told lower-court judges they should defer to a ministerial decision to deport someone — unless it’s obvious the decision was made in bad faith.

He warns that Parliament’s best efforts to design an efficient and fair immigration and refugee system won’t work unless the judiciary starts co-operating. “Even in easy cases, the removal process can be exploited by clever immigration lawyers who know that our courts are too often willing to indulge even the most creative and dubious claims,” he warned.

He accused the courts of “intrusive and heavy-handed” interference in well-reasoned decisions made by officials.

And he said it’s well known that judges will often hand criminals sentences of two years less a day — ensuring they stay in provincial jails, rather than federal — so that the criminals can delay deportation.

Parliament passed a major overhaul of the refugee system last spring, and it is due to come into force in the coming months.

The new system aims to speed the deportation of false refugee claimants, and also help legitimate refugees get their claims accepted more quickly.

Kenney is also hoping to see Parliament agree to a crackdown on human smugglers. But that proposed legislation has been blocked by opposition parties, who say it treats refugee claimants unfairly and would breach the Charter of Rights.