Monday, February 7, 2011

California moving towards Arizona on Immigration Enforcement

Arizona’s immigration enforcement law is again setting the standard. This time it is California which wishes to not only adopt similar legislation, but feels the Arizona law should become the national immigration law enforcement norm.

Arizona’s SB 1070 drew national and international criticism for provisions backing the federal requirement to ensure appropriate identification was carried by legal aliens. A provision that the federal government later sued Arizona over and in turn placed into the DREAM Act where it went largely unchallenged by those including the federal government that once opposed it. Another highly contested provision of SB 1070 was the extension of law enforcement measures that enabled local law enforcement personnel to directly inquire about citizenship status. California is currently seeking to extend this ability to state law enforcement. The challenges for California are clear.

U.S. Congressman Ed Royce (R-Ca.) believes he currently has the votes to pass an Arizona based immigration law in the House of Representatives. Rep. Royce’s concern stem from a failing Mexican border and the Mexican government's inability to gain control of Cartels which has allowed violence to spill over into states that border the country. Allowing state law enforcement personnel to assist in areas of law enforcement they are currently prohibited from aiding in will aid in both immigration enforcement and provided additional needed security for American citizens. "We're basically giving them the option, if you're in local law enforcement, to assist," he told America’s Newsroom.

The proposed bill also includes the completion of a 700-mile fence on the border between California and Mexico that will eventually connect with Arizona and enhancement of the visa security program.
Citing the challenges faced in Arizona, Royce expressed his understanding that immigration enforcement measures are an uphill battle, but insists that all states should follow Arizona’s lead.

While Arizona has had its challenges, illegal immigration in the state has leveled off despite the cancellation of the virtual fence project and legal setbacks caused by the Obama administration that is seeking reform and amnesty over enforcement. Nevada now leads the nation in illegal immigration after heavy campaigning by Senator Reid for immigration reform in October of 2010. With immigration enforcement measures stemming from California and Arizona, it is predicted that the illegal immigration problem beginning to befall Nevada will only worsen forcing the state to seek immigration enforcement measures or suffer crippling state budgetary shortfalls similar to that of Arizona.

While illegal immigration continues to be a controversial issue, the financial impact is unforgiving and the security risks associated with it are causing reason for alarm. Recently, an Iranian book celebrating suicide bombers was found in the Arizona desert. It has long since been known that those from Middle Eastern countries travel to South America, learn the language and travel through Central America and cross the southern U.S. - Mexico border with other illegal immigrants to gain unhindered access into the United States. More telling is last year’s suicide bombing in a Mexican border town that used technology from Middle East.

While Arizona continues to lead in immigration enforcement, much needs to be done to bridge the gap of a heavily divided administration and legislative measures that equitably support constitutional rights of legal American residents. Each passing day that we fail to find common ground by politicizing immigration, we are putting American lives at risk.


Huge spike in illegal Indian traffic to US via Mexico

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Indians are sneaking into the United States across the Mexico border in what American authorities are saying is a sudden and unexpected spike in illegal immigration — from a country half way across the world which is said to be in the throes of an economic boom.

More than 1,600 Indians have been caught since the influx began in early 2010, while an undetermined number, perhaps thousands, are believed to have slipped through undetected, according to US border authorities cited in an account by the Center for Investigative Reporting and published by the Los Angeles Times on Sunday.

The report said Indians are now the largest group of immigrants other than Latin Americans being caught at the Southwest border. The influx reportedly is showing signs of accelerating: About 650 Indians were arrested in southern Texas in the last three months of 2010 alone. The "mysterious and rapidly growing human-smuggling pipelineis backing up court dockets, filling detention centers and triggering investigations," the report added.

The Indians are said to be flying into Latin American and Central American countries such as Equador, Venezuela and Guatemala via Dubai before arriving on the Mexico-US border, where they cross the Rio Grande River and hole up in US border towns, where they are usually helped by fellow Indians. Mexican organized crime groups are also suspected of being involved either in running the operations or in charging groups tolls to pass through their territory.

According to the report, most of the immigrants, surprisingly, claim to be from the Punjab or Gujarat, two of Indias (relatively) more prosperous states, but also ones associated with enterprise.

Many of them are "Sikhs who say they face religious persecution, or members of the Bharatiya Janata Party who say they are targeted for beatings by members of the National Congress Party," the report said, while citing experts who maintained that political conditions in India offered no evidence of the kind of persecution that would prompt a mass exodus. The immigration, they said, is clearly driven by economic opportunities.

The spurt in Indian human traffic into the United States, borne out by the Tri-Valley University scam, would also belie the assumption in some quarters about an unprecedented Indian economic boom accompanied by a purported American decline.

The CIR/LA Times account said the trend has caught the attention of anti-terrorism officials "because of the pipeline's efficiency in delivering to America's doorstep large numbers of people from a troubled region." Authorities interview the immigrants, most of whom arrive with no documents, to ensure that people from neighboring Pakistan or Middle Eastern countries are not slipping through.

But there is no evidence that terrorists are using the smuggling pipeline, it cited FBI and Department of Homeland Security officials as saying. Typically, the immigrants are released on their own recognizance or after posting bond.

US officials say the migration is the "most significant" human-smuggling trend being tracked by authorities. In 2009, the Border Patrol arrested only 99 Indians along the entire Southwest border. "It's a dramatic increase. We do want to monitor these pipelines and shut them down because it is a vulnerability. They could either knowingly or unknowingly smuggle people into the U.S. that pose a national security threat," Kumar Kibble, deputy director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), was quoted as saying.

The CIR/LA Times report said in January, immigration court calendars at the area's two main detention facilities were full of the common Indian surnames Patel and Singh, and attorneys and judges struggled to keep up. Some attorneys had failed to file the necessary forms; interpreters were not always available. One judge more immigration judges would soon be assigned to handle the increased workload.

The report said it is not clear how many Indians have been granted asylum or deported; immigration officials did not provide that information. But it said judges and attorneys appear to be toughening up, bond amounts have risen sharply in recent months, and attorneys say asylum claims are increasingly being rejected.


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