Thursday, March 31, 2011

Australia: Conservative immigration spokesman rejects "extremist" tag

THE opposition immigration spokesman, Scott Morrison, has rallied to the defence of "the mob" who oppose the carbon tax and boat arrivals and said "sound-minded" Australians were being demonised by Labor as extremists.

In a National Press Club address, he hit back at race-baiting claims and said the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, "needs to stop insulting Australians for disagreeing with her".

Reviving a theme from his election blog last August, Mr Morrison said "the mob" raised families and paid taxes. The Liberals would stay faithful to them because they were the same people as Menzies' forgotten people and Howard's battlers.

However the extremist tag has caused ructions within the Liberal Party, particularly after the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, appeared beside offensive posters at a rally opposing the carbon tax and Mr Morrison made comments on talkback radio about asylum seeker funerals.

Questions about "the moral burden" of decisions in the immigration debate should also be applied to the government's policies, Mr Morrison said yesterday.

"What we are seeing in the absolute mess and misery of our detention network - of those who are drowning at sea, or crashing against rocks at Christmas Island, or those who are wasting in camps as group after group come … I don't accept that as a morally acceptable outcome," he said.

Another boat, carrying 37 asylum seekers, was intercepted yesterday and will be taken to Christmas Island, the first since riots broke out this month.

Refugee advocates said yesterday a man held at the Curtin detention centre was in hospital after trying to hang himself.

A 20-year-old Afghan man took his life at the same centre on Monday, and another 20-year-old Afghan committed suicide at the Scherger centre in Queensland a fortnight ago.

A mental health adviser, Professor Louise Newman, has warned of "suicide clusters" in detention centres and has asked the Immigration Department to review its policy. The government has said the deaths would be investigated.

Linda Briskman, chairwoman of human rights at Curtin University in Perth, said mandatory detention had criminalised people seeking refuge.

Refugee groups expressed concern that overcrowding at North West camp on Christmas Island, which was partly responsible for riots, was now occurring at mainland detention centres. About 300 men from Christmas Island arrived at the Curtin centre at the weekend.

Ms Gillard said she was "determined" to have a mandatory detention system and it was "the right thing" for Australia.

The Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young said asylum applications should be processed on the mainland because it was cheaper, easier and faster. "We have very vulnerable people locked up with very little access to information."


Canadian Minister defends anti-smuggling ad Tamil group deems 'xenophobic'

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is defending his party's use of an ad that a Tamil group has called "xenophobic." The ad touts the Tories' proposals to crack down on human smuggling and features an image of the cargo ship MV Sun Sea which brought 492 Tamil migrants to B.C. last summer.

"Canada welcomes people who want to build a better future," the announcer says. "But our openness doesn't extend to criminals who target Canadian generosity."

A statement from the National Council of Canadian Tamils on Wednesday said the ad appeals to the "worst instincts of Canadians to score political points and votes" and urged the Tories to remove the ad and to apologize for labelling the asylum-seekers as criminals. "This election ad is xenophobic and borders on racism," said Krisna Saravanamuttu, a council spokesman.

But Kenney, who spent part of Wednesday morning watching the India-versus-Pakistan cricket match at an East Vancouver restaurant serving South Indian and Sri Lankan cuisine, defended the ad and said the "vast majority" of Canadians support a crackdown on smuggling.

"Anyone who's coming to Canada illegally is breaking our laws. It's illegal migration," he told reporters. "It's not the right way to come to Canada, especially if they're paying a criminal network — a gang of criminals and often thugs — who run the smuggling syndicates. "We make no apology for making that point in the course of this election campaign," the Conservative candidate added.

Kenney added that there are asylum-seekers around the world waiting to come to Canada through the United Nations Refugee Agency. "We bring in about 14,000 of those people a year. It's not fair to them if someone in the same region pays a smuggler 50-grand, frankly, to jump the refugee queue."

Following the arrival of the Sun Sea last year, the Tories put forward an anti-smuggling bill, which proposes tougher penalties against human smugglers and more restrictions on migrants who use them. Opposition parties immediately denounced the bill as "draconian" and said it would deprive legitimate refugee-seekers of certain rights.

In the television ad, the Tories accuse the opposition of being "weak on border security."


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Welfare Use by Immigrant Households with Children

Panel to Examine New Report with Latest Data

A new Center for Immigration Studies report finds that, 13 years after welfare reform, the share of immigrant-headed households (legal and illegal) with a child (under age 18) using at least one welfare program continues to be very high. This is partly due to the large share of immigrants with low levels of education and their resulting low incomes – not their legal status or an unwillingness to work. The major welfare programs examined in this report include cash assistance, food assistance, Medicaid, and public and subsidized housing.

The findings also show wide variation in welfare use by country of origin, with immigrants from some countries making extensive use of such programs, while those from other countries have relatively low use rates. Welfare use also varies by state, with Arizona, Texas, California, New York, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Oregon, and Colorado having some of the highest levels of welfare use among immigrant households.

The report, “Welfare Use by Immigrant Households with Children: A Look at Cash, Medicaid, Housing, and Food Programs,” is authored by Steven A. Camarota, Director of Research at the Center for Immigration Studies. It will be released Tuesday, April 5, at 9:00 a.m. during a panel discussion at the National Press Club, 14th & F streets, N.W. Please RSVP to


Steven A. Camarota, Director of Research, Center for Immigration Studies?

Mickey Kaus, blogger and author, at the Daily Caller

Iain Murray, Vice President for Strategy, Competitive Enterprise Institute

Moderator: Mark Krikorian, Executive Director, Center for Immigration Studies

The above is a press release from from Center for Immigration Studies. 1522 K St. NW, Suite 820, Washington, DC 20005, (202) 466-8185 fax: (202) 466-8076. Email: Contact: Bryan Griffith, 202-466-8185, The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent research institution which examines the impact of immigration on the United States. The Center for Immigration Studies is not affiliated with any other organization

Texas Republicans Take Harder Line On Immigration

In Texas, the Republican Party is changing its tactics on illegal immigration. The relatively welcoming, tolerant attitude embraced by George W. Bush when he was governor is waning. It has been overtaken by a flood of Arizona-style get-tough measures, with nearly 100 immigration bills written or filed. And while legal challenges will surely follow if many of those measures pass, the debate in Texas is clearly shifting.

The Bush Strategy

The state is now more than ever in the nation's conservative vanguard. Among its most conservative leaders is state Rep. Leo Berman from northeast Texas. Though Berman's district is far from the Mexico border, he's leading the charge on immigration. One of his bills would "stop giving automatic citizenship to children born in Texas."

There's also a voter ID bill; a bill that would require elementary-school children to prove their citizenship upon enrolling — data that would then be turned over to state and federal authorities; and another Berman bill that would make English the official state language.

"That will shut off the state printing anything in any language but English," he says, "and that's going to save millions of dollars right there."

This is a significant change in strategy for the Texas GOP. In the mid '90s, Texas Republicans watched as their counterparts in California went on an anti-illegal immigration crusade and lost control of the state.

But in Texas, the economy was booming; the suburbs of Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio were exploding; and thousands of illegal immigrants sat astride 2-by-4s, nail guns in hand, building those neighborhoods.

So, then-Gov. Bush and his man Karl Rove crafted a different strategy from their California colleagues: Hispanic friendly. The result? In 1998, George W. Bush crushed his Democratic opponent, getting nearly half the Hispanic vote — a triumph that placed him on the path to the presidency one year later.

The young governor learned his political style at his father's knee. Not only was George H.W. Bush a former president of the United States, he was a Texas oilman. And for generations, those independent oil producers, along with farmers and Texas ranchers, have employed inexpensive, hard-working Mexican laborers.

But in the halls of the Texas Capitol in 2011, Bush's approach is considered insufficiently conservative by most Republicans. The one powerful interest group that still thinks Bush had it right is the Texas Association of Business. "If suddenly all the undocumented workers [in the state] were simply to go back to their home of origin, it would be disastrous for the Texas economy," says Bill Hammond, president of the group.

It is no exaggeration to say the membership of Hammond's group supplies the Texas Republican Party with a large measure of its fiscal lifeblood. On behalf of his clients, the thousands of big- and small-business owners in Texas, Hammond roams the state Capitol, trying to impart a bit of reality about the Lone Star State's economy. "The impact on the Texas state economy of immigrant labor is about $17 billion a year," he says. "That's an enormous segment of our economy, and we simply would not be able to function without these people."

Until this year, Hammond and his Republican allies in the Texas Legislature have been able to kill most immigration bills in committee. Hammond would like to expand the immigration pipeline to allow more workers to legally enter the state. That proposal currently has zero chance. "Today, 56 percent of Texans under the age of 25 are minorities. The growth in the population has been largely Hispanic over the last 10 years," he says. "I believe the Republican Party is throwing away their future."

A Plea To Tone Down The Rhetoric

Republican state Rep. Aaron Pena represents the border city of Hidalgo. "The tone of the debate is basically saying, 'We don't want you ... This is a war over our culture. These people bring diseases into our country.' "

He says the six Hispanic Republicans in the Texas House have been trying to convince some of their colleagues to tone down the anti-Hispanic rhetoric. "Many times, you won't see our handiwork out in public," he says. "It's done behind the scenes."

Pena says there are plenty of Texas Republicans who quietly share his concerns about the tone of the debate and its long-term effect on Hispanic voters.

But now, there are plenty who don't, including Leo Berman. "Most Hispanics right now do vote Democrat, there's no question about it," Berman says. "So what vote are we going after? We're going after a vote that doesn't vote Republican anyway."

It's too early to tell how many of the dozens of bills will become law. While the Texas House seems hot for immigration bills, the Senate seems less so. It's distracted by a $27 billion budget deficit that's threatening to gut the state.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Obama talks immigration, education with Hispanics

U.S. President Barack Obama sought to assure Hispanic Americans on Monday that he will not abandon his efforts to overhaul U.S. immigration policy or preserve government financial support for education.

Congress narrowly failed last year to pass the "Dream Act," which would have provided a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.

The vote was a bitter disappointment to many Latin Americans, the fastest growing ethnic group in the United States and an increasingly important voting bloc.

"We have to have a pathway for citizenship for those who are just looking for a better life and contributing to our country, and I'll continue to fight for that," Obama said, to applause from a crowd at a Washington, D.C., school.

Obama's "town hall" in English and Spanish -- Obama used a translator -- sponsored by a Spanish-language television network, was part of a White House campaign to make the case that spending on education is essential to the future of the United States as Obama and his Democrats try to negotiate a budget deal with Congressional Republicans.

Republicans want to cut $61 billion in spending during the year ending Sept. 30, and Democrats argue that the rival party's plans would cut a variety of essential programs, including education.


Canada proposes new rules of engagement for marriages involving immigrants

The Harper government has quietly proposed that people coming to Canada to join their partner must stay in the relationship for two years or more before being formally granted permanent residence. The planned regulatory move — which follows a series of town halls and online consultations — represents a federal bid to stamp out fraudulent marriages that are used to dodge immigration laws.

Under the proposal, a spouse or partner from abroad who has been in a relationship with the Canadian sponsor for two years or less would be granted only "conditional permanent residence." The newcomer would then have to remain in a bona fide relationship with their sponsor for two years or more following arrival — or risk having their permanent residence status revoked. In turn, this could lead to their removal from Canada.

A federal notice published just before the election writ was issued Saturday says the measure would "send a message that Canada is taking a strong stance against marriage fraud, and immigration fraud in general."

It would also bring Canada's policies in line with those of other countries, such as the United States, Britain and Australia, all of which already have a form of two-year conditional status for those in new relationships, the notice says.

The director of a legal clinic that serves the Asian community says the move will hurt women in violent relationships. "It's going to be disastrous for women who are abused," said Avvy Go of the Metro Toronto Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic.

The federal notice says that given concerns about violent relationships, "a process for allowing bona fide spouses and partners in such situations to come forward without facing enforcement action" would be developed should the new measure be put in place.

But Go says many vulnerable women simply won't report abuse by their partners. In addition, she doesn't trust immigration officers "who are not trained to deal with domestic violence situations" to decide whether or not a woman has actually fled an abusive relationship.

The public has 30 days to comment on the federal proposal. The government says while most relationships are believed to be legitimate, the spousal sponsorship process is open to fraud. In some cases, both parties may be using the system for immigration purposes. In others, the sponsor thinks the relationship is genuine while the sponsored partner intends on breaking up shortly after gaining permanent residence status.

The government says "firm figures" on the extent of marriage fraud are not available. However, about 16 per cent of the 46,300 immigration applications processed last year were refused for various reasons. Many were rejected because the relationship was considered a sham, while others were refused for reasons including criminal history, security and medical issues, the government says.

Last fall, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney held town hall meetings in Vancouver, Brampton, Ont., and Montreal to discuss marriages of convenience. His department also consulted the provinces and territories. An online consultation drew 2,342 responses from the general public and 89 from interested groups.

The federal notice says respondents "expressed considerable concern" about marriages of convenience. "Most considered the issue to be a threat to the integrity of Canada's immigration system."

As an additional measure, the government proposes to introduce a "sponsorship bar" that would prevent sponsored partners and spouses from sponsoring a new partner for five years.


Monday, March 28, 2011

California site for 'maternity tourists' shut down

For months, neighbors noticed a number of pregnant Asian women coming and going at all hours at an upscale townhouse development in suburban Los Angeles.

They finally found out the home was being used as a maternity center for Chinese mothers paying thousands of dollars to give birth in the United States so their children would automatically gain U.S. citizenship, city officials said.

The discovery of the center where women stayed before and after delivering their babies at local hospitals was unusual and a possible sign that birthright citizenship is being exploited as a lucrative business, an immigration activist said.

"What this could suggest is ... they're taking it to the next step," said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates stricter limits on immigration. "Whoever is organizing this type of operation is buying or leasing a home to become a clearing house. That's a serious problem."

But it's not illegal. Women from other countries have long traveled to the U.S. legally on tourist or student visas and given birth because U.S. law automatically entitles children born on U.S. soil to citizenship.

While some stay under the false assumption that they too can gain citizenship if their child is U.S.-born, many return to their home countries convinced a U.S. birth certificate will afford their child more opportunities in the future. Often, the women are wealthy and able to pay the steep costs of the trip and medical care.

Krikorian noted that some travel agencies abroad are known to arrange such trips for individuals but not to specialized clinics such as the one in San Gabriel.

Officials in the suburb that's home to a large Asian population shut down the house for building code violations earlier this month after receiving a complaint about excessive noise, overcrowding and possible building permit violations, said Clayton A. Anderson, the city's neighborhood improvement services manager.

Inspectors found seven newborns being kept in clear plastic bassinets in a kitchen converted to a nursery.

Just two mothers answered their bedroom doors when inspectors visited, he said. They told inspectors that they were Chinese and Taiwanese nationals and spoke little English. Other mothers were out shopping.

The mothers told officials their families had paid to send them to the United States to give birth, Anderson said. He did not know how much the trips had cost.

After being interviewed by county child welfare workers, the women and babies were taken to another location since the townhomes were deemed unsafe for occupancy because structural walls had been breached.

The three homes, part of a five-unit condo development on a quiet residential street, had adjoining inside walls removed, and rooms were divided so mothers had separate spaces, Anderson said.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement did not plan to investigate because the case did not involve fraudulently obtained visas, agency spokeswoman Virginia Kice said.

Republican lawmakers have moved to limit automatic citizenship for children born in the U.S. Earlier this year they said they hoped to trigger a Supreme Court review of the Constitutional amendment that grants automatic birthright citizenship or force Congress to take action with legislation they drafted on the issue.

Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King sponsored a bill that would limit automatic citizenship to people with at least one parent who is a citizen, a legal permanent resident or a military veteran, but there has been little movement on the legislation since it was introduced.

Some states, too, have tried to take steps to limit birthright citizenship. Last week, Arizona's state Senate rejected illegal immigration bills that included measures intended to produce a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on who is entitled to U.S. citizenship at birth under the Constitution.

Rep. Judy Chu, a Democrat in Southern California, said traveling to this country to give birth is not a common practice and defended automatic citizenship for children born in the U.S.

Chapman University law professor Maria Cianciarulo, who specializes in immigration, said she's never heard of a specialized maternity house, noting that birthing tourism is a tiny fraction of the flow of immigrants and tourists into the United States.

Workers at the San Gabriel house were busy Thursday restoring it to its original state as ordered by the city.

Property manager Dwight Chang was fined $800 for construction without a permit and operating a business in a residential zone. He told city officials that he had rented the townhomes to a woman. A phone message left at Chang's business, Ta Way Development in Arcadia, was not immediately returned.


Inability to deport 'undesirable' illegals frustrates U.S.

Convicted killer Loeun Heng walked out of a Massachusetts detention center a free man last fall. The illegal alien from Cambodia was supposed to be deported after serving almost a decade in prison for killing a 16-year-old boy in a Boston suburb. But Cambodia is among several countries that won't take their citizens back when the United States wants to jettison them.

Officials from Immigration and Custom Enforcement, or ICE, detained Heng for six months as they tried to ship him out. They failed.

Since 2008, ICE has been forced to release 1,741 illegal immigrants because their home countries would not allow deportation, said Harold Ort, an ICE spokesman in Newark.

Heng, 26, and three other men in the Blood Red Dragons gang attacked, stabbed and beat 16-year-old Charles Ashton Cline-McMurray in Revere, Mass., on Oct 13, 2000. Prosecutors worry ICE won't be able to deport the other killers when they get out of prison.

In the wake of Heng's release, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee will hold hearings on the immigration issue.

Mark Krikorian, executive director for the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington-based think tank, said U.S. policy is being dictated by unfriendly, uncooperative foreign governments — such as Cuba, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos — that continuously refuse to allow their undesirable citizens to be deported.

The U.S. House Immigration Reform Caucus is examining the issue.

"How many more innocent people have to die because of these failed policies? What part of illegal don't people understand?" said U.S. Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-California, who chairs the reform caucus. "Illegal immigrants should be kept behind bars until they are deported. A deputy sheriff was killed last year in my region by an illegal alien who slipped through our system. We must fight to ensure that criminal aliens are not released into the public," Bilbray said.

A local member of the reform caucus, U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire, D-McCandless, declined comment after repeated requests for an interview. "It's disappointing and frustrating that federal authorities have been unable to deport Loeun Heng. Our understanding is that ICE took every possible step in this case, but circumstances like Heng's really erode public confidence in the system," said Jake Wark, a spokesman for Suffolk County District Attorney Don Conley.

Last month, as he was being led from a Westmoreland County courtroom, a convicted sex offender from Vietnam told his lawyer that he will never be deported. Dung Le, 40, pleaded guilty to failing to register on time as a sex offender in Pennsylvania. He was sentenced to one to five years in prison. "He's of the opinion he won't be deported," defense attorney Patricia Elliott said.

Le might be right. In 2001, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered that immigration detainees must be released from custody if they cannot be deported within six months.

That ruling centered on German national Kestutis Zadvydas, a cocaine dealer imprisoned for 16 years. In 1994, immigration officials tried to deport him to Germany and then Lithuania, his parents' country of origin. Neither country wanted him. By a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court ruled the United States had to release Zadvydas from custody, saying it was unlikely he would ever be deported.

Ort said ICE is forced to release illegal aliens if they are unable to deport them within the 180-day period. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, they can ignore that requirement under very limited circumstances, "including a threat to national security, adverse foreign policy consequences or contagious disease concerns."

"There has been a lax attitude toward enforcement," said Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform in Washington. "We no longer have a choice. We as a matter of law should be in control of our own immigration policy."

Krikorian said Congress needs to change immigration law to close the loophole left open by the Supreme Court. "Congress needs to push back. We need to make sure that countries that don't take people back know we're not going to issue entrance visas to their citizens," Krikorian said.

Le might slip through the loophole. Le came last year to work at a Rostraver nail salon. He legally entered the United States in 1993, according to ICE records. In 2004, he was convicted in Vermont of a felony count of lewd and lascivious behavior for improperly touching a woman at a nail salon where he worked. He served about one year in a Vermont jail and then left the United States, ICE said.

Ort said Le tried to return through Honolulu International Airport on Oct. 15, 2005, when he applied for admission back into the country. Le was ordered to appear before an immigration judge. U.S. Immigration Judge Dayna Beamer in Honolulu ordered that Le be deported back to Vietnam. He was released in 2006 when immigration officials could not do so.

Le resurfaced in Rostraver and was arrested after he was late in registering as a sex offender with Pennsylvania State Police.

"Every alien's removal requires the cooperation of another country. Thus, the difficulties involved in deporting aliens with final orders of removal are not unique to Mr. Le's case. In fact, some countries flatly refuse to accept their nationals back into their communities, while others might simply prolong and delay the issuance of the necessary travel documents for repatriation," Ort said.

It is believed convicted killer Heng is living somewhere near Boston. Local officials are concerned about two other defendants who pleaded guilty in the gang slaying, two more illegal aliens who would be subject to deportation upon release.

Viseth Sao pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison, but he is eligible for parole in 2016. Savoeun Heng, 26, and Savoeun Po, 26, pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Savoeun Heng received a 12- to 14-year sentence. Po was sentenced to eight to 10 years.

ICE will try to deport Savoeun Heng and Savoeun Po upon their release.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Whites will be a minority in the U.S. by 2050 as black and Hispanic birth rates soar

Whites in America will be outnumbered by 2050 by rising numbers of ethnic minorities, according to official figures. Hispanic, black and Asian people accounted for 90 per cent of all births in the U.S. between 2000 and 2010.

In 40 years’ time they will comprise more than half the population due to their higher birth rates and immigration.

In ten states – Mississippi, Georgia, Maryland, Florida, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, California, New Mexico and Hawaii – more than half of children are already non-white.

The figures come from the U.S. Census Bureau, which last year carried out its first survey of America for a decade. It found that in 2010 whites were still the nation’s largest group, comprising 64 per cent of the population, down from 69 per cent in 2000.

Hispanics went from 13 to 16 per cent and were the second largest group whilst blacks remained stable at around 12 per cent.

The Hispanic population surpassed the 50million mark after adding 15 million to their numbers.

‘This is a group that’s young, whose growth is driven increasingly by births and not immigration,’ said D’Vera Cohn, of the Pew Research Center, which has analysed data from the census.


The battle is not over in the Arizona immigration war

By Sen. Russell Pearce. He is a Republican in the Arizona Senate. He wrote the state’s immigration law, SB 1070, as well as the Legal Arizona Workers Act and Proposition 200

The Arizona Senate on March 18 voted down five immigration bills I supported — most notably, one addressing the issue of birthright citizenship for children of illegal immigrants.

While I was disappointed with last week’s votes, it was not the last word on illegal immigration in Arizona. I am not backing off from in demanding our laws be enforced. I know that the Arizona-led battle to enforce U.S. immigration laws cannot be won overnight.

I introduced what is now SB 1070 to no avail every year between 2005 and 2009, before it finally passed and was signed by Gov. Jan Brewer last April. While SB 1070 has garnered unprecedented national attention, it was not the law that “started it all.”

Prior to SB 1070, I introduced many other measures that addressed illegal immigration — and eventually became law. In 2004, 56 percent of Arizona voters approved Prop 200, which denies certain government benefits to illegal immigrants and prevents voter fraud.

In 2007, then-Gov. Janet Napolitano signed the Legal Arizona Workers Act, which mandates E-Verify to all employers, ensuring they did not hire illegal workers. Additional laws that punish human smugglers; deny illegal immigrants bail, and set up a statewide task force to deal with illegal immigrant gangs passed prior to SB 1070.

These were all uphill battles. But we persevered.

Much has been made of an open letter that 60 chief executive officers of Arizona businesses sent me, urging the Legislature not to “pass any additional immigration legislation.” They focused on the supposed negative effects of a boycott of Arizona. But it is not unreasonable to suspect that a desire for cheap labor was also a factor.

Citing this letter, a New York Times editorial credited business opposition to the defeat of my bills, arguing “The reversal has to do with money, of course. The bills were dead once the state’s business lobby weighed in against them.”

There is no doubt that the business interests influenced some GOP lawmakers. But this is nothing new. All of my past immigration laws overcame strong opposition from the Chamber of Commerce and other special interest groups.

But despite the cheap labor lobby’s continued opposition to immigration enforcement, the Republican Party of Arizona, and across the nation, has moved strongly in the direction of enforcement. In 2004, Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) was the only member of the Arizona congressional delegation to support Prop 200. The Arizona Republican Party, though not the grass roots, opposed the initiative as well.

Seven years later, the state GOP, four of the five Republican congressmen (except Rep. Jeff Flake), and both Republican senators — John McCain and Jon Kyl — support SB 1070.

More important than the politicians, SB 1070 has the support of the citizens of Arizona — and the United States. These sentiments have not waned. Two recent polls by Rasmussen and the Pew Research Center both show Americans supporting SB 1070 by a 2-1 margin.

The naysayers want to believe that the enthusiasm for Arizona’s tough stand was just a temporary temper tantrum that already has expired. But until our borders are secured, and our immigration laws are enforced, the people of Arizona will not rest.

While last week’s votes were a setback, we have fought these battles before and prevailed. We will prevail again.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

U.S. may strengthen identity verification system for workers

The federal government is exploring the possibility of using a credit rating giant like Equifax to verify the identity of American workers, a move that could make it far more difficult for undocumented immigrants to get work using stolen Social Security numbers.

The plan by the Department of Homeland Security, which is still preliminary and would probably require congressional approval, could have far-reaching consequences. The government already allows employers to check the legal status of employees using a system known as E-Verify, but hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants beat the system by using stolen Social Security numbers.

If workers had to use the verification systems in place to apply for a mortgage or a bank account, they would not only have to present a Social Security number to an employer, but also answer questions about their personal history and financial background to establish their identity.

On Monday, the government announced that it would begin allowing individuals in the District, Virginia and four other states to voluntarily use a system provided by Equifax to verify their identity. Once they did that, they could access a federal database to verify their authorization to work. The move will help the small number of legally authorized immigrants and U.S. citizens who encounter problems each year when an employer runs their Social Security numbers through the E-Verify system.

By giving workers the ability to check their records before they apply for a job, authorities said that citizens and immigrants who are authorized to work will be able to take care of spelling mistakes and other common errors. The voluntary program will be piloted in the District, Virginia, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho and Mississippi. It will be expanded nationwide in the coming months.

Alejandro Mayorkas, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said the government planned to use the initiative to evaluate how the third-party verification system worked, with a view to making the tool available to employers.

Mayorkas added that only Congress could compel employers to use third-party verification systems. The main E-Verify system is also voluntary for employers, but House Republicans have indicated that they would like it to be mandatory.

Private identification systems might reduce Social Security number fraud, but Mayorkas said he has concerns about how the federal government would deal with errors in third-party databases.

Neither employers nor the federal government will gain information about worker queries under the new self-check system. Mayorkas also said that employers will not be permitted to force employees to do self-checks.


Some Calif. cities embrace immigration scrutiny

A city that has taken numerous steps to crack down on illegal immigration is now joining a string of Southern California municipalities that are signing up to tap a federal database aimed at tighter scrutiny of employees' immigration status.

Escondido's measure is modest compared to how others have embraced the free E-Verify tool, an online federal database now used voluntarily by employers nationwide. The north San Diego suburb's City Council voted 4-1 Wednesday to require all city contractors to use the screening for new hires and earlier this month began doing the same for all new city employees earlier this month.

The city will urge _ but not require _ private businesses to perform enhanced checks on new hires. Lancaster, north of Los Angeles, became the first city in Southern California to require private businesses to use E-Verify in January 2010 and was followed by others including Murrieta, Temecula and Lake Elsinore in the economically battered Inland Empire.

"We don't really want to be a heavy-handed government," said Escondido Mayor Sam Abed, a Lebanese immigrant and former IBM Corp. employee who has made illegal immigration a signature issue. "It's in their self-interest. We hope businesses will realize the benefit."

The proposal has sparked a familiar, if relatively muted, debate in Escondido, a city of 140,000 people that is about 50 percent Latino. Supporters say tougher immigration enforcement is overdue, while critics worry about fueling anti-immigrant sentiment.

In 2006, the City Council voted to require landlords to verify tenants' immigration status. The city dropped the measure before it took effect when a federal judge questioned whether it would survive legal scrutiny.

That same year, police introduced drivers' license checkpoints that resulted in seizures of hundreds of cars a year. Illegal immigrants cannot get drivers' licenses in California, so many lose their cars.

And last year, the city formed an unusually close alliance with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which has two agents stationed at police headquarters to respond when people who are pulled over a traffic citation or questioned for other violations are found to have deportation orders or criminal records.

Police say they have turned over more than 400 illegal immigrants to ICE since the alliance, called Operation Joint Effort, began in May.

E-Verify allows employers to run a worker's information against Department of Homeland Security and Social Security databases to check whether the person is permitted to work in the U.S. The Obama administration has made cracking down on employers who hire people here illegally a central part of its immigration enforcement policy.

Much of the criticism of E-Verify has focused on whether U.S. citizens and legal immigrants with permission to work were falsely flagged as illegal workers. Immigration officials have been taking steps to improve such inaccuracies.

Al's Towing, which has a contract to tow vehicles for the police department, signed up E-Verify when owner Josh Park learned the city might make it mandatory. Previously, he examined a job applicant's documents and gave his blessings as long as they looked legitimate to his naked eye. Now, he says, he has an extra safeguard to ensure his employees are legally entitled to work.

"We were required by law to verify to a certain extent, this just allows you to check it," said Park, one of more than 250,000 employers nationwide _ including about 100 in Escondido _ who have enrolled in E-Verify. "Before, there was no tool to use."

Juan Gonzalez, an illegal immigrant from Mexico who makes about $75 a day as a laborer, says the new measure will have limited impact because it is limited to city contractors and doesn't apply to those who hire him.

"There is work, but it's on the farms, landscaping, tearing off roofs _ the kind of work that many people won't do for $10 an hour," he said.


Friday, March 25, 2011

Border agents catch 13 illegal immigrants all wearing marine uniforms 'embroidered with the name Perez'

Border Patrol agents have caught 13 illegal immigrants wearing U.S. Marine uniforms at a checkpoint near San Diego. The immigrants were in a van that was stopped along Interstate 8 on March 14. The van had a U.S. government licence plate with an altered number, Border Patrol spokesman Michael Jimenez said.

He did not know where the group obtained the military uniforms. There are reports that each of the 13 uniforms were embroidered with the surname 'Perez'.

'This effort is an example of the lengths smugglers will go through to avoid detection, and the skilled and effective police work of the agents and the customs and border protection,' he said.

Two U.S. citizens who were with the immigrants were arrested on suspicion of alien smuggling. Three of the immigrants were being held in federal custody as witnesses and the others were returned to Mexico, their country of origin, he said.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service and Border Patrol were conducting a joint investigation of the incident. NCIS spokesman Ed Buice said he couldn't discuss details, but 'there are several obvious questions that need to be answered.' It is not known if the two U.S. citizens who were arrested have been in the military.

Officials believe the van entered the U.S. at Calexico. The vehicle is registered in Yucca Valley California. The fake number plates actually belong to a van registered to the U.S. Marine Corps.


Australian Labor Party government goes to water as boats threaten sovereignty

THE Gillard government has made a spectacular mess of policy towards illegal immigrants and is now in danger of forfeiting a key element of Australian national sovereignty.

The key to the boatpeople phenomenon is to realise that it is not about refugees. It is instead a determined illegal immigration. Piece by piece, the illegal immigrant industry is bending back the Gillard government, breaking its will and breaking its policies.

It was the Rudd government that changed policy decisively in August 2008. It closed the offshore processing centre in Nauru and abolished temporary protection visas.

As a result, people-smuggling to Australia got back into business big time. In the 2 1/2 years since the government changed policy, nearly 11,000 boatpeople have arrived. Last year, asylum applications to Australia increased by 76 per cent. Among industrialised countries overall there was a decline. In 2009, while the global number of applications was static, they increased in Australia by 30 per cent. With the end of the monsoon season, there have been some six boats this month alone, carrying more than 330 people in total.

The government deals with this matter in a consistently dishonest fashion, giving up morsels of information only under pressure. Here are some facts. In the year to August 2010, some 45 per cent of illegal immigrant boatpeople had spent more than three months outside their country of origin. Of this 45 per cent, some 88 per cent had spent more than a year outside their country of origin.

In other words, they were not fleeing directly from persecution. Many Afghans who have come to Australia have never lived in Afghanistan, or at least not for a very long time. Life in Australia is infinitely preferable to Pakistan, but deciding to migrate to Australia is not the same as being a refugee.

The vast majority of the world's refugees will never achieve permanent resettlement in a foreign country. Nor does the refugee convention envisage that they should. Rather, they should be protected as near to home as possible until they can safely return.

Everything the government tells you about this matter is likely to be a wrinkle on the facts, a spin, an angle, and it is likely to contain much less than meets the eye.

For example, Julia Gillard went to the election promising to turn back the boats and set up a regional refugee processing centre in East Timor. There is little prospect of that centre ever coming into existence and no prospect of it ever having an effect on the illegal immigrant trade.

Recently, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen trumpeted an agreement with Afghanistan that would allow failed asylum applicants to be returned. The problem was the Afghan government thought it meant no such thing.

So, how many failed Afghan asylum-seekers have been returned against their will since 2007? Absolutely none. How many Afghans have gone back voluntarily? The answer is five.

More than 80 per cent of illegal immigrants arriving by boat come with no documents, yet nearly all need documents to get to the country they take the boat from. This naturally makes security checks extremely difficult. It also underlines what everyone in the field knows already, that the entire process of granting someone refugee status is almost completely subjective and easily scammed. There is a whole industry based on learning the right answers to questions Australian officials ask. In the first nine months of last year, more than 40 per cent of Afghans were rejected as refugees in their primary assessment but after all appeals were exhausted 96 per cent were accepted. Yet in the same period, some 9577 Afghans applied offshore to come to Australia as refugees and only 951 were accepted and given visas.

What is happening on Christmas Island exactly parallels what has happened in Europe in the past couple of decades. A determined illegal immigration presented itself as an asylum issue and gradually beat back the will of European governments to enforce control of their borders. This determined illegal immigration often used extravagant protest and even self-harm techniques to engage European compassion.

And it worked, just as it is working on Christmas Island. Bowen fatuously declaims that no one engaging in riots and breakouts will benefit from their actions.

Exactly the reverse is true. The government has effectively surrendered its policy and moved hundreds of people to mainland Australia. The Age newspaper obediently called for the end of mandatory detention.

Here are three other lies from the government. It says mandatory detention is not meant as a deterrent. Yet when, in April last year, it suspended asylum applications by Sri Lankans and Afghans, it was precisely to achieve a deterrent effect. Since the government now will not send any Afghans home, this is the only deterrent. The illegal immigrants know this and are whittling it away.

Second, Bowen, who recites cliches like a metronome, keeps talking about "an international solution for an international problem", by which he means the Bali process. But we have had co-operation, often expensively bought, on this issue from our neighbours for many years.

What changed is that Australia put the ultimate prize of permanent immigration to this country back on the table for people-smugglers to sell. It is an Australian problem and the only solution is in Australia's hands: no permanent resettlement in Australia for those who arrive illegally.

Finally, Bowen actually slanders the Howard government for its compassion. John Howard stopped the boats with his Nauru processing centre because illegal immigrants came to believe that going to Nauru would not get them to Australia. Once the trade in boats stopped, Howard then generously let the remaining people on Nauru come here. That is not remotely like Christmas Island where everyone knows if they get there they get to stay in Australia.

Once the government caves in on mandatory detention, as it surely will soon enough (if by no other means than speeding the process up), the numbers coming to Australia illegally will increase by the thousands.

With chain family migration this will be tens of thousands of people self-selecting to come here, not being selected by our program (which I have always argued should be bigger).

That is a catastrophic loss of Australian sovereignty and a comprehensive failure by the Gillard government.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

UK government tightens student immigration system

In a major revamp of its student immigration system, the UK government has announced tougher English language criteria, limits on work entitlement and an end to the post-study route, through which students were allowed to remain in the UK for two years after they completed their courses.

While the new English language rules will become effective from next month, all UK education institutions that want to recruit foreign students will have to become highly-trusted sponsors by April 2012, and accredited by statutory education inspection bodies by the end of 2012.

"It has become very apparent that the old student visa regime failed to control immigration and failed to protect legitimate students from poor quality colleges. The changes I am announcing today re-focus the student route as a temporary one, available to only the brightest and best. The new system is designed to ensure students come for a limited period, to study not work, and make a positive contribution while they are here," UK home secretary, Theresa May , said while announcing the changes.

In a move that will impact Indian students planning to study in the UK, the two-year post-study leave to remain in the UK is being discontinued. International graduates will, however, be allowed to remain in the UK if they have skilled job offers under the Tier II work permit category.

"The students will be given three to four months after they finish their studies to look for a job. But graduates will not be allowed to take up unskilled jobs and will need a Tier II sponsor," UK Border Agency regional director in Delhi, Chris Dix said.

Further, while students at universities and publicly-funded colleges will retain current work rights, others will no longer have the right to work while they study in the UK. In 2009, there were 57,000 student visas issued in India for the UK. The number went down to 41,350 in 2010.


Immigration detainees in Britain win only £1 damages

Two immigration detainees have been awarded nominal damages of £1 each for being illegally imprisoned for two years under a secret policy operated by the Home Office.

The majority judgment by the supreme court criticised the previous government's reliance between 2006 and 2008 on unpublished regulations governing the detention of foreign national prisoners pending deportation.

The token compensation reflects the court's belief that the men, one Congolese and one Jamaican, would have been held in prison anyway under other laws.

Walumba Lumba entered the UK illegally in 1994, the court said. He was later convicted of wounding with intent and sentenced to four years in jail. He had been due for release in 2006 but was held in prison under the Home Office's secret rules. He left the country "voluntarily" last month.

Kadian Mighty, a Jamaican citizen, was originally granted leave to remain in the UK in 2003, but that permission was revoked after he was convicted of drug dealing and jailed. He was also detained after the end of his sentence, pending removal from Britain, but released in July 2008.

"Following adverse publicity in April 2006, the [home] secretary adopted a new policy which was not published," the supreme court said in a summary of the decision. "Between April 2006 and September 2008, the secretary of state applied this unpublished policy, which imposed a near blanket ban on release of foreign national prisoners.

"... The secretary of state is liable to both appellants in the tort of false imprisonment as the statutory power to detain them was exercised in breach of public law duties. The appellants are, however, only entitled to nominal damages assessed at £1. They are not entitled to exemplary damages."

The supreme court found it was illegal to operate a clandestine policy which is "inconsistent with her published policy and which applies a near blanket ban on the release of foreign national prisoners". Jacqui Smith was Labour's home secretary between June 2007 and June 2009.

Three of the nine judges, Lords Phillips, Brown and Rodger, dissented from the judicial majority on the question of whether the treatment of the men amounted to false imprisonment.

Lumba's case had been backed by the Public Law Project, a legal charity that aims to improve access to justice. It said: "The secret policy required detainees to be held indefinitely and regardless of whether they posed any risk to the public.

"Lord Dyson … held that there is 'clear evidence that [UK Border Agency] caseworkers were directed to conceal the true reason for detention during this period and, in a reference to the then home secretary, Jacqui Smith, that there was a "deliberate decision taken at the highest level to conceal the policy."

Responding to the judgment, Jo Hickman, Lumba's solicitor, said: "This decision is a vindication of the rule of law and of the fundamental principle that no one should be deprived of their liberty by the abuse of executive power.

"The supreme court has made clear that all detention decisions must be properly, openly and lawfully made, or the resultant detention will be unlawful. This is a principled judgment in the context of individual liberty, and will help guard against any further abuse of the Home Office's detention powers."

The Home Office has amended its published policy several times since then. In September 2008 it declared there should be a presumption that all foreign national prisoners would be detained – bringing it into line with its unpublished policy. In January 2009, however, as a result of this case, references to any presumption of detention were dropped.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Exaggerated U.S. Border Violence? Hardly

Chuck Norris

After a decade of playing one on television, I, along with my brother Aaron, was blessed a few months ago to become a real Texas Ranger in the presence of Gov. Rick Perry, fellow Texas Rangers and many others.

Perry mentioned at that induction: "As the drug cartels have turned up the heat on the other side of that border over the past few years, we have invested significant state resources to secure our border, looking to local police departments, county sheriffs, game wardens and even Texas Military Forces. However, when it was time to take the fight to the bad guys, there was only one choice to lead our efforts, so we formed our Ranger recon teams. It is reassuring to know that our Rangers are on the job, especially in light of ongoing reports of deteriorating conditions, with kidnappings, assassinations and terroristic acts just miles from Texas communities."

Only weeks later, on Jan. 31, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano asked public officials to stop exaggerating claims of violence on the U.S. side of the border and "be honest with the people we serve." She added: "Let's stick with the facts. We need to be upfront and clear about what's really happening along our borders."

The latest statistics show that 34,000 people have been killed in Mexico because of organized crime and drug trafficking during the past five years alone, and officials expect that number to rise. Yet we don't expect that escalating violence to increasingly spill over into the U.S.?

Consider just a few recent tragedies in my own state of Texas:

--In April 2010, on a street in Fort Hancock, Texas, four Hudspeth County employees were working on a remote unpaved road, when an unknown gunman fired from across the Rio Grande. (In a January 2011 letter to the U.S. House of Representatives' Judiciary and Homeland Security committees, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott described the shooting as "yet another incident involving cartel-related gunfire.")

--In June 2010, El Paso's City Hall was struck by at least seven shots fired from across the border in Ciudad Juarez, the epicenter of Mexico's ongoing drug war.

--In August 2010, at least one stray bullet from Mexico hit a building at the University of Texas at El Paso.

--In October 2010, U.S. tourist David Hartley reportedly was shot by a Mexican gunman.

--In November, the University of Texas at Brownsville temporarily canceled classes because of ongoing gunfire across the border in Matamoros, Mexico.

And what about violence in other border states? Exaggerating border violence?

I agree with Rep. Ben Quayle, R-Ariz., who said that for cattle ranchers, the daily reality of drug and human smugglers traversing their property is "far more impacting" than Napolitano conveys. Quayle went on to say, "Statistics and averages might mean something to government bureaucrats and analysts in Washington, but try telling the people who deal with these realities every day that the violence along the border has subsided."

Because of the feds' ineptness and passivity, it's no wonder that half the states in our union are taking matters into their own hands regarding border enforcement and immigration. Arizona-style laws have been proposed in approximately 24 other states. A total of 346 laws and resolutions related to immigration were approved by state lawmakers in 2010, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. More than 100 immigration-related bills are pending in Texas.

Texas Department of Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples just launched, where users can upload pictures and videos about their experiences with suspected drug traffickers at the Mexican border. The goal of the website is to warn the public about not only the dangers to farmers and ranchers but also the potential impacts on the nation's food supply.

According to the Texas Department of Agriculture, at the Texan border alone there are:

--Close to 8,200 farms and ranches, covering more than 15 million acres.

--Producers of beef, fruits and vegetables that are essential to the nation's food supply.

--Counties that account for about half the state's fruit and vegetable production and about 4 percent of the state's total agricultural income.

--Farms and ranches that make more than $700 million in agricultural sales every year.

Exaggerating border violence?

The only ones exaggerating are the feds -- under-exaggerating the threat and severity of border violence and over-exaggerating their success of securing the United States' southwestern border.

In fact, this past Thursday, Napolitano continued her same Obama-victorious-song-and-dance act at the U.S.-Mexico Congressional Border Issues Conference, boasting of (as summarized by her office) the Obama administration's "unprecedented efforts to strengthen security along the Southwest border, which include increasing the number of Border Patrol agents from approximately 10,000 in 2004 to more than 20,700 today."

But while the Obama administration continues to embellish its record, PolitiFact pointed out that it's actually stealing its predecessor's glory: "President George W. Bush was responsible for adding many of the agents on the ground now."

Paul Babeu, sheriff of Pinal County, Ariz., put it well when he said that Napolitano's talking points about security on the border have "more to do with political pivoting for the 2012 elections than (they do) with what is happening on the border."

Ms. Napolitano, the truth is it's you who is misleading the public. Playing down border violence and trumping up Washington's successes may be effective for campaign rhetoric, but it's killing our citizens -- literally. At least I can agree 100 percent with you on this point: As you said back on Jan. 31, let's "be honest with the people we serve. ... Let's stick with the facts. We need to be upfront and clear about what's really happening along our borders."


Are ICE Officials Ignoring Immigration Rules?

Michael Cutler

A news release was published by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) on February 9, 2011. It details how 11 members of the extremely violent transnational gang, MS-13 were indicted for a series of serious crimes- indeed some of the most serious crimes an individual could be charged with. The victims of these crimes were violently attacked. Some were stabbed while others were shot. Some of the victims of these thugs died because of their injuries.

What is beyond my comprehension is how ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) could post a news release without making a single reference to the immigration status of any of the 11 alleged members of MS-13 especially when the news release identified MS-13 as being a "transnational gang!"

Not a single word was written about the nationality of any of those who were arrested. Not a single word was written to describe any possible immigration law violations. Not a single word was written to make note as to how any of these "transnational" criminals entered the United States. Here is the paragraph that appears in the news release that describes the transnational nature of MS-13:

"Today's indictment is the product of tremendous cooperation and efforts of HSI special agents and local law enforcement officers. As a result, these violent gang members will now be brought to justice to face very serious federal charges," said Executive Associate Director James Dinkins of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). "HSI is committed to enhancing the public safety of the residents in the national Capitol Region by attacking and dismantling transnational gangs such as MS-13."

As I have previously noted in other commentaries I have written about the long list of failings of the federal government to address the importance of enforcing immigration laws: when the agency that bears the primary responsibility for enforcing our nation's immigration laws ignores those immigration laws, you know our nation is in extreme trouble!

The immigration laws of our nation are intended to prevent the entry of aliens into our country whose presence would be harmful to our nation and our citizens. It is a certainty that the transnational criminals who were discussed in this news report not only represent a threat to the well being of our nation and our citizens is not mere conjecture. The threat they pose has been established by virtue of the nature of the crimes for which they stand accused.

If ICE is ignoring the immigration status of these thugs then it must be presumed that they may not even make the most rudimentary efforts of lodging detainers for those suspected gang members if they are determined to be illegal aliens. No matter the outcome of the criminal proceedings - likely involving trials, they will be removed (deported) from the United States after they complete their jail sentences (presuming that they are found guilty or that they will be removed even if they are found "not guilty" at trial).

Additionally, it is entirely possible that if any of these defendants are illegal aliens that they may have also violated other laws that involve their immigration status. For example, if an illegal alien is found to be in possession of a firearm, such a violation of law can easily be prosecuted on the federal level under the auspices of Title 18, United States Code, Section 922(g)(5). The maximum penalty for this crime is ten years in jail.

I made a significant number of arrests when I was a federal agent and the elements of the crime are extremely easy to prove. Other members of transnational gangs may have also been previously deported and then reentered the United States without authority. If such an alien has a prior criminal conviction that resulted in that alien's deportation, then that crime carries a maximum penalty of 20 years of incarceration. This crime is even easier to prove than the firearms charge I noted previously.

The problem is that if ICE did not even think to discuss the immigration component of these cases, then I have to presume that ICE is ignoring these charges.

Additionally, as I have noted on many previous occasions, when an individual is arrested for any crime, the next issue that has to be addressed is the issue of appropriate bail that should be set. While it is very likely that a murder suspect may be held without bail, others of these criminal suspects may not be charged with crimes of that magnitude. A bail hearing generally only deals with two issues- danger to the community and risk of flight. Danger to the community can be shown by the nature of the crime that the person stands accused of. Risk of flight is often far more nebulous and difficult to demonstrate to a judge or magistrate.

However, information about a defendant's immigration status and relating factors, such as information contained in a defendant's immigration file can very often provide conclusive and compelling evidence of risk of flight. As an INS special agent, I was often called upon to testify at bail hearings. When I was able to provide evidence of previous instances when a defendant was encountered by immigration authorities and provided multiple false names and utterly fictitious addresses, it quickly became evident that the defendant in question presented an extreme risk of flight. This could be bolstered when I was able to provide specific instances when the defendant posted bond in an immigration case and then forfeited the bail and failed to show up for hearing.

The point is that the immigration component of these cases is extremely important and yet, there was no mention in the press release about the citizenship or immigration status of any of the 11 defendants who are accused of belonging to a pernicious transnational gang. Here is how the press release described the gang:

"According to the indictment, MS-13 is a transnational gang with members in most of the states within the United States, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico. It is alleged that MS-13 engages in racketeering activity to include murder, narcotics distribution, extortion, robberies, and obstruction of justice, among other crimes."

The most fundamental question that must be asked is why was there not a single mention of immigration in a press release that was issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement? Even if any of the defendants are citizens of the United States, given the fact that the press release noted that MS-13 has members in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico in addition to the United States, then the press release needed to address the issue of citizenship. This failure is unacceptable!

Much more HERE

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Australia: Immigration support plummets in Victoria, survey finds

There is a lot of crime from African refugees in Melbourne

SUPPORT for immigration has plummeted in Victoria, a survey shows. With the nation marking Harmony Day today, the Monash University study has revealed that 52 per cent of Victorians believe the migrant intake is too high.

This compared with only 30 per cent in 2007, according to the Mapping Social Cohesion 2010 survey.

Rampant population growth was a major federal election issue last year, and state Opposition leader Daniel Andrews admitted last week that the Brumby Government's mishandling of it was a key reason for Labor's state election loss.

More than half of all Victorians rated the Federal Government's record in providing roads, rail and housing needed for future growth as poor or very poor, the survey found. Just under a quarter thought it had a good or very good record while a similar percentage believed it was neither good nor poor.

The national survey, conducted in June last year, revealed that 47.3 per cent of Australians agreed immigration was too high, compared with 36.3 per cent three years earlier. But it also found that 64 per cent of Victorians agreed with the statement that “accepting migrants from many different countries makes Australia stronger". This was down from 70 per cent in 2007.

Report author Prof Andrew Markus, from Monash's Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation, said there was surprising support for immigration given the extent of public debate over the issue last year. “On past record, the level of negative sentiment may well have reached the range 55-60 per cent," he said.

The survey also found that a small majority of Australians, 53 per cent, thought it was important that Christianity stay as the main religion. About 40 per cent believed it was unimportant while 7 per cent said it was neither important or unimportant.

The survey was sponsored by the Scanlon Foundation, a charitable organisation created by Melbourne businessman Peter Scanlon to promote “a larger cohesive Australian society".


Recent posts at CIS below

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

1. Birthright Citizenship for the Children of Visitors: A National Security Problem in the Making? (Backgrounder)

2. Immigrant Gains and Native Losses in the U.S. Job Market, 2000 to 2010 (Congressional Testimony)

3. Looking Carefully at the Proposed Immigrant Entrepreneur Bill (Blog)

4. Pushing the Envelope (Blog)

5. Prof. Matloff Busts 'Best and Brightest' Ballyhoo for H-1B Workers (Blog)

6. The Criminal Alien Constituency (Blog)

7. Salt Lake Chamber – Enemy of the Taxpayer and Utah Children (Blog)

8. Ariz. Sheriff Babeu and His (Not Federal) Immigration Task Force (Blog)

9. Attrition Works, Respected Think Tank Edition (Blog)

10. Going Really Green (Blog)

11. Secure Communities, Please (Blog)

12. Advocates for More Immigration Outline New Strategies (Blog)

13. ICE's Morton Envisions a 'Culture of Compliance' (Blog)

Monday, March 21, 2011

The 'crime visa': How 18,000 illegal immigrants to the USA got legal status by being the victim of a crime

More than 18,000 illegal immigrants, plus 14,000 of their relatives, have gained U.S. visas under a new law since 2009 because they were victims of crime.

While many immigrants may still be unaware of the U visa, word is spreading fast in some communities. The controversial rules state that if you are a victim of crime and you cooperate, or are 'helpful' with authorities, then you stand a good chance of getting a U visa.

Since 2009, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has issued 18,654 and rejected 5,639 U visas — a 77 per cent approval rate. Congress has put a ceiling on the number available annually at 10,000 and this year the USCIS looks on course easily to reach that figure, having received 3,331 applications in the first quarter.

Supporters of the visa says it helps in fighting crime. All too often crimes ranging from robbery and domestic violence to rape and murder have gone unreported because the victims were in the U.S. illegally.

The visa rewards people who may have worked hard, they say, and it helps keep families united because relatives of the crime victim can also get the papers saying they can stay in America.

Critics of the visa say it has created a legal minefield that is being increasingly played out in courtrooms across the country. They also argue that it is wrong to be writing out so many visas at a time when so many Americans cannot get a job.

Both sides would agree on the curious irony that what could be the worst thing to happen to you, being a crime victim in a land where you are trying to stay under the radar, could actually turn out to be the best thing that could happen to you.

Brazilian Mardoqueu Silva was 21 and had overstayed his tourist visa by four years when he landed a job as a pizza delivery man.

On one delivery he was robbed at gunpoint in a ghetto area. First it was a lone gunman. Then a group of others showed up. Mr Silva handed over all he had, jumped in the car and sped back to the pizzeria and quit the job. His boss called the police, officers drove him back to where the mugging occurred and Mr Silva identified the man with the gun.

The hold-up haunted him. He married another undocumented Brazilian and left San Francisco for the town of Tracy, where he became a hairdresser and spent much of his time listening to customers complaining about 'illegals.'

One day in 2009, the deeply religious Silva was reading the Bible and was struck by the line in Romans 13:1: 'Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities.' He went to the Oakland office of immigration attorney Robert Lewis and declared the illegal status of himself and his wife. They sat and chatted and Mr Lewis fired several questions at Mr Silva, including: Have you ever been a crime victim? 'Actually,' Mr Silva answered, 'I have.' Then the process of applying for the then-new U visa began, reports.

Now Mr Silva attributes his visa to an intervention of God through the U.S. government. He opened a bank account, got his driver's licence and plans to go back to Brazil for the first time in 20 years to see his family. He's also been an offered a job as assistant pastor at a Seventh-Day Adventist church in Jacksonville, Florida, which he's accepted.

The U visa was intended to improve immigrants' unwillingness to call law enforcement. But critics ask why people who broke the law to be here should get legal status for doing what most citizens would do anyway. 'How many Americans are victims of violent crime and don't get squat when the trial is over?' says Richard McCain, who was tried and acquitted for domestic violence against his Mexican-born male partner. 'What does the illegal immigrant get? A chance to live here as an American.'

Some say it's unfair to those who wait abroad for years for visas.

Defence lawyers say some applicants are defrauding the system by taking cases to court they otherwise wouldn't in the hope of getting a visa. 'Getting status in the United States is such a big deal that it really can create an incentive, sometimes just to exaggerate, and sometimes to flat out fabricate,' says Stephanie Wargo, a San Francisco lawyer who handled a sexual assault case in which the complaining witness was applying for a U visa. 'I don't know the solution, but it is a problem.'

One of the criticisms of the programme is that it is too generous in handing out visas. Jessica Vaughan, the director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, a conservative think tank, attacks the provision that says crime victims can apply for a U visa even after they've been officially told they're being deported. 'It's their last-ditch Hail Mary pass to avoid being sent home,' she said.

Victims can get legal status for their spouses and children, even those living in another country. Victims under 21 can sponsor their parents and unmarried siblings under 18. In cases of murder or manslaughter, spouses and children can apply as 'indirect victims,' even if they didn't witness the crime.


Rioting "refugees" on Australian island should be prosecuted

RIOTERS responsible for damaging large sections of the Christmas Island immigration detention centre should face criminal action, the Federal Opposition says. Accommodation marquees and buildings were burnt down during a riot by up to 300 detainees in the past week. Federal Police used tear gas and "bean-bag" bullets to quell the riots.

"Crimes were committed during these past seven days on Christmas Island," Opposition Immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said in Canberra today. "These crimes need to be prosecuted and the consequences need to be imposed." Mr Morrison said anyone involved in the riot should have their applications for asylum suspended immediately.

The call for legal action was backed by Labor MP Kelvin Thompson. "I certainly think that people who behave in that way are not suitable to be permanent residents of Australia," he said.

However, backbench colleague Amanda Rishworth did not go as far. "In terms of the individual cases obviously that's an individual matter that'll be worked through," she said.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said it was up to the Australian Federal Police to decide whether charges should be laid. It was not for government to "make a guess", she said in Canberra. "Police have to go through the proper procedures."

Ms Gillard said she expected the police to investigate the riot on Christmas Island in exactly the same way as they would consider a similar incident in any capital city.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

New British immigration rules to affect Takeaways

I must say that the prospect of having a Brit cook one's food is rather terrifying

The new British immigration rules leading to clamp down on migrant chefs can threaten Britain’s takeaway food industry, said a report in ‘The Guardian’. Immigration minister Damian Green has announced decision to tightens rules on recruiting skilled cooks which closes door to senior care workers, the paper said.

The future of those traditional staples of British cuisine, Indian and Chinese takeaways, have been thrown into doubt by new Home Office restrictions on the overseas recruitment of skilled migrants.

The immigration minister has decided to halt the recruitment from overseas of migrant chefs from outside Europe to work in any establishment that provides a takeaway service. When the Labour government made a similar proposal in 2008 to restrict the influx of skilled cooks and chefs, it provoked a demonstration in London’s Trafalgar Square by thousands of people from the Bangladeshi, Indian, Pakistani, Turkish and Chinese communities.

The change is proposed as part of a package of further immigration restrictions, which will see eight jobs removed from the official shortage occupation list under which skilled migrants from outside Europe can come to work in Britain. The package will reduce the number of jobs open to non-European skilled migrants from 500,000 to 230,000 - fewer than 1% of the UK labour force. About 5,500 skilled migrants who came to the UK in 2010 to work in shortage occupations will be excluded by the new rules.

More than one million jobs were open to skilled non-EU migrants when the government’s migration advisory committee produced its first shortage occupation list in 2008. The eight occupations being removed from the the official shortage list include high-integrity pipe welders, airframe fitters, electricity industry site supervisors, skilled meat boners and trimmers, skilled senior care workers and skilled sheep shearers.

The change means the list will now mainly include skilled engineers, jobs in medical, nursing and veterinary professions, maths and science teachers, visual effects and computer animators and certain ballet / contemporary dancers and musicians. Green said: “”This government is also determined to get people back to work and provide business with the skills they need from the British workforce - reducing the need for migrants at the same time as we reduce their number.”


Letter written by an Arizona teacher is stirring a heated debate about racism and immigration

A letter from a teacher is the latest bombshell in the state's immigration debate. It was read on the Senate floor where five illegal immigration bills were defeated Thursday.

Even though the bills failed, the letter lives on stirring debate and prompting one Valley organization to question the judgment of the senator who read it. It came up during a debate of a bill that would have required schools to check each student’s legal status.

Senator Lori Klein explained many people misinterpreted the bill’s intent. She said they never wanted to deny anyone an education, but rather get a handle on how many students are in the country illegally so Arizona can tally the cost to educate them.

On Friday night Klein told me they simply thought it is important to understand how much federal and state tax dollars are spent on educating undocumented children, “Where is it going and who are we educating and I think that's a fair question I get asked by my constituents,” Klein said.

During her floor speech she read a letter from a person identifying himself as a West Valley substitute teacher. The author’s name is omitted from the letter. He details events that took place in an 8th grade Glendale classroom with "almost all Hispanic and a couple of black children."

He later writes, “Most of them stated they were in the country illegally, White Americans are racist, and that they came here for a better life.”

The author says his wife and children are Hispanic. He says the students were tearing pages out of textbooks, throwing pencils, generally not prepared for class and speaking Spanish in class.

The author, who addressed the letter to Senate President Russell Pearce, wrote, “I asked the students to stop speaking Spanish in class because it was impolite to speak a language in front of people who may not speak that language. Their response was that Americans better learn Spanish and their customs because they are taking their land back from us.“

Tonight I asked Senator Klein why she read the letter. “They apparently had little regard for him, they were rude to him and basically engaging in behavior that isn't appropriate in any school," she told me. "It shows how little regard some of these people have for the education they are getting for free from the American taxpayers, that’s why I read the letter.”

But the letter also included this sentence, “I have found that substitute teaching in these areas most of the Hispanic students do not want to be educated but rather be gang members and gangsters.”

It is statements like that which had people calling Bill Straus, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League. “I’ve gotten e-mails and phone calls throughout the day yes,” Straus told me.

I asked him what people were saying and he replied, “Asking what, if anything, is the Anti-defamation league is going to do. We have a state senator that gets up and reads this hateful pile of trash. I’d be curious to know if there really is a substitute teacher because quite frankly I’ve read a lot of stuff like this.

"Our organization monitors extremist groups, individuals. I’ve seen a lot of things like this, it's not that out of the ordinary. What is out of the ordinary that it gets the credibility of a state senator reading it word for word on the floor of the senate, it’s a disgrace,” Straus said.

Klein stressed that the letter is not her opinion, that she merely was presenting it to show what one teacher says he’s dealing with and that the point of reading it wasn’t to offend but to inform.

“To say that all Hispanics kids don't want to learn is not true,” said Klein. "I was reading that letter verbatim, I did not have time to edit it.” [He said "most", not "all"]

She added that his letter showed that some of some of the things he is experiencing are, “not an anomaly. According to him it’s endemic in certain areas in Phoenix which is very sad. It should be sad because I know there are a lot of wonderful Hispanic families who treasure their kids and their education.”

Klein also said, “Not one of us on the senate floor is racist or has anything other than the hope that people who are here in this country will appreciate what they are in getting in terms of their education to get ahead in life. Do we want people here legally and go through the legal channels? Absolutely! We think that's the right way to handle it, however we are here in this situation where we are educating people and we want to be able to understand exactly to what level and who we are educating and we want to make sure people are actually getting educated.

"We hope they are appreciating the education because if they were to have a pathway to citizenship, which they are, I mean many of these young boys can join the military and be given the ability to become legal citizens, so we certainly want people to be educated.

"This was not a racist thing to find out how many people are being educated, it was a matter of letting the taxpayers know the cost.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Australian government threatens to revoke rioting refugees' visas

Unlikely that they'll have the balls to follow through with the threat, though

THE Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, has warned that 200 asylum seekers involved in violent protests on Christmas Island may have their visas revoked or blocked on character grounds, even if it had already been found they were genuine refugees.

The tough line came as another 70 Australian Federal Police officers were dispatched to the remote island, bringing total police numbers to 188, after two administration buildings and seven tents were burnt down in angry clashes.

The main detention centre is now under the control of police, who were yesterday unable to conduct a headcount and were unsure how many detainees remained at large on Christmas Island. Hundreds of detainees not involved in the violence were expected to be housed in the island's recreation hall, and the Phosphate Hill family detention centre.

Mr Bowen said the situation was "challenging" and condemned the "violent and unacceptable behaviour by an organised group" on Thursday night.

Accelerants, bricks, pavers, concrete, poles and a wheelie bin full of rocks were used by about 200 detainees, wearing cloth over their faces to avoid tear-gas, who advanced on police, the AFP deputy commissioner of national security, Steve Lancaster, said. Another 300 detainees and staff had sought refuge in the gym, but the gym was then attacked by the protesters with rocks, Mr Lancaster said. Police used tear-gas and a "higher volume" of beanbag bullets to restore order, he said.

Mr Bowen said: "Character considerations will be taken into account for those on Christmas Island who have organised and perpetrated this sort of activity." He said the majority of the centre's 1850 detainees were not involved.

After a week of escalating clashes, Mr Bowen said an independent review into security breaches, staffing adequacy and the appropriateness of centre's management company, Serco, and the department's response, will be headed by a former secretary of the Defence Department, Allan Hawke, and a public servant, Helen Williams. The police use of beanbag bullets and tear-gas, will be subject to a separate AFP investigation and the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

The opposition's immigration spokesman, Scott Morrison, said the protesters should have their visa applications suspended. "Those acting up should go to the back of the line," he said.

The Immigration Department is seeking to contact the family of a 20-year-old Afghan man found dead at the Scherger detention centre in Queensland. Protests had also broken out during the week at the Darwin and Curtin detention centres.

The chief executive of the Refugee Council of Australia, Paul Power, said a circuit-breaker was needed, and the unrest "had unfortunately been predicted" amid long processing delays for visas. He was concerned at Mr Bowen's threat that visas may be rejected on character grounds. "We don't know what crimes have been committed and who they have been committed by … many hundreds weren't involved," he said.

A letter was given to all detainees on Thursday that promised security checks would be sped up, and all ASIO checks would be completed by the end of April. The letter said reviewers would be sent to Christmas Island next week to assess rejected claims - only if calm was restored.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said it did not condone the use of violence by asylum seekers, but "remains deeply concerned by the underlying impact of mandatory detention on the psycho-social health and welfare of the many people being held for prolonged periods in isolated parts of Australia".

A refugee advocate, Pamela Curr, said the protests had been sparked by a decision by Serco to lock down roller doors between different parts of the centre last Friday to prevent movement because of a lack of staff.


Business opposition played big role in Arizona Senate’s defeat of bills on illegal immigration

Dozens of Arizona CEOs from hospitals, construction companies and other major businesses joined to turn back new get-tough legislation on illegal immigration, citing worries that emphasis on the issue could hurt the state’s struggling economy and cost jobs.

The result Thursday was something much different from a year ago, when Arizona’s governor enacted a tough local enforcement measure that put the state at the heart of a fierce national debate over the issue. This time, numerous Republican senators joined with Democrats in rejecting bills dealing with health care, government benefits and everyday activities like driving.

Besides business groups’ opposition, others factors came into play: There isn’t an election looming this fall, some GOP senators had never been too enthused by the severity of some of the bills and many lawmakers have simply become tired of the issue.

Getting the clear “vote no” signal from so many major employers provided political cover to lawmakers whose constituents could demand explanations for votes against the bills, said Bill Hart, an analyst for the Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University. “They’ll be able to say the top business CEOs in Arizona were very forcefully against it,” and that packs some punch as the state continues to deal with economic troubles, he said.

Arizona’s approval last year of the get-tough illegal immigration law, known as SB1070, produced protests, boycotts and court fights. The business CEOs cited concerns in a letter hand-delivered to lawmakers on Tuesday that more of the same would come from new legislation, with possible economic fallout to tourism and the hosting of industry conventions.

“They really wanted to go on record letting the legislators know what they needed,” said Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce president Todd Sanders, adding that it wasn’t hard to get business leaders to sign on. “For us the surprise was how fast the replies came back — ‘sign me up.’”

The letter — a joint product of the Phoenix chamber, its statewide counterpart and another business group — said the best answer to the illegal immigration issue is federal action on border security, identity theft, a workable employment verification system and creation of a guest work program. Several senators mentioned the letter during Thursday’s floor session.

Republican legislators had already been saying for months that boosting the Arizona’s economy and fixing the state’s budget troubles were bigger priorities than illegal immigration. “The Legislature and the people ... are also suffering from immigration fatigue,” said Sen. John McComish, a Phoenix Republican who voted against the bills. “We’re totally distracted and it’s divisive.”

Also, specific provisions of the bills defeated Thursday troubled lawmakers. Requiring hospitals to report people being treated if they lack insurance and could not produce documentation of legal status could burden hospitals, some senators said.

Others questioned whether two of the five bills, which were aimed at forcing a U.S. Supreme Court ruling against automatic citizenship for U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants, would produce the desired result.

Business lobbying on the issue included reminding lawmakers of commitments made last fall that economic development and fixing the state budget would be the big priorities for this year’s session, Sanders said.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Eight in ten new jobs in Britain have gone to foreign workers during past year

More than 80 per cent of the jobs created last year were taken by people who were not born in this country, official figures revealed yesterday. In 2010, employment rose by 210,000 compared with the previous year, but 173,000 jobs went to those born in countries from Poland to Pakistan. Only 39,000 of the new jobs – less than one in five of the total – were taken by people born in Britain.

Sir Andrew Green, from the think-tank MigrationWatch, said: ‘These numbers point out the importance of controlling foreign immigration and of driving up the skills of British workers and the incentives for them to take the jobs.’

Overall, the employment figures painted a bleak picture of a jobs market struggling to recover from a deep recession and facing a faltering recovery. Graeme Leach, chief economist at the Institute of Directors, said: ‘This is the jobless and joyless recovery.’

The figures, published by the Office for National Statistics, showed that unemployment rose to a 17-year high of 2.53million, with an extra 27,000 people joining the search for work between November and January. But the claimant count, which measures those receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance, dropped by 10,200 to 1.45million.

Employment dropped among most age groups, but the number aged 65 and over with a job continued to rise sharply, increasing by 56,000 to a record 900,000. The figures show youth unemployment hit another all-time high, with the number of 16 to 24-year-olds out of work rising by 30,000 to 974,000.


Illegal migrants to Britain paid £2,000 to go home... but can ask to come back in two years

Illegal immigrants ‘bribed’ thousands of pounds to leave the country will be allowed to apply to return after just two years, it emerged last night. The amount of time before they can re-apply for entry is being reduced from the current five-year minimum. Critics said the combination of payouts and swift returns could amount to a ‘fare-paid holiday at taxpayers’ expense’.

The new rules will apply to illegal immigrants who have entered the country without permission, failed asylum seekers and visa overstayers. It is estimated there are around one million currently in Britain and over the past two years nearly 10,000 have taken advantage of departure handouts.

The biggest payouts are to failed asylum seekers who can claim up to £1,500 in ‘reintegration assistance’ including a cash ‘relocation grant’ of £500. Asylum seekers with children can claim up to £2,000 per person. Last year the cost of running the scheme and making the payments totalled £16million – excluding payments to other illegal migrants, who can receive up to £1,000 worth of assistance.

However there are fears the changes could see many migrants returning despite having already benefited from a taxpayer-funded scheme.

To qualify for the new rules they will have to leave within six months of the date of their final legal appeal. But this definition of a ‘prompt’ departure means many could still have been here for many years before leaving.

Migrants who refuse to leave and have to be kicked out will still face a ten-year ban on applying to re-enter the country. And those who take longer than six months to leave voluntarily will still be banned from returning for five years. All those who apply to return will have to qualify for a visa.

Sir Andrew Green, chairman of the MigrationWatch think-tank, said: ‘This is a bizarre idea that has appeared completely out of the blue. It could well amount to a fare-paid holiday at taxpayers’ expense. Those few illegal immigrants who are removed should stay removed.’

Last night ministers defended the policy shift, saying it would act as an incentive for migrants to leave more quickly. Officials also pointed to savings made in the costs of immigration detention and support and the forcible removal of migrants.

Immigration minister Damian Green said: ‘It is much better value for the taxpayer if we can get people who have no right to be here to leave voluntarily. ‘Overall it’s good news all round. It means they’re in this country for a shorter period of time, which is good for confidence in the immigration system, and it saves money, so that’s why we’re reducing the number of years for which they are subsequently banned for having been here illegally in the first place.

‘We expect those with no right to be in the country to leave voluntarily. Where we need to enforce someone’s return they will still be subject to an automatic ten-year ban on re-entering the UK. ‘Anyone applying for a UK visa will have to meet our strict immigration rules and their immigration history will be taken into account.’

The announcement came as ministers unveiled measures to encourage migrant millionaires. Those who invest £5million will be allowed to settle here after just three years. A £10million cash injection will mean a fast-track visa after just two years.

Mr Green has also announced a new access route for ‘exceptionally talented’ migrants. Up to 1,000 visas will be available for brilliant individuals such as artists and scientists.