Saturday, April 30, 2011

Strict Immigration Laws 'Save Denmark Billions'

Denmark's strict immigration laws have saved the country billions in benefits, a government report has claimed. The Integration Ministry report has now led to calls among right-wing populists to clamp down further on immigrants to increase the savings.

The extremely strict laws have dramatically reduced the flow of people into Denmark in recent years, and many government figures are delighted with the outcome. "Now that we can see that it does matter who comes into the country, I have no scruples in further restricting those who one can suspect will be a burden on Denmark," the center-right liberal integration minister, Søren Pind, told the Jyllands Posten newspaper.

Pind was talking after the ministry's report -- initiated by the right-wing populist Danish People's Party (DPP) -- came to the conclusion that by tightening immigration laws, Denmark has saved €6.7 billion ($10 billion) over the last 10 years, money which otherwise would supposedly have been spent on social benefits or housing. According to the figures, migrants from non-Western countries who did manage to come to Denmark have cost the state €2.3 billion, while those from the West have actually contributed €295 million to government coffers.

'Restrictions Pay Off'

The report has led to jubilation among right-wing politicians: "We now have it in black and white that restrictions (on immigrants) pay off," said DPP finance spokesman Kristian Thulesen Dahl. The DPP will almost certainly exploit the figures in future negotiations over the Danish economy.

But the report has sparked outrage from opposition parties like the centrist Social Liberal Party, which dismissed it as undignified and discriminatory. The party's integration spokeswoman, Marianne Jelved, said: "A certain group of people is being denounced and being blamed for our deficit, being made into whipping boys." She added: "We cannot classify people depending on their value to the economy. That is degrading in a democracy that has a basic value of equality."

Still, the announcement has not come as surprise. The right-wing populist DPP, which has been working with the ruling center-right coalition government of Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen since 2001, has in the past made its aims very clear: a complete halt to immigration into Denmark from non-Western countries. "A Somali who is no good for anything, that is simply not acceptable," said DPP leader Pia Kjærsgaard. Similarly, center-right liberal Prime Minister Rasmussen has also said anyone who would be a burden on Denmark is not welcome in the country.

Right-wing populists have even demanded a ban on satellite dishes so that TV stations like al-Jazeera and Al Arabiya cannot be beamed into Danish living rooms. There have also been suggestions to exempt migrants from the minimum wage -- supposedly to make it easier for foreigners to gain access to the labor market.

The small Scandinavian country already has the strictest immigration and asylum laws in Europe. For example, foreign couples are only allowed to marry if both partners are at least 24 years old. The number of asylum seekers and relatives of immigrants seeking entry into Denmark dropped by more than two-thirds within nine years as a result of the tough laws.

A Decisive Issue in Denmark

But things may soon get pushed even further. Elections are due to be held this fall, and the ruling parties apparently want to put forward even stricter rules, driven by the xenophobic rhetoric of the right-wing populists. In polls, the approval ratings of more liberal politicians have fallen, and the opposition center-left Social Democrats have promised not to change current immigration laws if they win the election. Immigration will always be a big issue in Denmark -- almost 10 percent of Denmark's 5.5 million people are migrants -- and the issue was a decisive one in the last election, in 2007.

In November, the government agreed to stricter laws and made the entry of immigrants' spouses more difficult. Only those who collect enough "points" may come to Denmark in the future -- with points being determined by factors such as academic qualifications and proof of language proficiency. In addition, the equivalent of €13,000 must be deposited with the state in the form of a bank guarantee to cover any future public assistance. Socially deprived areas with a disproportionately high number of immigrants will be subject in future to a so-called "ghetto strategy" designed to prevent high concentrations of foreigners in public housing areas. Migrants will be assigned housing, and three-year-old children who do not speak Danish well enough will be required to attend state child care.

Some immigrants have already turned their back on Denmark voluntarily. Increasing numbers of Somalis are moving away, especially to the UK, the Jyllands Posten reported on Thursday, because of discrimination.


MA: Immigration program comes under fire

Critics of a program that will allow federal authorities to check the immigration status of all criminal suspects in Massachusetts clashed here last night with a smaller number of supporters of the initiative.

The program, called Secure Communities, is active on a pilot basis in Boston and is scheduled to be implemented nationwide in 2013. Under the program, fingerprints of all suspects arrested in the state will be sent to the US Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Detainees could face deportation if they are in the United States illegally.

But more than 200 activists blasted the program last night at a forum hosted by Governor Deval Patrick’s administration at Chelsea High School, saying it will result in the deportation of immigrants who do not have violent criminal records, among other pitfalls.

“It’s unfair,’’ Franklin Peralta, 33, of Jamaica Plain said before the meeting. “There are laws in place already to deport serious criminals. This is deporting innocent people.’’

But Christen Varley, president of the Greater Boston Tea Party, said the program targets dangerous felons, which critics are not acknowledging.

“These people here today don’t understand the distinction’’ between the targeted felons and the rest of the immigrant population, she said. “It’s not in their interest to have criminals running around either.’’

The Patrick administration has held a series of meetings in communities around the state to discuss the program. Passions ran high in the lobby of the school before last night’s meeting, as opponents chanted slogans including, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, deportation has got to go,’’ and held signs protesting the program.

The mood during the meeting was equally charged, as spectators repeatedly booed when Mary Beth Heffernan, the state’s public safety secretary, and Curtis Wood, another state public safety official, discussed the program.

Tempers flared during the public comment period when supporters and opponents traded barbs and shouted each other down. The topic is especially poignant in Chelsea, which is a sanctuary city, meaning local authorities cannot ask residents about their immigration status.

Robert Cappucci, 40, of Medford said he backs Secure Communities and said of the illegal immigrants living in the country, “all 12 million of them are criminals.’’

“My best friend died eight years ago because illegal immigrants brought illegal drugs into this country,’’ he said, prompting a round of boos and catcalls. “The law must be obeyed.’’

The boos turned to cheers moments later when Lyn Meza, 65, of Chelsea said the program will harm cities and towns in the state. “It’s an attack on our community,’’ she shouted into the microphone.

Immigrant rights activists said they fear the program will discourage immigrants from reporting crime and increase racial profiling.

Heffernan said that law enforcement officials around the state have acknowledged that profiling is a problem and that training programs have been launched to combat the issue.

Gladys Vega — executive director of the Chelsea Collaborative, which advocates for immigrant rights — said Secure Communities will lead to profiling, mistrust of local police, and less crime being reported. “Governor Patrick should opt out’’ of the program, she said before the meeting. A program like this, she added, will take local police cooperation a step backward.


Friday, April 29, 2011

Australia's rejection of "asylum seeker" claims stokes detention centre unrest

IMMIGRATION officials have begun delivering a fresh round of rejections to detainees on Christmas Island, sparking concerns of more unrest.

A detainee who received one of the rejections this week sewed his lips together. A fellow detainee was found pacing the detention centre with razors in his mouth.

The Australian has been told that the Immigration Department is in the process of handing down about 200 decisions to asylum-seekers on Christmas Island and, in keeping with recent rejection rates, many of them will be what are termed "negatives".

Yesterday, protests and disputes continued at Villawood and the island's family camp but federal police and guards succeeded in ending a three-day rooftop protest at the Christmas Island detention centre by locking more than 1000 fellow detainees in their compounds on Wednesday night.

The men on the roof were told that the centre would remain "in lockdown" until they came down. The standoff lasted about four hours before the six men used a ladder left by guards to climb down, The Australian has been told.

"They got told that the others locked in their rooms would be really angry with them if they kept up their protest because as long as they stayed up there no one would be allowed out in the fresh air," one centre worker said.

Centre manager Serco took the step after West Australian Premier Colin Barnett urged the federal and NSW governments to send in police to get detainees off rooftops at Villawood and Christmas Island.

Yesterday two Iraqi men in the Perth immigration detention centre were receiving medical checks after guards intervened to stop them acting on threats to kill themselves.

It emerged yesterday that by February this year, the incidence of self-harm inside Australia's immigration detention centres was already more than four times higher than last financial year.

The number of self-harm attempts in immigration detention was the highest since 2003-04 and surpassed the 2002-03 total of 182, one of the worst years for self-harm attempts.

Responding to questions on notice from Senate estimate hearings in February, Immigration head Andrew Metcalfe revealed that, as of the end of February, there were 186 incidents of self-harm across the network this financial year.

Since then there have been numerous suicide attempts and protests that have resulted in serious incidents of self harm.

The figures came as Mr Metcalfe also revealed there were 46 full-time mental health staff at mainland detention centres, with three facilities in Perth and Brisbane having no available staff on-site.


Texas Senate pushes immigration checks by cops

The Texas Senate has approved a bill that would require law enforcement agencies to run anyone arrested through a federal immigration enforcement program.

The Secure Communities program identifies immigrants who could be deported because of their immigration status and is just one of several provisions in the bill approved by the Senate Thursday. The program is already used county jails.

The bill by Republican Sen. Tommy Williams would also require proof of U.S. citizenship to obtain or renew a driver's license if the information hasn't been previously provided.

Williams said that's because a license no longer just gives permission to drive, but serves as a secure form of ID.

The bill contains an additional $8 fee for a driver's license that will go toward improving outdated technology and inadequate staffing.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

States unmoved by SB 1070 backlash

In the year since Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signed the nation's toughest immigration measure into law, Arizona has been besieged by protests, boycotts and a barrage of negative headlines - not to mention a lawsuit from the Obama administration.

But that hasn't deterred a handful of other states from following Arizona's lead.

The Justice Department sued over the law, prompting a federal judge to block the most controversial parts of Arizona's SB 1070 before they could take effect, a decision upheld by an appellate court earlier this month.

While those rulings may have convinced many states to abandon similar Arizona-style immigration bills this session, others are plowing ahead with their own legislation targeting illegal immigrants.

Their message is simple: If Washington won't fix the broken immigration system and secure the border, states will.

The Florida House is weighing a bill that would allow local law enforcement to check the immigration status of people who are under investigation or who they suspect are in the country illegally.

In Alabama, the House and Senate are reconciling bills that would give state and local police broad authority to check the citizenship of people stopped for other reasons. The South Carolina Senate approved similar legislation. And Georgia GOP Gov. Nathan Deal is expected to sign a similar immigration bill that recently cleared the legislature.

"This is a critically important issue that we felt needed to be dealt with this year," said state Rep. Matt Ramsey, a Peachtree City Republican who wrote the Georgia bill. "The day that we stop addressing tough issues because of threats from the ACLU is the day that we've completely abdicated our responsibility as state policymakers."

The American Civil Liberties Union, one of a handful of groups that sued Arizona last year to block the law from taking effect, has vowed to legally challenge states that attempt to pass so-called "copycat" immigration legislation. And other SB 1070 opponents are warning cash-strapped states that they'll have to dig deep into their coffers to defend the laws.

"It's rather stunning when you think about it: These states will have to deal with lawsuits. They will have to spend millions of dollars defending these laws in court. They're going to bear the brunt in the loss of reputation and tourism and convention dollars," said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, an immigration advocacy group based in Washington, D.C.

In the wake of SB 1070's enactment, cities and organizations across the country signed on to an economic boycott of Arizona. Groups, including the Service Employees International Union and the National Association of Legal Professionals, announced they wouldn't set foot in Arizona, while the National Urban League nixed its 2012 conference in Phoenix.

A study last fall, commissioned by the liberal Center for American Progress and conducted by respected Arizona economist Elliott D. Pollack, found that the Grand Canyon State lost more than $140 million from canceled conventions and conferences.

But Ramsey argued that the financial burden of providing health care and public education to illegal immigrants is much heavier. He cited a report by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, an anti-immigration group, that said Georgia schools pays $1.5 billion each year to educate K-12 undocumented children. The study, however, included U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants, who are technically citizens.

"We in the states are struggling financially to deal with this crushing burden that's being placed on us by the federal government's complete and total abdication of their responsibility to secure the nation's borders," Ramsey said.

Brewer signed SB 1070 into law on April 23, 2010, against the backdrop of the politically charged 2010 campaign, an act that transformed the GOP governor overnight into a national hero of the right and the chief villain of Hispanic and pro-immigration groups.

President Barack Obama dismissed the law as "misguided," and his Justice Department sued last July to stop it, arguing that immigration enforcement falls under the power of the federal government, not states.

A federal district judge ruled that several of the law's most controversial provisions - including one requiring police to check the citizenship status of anyone suspected of being an illegal immigrant, and another making it a state crime to be in the country illegally - were unconstitutional. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that decision earlier this month.

But Brewer has stood her ground, counter-suing the federal government for failing to secure the border and vowing to take her fight to the Supreme Court.

In a statement marking the one-year anniversary of SB 1070, Brewer said national support for the legislation has been strong, measured by public polls and nearly $4 million in private donations for the law's legal defense fund. Arizona's actions - and the national attention that followed - have put pressure on Obama to secure the border and prompted his decision last May to deploy 1,200 National Guard troops to the Southwest border, Brewer said.

"Arizona has been more than patient in waiting for Washington to take concrete steps to stem the flow of illegal immigration," Brewer said. "After decades of federal inaction and misguided policy, I and the Legislature had no choice but to stand up for the rule of law and the citizens of this great country. Arizona is willing to do the job that the federal government won't do."

Obama administration officials have argued that the border is safer than ever, noting that border patrol apprehensions - a key indicator for illegal immigration activity - are down significantly, and seizures of illegal currency, drugs and weapons are up.

Last week at the White House, the president showed renewed interest in comprehensive immigration reform, challenging key stakeholders to help him pass a plan that would beef up border security and offer a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

"There's no reason why we shouldn't be able to achieve a system that is fair, is equitable, is an economic engine for America that helps the people who are already here get acculturated, and make sure that our laws aren't being broken but we're still true to our traditions," Obama said during a stop in California last week.
The courts ultimately will settle the constitutionality debate - and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) predicted they'll confirm the law "is unconstitutional, it's unfair, it's prejudiced, it's biased and it is un-American," he told hundreds of pro-immigration activists after leading an anti-SB 1070 march last weekend at the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix.

Other states are heeding that warning. Already this legislative session, similar immigration bills have failed in at least 10 states, including California, Kansas, Nebraska and New Hampshire. Utah passed an omnibus immigration bill that couples strict Arizona-style measures with a guest worker program - a provision that prompted House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) to urge the Justice Department to sue the state.

Meanwhile, states pressing forward with anti-immigration legislation are studying the legal pitfalls that have ensnared the Arizona law, ensuring they don't suffer a similar fate.

Last week, the Alabama Senate passed a bill that would require police officers to verify someone's immigration status when they stop them for another infraction, if they have suspicion that person is in the country illegally. The bill also would make it illegal to employ, harbor or transport an illegal immigrant, and would require businesses with more than 25 employees to use the federal E-Verify online system to check the immigration status of workers.

The House-passed bill is similar but would only require businesses to use E-Verify if they receive state contracts or grants.

With lawsuits on the horizon, Republican Gov. Robert Bentley urged House and Senate negotiators to iron out their differences and send him legislation that will withstand legal scrutiny.

"We need a bill that's not only strong but one that's defendable," Bentley said, according to the Birmingham News. "If it goes to court, we'll have to defend it."


Obama blasts Ga. bill targeting illegal immigrants

President Barack Obama called Georgia’s Arizona-style immigration enforcement bill "a mistake,” possibly setting the stage for a showdown between Georgia and the federal government.

Opponents of Georgia’s House Bill 87 said they were glad to see the president weigh in against the legislation, but they want the Obama administration to go further and challenge it in court. At the same time, supporters said the state needs to act because the federal government has failed to do enough about illegal immigration.

Both sides expect the measure, which authorizes local police to investigate suspected illegal immigrants, to wind up in court. Opponents say they are drafting a lawsuit to block HB 87. Gov. Nathan Deal's office confirmed Wednesday the governor would sign it during the first two weeks of May.

Obama addressed HB 87 in an interview with WSB-TV this week. He defended the federal government’s efforts to curb illegal immigration and said “comprehensive immigration reform” is the better way to go. “It is a mistake for states to try to do this piecemeal,” he said of Georgia’s measure. “We can’t have 50 different immigration laws around the country. Arizona tried this, and a federal court already struck them down.”

The author of HB 87 -- Republican Rep. Matt Ramsey of Peachtree City -- said Georgia has been forced to take action because the federal government has failed. Illegal immigrants, Ramsey said in statement, are sapping Georgia's taxpayer-funded resources.

"We simply cannot afford to wait on solutions from Washington, D.C.," Ramsey said in response to the president.. "We will continue to take decisive and necessary action as a state to enforce the rule of law and protect our citizens from the problems posed by the federal government’s failure to live up to its most basic responsibility to secure our nation’s borders."

Adelina Nicholls, executive director of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, was glad to hear the president’s comments. But she wants the Obama administration to get tougher.

A Justice Department spokeswoman said this week she had no comment on whether her agency plans to sue to block Georgia's HB 87 as it has done with a similar law Arizona enacted last year.

On Wednesday, a spokesman for Deal said Georgia plans to work cooperatively with the federal government. Deal, for example, would like to see an immigration enforcement program expanded in Georgia that partners local and federal authorities in illegal immigration crackdowns, the governor’s spokesman said. “We'd welcome a meeting with the president about that,” said Deal spokesman, Brian Robinson.

The Obama administration sued to block Arizona's law last year, arguing such enforcement is for federal authorities . A federal judge sided with the White House and put some elements of Arizona's law on hold. Arizona appealed that decision. A federal appeals court recently upheld the lower court's decision, keeping much of the law on hold pending the outcome of the federal lawsuit.

Arizona has lost dozens of conventions to boycotts after enacting its law. One estimate puts the cost of canceled convention bookings alone at $141 million in Arizona.

Fearing similar fallout, the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau Wednesday announced its executive committee will meet Friday to pass a resolution opposing Georgia's measure. William Pate, the organization’s president, is concerned HB 87 could damage the region’s $10 billion travel and tourism industry.

Other opponents of HB 87 are ratcheting up their pressure on Deal to veto the bill. Some are hanging up banners in Atlanta that are critical of the measure. Others are planning to rally against the legislation Sunday morning outside the state Capitol.

Julio Penaranda, general manager of the Plaza Fiesta mall on Buford Highway in DeKalb County, said he has noticed an impact at his shopping center, which mostly includes Hispanic-owned stores. He and other businessmen say Hispanics fearful of the crackdown have stopped shopping. Some are fleeing the state, they said.

“We have seen a slight increase in sales this year, but as soon as this bill was passed, that has dropped,” Penaranda said. “So we are back to levels of sales that we saw when the recession was just starting to come in.”

Immigration crackdown

Gov. Nathan Deal said he plans to sign a sweeping immigration law next month that would:

* Require Georgia businesses with more than 10 employees to use the federal E-Verify program to determine whether their new hires are eligible to work in the United States.

* Empower local and state police to arrest illegal immigrants and transport them to state and federal jails.

* Punish people who use fake identification to get a job in Georgia with up to 15 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines.

* Penalize people who — while committing another crime — knowingly transport or harbor illegal immigrants or encourages them to come to Georgia. First-time offenders would face imprisonment for up to 12 months and up to $1,000 in fines.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Africans don't change their spots

Whether in Africa, America, Jamaica, Haiti or in Britain, Africans are characterized by stratospheric rates of violent crime. In recent years, Australia has taken in refugees from Somalia and Sudan -- to a total of about 40,000 people. Very surprisingly, a police chief from the State of Victoria proclaimed a little while ago that the crime rate among Africans in her jurisdiction was unexceptional. Subsequent information suggests that she was lying.

When the police lie, however, how are we to know what is the case? We cannot. But the following list of incidents compiled by Andrew Bolt suggests that Africans in Australia are no different from Africans elsewhere. Remember that these incidents come from a very small community of only 40,000 people and that police rarely mention race where Africans are involved. Usually, it is only when the crime cases come to court that we get information that identifies the criminal as African

From Melbourne yesterday: "Two policemen were pelted with bottles when they went to break up the latest brawl at Braybrook ... Police were investigating whether the incident was related to a brawl the night before at a 'kickback party' for the Miss South Sudan Australia beauty pageant."

Darwin last weekend: "Two teenage boys were wounded with a machete while a third was beaten unconscious ... The attackers were described as being of African appearance."

Toongabbie, April 18: "An elderly motorist escaped unharmed after his moving vehicle was pelted with rocks ... The driver reported seeing three males aged 13 to 14 of African appearance."

Adelaide, April 15: "A Marden woman has been indecently assaulted ... Police described the suspect as of African appearance."

Adelaide, April 15: "Detectives ... are investigating a sexual assault that is alleged to have occurred in a toilet of a city nightclub ... by a male ... of African appearance."

Shepparton, April 15: "Three armed men terrorised two staff members in a brazen attack at a fast food restaurant ... Police are looking for three men ... of African appearance."

Melbourne, April 13: "A man was stabbed in the head during an altercation with two other men ... believed to be of African appearance."

Dandenong, April 11: "Two men ... were approached by four males, one of whom struck the 25 year old man across the head with a baseball bat ... The man armed with the baseball bat is of African appearance."

Melbourne, April 10: "Police said a group of 15 men ... was walking home from a party ... (A) second group ... set upon the party-goers leaving two men with serious stab wounds ... The aggressors were of African appearance."

Melbourne, April 6: "A 24-year-old man was ... stabbed him in the shoulder with a knife ... His attacker is ... of African appearance."

Canberra, April 2: "A 19-year-old man (was) stabbed in the abdomen ... The offender (took) the victim's mobile phone. The offender is described as being African in appearance."


North African refugees mass at the Paris gateway to Britain

Desperate immigrants fleeing the chaos in North Africa are massing around the Eurostar terminal in Paris – prompting fears that they will head for Britain. Most are refugees from the recent revolution in Tunisia and the continuing conflict in Libya who have arrived in Europe via Italy.

Up to 1,000 North Africans have set up temporary home in squares surrounding the Gare du Nord, from which fast trains reach the UK in less than two hours. Almost all are complaining about harassment from the French authorities. They say their hopes of finding accommodation and jobs in France are next to nil.

President Nicolas Sarkozy has pledged to do all he can to get rid of the migrants. Some 25,000 North Africans have arrived in Italy by sea since the start of ‘the Arab Spring’ and many then moved on to France.

Paris has accused Rome of abusing the Schengen open-borders treaty, which allows free movement of people between 25 countries in Europe, by issuing travel documents to migrants fleeing North Africa.

Some of the others in Paris are illegal immigrants who may pay people smugglers up to a £1,000-a-head to make the journey to Britain, where they can claim asylum or else disappear into the black economy.

‘It may be our only hope,’ said Hamadi Trikki, a 19-year-old Tunisian who travelled by boat to Italy and then by train. ‘Many of us believed that France would offer us a future because we speak French and have family here, but the French do not want to help us.

‘We were treated as heroes during our Jasmine Revolution but now we are unwanted. People are already offering us passages to England.’ Mr Trikki was speaking from a makeshift camp on the Jemmapes quay in Paris, where charity workers were dishing out soup to some 400 migrants.

Another camp, at Porte de Villette, has Tunisian flags at the entrance. The 300 residents complain daily about the lack of food and threats from the police. Khalid, a 27-year-old Tunisian, said: ‘We know that the English supported the Jasmine Revolution, and that they are also fighting for freedom in Libya by bombing Gaddafi.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Australian Government toughens rules on asylum-seeker character test

ASYLUM-seekers who commit offences while in detention will be barred from gaining permanent protection in Australia but will still be allowed to live in the country under temporary visas.

Amid growing violence and unrest in detention centres across the country, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen has announced a toughening of the character test to encourage better behaviour among asylum-seekers.

Under the proposed legislation, asylum-seekers convicted of an offence in detention will be prevented from permanently settling in Australia and bringing family members to join them.

Penalties for those possessing or making weapons would also be increased to five years in prison.

The changes would be backdated to today, meaning those involved in recent uprisings at detention centres, but who are yet to be charged, would face the new character test.

“These changes send a clear message to anyone considering engaging in unacceptable behaviour in immigration detention that this will only increase their chances of not being granted a visa,” Mr Bowen said. “This will apply to all people in immigration detention: onshore and offshore arrivals, asylum-seekers, or otherwise.”

However, Mr Bowen admitted those found guilty of offences could not simply be deported. He said a temporary protection visa, akin to those used under the Howard government, would still be available to those found guilty of offences.

“The one thing I'm indicating is that of course we will not (remove) people to where they will be in danger, but there are a range of options available to me including temporary visas, which are less attractive,” he told ABC radio.

The government will rely on support from the opposition to have the legislation passed.

The Gillard government has been struggling to maintain control of immigration centres amid ballooning detainee numbers and a massive processing backlog.

Protests at Villawood detention centre last week left buildings destroyed by fire, while rioting Christmas Island detainees razed facilities last month.

The announcement came as three detainee protesters maintained their vigil on the rooftop of Sydney's Villawood detention centre into a sixth straight day, and after reports a man on Christmas Island had stitched his lips together.

A hunger strike at Western Australia's Curtin detention centre has also continued into a third day while protest groups have rallied against mandatory detention and the treatment of detainees outside Maribyrnong Immigration Detention Centre in Victoria and at Villawood in Sydney.


Recent posts at CIS below

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

1. The Mormon Church and Illegal Immigration (Backgrounder)

2. Mark Krikorian Debates Birthright Citizenship on CNN (Video)

3. A Misleading Article on Illegal Aliens and Income Tax Payments (Blog)

4. Insecuring the Border (Blog)

5. Angels Dancing on Pins and the Meaning of Moral Turpitude (Blog)

6. GAO Updates Cost of Criminal Aliens (Blog)

7. Deconstructing the New York Times

8. Firm on CIS 'Taking Names' List Zapped Again for Labor Practices (Blog)

9. Father of Earth Day on Population and Immigration (Blog)

10. Failure of Imagination (Blog)

11. Montana Adopts Legal-Presence Requirement of REAL ID Act (Blog)

12. Brookings Holds Spirited Debate on Dream Act Variations (Blog)

13. Agents Speak Out Against 'No Apprehension' Policy (Blog)

14. White House Tries to Calm the Waters (Blog)

15. The Regrettable Demise of the Journal 'People and Place' (Blog)

16. 61% of Americans Oppose Birthright Citizenship for Children of Illegal Aliens (Blog)

17. Immigration Activist Warns of 'Civil War' (Blog)

18. BIA Exposes Weakness in Immigration-Through-Marriage Law (Blog)

19. Framing the Discussion on Univision (Blog)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Border Patrol agent being persecuted for doing his job

In what appears to be yet another case of the Mexican Government orchestrating a fake crime against one of their drug smuggling criminals hauling dope into the U.S., Border Patrol Agent Jesus Diaz, a 7-year Border Patrol veteran, was convicted in Federal Court on February 24 of one count of excessive force (under color of law) and 5 counts of lying to Internal Affairs.

He is facing a maximum of 35 years in prison when he is sentenced in November. Meanwhile, he’s been in jail since the verdict nearly two months ago. He’s in solitary confinement 23 hours per day for his safety. So far, the judge has refused to allow bond while Diaz awaits sentencing.

This latest prosecution against a U.S. border agent stems from an October 2008 incident near the Rio Grande River in Eagle Pass, TX where Diaz and several other agents responded to illegal aliens who had crossed the river into Texas with bundles of drugs.

Agents apprehended the aliens and as Diaz was getting ready to put one of the aliens in the truck for transport, he allegedly pulled on his handcuffs, a common law enforcement technique to get suspects to cooperate. It was 1:30 in the morning and Diaz and the other agents were trying to find the drugs brought over by the suspects and determine if any other cartel smugglers were hiding in the bushes nearby. The suspect refused to answer their questions. They eventually found the drugs and all were taken to the station for processing.

Agent Diaz’ wife is also an agent, Field Operations Supervisor (FOS) Diana Diaz, and she is now speaking out about what she calls a travesty of justice. This case was brought by the infamous U.S. Attorney in West Texas, Johnny Sutton, known for his extremely aggressive and controversial prosecution of Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean back in 2006. Sutton left office in 2009, but his chief deputy took over and prosecuted this case, once again at the demands of the Mexican Government.

Diaz was tried in September 2010, but the case ended in a mistrial. The DOJ tried the case again in February 2011 and this time they got their conviction, even though federal agent witnesses admitted they had lied to a grand jury. The judge did not allow the fact that they had committed perjury into the second trial.


USA sends criminal Haitians back to Haiti

Where Haiti takes a dim view of them too

"The U.S. deportation policy applies to noncitizens who receive sentences of a year or more in jail. An estimated 700 Haitians are slated for deportation this year, said Barbara Gonzalez of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

"The United States cannot deport anyone if there would be a violation of their right to life, or their right to family life, especially if they have children, and their right to fair trial and due process," said Sunita Patel, an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Although these individuals have served, the their entire sentence in the U.S., they are systematically detained upon arrival in Haiti, even if they are not wanted in this country. Harycidas Auguste, Government Commissioner, acknowledged that detaining deportees "is against Haitian law, which requires speedy processing of suspects and bans the jailing of Haitians who completed sentences in other countries [...] The detentions are completely illegal and arbitrary."

However, Aramick Louis, the secretary of state for public safety, defends and justifies the policy of the Government of Haiti "We can't consider these people to be saints; we have to consider them as they are... We have to control them on some level." It should be noted that these people are released once their families have been identified "Once released, most ex-detainees trying to find a job teaching English or using skills they picked up in the U.S." declared a government official who handles the issue.

There are few support services for the deportees has indicated Michelle Karshan who runs Alternative Chance, a small organization that has worked in this area for a decade. "It's not a popular subject, and after the earthquake even less so [...] because it's adult criminals from the States, it's not a poor peasant child..." Alternative Chance provides a variety of services, including job training and conflict resolution, but Karshan acknowledges that it cannot replace government services.

Still unemployed since his return this year, a deportee explains that he struggles to find his way in Port-au-Prince, where he lives with an aunt. He left a pregnant girlfriend behind in the U.S. and regrets that he won't be able to raise the child. He said he considered suicide... "This deportation has been a downfall for me"


Sunday, April 24, 2011

California's criminal alien population rises

The number of criminal aliens incarcerated in California rose to 102,795 in 2009, a 17 percent increase since 2003, federal auditors reported Thursday.

This isn't cheap. Nationwide, the Government Accountability Office reports, it costs well over $1.1 billion a year for states to imprison criminal aliens -- those who committed a crime after entering the United States illegally. California, moreover, is more expensive than other states. GAO auditors estimated California spends $34,000 to incarcerate a criminal alien for one year; in Texas, it's only $12,000.

The audit, requested by Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, will provide ammunition for states' perennial effort to secure more federal reimbursement dollars.

More than one in four of the illegal immigrants imprisoned in California are behind bars for drug offenses. Many are also repeat offenders. GAO auditors say that, based on a survey, criminal alien inmates have been arrested an average of seven different times.


Riots among illegals ongoing in Australia

This is excellent. It gives publicity to the fact that illegals are often not granted residency and are locked up for long periods. It is the publicity from just such riots that put a stop to illegals coming during the term of the previous conservative government

Three protesters remain on the roof of Sydney's Villawood Detention Centre, as detainees stage a sit-in and go on a hunger strike at Western Australia's Curtin facility. Two of the trio at Villawood have been on the roof since Wednesday morning, the same day a riot involving up to 100 detainees broke out leaving nine buildings gutted by fire.

Twenty-two of those protesters were transferred to Silverwater Correctional Centre, where they were questioned by Australian Federal Police.

On Sunday morning, three detainees were still on the detention centre's roof, protesting against the rejection of their asylum applications.

"They are being negotiated with. Currently, the Australian Federal Police are in charge of the negotiations," a Department of Immigration and Citizenship spokeswoman told AAP on Sunday morning. "They have asked to speak to department staff. We are prepared to meet them, if they come down from the roof."

Meanwhile, Social Justice Network spokesman Jamal Daoud has complained of mistreatment by police. Well known for speaking out on behalf of refugees and detainees, Mr Daoud said he was handcuffed and forced to kneel after an argument with police on Saturday afternoon at the centre.

He said he was taken to Bankstown police station and later released with a $350 fine. "The police officers were acting with deep hate, disregard to basic civil rights," he alleged.

In Western Australia, refugee advocate Ian Rintoul said a hunger strike and sit-in involving around 300 detainees at Curtin Airbase detention centre, in the state's remote West Kimberley region, was expected to escalate. Their protest over visitors being prevented from going to the centre over the Easter weekend began on Saturday morning, Mr Rintoul said.

"The asylum seekers are asking that they be allowed to see refugee supporters, who have travelled from Perth and cities to see them over the Easter weekend," Mr Rintoul said in a statement on Sunday. "Serco (the centre's management company) have insisted that only one-on-one visits will be allowed, an arrangement that will only allow about 50 asylum seekers to see a visitor."


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Prove You're Here Legally Before Getting Gov’t Services, Voters Say

Most voters in the United States want stricter enforcement of immigration laws, and a vast majority say people should be required to prove they are in the country legally before receiving any federal, state or local services, according to a new poll.

“Before anyone receives local, state or federal government services, should they be required to prove they are legally allowed to be in the United States?” Rasmussen Reports asked likely voters.

Eighty-four percent of respondents answered in the affirmative, while nine percent disagreed.

“Most voters continue to feel that the policies of the federal government encourage illegal immigration,” Rasmussen commented.

In the same vein, the polling firm found that a solid majority oppose birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants.

It asked, “Suppose a woman enters the United States as an illegal alien and gives birth to a child in the United States. Should that child automatically become a citizen of the United States?”

No, said 61 percent of respondents, while 28 percent said yes, and percent were undecided. Under current law the child would automatically gain citizenship.

Sixty-three percent of unaffiliated voters, whom both party try to court each election season, agree with the majority that citizenship should not be automatic.

The pollster said the 61 percent result was “up slightly from last August but is the highest level of support for a change in the existing law found in five years of Rasmussen Reports surveying.”

Both questions came to prominence last year. In November, the California Supreme Court in a controversial ruling supported the right of illegal immigrants to get in-state tuition rates. The only requirement is that they are high school graduates and have spent three years at a California high school. Opponents say they plan to appeal the decision before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Regarding the birthright question, four Republican Senators introduced a bill on April 5 that would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to curtail automatic citizenship.

Under their proposal, a baby born in the United States would receive citizenship only if at least one parent is a citizen, a legal resident, or a member of the U.S. armed forces.

America’s illegal immigration problem is clearly out of control,” said Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), one of the cosponsors of the bill.

Rasmussen reported the results of its poll on Tuesday, and then followed up with another poll Wednesday showing that a majority of likely voters, 63 percent, say securing the border should be the top priority, ahead of legalizing undocumented aliens currently in the country.

Both polls were conducted on April 17 and 18, and carry a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.


Pentagon Contradicts Napolitano's Mexican Border Assessment

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano’s recent description of a U.S.-Mexico border that’s “as secure as it has ever been" appear to be in direct opposition to a Pentagon assessment.

According to officials at Judicial Watch, a public-interest group that investigates public corruption and fraud, U.S. Defense Department officials believe the border is actually a gateway for Mexican criminal organizations that have infiltrated the entire country and joined forces with terrorist groups.

For months the nation’s Homeland Security Secretary has repeatedly insisted that everything is safe and secure on the southwest border, even as violence escalates and overwhelmed federal agents are increasingly attacked by heavily armed drug smugglers.

Just last month Napolitano declared that violence along the Mexican border is merely a mistaken “perception” because the area is safe and “open for business."

Furthermore, President Barack Obama's Homeland Security Secretary assured that “some of America’s safest communities are in the Southwest border region….”

During another speech, Napolitano accused critics of the Obama Administration of exaggerating the problems on the U.S.-Mexican border.

"Our nation's sovereignty is being violated and Americans killed by illegal aliens and all we get are photo opportunities with Obama Administration officials and scoldings from the Mexican government officials including President [Felipe] Calderon," said police officer Iris Veguilla, herself a Latino.

A top Pentagon official contradicts Napolitano's fairytale assessment, pointing out that Mexican criminal organizations extend well beyond the southwest border to cities across the country, including big ones like Atlanta, Chicago and Detroit, according to Judicial Watch.

Addressing a U.S. Senate hearing this week, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Counternarcotics and Global Threats William Wechslerwarned lawmakers that all their constituencies are confronted by the threat of Mexican drug cartels.

Even more alarming is that once in the United States, the Mexican criminal groups are becoming more dangerous by forming networks with each other and insurgent or terrorist groups. In some regions the “threat networking" not only engages in drug trafficking but kidnapping, armed robbery, extortion, home invasions and other serious crimes.

The threat is so great that the assistant Defense Secretary offered federal legislators military assistance in the name of protecting national security.

“Many of the global and regional terrorists who threaten interests of the United States finance their activities with proceeds from narcotics trafficking,” Wechsler reminded, adding that “extremist and international criminal networks frequently exploit local geographical, political or social conditions to establish safe havens from which they can operate with impunity.”

Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO), a staunch supporter of tough immigration enforcement, once again called on Napolitano to resign last week. Tancredo has led many congressional efforts to protect the borders against illegal immigration.

An incident that involved a gunfight in December between Border Patrol agents near Nogales, Ariz., and armed drug smugglers has been a sore point with Tancredo. One member of the U.S. Border Patrol, Brian Terry, was killed by automatic gunfire during a shootout that highlighted the fact that U.S. law enforcement officers are out-manned and outgunned by Mexican criminals.

The Obama administration also claimed it increased the number of Border Patrol agents from about 10,000 in 2004 to more than 20,700 now. However, an examination of records reveals that the increase in border agents occurred during the Bush Administration when the number of agents reached upwards of 18,000 in 2008.


Friday, April 22, 2011

Russian immigration official sacked for promoting 'survival of white race'

Russian authorities have fired a top official for saying that the country's immigration policy was tailored to promote the "survival of the white race". Konstantin Poltoranin, the chief spokesman for Russia's Federal Migration Service, also said in televised comments that the "mixing of bloods" has to be managed carefully.

Xenophobia and racism flourish in Russia, and public officials often make statements that would land them in hot water elsewhere in Europe. But Mr Poltoranin crossed the line.

His interview with the BBC was aired on Wednesday and by the evening he had been fired. He was not caught out with a difficult question, but chose to launch into his thesis about the "white race" when asked if there was anything he would like to add at the end of the interview.

Mr Poltoranin was speaking about the poor conditions at a centre for asylum-seekers in Russia, where refugees from Ivory Coast and Ghana spoke of being subjected to racist attacks from local residents and the centre's administration.

Mr Poltoranin appeared to hint that Russia was deliberately unwelcoming to Africans and other asylum-seekers to avoid an influx of migrants as seen in western Europe. He said he did not understand the immigration policy of western European countries. "We want to make sure the mixing of blood happens in the right way here, and not the way it has happened in western Europe where the results have not been good," Mr Poltoranin said.

He added that Russia needed Slavic immigrants to counter its declining population. "What is at stake here is the survival of the white race, and we feel this in Russia," he said.

Moscow has several million migrants who come from the mainly Muslim North Caucasus, which is inside Russia, and from the countries of the former Soviet Union. Nearly one-fifth of Russia's 143 million people are Muslims, and the country prides itself on being home to over 100 nationalities.

But in Moscow and other big cities, racial tensions often cause violence. In December, ethnic Russian football fans rampaged in Moscow and attacked anyone with non-Slavic features.

Workers of Asian appearance from countries like Uzbekistan and Tajikistan complain of frequent racist abuse and attacks. Russia has only a small community of black Africans, but they also face racist attacks. Sova, a rights group that documents racial violence, said that at least 37 people were killed in hate crimes last year in Russia.

"Such remarks are inadmissible for any Russian official, particularly for a representative of the Federal Migration Service," Konstantin Romodanovsky, the service's head, said yesterday.

Mr Poltoranin had been the chief spokesman for the service, which implements immigration policy, since 2005. Yesterday he denied being a racist but stood by his comments.


Rioting illegal immigrants face prosecution after fires at Australian detention centre

TWENTY-TWO detainees at Sydney's Villawood Detention Centre have been removed and are being questioned by police over this week's riot. The Villawood centre erupted in a riot on Wednesday night involving up to 100 detainees, leaving nine buildings gutted by fire.

A Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) spokeswoman said while a small number of detainees remained on a rooftop at the centre, there were no further reports of disturbances last night. "We can report that the centre has been calm throughout the night," she said.

She said that early today, 22 people of interest had been removed from Villawood and taken to Silverwater Correctional Centre in an operation by DIAC, NSW Police, Australian Federal Police and the centre manager Serco. She said they would be questioned in relation to the events of Wednesday and yesterday at the detention centre. No one had been arrested or charged at this stage, she said.

Social Justice Network member Jamal Daoud said detainees had told him overnight that Federal Police in full gear had entered Villawood, searched rooms, removed some detainees - mainly Kurdish and Afghani - and taken them away in a bus. He described the actions as insensitive and said they added tension to an already intense situation. "The detainees are demanding to know the destination their fellow detainees were taken to and on which basis they were identified," he said.

The protest was triggered after two men climbed onto the roof of the main centre early on Wednesday. They were soon joined by 11 others and, by midnight, up to 100 people were involved, vandalising and setting fire to buildings. An oxygen cylinder was torched, leading to an explosion shortly after 2am yesterday.

By yesterday afternoon, six protesters were left on the roof of one building.

The asylum seekers involved in the violent rampage at the Villawood Detention Centre face criminal charges and deportation to their country of origin.

An angry and hard-line Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, yesterday said while he understood the frustration, there was "no justification at all" for setting fire to nine buildings and hurling roof tiles at firefighters.

Mr Bowen said the group of men who took to the roof of the detention centre in Sydney's southwest, sparking the protest, had already had their refugee claims knocked back. Some of them were being readied for deportation to their country of origin.

"These are people in many instances who are not happy with that outcome but ... if they think they will change their visa outcome, if they think they will be accepted as refugees because of this sort of protest action, they've chosen the wrong government and the wrong minister, because that won't be happening."

With the damage bill to run into millions of dollars, Mr Bowen said protesters could potentially face criminal charges following an investigation by the Australian Federal Police.

In Tokyo, Prime Minister Julia Gillard also took a tough stance, sending a message to those involved in the riot. "Violence is wrong and it doesn't help your claim," she said.

Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said the Government should immediately suspend processing of refugee claims of people who were involved in the violent fracas. "If you're not a refugee then you shouldn't be here, and you should be returned," he said.

Mr Bowen said he would "vigorously" apply the character test to asylum seekers who had visa applications pending.

Reports that police were delayed from entering the burning detention centre compound on Wednesday night because of jurisdictional issues were vigorously denied by the Government.

However The Daily Telegraph understands police were called out at 11.20pm but it was 1am before they entered the compound. It is believed it took some time for the riot squad to be assembled.

Because only minor damage was done to accommodation blocks, detainees were able to remain at Villawood last night but Mr Bowen said that may change over the coming days. A temporary kitchen was last night being flown in from Melbourne.

The Villawood Immigration Detention Centre is due to undergo a $187 million redevelopment.

Mr Bowen said the violence would be investigated as part of an existing independent review into the protests that occurred at the Christmas Island immigration detention centre last month.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Confirmation of Federal limits on arrests of illegals

An Arizona sheriff says he has been flooded with calls and emails of support from local and federal agents who back his claims that the U.S. Border Patrol has effectively ordered them to stop apprehending illegal immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexican border.

“Upper management has advised supervisors to have agents ‘turn back South’ (TBS) the illegal aliens (aka bodies) they detect attempting to unlawfully enter the country … at times you even hear supervisors order the agents over the radio to 'TBS' the aliens instead of catching them,” one San Diego border agent wrote in an email to Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever.

“This only causes more problems as the aliens, as you know, don't just go back to Mexico and give up. They keep trying, sometimes without 10 minutes in-between attempts, to cross illegally,” continued the email, which was among a number of communications to Dever reviewed by “This makes the job for agents more dangerous. Not only are the aliens more defiant, they also begin to feel like they can get away with breaking our federal laws.”

The email is one of more than 100 messages Dever said he received from active and retired Border Patrol agents and law enforcement officers from across the country. Many wrote of what they said was their own experience and first-hand knowledge of Border Patrol’s efforts to reduce apprehension numbers by making fewer arrests. first reported this month that Dever said several Border Patrol officials, including at least one senior supervisor, told him they had been directed to keep the number of border apprehensions down by chasing illegal immigrants back toward Mexico.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has recently cited a reduction in border apprehensions as evidence of an increasingly secure border.

Three days after’s initial report, Border Patrol chief Michael Fisher sent a letter to Dever in which he denied the accusations and invited the sheriff on a ride-along with federal agents at border. "That assertion is completely, 100 percent false," Fisher wrote in the letter. "That it comes from a fellow law enforcement official makes it especially offensive."

But accounts from law enforcement officials around the country continue to pour in supporting Dever and the conversations he says he had with Border Patrol officers, including at least one supervisor, about keeping arrest numbers down.

“This is nothing new, during my career with the border patrol, this was done regularly,” said another email to Dever reviewed by “By assigning agents to different tasks, locations, etc., the apprehensions can be increased or decreased dramatically,” wrote Dan McCaskill Jr., a retired Border Patrol agent who worked in the Anti-Smuggling Unit. McCaskill went on to describe how, he said, apprehension numbers were regularly manipulated to achieve various budget, equipment or manpower goals.

In response to request for comment on the new allegations, Homeland Security offered the same statement from Jeffery Self, commander of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Joint Field Command, that was provided to earlier this month:

“As the commander for border enforcement operations in Arizona, I can confirm that the claim that Border Patrol supervisors have been instructed to underreport or manipulate our statistics is unequivocally false. I took an oath that I take very seriously and I find it insulting that anyone, especially a fellow law enforcement officer, would imply that we would put the protection of the American public and security of our nation’s borders in danger just for a numbers game. Our mission does not waiver based on political climate and it never will. To suggest that we are ambiguous in enforcing our laws belittles the work of more than 6,000 CBP employees in Arizona who dedicate their lives to protect our borders every day.”

Local 2544, the Tucson branch of the National Border Patrol Council union, has also come out in support of Dever, and posted this message on their website after the report.

“Sheriff Dever is right. We have seen so many slick shenanigans pulled in regards to 'got-aways' and entry numbers that at times it seems David Copperfield is running the Border Patrol. Creating the illusion that all is well and you can start having family picnics in the areas where we work has been going on far too long.

Has there been improvement in some areas? Absolutely. Is the border anywhere near 'under control'? Absolutely not. Do some in management play games with numbers and cater to the wishes of politicians like Janet Napolitano and David Aguilar? Resoundingly, yes. Time for the foolish political games to stop.”

The union posted another response on their website following Fox News’ publication of Fisher’s April 6 letter to Dever:

“Just remember, for years now we have been told from the highest ranking managers in our agency that 'every apprehension is a FAILURE' (Johnny Williams - former INS Western Region Director), and that we 'are NOT immigration officers' (current CBP Deputy Commissioner David Aguilar to Border Patrol agents when he was the Chief of the Border Patrol)….

We have been told that - Apprehensions = failure, we are not 'immigration' officers, we should not 'lower' ourselves to the status of an immigration officer, and our primary job is not apprehending illegal aliens. Couple all this with Secretary Napolitano's recent public announcement about what she expects our apprehension numbers to be this fiscal year, and it's not hard to figure this thing out.”

A second Arizona sheriff, Paul Babeu of Pinal County, also testified at a Senate Homeland Security Committee last week in support of Dever’s charges. Dever was slated to appear at the hearing, but said he could no longer attend when the date of his appearance was changed.

Asked specifically about Dever’s assertion that agents were told to turn back illegals to reduce apprehensions, Babeu told the committee he’d specifically asked his top lieutenant, Matt Thomas, about the claims. "He said, 'Sheriff, I have heard that myself directly from border agents in the Tucson sector,'" Babeu testified.

Babeu told he’s been told by Border Patrol officials that for every person apprehended at the border, an average of 2.7 succeed in crossing into the U.S. With those numbers, he said he was concerned paramilitary or terror cells equipped with more sophisticated support and training could easily get through.
“This is no longer just public security threat, this is national security threat,” he told

T.J. Bonner, retired president of the National Border Patrol Council, said in an interview with that he’s familiar with “TBS-ing” and shares Babeu’s concerns about criminals and terrorists crossing the border.

“TBS has been going on for a number of years. You’ll never find orders in writing, and some agents have even been disciplined for TBS-ing people. That’s a practice that dates back to quite some time, to try and discourage is part of their 'strategy of deterrence.'"

Bonner said Border Patrol agents are receiving “TBS” orders from someone higher up, but he isn’t sure who. “Agents don’t just do this on their own. The orders must come from on high. They don’t just wake up one day and say I’m going to risk my job, my livelihood,” said Bonner, who retired last year after 32 years with Border Patrol. “I’m not sure if it’s Napolitano or folks in Customs and Border Protection, but somebody wants to silence critics in Arizona to claim success in Arizona.”

As for Dever, he says he’s just hoping that some good will come out of this. “Frankly, I don't want to create a firestorm," he said. "I only want this problem solved.”


The Mormon Church and Illegal Immigration

New Report Examines Contradictions

In the wake of Utah's passage of a guestworker/amnesty bill, the role of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in that effort, and the stance of the Church on immigration issues generally, has come under scrutiny. While nominally neutral on the issue, the Church seems to have moved toward support for illegal immigrants and opposition to immigration enforcement. Contradictions between official Church policies, the statements of senior Church leaders, and the actions of the Church’s public affairs and media groups have sparked considerable debate among members.

A new paper from the Center for Immigration Studies is the first look at this issue. “The Mormon Church and Illegal Immigration” is authored by Ronald W. Mortensen, PhD, a Fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, retired career U.S. Foreign Service Officer, and member of the LDS Church. The report is available here. Among the findings:

* The Church still teaches that 'Members should obey, honor, and sustain the laws in any country where they reside or travel.' In spite of this, the Church baptizes and extends full membership to illegal aliens who are not obeying, honoring, and sustaining the laws of the United States where they now reside.

* The Church calls for compassion for illegal aliens who are committing serious violations of U.S. immigration and criminal laws, but ignores justice for an estimated 50,000 Utah children and over one million Arizona children and their families, who are the victims of job-related identity theft.

* At the same time the Church tells new converts in the poorest countries and villages in the world to stay where they are in order to build up the Church there, its public affairs and media groups and surrogates accuse those who ask people illegally in the United States to return to those very same countries and villages of being mean-spirited and cruel.

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

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Arizona Prospering After SB 1070

Arizona has replaced Hispanics with Canadians and refugees from other American States

Arizona’s tough anti-illegal immigration law SB 1070 was enacted into law on June 29 of last year. The Obama administration immediately sued Arizona and got an injunction preventing it from going into effect while the case was litigated. Critics warned that the law would hurt Arizona; no one would want to move to Arizona and illegal immigrants would flee the state, ruining the economy.

The sky-is-falling alarmists were wrong. Results from the 2010 Census reveal that Arizona is the second-fastest growing state in the country after Nevada. Lee McPheters, director of the J.P. Morgan Chase Economic Outlook Center at Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business, predicts that Arizona’s population will increase by close to two percent this year.

Canadians tired of the cold weather are flocking to Arizona, taking advantage of the weak American dollar and the high number of foreclosures in Arizona. Phoenix has the second highest foreclosure rate in the nation.

People all over the country fought back against the boycotts of Arizona, organizing “buycotts” and purposely traveling to Arizona to help with tourism. After the Los Angeles City Council issued a resolution against Arizona, Corporation Commissioner Gary Pierce sent Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa a letter saying he would “be happy to encourage Arizona utilities to renegotiate your power agreements so Los Angeles no longer receives any power from Arizona-based generation.” Los Angeles gets 25 percent of its electricity from Arizona power plants.

Governor Jan Brewer set up a legal defense fund to cover the costs of defending Arizona against lawsuits over SB 1070. Close to $4 million in contributions has come in from over 43,000 Americans around the country, more than enough to cover the $1.5 million in costs so far. Meanwhile, taxpayers across the country are stuck footing the bill for the Obama administration’s lawsuit.

Reports that SB 1070 is hurting Arizona economically are not taking into account the economic downturn. Since Arizona has been one of the fastest growing states, it now has one of the highest rates of foreclosures. It has been hit harder by the recession than most of the rest of the country. Arizona lost twice as many jobs as the average state during the recession. Even so, by fall of last year Arizona ranked 12th for job creation of the 50 states.

Most Arizonans have noticed little difference in the service industries where illegal immigrants work, such as landscaping, fast food, construction, car washes, and the hotel industry. Although illegal immigrants have fled the state, prices have barely increased, if at all. Illegal immigrants were already leaving Arizona before SB 1070 was passed, due to previous enforcement efforts led primarily by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas and Senator Russell Pearce. The federal government estimates that the illegal immigrant population dropped by 18 percent in Arizona from 2008 to 2009. The Mexican government reports that 23,380 Mexicans returned from Arizona to Mexico between June and September of last year, and BBVA Bancomer Research found that as many as 100,000 Latinos left Arizona total during a similar time frame.

Arizona’s prosperity should come as no surprise. Arizona is a red state, and the 2010 Census indicates that people are fleeing the bluest states for more conservative states like Arizona, New Mexico, Idaho and Utah. Even growth in California has finally slowed; its disastrous liberal policies now outweigh its attractiveness. For the first time in history, California has failed to add a new House seat.

Arizona’s aggressive efforts to crack down on illegal immigration reflect majority opinion. A Rasmussen poll last year found that 60% of voters nationwide favor authorizing local police to stop and verify immigration status. Arizona began passing tough laws against illegal immigration in 2004 and its population still increased faster than most states – even as illegal immigrants were fleeing the state.

Critics point to the failure of other states to pass similar laws this year as evidence SB 1070 is not popular. However, they fail to acknowledge that the hesitation is due to uncertainty over what will happen in the courts. Similar bills were proposed in five states last year, but only Georgia was able to get it through the legislature. Governor Nathan Deal is expected to sign it.

Arizona is becoming a leader in passing laws popular among conservatives. It passed numerous pro-life laws last year, and became one of the first states to opt out of the federal abortion mandate in Obamacare. Last year, Arizona became the fifth state to ban race and gender preferences. Ward Connerly, who spearheaded Proposition 107 in Arizona and similar initiatives in other states, observed recently, “Arizona seems to be the only sane place these days.”

The economic outlook for Arizona is only getting better. In February, Governor Brewer signed the Arizona Competitiveness Package, which greatly improves the conditions for business. Among other things, it reduces the corporate income tax rate from 6.97% to below 4.9% between 2014 and 2017, dropping Arizona from the 24th most favorable state for businesses to the fifth. Up until this bill, Arizona had the highest corporate income tax rate of any neighboring state except California; in a few years it will be lower than all of them with the exception of Nevada which has no corporate income tax. Intel has already indicated it is making a $5 billion investment in Chandler as a result of this bill.

With all the people moving to Arizona these days, maybe it would have been a good thing if SB 1070 had scared some of them away. Fortunately, Arizona is not destined to become another California. It may become crowded, but its extremely conservative legislature will never adopt the bankrupting, politically correct laws that have ruined California.


Recent posts at CIS below

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

1. Panel: Welfare Use by Immigrant Households with Children (Video, Transcript)

2. Sin 'Salon' (Blog)

3. April in Vekol Valley, Ariz.: Drug Shootings, Again (Blog)

4. DHS Pressies Face a Quandary Regarding Publicizing Some Deportations (Blog)

5. House Hearing Lays Down Record for Ending the Visa Lottery (Blog)

6. Fired Illegals Say Chipotle Was Soft on Immigration (Blog)

7. Rising Frustrations, Call to the Streets (Blog)

8. Massachusetts Health Plan Giveaway (Blog)

9. Salt Lake Chamber Dupes the Supporters of the Utah Compact (Blog)

10. A Worm's-Eye View of IRS Tax Collection Practices vs. Some Aliens (Blog)

11. Univision Does It Again (Blog)

12. 61% of Americans Agree: Unregulated Immigration Increases Poverty (Blog)

13. What about Nativism? (Blog)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Lopsided NYT coverage again

In the usual Leftist tradition of seeking boogeymen to account for things they don't like, an article in the NYT about people critical of uncontrolled immigration obsesses over just one man among many, the now elderly environmentalist Dr. John Tanton. In an attempt to redress the balance, Dan Stein, President of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) made the following statement:

This past weekend, The New York Times ran an article purporting to examine the "evolution of the modern day immigration reform movement." Unfortunately, the article did not chronicle the early grassroots work of many individuals who enabled FAIR to begin a balanced, much-needed discussion of immigration policy reform.

Instead, the piece merely chronicles the evolving string of attacks designed to shut down meaningful debate in this country. By recycling decades-old baseless allegations, quoting out-of-context statements, and implying guilt by association, The New York Times has demonstrated it thinks nothing of using its position to belittle one individual in pursuit of indicting the entire immigration reform movement.

Even more disappointing is that The New York Times missed a golden opportunity to engage its readers in the real questions of today's immigration debate. For example, how does immigration advance our national interests? For most Americans, these interests include balancing the supply and demand for labor, protecting our national security, ensuring that our tax dollars are not depleted by excessive immigration, and preserving our natural resources and energy supplies.

Perhaps the most important question is how do the true stakeholders of our immigration policies – the American public – get a say in a process that is dominated by big business, political parties and immigrant special interests? The fact that FAIR exists to empower Americans in this policy process appears completely lost on The New York Times.

Meanwhile, FAIR's 32-year history is a David and Goliath saga of public service dedicated to debating these issues and developing meaningful solutions that serve all Americans, not just a select few. Our mission is to examine immigration trends and effects, educate American citizens on the impact of sustained high-volume immigration, and offer practical, bipartisan solutions that will best serve American environmental, societal, and economic interests today and into the future.

Our mission is guided by a longstanding abiding policy of never advocating immigration policies that discriminate for or against anyone based on race, creed, color, religion, gender or sexual orientation. Equal justice under the law is the law of FAIR.

Throughout the battle for sensible immigration reform, FAIR has evolved and grown dramatically, attracting respect and support by diverse groups of individuals across the political spectrum for its support of the American worker, for our national security, our environment – and for our rule of law. The contemporary movement reflects the opinions and concerns, not of one individual, but of millions of Americans worried about the impact and costs of uncontrolled illegal immigration and excessive levels of legal immigration.

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Deadlock in Colorado

Senate Democrats have killed two more bills from the GOP-controlled House, both of which dealt with the issue of illegal immigration

A controversial proposal to reduce alleged voter fraud, House 1252 would have allowed the Secretary of State's office to cross-check the state's voter rolls with immigration databases and to send letters demanding further proof of citizenship to any registered voters whose status appeared to be in doubt.

Secretary of State Scott Gessler, a Republican voted into office last November, was pushing for the bill and worried that thousands of people may have been voting illegally in Colorado's elections.

H.B. 1252, sponsored by Rep. Chris Holbert, passed the House, but ran into trouble in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

After testimony from several progressive groups who argued that there's no evidence of voter fraud, the Senate State Affairs Committee voted the bill down Monday afternoon on a 2-3 party-line vote.

That vote followed the same committee's 2-3 vote that killed House Bill 1140, which would have prevented local Colorado communities from opting out of the federal Secure Communities program, aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration.

"Senate Democrats continually say illegal immigration is a federal problem that cannot be addressed on the state level," said Sen. Ted Harvey, R-Highlands Ranch. "Yet just this morning they voted to grant in-state tuition to illegal immigrants."

Harvey's right that Monday afternoon's committee votes came just hours after the full Senate approved Senate Bill 126, which would provide unsubsidized in-state college tuition to about 700 undocumented students who qualify.

That vote came down on party lines, with all 20 Senate Democrats voting in favor of the bill, while all 15 Republicans voted against it.

That bill is now set to be introduced in the GOP-controlled House, where it's expected the Republican majority will return the favor to Senate Democrats and kill the bill.


Monday, April 18, 2011

France blocks train from Italy as immigration battle heats up

A TRAIN carrying Tunisian immigrants from Italy has been stopped at the French border in an escalation of an international dispute over the fate of North African migrants fleeing political unrest for refuge in Europe.

But France blamed what it said were hundreds of activists on the train planning a demonstration in France, and posing a problem to public order. Traffic was re-established - but not before Italy lodged a formal protest.

"At no time was there a ... closing of the border between France and Italy," French Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henri Brandet said. It was an "isolated problem", he said by telephone, "an undeclared demonstration".

He estimated that up to 10 trains may have been affected, five on each side.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, who earlier in the day told his ambassador in Paris to lodge a strong protest over the blocking of the trains, said that Italy understands that the activists could be a cause of "concern" for France.

But Mr Frattini insisted in a telephone interview with an Italian TV channel today that the Tunisians had the proper paperwork to enter France.

Italy has been giving temporary residence permits to many of the roughly 26,000 Tunisians who have gone to Italy to escape unrest in northern Africa in recent weeks. Many of the Tunisians have family ties or friends in France, the country's former colonial ruler, and the Italian government says the permits should allow the Tunisians to go there under accords allowing visa-free travel among many European countries.

France says it will honour the permits only if the migrants prove they can financially support themselves and it has instituted patrols on the Italian border - unprecedented since the introduction of the Schengen travel-free zone - bringing in about 80 riot police last week. Germany has said it would do the same.

A spokesman for the Italian rail company, Maurizio Furia, told The Associated Press in Rome that the train carrying migrants and political activists who support them wasn't allowed to pass into Menton, France, from the border station of Ventimiglia on Sunday.

Italy lodged a protest with the French Government, calling the move "illegitimate and in clear violation of general European principles" the Italian Foreign Ministry said. Frattini ordered his envoy in Paris "to express the strong protest of the Italian Government."

The French Foreign Ministry had no immediate comment.

However, France's Interior Ministry insisted on the isolated nature of the problem and said that once the train was blocked, activists demonstrated on the train tracks in Vintimiglia, forcing the prefect there to take action because they were blocking traffic.

The ministry spokesman said the French rail authority and the prefect of France's Alpes-Maritimes region, which governs the French border town of Menton, ordered the train blocked because activists planned an unauthorised demonstration once in France.

"France did not demand the closing of rail traffic between France and Italy. It was a consequence" of the activists plans which threatened public order, Mr Brandet said.

The distinction is critical as tensions rise between Paris and Rome over the migrants.

European nations have been increasingly and bitterly sparring over the issue.


Immigration bills bring rare spat between GOP, business interests in Tennessee

Republican lawmakers and Tennessee’s business community are in a rare disagreement, spatting over the GOP’s slate of immigration legislation. And Gov. Bill Haslam is stuck in the middle.

Lawmakers are rolling ahead with a bill that would force Tennessee businesses to check the immigration status of all new hires, dealing a rare, public setback to business groups from the Republican-led legislature.

State representatives are pushing through a measure that would require businesses to run every future employee through a federal government immigration-status check known as E-Verify. They have stuck to their guns even though groups such as the National Federation of Independent Business and the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry have lodged complaints that the system is faulty and costly.

The usually wide divide between business groups and lawmakers has sucked in Gov. Bill Haslam, who is trying to broker a compromise. But the two sides remain far apart, with lawmakers demanding mandatory E-Verify checks and business groups saying that plan is unacceptable.

“One of the things that makes it hard is there’s legitimate interests that don’t always coincide,” Haslam said. “Republicans are pro-business. The flip side is we’re also people who feel like we have a responsibility to uphold the law.”

The E-Verify bill is one of three major immigration measures moving through the legislature. Another bill would require similar checks into the status of people who apply for benefits, and the third would direct police to check the status of anyone they stop or detain.

All three bills have detractors, but the E-Verify bill has drawn the heaviest fire.

Business groups question the accuracy of the system, arguing that even if the Department of Homeland Security’s figures are accepted, E-Verify would return incorrect results 3 percent of the time. The system also is not suited for detecting illegal immigrants who use false identities, and although E-Verify is free, the law would require some businesses to purchase new computers just to access the system, they say.

“The intent is excellent,” said Jim Brown, state director of the NFIB. “It’s the application. I think people want something done, and our members want something done.”

Proposal passes

But the bill won easy passage in the House State and Local Government Committee, drawing support even from the committee’s Democrats. Lawmakers point out that the Department of Labor and Workforce Development would be authorized to hire a full-time employee, at a cost of about $53,600 a year, to assist businesses in looking up workers on E-Verify.

“Just like workers’ comp and unemployment insurance, if we don't make it mandatory for everyone, you’re not going to get anybody to participate,” said state Rep. Joe Carr, R-Lascassas, the bill’s main House sponsor. “I think that the business community is looking out for their singular interest. My approach is a little bit more broad-based than theirs.”

The issue is one of a few this year on which lawmakers have differed with business groups.

Some groups have opposed legislation that would require health insurance policies to offer coverage of up to $2,000 every three years for a pair of hearing aids for children, a mandate that they say will push up businesses’ health insurance costs. But that bill has cleared the House and is making its way through the Senate.

Business groups also have opposed several bills that would require employers to let their workers with handgun carry permits bring their weapons to work if they leave them locked in their cars. They say these bills violate businesses’ property rights, raise safety issues and could leave them liable to lawsuits if someone were shot.

“Just like you can say you don’t want weapons brought into your home, we should be able to say we don’t want them on our property,” said Deborah Woolley, president of the Tennessee Chamber. “It comes back to classic, private property rights.”

But business groups say they still consider the legislature and the Haslam administration to be supporting their interests. They point to policies such as Haslam legislation to cap damages in personal-injury and medical malpractice lawsuits and the administration’s 45-day moratorium and review of state regulations. “There are just disputes from time to time,” Brown said.

Business holds talks

Business groups and Republican leaders say they continue to hold talks on the E-Verify bill as it moves through the legislature. Final votes are not imminent because the bill still has to clear at least one committee in the Senate and two in the House of Representatives.

A potential hurdle is the legislation’s costs. The state would need to hire three inspectors to make sure companies are using E-Verify, bringing the bill’s total cost to $287,100 a year, according to legislative estimates.

Those costs would mainly be covered using tax dollars. Legislative staffers predict the state will punish no more than five companies a year for breaking the E-Verify law, which calls for a fine of $1,000 on companies that intentionally hire illegal immigrants.

Still, the bill continues to pick up steam. In addition to Carr, 60 House lawmakers have signed up as co-sponsors, and Republican leaders say they do expect the measure to pass this session.

“I think everyone agrees with the sentiment that we want to follow the laws of the country,” Haslam said. “Like everything else, you’re weighing costs and benefits.”


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Miliband ally attacks Labour migration 'lies' over 2.2m they let in Britain

A close ally of Ed Miliband has attacked Labour for ‘lying’ about immigration. Lord Glasman – a leading academic and personal friend of the Labour leader – said that the previous Labour government had used mass immigration to control wages.

In an article for Progress magazine, the Labour peer wrote: ‘Labour lied to people about the extent of immigration … and there’s been a massive rupture of trust.’

Labour let in 2.2million migrants during its 13 years in power – more than twice the population of Birmingham.

Maurice Glasman was promoted to the House of Lords by Mr Miliband earlier this year. He has been dubbed the Labour leader’s ‘de facto chief of staff’ by party insiders and has written speeches for him.

Lord Glasman, 49, had already told BBC Radio 4 recently: ‘What you have with immigration is the idea that people should travel all over the world in search of higher-paying jobs, often to undercut existing workforces, and somehow in the Labour Party we got into a position that that was a good thing.

‘Now obviously it undermines solidarity, it undermines relationships, and in the scale that it’s been going on in England, it can undermine the possibility of politics entirely.’

The academic, who directs the faith and citizenship programme at London Metropolitan University, criticised Labour for being ‘hostile to the English working class’. He said: ‘In many ways [Labour] viewed working-class voters as an obstacle to progress.

‘Their commitment to various civil rights, anti-racism, meant that often working-class voters... were seen as racist, resistant to change, homophobic and generally reactionary. ‘So in many ways you had a terrible situation where a Labour government was hostile to the English working class.’

Lord Glasman has also argued for Labour to take a more patriotic stance, opposing the sale of the ports of Dover to the French as ‘lunacy’. He said: ‘I would like to see Ed on the white cliffs saying, “This is forever England”.’

Tory MP Michael Ellis said: ‘What we want to know is: will Ed Miliband admit that the Labour government he was a part of lied to the country? ‘It’s time for Ed Miliband to apologise for Labour’s record on immigration.’

Mr Miliband has denied that Labour let in too many immigrants during its time in government.

A source close to the Labour leader tried to play down the significance of the peer’s remarks. He said: ‘Maurice Glasman is a mate of Ed’s but he is not his guru on this or any other issue.’


Anti-immigrant "True Finns" party to make gains in current Finnish election

Finns go to the polls today in what looks to be a tug-of-war between parties for and against EU bailouts, with the pro-EU crowd recently increasing its slim lead and dampening the spectacular rise of the nationalist True Finns.

The National Coalition, a pro-EU junior member of the current centre-right government, topped the latest poll on Thursday with 21.2% support. Nonetheless the three runner-ups, Prime Minister Mari Kiviniemi’s Centre Party, the leftwing opposition Social Democrats (SDP) and the True Finns, are all lagging less than four percentage points behind.

But while the numbers have remained fairly consistent in recent surveys, the populist, nationalist and immigration-sceptical True Finns have seen their four-year spurt dip slightly, ending at 15.4% on Thursday. “I think that the drop in True Finns support is the real thing. After all, it’s the third poll to indicate a downturn,” political analyst from Tampere University, Ilkka Ruostetsaari, told AFP.

This is still a tremendous feat for the party that won only 4.1% in the last elections in 2007, handing it six of the 200 seats in parliament. And while the party’s chances of making it into the next coalition government have shrunk some, the predicted influx of True Finns MPs means parliament will lurch right no matter what.

For while party leader Timo Soini is considered a moderate with a leftist economic policy, the True Finns’ anti-EU, immigration-sceptic rhetoric has attracted a number of extremists, including a few members of an ultranationalist group called Suomen Sisu. “Soini himself could have a hard time if he’s in the same parliamentary group with some of the more radical members,” political researcher Pasi Saukkonen, of the Centre for Research on Ethnic Relations, told AFP.

Ruostetsaari said the recent boost for the ruling Centre Party and National Coalition was probably due to televised debates. “The alternatives the opposition is offering, especially in how they would handle the EU debt crisis, isn’t coming across as particularly credible,” he said.

In recent broadcast debates, the True Finns have called for Finland to refuse to back any more loans to debt-ridden member states, and the SDP has demanded provisions for banks and investors to take on more responsibility in exchange for agreeing to back more loans.

In contrast, Prime Minister Kiviniemi and particularly National Coalition Finance Minister Jyrki Katainen have stressed Finland’s “responsibility” to the European Union.(!!)