Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mexifornia, Quite Literally!

By Victor Davis Hanson

“I love this country, it has given me everything that I have, and I’m proud to be part of it,” said Victor Sanchez, a 37-year-old Monrovia resident wearing a Mexico jersey. “But yet, I didn’t have a choice to come here, I was born in Mexico, and that is where my heart will always be.”

That’s a quote from an LA Times story on the booing of the U.S. soccer team by an overwhelmingly Latino audience during a U.S.–Mexico match at the Rose Bowl. Examine the odd logic: Mr. Sanchez is booing the country that gave him “everything” while cheering the country that apparently gave him very little. “I didn’t have a choice to come here,” he says; one immediately thinks, “But you most certainly do have a choice to return to the nation where your ‘heart will always be.’” Can Mr. Sanchez not even offer symbolic thanks to the country that blessed him, perhaps a clap or two at the Rose Bowl when the United States is mentioned? And if the immigration service arrived at the Rose Bowl to bus spectators without legality back to Mexico, where his “heart will always be,” would he boo or cheer?

He reminds me of a former student who, during the anti–Prop 187 marches years ago, was marching with a group waving Mexican flags — that is, the flag of the country he did not wish to return to, as a Mexican national — but desecrating the flag of the United States, the country that he most certainly wished to remain in.

That schizophrenia is what confuses so many about illegal immigration — the simultaneous furor over even the suggestion of compliance with federal immigration law and the occasional symbolic expressions of dislike for the United States in public fora, whether booing at the Rose Bowl at mention of America, or walking out of a California high school en masse at the sight of an American-flag T-shirt on Cinco de Mayo.

When a foreign nation is treated as the home team, and when the home team is booed in the Rose Bowl, I think we can see why the entire open-borders, non-enforcement, ‘La Raza’ paradigm of tribal chauvinism based on ethnic solidarity has been proven an abject failure — summed up by one word, “hypocrisy.” Of course, if America asks nothing of the would-be immigrant — no legality upon entrance, no knowledge of the English language or American customs, no proof of autonomy and independence from government entitlement — then tens of thousands of American residents booing the very mention of America is logical and would, of course, continue until and unless fundamental ideas about illegal immigration, assimilation, and national identity change.


The joke of 'secure Britain

Britain's powerlessness to control who has the right to be in this country was glaringly exposed last night by two extraordinary cases. In the first, an anti-Semitic preacher of hate whom the Home Secretary had banned from entering Britain was able to stroll in through Heathrow.

Last night, Raed Salah was giving a lecture organised by Islamist radicals to a large crowd in Leicester, and today he was due to speak at Westminster at the invitation of Left-wing Labour MPs.

In the second, a bombshell ruling by European judges blocked the deportation of some 200 Somali criminals back to their homeland. The Strasbourg court said the men, including drug dealers and serial burglars, might be persecuted in war-torn Somalia, and that they must be allowed to stay to protect their human rights.

So, irrespective of how heinous their crimes or the danger they present to the public, Britain has no power to expel them.

The ruling by the European Court of Human Rights stemmed from appeals against deportation by two asylum seekers convicted of a string of serious offences including burglary, making threats to kill and drug dealing. But it will now also apply to 214 other similar cases which have been lodged with the court using Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Article 3, which protects against torture and inhuman or degrading treatment, is an 'absolute' right, meaning that it applies regardless of the offences committed.

The two men, who were both granted thousands in legal aid to fight their cases, will now be released from immigration detention centres and will be free to walk the streets. They were jointly awarded more than £20,000 for costs and expenses.

Critics accused the Government of rolling over to the demands of the court, and branded the Human Rights Act a 'criminals' charter'.

Backbench Tory MP Douglas Carswell said: 'The pathetic truth is that we do not have control over our borders, and these cases quite clearly show that we do not control not only who comes in to the country but who we choose to remove.

'My constituents do not want any more mealy-mouthed promises about getting a grip on this – they want to know what the Government is actually going to do. 'Successive governments have given all the promises on immigration you would expect of a second-hand car salesman. Ministers now need to start actually delivering on real promises and real control over our borders.'

UK Independence Party MEP Gerard Batten said: 'It is the absolute duty of the British Government to protect the lives and property of British citizens. 'If foreign nationals prey on people here they should be sent home to where they came from – no ifs, no buts.'

He added: 'For the European Court of Human Rights to give Britain orders is bad enough; knowing that the Government will roll over to their demands is worse. 'This decision confirms that the Human Rights Act is a criminals' charter.'

The case involves two Somalis whom ministers intended to return to the Somali capital, Mogadishu, because of their serial offending.

Abdisamad Adow Sufi, 24, entered the country illegally in 2003 using a fake passport. He claimed asylum on the grounds that he belonged to a minority clan persecuted by the Somali militia. His claim was rejected by officials and an appeal tribunal said his account was 'not credible'.

Since then he has amassed a string of convictions for offences including burglary, fraud, making threats to kill, indecent exposure and theft.

The second Somali, drug addict Abdiaziz Ibrahim Elmi, 42, was granted asylum in 1988. Since then he has committed crimes including handling stolen goods, fraud, robbery, carrying a replica gun, perverting the course of justice, theft and dealing heroin and cocaine.

Attempts to deport him began in 2006 and his appeal was rejected by an immigration judge. A deportation order was stayed in 2007 pending the outcome of his Strasbourg case, and since then he has been convicted of possessing Class A drugs and charged with drug dealing.

The panel of seven judges ruled that because the level of violence in Mogadishu was so high there was a real risk of the men coming to harm. In a unanimous judgment, the court also rejected the argument the men could leave the capital and return to safer parts of the country.

The judges said Sufi could not join his relatives because they lived in an area controlled by a strict Islamic group. If returned, he could face punishment according to their code – also a breach of his rights. He would also be particularly vulnerable if forced to live in a refugee camp because of his 'psychiatric illness', the court said.

Elmi claimed he would be at risk of persecution if he moved to an area controlled by the same group, because he wore an earring, which might lead to them thinking he was gay. If they found out he was a drug addict and thief he could face amputation, public flogging or execution, he said.

The court ruled he had no experience of living in a strict Islamic area because he has been in this country for so long and would therefore be at risk of harm. The ruling said: 'The court reiterated that the prohibition of torture and of inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment was absolute, irrespective of the victims' conduct. 'Consequently, the applicants' behaviour, however undesirable or dangerous, could not be taken into account.'

The case will seriously hamper further attempts by ministers to deport foreign criminals, failed asylum seekers and illegal immigrants back to Somalia. Last year just 35 were kicked out.

Around two thirds of the 214 other cases are thought to involve criminals. Others are failed asylum seekers and illegal immigrants.

A UK Border Agency spokesman said: 'We are very disappointed with the European Court's decision and are considering our legal position. 'This judgment does not stop us continuing to pursue the removal of foreign criminals who commit a serious crime, nor does it find that all Somalis are in need of international protection.'


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Judge blocks key parts of Georgia immigration law

A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction Monday temporarily blocking key provisions of a new Georgia law that aims to crack down on illegal immigration, while allowing other parts of the law to move forward. Most of the law, known as HB 87, was scheduled to go into effect Friday.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Thrash Jr.'s ruling blocks enforcement of two of the most controversial sections of the law. "State and local law enforcement officers and officials have no authorization to arrest, detain or prosecute anyone based upon sections 7 and 8 of HB 87 while this injunction remains in effect," Thrash ruled.

Those sections would allow police to inquire about immigration status when questioning suspects in certain criminal investigations. They also would punish people who, during the commission of a crime, knowingly transport or harbor illegal immigrants. Something like speeding or driving without proper equipment could constitute a crime.

"The apparent legislative intent is to create such a climate of hostility, fear, mistrust and insecurity that all illegal aliens will leave Georgia," Thrash wrote.

In his 45-page ruling, the judge cited a previous court decision that said preliminary injunctions were in the public interest "when civil rights are at stake." He also wrote that state officials were attempting to overstep federal authority on immigration enforcement.

"I'm very happy, as are all those who believe the Constitution is important," said Charles Kuck, an Atlanta attorney whose firm represented some of the plaintiffs. He said the stayed provisions were poorly written and that it was unclear how they would have been enforced, if allowed to move forward.

Although the ruling was hailed as a victory by the plaintiffs, Thrash also tossed out a number of their arguments at the state's request, a point stressed by Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens soon after the decision. "I appreciate the speed with which Judge Thrash ruled, given the complexity of the issues. I am pleased with the dismissal of the 4th Amendment, 14th Amendment, 'Right to Travel,' and Georgia constitutional claims by the plaintiffs -- even after this ruling, 21 of the 23 sections of HB 87 will go into effect as planned," Olens wrote in a statement.

A part of the law that will still go into effect is a provision that workers convicted of using fake identification to get jobs could be sentenced to 15 years in prison and fined $250,000. The law will also require people applying for public benefits to provide certain types of identification.

Olens said his office will appeal the judge's ruling regarding sections 7 and 8.

The office of Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, which supports the law, also weighed in on the judge's ruling. "Beyond refusing to help with our state's illegal immigration problem, the federal government is determined to be an obstacle. The state of Georgia narrowly tailored its immigration law to conform with existing federal law and court rulings," said Brian Robinson, the governor's deputy chief of staff for communications. "Georgians can rest assured that this battle doesn't end here."

The Georgia lawsuit is the latest battle in a nationwide skirmish between state and federal officials over who controls immigration enforcement.

Arizona's controversial law aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration catapulted the issue onto the national stage last year, drawing a lawsuit from the U.S. Department of Justice, which argues the law is unconstitutional.

In April, a three-judge panel on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the Justice Department and against Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who signed Arizona's law last year. Brewer announced last month that the state would appeal directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.


Dems Push Ahead With DREAM Act, as ICE Offers New Guidelines for Illegal Immigrant Cases

Sen. Dick Durbin plans to make a full-court press Tuesday to revive the debate over a controversial proposal to give illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children a path to legal status, as the Obama administration moves on a separate track to grant what some describe as "amnesty" to the same group.

Durbin, D-Ill., in announcing the first-ever Senate hearing on the so-called DREAM Act, said his proposal would "make our country stronger." Under the plan, which passed the House last year but died in the Senate, illegal immigrants who came here as children and complete two years of college or military service could earn legal status.

Several top administration officials, including Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Education Secretary Arne Duncan, plan to testify before Durbin's subcommittee. The hearing and a recent memo from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement suggest officials are moving on two fronts to give illegal immigrant students a chance at staying.

The memo issued June 17 from ICE Director John Morton instructs staff to consider 19 factors when exercising "prosecutorial discretion" -- or the discretion an ICE attorney has in deciding whether and how to pursue or dismiss an immigration case.

The factors include how long an illegal immigrant has been in the United States as well as their criminal history. But the list also includes factors similar to those in the DREAM Act -- like whether the suspect arrived in the U.S. as a "young child," whether the suspect is pursuing an education, and whether the suspect has served in the military.

The memo made clear that certain factors -- like whether a suspect came to the U.S. as a child -- should weigh in their favor, while other factors -- like a criminal history -- should weigh against them.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, decried the new set of instructions, describing it as a gift to DREAM Act proponents. Though Durbin is pushing anew to pass the legislation, the now GOP-controlled House is unlikely to approve any such bill, even if it clears the Senate.

"By administrative fiat, they are achieving a grand-scale amnesty for large classes of illegal aliens that they have been unable to accomplish with the stalled DREAM Act legislation," FAIR said in a statement last week.

But the ICE memo falls in line with an effort by the Obama administration to prioritize immigration cases, so that illegal immigrant criminals are typically deported while those not accused of serious crimes are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. ICE statistics show that during the Obama administration, the number of removals for non-criminal illegal immigrants has gone down while the number of removals for illegal immigrant criminals has gone up.

ICE spokesman Brian Hale said the agency is trying to make the most of "limited resources" by going after the most dangerous illegal immigrants.

"The directive clearly states that the exercise of discretion is inappropriate in cases involving threats to public safety, national security and other agency priorities," he said.

Another ICE official said the agency has to set "sensible priorities" given that it receives a set amount of money from Congress with which to remove "a limited number of individuals."

The official said the administration is "doing more to keep criminal aliens who are threats to public safety -- including murderers, rapists and child molesters -- off our streets than ever before," as well as targeting employers who break immigration law.

ICE last week touted a series of raids in May that resulted in the arrest of 2,400 illegal immigrant criminals nationwide.

Hector Sanchez, director of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, cheered the administration for trying to make violent illegal immigrants the priority for deportation. He also said Latino voters are "very aware" that both parties have fallen short on addressing immigration reform.

As a backdrop, a recent Latino Decisions poll listed immigration as the top concern facing Hispanics. Census figures also show Hispanics changing the electoral map -- by 2012, they'll compose one-fifth of the vote in Texas and one-quarter in California.

The latest ICE memo comes as the Houston Chronicle reported Monday on a string of internal memos from an ICE official in Houston last August that ordered attorneys to dismiss immigration cases that did not meet the "top priorities" of the agency. Though the Houston guidance was later rescinded and the agency said they "exceeded" ICE's official guidance, the Chronicle reported that Houston's office was praised internally by ICE supervisors in Washington at the time until the dismissals became public.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

‘Sheriff Joe’ orders AZ deputies to question undocumented immigrants about wildfires

Deputies in Arizona's Maricopa County arrested 20 immigrants making their way from Mexico to the U.S. last week, and detained them for questioning about the wildfires plaguing Arizona.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the infamously tough "Sheriff Joe," released a statement about the arrests, which occurred near the border where the wildfires blazed.

“It’s a long shot I know,” Arpaio said. “But since we already gather information from them about their U.S. entry points and traveling routes and methods, this is simply one more area of intelligence to explore that may help us to determine the origins of these fires.“

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has been criticized for the last week because he blamed undocumented immigrants as the cause of the fires.

"There is substantial evidence that some of these fires are caused by people who have crossed our border illegally,” he said at a press conference last Saturday. “They have set fires because the want to signal others. They have set fires to keep warm and they have set fires in order to divert law enforcement agents and agencies from them.” Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Az) backed him, up, saying "he is correct."

U.S. Forest Service officials have directly discredited McCain and Kyl's claims. Tom Berglund, the Forest Service official in charge of the Wallow blaze, told ABC News that it has been classified as an "escaped campfire." Asked if there was substantial evidence linking illegal immigrants and the fire, Berglund said, "Absolutely not, at this level." "There's no evidence that I'm aware, no evidence that's been public, indicating such a thing," he said.


Population in the UK will hit 70m even earlier than feared thanks to 'immigrant baby boom'

Runaway migration will drive the UK population above 70million in 15 years – three years earlier than previously predicted. In 2009 official estimates predicted it would take 20 years to reach this landmark level, a figure the Prime Minister has said the nation must not reach. But the latest calculation suggests it could hit 70.4million in 2026, placing huge pressure on public services and housing.

The projection was compiled by the House of Commons library after questions by Tory MP James Clappison. It assumes net migration - the difference between numbers arriving and leaving - remained around its current record level of 240,000 a year. Ministers pledged to cut it to the 'tens of thousands' by 2015.

Two-thirds of the population rise is due to immigration, including an 'immigrant baby boom' caused by higher-than-average birth rates among migrant mothers.

Commentators said the analysis shows the 'absolute necessity' of cutting the number of migrants coming here.

It shows the population, now thought to be around 62.8million, will rise to 65million in 2016, 67million in 2020 and 69million in 2024. The vast majority of the population increase would be in England. Today's figures show that even if net migration fell to an average of 180,000 a year, the population will hit 70million in 2029.

Immigration Minister Damian Green insisted net migration would fall to below 100,000 a year. 'We are fixing the broken immigration system. 'Our reforms will bring net migration down to the tens of thousands.'


Monday, June 27, 2011

Judge Blocks Parts of Indiana Immigration Law

In February, Indiana passed an illegal immigration bill that would allow local police to ask individuals for proof of citizenship after committing a crime.

A Senate panel heard more than four hours of testimony on a bill that Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, the bill's author, said would "put teeth into existing law — to say the citizens of Indiana welcome legal immigration but adamantly reject illegal immigration."

It would do so in part by having law enforcement officers ask for proof of citizenship or legal immigration status from anyone they stop for violating any law or ordinance, if those officers have "reasonable suspicion" that the person is not here legally.

"The inability to speak the English language, I believe, will be a key component or a key factor for law enforcement to establish reasonable suspicion," Delph told the committee.

Yesterday, thanks to the ACLU, a federal judge blocked important parts of the bill, citing immigration is a federal issue.

A federal judge blocked parts of Indiana's new immigration law Friday, saying the law was the latest failed effort of states to deal with a primarily federal issue.

U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker granted a request for an injunction blocking two provisions of the law, which was approved this year by Republicans who control the Statehouse.

A federal judge blocked parts of Indiana's new immigration law Friday, saying the law was the latest failed effort of states to deal with a primarily federal issue.

U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker granted a request for an injunction blocking two provisions of the law, which was approved this year by Republicans who control the Statehouse.

Barker wrote in the ruling that Indiana's law -- as well as laws enacted in several other states -- is an attempt to deal with what is seen as a failure of the federal government to deal with illegal immigration. She said the two provisions of Indiana's effort to deal with immigration "have proven to be seriously flawed and generally unsuccessful."

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana and the National Immigration Law Center sued the state in May.

"We are gratified that the court recognized that Indiana has no place in making immigration policy and we are happy that the constitutional rights of Indiana residents have been vindicated," said Ken Falk, an attorney with the ACLU of Indiana.

According the the ACLU, illegal immigrants have Constitutional rights on the taxpayers dime at a rate of billions of dollars per year. Considering Arizona, Utah, Georgia, Indiana and Alabama have all passed legislation dealing with the illegal immigration issue on their own, with up to 20 states considering similar legislation, the ACLU is going to have its hands full.


Illegals leaving Georgia already

An entire wall at Village Wash and Dry Lavanderia on Atlanta Highway is filled with clothes dryers. But on a drizzling Thursday afternoon, only one is occupied with tumbling clothes.

A telenovela from a wall-mounted television is a distraction from the emptiness as Araceli Galuan, 29, folds her children's T-shirts.

"Before, in this laundromat, there used to be so many people, but now ..." Her voice trails off while a translator explains that Galuan, who came to Gainesville 13 years ago with her family from Guanajuato, sees a big difference in her adopted community since Georgia lawmakers this year passed an aggressive bill that targeted illegal immigrants.

Unless a federal judge agrees this week to temporarily block it, many of the provisions of Georgia's Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011 are set to go into effect Friday.

The bill is Georgia lawmakers' effort at stemming the amount of taxpayer dollars spent providing medical care to illegal immigrants or processing them in the state's judicial system.

But its constitutionality has been called into question by civil rights groups who have sued the state over some of the law's provisions, claiming it violates federal protections from unwarranted search and seizure.

The American Civil Liberties Union has also asked a federal judge to block the state from enforcing its new anti-illegal immigration law until the matter is decided in court.

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Thrash has promised that if he issues that requested injunction, he will do so before Friday when the law is set to go into effect.

Barring that decision, as of Friday, local law enforcement will have the authority to check suspects' immigration status and arrest anyone found to be here illegally.

But members of Hall County's Latino community say a lot of people aren't waiting around for the ruling. Many are leaving, they say, and fear is filling the spaces left behind.

At Carniceria Tapatia, a Latino grocery store on Browns Bridge Road, Noe Covarrubias notices the impact that the law, House Bill 87, has already had on Hall County's once-thriving Latino community. "It's a ghost town," Covarrubias said.

Three years ago, Atlanta Highway, the arterial route through Gainesville's Latino commercial community, was so filled with cars that it was difficult for a pedestrian to cross, business owner Jose Luis Diaz recalls. "Today — now — you can cross with your eyes closed," Diaz said.

Hall County, with its ample poultry processing facilities and once-booming housing industry, has for years been an attractive destination for immigrants from Mexico and Central America.

Census figures show that between 2000 and 2010, Hall County's accounted-for Latino population grew by 72 percent, attracting so many immigrants it was one of the first counties in the state that federal immigration officials tapped to participate in the 287(g) program.

Since 2008, the local-federal partnership has allowed local officers to begin deportation proceedings for any arrestee who is brought to the county jail and determined to be in the country illegally.

And though community members say that partnership had its effect on the Latino population of Hall County, they say it's nothing compared to the fear House Bill 87 has inflicted on the community.

"I have never seen such a state of terror," said Father Jaime Barona, the leader of a largely-Latino congregation at Gainesville's St. Michael Catholic Church. "The people are trembling."

Almost daily, Barona says members of his congregation come to him with worries about family members who were deported. He tells of a seventh-grade girl, in the country legally, who had to move back to Mexico away from her family and way of life after her father was deported.

Like the groups that have filed suit against Georgia's efforts, Barona says Georgia's new anti-illegal immigration law invites racial profiling mostly targeted at Latinos. He takes the criticism a step further, saying the bill invites local law enforcement to "hunt" illegal immigrants and "corral" them like cattle.

"What they don't remember is that when the economy was pretty good, the immigrants worked in this county more than anyone else," Barona said. "The immigrants opened businesses. The immigrants came to Hall County and helped to build this county for the past 15 years. They don't remember that."


Sunday, June 26, 2011

David Cameron has claimed victory in blocking an attempt by Brussels to soften current asylum laws

The Prime Minister joined forces with Germany to force EU leaders to maintain the existing immigration rules, which allow countries to send failed asylum seekers back to the first European country in which they arrived.

The law change would have allowed illegal immigrants to make their way across Europe to Britain before claiming asylum.

Mr Cameron’s priority at the EU summit on Friday was to ensure Britain was not drawn into the second bail-out of Greece, but the Prime Minister was also concerned about changes to Europe’s border policy.

The Mediterranean countries of Greece, Italy and Malta, in particular, are battling to deal with a flood of immigrants. The “Arab Spring” crisis in north Africa and Libya has exacerbated the problem.

José Manuel Barroso, the European commission president, had hoped to amend the “Dublin regulation” which would prevent asylum seekers being sent back to certain named countries.

However, Mr Cameron blocked the plans to alter the immigration system. “I was worried before this European Council about potential proposals to suspend the Dublin arrangements that allow us to return asylum seekers to the countries from which they have come,” said Mr Cameron at the summit. “I’m glad to report that Britain and Germany together made sure that those proposals aren’t even referred to in any way in the Council conclusions.”

Mr Cameron’s stand followed a ruling from the European court of human rights which said that it was wrong to send failed asylum seekers back to Greece because of the state of its reception centres.

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, has described the situation in Greece for migrants and asylum seekers as a “humanitarian crisis.” Greece approved only 11 out of the first 30,000 asylum applications received in 2010. The asylum backlog currently stands at around 47,000 cases.

More than one million people have fled Libya since the conflict began. Frontex, the EU border agency, estimates that 48,000 have already arrived in the EU.

Up to 50,000 immigrants are expected to arrive in Italy in the coming months, with up to 1,500 people dying at sea while trying to make the precarious journey to Europe.

“Britain is not in the Schengen area, we are not going to be joining the Schengen area,” said Mr Cameron. “We have by and large proper and sustainable borders and I want us to have proper and sustainable border controls.”

Under the Schengen Agreement, citizens in 25 mainland European Union (EU) nations are allowed to travel across borders without having their passports checked.

Tensions have risen over the fleeing migrants after Italy handed more than 25,000 Tunisians temporary permits to travel, effectively giving them unobstructed travel around the 25 EU nations. The UK and Ireland are not part of the Schengen agreement.


British PM has finally woken up to the disaster that is immigration. But he's left it too late

There are moments in the life of a government when the penny finally drops. When ministers realise a policy in an important area isn’t working and isn’t likely to either.

That moment has come for the Conservatives in relation to a subject their leader was much too keen to avoid in opposition: mass immigration and its deeply worrying implications.

David Cameron always feared his party being labelled ‘nasty’ if he mentioned immigration too much in the party’s botched general election campaign last year. Indeed, he avoided it until the last of the three televised leaders’ debates. Only then did he speak with clarity and conviction about it, but by that point it was far too late to persuade voters that he was seriously prepared to tackle the problem of our open borders.

But once in Downing Street, Cameron was confronted by research from his personal pollster, Andrew Cooper, which confirmed the true extent of public concern about high levels of immigration.

Ironically, Cooper was one of the very modernisers in the Tory Party who did not want Cameron to be tainted — as he saw it — by being seen as tough on immigration in the run-up to the election.

But now he has changed his tune — and taken the Prime Minister along with him. In fact, Cooper has recently become messianic on the subject, telling colleagues in recent weeks that the Government’s failure to reduce the numbers of immigrants flocking to Britain will badly damage Cameron’s reputation.

And as the problem worsens, the electorate will only get more angry, jeopardising the Prime Minister’s dreams of a second term.

It speaks volumes that voters’ concerns about immigration should come as a revelation to some in No.10, when for years it has been obvious to millions outside the Westminster village that Britain’s loss of control of its borders has been a disaster of historic proportions.

Labour’s criminally reckless open-door policy has meant more than 5.2 million immigrants arriving on our shores since 1997. When the departures of those moving abroad are taken into account, it has left the foreign-born population in the UK an incredible 3.2 million higher.

Future historians will be astonished that a once-great country subjected itself to such a sudden and socially unsustainable rise in population.

And what is worrying Downing Street is whether they can do anything about it. Under pressure from Tory MPs to say something about immigration in the run-up to the election, Cameron committed himself to reducing net migration to the ‘tens of thousands’.

But it is becoming horrifyingly clear that Cameron will not manage to get immigration below even 100,000 a year at the present rate of progress.

The Migration Observatory at Oxford University calculated this week that around 165,000 immigrants will still be arriving every year come 2015. The latest figures for the year to last September showed immigration actually going up, with 242,000 net arrivals.

Of course, a sensible amount of immigration would aid the dynamism of the economy, with talented people from abroad opting to come and work here. But that is not what has happened.

At the current astonishing rates of growth, the independent Office for National Statistics now estimates that the British population will rise from 61.8 million today to more than 70 million in 2026 — three years earlier than it has hitherto forecast. And a staggering 68 per cent of the rise will be attributable to immigration.

To put that in perspective, it is the equivalent of adding eight cities the size of Birmingham to the UK in just 15 years. Our leaders have no idea where all these new citizens are going to be housed nor how the already failing school system and struggling NHS are going to cope with them. Already, as we heard this week, a million children in British schools have English as their second language.

Inside Government, this is all causing something approaching panic. One worried minister described immigration to me as ‘the iceberg’ that could eventually sink the Government. There is also mounting concern that the welfare reforms simply won’t work if immigration continues at its current pace.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith is implementing a programme to get some of the five million on benefits fit for work, but he is worried that migration could render it largely ineffective.

Unsurprisingly, many businesses prefer to employ ambitious, hardworking incomers rather than long-term unemployed Britons. This has meant that nine out of ten new jobs go to migrants.

If the flow of fresh arrivals continues, the fear is that bosses will continue to choose them rather than help get Britons off benefits.

What an appalling mess. A PM who could have won a majority had he focused more in the election campaign on immigration and other traditional Tory topics such as crime, controls on the welfare state and education reform now belatedly accepts the full seriousness of the situation.

His problem is that he is in coalition with the pro-immigration Lib Dems, who are hampering attempts to bring the situation back under control. The Tory Home Office minister Damian Green is trying to get the numbers down with a cap on work permits for those coming in from abroad. But the Lib Dem Business Secretary Vince Cable has insisted that controls should not apply to vast swathes of workers — which makes it difficult to hit the target for reductions. The PM’s hands are tied in other ways too. First, there is Europe. Free movement within the EU means its citizens have a right to come here.

Even if there were to be a flood of Greek or Portuguese fleeing the meltdown of their Eurozone economies, there is nothing we could do to stop them.

Then there is the Human Rights Act. The Daily Mail reported last week that there are 3,200 criminals, failed asylum seekers and benefit tourists who cannot be kicked out because of their right to a family life. A Bolivian even said he couldn’t be forced to leave because he has a British cat. A Sri Lankan thief won the right to stay because he has a girlfriend here.

Even if the PM tried to repeal the Human Rights Act, he couldn’t. The Lib Dems wouldn’t allow it.

Cameron could try to crack down hard on the biggest source of immigration, the 75 per cent or so who come here from outside the EU. He could opt for much tougher measures on work permits, sham marriages, bogus students and by heavily fining companies who employ any of the one million illegal immigrants. But again, Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems wouldn’t have it.

Perhaps one day a British leader will be prepared to opt out of the EU’s free movement directives and to properly police our borders. But don’t hold your breath for David Cameron to do it. Tragically, it simply isn’t going to happen under this pantomime horse of a Coalition Government.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Census: Whites in minority among new births

For the first time, minorities make up a majority of babies in the U.S., part of a sweeping race change and a growing age divide between mostly white, older Americans and predominantly minority youths that could reshape government policies.

Preliminary census estimates also show the share of African-American households headed by women -- mostly single mothers -- now exceeds African-American households with married couples, a sign of declining U.S. marriages overall but also of continuing challenges for black youths without involved fathers.

The findings, based on the latest government data, offer a preview of final 2010 census results being released this summer that provide detailed breakdowns by age, race and householder relationships.

Demographers say the numbers provide the clearest confirmation yet of a changing social order, one in which racial and ethnic minorities will become the U.S. majority by midcentury. "We're moving toward an acknowledgment that we're living in a different world than the 1950s, where married or two-parent heterosexual couples are now no longer the norm for a lot of kids, especially kids of color," said Laura Speer, coordinator of the Kids Count project for the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation.

"It's clear the younger generation is very demographically different from the elderly, something to keep in mind as politics plays out on how programs for the elderly get supported," she said. "It's critical that children are able to grow to compete internationally and keep state economies rolling."

Currently, non-Hispanic whites make up just under half of all children 3 years old, which is the youngest age group shown in the Census Bureau's October 2009 annual survey, its most recent. In 1990, more than 60 percent of children in that age group were white.

William H. Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution who analyzed the data, said figures in the 2009 survey can sometimes be inexact compared with the 2010 census, which queries the entire nation. But he said when factoring in the 2010 data released so far, minorities outnumber whites among babies under age 2.

The preliminary figures are based on an analysis of the Current Population Survey as well as the 2009 American Community Survey, which sampled 3 million U.S. households to determine that whites made up 51 percent of babies younger than 2. After taking into account a larger-than-expected jump in the minority child population in the 2010 census, the share of white babies falls below 50 percent.

Twelve states and the District of Columbia now have white populations below 50 percent among children under age 5 -- Hawaii, California, New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Florida, Maryland, Georgia, New Jersey, New York and Mississippi. That's up from six states and the District of Columbia in 2000.

At current growth rates, seven more states could flip to "minority-majority" status among small children in the next decade: Illinois, North Carolina, Virginia, Colorado, Connecticut, South Carolina and Delaware.

By contrast, whites make up the vast majority of older Americans -- 80 percent of seniors 65 and older and roughly 73 percent of people ages 45-64. Many states with high percentages of white seniors also have particularly large shares of minority children, including Arizona, Nevada, California, Texas and Florida.

"The recent emergence of this cultural generation gap in states with fast growth of young Hispanics has spurred heated discussions of immigration and the use of government services," Frey said. "But the new census, which will show a minority majority of our youngest Americans, makes plain that our future labor force is absolutely dependent on our ability to integrate and educate a new diverse child population."


The Reckless Folly of the "Undocumented Immigrant"

Michelle Malkin

With great fanfare and elite media sympathy, Jose Antonio Vargas publicly declared himself an "undocumented immigrant" this week. "Undocumented" my you-know-what. In the felony-friendly pages of The New York Crimes -- er, Times -- the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist turned illegal-alien activist spilled the beans on all the illegal IDs he amassed over the years. He had documents coming out of his ears.

The Times featured full-color photos of Vargas' fake document trove -- including a fake passport with a fake name, a fake green card and a Social Security card his grandfather doctored for him at a Kinko's. He committed perjury repeatedly on federal I-9 employment eligibility forms. In 2002, while pursuing his journalism career goals, an immigration lawyer told him he needed to accept the consequences of his law-breaking and return to his native Philippines.

Following the rules would have meant a 10-year bar to reentry into America. Making false claims of citizenship is a felony offense. Document fraud is a felony offense.

Vargas, who frames himself as a helpless victim, freely chose instead to secure yet more dummy documents. He used a friend's address to obtain an Oregon driver's license under false pretenses. It gave him an eight-year golden ticket to travel by car, board trains and airplanes, work at prestigious newspapers, and even gain access to the White House -- where crack Secret Service agents allowed him to attend a state dinner using his bogus Social Security number.

At least Vargas tells the truth when he says he's not alone. Go visit a 7-11 in the D.C. suburbs. Or the countless vendors in MacArthur Park in East L.A. Or any of the 19 cities in 11 states from Massachusetts to Ohio to Kentucky where a massive, Mexico-based "highly sophisticated and violent" fraudulent-document trafficking ring operated until February 2011. "Undocumented workers" and "undocumented immigrants" have plenty of documents.

The persistent use of these open-borders euphemisms to describe Vargas and countless millions like him is a perfect illumination of the agenda-driven, dominant progressive media.

They're as activist inside their newsrooms as Vargas is out in the open now. Bleeding-heart editors were hoaxed by a prominent colleague, exposed to liability, and yet still champion his serial subversion of the law. San Francisco Chronicle editor Phil Bronstein bragged that he was "duped" by Vargas, but endorses his "subterfuge" because Vargas' lobbying campaign for the illegal-alien student bailout known as the DREAM Act "just might lubricate the politically tarred-up wheels of government and help craft sane immigration policy."

Who's insane? The Vargas deceit is not an object lesson about America's failure to show compassion. It's another stark reminder of America's dangerous failure to learn from 9/11.

Time and again, security experts have warned about how jihadists have exploited lax immigration and ID enforcement. Driver's licenses are gateways into the American mainstream. They allow residents to establish an identity and gain a foothold into their communities. They help you open bank accounts, enter secure facilities, board planes, and do things like drive tractor-trailers carrying hazardous materials.

It's been nearly 10 years since several of the 19 9/11 hijackers operated in the country using hundreds of illicitly obtained fake driver's licenses and IDs. Most states tightened licensing rules, yet Vargas easily obtained a driver's license not only in Oregon, but more recently in Washington State. He again used a friend's residence to pass muster. Washington State's licensing bureaucracy still does not check citizenship. The man sitting in the White House campaigned to keep driver's license laws as loose as possible for the open-borders lobby. He appointed illegal-alien lobbyists to top federal immigration positions. His head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement just signed a memo pushing the DREAM Act through by administrative fiat. And the privacy of illegal aliens still trumps national security. I ask again: Who's insane?

Vargas believes his sob story is an argument for giving up on immigration enforcement and passing a mass amnesty. It's a sob story, all right. Homeland security officials across the country should be weeping at the open mockery Vargas and his enablers have made of the law.


Friday, June 24, 2011

UK fears migrant influx as EU bids to break down border controls

Brussels bosses want to tear up European Union immigration rules, leaving Britain vulnerable to a new influx of migrants. The European Commission plans to use human rights laws to break down border controls.

David Cameron will today go into battle to face down plans to scrap the existing rule that means illegal immigrants and asylum seekers are supposed to be sent back to the country where they first enter the EU.

Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso will use a summit in Brussels today to press for the changes. He wants the rule suspended indefinitely, opening the door to thousands of immigrants heading for Britain to claim more generous benefits than they could get elsewhere.

British officials fear that suspending the rule will mean that countries on the edge of Europe make far less effort to police their borders, since they will not have to face the consequences themselves of letting in too many migrants.

The situation has been made more acute by the fighting in Libya, which has seen thousands of refugees fleeing Colonel Gaddafi’s regime to take shelter in the EU. More than one million people have fled Libya since the conflict began. Frontex, the EU border agency, estimates that 48,000 have already arrived in the EU. Italy is expecting another 50,000 to double those numbers.

Eurocrats are demanding the changes to the existing rules, enshrined in the so-called ‘Dublin regulations’, after officials lost a legal case in the European Court of Human Rights in January. On that occasion the Court ruled that Belgium and Greece had violated the rights of an asylum seeker in expelling him to Athens.

Both countries had been following EU policy by sending migrants back to the port where they first entered the EU to file their claim to refugee status. The policy was followed despite warnings from the UN refugee agency and the Council of Europe’s human rights commissioner that Greece’s system was dysfunctional.

The Afghan asylum seeker, known to the court as M.S.S., said that Belgium and Greece had subjected him to degrading treatment in returning him to Athens, and that he had been denied an ‘effective remedy’ against expulsion. The court agreed.

Last night the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘The Commission is proposing that the regulations are suspended. ‘We will be resisting that because we think it’s important to have proper border controls.’

The Prime Minister will join forces with French President Nicolas Sarkozy to block a bid by Mr Barroso to write the plans into the communiqué which will be issued at the end of the EU leader’s summit tomorrow. The French are keen to block the move because they have already fallen out with Italy after immigrants arriving from Libya crossed the border into France.

The No 10 spokesman said: ‘We do care because what happens at the border of Europe can impact on the border of the UK. ‘People who come into the EU through other countries can end up in the UK. 'We’ve got to have the right incentives in place so countries police their borders properly.'


You call this even-handed? Refugee series is strictly for the gullible

Misleading series from Australian public TV broadcaster

One of the most passionate and enduring debates in this country has been built on a falsity, a false choice that is being carefully recrafted, repackaged and re-presented on SBS this week, at taxpayer expense.

A comment that sums up the falsity at the centre of this debate and the three-part series Go Back to where You Came from came from one of the six manipulated participants in the show, Darren Hassan, who complained that the group was being subjected to enforced empathy.

He had seen the loaded dice at the centre of the progressive argument about boat people: that if you believe in stopping the small number of asylum seekers who arrive by boat, you are lacking in empathy, lacking in compassion, and probably anti-Muslim. The entire series is designed to enforce this maxim. The participants are lied to. The audience is lied to. This is an empathy forced march.

In the first part, on Tuesday night, the unseen narrator said the participants had just ''survived a sinking, burning boat''. In fact it was an obvious charade. We were told that ''at the last minute, the stricken boat is spotted''. Again, only for the gullible. The rescue was as false as the emergency.

The narrator told us that only ''1 per cent of the world's refugees are resettled by the UN''. Again, a highly misleading statistic.

The empathy argument is easily turned on its head, something the producers carefully avoid doing. Far from lacking empathy, the decision to send a punitive signal to the people smugglers and their clients has been proven to stop the people-smuggling trade. Detention centres, instead of being opened all over the country, would empty out. Lives would not be lost at sea. Hundreds of millions of dollars would be spent on people instead of policing. More refugees could come to Australia under less stress and for less cost.

Because this debate is not about empathy. It is not about numbers. It is not about race. It is about principle: control the borders. The biggest beneficiaries of strict border control would be legitimate asylum seekers.

Much to the chagrin of the progressive side of politics, this argument is the one that has carried the day in Australia. After 15 years of being bashed over the head, especially by the ABC and SBS, the public has not budged. The Gillard Labor government could fall on this issue alone, given how badly it has been handled for almost four years. This year it will spend more than $750 million on illegal entries, an increase of 700 per cent over the final year of the Howard government.

The bedrock opposition of Australians to the empathy argument is quickly evident from the questions asked by some of the participants in Go Back to where You Came from. Adam Hartup: Why didn't the boat people stay in Malaysia or Indonesia where they were in no danger? Why do 99 per cent of them arrive with no papers?

Darren Hassan: Once they leave Malaysia, and then Indonesia, they become economic migrants. We need to send a tougher signal. People who are destroying documents, what are they trying to hide?

Raye Colbey (after visiting settled refugees from Africa who had come via the UN process): These are real refugees. They came the right way.

None of these basic questions were seriously addressed by the producers in their opening salvo. They had carefully sifted through 500 people before selecting the six for the program, and carefully chosen the refugees the participants would visit in Australia. But it would have been possible to randomly select six Australians, take them to a refugee camp, or to a newly arrived refugee's home, and see a ramp-up in empathy in most cases. This series is about something else.

While the quality of the filmmaking is good, the laudatory descriptions of the program as being even-handed are overstated. It is stacked with commentary, from the narration, to the structure, to the guide, Dr David Corlett, who is immersed in the refugee industry, is highly political, and in 2003 wrote a Quarterly Essay, ''Sending Them Home'', with Robert Manne. This is the producers' idea of dispassionate objectivity.

Last August, the ABC's Four Corners presented a searing program, ''Smugglers' Paradise'', which presented a far more accurate and confronting picture of the people smuggling trade to Australia. It was reality TV that was real. This new series has real people in real places, but it remains an exercise in manipulation for everyone involved.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Feds nab 2,400 in immigrant sting

Federal officials announced Tuesday the arrests of more than 2,400 illegal immigrants in a seven-day crackdown targeting those who are convicted criminals. The operation, called Cross Check, was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs officials in May, federal officials said in a press release.

"The results of this operation underscore ICE's ongoing focus on arresting those convicted criminal aliens who prey upon our communities, and tracking down fugitives who game our nation's immigration system," ICE Director John Morton said in a statement. "This targeted enforcement operation is a direct result of excellent teamwork among law enforcement agencies who share a commitment to protect public safety."

The announcement comes after ICE announced key reforms to its Secure Communities program, which had been criticized by community activists and state officials. "The big problem is that they were getting mostly noncriminals," Audrey Singer, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and an expert on U.S. immigration policy, told CNN Tuesday. "In many communities across the country, local police have made a lot of headway with local residents. Secure Communities made that relationship more fragile. In some cases, there was a fear that immigrants would not continue to go to police when a crime was committed."

Pablo Rodriguez, executive director of Communities for a New California, said Cross Check, if not carried out correctly, may have the same fundamental flaws as Secure Communities and may actually reduce crime reporting in the community.

"On a local level, people who have been victims of crime have stopped reporting because they know that any contact with law enforcement would result in their own deportation," he said.

On Tuesday, ICE statement said federal officials had been implementing Cross Check since December 2009 in 37 states, iresulting in 2,064 arrests of convicted criminals, fugitives and undocumented immigrants who have re-entered the country illegally.

The national debate on immigration policy has heated up since Arizona last year passed a law requiring noncitizens to have registration documents on hand at all times. Though key provisions of that law have been tied up in the courts, other states, such as Georgia and Alabama, have followed suit with similar legislation cracking down on illegal immigrants.

Meanwhile, a handful of states have rebuffed federal officials' plans to clamp down on undocumented immigrants. Earlier this month, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security saying that he would suspend his state's participation in Secure Communities due to "its impact on families, immigrant communities and law enforcement in New York."

"The heart of concern is that the program, conceived of as a method of targeting those who pose the greatest threat in our communities, is in fact having the opposite effect and compromising pubic safety by deterring witnesses to crime and others from working with law enforcement," he wrote. "Until the numerous questions and controversies regarding the program can be resolved, we have determined that New York is best served by relying on existing tools to ensure the safety of its residents," he added.

Cuomo's move was preceded by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, who last month said his state was withdrawing from the program. Massachusetts also rejected it.


White House loosens border rules for 2012

President Barack Obama’s administration is quietly offering a quasi-amnesty for hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants, while aiming to win reelection by mobilizing a wave of new Hispanic voters, say supporters of stronger immigration law enforcement.

The new rules were quietly announced Friday with a new memo from top officials at the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. The “prosecutorial discretion” memo says officials need not enforce immigration laws if illegal immigrants are enrolled in an education center or if their relatives have volunteered for the US military.

“They’re pushing the [immigration] agents to be even more lax, to go further in not enforcing the law,” said Kris Kobach, Kansas’ secretary of state. “At a time when millions of Americans are unemployed and looking for work, this is more bad news coming from the Obama administration… [if the administration] really cared about putting Americans back to work, it would be vigorously enforcing the law,” said Kobach, who has helped legislators in several states draft local immigration-related laws.

“We think it is an excellent step,” said Laura Vasquez, at the Hispanic-advocacy group, La Raza, which pushed for the policies, and which is working with other groups to register Hispanics to vote in 2012. “What’s very important is how the prosecutorial discretion memo is implemented” on the streets, she said.

The Hispanic vote could be crucial in the 2012 election, because the Obama campaign hopes to offset its declining poll ratings by registering new Hispanic voters in crucial swing states, such as Virginia and North Carolina.

To boost the Hispanic vote, the administration has enlisted support from Hispanic media figures, appointed an experienced Hispanic political operative to run the political side of the Obama reelection campaign, and has maintained close ties to Hispanic advocacy groups, including La Raza. For example, La Raza’s former senior vice president and lobbyist, Cecilia Munoz, was hired by the Obama administration as director of intergovernmental affairs in 2009.

On Friday, officials at ICE announced several new administrative changes to immigration enforcement.

The primary document was the six-page “prosecutorial discretion” memo, which provided new reasons for officials to not deport illegal immigrants.
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“When weighing whether an exercise of prosecutorial discretion may be warranted for a given alien, ICE officials, agents and attorneys should consider all relevant factors, including, but not limited to – the circumstances of the person’s arrival in the United States … particularly if the alien came to the United States as a young child; the Person’s pursuit of education… .. whether the person, or the person’s immediate relative, has served in the U.S. military,” said the memo.

“The factors are extremely broad and very troubling … [it] look like a stealth DREAM Act enforcement through non-enforcement,” said Kobach.

The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act has been repeatedly rejected by Congress from 2001 to 2010. “The deliberate non-enforcement of our immigration laws in this administration certainly seems politically motivated,” said Kobach, adding “how exactly they expect to win votes by doing this is beyond me.”

In practice, the new memo won’t make much of a difference because “ICE isn’t deporting people now,” said Jessica Vaughan, an analyst at the Center for Immigration Studies. While pleading limited resources, “they only [deport] individuals with criminal charges,” such as felonies or several misdemeanors, she said.

There are roughly 10 million illegal immigrants in the United States, of which roughly 7 million are working. Business and Democrat-allied advocacy groups have stoutly opposed federal and state efforts to identify and deport the immigrants, but public opposition has repeatedly stopped proposals – including the Obama-backed DREAM Act – to provide the illegal immigrants with amnesties and residency permits.

On Friday, officials also announced a new advisory panel intended “to implement policies stopping the [deportation and] removal of individuals charged with, but not convicted of, minor traffic offenses who have no other criminal history or egregious immigration violations.”

Advocates for illegal immigrants have long argued that police should not deport illegal immigrants who are identified following a traffic violation. “It is not a crime to be be here illegally,” claimed B. Loewe, a spokesman for the National Day Laborers Organizing Network. “Local law-enforcement enforcing immigration laws is a bad idea.”

“It is a misperception that local police are going out to pull people who look like immigrants on trumped-up traffic violations,” countered Vaughan. “They’re not removing people who made a right turn on red light without stopping, because you don’t get arrested for that.”

The agency also announced new training policies for immigration officials, a new policy to shield illegal immigrants from deportation if they seek police protection during a domestic violence episode, and a new form to be given to detained immigrants which tells them they can’t be detained for more than 48 hours by state officials.

These announcements are solutions in search of a problem, said Vaughan. For example, illegal immigrants who successfully show they are domestic violence victims already can get a “U Visa” under an established law, she said. “This is absolutely unheard of for a law enforcement agency to be told to practically apologize for doing its job” of enforcing the law,” she said.

Immigrant advocacy groups said they want to get more from the administration. “We’re continuing to work with the administration for them to show strong leadership and advancing immigration reform,” said Vasquez. “We think there are further steps the administration can take.” For example, the administration should allow people to stay in the United States while their immigration cases are settled, she said.

The administration should end the “Secure Communities” program, which allows state and local police to detain illegals for subsequent deportation by federal authorities, said Loewe. “Secure Communities is an experiment they unleashed on the public without any safeguards or regulations… local law-enforcement of immigration laws is a bad idea,” he said.

Tougher enforcement of immigration laws shouldn’t be used to combat high unemployment among poor Americans, he said. Instead, the government should start a major spending program to build schools and libraries, and levy taxes on major corporations. “When were talking about a drain on the economy,” he said, “we should look at the corporations that refuse to pay back their due.”

But the overall goal of the new memos is victory in the 2012 election, not law enforcement, said Vaughan. It is “kabuki theater… designed [by the administration] to send a signal to these groups that they are taking their concerns very seriously.”

“Latino voters are very engaged and watching carefully what is happening with immigration policies,” said Vasquez, “because they’re deeply effected by it, either because they know someone impacted by it, or themselves are impacted by it.”


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Migrants taking nine in ten new jobs since the election, British poverty czar reveals

Almost nine out of ten jobs created since the election went to immigrants, the Coalition’s poverty czar has revealed.

Former Labour minister Frank Field, brought in to advise the Government last year, criticised David Cameron’s plans to reform welfare as nowhere near radical enough – because they do not punish the workshy or reward those who have contributed to National Insurance. He also said he believed the public wanted tougher sanctions forcing the long-term unemployed back to work.

Mr Field dismissed proposals to simplify the benefits system as nothing more than ‘Gordon Brown’s approach, on speed’. ‘Good, reliable’ people who have worked hard and paid NI should be helped more than those who have not, he said.

Figures uncovered by Mr Field show that in the first year of the Coalition, 87 per cent of the 400,000 newly created jobs have gone to immigrants, because Britons are too lazy to chase work.

Embarrassingly for Mr Cameron, the proportion of new jobs going to immigrants is actually higher now than it was in Labour’s last year in office.

But his attempts to get to grips with the problem have to some extent been scuppered by Business Secretary, Vince Cable, who opposes an immigration cap.

In an article for the Daily Telegraph, Mr Field said: ‘I fear that, at the next election, we will still be having the same debate on welfare reform as we had at the last four.’ And he said tougher sanctions were needed to force back to work those who refused jobs that they believed ‘were only fit for immigrants’.

Mr Field said: ‘This group of recidivist, workless claimants know from past experience governments leave them alone.’

Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, has unveiled plans to simplify benefits into a single universal credit designed to ensure those in work are always better off.

Last night, a source close to Mr Duncan Smith said the figures on immigrant workers were a Labour legacy. The source said: ‘When faced with young, sparky Eastern Europeans coming here to work, it is essential that Britons have the skills to compete.’


British government 'will miss its migrant targets' unless they rip up the rulebook

David Cameron will fail to bring annual net migration down to five figures unless he rips up the rule book and imposes tougher limits, academics warn today.

The Prime Minister has said repeatedly that he wants to reduce net migration, currently 242,000 a year, to below 100,000 by 2015.

But estimates based on official Whitehall figures suggest current policy will cut it to 167,000 by then. The predictions, from Oxford University's Migration Observatory, are disputed by Home Office sources who say the figures 'don’t add up'. But they highlight the enormous scale of the challenge ministers face to rein in spiralling migrant numbers.

Net migration is the difference between the numbers arriving and those leaving. The 242,000 figure is the biggest since Labour opened the doors to workers from Eastern Europe when eight countries joined the EU in 2004. Barring the beginning of a new wave of Britons moving abroad, to bring net migration below 100,000 would mean a cut in arrivals of 142,000.

But Britain is hamstrung in its ability to influence net migrant numbers because it cannot restrict those coming from inside the EU. In recent months, the Home Office has unveiled a series of policy measures aimed at cutting the total arrivals from outside Europe.

Today's report, entitled Off Target, calculates the expected combined impact of those policies on the net migration figure.

The cap on migrant workers is predicted to reduce net migration by 11,000 and changes to student visas are expected to cut net migration by 56,000, the report says.

Rules on allowing migrants to bring family members with them are to be tightened this summer. But the report predicts these changes are unlikely to reduce net migration by more than 8,000.

Major shifts in so-called 'settlement rights' which allow tens of thousands of migrants to stay indefinitely will not have any significant impact before 2016, the report says.

Dr Scott Blinder, senior researcher at the Migration Observatory, said: 'The Government's current policies only look likely to reduce net migration by about 75,000 at best – which would mean that further reductions of more than 67,000 would be needed to meet the 'tens of thousands' net migration target.'

The report will raise fears that tough immigration policies advocated by Tory ministers have been watered down to placate the Lib Dems.

Home Office sources said the academics were wrong to base their predictions on the level of net migration now rather than the likely level in 2015. They also said the authors were guessing the impact of changes to rules for family members of migrants.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

British Judges launch scathing attack on the 'abusive' way migrants exploit appeals and say most cases have no merit

They have either been ‘dreamt up’ by lawyers seeking to line their own pockets, or are a blatant last-ditch attempt to stop deportations taking place.

Many – including appeals made by foreign criminals – are brought under the controversial Article 8 of Labour’s Human Rights Act – the ‘right to a family and private life’.

And despite the rampant exploitation of the system, the taxpayer is writing legal cheques worth £12million a year for immigration cases. Effectively – and farcically – the British Government is picking up the bill for the thwarting of its own attempts to control immigration.

In a single year, the public funded a staggering 37,300 immigration appeals, according to Ministry of Justice figures seen by the Mail. It is the equivalent of more than 100 cases every day.

Justice officials say the legal aid is being spent on ‘advice on how to get a visa to enter the UK, or how to avoid being deported once they’re here’.

It includes advice to immigrants from Europe looking to work in Britain, and migrants from outside Europe who want to study, get work experience or join their families who have emigrated to the UK.

In a devastating letter to Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke, the Judges Council of England and Wales – which speaks for the judiciary – paints a picture of appalling abuse. The judges say that, out of 12,500 judicial review claim forms issued in the Administrative Court in 2010, about 7,500 concerned asylum or immigration.

The claims have been considered – and dismissed – by the Secretary of State and at least one immigration tribunal, making the judicial review a ‘second or sometimes the third or fourth bite of the cherry’.

The judges’ letter to Mr Clarke goes on: ‘Most claims fail, most of the claims which fail are without merit, and many are wholly abusive of the court’s process. ‘When the claim itself is publicly funded, two sets of publicly funded costs will be incurred – all irrecoverable. No-one derives any legitimate benefit from this litigation.

‘The intervention of publicly funded lawyers does not reduce the number of unmeritorious claims of this type to the extent that might be expected. Bad claims are advanced by publicly funded lawyers as well as by litigants in person – albeit litigants in person are responsible for a greater proportion of hopeless cases. Often, bad claims are advanced by lawyers which an individual would not have thought of for himself.’

One senior immigration judge, Sir Anthony May, said most claims he heard were the third or fourth time a person had been to a tribunal. They are brought by failed asylum seekers trying to block their removal at the last minute.

Sir Anthony said: ‘Sometimes we have to deal with 20 or even more such applications every day when there is a chartered flight going out of Gatwick, Stansted or wherever it is. Let us say that 85 per cent of them – that is a figure I rather pluck out of the air but it is of that order – are of no merit.’

Last week, the Mail revealed how the Human Rights Act was having a huge negative impact on the immigration system. Thousands of foreign criminals, failed asylum seekers and EU ‘benefit tourists’ are using the legislation to thwart Home Office attempts to enforce the rules.

In the overwhelming majority of cases, they are using the controversial Article 8. Cases included hundreds of EU citizens who had no intention of working – but were permitted to stay here to potentially enjoy a life on benefits.

Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migrationwatch, said: ‘This is not just the right to family life. It is the right to family life at the expense of the hard-pressed taxpayer.

‘It brings the whole concept of human rights into disrepute. It is high time we took a critical look at the European Convention on Human Rights which is being exploited by lawyers in ways never remotely envisaged by its authors.’

'Bond with daughter' that allowed a thug to stay: Violent criminal Asim Parris beat deportation under human rights laws guaranteeing his ‘right to a family life – despite having little interest in his daughter and a string of convictions.

The 23-year-old convinced immigration judges and the Appeal Court that his ‘close bond’ with his daughter meant he should stay in Britain.

It thwarted an attempt by the Home Office to have him deported to Trinidad after a conviction for drug dealing.

Parris told an immigration tribunal and three Appeal Court judges that he was remorseful for his crimes and that his deportation would hurt his relationship with his daughter. The Appeal Court ruled that the impact on members of Parris’s family would be ‘disproportionate, especially since he has a child who has a strong bond with him’.

But Naomi Chambers, Parris’s former girlfriend and the mother of his daughter Reinaya, said: ‘It’s not fair for him to use her as an excuse for staying. He’s only started to see her more regularly since the court case started, to prove he’s got family ties. ‘It was ridiculous that he told the court he is so close to her because he never saw her when he was out of prison.’

Parris came to Britain aged three to join his mother, who had remained here illegally after attending a niece’s engagement party. She gained leave to stay and got British passports for Parris’s older brother and two sisters. However, she failed to obtain one for him.

After Reinaya’s birth in June 2007, Miss Chambers left Parris. Two months later, he attacked her while trying to snatch the child.

Parris was found guilty of battery and destruction. A string of offences followed, including possession of drugs, but an immigration tribunal found ‘there is no evidence at all that he has resorted back to drug taking, pushing or possessing’.


Recent posts at CIS below

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

1. New Online Feature: Center for Immigration Studies' Website Index

2. This Year’s Most Important Jobs Bill (Op-Ed)

3. Baptists Call for Amnesty (Blog)

4. Russian Ad: 'Come Work in the Best Strip Clubs in the U.S., on a J-1 Visa' (Blog)

5. Arizona Fires: Too Hot for Feds to Handle? (Blog)

6. Birth Tourism Fraud from China: 'The return on investment is higher than robbing a bank' (Blog)

7. Trying Again on Driver's Licenses (Blog)

8. DoJ Judge: It's OK to Fire a Good Man for Doing a Good Deed (Blog)

9. A Look Back to 1953 (Blog)

10. You Can Tell the Feds How to Change Our Immigration Policy (Blog)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Ending Illegal Immigration: A Risk-Benefit Analysis

Cutting off the benefits would be a lot cheaper and more effective than building fences

Wait! Don’t build that fence along our southern border just yet. We may not really need it any more than we need one on the northern border with Canada. In order to fix the problem of illegal immigration we must first understand why we have an estimated 12 million illegals in the United States. A Risk-Benefit Analysis model provides insight into both the causes of the problem and the solution to it.

We all make risk-benefit decisions every day. “Should I have the apple or the cheeseburger for lunch?” Or, “Should I send a Tweet with a risqué photo of myself to that young coed?” Millions of people on our northern and southern borders face the decision to enter the United States illegally, but we don’t have a fence with Canada because we don’t need one. Canadians are not streaming into the USA demanding ice cold Molson beer and raising maple leaf flags in front of public schools. Why not? It’s simple: Canadians enjoy a good quality of life at home, so the perceived benefit in coming here illegally is not worth the risk.

But the same is not true for our southern neighbors. Life in Central and South America is…well…bleak. America sits like a shimmering jewel on the horizon where benefits abound: healthcare, education, citizenship, and jobs, to name a few. The risk in coming here is perceived to be low in comparison to the benefits to be had. So they come. Politicians puff out their chests, call it an outrage, and demand fences be built. Unfortunately, fences have never worked in the past. But we’re ignoring the obvious solution: end the benefits, ratchet up the risk, and we won’t need a fence for the same reason we have none with Canada.

Let’s look at some of the benefits we provide to non-U.S. citizens and consider some solutions:

Healthcare: By one estimate, as much as 40% of the healthcare that goes unpaid for in the U.S. goes to people here illegally. That’s a nice benefit. Medical providers should continue to provide care to anyone who needs it, but they should also be required to inquire about a patient’s citizenship. Those who are suspected of being here illegally ought to be turned over to U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement following care.

Education: Current law requires that children of illegal parents receive a public education, and there are good arguments for providing it. But the practice only keeps a benefit in place, one that costs taxpayers billions of dollars each year. It may be time to rethink the law, and if faced with the prospect of no education in America, perhaps fewer non-citizens would risk coming here.

Citizenship: Long-term we need to repeal or change the 14th Amendment that gives citizenship to people born in the United States. Its original purpose has long-since ceased to be relevant, and the problems it sought to fix have been fixed. In the near term, we need to consider changing the 1965 Immigration Act which facilitates the permanent residency status of illegals who bear children in the U.S. Anchor babies have created an unintended humanitarian hostage situation, one that is a costly burden on taxpayers.

Jobs: It’s illegal to hire illegals, yet getting a job in America remains one of the biggest benefits to be had in coming here. We need to shift the focus away from rounding up illegals in the workplace to clamping down on those who employ them. By increasing the risk to employers (stiff fines and even jail time), they will be less likely to hire non-citizens. Surprisingly, the Obama administration appears to have started doing just that. It’s a good start.

If we were to eliminate the benefits to be gained by illegally entering the United States, while increasing the risk in coming here, we could solve the illegal immigration problem without a fence. These benefits are the causes of the problem, and their removal is the solution. Building the fence would only slow down the departure. We welcome legal immigrants, and we should reserve the benefits of citizenship for those willing to get in line and knock politely on the front door.


Even Iceland has immigrants

Mostly hard-working Poles

Although their numbers have been halved by the recent economic meltdown, Poles - who now number an estimated 10,000 - continue to be Iceland's largest ethnic minority.

"Na zdrowje," says Michal, lifting his beer glass high. "Na zdrowje," answers his friend Marek. The two men are on their second beer, but in a bit of a hurry since their wives are waiting for them at home with dinner. They will order their third drink soon.

"What else are we supposed to do here?" asks Michal rhetorically. In the small town of Akranes, just an hour's drive north of Iceland's capital, Reykjavik, there are really just two ways to spend an evening: either at home or at the "Mömmueldhus" (Mother's Kitchen) restaurant at 8 Kirkjubraut Street.

The restaurant is run by Gabriela and her husband Dariusz, who, like Michal and Marek, are not Icelanders, but Polish. They belong to Iceland's 9,496-strong community of ethnic Poles. Although this is an official count (made earlier this year), it is hard to be sure of its accuracy, since Poles require neither work nor residence permits to live in Iceland. In order to stay here, Polish citizens just need to obtain a valid kennitala, the Icelandic version of a social security number.

Before the financial crisis started in October 2008, there were more than 20,000 Poles in Iceland. And although their numbers have declined significantly over the past three years, Poles remain the largest minority on the island.

Michal was born in 1981 in Dabrowa Gornicza, Poland, and came to Iceland in 2007. He had previously worked in a factory, and had “always dreamed of experiencing Iceland.” Within three weeks of his arrival in Akranes, Michal had already found a job as a welder in a machine factory. But in 2009, the factory went bankrupt. Among those laid off were at least a dozen Poles, Michal included.

Michal used this time to take classes in business and Icelandic. Since March, he has been working in an aluminum factory in Walfjord. His wife, whom he met in Poland, works in a canning factory in Akranes. Six months ago, Michal, along with five (unemployed) friends, created a website for Poles living in Iceland:

The website is well-designed and offers a lot of information on current events, job offers and discount shopping. According to Michal, the website also tries to foster "a sense of togetherness" among Poles living in Iceland. He hopes that the site, which receives 9,000 visitors each day, will break even within the next two years.

Marek was born in 1969 in Tomaszow, Poland, and he came to Iceland out of love for a Polish woman he met in 2005 on the Internet. He divorced his wife, sold everything, and bought a one-way ticket to Reykjavik to be with her.

Their fling did not last long, but Marek found a job as a welder in the aluminum factory and met another woman, Patricia. A former flute student at the Music Academy in Krakow, she did not hesitate one moment when she was offered a teaching job at an orchestral school in Akranes.

"In Poland, I had to work 60 hours or more a week just to make ends meet. Here, I work 20,” Patricia explains. She works less, earns more, and has time to care for her family: Marek, her second husband; Peter, a son from her first marriage; and Stefan, who was born two years ago. They have a spacious condominium, a Japanese family car, and a satellite dish that gives them access to over 300 TV channels, including Polish ones in case they get homesick.

But Patricia and Marek have no intention of leaving Iceland.
Only their 17-year-old son Peter, who is fluent in Icelandic and plays drums in a rock band called "Made In The Time Of Crisis,” says he will return to Poland after his graduation. He plans to enroll in a Polish police academy. "I want to be a private detective,” he explains, adding that he finds Iceland, especially the small town of Akranes, to be “simply boring.”

No crime, no corruption

His parents don't necessarily disagree, but they also see a lot of advantages to living in Iceland. “It's a safe country. There is no crime, no corruption. You don't have to worry that you'll go broke in the middle of the month.” Their living room window overlooks the sea, and during the dark season, they can see the northern lights from the garden.

Gabriela, the owner of the Mömmueldhus restaurant, has no time for such frivolous pleasures. She works from early morning until late in the evening, and has done so all her working life. Born in 1975 in Gdynia in Poland, she married at 18 and had three children soon afterwards. She has worked as a telegraph operator, a cook, and a baker. Her husband, Dariusz, has been both a silversmith and a driver for an emergency medical service.

In the summer of 2005, he heard that workers were needed to build a new dam in Iceland. Two weeks later, he was working on a construction site in Karahnjukar, in the eastern part of the island. His family followed him the next spring, when he was working in a factory in Borgarnes, 30 km north of Akranes. The children were enrolled in local schools – all three of them now speak fluent Icelandic.

Gabriela found a job in a hotel in Borgarnes, but she explains that “I always wanted to run my own establishment.” Last February, she took out all her savings and bought Mömmueldhus. She renovated it, added a few Polish dishes to the menu, and now is looking forward to a tourist-filled summer.

"We live like Poles, but with an Icelandic twist," she says. Every weekend, the restaurant organizes a disco or karaoke evening. Once a month, a priest comes from Reykjavik to hold a Catholic mass.

Iceland’s 10,000 Poles live in a true "parallel society,” only they don't know it. They speak Polish, marry each other, watch Polish TV, and cling to their own culture. One can hear and see them everywhere – on the bus, on the street, in the supermarket, and in cafés. The fact that they are not as visible as one might expect is only partly explained by the extraordinary tolerance of the native Icelanders.

The reason why Poles blend in so well into their new country is that they understand the principle of Icelandic society: work.

People who do not work here are severely frowned upon. Until recently, there was virtually no unemployment on the island. The current figure of 8% is largely due to the financial crisis, and it is considered an astronomical number for the country. Economic difficulties have forced many Polish people to go back to Europe, but if the Icelandic economy recovers in the coming years, more Poles will certainly decide to come back.

In the town of Breiðholt, on the outskirts of Reykjavik, a supermarket offers Polish specialties. Piotr, the owner, a former bricklayer from Kashubia, came to Iceland 10 years ago at the age of 20 to work in construction. For the past six years, he has been providing the Polish community in and around Reykjavik with food "Made in Poland." He also hosts an annual "Polish Day" and organizes a Polish "Saturday


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Oklahoma's high court upholds state's anti-illegal immigration bill

The state Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a lower court's decision that determined virtually all of the state's anti-illegal immigration law is constitutional.

“It is not the place of the Supreme Court or any court to concern itself with a statute's propriety, desirability, wisdom or its practicality as a working proposition,” the 25-page ruling states. “Such questions are plainly and definitely established by fundamental laws as functions of the legislative branch of government.”

Rep. Randy Terrill, the author of House Bill 1804, said he was pleased the high court has validated virtually all of the measure. The law makes it illegal to knowingly transport illegal immigrants, creates state barriers to hiring illegal workers and requires proof of citizenship before a person can receive government benefits.

“For the most part, the multipronged attack that was initiated against House Bill 1804 has failed,” said Terrill, R-Moore. “This Oklahoma Supreme Court opinion has validated virtually all of House Bill 1804 with just a couple of exceptions.”

James C. Thomas, a Tulsa attorney who filed the lawsuit, said he is disappointed with the ruling.

“They still said the Legislature's free to treat people that the Legislature is fearful of in a draconian manner,” said Thomas, who recently retired as a University of Tulsa law professor. “I think it's a political decision and not a legal decision.

“I guess the consequences will be that the Legislature's going to feel free to become even more draconian,” he said. “We close our minds to humanity issues in these kinds of cases; that's what the court has done.”

Key portions of the law were enforceable despite the legal challenge. Enforcement has been sporadic and it's not clear whether that will now change.

What wasn't valid?

The high court in an 8-1 vote did strike down a provision of HB 1804, which took effect in 2007, which denies bail to illegal immigrants arrested on felony counts or driving under the influence complaints.

The Supreme Court ruled it should be left up to the courts to decide on bail.

“Whether a particular defendant is a flight risk is a determination to be made by the trial judge in that case,” the ruling states.

Chief Justice Steven Taylor dissented in that part of the ruling. He said he found HB 1804 “to be constitutional in all respects.”

Terrill said he plans to introduce legislation next year that would address the flight risk issue. He said he is considering seeking a proposed constitutional amendment that would be up to voters to approve that would deny bail for illegal immigrants arrested for misdemeanors, felonies and driving under the influence offenses.

“I'm very concerned that it creates a public safety risk for the citizens and taxpayers of the state of Oklahoma,” he said. “They have very little if any ties to the state of Oklahoma so they have no incentive to remain here. They would therefore, upon being charged with a crime and upon being released, would flee the jurisdiction. So not only does it create the risk that they could commit an additional crime against the citizens and taxpayers of the state of Oklahoma but also that they would never be held accountable for the initial crime for which they were charged.”

What was validated?

Key parts of HB 1804 validated in the ruling, Terrill said, include:

* Illegal immigrants cannot get an official government-issued form of identification, such as a driver's license or occupational license.

* Illegal immigrants are ineligible for most forms of state taxpayer-funded public assistance or entitlement benefits.

* State and local law enforcement officials can cooperatively enforce federal immigration law. They can't decide who gets to come into the U.S. and how long they get to stay.

* The state can require employers to check the legal status of their employees.

Terrill said the opinion cited a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld an Arizona law penalizing businesses for hiring illegal immigrants, which is a key provision of HB 1804 that has been tied up in federal court. That ruling says federal immigration law gives states the authority to impose sanctions on employers who hire unauthorized workers.

“This opinion when you couple it with the previous U.S. Supreme Court opinion ... seems to suggest that the state does in fact have a great deal of latitude to further crack down against illegal immigration if it chooses to do so,” Terrill said.

Other measures failed

Terrill and other legislators who tried to pass tougher anti-illegal immigration measures this past session had little success in the Republican-controlled Legislature. Instead, legislative leaders formed a special joint committee to develop a bill that included provisions to bar children of illegal immigrants from receiving tuition assistance for postsecondary education, allow state agencies to report illegal immigrants who apply for state or federal aid, require employers to verify the immigration status of potential employees, outlaw the practice of illegal immigrants seeking work as independent contractors, and making it a crime to pick up illegal immigrants for the purpose of employing them.

The final product ended up targeting human smugglers and others who take advantage of illegal immigrants; it was voted down in the House of Representatives.

The legal challenge to HB 1804 was filed in 2008 by Michael C. Thomas, of Tulsa, who worked for a local mental health association. He filed his lawsuit in Tulsa County District Court against then-Gov. Brad Henry, the state of Oklahoma and Tulsa County's board of county commissioners.

The Supreme Court agreed with the Tulsa County judge's ruling that one part of HB 1804 was unconstitutional because it didn't deal with immigration issues. That section dealt with denying resident tuition for higher education to illegal immigrants who successfully completed the General Education Development test.

Thomas argued in his challenge that the state constitution stipulates that the Legislature cannot appropriate public money to establish a bureau of immigration.

The high court said the constitutional provision written in 1907 prohibited appropriating state money to fund a state bureau of immigration with the purpose of attracting additional people to settle in Oklahoma. In this case, the state is not attempting to regulate immigration, but rather use a federal database to confirm the immigration status of a person accused of a crime, the justices said.

“HB 1804 mandates compliance with federal immigration laws and it seeks to establish cooperation with the federal government,” the opinion states. “States are permitted to enforce immigration laws.”


Big change in Mexican immigration law

The direction of law changes North of their border will obviously not be lost on them so the new move is most obviously to set an example for how they want their own citizens treated in the USA -- but they probably also realize that most illegals are simply in transit North so are not worth any trouble. How Mexican police treat illegals will be another matter of course

Perhaps attempting to persuade its powerful neighbor to the North to do the same, last month, major revisions to Mexico’s immigration laws came into effect.

The law has now become more “humane” and immigrant friendly. Among the changes announced are:

1) Illegal entry into Mexican territory is de-criminalized. This means that it is no longer a criminal offense to enter Mexico illegally, and violators will merely be sent back to where they last came from. Previously, illegal immigration was a felony, punishable by up to two years in prison. Immigrants who were deported and attempted to re-enter Mexico could be imprisoned for 10 years. Visa violators could be sentenced to six-year terms. Mexicans who helped illegal immigrants were also subject to criminal prosecution.

2) Illegal migrants will no longer be jailed. They will be taken to a facility run by the Instituto Nacional de Migracion (INM) where they will be fed, clothed, given medical care and the ability to contact their families in their country of origin.

3) Illegal migrants will have the right to seek political asylum or refuge in Mexico and will have a right to a hearing before a judge.

4) Local police, the military, customs and even the Policia Federal will no longer have the authority to question any foreigner’s migratory status. They no longer have any authority to arrest or detain any person suspected of being in the country illegally. Only officials from the INM can do this.

5) Illegal migrants can be given the opportunity to regularize their status and obtain a work/residence permit.

6) Controls are loosened for citizens/nationals of Belize who find an employment in certain Mexican states (i.e. Quintana Roo) to ease the process of a work/residence permit.

The official line from a Mexican government spokesman that my friend and business partner P.T. Freeman listened to on the radio was that Mexico has amended its immigration law to take into account human rights and refugee rights. However, I don’t believe this is the full story.

I think the real reason that Mexico changed its law was to send a message to the United States. Under federal law, any non-U.S. national who enters or attempts to enter U.S. territory in a manner other than through ordinary channels has committed a crime. Violations are punishable by criminal fines and imprisonment for up to six months. Repeat offenses can bring up to two years in prison.

Numerous states, most notably my home state of Arizona, have attempted to enforce their own immigration laws. The most controversial aspect of the Arizona law – which never came fully into effect due to a successful court challenge – is that state and local police can ask anyone for proof of legal status in the United States. In other words, “your papers, please.”