Friday, September 30, 2011

Critics of tough Alabama immigration law appeal

A coalition of civil rights and immigrant advocacy groups filed an appeal on Thursday of a federal judge's ruling that let stand much of Alabama's tough new immigration law.

The groups, along with President Barack Obama's administration and church leaders, have sought to block what is widely seen as the toughest state crackdown on illegal immigration.

Chief U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn ruled on Wednesday that Alabama could begin requiring public schools to determine the legal residency of children.

She also gave the green light for police to detain people suspected of being in the United States illegally if they cannot produce proper documentation when stopped for any reason.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley and fellow Republican lawmakers hailed the judge's decision as a major win in their efforts to curb illegal immigration in their state. Federal judges have previously blocked key parts of other immigration laws passed in Georgia, Arizona, Utah and Indiana.

The Obama administration argues that the U.S. Constitution bars states from adopting immigration measures that conflict with federal laws.

But conservatives complain that the federal government has failed to sufficiently stop the flow of illegal immigrants into the country, forcing states to take action to protect their borders and jobs.

The plaintiffs group in the appeal, led by the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama, also filed an emergency motion on Thursday seeking to keep some disputed parts of the law from taking effect pending a review by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The latest legal challenge comes as no surprise. Supporters of the law also have vowed to continue the court fight, with the aim of getting the entire law in effect.

Blackburn temporarily barred the state from making it a crime to knowingly transport or harbor an illegal immigrant or prohibiting illegal immigrants from attending its public colleges.

"The overwhelming majority of people in this state are supportive of this law," said Republican state Representative Jim McClendon, a co-sponsor of the measure. "The opponents lost hands-down in the legislative process, so now, they're turning to the court system to see if they can find somebody who sympathizes with their position."

University of Alabama constitutional law professor Bryan Fair said he thinks opponents have a shot at getting some of the more controversial provisions of the law overturned by a higher court, specifically those involving schools and police. "I think those provisions invite racial profiling, and I think racial profiling violates the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment," Fair told Reuters.

Educators and law enforcement officials in the state were among those waiting for guidance on how to proceed as the court battle plays out.

"At this point we do not know if that will involve a stay of the law from going into effect before the appeal is heard," said Randy Christian, chief deputy of the Jefferson County Sheriff Department. "We also have to get some answers on how we actually enforce it and how we can do so without involving racial profiling."

Alabama Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan said a statewide web seminar series would be held on October 14 to help instruct farmers on how to comply with the new law.

The measure already has had an impact on the state's agribusiness, with McMillan and others telling of crops rotting in fields as a result of day laborers leaving the state ahead of the law taking effect. "This law contains many provisions with stiff fines and penalties," McMillan said in a statement. "It is critical for farmers and agribusinesses to understand fully how this law applies to them."


Obama Goes from Hope to Nope on Immigration Reform

President Obama lashed out at Republicans Wednesday, telling a Hispanic audience that the GOP is the lone barrier to comprehensive immigration reform.

But for a president who campaigned on a promise to overhaul the nation’s immigration system, that message is creating widespread disillusionment within a voting bloc crucial to Obama’s re-election.

“This notion that somehow I can just change the laws unilaterally is just not true,” Obama told a questioner who claimed the president’s “message … is not a message of hope.”

Such an exchange highlights Obama’s challenge in shoring up Hispanic support amid a record number of deportations by immigration officials and as attempts to provide a path to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants have fallen by the wayside.

Obama met with Hispanic journalists Wednesday just as the White House seeks to stem the tide of dissatisfaction among black and Hispanic voters. Aside from recent private meetings with leaders and media figures in the black and Hispanic communities, Obama visited a heavily Hispanic high school in Denver Tuesday to push his $450 billion jobs plan.

However, some analysts say Obama’s symbolic measures and jabs at Republicans won’t be enough to sway Hispanic voters who supported the president by a two-to-one margin in 2008. “It’s not enough for him to simply blame Republicans,” said Matt Barreto, a pollster with Latino Decisions. “He needs to point to something concrete — push some bills. There hasn’t been anything since the Dream Act.” While repeatedly touting immigration reform, Obama has yet to push any reforms through Congress, even when his fellow Democrats controlled it.

In broad terms, Obama has called for an immigration policy that would secure the borders, punish businesses for employing undocumented workers and create a mechanism for those in the country illegally to gain citizenship, a proposal critics dismiss as “amnesty” for lawbreakers.

Though Obama vowed to “push hard” for immigration reform, he said it would not happen as long as Republicans continued to block efforts such as the Dream Act, which would offer citizenship to certain illegal immigrants who attend college or join the military. “We used to have Republican co-sponsors for the Dream Act,” Obama said. “Our key approach is trying to push Republicans back to where they were only a few years ago.”

A recent Gallup poll shows that Obama’s support among Hispanics over the past 18 months has plummeted from 73 percent to 48 percent. “It’s a matter of enthusiasm and energy,” Barreto said. “If that disappears, he will still get the same percentage of the Latino vote — there will just be fewer voters.”

Obama’s path to victory in swing states like Virginia, Florida, Colorado and Nevada certainly looks hazier without the overwhelming Hispanic support he received in 2008.

Obama credited both Presidents Reagan and George W. Bush for pushing immigration reform but added, “Right now, you have not [got] that kind of leadership coming from the Republican Party.”


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Key Win for Alabama Immigrant Law

A federal judge Wednesday greenlighted key parts of an Alabama law aimed at curbing illegal immigration, rejecting the federal government's request to block them and strengthening the likelihood that the Supreme Court ultimately will decide whether states can pass their own immigration laws.

The Alabama law, widely seen as the nation's toughest, could embolden other states weighing stiff measures to stop illegal immigration after federal courts curbed such laws in Arizona, Utah, Indiana and Georgia in recent months. The federal government argues immigration is a federal matter.

U.S. District Judge Sharon Blackburn in the Northern District of Alabama upheld a contentious provision requiring police in Alabama "to make a reasonable attempt" to determine the immigration status of any individual they stop if there is "reasonable suspicion" the person is in the country illegally.

Wednesday's ruling also upheld a requirement that public schools determine if students were born outside the U.S. or are children of immigrants that are in the country illegally. Judge Blackburn upheld a section of HB56, as the law is known, making it a felony for an illegal immigrant to enter into a "business transaction" with the state of Alabama, among other provisions.

But Judge Blackburn enjoined other sections of the law in a 115-page ruling issued one day before a temporary injunction was set to expire, saying "there is a substantial likelihood" that the Justice Department can prove they are pre-empted by federal law. For example, she blocked clauses that would make it a misdemeanor crime for an undocumented immigrant to apply for work and that make it unlawful for anyone to transport an illegal resident. For now, Alabama authorities also won't be able to pursue civil cases against employers that fail to hire U.S. citizens while hiring or retaining illegal immigrants, among other measures.

In a statement, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley called the ruling a victory for his state, adding that it has had to enforce immigration laws because the federal government isn't doing so. The Republican governor said the legal "fight is just beginning" and that he remained committed to seeing the law fully implemented.

The Justice Department said it was reviewing Wednesday's decision before deciding on its next steps. It added it will continue to evaluate state immigration laws and "not hesitate" to sue states for policies that interfere with federal immigration law.

Legal scholars said the judge's ruling was contradictory and pointed to the need for a uniform federal standard rather than a patchwork of state lawson immigration.

"Judge Blackburn seems to believe it's not a crime for an undocumented immigrant to solicit work but it is a crime for an undocumented person to do business with the state," said Stephen Yale-Loehr, an immigration scholar at Cornell University Law School. "The Supreme Court needs to decide this issue once and for all."

Arizona was the first state to pass a law to rein in illegal immigration, in April 2010. The law isn't entirely in effect. Among other provisions, a federal judge blocked one that would require police to check the immigration status of those they stop if they suspect they are in the country illegally. Arizona has appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In Alabama, Judge Blackburn slapped a temporary injunction on HB56 in August, after it was signed into law by Mr. Bentley in June.

The Justice Department filed suit in federal court in Birmingham last month, arguing the state law usurped federal jurisdiction over immigration. The American Civil Liberties Union and other civil-rights groups also filed suits to block the legislation, which they say promotes discrimination and harassment. Agribusiness and construction groups have warned the law would create a labor shortage and hurt the state's economy.

Supporters of the Alabama legislation said it would open more jobs to legal residents by driving illegal immigrants from the state, while cutting the state's medical and education costs. They also say the federal government hasn't done enough to stop illegal immigration.

Alabama's undocumented population, mostly from Latin America, totaled about 120,000 last year, up from 25,000 a decade earlier, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, a nonpartisan research group. The center also estimates illegal immigrants account for about 2.5% of the state's population, compared with 4.4% in Georgia and 6% in Arizona.

Linton Joaquin of the National Immigration Law Center said civil-rights groups would appeal the decision, saying that the Alabama law amounted to requiring "local police, and even school teachers, to become de facto immigration agents."


Asylum seekers from Arab spring pour into Europe

Refugees from war and revolution in the Arab world have begun to pour into Europe, according to research. A count covering the first three months of this year – the months that saw the outbreak of the Arab Spring – showed that number of Tunisian asylum seekers rose more than 20-fold after their country became the first to be engulfed in the chain of uprisings.

The influx raised fears that Britain faces a fresh asylum boom as tens of thousands of individuals and families try to flee other countries convulsed by violent upheavals.

The figures, compiled by the EU’s statistical arm, showed that last year Tunisian asylum seekers were arriving at the rate of just 50 a month.

The EU report said: ‘Tunisians are now ranked eight among the main countries of citizenship of asylum seekers. ‘Nine out of 10 of Tunisians applying for asylum in the EU lodged their application in Italy, which highlights the importance of geographical proximity as one of the potential factors influencing the choice of the destination country for asylum seekers.

‘Among other such factors are the social and economic situation, the presence of certain ethnic communities, immigration policy in the country of destination, language or historical ties, or the activities of people traffickers.’

The EU analysis points to Britain as a future destination country for Libyan asylum seekers, because of extensive Libyan economic and family contacts in Britain.

In particular Libya has close ties with Britain and many affected by its civil war may try to take refuge here. Others still may try to take advantage of the war to claim asylum in Britain when really they are economic migrants looking to live and work in this country.

However numbers shot up following the toppling of President Ben Ali, in January. In February 1,100 Tunisian asylum seekers arrived in Europe, followed by 1,200 in March.

The influx contributed to a 6.5 per cent increase in asylum seekers arriving in Europe in the first three months of the year, up by 4,000 to 66,000. The study also indicates Britain as a destination for Libyan asylum seekers because of extensive economic and family contacts.

Would-be asylum seekers from Tunisia, Egypt and Libya who entered Europe through Italy or other countries have been reported gathering in Calais to try to cross the Channel. Taxpayer-supported charities have been used to issue warnings to them against the dangers of trying to gain a passage by hiding in lorries.

Foreign Secretary William Hague warned earlier this summer: ‘It also means we need proper controls and we have to be tough about this. ‘We can’t just accept a flow of hundreds of thousands or millions of people into southern Europe and then coming beyond that.

'Clearly, European nations are not able to accommodate those numbers, and so we do have to respond imaginatively for the future, for the economic wellbeing of north Africa so that people can have livelihoods where they are.’

Sir Andrew Green of the Migrationwatch think tank said: ‘This points to the need to be alert to the possibility that there could be a significant flow of economic migrants and asylum seekers to Britain as a result of events in North Africa.’


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Australian generosity towards those in real distress is being diminished by illegal boat arrivals

Australia takes in more asylum seekers per head than any other country. Close to 10 per cent of the refugees resettled worldwide are taken by Australia. But nothing will ever be enough for the Left. The Left WANT the divisions and tensions the boat arrivals are causing. Their "good intentions" are just a mask for the contempt in which they hold their own society

IN the debate over asylum all sides believe there is an answer: and they have it. Human rights advocates argue the only humane course of action is to welcome those who arrive by boat.

The large majority of Australians, however, do not see the asylum issue in such straight-forward human rights terms. A number of surveys during the past 18 months indicate the majority favour policy to deter boat arrivals, including mandatory detention.

An August Nielsen poll found 15 per cent of respondents considered boats should be sent back to sea and another 52 per cent that asylum-seekers should be kept in detention while their claims were assessed.

More detail is available in the Scanlon Foundation surveys, four of which have been conducted since 2007. The just released 2011 findings indicate only 22 per cent favour granting the right of permanent residence to asylum-seekers arriving by boat; 39 per cent favour asylum in Australia, but only on a temporary basis; the remaining 35 per cent want boats to be turned back or the asylum-seeker detained pending deportation.

The value of the Scanlon Foundation surveys is that a broad range of questions (81 in 2011) are asked. This enables consideration of patterns of response and the finding is that attitudes to asylum correlate with a person's values, hence attitudes are not likely to change simply as a result of new factual information.

The advocates for asylum may well respond that if that is public opinion, then it should be ignored; that what we need is leadership and political consensus to do the right thing. But what is right is not so simply determined.

For a start, majority opinion is not simply to be stereotyped as prejudiced. The surveys show that majority opinion supports the humanitarian program, which recruits asylum-seekers overseas. It is just that this support does not extend to irregular arrivals.

Second, a generous reception policy is likely to lead to an increase in boat arrivals, with consequences not simply to be ignored.

How do we know that there will be increased arrivals? We need only examine the pattern of the past decade. In 2000, 2939 asylum-seekers arrived by boat; in 2001, 5516 arrived. In the following six years, with the enactment of the Howard government's Pacific Solution, arrivals were reduced to almost zero; fewer than 100 arrived in 2005 and 2006.

Over these years the number of asylum-seekers worldwide fell, but by nowhere near the almost 100 per cent fall experienced in Australia. When the Howard government policies were changed by Labor, boat arrivals resumed: 2849 in 2009, 6879 in last year, the highest on record. This is the pattern of movement that the human rights advocates are reluctant to face.

Australia has no land borders, it is not easy to get to Australia on a small boat. As such, a negative message from Australia will deter arrivals more effectively than almost any other First World country.

Third, there are other consequences of a generous policy.

A view widely held among asylum advocates is that Australia does not shoulder its responsibilities, leaving care for asylum-seekers to impoverished countries. But Australian governments of various persuasions since the late 1970s have maintained a large humanitarian program: during the past 10 years, 130,000 have been admitted.

It seems to be a secret (for reasons difficult to fathom) that Australia resettles more refugees per capita than any other country: close to 10 per cent of the refugees resettled worldwide are taken by Australia.

In 2009, according to the UN, Australia admitted 11,080 refugees for resettlement; the US, with almost 15 times Australia's population, accepted 79,937. Canada, with a population 1 1/2 times that of Australia, resettled 12,457. No other country accepted a substantial number. For example, Britain resettled 955 refugees, Germany 2069 and The Netherlands 369.

Australia, in consultation with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, has established a process for assessing asylum-seekers. Under present arrangements, boat arrivals take places from those in the camps from which Australia draws its intake.

Advocates suggest that there is a simple solution: recruit a fixed number overseas and place boat arrivals in another category. But what is a reasonable intake for Australia?

The Greens and the Refugee Council of Australia advocate an increase from the present intake of 14,750 to an offshore intake of 20,000, to be phased in across five years. But how does the government budget for an unknown number of boat arrivals?

It may be that however we argue, there is no solution. Instead of solutions, it makes more sense to think in terms of balance, which will not satisfy all but is likelier to produce a larger measure of agreement than the one-dimensional solutions on offer.

There is an additional point to be considered. A policy that flies in the face of views held in many parts of the community will likely result in the re-emergence of movements similar to One Nation that campaign on issues of national identity and race and heighten opposition to cultural diversity.

An alarming finding of this year's Scanlon Foundation survey is that 44 per cent of respondents consider that racial prejudice in Australia has increased during the past five years.

There is heightened reporting of discrimination and decline of trust in fellow Australians. Trust in the federal government recorded a sharp fall, from a high of 48 per cent in 2009 to 31 per cent last year and to 30 per cent this year.

People - whether for or against asylum rights - are close to unanimous in the view that the government is incapable of dealing with asylum.

There has been erosion of individual connectedness and weakening of communal organisations, key indicators of threats to social cohesion. While not the only cause, the asylum debate has contributed to a heightening of division in Australian society.


Recent posts at CIS below

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

1. Who Benefited from Job Growth In Texas? (Memorandum)

2. Perry’s Ambiguous Employment Record (Op-Ed)

3. Panel: Our Borders a Decade after 9/11 (Video and Transcript)

4. GOP Politics of In-State Tuition (Blog)

5. Obama Caves to Ghosts of DeLay, Abramoff on CNMI Migrant Rules (Blog)

6. When Texas Welcomes Illegal Aliens, It Becomes More than a 'State Issue' (Blog)

7. Job Growth in Texas – Responding to Criticism (Blog)

8. Students Weren't Innocent Victims at Raided U.S. Visa Mills (Blog)

9. Government Sometimes Does the Right Thing in Immigration Cases (Blog)

10. Hope, Dreams (of ?), and Policy 45003 (Blog)

11. Dubious Casino Investment Linked to Dubious Immigration Program (Blog)

12. Taking the Blinders off Social Security's H-1B Audit (Blog)

13. State Dept. Seeks to Roll Back Visa Security to 9/10 Standards; DHS Stays Quiet (Blog)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The terrorist Britain can't kick out: Released after half his sentence but still 'a risk to the public'... the suicide bomb fanatic who's free to stay - thanks to his "human rights"

A fanatical terrorist has escaped being thrown out of the UK because it would breach his human rights. Hate-filled Siraj Yassin Abdullah Ali, graded the highest possible risk to the public, was released after serving just half of his nine-year sentence for helping the July 21 bombers.

He now mingles freely among the Londoners his co-plotters tried to kill six years ago.

Government officials are desperate to deport the Islamic fundamentalist back to his native Eritrea but have been told they cannot because he could face ‘inhumane treatment or punishment’.

Ali was convicted of helping a gang of five Al Qaeda suicide bombers in their bid to repeat the carnage of the attacks of July 7, 2005, two weeks later.

Graham Foulkes, whose 22-year-old son David was killed on July 7, said he was ‘filled with despair’. He said: ‘These people were plotting to commit mass murder - what about the human rights of victims and families? ‘These people had no consideration for the women and children they were trying to kill. How can they claim we should look after and support them?’

The case is the latest to highlight how human rights laws have left the authorities powerless to remove some terrorists and convicted criminals.

Imposed human rights laws have left the authorities powerless to remove some terrorists and convicted criminals. Imposed by unaccountable European judges, they place the rights of the most dangerous wrongdoers above the risks faced by ordinary people.

The five would-be suicide bombers were jailed for life after trying to detonate bombs at Shepherd’s Bush, Warren Street and Oval Tube stations and on a bus in Shoreditch.

Ali, 35, knew about the potentially murderous July 21 conspiracy and helped the fanatics clear up their explosives factory.

He was jailed for 12 years in February 2008 for aiding and abetting the Al Qaeda cell. Judge Paul Worsley QC said he must have ‘harboured the hope’ the bombers would ‘destroy society as we know it’.

The sentence was reduced to nine years on appeal and after time Ali spent in jail while awaiting trial was taken into account, he was automatically released on licence several weeks ago. He is now living at a bail hostel on a leafy residential street in north-west London. He has been seen travelling on the Tube and catching buses.

With music headphones plugged into his ears and a bag slung casually across his shoulder, he appeared to be caught on camera chatting on a mobile phone.

It is understood that Ali is being monitored around the clock and must obey a curfew and other conditions, including a ban on using the internet.

He is the second high-risk terrorist linked to the July 21 attacks to win the right to remain in the UK on human rights grounds in recent weeks.

Ismail Abdurahman, 28, who hid would-be bomber Hussain Osman for three days, escaped being deported to his native Somalia after judges feared for his safety. Abdurahman is also living at a bail hostel in London despite the protests of police and Home Office officials.

The release of Ali and Abdurahman underlines the challenges faced by police, probation and MI5. There are fears that they will be stretched to the limit as they try to monitor dozens of freed fanatics in the run-up to the Olympics next year.

Research by one think-tank found that more than 230 people have been convicted of terrorist offences since 2001, but only around 100 remain in prison.

Under Article 3 of both the European Convention on Human Rights, and Labour’s Human Rights Act, individuals are protected against torture, inhuman or degrading treatment.

The clause allows foreign terror suspects to fight deportation on the grounds that they would be tortured in their home countries if returned.

In February, Lord Carlile warned that European judges have turned Britain into a ‘safe haven’ for foreign terrorists.

Tory MP Priti Patel said: ‘This is yet another example of how we have got to abolish this appalling human rights legislation that allows terrorists and violent criminals to waltz out of prison and stay in our country. ‘They should be deported instantly back to where they came from.’

Solicitor Cliff Tibber, who represents the families of several July 7 victims, said: ‘There is no doubt it is uncomfortable for the families to see someone like this back on the streets after what feels like an extremely short period of time.’

A UK Border Agency spokesman said: ‘We will do everything we can to remove this individual from the UK and are extremely disappointed by the court’s decision to grant bail, which we vigorously opposed. ‘In the meantime, we are working closely with public protection agencies to ensure that appropriate monitoring is in place.’

A Ministry of Justice spokesman insisted that public protection remains ‘top priority’ and that serious offenders face ‘strict’ controls and conditions.


Migration boom DID drive down wages and living standards, admits Labour

Labour’s open-door immigration policy drove down wages and living standards in Britain, party leader Ed Miliband has admitted. He conceded that the last government ‘got it wrong’ on border controls and said that British workers had been ‘undercut’.

The bombshell confession came amid revelations that, when in power, Labour suppressed a string of damaging reports about the impact of mass immigration on the UK. At the time Labour denied claims that migration – in particular the large number of skilled Poles – was making life harder for some British workers.

Mr Miliband conceded: ‘We got it wrong in a number of respects including underestimating the level of immigration from Poland, which had a big effect on people in Britain. ‘What I think people were worried about, in relation to Polish immigration in particular, was that they were seeing their wages, their living standards driven down.

‘Part of the job of government is if you are going to have an open economy within Europe you have got to give that protection to employees so that they don’t see workers coming in and undercutting them.’

However, Labour is still refusing to match the Tory commitment to reduce net migration – the difference between the number leaving the UK and the number of arrivals – to the ‘tens of thousands’.

Mr Miliband told Sky News: ‘I’m not going to make promises that I can’t keep. We need a tough immigration policy but I think free movement of labour is right for Britain.’

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper admitted: ‘We did get things wrong on immigration. ‘We should have had transitional controls on migration from Eastern Europe.’

In a separate development, the Coalition published a string of reports, which cost £165,000 to produce, which ministers claimed had been suppressed by Labour.

The documents, commissioned by the Department for Communities and Local Government, revealed that immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria had low education levels and were more likely to claim unemployment-related benefits than non-immigrants or other migrant groups in Britain.

Migrants from the two countries were also more likely to have four or more children than those coming to Britain from elsewhere, placing a significant strain on the education system.

Housing Minister Grant Shapps said: ‘This is another disturbing cover-up by a Labour Party that failed on immigration and then tried to bury the truth. ‘This Government is bringing immigration under control to restore public confidence in the system left broken by Labour.’


Monday, September 26, 2011

How to send the illegals back home

Consider the consequences of a very substantial rise in the national minimum wage, perhaps to $10 or more likely $12 per hour.

The automatic rejoinder to proposals for hiking the minimum wage is that “jobs will be lost.” But in today’s America a huge fraction of jobs at or near the minimum wage are held by immigrants, often illegal ones. Eliminating those jobs is a central goal of the plan, a feature not a bug.

Let us explore the likely implications of this simple proposal. The analysis that follows should be regarded as impressionistic and plausible rather than based on any sort of rigorous and detailed research. It is intended to raise possibilities rather than provide answers. Also, let us assume for the moment that these higher wage requirements would be very strictly enforced.

First, the vast majority of workers in America’s surviving manufacturing sector—whether in unionized Seattle or non-union South Carolina—already earn far more than the existing minimum wage, so their employers would hardly be affected, resulting in almost no impact on our international competitiveness. The same would be true for government employees, resulting in negligible cost to the taxpayer.

By contrast, the bulk of the low-wage jobs affected fall into the category of domestic non-tradeable service-sector jobs, which cannot be replaced by overseas workers. Many of these jobs would disappear, but a substantial fraction would remain viable at the higher wage level, with employers either raising prices or trimming profits or more likely a mixture of both. Perhaps consumers would pay 3 percent more for Wal-Mart goods or an extra dime for a McDonald’s hamburger, but most of these jobs would still exist and the price changes would be small compared to ongoing fluctuations due to commodity prices, international exchange rates, or Chinese production costs.

Meanwhile, many millions of low-wage workers would see an immediate 20 percent or 30 percent boost in their take-home pay, producing a large increase in general economic activity, not to mention personal well-being. We must bear in mind that an increase in the hourly minimum wage from the current federal level of $7.25 to (say) $12.00 would also have secondary, smaller ripple effects, boosting wages already above that level as well, perhaps even reaching workers earning as much as $15 per hour.

The likely impact upon immigrant workers, whether legal or illegal, would be quite varied. Those most recently arrived, especially illegal ones with weak language or job skills, would probably lose their jobs, especially since many of these individuals are already forced to work (illegally) for sub-minimum wages. However, workers who have been here for some years and acquired reasonably good language and job skills and who had demonstrated their reliability over time would probably be kept on, even if their employer needed to boost their pay by a dollar or two an hour.

Thus, the force of the policy would fall overwhelmingly on those immigrants who possessed the weakest ties to American society and still retained the strongest links to their country of origin. By contrast, those immigrants—legal or otherwise—who had lived here for some years and therefore had gradually become part of the community would mostly emerge unscathed, probably receiving a very welcome boost to their family income. Some anti-immigration activists might find this prospect extremely distasteful, but half- or two-thirds of a loaf is better than none.

Moreover, although this wage structure would tend to “grandfather” a considerable fraction of existing illegal immigrants, it would constitute a very formidable barrier to future ones. Paying $12 per hour might be reasonable for a reliable employee who had worked with you for several years, but would be much harder to justify for an impoverished new arrival speaking minimal English and with no track record. To a large extent, the undocumented job window in America would have permanently slammed shut.

In effect, a much higher minimum wage serves to remove the lowest rungs in the employment ladder, thus preventing newly arrived immigrants from gaining their initial foothold in the economy. As a natural consequence, these rungs would also disappear for the bottom-most American workers, such as youths seeking their first jobs or the least skilled in our society. But over the last few decades, these groups have already been largely displaced in the private-sector job market by immigrants, especially illegal ones. Whereas 40 years ago, teenagers and blacks tended to mow lawns and work as janitors, in most parts of the country these days, such jobs are now held by recent arrivals from south of the border. So the net loss of opportunity to Americans would not be large.

Furthermore, recently arrived illegal workers must very quickly find employment if they hope to cover their living expenses and remain here rather than being forced to return home instead. But first-time American job-seekers are already living with their families and anyway have no other home to draw them away, and consequently could spend months seeking an available job. Thus, a higher minimum wage would tend to disproportionately impact new immigrants rather than their American-born competitors.

The enforcement of these wage provisions would be quite easy compared with the complex web of current government requirements and restrictions. It is possible for business owners to claim they were “fooled” by obviously fraudulent legal documents or that they somehow neglected to run the confusing electronic background checks on their new temporary dishwasher. But it is very difficult for anyone to claim he “forgot” to pay his workers the legally mandated minimum wage. Furthermore, the former situation constitutes something of a “victimless crime” and usually arouses considerable sympathy among immigrant-rights advocates and within ethnic communities; but the latter would universally be seen as the case of a greedy boss who refused to pay his workers the money they were legally due and would attract no sympathy from the media, the police, juries, or anyone else.

Very stiff penalties, including mandatory prison terms, could assure near absolute compliance. Virtually no employer would be foolish enough to attempt to save a few hundred dollars a month in wages paid at the risk of a five-year prison sentence, especially since the workers he was cheating would immediately acquire enormous bargaining leverage over him by threatening to report his behavior to the police.

The proposed change would simply be in the rate of the minimum wage, rather than in the structure of the law, so certain relatively small modification and exceptions, such as including estimated tips for some restaurant employees, might be maintained, so long as these did not expand as a means of circumventing the statute.

Depending upon the state, the current American minimum wage ranges between $7.25 and $8.67 per hour. But is a much higher national minimum wage such as $12 per hour really unreasonable by historical or international standards? In 2011 dollars, the American hourly minimum wage was over $10 in 1968, during our peak of postwar prosperity and full employment, and perhaps that relationship was partly causal. Although exchange-rate fluctuations render exact comparisons difficult, the minimum wage in Ontario along our northern border is currently well over $10 per hour, while in France it now stands at nearly $13. Even more remarkably, Australia recently raised its minimum wage to over $16 per hour, and nonetheless has an unemployment rate of just 5 percent. With the collapse of America’s unsustainable housing-bubble economy of the 2000s, our unemployment rates seem no better and in many cases considerably worse than those of affluent Western countries that have refused to pursue our race-to-the-bottom low-wage economic strategy of recent decades.

But suppose this boost in the minimum wage succeeded at one of its primary goals and eliminated the jobs of many millions of America’s large undocumented population. Would these current workers and their families remain here anyway, perhaps turning to crime as they became financially desperate? After all, huge numbers of immigrants were employed in housing construction, and following the collapse of that industry their unemployment rates have soared, but most of them have stayed here anyway rather than going home again.

The central point to recognize is that most illegal immigrants, and a substantial fraction of legal ones, enter America with the original goal of short-term economic gain, intending to work for a few years, save as much money as possible, then go back home to their family and friends with a nice nest-egg. Frequently, these plans are unrealistic—saving money proves more difficult than expected—and local ties develop. But except for financial factors, even those individuals who have lived here a decade or longer often still dream of returning to their native countries, sometimes even after they have married, had American-born children, and put down considerable roots.

Among other factors, the cost-structure of American society is extremely high compared with that in most of the developing world, where dollars go much farther. This is the primary reason that substantial numbers of non-Hispanic American retirees have chosen to relocate to Mexico with their pensions, despite considerable barriers of language and culture.

Furthermore, as discussed earlier, the fiscal costs to the American government of low-wage immigrant families can be enormous. A couple working jobs at or near the present minimum wage pays negligible taxes, while if they have two school-age children, the grossly inflated expense structure of American public education may easily result in an annual taxpayer burden of $20,000 or more, even excluding the substantial costs associated with all other public services. And if one or both of these parents lose their jobs due to a soaring minimum wage, the fiscal burden grows still more severe.

The obvious solution, both humane and highly cost-effective, would be for the government to offer immigrants extremely generous financial relocation packages if they return home to their own countries. A tax-free cash payment perhaps as high as $5,000 or even $10,000 per adult plus a much smaller sum per minor child, together with free travel arrangements, would constitute an enormously attractive offer, probably being much more than they had managed to accumulate during many years of difficult low-wage labor. If the legal changes proposed herein had already caused their jobs to disappear, such a relocation offer would become irresistible. (Naturally, the full financial package would require hard evidence that they had already been living in America for a year or more, thereby preventing foreigners from crossing our borders simply to game the system.) Given the massive fiscal burdens inherent in the current situation, even such generous financial terms would probably pay for themselves almost immediately.

An important aspect of all these proposals is that they are largely self-enforcing. Workers would be perfectly aware of the simple minimum wage laws, and harsh penalties would deter employers from taking the risk of violating them. The disappearance of low-wage jobs would remove the primary lure for new illegal immigrants, and generous cash relocation packages would lead many existing ones to eagerly turn themselves in and seek deportation. Although the Border Patrol would continue to exist and immigration laws would remain on the books, after a short transition period these would become much less necessary, and a vast existing system of government bureaucracy, business red tape, and taxpayer expense could safely be reduced.

Even principled libertarians, fervently opposed to the very concept of a minimum wage, might find this system preferable to the status quo, which contains an enormously complex web of regulations and employment restrictions; the civil libertarian nightmares of identity cards, national databases, and workplace raids; and an existing minimum wage on top of all these other things.


Getting it straight about Rick Perry and immigration

In this week's GOP Presidential debate, Governor Mitt Romney and Senator Rick Santorum both repeated untruths about Governor Rick Perry's immigration position. It is time to set the record straight.

In the debate, Chris Wallace asked a direct question to Mitt Romney regarding the in-state tuition rates of children who live in the state, but happen to have parents who came here illegally.

Mitt Romney replied, "I don't see how it is that a state like Texas--to go to the University of Texas--if you're an illegal alien--you get an in-state tuition discount. D'you know how much that is? It's twenty-two thousand dollars a year. Four years of college you're almost a hundred thousand dollar discount if you're an illegal alien--if you go to the University of Texas. If you're a United States citizen, from any one of the other forty-nine states, you have to pay a hundred thousand dollars more. That doesn't make sense to me. And that kind of magnet, draws people into this country, to get that education, to get that kind of hundred thousand dollar break, it makes no sense..."

I was disappointed that Chris Wallace didn't stop him and make him answer the question he had actually asked him.

Maybe Mitt Romney doesn't realize that many children of illegal aliens aren't illegals themselves. And as long as birth-right citizenship is the law, anchor babies are protected under the law with equal benefits to all other American citizens.

Maybe Mitt Romney is completely ignorant of what the reality of dealing with the border actually means--in real terms. Gov. Perry had to raise $400 million in state taxes to attempt to shore up the border and do the job that the Feds should be doing.

Or maybe Governor Romney believes he doesn't need any votes from legal Hispanics and legal immigrants who are wrestling with the real issue of being in a position where their family's future is in question.

But to set the record straight, it was the state of Texas, and most specifically its lawfully elected legislature that drafted the legislation and passed it with only 4 votes of 181 possible to vote against it. Yes, Governor Perry signed it into law, but it was a definitively bi-partisan initiative that the people of Texas clearly wanted to see become law.

Additionally, Governor Perry has actual compassion for these children who ended up in his state, outside of their own doing. Educating them gets them working and contributing to the state's treasury faster, and is more meaningful than letting them sit on the sidelines.

And despite what the unusually angry Rick Santorum offered, all the legislation did was allow those children (NOT ILLEGAL ALIENS AT LARGE) to get the same "starting point" in state institutions that all of their classmates got. The stupid argument that Romney and Santorum grew red-faced and spittle-spewing over didn't seem to hold true against Texas where non-Texan students would have to pay $88,000 more than other Texas-raised children. And states discriminate that way against other children from other regions of the country--all the time.

President Obama will need to re-energize the American Hispanic vote in order for him to win re-election. They had left him on the economy, and they were never with him on his values. But Mitt Romney--who vows allegiance to a church that had at its core a racist doctrine until only a couple of decades ago--is verging on alienating other ethnic groups, in part because he is not telling the truth about the Texas legislature's law to allow children (not illegal aliens who crossed the border--the children of) to simply pay the same amount of tuition as the kids they sit next to in class.

In short Perry knows this problem intimately. And it will be a cold day in Hades before he ever signs a federal version of the DREAM Act. He believes in fencing, technology, state's rights, and workplace incentives.

Which more or less means he believes in the same enforcement techniques as all the rest of the GOP field.

And for Santorum and Romney to pretend otherwise is sanctimonious and dishonest.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

The British Labour Party's embarrassing immigration secrets revealed

Reports kept under wraps by Labour showing that immigrants who came to Britain from Romania and Bulgaria had low education levels and were more likely to claim out-of-work benefits are to be released for the first time by ministers.

The figures are contained in five separate controversial studies commissioned by the last Labour government but never published - amid claims the party wanted to avoid a damaging row about its record before last year’s general election.

Ministers accused Labour of a “disturbing cover up” and promised to publish the reports - which cost the taxpayer a total of £165,000 and have now been seen by The Sunday Telegraph - in full within days.

The documents also contain revelations that immigrants from all countries into Britain are more likely to be out of work than the native population - and are less likely to engage in any form of “civic participation.”

More than one third of London’s population, moreover, has now been born outside the UK.

The release will turn the spotlight once again on the party’s controversial record on immigration. Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, used a weekend interview to admit the party had “got things wrong” on the issue.

Up until 2008 the Labour government was criticised for effectively operating an “open door” policy which saw a massive rise in the number of visas, work permits and extended residency being granted.

Gordon Brown’s government then introduced a new “points based” system which was designed to make it harder for non-skilled people to come to Britain from outside the European Union.

However, particular controversy surrounded the rules governing immigration from countries which joined the EU during the first decade of this century - which included Bulgaria and Romania (which joined in 2007) and Poland (2004).

Labour ministers repeatedly promised that restrictions would be placed on those coming in from Eastern Europe in order to “manage” numbers and protect jobs for British workers. However, the secret reports show that 27 per cent of people coming from Bulgaria and Romania had “low education levels” while as of 2009 more than 15 per cent of them were claiming out-of-work benefits.

The documents, commissioned by the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) reveal that immigrants from the two countries are more likely to claim unemployment-related benefits than either non-immigrants or other migrant groups in Britain.

A report said that despite the implementation of a “cap” on numbers, the migration rate into Britain from Romania and Bulgaria increased significantly after the countries joined the EU in 2007.

Meanwhile, migrants from the two countries were shown to be more likely to have four children or more than people coming to Britain from elsewhere - placing a significant strain on the education system, particularly in London where over half the Bulgarians and Romanians who came settled. More than three in every 100 migrants from Bulgaria and Romania had five children or more.

One of the five reports, Identifying Social and Economic Push and Pull Factors for Migration to the UK by Bulgarian and Romanian Nationals, showed that while Bulgaria’s and Romania’s population declined between 2004 and 2010, Britain’s increased considerably.

During that period the two countries’ unemployment rate fell, while the UK’s rose.

Another report on overall immigration, The Socio-Economic Integration of Migrants, claimed: “Immigrants in the UK exhibit lower employment rates than natives....Immigrants are on average less likely than natives to engage in any form civic participation.”

A further document, Drivers of International Migration, stated: “The increase in immigration into the UK since the mid 1990s is entirely explained by a rise in the number of foreign-born people migrating to the UK from abroad, rather than by returning UK-born people.”

At the start of the 1980s the key annual “net immigration” figure for the UK was minus 42,000 - meaning tens of thousands more people left Britain every year than came here. By 1992-95 this figure had gone up to plus 9,200 - while by the period between 2004 and 2007 it had mushroomed to plus 178,000 a year.

Britain’s population was slated to increase by more than four million to 65.6 million between 2008 and 2018, while by 2008 over one third of London’s population (34 per cent) was born outside Britain.

Grant Shapps, the Housing Minister, said: “This is another disturbing cover-up by a Labour Party that failed on immigration and then tried to bury the truth. “‘This Government is bringing immigration under control to restore public confidence in the system left broken by Labour.”

The Coalition’s policy of putting an overall cap on immigrant numbers from outside the EU is designed to reduce net migration to Britain significantly.

David Cameron said in a speech in April that it should be “in the order of tens of thousands each year, not the hundreds of thousands every year that we have seen over the last decade.”

Damian Green, the Immigration Minister, said: “We have cut down on sham marriages, we have brought in a variety of policies which curb the number of people coming into the country and then overstay.

And we will continue to look at how we can further improve the balance between the people who at value coming into the country and those who do not.”

Labour’s record on immigration sparked bitter debates before last year’s election, exemplified by unguarded “bigoted woman” comments during the campaign by Mr Brown, on an open microphone, about Gillian Duffy, a Rochdale grandmother, when she questioned the former prime minister on it.

In an interview this weekend Ms Cooper admitted: "We did get things wrong on immigration. "We should have had the transitional controls on migration from Eastern Europe. We should have introduced the points-based system much earlier.”


Is Hispanic immigration a threat to the GOP?

Although almost totally marginalized within Republican establishment ranks, the anti-immigrationist wing of the conservative movement has maintained a vigorous intellectual presence on the Internet. Over the years, its flagship organ, the website run by Peter Brimelow, a former National Review senior editor, has been scathing in its attacks on the so-called Rove Strategy, instead proposing a contrasting approach christened the Sailer Strategy, after Steve Sailer, its primary architect and leading promoter (who has himself frequently written for The American Conservative). In essence, what Sailer proposes is the polar opposite of Rove’s approach, which he often ridicules as being based on a mixture of (probably dishonest) wishful thinking and sheer innumeracy.

Consider, for example, Rove’s oft-repeated mantra that a Republican presidential candidate needs to win something approaching 40 percent of the national Hispanic vote or have no chance of reaching the White House. During the last several election cycles, Hispanic voters represented between 5 and 8 percent of the national total, so the difference between a candidate winning an outstanding 50 percent of that vote and one winning a miserable 30 percent would amount to little more than just a single percentage point of the popular total, completely insignificant based on recent history.

Furthermore, presidential races are determined by the electoral college map rather than popular-vote totals, and the overwhelming majority of Hispanics are concentrated either in solidly blue states such as California, New York, Illinois, and New Jersey, or solidly red ones such as Texas and Georgia, reducing their impact to almost nothing. Any Republican fearful of a loss in Texas or Democrat worried about carrying California would be facing a national defeat of epic proportions, in which Hispanic preferences would constitute a trivial component. Pursuing the Hispanic vote for its own sake seems a clear absurdity.

Even more importantly, Sailer argues that once we throw overboard the restrictive blinkers of modern “political correctness” on racial matters, certain aspects of the real world become obvious. For nearly the last half-century, the political core of the Republican Party has been the white vote, and especially the votes of whites who live in the most heavily non-white states, notably the arc of the old Confederacy. The political realignment of Southern whites foreshadowed by the support that Barry Goldwater attracted in 1964 based on his opposition to the Civil Rights Act and that constituted George Wallace’s white-backlash campaign of 1968 eventually became a central pillar of the dominant Reagan majority in the 1980s.

In many cases, this was even true outside the Deep South, as the blue-collar whites of Macomb County and other areas surrounding overwhelmingly black cities such as Detroit became the blue-collar Reagan Democrats who gave the GOP a near lock on the presidency. While the politics of racial polarization might be demonized in liberal intellectual circles, it served to elect vast numbers of Republicans to high and low office alike. George H.W. Bush’s “Willie Horton” ad and Jesse Helms’s “White Hands” ad have been endlessly vilified by the media, but they contributed to unexpected come-from-behind victories for the candidates willing to run them. And in politics, winning is the only metric of success.

Sailer suggests that a very similar approach would work equally well with regard to the hot-button issue of immigration and the rapidly growing Hispanic population, arguing that the votes of this group could be swamped by those of an angry white electorate energized along racial lines. He cites Pete Wilson’s unexpected California gubernatorial reelection victory in 1994 as a perfect example. Deeply unpopular due to a severe statewide recession and desperately behind in the polls, Wilson hitched his candidacy to a harsh media campaign vilifying illegal immigrants, and although his Hispanic support plummeted, his white support soared to an equal extent, giving him a landslide victory in a race the pundits had written off and sweeping in a full slate of victorious down-ticket Republicans.

Sailer’s simple point is that individual white votes count just as much as Hispanic ones, and since there are vastly more of the former, attracting these with racially-charged campaign themes might prove very politically productive.

An additional fact noted by Sailer is that the racial demographics of a given region can be completely misleading from a political perspective. As mentioned earlier, Hispanics and other immigrants tend to be much younger than whites and much less likely to hold citizenship. Therefore, a state or region in which whites have become a numerical minority may still possess a large white supermajority among the electorate. Once again, today’s California provides a telling example, with Hispanics and whites now being about equal in numbers according to the Census, but with whites still regularly casting three times as many votes on Election Day.

The Sailer analysis is ruthlessly logical. Whites are still the overwhelming majority of voters, and will remain so for many decades to come, so raising your share of the white vote by just a couple of points has much more political impact than huge shifts in the non-white vote. As whites become a smaller and smaller portion of the local population in more and more regions, they will naturally become ripe for political polarization based on appeals to their interests as whites. And if Republicans focus their campaigning on racially charged issues such as immigration and affirmative action, they will promote this polarization, gradually transforming the two national political parties into crude proxies for direct racial interests, effectively becoming the “white party” and the “non-white party.” Since white voters are still close to 80 percent of the national electorate, the “white party”—the Republicans—will end up controlling almost all political power and could enact whatever policies they desired, on both racial and non-racial issues.

Many might find this political scenario quite distasteful or unnerving, but that does not necessarily render it implausible. In fact, over the last couple of decades, this exact process has unfolded in many states across the Deep South, with elected white Democrats becoming an increasingly endangered species. Each election year, blacks overwhelmingly vote for the “black party,” whites overwhelmingly vote for the “white party,” and since whites are usually two-thirds or so of the electorate, they almost invariably win at the polls. Although Republican consultants and pundits make enormous efforts to camouflage or ignore this underlying racial reality, it exists nonetheless.

By contrast, appeals for white support based on racial cohesion would be almost total nonstarters in 95 percent white Vermont or New Hampshire, or in many other states of the North in which the local demographics still approximate those of the country that overwhelmingly supported the Civil Rights legislation of the 1960s. But today’s national white percentages are much closer to those of 1960s Alabama and Mississippi, where whites fought that legislation tooth and nail on racial grounds. And as the nation’s overall demography continues its inexorable slide from that of Vermont to that of Mississippi, will white politics move in that same direction, especially if given a push?

Now I think a strong case can be made that such a process of deliberate racial polarization in American politics might have numerous adverse consequences for the future well-being of our country, sharply divided as it would become between hostile white and non-white political blocs of roughly equal size. But given the extremely utilitarian mentality of those who practice electoral politics for a living, the more important question we should explore is whether it would actually work, purely on the political level.

Much more HERE

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Leftist "Media Mutters" objects to term "illegals"

See below. How about "paperless people" instead?

It is perfectly normal to abbreviate common expressions and "illegals" is an abbreviation of "illegal immigrant" -- which is exactly what the people concerned are. But in good Leftist style Media Mutters obviously believe that changing the word for something changes the reality somehow:
At the Fox News-Google GOP presidential debate, co-moderator Chris Wallace used the pejorative term "illegals" to refer to undocumented immigrants and read a question from the public that used the term, as well. Journalists have called on the media to stop using the term "illegals," but Fox's "straight news" shows use it consistently nonetheless.

Wallace Tells Romney, "You Vetoed Legislation To Provide Interstate Tuition Rates To The Children Of Illegals." From the debate:

WALLACE: Governor Romney, I want to continue a conversation that you had with Governor Perry in the last debate. In Massachusetts, you vetoed legislation to provide in-state tuition rates to the children of illegals. Governor Perry, of course, signed the Texas DREAM Act to do exactly that."


Homeland's screening policy of illegal immigrants flawed, report says

The criticism below is quite dishonest. Obama has a policy of not deporting people for minor crimes anyway. They are slaying a straw man

A program that checks the immigration status of all people booked into local jails needs systemwide changes and may need to be suspended until its problems are worked out, according to a review conducted by the Department of Homeland Security's advisory council.

The program, called Secure Communities, allows Homeland Security to review the fingerprints of people arrested by state and local law enforcement agencies against federal immigration databases.

The program has been criticized because some people arrested for minor crimes, or on charges that are later dropped, are detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, sometimes resulting in deportation.

That runs contrary to Homeland Security's stated goals of concentrating on illegal immigrants who have committed serious crimes or pose a threat to national security.

"The apparent 'disconnect' between the Homeland Security documents describing a tight focus on dangerous criminal offenders and the actual operation of Secure Communities has led to criticism of the program and is a key reason for opposition to the program in a number of cities, counties and states," says the report, which was approved by the advisory council Thursday.

That opposition has resulted in distrust of local police, as victims and witnesses of crimes are now afraid to speak with police out of fear of being deported, the report found.

Since its inception in 2008, Secure Communities has been activated in half the nation's law enforcement jurisdictions, and it continues to grow, with the goal of nationwide activation by 2013. About half of the members of the task force that conducted the review for the advisory council suggested halting that expansion, or suspending the program entirely, until the problems are worked out.

Arturo Venegas was the first of five task force members to resign, saying the recommendations didn't go far enough and calling Homeland Security irresponsible for continuing to expand the program when so many problems are clearly apparent.

"If you have a computer with a virus, you don't connect 20 more computers to that computer," said Venegas, a former police chief in Sacramento.

The report suggested that Homeland Security better train its officials to focus on dangerous criminals, adopt more oversight to ensure those policies are being enforced and consider ignoring illegal immigrants booked into local jails for minor crimes and traffic offenses.

The report will be given to Homeland Security leadership, who then can adopt any or all of the recommendations — although it is under no obligation to do so.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Most Texas Job Growth Went to Immigrants

81% of Increase 2007-11 Went to New Foreign Workers

A new report by the Center for Immigration Studies examines job growth in Texas. Gov. Rick Perry has pointed to increased employment in Texas during the current economic downturn as one of his main accomplishments. Analysis of the Current Population Survey (CPS) collected by the Census Bureau shows immigrants (legal and illegal) have been the primary beneficiaries of this growth since 2007, and not native-born workers. This is true even though the native-born accounted for the vast majority of growth in the working-age population (age 16 to 65) in Texas.

The report is online here. Key findings:

* Of jobs created in Texas since 2007, 81 percent were taken by newly arrived foreign workers (legal and illegal).

* In terms of numbers, between the second quarter of 2007, right before the recession began, and the second quarter of 2011, total employment in Texas increased by 279,000. Of this, 225,000 jobs went to immigrants (legal and illegal) who arrived in the United States in 2007 or later.

* Of newly arrived immigrants who took a job in Texas, 93 percent were not U.S. citizens. Thus government data shows that more than three-fourths of job growth in Texas went to newly arrived non-citizens (legal and illegal).

* The large share of job growth that went to immigrants is surprising because the native-born accounted for 69 percent of the growth in Texas’ working age population (16 to 65). Thus even though natives made up most of the growth in potential workers, most of the job growth went to immigrants.

* The share of the working-age natives holding a job in Texas declined significantly from 71 percent in 2007 to 67 percent in 2011. This decline is very similar to the decline for natives in the United States as a whole and is an indication that the situation for native-born workers in Texas is very similar to the overall situation in the country despite the state’s job growth.

* Of newly arrived immigrants who took jobs in Texas since 2007, we estimated that 50 percent (113,000) were illegal immigrants. Thus about 40 percent of all the job growth in Texas since 2007 went to newly arrived illegal immigrants and 40 percent went to newly arrived legal immigrants.

* Immigrants took jobs across the educational distribution. Of newly arrived immigrants who took a job in Texas, more than one-third (97,000) had at least some college.

* These numbers raise the question of whether it makes sense to continue the current high level of legal immigration and also whether to continue to tolerate illegal immigration.


As Republicans go through the process of selecting their party’s nominee, job growth in Texas during the current economic downturn has been the subject of much discussion. GOP frontrunner Perry has argued that he has a proven record of job creation in his state, even during the current economic downturn. It is true that Texas is one of the only states where the number of people working has increased during the recession. What has not been acknowledged is that immigrants have been the primary beneficiaries of this job growth, not native-born Americans. About 40 percent job growth went to newly arrived illegal immigrants and another 40 percent to new legal immigrants.

Some may argue that it was the arrival of immigrants in the state that stimulated what job growth there was for natives. But, if immigration stimulates job growth for natives, the numbers in Texas would look very different. The unemployment rate and the employment rate (share holding job) of natives in Texas show a dramatic deterioration during the recession that is similar to the rest of the country. Among the native-born, Texas ranks 22nd in terms of unemployment and 29th in terms of its employment rate. Outside of Texas many of the top immigrant-receiving states have the worst economies. Unemployment in the 10-top immigrant-receiving states in 2011 averaged 8.7 percent, compared to 7.2 percent on average in the 10 states where the fewest immigrants arrived since 2007. These figures do not settle the longstanding debate over the economics of immigration. What they do show is that high immigration is not necessarily associated with positive labor market outcomes for the! native-born.

Some may still feel that less-educated immigrants who work at the bottom of the labor market do not really compete with natives. It is true that 56.8 percent of newly arrived immigrants had no more than a high school education. However, there are more than 3 million native-born workers in Texas who have no more than a high school education. Between 2007 and 2011 the number of native-born Texans with a high school degree or less not working increased by 259,000 and their unemployment rates nearly doubled. It would be very difficult to find evidence that less-educated workers were in short supply in the state.

It must also be remembered that many immigrants are more educated. In fact, 43.2 percent (97,000) of newly arrived immigrants who took a job in Texas had at least some college. Thus it would a mistake to assume that immigrants are only competing for jobs at the bottom end of the labor market.

Data Source:

The Current Population Survey (CPS), also referred as the “household survey”, is the source of data for this analysis. The CPS asks people at their place of residence if they are working. It also asks about their socio-demographic characteristics such as race, education level, age, citizenship, and year of arrival in the United States. Immigrants ,or the foreign-born, are those individuals who were not U.S. citizens at birth and include naturalized citizens, green card holders, guest workers, foreign students, and illegal immigrants. Following the example of other researchers, we use the demographic characteristics of illegal immigrants to estimate the number of illegal immigrants in Texas. In this analysis we compared the second quarter of 2007, before the recession began to the second quarter of 2011, the year for which the most recent data was available.

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

Jewish immigration to Israel increases by almost 20%

Some 21,300 people made aliya during the Jewish year of 5771, the Jewish Agency for Israel announced on Wednesday – an increase of about 19 percent over the previous year. For the third year in a row Jewish immigration from North America was up, reaching 4,070, opposed to 3,720 in 5770.

“We’re very happy with Nefesh B’Nefesh which has made aliya from North America a lot more attractive, but we haven’t seen a dramatic rise in the numbers and that’s why we believe strengthening Jewish identity will bring more people from North America to Israel,” said JAFI Chairman Natan Sharansky in response to the new numbers.

The largest single group of olim this year, like the one before, came from the former Soviet Union. Some 8,200 people made aliya over the past 12 months from Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, the Baltic states and Central Asian countries. But the JAFI chairman shrugged off suggestions this might be the start of a new exodus of Jews from the region.

“Then there were three-million Jews in the USSR,” said the former Refusnik, who was imprisoned by Soviet authorities for years because he wanted to make aliya. “A million went to Israel, a million went elsewhere and now there’s about a million left. Still, it’s one of the biggest Jewish communities that is being both assimilated and strengthening its Jewish identity through summer camps, masa programs and other programs at the same time. I don’t want to get hopes up, but we'll see immigration like this in years to come, but not like during the 90s.”

While aliya from the FSU today may indeed pale in comparison to the great wave of Jewish immigration that took place two decades ago, when hundreds of thousands of Jews left mostly for Israel, the modest resurgence in recent years is surprising considering the overall number of Jews in the region is shrinking.

Another factor setting the current immigration apart from earlier ones is the immigrants’ average age. According to JAFI, over 60% of those who moved to Israel from the FSU over the past 12 months are under the age of 34 – almost double the figures reported in 2005.

“This is a trend that has been increasing: Aliya is younger and better educated,“ Sharansky said. “That’s why JAFI’s activities in the FSU focuses on the young.”

While the largest group of olim may have been from the FSU, the largest proportionate rise in immigration came from Ethiopia. According to JAFI, 2,780 immigrants made aliya from the African country – a hike of 210% from the year before.

The vast majority of Ethiopians making aliya are members of the Falashmura, an ethnic group which claims it was forcibly converted from Judaism to Christianity generations ago. While they would not be eligible to immigrate to the Jewish state under the Law of Return, the government has set up a special track allowing them to immigrate as long as they undergo Orthodox Jewish conversions.

Some 8,000 Falashmura members are expected to make aliya under the current plan, after which the government has said immigration policy from the African country will be the same as the rest of the world. “We promised this will be the last batch and have all the groups in agreement for the first time,” Sharansky said. “After that the policy in Ethiopia will be the same as the one we have elsewhere.” So far, about 2,500 of the 8,000 quota have arrived. The rest are expected to come gradually over the next few years.

Minister of Immigrant Absorption Sofa Landver on Thursday welcomed the rise in the number of olim saying it helped strengthen the Jewish state. “This data demonstrates the continuing trend of rising aliya and the strengthening of Zionism,” said Landver.

“In recent years we have seen consistent aliya, and at this important time the State of Israel must work to maintain the trend and continue to encourage Jews in the Diaspora to immigrate to Israel.”


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Is Rick Perry 'Soft' on Illegal Immigration?

What the summary below overlooks is that Perry's stance may help him with Hispanics. There's some dispute about it but GWB appears to have got a third of the Hispanic vote and that's not small potatoes.

And it's not going to be an easy run for ANY GOP candidate next year. Obama is down in the polls but far from down and out. The polls almost certainly overestimate support for Obama but will any GOP candidate be as good as he is at talking the talk?

Of the leading GOP presidential candidates, who would you say is the "stronger" and "tougher" conservative, Texas Gov. Rick Perry or former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney? Perry, of course, hands down. But on one issue -- immigration -- the answer, surprisingly enough, is Romney. In fact, Perry's stances on immigration are even more moderate than those of many conservative Democrats. And that has some GOP hardliners deeply worried, and potentially anguished, over his candidacy. And if Perry's not careful, it could well provide a political opening for Romney as he tries to blunt Perry's steady drive toward the GOP nomination.

Make no mistake: Perry is no fan of "comprehensive immigration reform" or any other Democratic-sponsored legislation that might give illegal immigrants green cards, or legal residency. And he still talks tough about maintaining border security. But for immigration "restrictionists" who see just about any policy measure short of mass deportation as "soft," Perry's views come dangerously close to "apostasy."

First, there's his opposition to Arizona's harsh crackdown law, SB 1070, which the Obama administration also opposes, even though polls show most of the country still thinks it's good idea. Perry, in a bow to "states' rights," thinks Arizona can pass such a law, if it wants, but he doesn't think Texas needs one. He's also not a big fan of "E-Verify," the computerized screening system that conservatives want to use to weed out illegal immigrants at the workplace. Progressives have attacked E-Verify as unreliable, and potentially discriminatory, and business groups, whom Perry supports, think it could deprive them of cheap labor, threatening their operations.

Perry's also staunchly opposed to the construction of a U.S.-Mexico border fence, a strategy that moderate Republicans like John "Finish-the-Dang-Fence" McCain and even most conservative Democrats support. Like his opposition to SB 1070, that stance almost seems to place Perry in alliance with the political left, which sees the border fence as a symbol of fear and xenophobia and the moral equivalent of the Berlin Wall.

But Perry's no border "dove." He's more than willing to wage war against Mexico's drug and crime lords and to "militarize" the border, if need be. But he thinks the best way to fight illegal immigration is with advanced sensor and surveillance technology, plus more border patrol agents. Building a scalable fence, he quips, is merely a "boon to the ladder business."

More troubling for Perry, perhaps, is his defense of a Texas bill that gives illegal immigrant students the same access to in-state college tuition subsidies as their native-born counterparts. That's a big no-no with immigration opponents, who see benefit programs of this sort as a stepping-stone to "amnesty." Perry will have a much harder time explaining his position to conservatives at a time when anti-immigration groups are fighting Texas-style bills elsewhere, including, most recently, in Maryland, where they've gathered enough signatures to demand a public referendum on their state's new tuition law.

Perry's certainly not the only Republican with more nuanced views on immigration. In some respects, his views echo those of George W. Bush, his gubernatorial predecessor (though Bush did support an amnesty program as part of "comprehensive immigration reform.") And at least two other GOP candidates, Jon Huntsman and Newt Gingrich, share Perry's views, including support for a nationwide "guest worker" program that U.S. business groups support (they want guaranteed access to cheap labor, if the illegal labor pool dries up) but that leading "restricitionists" like Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), the chairman of the powerful GOP-controlled House Judiciary Committee, which oversees immigration, oppose.

But, of course, neither Huntsman nor Gingrich is in serious contention for the GOP nomination, as Perry is, which is why Romney, who's flip-flopped on immigration (and just about everything else in the past) sees the issue as one he might score big points with and possibly use to drive a wedge between Perry and the far right. So far, it hasn't worked, but Romney and Perry's Tea Party rival Rep. Michele Bachmann, who's fading fast and seeking to get back into contention, are just getting warmed up. The next GOP presidential debate is tomorrow night, Sept. 22, in Orlando, Fla., with Perry, Romney, Bachmann and Gingrich all poised for their most contentious and campaign-defining encounter yet. Are most conservatives willing to look past Perry's "apostasy" on illegal immigration in the interest of beating Obama? Or could the growing dispute over this issue engulf the entire GOP campaign?


How To Fix Our Illegal Immigration Problem In 5 Steps

John Hawkins

Illegal immigration has become a heads-we-win / tails-you-lose proposition in this country. If the supporters of amnesty and open borders could get that codified into law, they would. Since they can't, they support comprehensive illegal immigration reform, with the idea being that the amnesty will occur, but they'll stall and slow-walk the security measures into oblivion. Since the people are onto that ploy and have demanded security first, the latest tactic is just to refuse to enforce the law. We can pass a bill that says we're putting a fence on our southern border, but we can't get the fence built. We can catch illegal aliens, but then ICE just releases them. Meanwhile, both parties talk about how important securing the border is, even as they deliberately take steps to make sure it never gets secured.

Why does this happen? Democrats believe, correctly, that illegal aliens would vote heavily Democratic if they become American citizens. So, the more illegal aliens that become American citizens, the more votes Democrats get. Many establishment Republicans foolishly believe that they need to be soft on illegal aliens to bring in more Hispanic voters. How bringing in millions of new votes for the other party -- so you can lose by a smaller margin with a block of voters who are already here -- makes sense as a winning electoral strategy is hard to figure. Additionally, both parties, but particularly the Republicans, have been influenced by sleazy businessmen who want to benefit from cheap illegal labor, while foisting all the costs on the rest of society.

This is why the problem doesn't get solved. The reality is that if the people in D.C. actually want to put an end to illegal immigration, they could do it within a year or two without resorting to the open borders and amnesty crowd's favorite imaginary bugaboo: rounding up millions of people, one by one, and deporting them.

How do we do it?

1) E-verify: This is the single most important thing we can do to combat illegal immigration because it gets to the root of why most illegals are coming here and staying here: jobs. If we mandate E-Verify -- which is really just a way to check the validity of Social Security numbers -- and the government puts the resources into the program, it will lock illegal aliens out of the overwhelming majority of jobs in America. Once we get to that point, there's no reason for most illegals to come here or for most of the illegals that are already here to stay here. So, if the flow of illegals into the country dramatically slows and the illegals that are already here begin to self-deport because they have no work, the biggest part of the problem is solved.

2) Finish the fence: The standard line from the open borders and amnesty crowd about the fence is, "If you build a thirty foot fence, somebody will just grab a forty foot ladder." However, we have built the fence out in a few places on our border and what we've found is that it actually works extremely well.

You've got to understand the purpose of the fence. It's not the end-all and be-all in border security; it's just a force multiplier. Illegals avoid areas where there's a fence and you don't need as much manpower there. That enables you to concentrate your manpower in other areas where it's impractical to build a fence (and there are some of those, such as where the border is a river and you'd be cutting off American livestock from their water supply).

We've already passed a law to build a fence on the border and it was supposed to be done in 2009. All we have to do is get the government to stop deliberately dragging its feet and finish the job.

3) More resources: The agencies that enforce our immigration laws may be the only thing in the entire federal government that's being deliberately underfunded. We don't have enough border patrol agents, we don't have enough agents enforcing the law internally, we don't have enough resources to detain the illegals we catch, we don't put the money that's needed in E-Verify, and for that matter, we don't even have enough resources to adequately handle legal immigration. Again, this is all by design. Heads, we win / Tails, you lose. You can pass any law you want, but if the government won't fund the people needed to enforce it and it won't put the resources needed to make sure that if we capture someone, we can hold onto him until he’s deported, then the law isn't going to be effective.

4) An effective visa program: One of the dirty legal secrets of illegal immigration is that as many as half of the illegals didn't sneak over the border. Instead, they came here legally with a visa and just didn't leave.

That's actually pretty easy for people to do since, believe it or not, the United States doesn't have an effective system for telling whether visa holders leave the country. If you come here on a visa and choose not to leave when it expires, chances are that the government has no idea you're still here. Technically, I-94 forms are supposed to be presented when visa holders leave the country, but there's minimal enforcement, people from 36 countries are exempt, and very little money and manpower are put into tracking down people who overstay their visas – like, for example, 4 of the 9/11 hijackers.

Unless we insist on having these forms filled out and start making a real attempt to track down more than a tiny fraction of the people who overstay their visas, we're not going to fix our illegal immigration problem.

5) Anyone caught doesn't ever come back legally: We've set up a system where there's no permanent penalty for being an illegal. If you try to cross the border and get caught, we send you back. If you do manage to make it across, you probably won't get caught. However, if you do, we may just let you go. Even if you do get deported, well, no big deal. You just try to creep back in and the cycle starts all over again. In theory, the penalties for "illegal re-entry" into the U.S. are harsh, but in practice they're often non-existent. Just ask Obama's Auntie Zeituni who was instructed to leave the country, didn't do it, got caught again and was allowed to stay here, in public housing, on the dole.

Here's an alternate idea. If you get caught in the United States illegally, we fingerprint you, take a DNA sample, and you are NEVER allowed to become a citizen or enter the United States legally again. That means if you have relatives here, you will NEVER be able to legally visit them. If we ever do create a guest worker program that you could potentially participate in, you'll be locked out. If you ever hope to be an American citizen, that will be off the table.

Some illegals won't care at all about this penalty, but for many illegals, this would be a tremendous disincentive to enter or stay in the United States illegally. You want to see illegals "self-deport?" This one change would drive millions of them out of the country.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Recent posts at CIS below

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

1. A Bleak Employment Picture for the Young (Memorandum)

2. Illegal Immigrants Receive Billions of Dollars More from the IRS than They Pay in (Memorandum)

3. The To-Do List (Memorandum)

4. The New Challenge of Medically Caring for the Poor (Blog)

5. Russian News, the Hershey J-1 Protest, and American Values (Blog)

6. New Audit on H-1B Visas (Blog)

7. Common Sense from Across the Northern Border? (Blog)

8. Violence spurs 'Mexodo' to the United States (Blog)

9. DHS Says 'Yes' to Thousands of Illegals Wanting to Leave the U.S. and Return (Blog)

10. Boycott? Never Mind! (Blog)

11. Will the Justice Department Sue? (Blog)

12. USCIS Decides to Burden its Own Appeals Unit with Extra Paper (Blog)

13. USCIS Devotes Much Staff Time to Abused Alien Step-Parents of Citizens (Blog)

14. Time to Sanction the Sanctuaries (Blog)

15. Disentangling Fee-Waiver Data from the USCIS Statistical Swamp (Blog)

16. Thinking of First Responders (Blog)

The Sorry State of Immigration

The conventional wisdom among conservatives is that if President Obama wins a second term, things on the immigration policy front will become worse. But it’s difficult to see how the situation could become much worse when the state of immigration in the US today is in chaos and disarray, with no foreseeable political will to fix it.

Republicans are much more divided on immigration than Democrats. Many pro-business GOPers support lax immigration enforcement and full or partial amnesty for illegal aliens already in the country. Rank-and-file Republicans and Tea Party supporters tend to take a harder line on immigration, favoring more aggressive enforcement of existing laws. They want illegals deported.

And decades of liberal immigration policies have taken their toll on border-state politicians. Even GOP governors have felt the need to run to the left on immigration issues at election time.

A case in point is the leading Republican contender for the presidency, Texas Gov. Rick Perry​, whose stance on immigration isn’t much different than Obama’s.

Some of Perry’s policy positions as a governor are almost the mirror image of Obama’s. In 2001 Perry implemented a Lone Star State version of national Democrats’ proposed DREAM Act in Texas. It gave students with three years residency in Texas in-state tuition rates.

In one important respect it is an apples-and-oranges comparison. Obama favors giving illegal aliens a so-called path to citizenship. Perry doesn’t — and couldn’t — because immigration and naturalization are federal matters.

Nonetheless Perry’s similarity to Obama on this hot-button issue is already making some segments of the Tea Party movement uncomfortable with the otherwise appealing candidate.

Perry has assured conservatives that his support for the Texas-style DREAM Act was a one-shot deal and that he won’t enact similar legislation at the federal level.

But the point is arguably moot. Obama’s recently unveiled federal DREAM Act-by-fiat provides relief from deportation using criteria that largely mirror the proposed federal DREAM Act. Like all amnesties it rewards lawbreaking and serves as a flashing green light to would-be illegal immigrants, inviting them to jump the queue. Amnesties beget amnesties. Each one increases the likelihood that another immigration amnesty will follow in the future – and so on and so on and so on.

Despite this slippery political maneuver President Obama is deporting record numbers of illegals. He’s sent close to 400,000 undocumented migrants packing in each of the last two years. The 400,000 figure is almost 10 percent more than President Bush deported in 2008 and 25 percent more than Bush sent home in 2007.

Obama’s uncharacteristic interest in enforcing the nation’s laws by booting illegals out of the country has earned him the scorn of pro-open borders left-wingers like Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL). The radical congressman deliberately got himself arrested while protesting Obama’s policy on deportations outside the White House in July before the president’s targeted amnesty was announced.

But critics like Gutierrez are delighted with other aspects of Obama’s approach to immigration. Under Obama, the federal government has taken the bizarre step of joining a foreign government, Mexico, in suing Arizona to overturn that state’s immigration law.

President Obama has also issued a host of “quasi-amnesties,” according to David North of the nonpartisan Center for Immigration Studies. “These creeping, partial amnesties indirectly encourage additional migration, including illegal migration,” he writes. Some of these programs provide taxpayer-funded benefits even to aliens who are facing deportation, North adds.

Would Perry or any of the other Republican presidential candidates do a better job on immigration issues, or would they “grow in office” after being inaugurated? We’ll have to wait and see.

One thing’s for certain, though: America’s immigration system is an incoherent mess – just the way the Left likes it. Highly skilled, self-sufficient workers have to run a gauntlet of onerous regulations while illegal immigrants sneak into the country to gain free taxpayer-provided healthcare, tuition, and housing.

Some leftists are openly contemptuous of the rule of law. They’re not shy about admitting that the Left uses America’s confusing immigration system to promote so-called social justice.

Eliseo Medina​, secretary treasurer of the Service Employees International Union, says that boosting immigration levels will help push America further leftward. Immigration “will solidify and expand the progressive coalition for the future,” said Medina who is an honorary chairman of the Democratic Socialists of America (along with Marxists Frances Fox Piven and Cornel West​). The purpose of immigration, says Medina, is to “create a governing coalition for the long term, not just for an election cycle.”

Long ago the Left figured out how to use taxpayer resources to promote progressive-left policies. The Democrats’ cherished National Voter Registration Act has allowed many illegals to unofficially participate in the electoral process since President Clinton​ signed it into law in 1993. The so-called Motor-Voter law was envisioned by Marxists Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, who lobbied for it, as a way to swamp voter rolls with ineligible voters and encourage massive voter fraud.

The federal law requires that everyone applying for certain government benefits be given an opportunity to register to vote. Government workers processing claims for public benefits are prohibited even from asking applicants if they are U.S. citizens.

As I write this article the Obama administration may be planning more made-in-America mayhem by engineering an overhaul of election laws that would make voter fraud by illegal immigrants even easier than it is now. Two weeks ago I reported the disturbing news that attorney Estelle H. Rogers, director of advocacy at ACORN-affiliated Project Vote, visited the White House earlier this year. Rogers, who maintains voter fraud is a figment of Republicans’ collective imagination, met with a senior aide to Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett and with Van Jones​’s former chief of staff.

Watchdog group Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Justice Department, demanding copies of all correspondence between department officials and Rogers. Judicial Watch said it is investigating the extent to which the department and Project Vote, Obama’s former employer, “are partnering on a national campaign to use the National Voting Rights Act (NVRA) to register more individuals on public assistance, widely considered a key voting demographic for the Obama 2012 campaign.”

Could illegal aliens, many of whom are dependent on welfare, provide the margin of victory for Obama next year, allowing him to further undermine America’s immigration laws?

And given the policy stances of leading Republicans on immigration matters, does it really make a difference who wins? Time will tell