Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Senators to Obama, DHS: Stop Ignoring Illegal Alien Sanctuaries

With a Justice Department fiercely focusing on taking legal action against state laws that help to combat illegal aliens and crimes they commit, a group of U.S. Senators is asking the Obama Administration to stop ignoring local ordinances that undermine federal laws by offering undocumented aliens sanctuary.

Two cities were recently added to the growing list of so-called sanctuary cities that protect illegal -- even criminal -- aliens from Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents: Washington, D.C., and New York City.

The fact that the President of the United States lives in a location officially designated a sanctuary from the President's own administration has reached the level of absurdity, according to former police commander and homeland security specialist Sid Franes.

"Doesn't anyone in the mainstream media see the anti-American, pro-Mexican leanings of the current White House occupants? There should be moral outrage that federal agencies that deal with illegal aliens don't have authority to enforce federal immigration laws, thanks to Mayor Gray's executive order," Franes noted.

In battling local immigration control measures nationwide, the Obama Department of Justice has claimed that they conflict with federal immigration law and undermine the government’s careful balance of immigration enforcement priorities and objectives, according to the Judicial Watch news blog.

The Obama Administration has made this argument recently in DOJ cases against Arizona and Alabama. South Carolina is already in the sights of Attorney General Eric Holder and Obama, having just passed a state law similar in scope to Arizona's and Alabama's statutes.

But what is the administration doing about local governments that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities and blatantly ignore the legal status of arrested individuals? A group of Senate Judiciary Committee members posed the question to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano this week.

They specifically mentioned Cook County Illinois where local authorities openly flip the finger at the feds by refusing to report illegal immigrants who come in contact with police, even dangerous criminals. In fact, in 2007 Judicial Watch took legal action against the Chicago Police Department -- which has a don’t-ask-don’t-tell immigration policy -- after learning of an illegal immigrant sanctuary resolution that was being considered by Cook County’s Board of Commissioners at the time.

In a letter to Napolitano this week, the Judiciary Committee members -- GOP Senators Chuck Grassley (Iowa), John Cornyn (Texas), Tom Coburn (Oklahoma) and Jeff Sessions (Alabama) -- cite a recent meeting with a high-ranking Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) official who confirmed that Cook County creates a major problem for enforcement efforts. In fact, the ICE associate director of removal operations said Cook County’s egregious example of sanctuary city policies presents “an accident waiting to happen.”

So the senators asked Napolitano: “We would like to know what specific steps have been and will be taken by your Department to compel Cook County to reverse its policy of ignoring immigration detainees. In addition, we would request an overview of meetings held between federal officials and Cook County, including any emails or other documentation that exist, to understand how the federal government has been or is attempting to rectify the situation.”

Napolitano is urged to take a direct role in the matter by the lawmakers who remind the Homeland Security Secretary that Cook County’s ordinance creates a “serious threat to the public’s safety” that requires Napolitano’s “immediate and personal attention.” It’s a matter of national security, the veteran senators asserted.

Americans shouldn’t hold their breath. The Obama Administration is too busy fighting local measures that are viewed as “discriminatory” and “anti-immigrant” by the open borders movement. In fact, the DOJ even created a secret group within the bloated civil rights division to monitor laws passed by states and local municipalities to control illegal immigration, according to the Judicial Watch blogger.

Judicial Watch has been a frontrunner in the nationwide battle to combat illegal immigration and earlier this year filed a motion on behalf of the Arizona State Legislature in the Obama Administration’s lawsuit challenging its tough law.

JW has also sued police departments across the country for practicing don’t-ask-don’t-tell immigration policies and has led an effort to shut down taxpayer-funded day laborer centers.


Perry says will deport all detained illegal immigrants

Rick Perry vowed to deport all illegal immigrants detained in the country if elected president as he sought on Tuesday to burnish his conservative credentials on immigration ahead of the 2012 Republican contest.

The Texas governor has faced criticism from Republican rivals like Mitt Romney for being "soft" on illegal immigrants, because those who live in Texas can attend state universities at the same cost as other Texas residents.

Perry, who made the remarks while campaigning in New Hampshire with a controversial Arizona sheriff, said that if elected he would immediately order the deportation of any illegal immigrant detained in the United States.

"My policy will be to detain and deport every illegal alien who is apprehended in this country," Perry said. "And we'll do it with an expedited hearing process so that millions of illegal aliens are not released into the general population with some hearing date down the road."

Non-violent illegal immigrants who are arrested are currently allowed to stay in the country while awaiting deportation hearings in immigration courts.

Perry was briefly among the front-runners for the Republican primary nomination after entering the race in August, but has been hit by attacks on his immigration views and stumbled in a series of poor debate performances.

Recent polls show Perry running in fourth or fifth place among Republicans nationally, and about sixth in the relatively moderate state of New Hampshire.

But ongoing problems with sexual misconduct accusations against rival Republican Herman Cain could arguably encourage some conservative voters to take a second look at Perry.

Perry's endorsement by Joe Arpaio, who claims to be "America's toughest sheriff," was designed to rebut criticism of his immigration policies.

Arpaio has drawn national attention for creating all-volunteer armed posses to sweep for illegal immigrants in Arizona's Maricopa County and for policies such as making prison inmates wear pink underwear.

The United States has an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants, many of them originally from Mexico and Latin America, among a total population of about 308 million people.

"I have been a law and order governor and I intend to be a law and order president," Perry said. "That border with Mexico, it will be secure. It will be shut down within 12 months of me taking the oath of office."

Research by the Pew Hispanic Center indicates that the population of undocumented immigrants has fallen by about 1 million since 2007. The stalled U.S. economy led to a net outflow of undocumented Mexican immigrants last year, according to research from the group.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Lax Olympic border checks 'may let in illegal migrants' as well as thousands of athletes

Thousands of foreign athletes will be allowed into Britain without visas for the Olympics, a Daily Mail investigation has revealed. The decision, rubberstamped by Immigration Minister Damian Green, could open the door to illegal migrants, MPs warned.

It is expected to spark renewed controversy over lax border controls and national security.

Documents reveal that border officials plan to conduct 60-second biometric checks on competitors when they arrive at airports next summer. Those turning up at small airfields or marinas without border staff on duty will escape the checks altogether. They will be ‘on trust’ to report to a UK Border Agency (UKBA) office within 48 hours to be photographed and give their fingerprint scans.

This is despite the fact that British sporting events have been blighted in recent years by the disappearance of overseas participants. In 2002, members of the Bangladeshi relay team disappeared during the Commonwealth Games in Manchester before they had run a race, and 21 athletes from Sierra Leone went missing after the Games.

The same year, 58 golfers from Nigeria and Ghana were granted visas to compete in qualifying events at the Open, but 53 vanished as soon as they landed in the UK. Two years ago four Ethiopian athletes fled from their hotel in London.

The little-known deal struck between the Government, the International Olympic Committee and the London Olympic Games organising committee, means the normal visa rules have been abandoned for all 25,000 non-EU competitors, their coaches, and team officials.

It is thought that half the 25,000 due to arrive without visas already have their biometrics lodged with the UKBA after a previous UK visit or visa application. This means their criminal records can be checked against immigration and security databases before they travel.

However, the remaining 12,500 from more than 175 nations – including terrorist hotspots such as Pakistan, Somalia, Iran and Afghanistan – will arrive carrying only photo-identity accreditation cards issued by the Olympic authorities and their national passports.

Labour MP Mark Hendrick, a critic of Olympic security, described the decision to waive the UK visa as ‘madness’. He is expected to demand an emergency Parliamentary debate on the issue. He said: ‘At a time when heightened security regarding terrorism is needed, the Government is lowering the barriers.’

Alp Mehmet, an advisory council member of MigrationWatch UK and former immigration officer, expressed concern about the lack of checks on athletes, coaches and officials returning home after the Olympics.

He said: ‘History tells us that there will be those who abscond and never leave. But how will we know who they are, or the numbers, if the athletes are not checked out?’

A Home Office spokesman said that the visa-free rules do not allow anyone to settle in the UK and added: ‘They are specifically for the purpose of taking part in the Games.’


Recent posts at CIS below

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

1. Why USCIS Should Not ‘Streamline’ the Immigrant Investor Program (Testimony)

2. There's a Steady Flow of New Spouses Among Those Migrating to the U.S. (Blog)

3. GAO Report: Illegal Aliens Start Forest Fires (Blog)

4. We Have the Facts, But They Have Both the Poetry and the Magazine Covers (Blog)

5. Newt Morphing into Bush and Teddy Kennedy on Amnesty (Blog)

6. The Gingrich Amnesty (Blog)

7. Chain Migration, the TPS Way (Blog)

8. Stapling Green Cards to Diplomas, and Other Foolish Ideas You Might Have Missed in the GOP Debate (Blog)

9. GAO Finds Illegals Are Often Fire Starters (Blog)

10. Murders Twice Linked to Immigration Marriage Fraud in D.C. Area (Blog)

11. U.S. = Stupid Cupid, U.K. = Scrooge Regarding Immigration and Marriage (Blog)

Monday, November 28, 2011

One possible End to Illegal Immigration into the USA

At the Republican presidential debate last week (you remember; the one moderated by that bearded guy named “Blitz”), Newt Gingrich stirred up some controversy in his discussion on immigration.

Speaker Gingrich’s passing comment on the Red Card program caught my attention, “I think you’ve got to deal with this as a comprehensive approach that starts with control of the border as the Governor (Rick Perry) said. I believe, ultimately, that ... once you’ve put every piece in place, which includes a guest worker program, you need something like a World War II selective service ward that frankly reviews the people who are here. If you’ve come here recently, you have no ties to this country, you ought to go home, period. If you’ve been here 25 years and you have three kids and two grandkids, you’ve been paying taxes and obeying the law, you belong to a local church, I don’t think we’re going to separate you from your family, uproot you forcefully and kick you out. The Krieble Foundation has a very good Red Card program that says you get to be legal, but you don’t get a pass to citizenship. And so there is a way to ultimately end up with a country where there’s no more illegality and you haven’t automatically given amnesty to anyone.”

The Krieble Foundation is named for Professor Vernon K. Krieble "to further democratic capitalism and to preserve and promote a society of free, educated, healthy and creative individuals." Professor Krieble’s daughter, Helen Krieble, is the President of the foundation. I have had the pleasure of speaking with Ms. Krieble on several occasions and know her to be a thoughtful and benevolent defender of America’s founding principles.

At a speech to the Heritage Foundation in 2005, Helen Krieble related her personal story of dealing with the onerous bureaucracy of hiring temporary immigrants, “It is so hard to come in legally, it is almost unimaginable. And certainly I have a lot of experience with it because I do use guest workers in my business. And it is a nightmare.” After standing in line at the consulate, outdoors in the sun for eight hours, Ms. Krieble was returned to the end of the line for having folded the application paperwork incorrectly.

Helen Krieble hires about ten guest workers each year to accomplish the messier tasks of her equestrian sports business. And, she does so within the rules. Of course, many American employers and millions of immigrants do not have the patience for the politically charged Ministry of Malarkey that substitutes for an immigration policy.

We all know the realities; stolen Social Security Numbers, unfair competition, cash payments that avoid taxation, abuse of social services and an imposition on our culture. So as a compliant employer and president of a conservative think tank, Ms. Krieble brings a credible perspective that has garnered the appreciation of the “smartest presidential candidate.”

The Red Card Program first considers that guest workers are wholly different from immigrants, that they would have no preference for citizenship and their children born in the United States would not be citizens. Guest workers would be required to hold a “Red Card” that specifically describe the location, employer and job for which the card is issued, along with the duration and personal information about the worker, including biometric data.

Some highlights from the Red Card Program are quoted here:
The meat of this proposal is that private employment agencies (staffing companies) would be licensed and authorized to set up “Non-Citizen Worker” offices in Mexico and other countries. They would be licensed by the federal Office of Visa Services and empowered to issue “Red Cards” to applicants in their local offices. Prior to issuing the cards, the agencies would be required to run an instant background check on the applicant. These checks, much like those used for firearms sales in the U.S., would be accomplished by contact with the U.S. government and the government of the native country. Cards should not be issued to workers from countries that cannot or will not cooperate in this important respect. The goal is to ensure the cards are not issued to applicants with criminal records or those who have violated the terms of previously issued permits or visas.

Employers would simply post jobs with the private employment agencies specifying location, duration, wages and other required information – just as they often do within the U.S. today. There are dozens of employment firms, staffing companies, human resource companies and others who specialize in this field, and make their living putting employers and employees together. This would not change the current requirement that employers demonstrate attempts to hire local citizens before seeking non-citizen workers. Since employment firms charge fees for their services, the incentives will always favor local American workers – why pay a fee if you can find the workers you need locally?

Employers would be able to check the identity and legal status of applicants with a simple swipe of the “smart card,” just as they swipe credit cards for payment. The same card could also be swiped and checked by border agents, law enforcement personnel, and others with a need to identify the holder. It would remain illegal to hire any worker not in the country legally.

Part of the goal of this proposal is to eliminate the undocumented cash system used by so many employers and workers today. That means employers will have to pay taxes, and follow all the laws that would otherwise relate to hiring local employees. That includes social security, workers compensation, minimum wage, and all other labor laws that apply to American workers. For many employers this would mean a slightly more complicated system, and perhaps slightly higher wages. But most would have a strong incentive to comply: a steady and dependable supply of needed workers, coupled with certain and severe penalties for hiring illegal workers.

Workers would be required to stay on the job for which the Red Card was issued, and employers would be required to report any worker who left.

Finally, workers already in the U.S. illegally would be required to leave the country, apply for and legally obtain the Red Card, after which they could return if they had employment. They would have a powerful incentive to do so if the other elements of this plan were implemented – because once legal, they would have the same rights as any worker: minimum wage, health insurance and other benefits, decent working conditions, and the protections of the legal system.

As soon as there is a legal system for employers and employees, the borders of the United States must be controlled.

The Krieble Foundation contends that once there is a gate, the only folks illegally jumping the fence will be drug traffickers and terrorists. Today, migrant workers, drug traffickers and terrorists all jump the fence together.

The Red Card Program is available online here

So here is how I see it: We conservatives need to engineer workable solutions to social challenges before liberals beat us to the punch with unsustainable and oppressive programs like Obamacare. This Red Card program, if instituted wholly, would be an enormous improvement over the current fiasco.


GOP Latinos face questions over immigrant pasts

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is forced to research and clarify her late grandfather's immigration status. Marco Rubio, Florida's GOP Senator, is accused of embellishing his family's immigrant story. A Republican congressional candidate in California puts on his website that he is the great-grandson of an illegal immigrant.

As more Latino Republicans seek and win elected office, their families' backgrounds are becoming subject to increased scrutiny from some Latino activists, a reaction experts say is a result of Latino Republicans' conservative views on immigration. It's a new phenomenon that experts say Latino Democrats rarely faced, and could be a recurring feature in elections as the Republican Party seeks to recruit more Latino candidates.

"It's a trend and we are seeing more of it," said Alfonso Aguilar, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles.

For years, most Latino elected officials were largely Democrats, except in Florida, where Cuban Americans tended to vote Republican. But recently, a new generation of Latino Republicans has won seats in Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, California and even Idaho. Those politicians have come under fire from some Latino activists for pushing for laws targeting illegal immigrants and for opposing efforts for comprehensive immigration reform — views that are in line with most Republicans.

And the immigrant advocates are pointing to the GOP Latino elected leaders' own family histories in an effort to paint them as hypocrites. Ignacio Garcia, a history professor at Brigham Young University, said it comes from a long tradition by liberal activists of portraying Latino Republicans as "vendidos," or sellouts, since the majority of Latino voters tend to vote Democratic.

For example, Martinez tried twice in the New Mexico state legislature to overturn a state law that allows illegal immigrants to obtain state drivers' licenses. Then earlier this year, various media outlets reported that a grandfather of Martinez may have been an illegal immigrant. The reports sparked immigrant advocates to protests outside the state Capitol with poster-size photos of Martinez on drivers' licenses.

Martinez, a Republican and the nation's only Latina governor, ordered her political organization to research her family's background and found documents that suggested that her grandfather legally entered the country and had various work permits.

The episode drew criticism, even from those who opposed Martinez' efforts on state driver's licenses. "This has nothing to do with her views and how she governs," said Michael A. Olivas, an immigration law professor at the University of Houston who also is aiding in a lawsuit against a Martinez's administration probe over the license fight. "I don't think it's fair for people to dig around in her family's past."

In Florida, Rubio's official Senate website until recently described his parents as having fled Cuba following Fidel Castro's takeover. But media organizations reported last month that Rubio's parents and his maternal grandfather emigrated for economic reasons more than two years before the Cuban Revolution.

Somos Republicans, a group dedicated to increasing Latino Republican voting numbers, immediately attacked Rubio over the discrepancy and for holding harsh views on immigration. "We believe it is time to find out the complete history of his parents' immigration history," the group said in a statement. "It is also time for Rubio to be a leader and help Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) fix the broken immigration system."

Patricia Montes, executive director of Centro Presente, an immigrant advocacy group in Somerville, Mass., said voters need to know a politician's family background for clues on how they will respond to people with similar stories. "It's very important to voters," said Montes.

Montes said most Latino and immigrant voters don't simply view Latino Republicans as "vendidos" but rather as politican leaders who don't share their views. "I don't care if someone is Latina or not," said Montes. "I care if they believe in the same things I do, and if their policies will affect the immigrant community."

Garcia said the current tension also is a result of a new breed of Latino Republicans finally winning high profile seats after years of being largely ignored or dismissed. Garcia said there have always been Hispanic Republicans, through their numbers have been typically small and they have often faced heat from the largely Democratic Latino population.

In New Mexico, for example, the colorful lawman and lawyer Elfego Baca helped establish the Republican Party just after New Mexico became a state in 1912 and actively tried recruit the state's mutigenerational Latino population to join the party. Baca won a number of local offices, including district attorney, but lost bids for Congress and various statewide offices.

In Texas, civil rights activist Felix Tijerina, a Mexican-American Houston restaurateur and former national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens in the 1950s, remained committed to Republican Party despite a backlash from fellow activists who disagreed with his laissez faire, pro-business views. One Texas civil rights leader, John J. Herrera, called Tijerina "a white man's Mexican" for his support of Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower for president over Democrat Adlai Stevenson.

"The difference now is that these new Latino Republicans, like Martinez and Rubio, are better prepared and are being groomed as national figures," said Garcia. "Meanwhile, the Democrats are falling behind. They have no equivalent and they aren't giving Latinos the same opportunity."

Garcia said there's also a new factor — the millions of new independent Latino evangelicals who could be potential GOP voters. This population is new and unpredictable, he said.

Still, some Latino Republicans want to use the new attention around them in the party to change what they say is damaging rhetoric around immigration. Tony Carlos, who is seeking the GOP nomination for California's 3rd Congressional District, is running on a platform to push comprehensive immigration reform and believes if other Republicans follow, more Latinos will vote with the GOP.

On his campaign website Carlos says his great-grandfather came to Arizona from Mexico "without papers." Carlos said it's all about showing that his family is part of an ongoing American story and that political leaders need to honestly attack today's problems.

"I'm putting my family history out there. And once Latino voters hear that I support immigration reform, I find that they are open to other issues that appeal to conservatives," said Carlos. "My argument is that they are just as conservative. They are just in the wrong party."


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Gingrich attracts crowds in Florida, as rivals continue attack on immigration stance

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich attracted huge crowds in Florida this weekend, but he continued to face down accusations from his rivals that he is too soft on immigration to win the Republican presidential nomination.

Gingrich, 68, who joined former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney at the top of the field less than two weeks ago, showed no sign of slipping at two appearances along the southwest Florida coast — a conservative enclave and critical battleground in the state’s Jan. 31 primary.

On Friday night, a standing-room-only crowd of at least 800 fans crammed into a hotel ballroom to listen to Gingrich speak. Hundreds who couldn’t fit into the room watched on TV monitors out in the hall.

And on Saturday, at least 500 stood in line for more than four hours at a Books-a-Million bookstore, where Gingrich and his wife, Callista, posed for photos and signed books, t-shirts, photographs and other memorabilia.

The growing energy around Gingrich on the campaign trail may explain why some of his rivals are continuing to go after him on immigration, an issue that surfaced at the most recent televised debate last Tuesday. Gingrich called on Republicans to be “humane” and support a path to legal residency for certain long-time illegal immigrants with deep ties in this country, and since then, two rivals — Romney and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann — have attacked Gingrich for what they say is his support for amnesty.

On Saturday, Bachmann repeated her accusation on Fox News claiming that Gingrich has a long record of supporting amnesty for all illegal immigrants, not just those who have been here for decades.

“He would not limit this to people [living here] 25 years,” Bachmann said. “Anyone who is here, he would make legal, that 11 million to 12 million people, overnight.”

Gingrich pushed back forcefully against Bachmann’s comments, telling reporters during his book-signing that he does not support amnesty and did not say he supported amnesty at the debate.

His spokesman, R.C. Hammond, said Bachmann is either “confused or lying,” while Gingrich said: “I’m prepared to talk about substantive change in a number of areas, including Social Security and how we deal with immigration. The American people are prepared to listen to a campaign that deals with substantive issues. Those of my friends who refuse to tell the truth make it harder to do that.”

Nearly all of those who stood in line to hear Gingrich or have their books signed said they did so because he is the smartest candidate seeking the Republican nomination. Many have followed his career in public life for decades, have read his books or watched his documentaries or seen him years ago on C-SPAN, where, early on in his congressional career, he established renown as a conservative commentator.

“There's no hesitancy,” said Pamela Burditt, 48, a pharmacist visiting Florida from Bucyrus, Kansas. “His intelligence is so well-rounded that he doesn’t have to stop and think what his answer will be.”

Gingrich said he was gratified to continue attracting crowds in southwest Florida, a relatively conservative enclave in this enormous state and a critical battleground in Florida’s Jan. 31 primary.

“It’ll be pretty clear by Jan. 31 that I’ll be the conservative candidate in the race,” Gingrich said, adding that he expects the Republican nomination to wind up as a contest between him and Romney.


Republicans blast Democrats' opposition to immigration law

A group of Democratic congressmen were in Birmingham Monday to host a hearing on the law. Immigrant rights advocates and illegal immigrants were also scheduled to speak.

The GOP leaders spoke in a telephone conference call sponsored by the Alabama Republican Party. Speakers included party chairman Bill Armistead, State Rep. John Merrill, R-63 and Congressman Mo Brooks, R-5th.

Armistead chastised Democratic lawmakers from Washington who were “coming down to tell us how to do business” and “meddling” in the state’s affairs.

“We have been bold in coming forth with a comprehensive legislative reform package,” he said. “We should be instructing Washington.”

Brooks, who has praised state lawmakers for creating and passing the legislation, said the state did what it had to do because of dereliction by the federal government. He said if the county had strong federal immigration laws, Gov. Robert Bentley would not have had to sign HB 56 into law.

A bevy of state and national human rights groups and the U.S. Department of Justice have filed lawsuits to block the law. Brooks said he was disappointed that President Barack Obama hasn’t been more grateful to states with tough immigration laws.

“He should be sending ‘thank you’ notes to Alabama, Arizona and Georgia, but this president and judiciary department is sending them lawsuits,” he said. “I find it to be very disappointing and most unsatisfactory.”

Brooks said the state and nation welcome immigrants who enter legally and who are interested in obtaining permanent citizenship. He pointed out that 600,000 to 1 million immigrants achieved citizenship last year, while another 150 million immigrants have entered the country as tourists, students or through work visas.

And while he acknowledged there is a great sense of compassion for the plight of the immigrant, he urged Alabamians to consider harm being done to the state by illegal immigrants, especially in regard to jobs, health care and education costs and crime.

“Illegal aliens have committed hundreds of thousands of crimes against American citizens and tens of thousands are in jails for their crimes,” Brooks said. “In Madison County, we’ve had more citizens killed or murdered by illegal aliens than in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They would be alive today if not for the dereliction of the federal government.”

On April 17, 2009, 19-year-old Tad Mattle and his girlfriend, Grissom High School sophomore Leigh Anna Jimmerson, were killed when Felix Dominguez Ortega slammed into the back of Tad’s pickup truck while fleeing police officers. His blood-alcohol level was reportedly more than three times the legal limit.

In a case out of Limestone County, Marcello Ortiz-Velasquez was indicted on reckless murder charges stemming from a 2005 crash that killed his passengers, Martin Ramos and Marcos Lopez.

Ortiz-Velasquez was never found after his indictment, however, so the case has not come to trial.

Brooks said the state and national unemployment rate is another factor Alabamians should consider in light of the new law. He said the state’s unemployment rate dropped seven-tenths of a percent from July to October, which he considers proof that illegal immigrants are leaving the state and opening up jobs for citizens. The U.S. rate, he said, dropped just one-tenth of a percent over the same time period.

“Alabama is doing seven times better than the national number,” he said, adding that there are 7.4 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. who hold jobs. “(The plight of immigrants) is something we should have compassion for, but we have to weigh that for the compassion for American citizens; compassion for Americans who don’t have jobs.”

State Rep. John Merrell, who represents Tuscaloosa, said he and other Republican lawmakers welcome immigrants who want to enter the state “the right way.” He also said the law was not written to intimidate or mistreat immigrants.

“Anyone who comes to the state and wants to become a citizen, we want them to come,” he said. “What we want is for the law to be enforced equally for everybody.”


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Net migration to Britain hits a record 252,000, despite PM's vow to slash numbers

David Cameron was facing a new headache yesterday after it emerged that net migration hit a record 252,000 last year.

The Prime Minister – who has promised to reduce the figure to the ‘tens of thousands’ – now faces a bigger challenge than when the Tories came to power. In 2009, Labour’s last full year in office, net migration – the difference between the number of people entering the UK and the number leaving – was just under 200,000.

Mr Cameron, who conceded that hitting his pledge may now take ‘some time’, has once again been hit by the global economic downturn.

The number arriving in the UK, which includes immigrants and Britons returning from more than a year overseas, remained broadly stable at 591,000 last year. But the number leaving – only 339,000 – was at its lowest for ten years, so net migration was 252,000.

Emigration for work fell to its lowest level since 2006, reflecting the chaos in the eurozone and other countries where people would normally seek employment.

The number of British citizens emigrating was 136,000, its lowest since 1998. Emigration by non-Britons was 203,000, a drop of 25,000 on 2009. If net migration remains at 2010 levels, the population will swell by one million every four years.

The previous high for a calendar year was 245,000 in 2004 – although mid-year data for the 12 months to June 2005 reached 260,000.

Labour said the figures showed the Government could ‘not be trusted’ to bring immigration under control.

Sir Andrew Green, chairman of the campaign group Migrationwatch, said: ‘Net migration in 2010 was more than five times the level of 1997 when Labour came to power. ‘It is absolutely vital to get this down to less than 40,000 if we are to keep our population below 70million.’

The data came from the Office for National Statistics, which also released provisional figures for the 12 months to both March 2011 and September 2011. These showed net migration falling slightly, giving a glimmer of hope to the Tories. Immigration Minister Damian Green said the Government remained committed to reducing net migration to the ‘tens of thousands’ during this parliament.

He said that after peaking in September last year, the numbers had started to come down.

Mr Green added: ‘These figures show that the Government was right to take swift action to overhaul the immigration system. ‘Latest quarterly figures show a decrease in the number of student and work visas issued compared to a year earlier – an early sign that our policies are starting to take effect.’

Downing Street said Mr Cameron stood by his election promise on cutting migration. Asked whether he thought it could be achieved, Mr Cameron’s official spokesman said: ‘Yes, he does, but clearly that process is going to take some time.’ The Government was ‘taking action across the board’, he added.

The number of potential illegal immigrants turned away at ports and airports slumped by 12 per cent during a controversial pilot scheme to relax border checks.

Between July and September only 4,141 foreigners were denied entry, down from 4,730 during the same period a year earlier. The fall coincided with border guards being instructed not to check the biometric chips in passports belonging to EU citizens.


"Asylum seekers" in Australia's suburbs

THOUSANDS of asylum seekers are expected to flood the suburbs as the Federal Government rolls out bridging visas allowing boat people to live and work in the community and collect welfare.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen has handed out the first bridging visas for 27 men, mostly Afghans and Sri Lankans, whose refugee claims are being assessed. Mr Bowen said the men would be released from detention centres, including Melbourne, in coming days - with 100 a month to follow.

It comes as a secret government briefing note seen by the Herald Sun suggests thousands of boat people will soon be transferred into the community.

The NSW Government note reports a warning by the Immigration Department this week that arrivals will balloon when word spreads that asylum seekers arriving by boat are no longer to be held in detention. "Once it is widely known that IMAs will live in the community while being processed, the level of entries into Australia are very likely to escalate," the note said.

The majority are expected to be housed in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

The note followed a meeting between Department of Immigration officials and the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet.

The radical move to a softened onshore processing system comes after the collapse of PM Julia Gillard's Malaysia deal and after the arrival of more than 300 asylum seekers this week.

Mr Bowen said the first batch of asylum seekers to be given bridging visas were long-term detainees who have cleared health, security and identity checks, and will live with friends or family. From next month, at least 100 people a month will be released while their asylum claims are processed.

A person's time in detention, their behavioural record and their family's ability to support them will decide who is chosen. "People who are assessed to pose an unacceptable risk to the community will remain in an immigration detention facility," Mr Bowen said.

Those released will be able to get jobs and up to $215 a week in means-tested payments, but will not qualify for Centrelink benefits.


Friday, November 25, 2011

High immigration could drive Britain's population to 77million by 2035

Britain's population could rise by a quarter to more than 77million in just 25 years if high levels of migration continue, according to official estimates released yesterday.

They projected a population of 77.7million by 2035 – nearly 16million more than now – if high immigration continues alongside rapidly rising birthrates and increased life expectancy.

It means that the country would have to find room for an additional 650,000 people – the population of a city the size of Glasgow – every year between now and 2035.

The estimates were released at a time of growing concern over fast-rising population levels and their impact on overcrowded England, which is already the most densely populated country in Europe.

The figures suggest that the 70million population mark – the level at which many believe stresses on housing, transport, education, health, power and water will become too great – could be hit far sooner than the current prediction of 2027.

The new projections were published by the Office for National Statistics.

Last month, the ONS put out ‘principal projections’, which said that the population was set to grow by just under 500,000 a year for the next 25 years, reaching 73.2million from the current 62.2million in 2035.

Yesterday it published ‘variant population projections’ which ‘are intended as plausible alternatives to the principal assumptions,’ it said. Based on the highest expected immigration, fertility and life expectancy levels, these put numbers in the country at 77,746,000 in 2035, and nearly 95million by 2060.

By that stage Britain would have overtaken Germany as the most populous country in Europe. If maintained over the following decades, that rate of population increase would mean numbers reaching nearly 137million in 100 years – more than doubling over a century. Over the past 100 years, the population has grown by around 50 per cent.

The higher projected increase depends heavily on rates of immigration remaining similar to those currently being recorded. In 2010 net migration – the number of people coming into the country to live minus the number emigrating – was 239,000. New figures released today may show even higher migration rates. However, the ONS said that if migration is curbed, the population will be much lower.

Yesterday’s analysis said that if net migration is reduced to zero, the population will never reach the 70million landmark.

With zero net migration, but fertility rates and life expectancy continuing to go up according to mainstream expectations, there will be 65,740,000 people in the country in 2035, and this will gradually fall to below 58million in 2110.

The Coalition has pledged to reduce net migration to below 100,000 a year – the levels seen in the 1990s – though some analysts suggest a level of 150,000 a year is manageable.

Sir Andrew Green, chairman of think-tank Migration Watch, said: ‘ONS data confirms the shocking fact that the UK population is projected to hit 80million by 2056, overtaking Germany in the process – even though we have far less space. We must get net migration down to below 40,000 to stabilise our population below 70million. Anyone who suggests that net migration of 150,000 will do has simply not looked at the facts.’

The Downing Street ‘e-petition’ demanding action to prevent the population reaching 70million has been signed by almost 125,000 people.

The campaign, organised by Migration Watch, passed the 100,000 mark in less than one week – meaning MPs can now ask for a backbench debate on what steps are needed to bring immigration under control.


Australia: Boat arrival tally passes department danger level

THE fourth people-smugglers' boat in three days has carried the 701st passenger for November into Australian waters - confirming the Immigration Department's warning to the opposition of the consequences of the collapse of the Malaysia plan.

Two boats, carrying 144 asylum seekers and crew, were intercepted yesterday, quickly passing the controversial "600-a-month" threshold the Immigration Department secretary, Andrew Metcalfe, warned would make immigration detention unviable and could lead to European-style social unrest.

Asylum seeker arrivals have more than doubled since last month, when the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, announced the effective end of offshore processing because the opposition would not pass legislation to overcome a High Court ban on the Malaysia refugee swap.

Since then, there has been one boat tragedy with eight asylum seekers drowning off Java and the death of a skipper in an incident off Christmas Island this week.

The Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, challenged the Coalition to match "hollow words" on stopping the boats with action. "If the opposition wants to see offshore processing, we want to see offshore processing; the only difference is we're prepared to vote for it," he said.

But his opposition counterpart, Scott Morrison, called for the government to instead bring an immediate vote on the opposition's amendment to the bill, to only allow offshore processing in countries that have signed the Refugee Convention. The Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, told Parliament: "The boats keep coming day in, day out".

Arrival numbers have returned to the peak seen late last year - before the December boat crash claimed 50 lives and acted as a brake on dangerous voyages - a level which led to severe overcrowding on Christmas Island, and riots among detainees.

Fourteen boats carrying 955 asylum seekers and crew have arrived since October 13, when the government said it would use bridging visas to move asylum seekers into the community to avoid detention crowding.

The Immigration Department had forecast just 750 asylum seekers arriving in 2011 in the federal budget, and the Mid-Year Economic Forecast, expected to be released next week, must revise spending upwards to account for the bigger numbers.

Mr Morrison said: "People smugglers are cramming more people onto dangerous boats in the lead-up to the monsoon season and the government has no policy in place to offer even the slightest deterrence."

Mr Bowen said the Coalition had "made a political decision, a calculation, that it is not in their political interest to see boat arrivals in Australia stop".

There were 959 people in detention on Christmas Island last Friday, with 344 more arrivals this week. There are 3923 asylum seekers in mainland detention.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Mitt Romney's Immigration Stance Now Clear: Pressure Undocumented To Leave The Country

Mitt Romney's evolution into a full-fledged immigration hawk is complete

The Republican presidential candidate's comments this week on the issue of undocumented immigrants made clear where he stands now: The U.S. government should do nothing proactive beyond creating a hostile environment for those in the country illegally, in the hopes that they leave.

Anyone in the United States in violation of federal law should go back to his or her country of origin, Romney said Wednesday during a tele-town hall with Iowa voters.

The former Massachusetts governor noted that he favors a "path to citizenship" for undocumented immigrants, but added that "consists of going to their home country, applying for citizenship or permanent residency just like everybody else, and getting back in the line."

"They should have to get in the same line with everybody else who wants to come here legally," Romney said.

In 2007, Romney had also talked of undocumented immigrants returning to their country of origin, but back then he didn't appear to favor that approach for all. In the end, his comments in a key Dec. 16, 2007, interview on NBC's "Meet the Press" were jumbled and unclear.

"They should have a set period during which period they sign up for application for permanent residency or for citizenship. But there's a set period whereupon they should return home. And if they've been approved for citizenship or for a permanent residency, well, that would be a different matter. But for the great majority, they'll be going home," Romney told Tim Russert in that interview.

The Romney campaign did not answer questions about whether those comments constituted the view that some, but not all, undocumented immigrants should have to leave the country. The phrase "great majority" implies it is what he meant.

So in the past, Romney indicated an openness to creating a process by which undocumented immigrants might achieve permanent status in the U.S. But his position has hardened: He now believes the government should do nothing directly for those who are in the country without documentation and want to stay, regardless of whether they are productive members of society or are receiving government benefits or are involved in criminal enterprises.

He wants to direct immigrants' behavior through "incentives."

"People respond to incentives," Romney said during the Republican presidential debate Tuesday night. "And if you can become a permanent resident of the United States by coming here illegally, you'll do so."

An incentive approach mainly means making it so difficult for undocumented immigrants to be in the U.S. that they leave on their own, as Romney's top spokesman, Eric Fehrnstrom, explained to Philip Klein of the Washington Examiner after the debate Tuesday.

"No in-state tuition, no benefits of any kind, no employment. You put in place an employment verification system with penalties for employers that hire illegals, that will shut off access to the job market, and they will self-retreat. They will go to their countries," Fehrnstrom said.

Romney reiterated this position in the tele-town hall Wednesday: "So for me, the answer is pretty straightforward: fence, enough troops, an identification system that identifies who's here legally, and then tough sanctions for employers that hire people who are here illegally."

This answer would not actually address all undocumented immigrants. A good number would remain. But Romney has apparently decided that it is too dangerous to cross the conservative base of the Republican Party, which is vehemently against any form of normalization for undocumented immigrants.

Romney's shift on the issue first saw the light of day in the 2008 campaign, when he ran to the right of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) -- the party's eventual nominee -- on the immigration issue. Then, as with his attacks on Newt Gingrich now, Romney denounced McCain as favoring "amnesty."

During a Wednesday appearance in Iowa, Romney attacked Gingrich for his comments at the previous night's debate.

Gingrich's plan is to open a "path to legality" for some undocumented immigrants. "We need a path to legality, but not citizenship, for some of these individuals who have deep ties to America, including family, church and community ties," states his 10-point immigration plan.

As the former speaker of the House put it Tuesday night, "You get to be legal, but you don't get a pass to citizenship."

Gingrich added, "And so there's a way to ultimately end up with a country where there's no more illegality, but you haven't automatically given amnesty to anyone."

His plan would require securing the border, establishing a guest worker program, deporting those who are in the U.S. illegally and have committed crimes, and then creating what he likened Tuesday night to a "World War II Selective Service board" to review the cases of the undocumented.

A Gingrich spokesman explained Wednesday that "local citizen review boards" would review local cases of undocumented immigrants who want to stay in the country. "They could be judged by a jury of their neighbors," R.C. Hammond told the Des Moines Register.

But in Iowa on Wednesday, Romney said Gingrich had "offered a new doorway to amnesty."

"I know there's going to be great interest in finding how far we can apply amnesty, and I just think we make a mistake as a Republican Party to try to describe which people who come here illegally should be given amnesty, to be able to jump ahead of the line of people who have been waiting in line," Romney said in Des Moines. "My view is people who have waited in line patiently to come to this country legally should be ahead in line. And those who come here illegally should not be given a special deal or a special accelerated right to become a permanent resident or citizen."

Gingrich's 10-point plan says exactly the same thing. One of his three principles for immigration reform is this: "Under no circumstance can a path to citizenship be created which would allow those who have broken the law to receive precedence over those who patiently waited to become residents and citizens via the legal process. Those who adhered to our immigration law cannot be usurped by those who violated it."

Gingrich shot back at Romney on Twitter Wednesday, linking to a snippet of the 2007 "Meet the Press" interview in which Romney said, "Those people who had come here illegally and are in this country, the 12 million or so that are here illegally, should be able to sign up for permanent residency or citizenship."

"So what's your position on citizenship for illegals again? (I oppose it.)," Gingrich tweeted. He also linked to his 10-step plan. The Romney campaign has not released any immigration plan.

Even the tone of Romney's rhetoric on immigration is far different from what it was just a few years ago. In a 2005 interview with the Boston Globe, he said of undocumented immigrants, "These people contribute in many cases to our economy and to our society. In some cases, they do not. But that's a whole group we're going to have to determine how to deal with."

In that interview, Romney said he had not formulated a position on various immigration reform plans being debated, but proposals by then-President George W. Bush and Sen. McCain were "reasonable." Specifically, he said that McCain's plan was "quite different" from "amnesty."

"It's saying you could work your way into becoming a legal resident of the country by working here without taking benefits and then applying and then paying a fine," Romney noted.

In the 2007 "Meet the Press" interview, Russert read a quote from a Romney interview with the Lowell Sun. "I don't believe in rounding up 11 million people and forcing them at gunpoint from our country," Romney had told the Sun. "With these 11 million people, let's have them registered, know who they are. Those who've been arrested or convicted of crimes shouldn't be here. Those that are paying taxes and not taking government benefits should begin a process towards application for citizenship, as they would from their home country."

On "Meet the Press," Romney stood by that position, telling Russert that "those people who had come here illegally and are in this country -- the 12 million or so that are here illegally -- should be able to stay, sign up for permanent residency or citizenship, but they should not be given a special pathway, a special guarantee that all of them get to stay here for the rest of their lives merely by virtue of having come here illegally."

He then added the nebulous line about having "a great majority" of undocumented immigrants leave the country.


We Can't Kick Off Immigration Reform With Amnesty

Tuesday night we learned about how the Republican candidates would handle a big part of the Oval Office portfolio. That's because they took a good 90 minutes talking mostly about one thing: foreign policy and national security. Along the way, they addressed on of the toughest questions facing policymakers: What to do about our deeply flawed immigration system and broken borders.

No sound-bite can cover how to battle transnational criminal cartels, how to respond to Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iranian intelligence networks threading their way through Latin America, how to protect our sovereignty and the sanctity of citizenship or how to deal with illegal immigration.

Securing our southern border starts south of the border. We must partner with Mexico to help it meet its security, economic and civil society challenges. For the first time in a long time, there are leaders in Mexico who are tired of hearing the cartels’ ultimatum “plato o plomo”—silver or lead (meaning take a bribe and step aside, or we will kill you and your family). One Mexican military officer, when was asked his “vision” for Mexico, said it was to see the country be like it was 10 years ago. Back then, he explained, the cartels would flee when the army showed up. Now, they fight back. That officer and many others in Mexico want their country back.

Meanwhile, we can and must do more stateside to secure the border. But we need sensible security measures, with D.C., the states and border communities all pulling in the same direction. That’s not likely to happen if President Obama accepts across-the-board budget cuts. Slashed security budgets will translate directly to weakened border operations: fewer primary inspection lanes at border crossings; fewer dog teams on the line sniffing out smuggled drugs, cash, guns and aliens; fewer liaison teams coordinating operations, etc. No matter how the cuts come down, border security will suffer.

In addition to doing better operationally, we need to do a better job on the policy front. That includes effective, adequate temporary worker programs that get employers the employees when they need, when they need them to help grow the economy and create more jobs. It means opening the door to high-skilled immigration. It also means enforcing the immigration and workplace laws.

Finally, immigration reform cannot lead with amnesty. Americans will have to demonstrate wisdom and compassion in crafting strategies to deal with those are residing unlawfully in the United States now, but the campaign cannot start by granting a widespread amnesty. That would reward those who have broken our laws and undermine confidence in all other efforts to fix the problem. Amnesties just encourage more illegal entry and unlawful presence.

We must to have the patience to take all the other steps first—to fix the system. Then we can turn to amnesty. But starting with amnesty is a non-starter.

At last night’s extended debate, the candidates collectively articulated all the components of a sound plan. If whoever emerges as the GOP nominee can string them all together into a coherent plan, the American people will have a clear alternative to the failed policies we have tried since September 11, 2001.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Justice Department Challenges Utah’s Immigration Law

The Department of Justice and other agencies filed a complaint Tuesday in Salt Lake City that challenges Utah’s immigration law, saying the state violates the Constitution due to its attempt to establish a state-specific immigration policy.

The department said the law mandates enforcement measures that can disrupt immigration practices by the federal government in the area. The DOJ also expressed concern that, under the law, individuals could potentially be harassed and wrongfully detained, according to a statement.

This is the second lawsuit filed against the law. Civil rights groups filed a lawsuit earlier this year, and a federal judge granted a temporary restraining order in May against House Bill 497. That bill requires people arrested for serious crimes to prove their citizenship but gives police discretion to check citizenship for lesser crimes.

Similar lawsuits have taken aim at immigration enforcement in states like Arizona, Alabama and South Carolina.

The DOJ said it is the federal government’s role to enforce federal immigration laws, not local governments.

Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement that “a patchwork of immigration laws is not the answer and will only create further problems in our immigration system.”

The suit was filed on behalf of the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security and State Department.

"This kind of legislation diverts critical law enforcement resources from the most serious threats to public safety and undermines the vital trust between local jurisdictions and the communities they serve," said Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

The lawsuit comes after several months of discussions with state officials. The DOJ said it does not expect the filing to end ongoing negotiations, and since the provisions do not take effect until 2013, the DOJ is hopeful a resolution can be made before it files a lawsuit against the state.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Mark Shurtleff, the state’s attorney general, said Utah’s law was significantly different from other state laws that were challenged.

“We feel strongly that we made significant changes with our law compared to Arizona’s at the time,” Shurtleff said, the paper reported. “We think the way our law is, with our changes, we think we can defend it, that we can prevail on this and have it held constitutional.”


DHS "Stonewalling" Congressional Immigration enquities

Homeland Security officials said Monday they are gathering data to appease U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, after his powerful House committee threatened to hold the agency in contempt of Congress for failing to provide immigration enforcement information.

Smith, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, is demanding that the agency release data he said will show that deportable criminal immigrants are being set free. Earlier this month, his committee issued a subpoena that ordered DHS to provide information about the controversial Secure Communities initiative. The program compares the fingerprints of individuals arrested and booked into local jails against a federal database to determine whether they are deportable under current immigration laws.

Smith accused DHS of “stonewalling” and warned that if the request for immigration-enforcement information was not met, he would "seek enforcement of the subpoena to the fullest extent of the law." A House Judiciary staff member who spoke on background said the committee could take action to hold DHS in contempt if the agency does not supply the requested information.

The DHS said it was in the process of gathering the data and cited statistics to debunk the committee’s claims that criminal aliens are being set loose.

“DHS has implemented immigration enforcement priorities that focus limited resources on convicted criminals, repeat immigration law violators, fugitives and recent entrants," said department spokesman Matt Chandler. "Through these priorities, ICE removed a record 216,000 criminal aliens in FY 2011, an 89 percent increase over 2008."

On Nov. 4, the committee demanded DHS turn over the “names, fingerprint identification numbers and alien registration numbers” of immigrants who were arrested between November 2008 and Oct. 21, 2011, but not detained by ICE.

As of last week, the committee said all the agency had provided was a "unique ID" for each arrested immigrant, a date and time for each "encounter" and the national origins of a few hundred detainees. The "unique ID," the committee charged, is nothing more than a number from 1 to 220,955 and doesn't allow the committee to make any determination about the immigrants' criminal histories. Smith has questioned whether President Obama is directly behind the lack of compliance.

“Either DHS officials never planned to comply with the Committee’s information request, despite its manifest reasonableness, justification under the Committee’s oversight jurisdiction and similarity to information provided to the Committee during the Clinton Administration,” Smith wrote Friday in a letter to DHS. “Or DHS’s plans to comply with the request were vetoed by the White House for political reasons – to prevent the American people from learning the damage to public safety caused by ICE’s current policy of allowing the release of criminal aliens onto our streets.”

Smith’s charges came as DHS announced it would begin reviewing some of the estimated 300,000 cases currently pending before immigration judges. The review is part of an overhaul of Secure Communities that the department announced in June aimed at focusing resources on removing serious offenders first.

The agency also announced a training program geared toward teaching law enforcement officers and prosecutors to use their discretion in turning immigrants over to ICE. The program, first reported on by The New York Times, follows a memorandum issued in June by ICE Director John Morton that instructed officials to use “prosecutorial discretion” when issuing a notice of detainer or deciding “whom to detain or release on bond, supervision, personal recognizance, or other conditions.” The criteria include how long the individuals have lived in the country, the education they’ve obtained, their criminal history and whether they have U.S.-citizen relatives.

That June directive led Smith to file legislation called the HALT Act, which would significantly restrict the administration’s immigration-enforcement abilities.

A DHS official who spoke on background said the department has so far diverted 120 hours away from its daily activities to fulfill the committee’s request. The official also said that not all of the arrested immigrants reported to ICE are eligible to be deported. Secure Communities checks fingerprints against all immigration databases, so fingerprints submitted through the system will, in some cases, match against immigrants who are not removable, either due to lawful legal presence or because they have since become naturalized citizens.

While Smith argued DHS was not doing enough to remove criminal immigrants with Secure Communities, a group of Congressional Democrats outraged over the continued use of the program called last week for its termination.

In a letter written by Democratic U.S. Rep. José E. Serrano, D-New York, and signed by 31 other House Democrats — including Reps. Lloyd Doggett of Austin and Ruben Hinojosa of Edinburg — they told Obama the program only served to erode public trust in law enforcement.

“When detained, individuals are not afforded a right to counsel and are often transferred to remote locations for detention, which severely limits their access to resources to help them fight their cases,” the legislators wrote. "This patently unfair system needs to be seriously reformed, not expanded."


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thousands of migrants 'disappear' in British cities under new official counting system

Hundreds of thousands of migrants have ‘disappeared’ at the stroke of a pen under a new official counting system. The method has led to apparent large falls in the numbers of migrants thought to live in London and other major cities.

The change has provoked fury among council leaders who say the immigrant populations of their districts have been grossly underestimated by government statisticians.

Westminster and Kensington in London, Manchester, Bristol, Oxford and Cambridge are among places thought to have had their estimated populations reduced by many thousands by the Office for National Statistics.

Colin Barrow, Tory leader of Westminster, said: ‘After four years of work supposedly improving migration estimates, the ONS apparently still has little idea how many migrants are in this country or where they live and work.

‘Our incoming migrant population appears to have dropped by 17 per cent over four years; you only have to go out into the bars and restaurants in the West End to see that migrants come to Westminster to live and work in much greater numbers than this.’

More than nine out of ten migrants to the UK live in England, which has become the sixth most crowded major country in the world, the MigrationWatch think-tank said last week. Last year net migration was 239,000.

The new estimates method, to be used from next year onwards, uses the same source of immigration statistics the ONS has always used. This is the International Passenger Survey, a check on intentions of arrivals at air and sea ports and on the Eurostar.

From this researchers use a complex formula, based on other official population databases, to estimate the number of yearly arrivals.

Under the new method, this formula has been tweaked, resulting in changes to the estimated numbers arriving at certain towns and cities. Some have fallen while others have risen, but the total remains unchanged.

Westminster’s migrant population has been reduced by 10,000, and Manchester’s and Bristol’s each by 30,000. According to ONS briefing papers, Kensington and Chelsea, Oxford and Cambridge have had ‘quite large downward revisions’.

Mr Barrow said: ‘We would seriously question the estimate that fewer than 4,000 migrants came to Westminster in the 2009 financial year to seek work. 'We have seen more people registering with doctors and paying council tax in Westminster, so we fail to understand how the government statisticians can be so wrong.’

Councils can lose millions in Treasury grants if Whitehall cuts their population estimates.

The ONS was scheduled to publish papers about the new migration counting system last week, but failed to do so. Some places are said to show a higher count, such as Newham, East London, with a 13 per cent increase. The ONS declined to comment yesterday.


Recent posts at CIS below

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

1. Amnesty by Any Means Extended to DOJ Lawyers (Blog)

2. ICE Finds Another Border Tunnel, But Well After Construction Ended (Blog)

3. Man Bites Dog, or Asylum Lawyer Supports Denial of Asylum (Blog)

4. The Jewish Establishment's 'Unity Pledge'; Will Sacrificing Israel to Obama's Re-Election Cause Blowback? (Blog)

5. Migrant Wage Drain from U.S. Economy Increased a Little in 2010 (Blog)

6. More Administrative Amnesty, This Time from USCIS (Blog)

7. A New Civil Rights Movement in Alabama? (Blog)

8. DHS Pressies Have the Week That Was, and Will Be, and Was, and Will be Again (Blog)

9. U.S. Senate Takes CIS' Advice and Imposes Fees on the Visa Lottery (Blog)

10. November 1986: Comments on 'Comprehensive Immigration Reform' (Blog)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Australian taxpayers wear burden of 60,000 illegal immigrants

In a population of 22 million

AUSTRALIA has enough illegal immigrants on the loose to populate a large regional city. A Herald Sun investigation has found that nearly 60,000 people - one in every 390 - is in the country unlawfully, sparking renewed calls for a crackdown.

The 58,400 foreign citizens hiding illegally among us easily outnumber the populations of Mildura or Shepparton - Victoria's fifth and sixth biggest cities. And they dwarf the 4700 asylum seekers who arrived by boat in 2010-11.

Documents released to the Herald Sun under Freedom of Information also reveal the biggest groups of illegals are Chinese, Americans, Malaysians, Britons and South Koreans.

More than half have been here for five or more years; 20,000 for a decade or more; and two in three have evaded authorities for more than two years. (The figures do not include visitors who overstay visas by less than a fortnight.)

Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria chairman Sam Afra said illegal residents attracted little of the outrage associated with boat people, despite taking jobs and housing, using public services, and not paying tax.

He said it was far too easy to stay here if you knew how to "work the system". "It's shocking," he said. "To have one in three who have been here more than 10 years (suggests) something's wrong with the system."

"Nobody's talking about it. It is a problem, and the question is, don't you think the damage justifies putting more resources in (to find them)?"

He said the involvement of illegals in criminal and other dubious activities also sullied the reputations of legal migrants.

Jailed terrorist cell leader Abdul Benbrika lived illegally for years after arriving on a visitor's visa in 1989. Three months after marrying in 1992, while still an illegal, he successfully applied to stay, living on welfare with his wife and seven children until his arrest in 2005.

Illegal immigrants have also been involved in drug cartels, sexual slavery, and fraud. Illegals accused of guarding marijuana crops in Melbourne and regional Victoria were among 43 people arrested last year in raids focusing on a $400 million crime syndicate.

A charter flight to deport 76 illegal aliens from Malaysia and Indonesia, busted picking fruit in Mooroopna last year, cost taxpayers $100,000.

Australian Human Rights Commission president Catherine Branson, QC, said it was important to remember many more overstayed visas, or arrived by plane and sought asylum, than arrived by boat.

"Another misconception is that people who arrive by boat are illegal immigrants. Australia is obliged to assess asylum seekers' claims."

There were 10,600 more illegals at June 30 last year than in 2005.


Behind the "healthy immigrant" story in Canada

Newly arrived immigrants are healthier than their Canadian-born counterparts, but can then expect their health to decline the longer they stay in Canada, new research suggests.

Two studies released Wednesday by Statistics Canada add more evidence to the existence of the "healthy immigrant effect."

Statistics Canada researchers tracked some 2.7 million Canadians, a little more than 552,000 — or 20 per cent — of whom were immigrants from 1991-2001, and surveyed 350,000 people, including almost 50,000 immigrants, to determine the health of various segments of the Canadian population.

Overall, newly arrived immigrants to Canada had lower mortality rates than the Canadian-born, and also reported lower levels of fair or poor health, according to the studies.

Those mortality rates tended to rise the further removed immigrants were from their arrival in Canada, as were the reported levels of fair or poor health.

Data from surveys of immigrants showed in fact that those who had been in the country for 10 years or longer reported being less healthy than residents born in Canada.

Why that's the case isn't answered in the Statistics Canada papers, but research has pointed to a number of factors for the "healthy immigrant effect."

"The immigration policy tends to let people in who are healthier," said Edward Ng, a senior analyst in the health analysis division of Statistics Canada.

The more time they spend in Canada, the less likely they are to go through the same rigorous medical screening, raising possibilities that they can become sick, said Ng, who wrote the study on mortality rates.

Another problem for newly arrived immigrants, who don't speak either official language very well, is that they are less likely to access health-care services, or less likely to land a job, both of which can increase the likelihood that they can become sick, Ng said.

Another explanation may be that once they arrive in Canada, new immigrants learn they have conditions that previously went undiagnosed, said Michelle Rotermann, who penned the study on self-reported health and diagnosed medical conditions.

It may also be a cohort effect where long-term immigrants arrived in Canada in worse health than those who have arrived more recently, Rotermann said.

Not all newly arrived immigrants were healthier than the Canadian-born.

The studies found that American and Sub-Sahara African immigrants had mortality rates similar to the Canadian-born.

Newly arrived immigrants from North Africa, the Middle East and Asia reported higher levels of fair or poor health than the Canadian-born.

Rotermann said both studies point to a need for long-term research into the health of immigrants to answer the "why" question raised in the data as the number of immigrants to Canada rises.

Statistics Canada expects immigrants to make up one-quarter of the population by 2031 from the 20 per cent recorded in the 2006 census.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

England 'is world's sixth most crowded country: High rate of immigration blame for population surge

High immigration has made England one of the most crowded countries in the world, a report said yesterday. It found that 6.6million foreign-born people live in England – and only 500,000 elsewhere in the UK.

As a result England has become the sixth most densely populated major nation, according to the analysis from the MigrationWatch think-tank. Only Bangladesh, Taiwan, South Korea, Lebanon and Rwanda have more people per square mile.

Sir Andrew Green, who chairs MigrationWatch which compiled the report, said: ‘The immigration lobby like to talk about the UK, obscuring the fact that England is six times as crowded as Scotland.

‘Since the vast majority of immigrants come to England, it is England’s place in the league table that counts. ‘Leaving aside city states and small islands, England lies sixth among the most crowded countries in the world.

‘As people sit in traffic jams or squeeze on to their morning trains it will be clearly ridiculous to claim that their eyes are deceiving them and there is not a problem simply because places like the Maldives or Mayotte have higher population densities than England.’

The study calculated that 93 per cent of immigrants settle in England, and that 86 per cent of projected population growth will occur there. The Office for National Statistics has projected the landmark 70million figure for the UK is likely to be reached in 16 years.

More than 120,000 people have signed a petition calling for a Commons debate on the need to curb immigration and keep numbers below 70million, a point at which many analysts believe housing, transport and public services would be overstretched.

Brussels said yesterday that it wants to make it easier for immigrants to get into Europe in order to boost economies.

Cecilia Malmstrom, EU home affairs commissioner, said new systems would help migrants get visas faster, find jobs matching their skills and make it cheaper for them to send money to family members back home.

She said the EU was establishing ‘mobility partnerships’ with Tunisia and Morocco to manage migration and hoped to establish them with Egypt and Libya.


Sore Losers: Administration Retaliating Against Alabama for Winning Immigration Lawsuit

The Obama administration does not want most immigration laws enforced. They’ve stated so explicitly in internal memos, letters to members of Congress, and in a public announcement of a policy shift in August. The Obama administration is not keen on anyone else enforcing immigration either. They’ve made that abundantly clear by suing three states (so far) – Arizona, Alabama and, most recently, South Carolina – for enacting laws designed to discourage illegal immigration.

Playing on the friendly turf of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the administration succeeded in blocking implementation of significant portions of Arizona’s SB 1070 law. However, last month the administration found itself in a less sympathetic arena: the 11th Circuit. That court rebuffed the administration’s effort to block implementation of Alabama’s HB 56, allowing all but two provisions to take effect immediately.

The Obama administration appears unwilling to accept the verdict of the 11th Circuit and unprepared to wait for the matter to reach the U.S. Supreme Court. Instead, the administration has opted for a policy that is equal parts retribution against Alabama, and intimidation of other states contemplating their own enforcement strategies.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) sent a “request” to school superintendents across Alabama seeking voluminous amounts of data, some of which would have to be updated monthly. DOJ’s fishing expedition included detailed school enrollment data, broken down by race, ethnicity, and national origin; absentee data broken down by school, including the names of each student who has had one “unexplained absence” since implementation of HB 56; tracking information about students classified as English Learners, whether they are enrolled in remedial English classes or not, to name just a few of DOJ’s “requests.” DOJ gave Alabama schools ten days to comply.

When Alabama’s attorney general, Luther Strange, advised superintendents not comply (citing ongoing litigation over HB 56) and questioned DOJ’s legal authority to seek such detailed information, the head of DOJ’s civil rights division, Thomas Perez, shot back asserting that his department has “express authority” to investigate “potential violations of civil rights laws that protect educational opportunities for schoolchildren.” Before becoming Assistant Attorney General, Perez served as director of an outfit known as CASA de Maryland, a strident and well-financed illegal alien advocacy group that receives funding from sources as diverse as the State of Maryland and Venezuelan strongman, Hugo Chavez.

DOJ’s request does not appear to be predicated on any documented violations of anyone’s civil rights. The section of HB 56 which would have required Alabama schools to collect data about citizenship status of students who enroll was one of two provisions that the 11th Circuit blocked from taking effect. (How Alabama is supposed to provide DOJ data about national origin if they’re not allowed to ask that information is not quite clear.) Moreover, a 1982 Supreme Court decision requires that states provide free K-12 education to students irrespective of immigration status.

HB 56 has, no doubt, resulted in the withdrawal of students from Alabama schools who are either illegal aliens or the dependent children of illegal aliens. But that fact does not imply civil rights violations. Rather, it is a direct consequence of the law – ruled to be constitutional by the 11th Circuit – working as intended. Illegal aliens are getting the message and moving out of Alabama, taking their kids with them.

The fact that illegal aliens are leaving Alabama in significant numbers (much as they have done in other places where local enforcement policies have been implemented) is the biggest concern for an administration whose policy objective is amnesty, not enforcement. Every time a state government demonstrates that illegal aliens are indeed rational people, who respond rationally to signals that illegal immigration will not be countenanced, it undermines the specious argument that the only solution to the problem is mass amnesty.

As the administration wages its effort to halt most enforcement of immigration laws and to secure amnesty for the millions of illegal aliens who are here, DOJ has been turned into a political attack dog, unleashed on any state or local government that dares to get in the administration’s way. When lawsuits fail, because courts determine that states are acting legally, DOJ is sending a clear message that its civil right division will be there to drain additional state resources with retaliatory demands for data.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Arizonans who ousted anti-immigration lawmaker set sights on sheriff

Sheriff Joe is too popular for that to work

A group of Arizona residents who promoted the recall of Republican Sen. Russell Pearce, the chief architect of the state's harsh anti-immigration law, now aims to thwart the reelection of controversial Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

"Just like Pearce, Sheriff Arpaio takes an extremist position against immigrants, against immigration, and we want that to end," Randy Parraz, cofounder of Citizens for a Better Arizona, told Efe.

The 79-year-old sheriff is the only law enforcement official in the state to mount workplace raids in search of the undocumented.

Arpaio, who cultivates a reputation as "the toughest sheriff in the West," is currently being investigated by the U.S. Justice Department on charges of racial profiling against Hispanics.

The sheriff will seek reelection in 2012, which is why Citizens for a Better Arizona plans to inform voters about his department's actions against the community.

"We're going to take action, we're going to set our sights on him," Parraz said, adding that a formal announcement of their campaign will be made next Monday in front of the state capitol in Phoenix.

Arpaio has been sheriff of Maricopa County - which includes Phoenix - since 1993, though his popularity among voters waned as time passed.

While in 2004 he won 56.7 percent of the vote, in 2008 he won 55.2 percent. In 2007 another civic group failed to gather 200,000 voter signatures to force a special election to recall Arpaio.

Parraz said that these new efforts to thwart Arpaio's reelection will focus on his record and, just as they did with Pearce, will not support any alternative candidate.

On Nov. 8, voters in state senate District 18 in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa made history by recalling Pearce, the main promoter of SB 1070, the first law in the country that seeks to criminalize the presence of the undocumented.

Since its enactment last year, SB 1070 has served as a model for other states to pass even tougher measures against illegal immigration.

Citizens for a Better Arizona was the group that collected the signatures needed to hold a special election to recall Pearce.

"We want the sheriff to understand that we as voters have the right to question his actions and that he must give answers," Parraz said. "Once again the Hispanic vote will be very important, especially in times like these. I believe this is a historic moment in Arizona that began with the recall of Pearce and can continue with Arpaio."

For his part, Arpaio told Efe he isn't worried about the campaign against him. "I'm going to keep on doing my job, nothing has changed with Pearce leaving office, my work is to apply the laws and that's what I'll do," he said


Federal government launches broad review of immigration court cases

The Department of Homeland Security announced Thursday it will begin reviewing about 300,000 deportation proceedings to implement prosecutorial discretion measures laid out in a June 2011 memo issued by John Morton, director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (aka ICE).

The Office of Principal Legal Advisor at ICE in charge of the review has been directed to review “incoming cases and cases pending in immigration court.” The purpose of the review, according to guidance directives also issued Thursday, “is to identify those cases that reflect a high enforcement priority for the Department of Homeland Security.”

According to The New York Times, “the accelerated triage of the court docket — about 300,000 cases — is intended to allow severely overburdened immigration judges to focus on deporting foreigners who committed serious crimes or pose national security risks, Homeland Security officials said.”

The guidance distributed to all immigration attorneys in Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and ICE lists terrorism, felony convictions, murder, sexual abuse, drug trafficking, illegal entry, reentry and immigration fraud among the crimes that are removal priorities.

Cases not considered enforcement priorities include members of the armed forces, children who have been in the U.S. for more than five years or came to the U.S. before the age of 16, people over 65, domestic violence victims, and people seeking asylum.

The Times adds that “immigration agency lawyers will examine all new cases just arriving in immigration courts nationwide, with an eye to closing cases that are low-priority according to the Morton memorandum, before they advance into the court system,” while “immigrants identified as high priority will see their cases put onto an expedited calendar for judges to order their deportations, Homeland Security officials said.”

Immigrant advocates have had different reactions to the review of deportation proceedings.

The National Day Laborers Organizing Network argues that Thursday’s announcement: "highlights how completely out of whack the Administration’s immigration priorities are. President Obama has chosen to deport 400,000 people a year. Moreover, its decision to turn local police into “force multipliers” through [Secure Communities] has caused immeasurable suffering: families have been destroyed, community safety has been undermined, and Latinos’ civil rights have been imperiled as we witness an entire generation of Americans in Waiting criminalized by these policies.

B. Loewe of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network told the Independent in August that the case review" "may bring with it an expansion of the definition of “criminal,” because the damaging label is never actually defined. As we’ve seen in Secure Communities, those who they define as criminals are people whose only offense may be driving without a license or may actually only be immigration-related. There’s the potential for many to be condemned under the agency’s new scarlet letter, the title of “criminal.”

The National Immigration Forum, meanwhile, welcomed ”the launch of the Administration’s long-promised review designed to reduce the backlog of deportation cases and prioritize resources. In this time of great concern about our nation’s fiscal health, it makes sense to focus valuable law enforcement resources on the deportation of individuals who are genuine threats to public and national safety.”

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (aka FAIR) writes that the Department of Homeland Security is beginning “Amnesty Screenings” with the move. FAIR supports immigration enforcement measures like Arizona’s infamous S.B. 1070 and “lower immigration levels.” It has said the prosecutorial discretion measures issued by Morton “constitute nothing less than the granting of administrative amnesty to hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens.”


Friday, November 18, 2011

Number of British secondary school children from ethnic minorities soars by 57% in ten years

White British pupils have become a minority in many secondary schools in England, according to a study. The research found that the number of ethnic minority pupils has sharply risen by 57 per cent in ten years. In some areas, including inner London boroughs, up to 67 per cent – just over two thirds – are from ethnic minorities.

In some individual secondary schools, the figure rises to 98 per cent of pupils, said the survey by King’s College London. The trend is seen right across England, showing that ethnic minority families are moving out of town centres to the suburbs.

Professor Chris Hamnett, a geographer who conducted the study, said the increase is not due to children who have recently arrived but pupils who were born in England. He said patterns of birth rates indicate that the proportion of ethnic minority pupils will continue to increase in future decades. Such changes have become a lasting feature of the ethnic make-up of England’s population, added the professor. He said his data reveals a ‘very substantial’ shift in the population, representing an ‘irrevocable’ change.

The study examined the changing demographics of schools from 1999 to 2009 following decades of migration to this country. The 57 per cent increase in ethnic minority pupils came as the overall secondary school population rose 4.7 per cent. There has also been a slight decline in the number of white pupils, a figure which also includes migrants from Eastern Europe.

Across the country, the proportion of ethnic minority pupils has risen in a decade from 11.5 per cent to 17 per cent.

Professor Hamnett forecasts that it is set to continue increasing to 20 per cent. He found that London has the highest proportion of ethnic minority pupils at 67 per cent.

The capital was followed by Slough with 64 per cent, Leicester at 58 per cent, Birmingham at 52 per cent and Luton with 51 per cent. Manchester and Bradford both have 43 per cent.

There are also wide differences in the ethnic breakdowns of schools in different parts of the country. In places such as Knowsley, near Liverpool, Cumbria and Durham, fewer than two per cent of secondary pupils are from ethnic minorities. In the London boroughs of Brent, Tower Hamlets and Newham, the figure is above 80 per cent.

In primary schools, the government’s annual school census this year showed that 862,735 children, more than a quarter of pupils, are from an ethnic minority. The figure is up from 22 per cent in 2007.

When Labour took power in 1997, the total was 380,954. In Newham, only eight per cent of primary pupils are from a white British background.


IMAGE Undocumented Immigrants Program Pushes Business Crackdown

The article below is from HuffPo so may be a bit starry-eyed

In the past few months, the roster of companies in a revamped, voluntary immigration enforcement program has expanded by nearly one-fifth as the Obama administration steps up employer audits.

It may seem counterintuitive for a company to voluntarily open its books to the scrutiny of federal agents, but officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement say the benefits of its IMAGE program can include lower fines and can enhance a company's image.

"We need IMAGE because an enforcement-only approach isn't going to produce the best results," ICE Director John Morton said in a telephone interview.

The acronym stands for ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers. Officials say it can reduce the employment of illegal immigrants and the use of fake identification documents.

To participate, employers must meet several requirements: enroll in the federal E-Verify program; submit to an ICE audit of their I-9 forms that new employees complete and related documents; establish a written hiring and employment verification policy that includes a yearly internal audit; and sign a partnership agreement with ICE.

The agency says it will train IMAGE participants on proper hiring procedures, fraudulent document detection, use of E-Verify and anti-discrimination procedures.

Many employers already use the E-Verify federal online database to check the employment eligibility of new hires – either voluntarily or because they are required to by state or federal law. But unauthorized workers can still slip through if they use false documents with someone else's real name and matching Social Security number. IMAGE aims to give employers extra tools to ensure a legal workforce, Morton said.

The Obama administration has cracked down on employers as part of its immigration enforcement policy, but officials have emphasized employer audits more than the high-profile workplace raids done during the Bush administration. In fiscal year 2011, the agency conducted 2,496 I-9 audits, up from 2,196 the previous year and far above the 503 in the 2008 fiscal year. ICE initiated 3,291 worksite enforcement cases in fiscal year 2011, versus 1,191 in fiscal year 2008.

Even if an audit shows a company acted in good faith – for example if an employee used a convincing false document – and isn't penalized, it can still experience a disruption in production when all unlawful workers are fired.

The IMAGE program began in 2006 and continued in its original form through July 2011, when it had 117 members. The agency recently simplified the program's requirements and began an aggressive outreach, adding 22 new companies since July. Morton cited a key reason for recent interest in the program: the rise in enforcement actions.

"The agency's worksite enforcement efforts directed at employers is at an all-time high," he said. "We're serious about enforcing the law against employers who violate it."

Because program members must submit to a full I-9 audit to join – meaning they have to let ICE examine a representative sample of the employment documents – it is less likely they'll be audited in the future because the possibility of more internal compliance problems is "pretty minimal," said Memphis, Tenn.- based immigration lawyer Greg Siskind.

Companies in industries that have historically had problems with unauthorized workers, such as agriculture and hospitality, may want to join IMAGE to make sure their employees are eligible to work in the U.S., he said.

"Maybe you're trying to get out in front of that and trying to avoid problems if you actually end up getting audited," Siskind said.

Being "IMAGE certified" can also help a company promote itself to score contracts with other companies and government agencies that place high importance on immigration compliance, said Dawn Lurie, a lawyer who advises businesses on immigration issues. "I think from a branding perspective, it allows companies to say, `We are the gold standard in immigration compliance, ICE has certified us,'" she said.

Companies that aren't already using most of the best practices outlined in the IMAGE program might want to wait until they upgrade their internal compliance efforts, Lurie said.

But some companies may not be entirely comfortable entering a partnership with federal authorities. "It's a law enforcement agency, so you have to think about whether that's a disruptive thing for your business if you have a law enforcement agency basically become your partner on a day-to-day basis," Siskind said.

Morton dismissed that fear. "Are we a law enforcement agency? Do we enforce the law firmly against violators? You bet," he said. "But if you're doing the right thing, if you're willing to partner with us, if you're willing to open your books and create the kind of controls that lead to voluntary compliance, we will support you all day long."

Companies that participate in IMAGE may see fines reduced should ICE find noncompliance. There's also a better chance that if an issue with unlawful workers arises, ICE might reach out to the company to discuss the problem and allow the company to fix it before launching a formal enforcement action, Lurie said.

Kelly Services, an international staffing company, had been talking to ICE about participating in IMAGE since early this year and finalized its paperwork with the agency last week. Because Kelly is a federal contractor, it has been required to use E-Verify for several years. When company officials learned more about IMAGE, they realized they were already complying with a lot of the requirements, said company attorney Barbara Stockman.

"It made perfect sense for us to support the endeavors of the government in this regard and also to receive the recognition that we had been doing this all along," she said. "When we took a look at the requirements and realized that we were already there, it seemed to be a natural fit."

In fiscal year 2011, ICE spent $6.8 million on salaries for the IMAGE program and about $294,000 on travel, material, conferences and other expenses.

"I'm quite confident that the cost of IMAGE is far less than what it would cost to achieve the same level of compliance through investigations and audits," Morton said.