Sunday, January 15, 2012

Stingy with Immigrants?

The U.S. is not spending enough on helping immigrants to assimilate, argues a USC professor in the New York Times. We should redirect “the billions of dollars spent on border enforcement” to the education budget, both to federal student loans and to community and four-year state colleges, says public-policy professor Dowell Myers.

The notion that taxpaying citizens are not already shelling out plenty for educating immigrants and their children is fanciful. Let’s look at community-college outlays, where the majority of second- and third-generation (overwhelmingly Hispanic) immigrant college students are found. Federal, state, and local governments spent nearly $4 billion from 2004 to 2008 on community-college students who dropped out after their first year; add in part-time students and capital expenditures, and the number would be much higher, reports the American Institutes of Research. Hispanic students are overrepresented among those community-college dropouts. Would more spending make a difference in the dropout rate? Unlikely.

So perhaps we are simply not spending enough on K-12 education. California, where over 50 percent of the student body is now Hispanic, is a bellwether. No other item in its budget comes close to K-12 education–$64 billion—much of that devoted to trying to close the achievement gap between Hispanic students and whites and Asians. So far progress has been slim, as I discuss in the forthcoming Winter issue of City Journal. Only Mississippi had as large a percentage of its 8th-grade students reading “below basic” on the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP); in 8th-grade math, California came in third after Alabama and Mississippi in the percentage of students scoring “below basic.”

Myers projects that by 2030, 18 percent of second-generation Hispanic students will have a college degree. He apparently means that as good news; in fact it is a sign of how slowly progress between the generations is occurring, since the Hispanic graduation rate in California was 10 percent in 2006.

Myers wants to declare the problem of illegal immigration over, based on the claim that population flows from Mexico have become stagnant and will remain so. That remains to be seen. But it is not the case that Americans have been stingy in providing public resources to immigrants and their children.


British Border Agency 'sorry' after missing chance to deport failed asylum seeker who went on to kill partner and children

The UK Border Agency missed the chance to deport a failed asylum seeker who went on to murder his partner and their two children before taking his own life.

Aram Aziz killed Joy Small, 24, their son, Aubarr, 3, and daughter Chanarra, two, at their flat in Leicester, in February last year, before hanging himself.

It has now emerged officials from a department of the UK Border Agency had been searching for Aziz, an Iraqi Kurd, between May 2005 and November 2006, to expel him from the country after he had been denied asylum.

But they did not know another branch of the agency had moved him to Leicester and was paying for him to stay in asylum seekers’ accommodation.

The 32-year-old was branded an 'abusive monster' by friends of Ms Small who say he once poured lighter fluid all over her.

Agency bosses said if the two departments had realised they were dealing with the same man, they would have deported him to Slovenia - the first country in which he had claimed asylum after leaving Iraq.

Gail Adams, UK Border Agency regional director, said: 'Our deepest sympathies are with the family.' She added mistakes had hindered his deportation - and apologised.

Aziz left Iraq in February 2005 and first applied to the UK for asylum in April that year under the name of Saman Ali Rahim. That was refused a month later because it was found he had already made an application in Slovenia. He then vanished before re-emerging to make a second UK application, this time in the name Aram Aziz, in January 2006. He was moved to Leicester while that application was considered.

In December 2008, the UK Border Agency denied asylum - but because he had met Ms Small in early 2006 and had two children he was granted a three-year stay in the UK as a partner of a British national.

An investigation carried out by the Leicester Safeguarding Children Board published its findings, following an inquest earlier this week. Its report revealed Aziz had two applications to remain in the UK turned down and twice absconded when efforts were made to deport him.

It concluded the tragedy could not have been predicted, but added 'the only known preventative factor' would have been if the agency had succeeded in their attempts to deport Aziz to Slovenia.

Ms Adams said the agency had tried to remove Aziz from the UK three times. She said: 'On two of these occasions, arrangements were made to detain Mr Aziz but he absconded. 'We recognise that mistakes internally hindered his removal on the third occasion and for this we apologise.' She said the agency had since changed the way it worked.

Ms Small’s father Kevin Wathall said: 'Aziz should have been removed from the country before any of this happened. 'There was the chance to do that but the border agency messed it up because one lot sit in a different office to the others. I would have liked a personal apology but the most important thing is nothing like this should happen again.'

The report also revealed Aziz he was given a conditional discharge for assaulting Ms Small in September 2007. Police asked if he could be deported but the border agency turned down the request because of his pending asylum decision.


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