Saturday, March 31, 2012

Immigrants ordered deported may be released in US

The case of a Vietnamese ex-con accused of brutally slaying five people in a San Francisco home has shed harsh light on Supreme Court rulings that have allowed the release of thousands of criminal immigrants into U.S. communities because their own countries refused to take them back.

After Binh Thai Luc, 35, spent years behind bars in San Quentin for an armed robbery, an immigration judge ordered him deported six years ago. Instead, he resumed his old life in a quiet San Francisco neighborhood because his native Vietnam never provided the travel documents required for his return.

While Luc's case is a particularly striking one, it is far from uncommon. From 2009 through the spring of last year, records show about 8,740 immigrants were ordered to leave the country after serving time in prison, but Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials let them go because their native countries wouldn't take them back by the time they had to be released from an immigration jail.

Two Supreme Court rulings have established that immigrants who have committed a broad range of criminal offenses can't be locked up in detention indefinitely while they await deportation, and should be released after 180 days unless they are likely to be deported soon. If the government decides they pose a terrorist threat or deem they are especially dangerous, such as sex offenders, some provisions allow for them to be held for a longer period.

ICE put a new immigration hold on Luc this week, and officials said the agency was following the law when they released him after the Vietnamese government ignored their request for his travel documents. The country is one of the slowest in the world to respond to the U.S. government's paperwork requests.

Now, as the investigation into the gruesome San Francisco homicides continues, the political debate over the legal standards that allow criminal immigrants to remain on U.S. soil if their own countries refuse them is flaring again, as it did following a few other high-profile murders at the hands of immigrant ex-felons lingering in the country.

"It is a tragedy that five Americans lost their lives because a dangerous criminal immigrant could not be deported to his home country," said Rep. Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican, who is sponsoring a bill that would challenge the high court's rulings by expanding the pool of immigrants who could be detained for more than six months, perhaps indefinitely, if they can't be repatriated. "Dangerous criminal immigrants need to be detained."

It is "a public safety problem" to release anyone who has committed a violent crime, countered Ahilan Arulanantham, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California. "But the Constitution doesn't give the government to power to lock people up forever, regardless of their citizenship."

Gary Mead, ICE's executive associate director for Enforcement and Removal Operations, testified before Congress in May that he anticipated more than 4,000 immigrant former felons would be released into the community in fiscal year 2011 because their native countries did not cooperate.

ICE statistics provided to Smith's office show 1,012 immigrants with criminal records had been released by April of last year, in addition to 3,882 released in 2010 and 3,847 in 2009. ICE would not provide details about the nature of their criminal offenses, the timing of their previous convictions, or whether they ever were removed. About 4,040 immigrants without criminal records also were released during that time because their home countries would not cooperate.

"Every alien's removal requires not only cooperation within the U.S. government but also the cooperation of another country," Mead testified in May.

Luc's native Vietnam is one of about 20 countries that is slow to cooperate, if it does at all, according to ICE. While Cambodia is least cooperative, the agency said Vietnam was the second-slowest country, taking an average of 218 days to respond to paperwork requests.

International relations also come into play. Citizens of Cuba, which doesn't have diplomatic relations with the U.S., represent about 40 percent of all the criminal immigrants released after serving time, the ICE statistics show. About one of every eight was Vietnamese.

Iran, Laos and Pakistan also "are generally uncooperative," the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General wrote in a recent report.

The high court's rulings make things difficult for ICE officials. Government auditors, however, have raised concerns about whether ICE is doing enough to monitor immigrants who have served prison terms and been released.

In 2007, the inspector general said ICE needed to do more to ensure that dangerous foreign nationals were removed, or that their release was adequately supervised.

In 2008, Cuban national Abel Arango was released after serving time in prison for armed robbery, because the Cuban government would not take him back. He went on to fatally shoot Ft. Myers, Florida police officer Andrew Widman.

Following Luc's arrest Sunday, ICE officials revealed this week that he originally entered the U.S. legally in October 1989 as the child of intending immigrants. But an immigration judge ordered Luc's deportation in 2006, after he served eight years in prison for armed robbery and assault.

Court records show Luc was arrested in two armed robberies of a Chinese restaurant and a clothing wholesaler in San Jose and was convicted in 1996 of second-degree robbery and assault with a firearm.

While holding up the clothing business, Luc said in Chinese with a Hong Kong dialect: "I have a gun, if you move I will kill you," according to the victim's statement to police. He then pistol-whipped the man in the head during a struggle.

After his sentence was up, Luc was shipped to an ICE detention facility in Eloy, Ariz., but was sent back home to San Francisco six months later when the Vietnamese government failed to respond. He was initially required to check in with ICE every month but later was allowed to check in every six months since he was complying with his release requirements. ICE officials said he told the agency he planned to live with relatives and look for work as a cable installer.

San Francisco police still have not revealed the circumstances surrounding the recent slayings, only saying they believe that Luc allegedly targeted the family who lived in the home in the city's Ingleside District.

They have not laid out connections between Luc and the victims, 32-year-old Yuan Ji "Vincent" Lei; his parents Hua Shun Lei, 65, and Wan Yi Xi, 62; his sister Ying Xue Lei, 37; and his girlfriend Chia Huei Chu, 30.

The Vietnamese Embassy did not return multiple messages seeking comment.

Texas Republican Rep. Ted Poe recently filed a bill to block diplomatic visas from being issued to people from countries that deny or delay their citizens' return.

"Why are we issuing visas to anybody from Vietnam until they take back their criminals?" said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates for stricter immigration controls.

Still, the ACLU said current congressional proposals would risk creating a scenario where immigrants with a broader range of prior convictions, as well as permanent residents and asylum seekers, could be held indefinitely.

"We live in a world of due process where we don't try to predict in advance, for the most part, which people will commit crimes and lock them up forever," Arulanantham said. "If we did, that would be a frightening world to live in, and would go against our basic notions of liberty."


Government of Canada Transforms Economic Immigration Program

To create a fast and flexible immigration system that creates jobs and promotes Canada's long term prosperity, the Government of Canada will eliminate the backlog in the main federal economic immigration program.

"The Federal Skilled Worker Program backlog is a major roadblock to Canada's ability to respond to rapidly changing labour market needs," said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney. "Having to process applications that are as many as eight years out of date reduces our ability to focus on new applicants with skills and talents that our economy needs today."

As announced in Economic Action Plan 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada is planning to refund fees and return stale applications from nearly all those applicants who applied under the dated criteria in existence before February 27, 2008.

CIC is transforming its suite of economic immigration programs to create a just-in-time system that recruits people with the right skills to meet Canada's labour market needs, fast tracks their immigration, and gets them working in a period of months, not years. Eliminating the longstanding backlog of FSW applications will allow the Department to focus resources on facilitating the arrival of skilled immigrants who apply under the current eligibility criteria.

Under proposed legislation, CIC will close the files of FSW applicants who applied before February 27, 2008, and for whom an immigration officer has not made a decision based on selection criteria by March 29, 2012. This is expected to affect around 280,000 applicants, including their dependants. CIC will begin the process of returning the full amount of fees paid to the Department by these affected FSW applicants. For those who have passed the selection criteria stage - approximately 20,000 people - CIC will continue processing their applications until they are approved for entry into Canada or not.

Over the last decade, the number of FSW applications received has greatly exceeded the space available within the Immigration Levels Plan each year, resulting in long processing times and an increasing inventory. Under the 2008 Action Plan for Faster Immigration, CIC began to limit intake to priority occupations. The Department added caps to the number of new applications in 2010. As a result of these efforts, CIC has reduced the pre-2008 backlog by more than 50 percent, and the overall FSW inventory by over 25 percent. However, without further action, some FSW applicants might have to wait until 2017 for a decision.

"It's unreasonable to keep applicants waiting for another five years," said Minister Kenney. "It's also a far cry from the nimble and responsive immigration system Canada needs to remain a destination of choice."


Friday, March 30, 2012

'Studying' in Britain – one big immigration scam

Incredible news – a London college ranked as "highly trusted" by the UK Border Agency has been accused of helping foreign students cheat the immigration system.

According to Sky News: "The investigation discovered that diploma certificates and dissertations were for sale inside the London College of Business in Barking. It is also revealed that some 159,000 people are thought to be in Britain despite their student visas having expired, and that just 2,700 students have been removed since 2009.

Whatever the allegations involving this particular college, it has been well known for some time that the foreign student system is a scam.

Look at the figures: the number of students arriving in Britain increased sharply during the Labour years, with the International Passenger Survey, which records the main reason for migration, showing that the number arriving for study increased from 87,000 in 2001 to 175,000 in 2006-2007 and up to 209,000 the following year. This leapt to 273,000 in 2008-9 and, once one includes students student visitors and dependants, the figure for 2009 is 489,000, up 100,000 on the previous year.

Why the leap? Because the Government that year introduced PBS Tier 4, which was either designed with total incompetence or was yet another one of New Labour’s bright ideas for shifting immigration away from areas where it would be unpopular and scrutinised, to areas where it was still imagined to be beneficial.

The new rules required that anyone studying for more than six months possess 40 points: 30 points are awarded for possessing a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) issued by the sponsoring college and ten points are given for maintenance.

Finding a college is not difficult since Britain is dotted with “business schools” which offer courses of dubious worth and whose main source of income is immigration.

So as long as a school, however crumby, will accept you, and you can prove you have £800 per month for six months, you can come and study here. You can work, in theory for only 20 hours a week, but in reality who can know? After two years you can work full-time, legally, assuming you can get a job that pays £20,000 a year. You can also bring in dependants, who can also work without restrictions (if you studied at degree level, however awful the university).

In the first year of operating Tier 4, the number of student visas rose by a third, and over two-thirds of these came from the Middle East or South Asia, those regions which are considered the biggest risk for overstaying.

The system is a scam; it is, in effect, a legal way for someone to pay their way into Britain. Legalised people trafficking.

And the working restrictions are unenforceable. Britain is a free country and the state can’t, and shouldn’t, spy on its residents; the whole benefit of having a strong, properly enforced border is that you don’t need to. And yet it is isn’t – only one-third of colleges have been checked by immigration officials before they were allowed to accredit students.

Education has become an unofficial way to buy entry into Britain because it is less unpopular with the public than other routes, such as asylum. There is still a popular misconception that the people coming are studying maths at Cambridge, when in fact it is widely abused. The higher education establishment has been complicit in this scam, vocally opposing any restrictions because some of the weaker universities now depend on fee-paying immigrants.

Anyone wishing to study in the United States, Canada and Australia must first have a face-to-face interview by an immigration official, yet this does not deter the supply of physics students to Harvard. Why can’t Britain do the same?"


Many Bay Area deportation cases will be dropped in June

The federal government will begin closing hundreds of Bay Area deportation cases in June, allowing some illegal immigrants a partial reprieve if they have strong community ties and have not committed crimes, according to a statement from the Department of Homeland Security obtained by the Bay Area News Group.

The Executive Office for Immigration Review this summer will suspend the daily schedule of the San Francisco immigration court, one of the busiest in the nation, to allow a team of federal judges and attorneys to scour the entire caseload for low-priority deportation cases to drop.

Among those who will benefit from the court review are students brought to the United States illegally at a young age who are otherwise upstanding residents. While their deportation cases will be halted, the reprieve does not give them legal residency or citizenship and authorities have the ability to seek their deportation later.

Following up on a 6-week pilot program in Baltimore and Denver, immigration authorities will begin rolling out the program at immigration courts across the country.

Of more than 10,000 cases reviewed in the pilot program, judges dropped about 16 percent of the Denver cases and about 10 percent of the Baltimore cases.

Judges will be reassigned to hear detained dockets and Immigration and Customs Enforcement attorneys will devote the added time to review backlogged cases, dropping low-level cases and pursuing those they consider more serious.

The program will begin April 23 in Detroit, New Orleans, Orlando and Seattle. It will move to New York City in May, San Francisco in June and Los Angeles in July, according to the statement.
The Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee criticized the move Thursday.

"The Obama administration's decision to expand its backdoor amnesty plan to cities across the United States endangers Americans and insults law enforcement officials," said Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, in a prepared statement.

The Obama administration has deported record numbers of people -- nearly 400,000 last year -- but the number of deportation proceedings began to decline late last year.

Deportation filings dropped by a third in the last quarter of 2011 from the same time in 2010, according to records obtained by Syracuse-based Transactions Records Access Clearinghouse.

The public records researchers believe that the "substantial drop" resulted, in part, from Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton's June 2011 directive ordering his agents to use more discretion in whom they choose to deport.
The Obama administration also announced in August that it would review all 300,000 pending deportation cases to target criminals, public safety dangers and egregious violators of immigration law.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Terrorist Sleepers?

Vast Inflows of Middle East Immigrants, Visitors May Put U.S. at Risk

The possibility of an attack on Iran to stop its nuclear weapons program, and the Iranian retaliation such an attack might prompt, again highlight the potential national security consequences of a sustained period of mass immigration.

A new Center for Immigration Studies report examines recent admissions of immigrants and temporary visitors from selected countries from the broader Middle East whose citizens could be involved in Iranian attacks on domestic targets in the United States, including Iran, its neighbors, and other countries with Shia populations. It finds a disconnect between current immigration policies and national security needs. While a number of important security-oriented improvements have been made to our screening systems, the sheer volume of the annual inflow of visitors and permanent residents has created a “haystack” so large as to overwhelm even the most sophisticated pre- or post-admissions screening or targeted enforcement programs.

The report is online here. Key findings include:

 *   In just a single year, 2010, the U.S. admitted more than 300,000 visitors and immigrants from 16 selected countries. These individuals were admitted as non-immigrant visitors, refugees, asylees, or permanent residents.

*    Nearly 58,000 of these were admitted as permanent residents. The vast majority of permanent admissions from high-risk countries were on the basis of marriage to a U.S. citizen or as a refugee or asylee. Both of these categories are notorious for high fraud rates.

 &   Over the last decade, well over 2.5 million people were admitted from these high-risk countries, with the largest numbers coming from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Iran. These numbers have been trending up over the last decade.

*    These numbers suggest a shift away from the mindset that a more restrictive admissions policy and consistently robust immigration law enforcement is a necessary component of national security.

The above is a press release from from Center for Immigration Studies. 1522 K St. NW, Suite 820,  Washington, DC 20005, (202) 466-8185 fax: (202) 466-8076.  Email: Contacts: W.D. Reasoner, Bryan Griffith,, (202) 466-8185

The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent research institution which examines the impact of immigration on the United States.  The Center for Immigration Studies is not affiliated with any other organization

Canadian Immigration minister plans reforms to foreign credential recognition

In an effort to address issues surrounding foreign credential recognition, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has proposed a plan to assess skilled workers before they arrive in Canada.

For instance, immigrants applying to come to Canada as federal skilled workers would have their education credentials verified by a third party.

If adopted, the plan would give newcomers a sense of how their credentials stack up against someone with a similar Canadian education. It's also expected any new policy would screen out those who don't have adequate levels of education.

Kenney ultimately hopes it will address the problem of immigrants arriving in Canada only to discover they can't work in their respective field.

"Our government is building an immigration system that is focused on economic growth and ensuring that all Canadians, including immigrants are able to contribute to their maximum capacity," Kenney said Wednesday. "By having their foreign education credentials assessed before their arrival to Canada, foreign skilled workers will have a better sense of how their credentials fit into the Canadian labour market and will be able to contribute their full skill set to the economy more quickly."

The pre-arrival assessment does not guarantee the applicant will find work in Canada commensurate with their skills, nor does it guarantee they'd become licensed in their field.

That would require a more in-depth assessment by a professional regulatory body in the jurisdiction in which they intend to settle.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Student visa fiasco as its revealed one in six handed out by Britian  goes to a worker

A flawed immigration crackdown may have allowed up to 50,000 bogus students into Britain, a damning report reveals.

The National Audit Office estimates that around one in six of student visas granted went to workers whose intention was to take jobs.

It found that predictable failings in Labour’s points-based system meant the number of student visas issued went up by a third in its first year.

The public spending watchdog also criticised the UK Border Agency for failing to remove from the country an estimated 160,000 migrants whose visas have expired.

It is the latest blow to the reputation of UKBA. Last year it was disclosed that border checks were downgraded without ministers’ approval.

And a report last month revealed 500,000 passengers were allowed into Britain on Eurostar trains without checks against the database of known terrorists and criminals. 

Today’s report exposes how Tier 4 of the points system, which covered higher and further education students from outside the EU, was introduced in 2009 despite major flaws.

It reveals only one third of colleges had been checked by immigration officials before they were allowed to accredit students. And officials were stripped of their powers to turn away suspected bogus students at the borders before proper checks on document applications were in place.

That meant they were often powerless to turn away students who they believed had no intention of studying and were simply here to work.

In the first year of operating Tier 4, the number of student visas issued rose by a third from 235,615 to 313,320.

The NAO estimates that between 40,000 and 50,000 of those – up to one in six – were applicants intending to work rather than study.    

The report finds students whose visas have expired are regarded as a ‘low priority’ by the agency compared to illegal immigrants and failed asylum seekers.  As a result, very little action is taken to kick them out. Since 2009 just 2,700 students have been removed.

The report quotes UKBA figures showing around 159,000 people  are thought to be in Britain despite their visas having expired, including tens of thousands of Tier 4 students.

To test how hard it was to find  them, the NAO hired a private  contractor which in just a week discovered addresses for nearly one in five of 800 individuals.

Labour MP Margaret Hodge, chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, said: ‘This is one of the  most shocking reports of poor management leading to abuse that I have seen.  ‘It is completely unacceptable that the programme was launched without key controls being in place.

‘The agency has done little to stop students overstaying their visas. And it is extremely worrying that the agency does not know how many people with expired student visas are still in the country.’

Former Border Agency chief Lin Homer, recently appointed to a senior role within HM Revenue and Customs, is likely to face a grilling by the committee in coming months.

The Home Office said it disputed the 40,000 to 50,000 figure.

Immigration Minister Damian Green added: ‘This government has introduced radical reforms in order to stamp out abuse and restore order to the uncontrolled student visa  system we inherited.’


Republicans Craft more realistic Version of DREAM Act

The Democrat version had virtually no enforcement provisions so there are big areas for improvement

 Republican leaders in the U.S. Senate are preparing a watered-down version of the DREAM Act to legalize undocumented students as a type of "lure" to capture the Hispanic vote in November.

Although no details of the prospective bill have filtered out, Sen. Marco Rubio is working along with other Republican on an "alternative version" of the DREAM Act, which became stalled in the Senate in 2010.

Rubio told the daily The Hill that for now there is nothing new to announce but that his goal is to arrive at a "responsible" solution to the presence of undocumented immigrants in the United States and announce it "quickly."

In remarks to Efe, a spokesman for Rubio, Alex Burgos, said Tuesday that the Florida senator "wants to help these young people and do it in a more limited way than the DREAM Act would do." "He will continue working with his colleagues to achieve a bipartisan solution," Burgos added.

Rubio said in a March 1 interview with Efe that he is maintaining his commitment to achieving a bipartisan solution to illegal immigration.

Among the possible ideas he is weighing, he said at that time, is creating "a student visa so that they can stay to finish their studies until they can apply legally."

Without citing any names, Rubio also complained that some politicians, instead of conducting a bipartisan dialogue, are only seeking to use the problem of undocumented immigrants "as a political weapon in November."

Citing Senate sources, The Hill said that the proposal, negotiated in secret, will be announced after Mitt Romney secures the Republican president nomination.   It would be, The Hill says, a bill from which both parties would benefit: undocumented students would regularize their immigration status and Republicans would have something tangible to show the Hispanic electorate in November.

Romney, who continues to have a sizable advantage over his rivals in both money and organization, opposes immigration reform that allows the regularization of all undocumented immigrants in the United States, whose numbers are calculated to be more than 11 million.  In January, however, Romney suggested that he would support the legalization of undocumented students who serve in the U.S. military.

In any case, the Republicans are now seeking - as a bloc - to resuscitate measures to provide immigration relief for undocumented foreigners in the midst of an election year and this is raising suspicions both among pro-reform groups and Democrats.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Fremont (NE) Battleground

Appeals have been filed on both sides following last month’s summary judgment on Fremont’s illegal immigration ordinance. The City of Fremont filed a cross appeal after the American Civil Liberties Union and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund appealed to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals last week.

U.S. District Court Judge Laurie Smith Camp upheld parts of Ordinance 5165 and struck down other parts in a declaratory judgment on Feb. 20.

Smith Camp issued a permanent injunction and declared void provisions prohibiting the harboring of illegal aliens, providing for the revocation of occupancy licenses and penalties following the revocation of occupancy licenses. Smith Camp wrote those provisions are preempted by the Immigration and Nationality Act and violate the Fair Housing Act.

The rest of the ordinance, however, was upheld, including portions authorizing the city to issue occupancy licenses. The Fremont City Council voted on Feb. 28 to enact employment portions requiring the use of E-Verify, and to continue delaying the rest of the ordinance until legal challenges have been settled.

Amy A. Miller, ACLU Nebraska legal director, announced in a Feb. 28 letter to the city council that the ACLU would appeal Smith Camp’s decision, “because we remain convinced that the entire ordinance is an illegal use of city power.”

The ACLU and MALDEF each appealed Smith Camp’s decision to uphold portions of the ordinance allowing the city to issue occupancy licenses.

The ACLU is also challenging whether Smith Camp’s decision to deny plaintiffs’ claims that the ordinance exceeds the city’s municipal authority, and her ruling that parts of the ordinance found to be invalid are severable from other parts of the ordinance.

The city, in its cross appeal, takes issue with Smith Camp’s ruling holding that parts of Ordinance 5165 are preempted by federal law and violate the Fair Housing Act.

Attorney Kris Kobach of Kansas City, Kansas, who wrote the ordinance and is defending it on behalf of the city, also questions whether plaintiffs have standing to claims in the case.


Recent posts at CIS below

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

1. Panel: The Summer Work Travel Program The $100 Million Work Travel Industry (Video and Transcript)

2. An Unintended Trifecta EB-3: Is the Worst of the Foreign Worker Programs (Memorandum)

3. Brushbacks, Proxies, and Connecting the Dots: Our Immigration Policies Still Put Us at Risk in a Post-9/11 World (Memorandum)

4. Visas for Sale (Op-ed)

5. New DHS Estimates Confirm that Illegal Immigrant Population Stopped Declining Under Obama (Blog)

6. Rethinking TPS for the Syrians: Let's Make It a Freeze, Not a Bonanza (Blog)

7. Sadly Laughable and Laughably Sad: ICE Plans for Improving Employee Morale (Blog)

8. State Department's OIG Rips the Summer Work Travel Program (Blog)

9. New York State's 'Dream Act': 'Good Character' Equals No Violent Felony Conviction (Blog)

10. Medieval Farm Labor Practice OK'd by USCIS (Blog)

11. The Homeland Security Show with Janice Kephart - Premiere Show (Blog)

12. New York State's 'Dream Act': Committing Most Crimes Is No Barrier (Blog)

13. New York State's 'Dream Act': An Ongoing Incentive for More Illegal Immigration (Blog)

14. Suggestions for a Term to Replace 'Illegal Immigrant' (Blog)

15. Less Profit, More Oversight Needed for Exchange Sponsors (Blog)

16. New York State's 'Dream Act' for 'Children': Bait & Switch (Blog)

17. Unfortunate Precedent — the Uruguayan ID Card for Its Illegals (Blog)

18. New York State's 'Dream Act': An Unnecessary Bill (Blog)

19. An Unintended Burst of Governmental Honesty? (Blog)

20. What Will It Take to Get Congress to Clean Up the H-1B Program? (Blog)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Farmers Branch to fight on

Local officials in a Dallas suburb say they plan to continue pushing for a ban on undocumented immigrants renting property within the city limits -- a measure that has cost the city $5 million and remains unenforceable due to court challenges.

The fight has pushed Farmers Branch, a quiet collection of bedroom communities and office parks, into the national debate about illegal immigration. Local Latinos say it also has made U.S. citizens and immigrants feel unwelcome in the city, where the Latino population has fallen in recent years.

City officials and law backers argue that undocumented immigrants strain local schools and police resources. They also note that local voters supported an early version of the law five years ago by a 2-to-1 margin.

"We're trying to solve a problem that people perceive to have," Mayor Jack Glancy told The Associated Press. "If the (federal) government would do what it's supposed to do, we wouldn't be in the middle of this thing."

The city council must now decide whether to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court or push for a hearing before the full 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, where a three-judge panel last week upheld a lower court's ruling blocking the law.

Farmers Branch's city council, which has never included a Latino, has in recent years declared English to be the city's official language and resisted efforts to shift voting from an at-large system, which Latinos complain dilutes their voice. The council first passed a renters' ban in 2006, but replaced it two years later on the advice of its attorneys.

The new law would require all renters to obtain a city license and the city's building inspector to check the status of any applicant who wasn't a U.S. citizen. Undocumented immigrants would be denied a renters' permit, and landlords who knowingly allowed them to stay could have their renters' license barred.

A federal judge put that law on hold after landlords and renters sued the city, and courts have continued to block it — most recently on Wednesday by the 5th Circuit. Similar bans pushed in other cities, most notably Fremont, Neb., and Hazleton, Pa., are in the middle of similar court fights.

A judge recently allowed Fremont to require renters to obtain a permit but stopped the city from revoking the permits if renters were found to be illegal immigrants.

Hazleton's law, which would sanction business owners for employing illegal immigrants and property owners for renting to them, also is on hold. But backers will get a new hearing because the Supreme Court last year, citing its decision in another case, vacated a federal appeals court's ruling against the law.

Kris Kobach, a national advocate for tougher immigration laws and Kansas' secretary of state, has represented Farmers Branch in court and said the city would have a good chance if it continues its case. He noted that much of the legal work has been done, so costs shouldn't grow much.

Latino civil rights group MALDEF, which is helping fight the Farmers Branch law, said backers of such laws should give up.

"The federal courts have made clear that cities cannot make their own immigration laws and target residents for expulsion simply because of their race or nationality," Nina Perales, MALDEF's vice president of litigation, said in a statement.

Despite rallies and heated protests at the time, Ben Robinson, a Farmers Branch councilman, points to the 2007 referendum that showed strong support for the law. "As far as I know, they still feel that way," he said.

Glancy emphasized that the city is targeting undocumented immigrants, not documented immigrants or U.S. citizens, noting that the city's library hosts English classes. Thursday's class drew 50 people from all over the world — Cambodia, Germany and several Latin American countries — who sounded out nouns and verbs with the help of local volunteers.

The mayor also said that since the law was first passed, the number of car accidents involving uninsured drivers has declined and fewer students have moved in and out of local schools.

Statistics from the Carrollton-Farmers Branch school district, which includes parts of Farmers Branch and surrounding cities, show the percentage of "mobile" students has fallen, though district spokeswoman Angela Shelley said the school does not keep track of students' immigration status.

A message seeking comment from local police about Glancy's uninsured drivers claim wasn't returned.

"Something needed to be done," Glancy said. "The federal government wasn't doing it. People were frustrated, and we're the ones closest to the people."

Elizabeth Villafranca sees things differently. Villafranca owns a local Mexican restaurant and moved to Farmers Branch after the push to ban undocumented immigrant residents began. She ran and lost for city council.

Villafranca said she and other U.S.-born Latinos, along with legal immigrants, are more often pulled over by police or threatened by other residents. Though the law never went into effect, Villafranca said, supporters "had the effect they wanted."

Longtime resident Jack Viveros, a financial planner, said friends and neighbors started asking questions about his background in recent years.

"It's still a dividing factor," Viveros said. "It has divided the city dramatically."

The city has an annual budget of $77 million and has to cut salaries and benefits in recent years, making the $4.5 million spent on immigration-related lawsuits stand out.

Robinson, the longtime councilman, called the legal fees "outrageous" but said he supported continuing the case.

"I think the only way that we're ever going to have a proper handle on, and control over, illegal immigration in this country is by the states and the cities having the types of laws ... necessary to control illegal immigration," he said.


Georgia still on the warpath against illegals

A bill making its way through the Georgia Legislature could prevent illegal immigrants from being able to get a marriage license or access to water and sewage service in the state.

The bill sponsored by Sen. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, has gotten a lot of attention because it would also bar illegal immigrants from the state's public colleges, universities and technical schools. But another provision that's generated very little discussion removes foreign passports from a list of identification documents that government agencies can accept for certain transactions. To be acceptable, foreign passports would have to be accompanied by federal immigration documentation proving someone is in the country legally.

"It's very interesting that the reliability of foreign passports is being questioned by the Georgia Legislature when the Transportation and Security Administration has considered the passport to be a very secure form of ID," said Azadeh Shahshahani, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union. "I think my worry is that perhaps some legislators might not be aware of the implications of this because it seems so innocuous. It doesn't say on its face that undocumented immigrants can't get water or can't marry."

Loudermilk said the possibility of preventing illegal immigrants from obtaining marriage licenses and access to water and sewer was not intentional. He added that an amendment was likely that would remedy that.

Versions of the bill have cleared the state Senate and a House committee. If the full House passes it, the Senate would have to approve changes made by the House before the session ends Thursday.

Under last year's law cracking down on illegal immigration, the state attorney general's office was charged with creating a list of "secure and verifiable" documents that government agencies could accept if they require identification for an official purpose. The list was released last summer and includes a U.S. passport, U.S. military identification card and a U.S. driver's license, among other documents. It also includes foreign passports, the only document on the list that illegal immigrants would be able to obtain.

By removing foreign passports from the list, the new bill would technically prevent illegal immigrants from getting a marriage license in Georgia or from accessing water and sewage service in the many municipalities that require identification to turn on service. That's because illegal immigrants wouldn't have the extra paperwork needed to prove not only that they have a passport, but that they are in the country legally.

However, it's possible illegal immigrants may not face much of a hurdle if local authorities don't bring their policies in line with the list of accepted documents. In many instances, local authorities still accept documents that aren't on the list approved by the attorney general.

A survey by The Associated Press of the websites or staff of probate courts in Georgia's 25 most populous counties shows at least 21 currently accept a birth certificate or a foreign driver's license as acceptable identification for those seeking a marriage license. Neither of those documents is on the attorney general's list.

Unlike other utilities, which are generally managed by private companies in Georgia, water and sewage services are provided by local government agencies. Calls to water and sewage authorities in some parts of the state found that some currently accept foreign driver's licenses, which is not acceptable under the current law.

Technically, an agency could be penalized under the law for accepting documents not on the attorney general's list. But penalties are unlikely, as long as any problems that spark complaints are quickly rectified.

The author of last year's illegal immigration crackdown, Rep. Matt Ramsey, said he believes all public agencies should comply with last year's law and should accept only identification documents on the attorney general's list. But the Peachtree City Republican added that he believes a U.S. birth certificate, though not a foreign one, should qualify as a "secure and verifiable" document. The attorney general's office has the power to add documents to the list.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Britain plans major immigration crackdown

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, is planning a major immigration crackdown on tens of thousands of people who "abuse" family visas to settle in Britain, according to a leaked cabinet letter.

The letter from Mrs May to Nick Clegg, which has been seen by The Sunday Telegraph, proposes a tough new minimum income of £25,700 a year for anyone seeking to bring a spouse, partner or dependant to the UK from outside the European Union from June - almost double the current threshold of £13,700.

The minimum income would rise dramatically - up to £62,600 - if children are also brought in.

Mrs May also wants a longer probationary period of five years before spouses and partners can apply to live permanently in Britain, and a higher level of English to be required.

The proposals could cut the number of immigrants allowed in by 15,000 a year - a significant step towards the Government's aim of reducing "net" migration to 100,000 people each year.

However, they are expected to fought hard by Mr Clegg and other Liberal Democrat ministers, escalating still further the tensions between the two Coalition partners that have risen dramatically since last week's controversial Budget.

The leaked letter suggests that Mrs May is determined to take a tough stance on immigration. In the 12 months until June 2011 the "net" figure for arrivals in Britain was 250,000 - making it virtually impossible for David Cameron to hit his target of bringing the figure down below 100,000 by 2015. The figure was just 5,000 short of the previous record.

The Home Secretary tells Mr Clegg that outline plans for a reduction in numbers who come to Britain through the "family route" won "broad public support" in the coalition's consultation last year.

In 2010, some 48,900 visas were issued under this category. The majority of those who come to settle in Britain using this method are women from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.

Mrs May adds: "The package which I propose to implement from June 2012 will reduce the burdens on the taxpayer, promote integration and tackle abuse."

The Home Secretary also refers in the latter, dated 14 March, to a need to "differentiate between genuine and non-genuine relationships" - a clear sign that ministers believe many of the marriages entered into under the current system are sham.

She tells Mr Clegg: "In particular I propose a minimum income threshold of £25,700 for a British citizen or person settled in the UK to sponsor the settlement of a spouse or partner of non-EEA [European Economic Area] nationality."

For a partner with one child, the income threshold would rise to £37,000 a year, for two to £49,300 and for three children it would hit £62,600 according to the letter.

The "probationary period" before which spouses cannot apply to live permanently in Britain would lengthen from two to five years under the proposals while the "level of English required to achieve settlement" would be raised.

Grandparents and other "non-EEA adult dependants" would only be allowed in under the "most exceptional circumstances" - as current rules already require.

Mr Clegg, who received the letter as chairman of the Cabinet's home affairs sub committee, is likely to push for a much lower minimum income threshold.

Liberal Democrats take a much "softer" line on immigration - and a key plank of their manifesto at the 2010 general election was an amnesty for all illegal immigrants already in Britain.

Relations between the coalition parties hit a new low in the wake of the Budget, whose preparations saw the Lib Dems publicly call for a number of their key policies, in defiance of the usual secrecy surrounding negotiations.

Tory ministers blame their Lib Dem counterparts for a series of leaks of major proposals - with the ill-feeling rising in major departments across Whitehall.

The migration cap was part of the Conservative manifesto and is in the Coalition agreement, which sets out what the current Government will do before a 2015 General Election.

However ministers are powerless to cut migration from European Union member states because of rules on freedom of movement, meaning that they must make large cuts in the number of people arriving from outside the EU.

Last year's consultation pointed the way towards the planned shake-up of the "family route" to settling in Britain.

There is concern not just over the numbers, but the impact "family route" migration has on social cohesion, and in particular on the education system.

Last week figures released by the Department for Education showed that children with English as their home language were now the minority of pupils in more than 1,600 schools across England.

One in six primary school pupils - 547,000 - does not have English as a first language, with the figure for secondary schools one in eight, or 400,000.

Punjabi is the most frequently spoken language among pupils without English as a first language, followed by Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati, Somali, Polish, Arabic, Portuguese, Turkish and Tamil.

The proposed £25,700 minimum income threshold is at the upper end of the scale recommended by the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) last year.

Ministers asked the committee to recommend an increase in the current threshold - equivalent to £13,700 a year before tax - which would prevent the entry of those who could be considered a burden on taxpayers.

The committee, which is the government's main advisory body on immigration, said the figure should be between £18,600 and £25,700.


Children who speak English as their main language at home are now in the MINORITY in 1,600 schools across Britain

The number of children who count English as their mother tongue are now in the minority at more than 1,600 schools across England.

The new figures show that close to one million children who now attend schools in England do not have English as their first language at home - with the multicultural effects of migration now showing in the nation's classrooms.

And the amount of schools with a majority of pupils who do not class English at their home language is steadily increasing by one a week.

There are 97 schools where children with English as their first language are in such a minority that they make up less than one in twenty pupils.

The statistics released by the Department of Education shows that in 1997, when Tony Blair first came to power, there were 866 schools in England where more than 50 per cent of the pupils had English as a second language. Last year that figure had nearly doubled in just 14 years to 1,638 schools.

Now there are 1,363 primary schools, 224 secondary schools and 51 special schools where more than half the pupils come from a non-English speaking background. One in six youngsters in primary schools - 547,000 - do not have English as their first language.

In secondary schools the figure stands at 400,000 - just over one in eight.

A recent study found that Punjabi was the most frequently spoken language among pupils who did not have English as a first language. After that the most popular languages were Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati, Somali, Polish, Arabic, Portuguese, Turkish and Tamil.

But schools also have to cope with sizable populations of pupils who speak Shqip from Albania and Kosovo, Igbo from parts of Nigeria, Luganda from Uganda, Sinhala from Sri Lanka and Amharic from Ethiopia.

In the 14 boroughs that comprise Inner London, there are 98,000 schoolchildren whose first language is not English, compared with just 79,000 who speak English at home.

Anastasia De Waal, head of Family and Education at the think tank Civitas, said: 'It is vital that schools are organised in such a way to adequately accommodate pupils who start school in the UK with weak English language foundations. 'In our often highly standardised classroom situations schools are frequently asked to side-step language barriers. 'This significantly and needlessly hampers the progress of those children without secure English, as well as the progress of their peers.'

The local authority areas with the smallest proportion of pupils who have English as a second language are Halton with 0.9 per cent and Redcar and Cleveland also with 0.9 per cent. They were closely followed by Derbyshire with 1.3 per cent, Rutland 1.5 with per cent, St Helens with 1.5 per cent, and Cornwall with 1.6 per cent.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Los Angeles now privileging illegals

Disregard for the law is becoming an American epidemic under the Obama regime

The Los Angeles Police Department will soon start ignoring California state law, which requires police to impound the vehicles of unlicensed drivers for 30 days.

The majority of unlicensed motorists in Los Angeles are immigrants who are in the country illegally and have low-income jobs. The LAPD says the state's impound law is unfair because it limits their ability to get to their jobs and imposes a steep fine to get their car back.

As long as drivers can produce some form of I.D., proof of insurance and vehicle registration, they'll be allowed to keep their car. Police Chief Charlie Beck insists that it's simply leveling the playing field.

"It's about fairness. It's about equal application of the law," Beck told a Los Angeles TV station earlier this month.

Opponents of Beck's decision are furious and refer to studies showing unlicensed drivers are among the most dangerous on the road. Indeed, a 2011 AAA study titled "Unlicensed to Kill" finds they are five times more likely to be involved in fatal crashes and more likely to flee the scene of a crime.

The decision has angered Don Rosenberg, a resident of Los Angeles County, who lost his 25-year old son, Drew, in a 2010 accident caused by an unlicensed driver in San Francisco, a city with lax impound policies. The driver, who tried fleeing the scene, had previously been pulled over but was allowed to retrieve his car after a short time, months before the accident.

"It doesn't matter to me who killed my son-- what their nationality was. It was the fact that if the law were followed, he'd be alive today," Rosenberg told Fox News.

Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley wrote Chief Beck, saying his policy would be "invalid" in light of state law, which states a vehicle "shall be impounded." But supporters of Beck's decision say, regardless of the law, he's doing the right thing for illegal immigrants who cannot yet obtain driver's licenses here.

"A low-income person doesn't have the ability to pay the fees after 30 days to get their car back," said Cardinal Roger Mahony, former Archbishop of Los Angeles and an immigration activist. "Basically, we're just creating more punitive problems for them."

The L.A. Police Commission voted in favor of the new policy 4-1 last month. The LAPD says officers will begin implementing it in a matter of weeks. The city attorney has also sided with Beck's decision.

Immigrant advocates say the controversy highlights the need to provide provisional driver's licenses for illegal immigrants.

Don Rosenberg says he'd favor that, as long as the police enforce state law by impounding unlicensed drivers' cars when pulled over. But he believes that the city is pandering to the Latino community and doesn't hold out hope that the policy will change anytime soon.

"It's more important that people who are in the country illegally get to drive than it is that people who are here get to live," he said.


Geert Wilders pushing for tougher Dutch immigration policy

Anti-immigration politician Geert Wilders holds in his hands the fate of the Dutch government and of austerity measures meant to save the country from economic crisis. Immigrant groups fear, however, they could pay the price he demands for his support.
"It is threatening," said Ahmet Azdural, director of Turkish lobby group IOT which was set up to promote minority issues. "In the last 10 years, the climate has really changed for immigrants and people who are different."

Wilders has made very clear he wants the Netherlands to go further in curbing immigration if he's to agree to up to 16 billion euros ($21.10 billion) of budget cuts.

"Wilders is a power player," said Maurice de Hond, who runs a Dutch polling agency: "He can pull the plug on the cabinet."

But opinion polls show no single party would win a majority if an election were held now, making this a less likely option.

Liberal Prime Minister Mark Rutte's coalition partner, the Christian Democrats, has plunged in popularity while Wilders' Freedom Party has lost some ground since the 2010 election.

Wilders, in talks with the coalition, has abandoned his normally fluent manner in favour of a reticent discretion. "We want to come to an agreement but not at any price," Wilders told reporters earlier this month.

A member of Wilders' Freedom Party announced this week he would quit the party in a move that would further weaken the coalition's hold on power. Hero Brinkman said he would not let Rutte's government collapse, but stopped short of pledging unconditional support for new budget cuts.

Wilders' price is likely to be an even tougher line on asylum-seekers and immigrants, particularly Muslims. He has previously called for a closed-door policy and opposes letting fellow members of the European Union work in the Netherlands.

A recent proposal by Wilders, inviting members of the public to post their complaints about central and eastern Europeans on a website, has also hurt the Netherlands' image abroad and drawn strong criticism from the European Commission.

"Don't underestimate the way he is pushing around (immigration minister) Gerd Leers. The anti-Polish website is an example of how he limits the government's collaboration in Europe," said Andre Krouwel, political analyst at VU University Amsterdam. "It's symbolic, it impacts public opinion".

Wilders won't spell out his demands to the government, but could push for tougher citizenship criteria, cuts to benefits for immigrants and asylum-seekers, or a ban on new mosques.

"The Netherlands is now known as hardline when it comes to immigration and minorities in society," Azdural told Reuters. "Since Wilders supports the cabinet, all the ministers are careful to nuance their policies because they can feel Wilders breathing down their necks."


The planned cuts are all the more vital given the state of the economy. A think tank warned this week that the Netherlands was in the same fiscal boat as the peripheral euro zone states it has criticised for missing budget targets.

In recession since July, it is among the euro zone's worst performers, and expected to shrink 0.9 percent this year, while triple-A peers Germany, Finland and Luxembourg are seen growing.

Wilders, 48, is playing a game with high stakes. It is not in his interest to end his party's pact of support for the minority government. If he did that, he would lose his influence over the Liberal-Christian Democrat coalition, possibly forcing it to find a new partner or to call early elections.

Since storming onto the political scene in 2004, Wilders has made a significant mark. He has influenced Dutch immigration policy and set the tone of public debate, whether on Muslims and burqas or bailouts and the euro, in what once would have been regarded as politically incorrect language.

His anti-Islam rhetoric, likening the Koran to Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf, has elicited death threats, and for many years he moved between various safe houses, and used disguises such as wigs and glasses when traveling.


In any public gathering, he stands out from the crowd with his instantly recognisable peroxide mane that earned him the moniker "the golden pompadour" in the Wikileaks cables, and his entourage of sniffer dogs and beefy bodyguards.

"We were influential in the past...on healthcare for the elderly, fighting crime in the Netherlands, reducing immigration numbers, asylum numbers. But I don't want to talk about that because indirectly I would talk about my negotiation strategy."

His pact with the minority coalition, signed in September 2010, sets out policies he wants this government to adopt.

Some could soon be implemented. For example, the cabinet recently proposed a law banning face-covering veils worn by some Muslim women, one of his demands, and recently agreed to a law which would ban dual nationality and set stricter conditions for obtaining Dutch citizenship.

Wilders opposes euro zone bailouts and says Greece should leave the euro: "We are paying for the Greeks' beers and ouzo. That has to stop," he told journalists recently.

The fact Wilders is sitting at the same table as the government to discuss cuts means the public increasingly sees him as part of the government, pollster De Hond said.

But he could alienate his supporters if he agrees to the government's proposals unless he wins concessions in return, for example on immigration or on where budget cuts are made.

Wilders has said he wants the government to chop 4 billion euros from the overseas development aid budget of 4.6 billion euros rather than cut any health or unemployment benefits, or address reforms of the labour market or of housing subsidies.

"If Wilders sticks to his programme, the cabinet will fall," said Ronald Plasterk, member of parliament for the opposition Labour Party: "If he concedes on what remains of it, maybe not."


Friday, March 23, 2012

ICE refuses to deport illegals arrested by Arpaio

"Policy" overrides law in Obamaland, another part of a very serious development. These are dictatorial powers

Federal authorities say they won't deport six undocumented immigrants arrested during a Phoenix protest over Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's immigration policies.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said Wednesday that they determined that the protesters did not fall under "ICE's enforcement priorities,” which focuses on people with serious criminal records.

Nearly 150 people were at Tuesday's rally, which blocked a street in front of Trevor Browne High School in Phoenix.

The online group Dream Activist helped organize the protest, saying it sent a representative to Phoenix to act as a coordinator. The group has sponsored protests in more than six cities in recent years, according to the Arizona Republic.

None of those arrested were students in the district where the protest took place, school spokesperson Craig Pletenik said, according to the Arizona Republic. About 30 students from Trevor Browne high school joined the protest, Pletenik added.

Arpaio criticized the protesters, saying they should target the politicians who make the laws rather than the officials who enforce them.

“If these students/demonstrators have a concern over the immigration laws, they should bring those concerns to Congress, State Legislators, or the White House and not use this Sheriff as their poster boy," Arpaio said in a statement.

Phoenix police say the protesters were told to leave by 5:30 p.m. A line of officers then approached the protesters in the road and took some into custody.

The six were arrested for obstructing a thoroughfare and disorderly conduct. They included two girls, ages 16 and 17, two 20-year-old women, an 18-year-old woman and a 23-year-old man.


Irish immigration bill likely to pass, despite criticism

Given Ireland's financial problems, there should be no shortage of skilled Irish workers seeking opportunities elsewhere. Australia has seen an upsurge of Irish arrivals

Congress may have finally found an immigration issue it can agree on in an election year: letting in more Irish people.

At a time when the volatile issue of comprehensive immigration reform is hopelessly stalled in a divided Congress, senators of both parties are rallying behind legislation that would allow 10,500 Irish nationals to come to the U.S. to work each year.

The legislation by Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., has been attacked by critics as a cynical ploy to win Irish-American votes as Brown battles for re-election in a state where one in four residents is of Irish descent. It also has been decried by both pro-immigration and anti-immigration groups as an example of favoritism toward European immigrants over Hispanics and Asians.

But supporters of the bill — including Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York — say they are trying to help reverse discrimination against Irish nationals that was inadvertently created by a 1965 overhaul of the U.S. immigration system.

That overhaul, designed to end a bias against immigrants from Latin America, Asia and Africa, made it difficult for Irish immigrants to obtain visas despite their strong cultural ties to the U.S., supporters of Brown's bill say. Hispanics and Asians have been the dominant immigrant groups to the U.S. since 1965 and, as they become citizens, their close family members have been given priority for U.S. visas as part of the U.S. government's emphasis on family reunification.

About 40 million Americans identify themselves as being of Irish descent, or about 13% of the U.S. population of more than 313 million. Hispanics make up about 16% of U.S. residents. The number of Irish immigrants granted permanent legal status in the U.S. has plunged from nearly 38,000 in the 1960s to about 16,000 in the 10 years from 2000 through 2009.

Frank Sharry, founder and executive director of the immigrant rights' group America's Voice, has no quarrel with the Irish visa bill but resents Brown's opposition to measures that would benefit Latinos and other immigrant groups.

Brown opposes any measure that would provide a pathway to citizenship for the nearly 11 million illegal immigrants already in the United States. The senator also has opposed the Dream Act, which would provide legal status to children of illegal immigrant parents if the children enroll in college or serve in the U.S. military.

"The bill is actually a modest and sensible measure, and the Irish-American community has fought very hard for immigration reform that would benefit everyone," Sharry said. "We consider them close friends. But I think what Scott Brown is doing smacks of shameless opportunism. He's pandering to the Irish to say, 'I'm your candidate,' and he's pandering to the tea party by showing that he'll fight for white immigrants but not brown ones."

Brown's spokesman said the senator cares about all immigrants and supports a bipartisan House-passed immigration bill that would remove the current limit on the number of legal permanent residents who may be admitted to the U.S. in any given year from a single country. The bill would benefit all nations, but especially those countries with the greatest numbers of people waiting for U.S. visas: China, India, Mexico and the Philippines.

"For decades, the Irish have been unfairly shut out by our immigration laws while immigration from many other countries has sharply increased," said Brown's spokesman, John Donnelly.

Brown's bill would make Irish nationals eligible for a special visa program created in 2005 to allow up to 10,500 high-skilled Australians to come to the United States on temporary work visas known as E-3 visas. The program grew out of a trade pact with Australia, but it was also seen as a reward for a country that supported U.S. military action in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The program allows skilled workers with job offers from U.S. employers to get a two-year work visa that can be renewed indefinitely. Workers with an E-3 visa can bring their spouses and children with them. Their spouses also can work legally in the United States.

While the broader visa reform bill has stalled in the Senate, Brown's bill appears poised to move forward. After initially opposing the legislation for favoring just one country, Sen. Chuck Grassley, the senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, has decided to stop blocking it provided that Brown makes a few changes in the bill. Those changes are being negotiated among Brown, Grassley and Schumer, who chairs the immigration subcommittee.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

TX: Court Upholds Ban on Farmers Branch Immigrant Housing Law

A federal appeals court Wednesday upheld a lower court ruling that stopped a Dallas suburb's ban on illegal immigrants seeking housing.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Farmers Branch overstepped its authority in 2008 when it passed a law calling on the city's building inspector to check the immigration status of anyone wanting to rent an apartment who wasn't a U.S. citizen.

Under the law, illegal immigrants would have been barred from rental housing, and landlords who knowingly allowed them to stay could have their rental licenses barred.

The appellate court said the city was seeking to exclude illegal immigrants, particularly Latinos, under the guise of policing housing.

"Because the sole purpose and effect of this ordinance is to target the presence of illegal aliens within the City of Farmers Branch and to cause their removal, it contravenes the federal government's exclusive authority over the regulation of immigration and the conditions of residence in this country," the court's opinion stated.

The city had appealed the decision of U.S. District Judge Jane J. Boyle, who ruled two years ago that the law is unconstitutional after a lawsuit was filed by apartment owners and tenants.

William Brewer, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, said he sensed a "strong undercurrent" throughout the appellate court's decision that Farmers Branch was engaged in discrimination. The ruling is particularly meaningful because the 5th Circuit has a reputation for conservatism, he said.

Brewer noted that the ruling affirms Boyle's decision that Farmers Branch must pay the plaintiffs' attorney fees, which before the appeal were nearly $2 million. He called that portion of the decision "a strong deterrent" against other cities seeking to pass similar laws.

"Clearly, both the trial court and the appellate court recognize that this ordinance was discriminatory," Brewer said.

Farmers Branch Mayor Bill Glancy said he will talk with City Council members before deciding whether to push for the matter to be heard by the full appeals court or the U.S. Supreme Court.

Glancy, who took office last year, said he supported the law and other efforts to keep illegal immigrants out of Farmers Branch, a suburb with nearly 29,000 residents northwest of Dallas.

"Basically, it has discouraged people who are illegal from coming into the city," he said.


Israel's illegal immigration problem

The Left tell us that Israel is an apartheid society so it must be all that apartheid that attracts Africans [/sarcasm]

The place is Tel Aviv, but it doesn't look at all like Israel: Dozens of African men are sitting on broken stools and plastic at a makeshift restaurant. Sudanese fare is on the menu. The men scoop up the stews and salads that remind them of home.

Abdullah Mohammad Mustafa started this restaurant with a couple of other African men who arrived in Israel five years ago from Sudan's troubled Darfur region. They are among some 40,000 Africans who have come to Israel illegally, and many have congregated in neighborhoods in Tel Aviv.

Mustafa says he hoped the business would be part of a new life, but now Israel is moving against them, and he's giving up on that dream. "For me, I think this is the last year in Israel," he says. "We tried to make a business and we failed. So we cannot spend the rest of our life here. We cannot waste our time for nothing. This year most of the people will leave Israel."

Mustafa is among the many Africans and Asians who have been arriving in Israel in recent years, and most have been sneaking across the country's porous southern border with Egypt.

Like many other countries in the world, Israel faces a serious problem with illegal immigration. Israel always has to find the most humane way of dealing with this tricky issue.

- Josh Hantman, spokesman for Israel's Defense Ministry
Israel Plans Several Measures

Israel is now taking a series of steps to stop the influx and reverse the flow. This summer, Israel will begin deporting those who agree to leave voluntarily. Other parts of the plan are still under construction - like a 150-mile fence being built along the border with Egypt. And there will also be a massive detention center.

"Like many other countries in the world, Israel faces a serious problem with illegal immigration," says Josh Hantman, a spokesman for Israel's Defense Ministry. "Israel always has to find the most humane way of dealing with this tricky issue."

He says the detention center, which will be completed later this year, will have spacious rooms, computers and a sports center. Detainees will have access to lawyers and health care.

By the end of this year, Israeli officials say, the facility will be able to hold several thousand people. By the time it is fully built, it will have a total capacity of 11,000 people - making it one of the largest detention facilities in the world.

Human-Rights Group Objects

Physicians for Human Rights, a private group that works closely with the African community in Israel, is often the first stop for new immigrants. It has extensive files documenting the torture and violence that many immigrants faced in other countries before reaching Israel.

"We see from other countries that the effect of detention centers on asylum seekers that went through trauma in their home countries, or on their way to Israel, will be very harmful for their health, both mental and physically," says Shachar Shoham, the director of the Migrants Department at Physicians for Human Rights.

Shoham says Israel already has a policy of detaining some of the people who enter the country without permission. Up until now, they've been sent to Ketziot, a sprawling prison in southern Israel.

The site of the new detention center is adjacent to Ketziot. Shoham says she fears it will become an extension of the prison, rather than a separate facility.

Mustafa knows Ketziot all too well. He was kept there for over a year, without being told the charges against him, he says, or having access to a lawyer. He says he nearly went crazy there, not knowing what would happen to him.

Many African immigrants are young people "and they are looking for their future. If you put them in a detention center it will drive them crazy," Mustafa says.

Seeking Another Destination

At age 35, Mustafa says he already feels old. It's been nearly 10 years since he left Darfur, and Israel is the third place he has sought asylum. "We cannot ever go back [to Darfur], but we will try to see another place like Kenya or Uganda," Mustafa says.

This week, he joined hundreds of people protesting Israel's decision to begin deporting some Africans. None of us, he says, are really going home.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012


The DREAM Act has become a rallying cry for President Obama, members of his administration, and liberal Democrats everywhere. President Obama has vowed to “keep fighting for the DREAM Act,” which would grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.

It’s true when listeners or those polled don’t know the facts that the DREAM Act has some appeal. After all, we are all naturally sympathetic when children are involved.

But the descriptions of the DREAM Act voiced by President Obama and his cohorts are not accurate. And the consequences are never told.

DREAM Act supporters claim that only children would benefit from such a bill, but the facts tell another story. Under most DREAM Act proposals, amnesty would be given to individuals up to the age of 30—not exactly children. And some other proposals don’t even have an age limit.

These supporters also maintain that illegal immigrants can’t go college without the DREAM Act. But the truth is that illegal immigrants can already go to college in most states.

And ultimately, most versions of the DREAM Act actually don’t even force illegal immigrants to comply with all the requirements in the bill, such as going to college or joining the military. The administration can waive requirements because of “hardship” at its complete discretion.

DREAM Act proposals are also a magnet for fraud. Many illegal immigrants will fraudulently claim they came here as children or that they are under 30. And the federal government has no way to check whether their claims are true or not.

Such massive fraud occurred after the 1986 amnesty for illegal immigrants who claimed they were agricultural workers. Studies found two-thirds of all applications for the 1986 amnesty were fraudulent.

And this amnesty did nothing to stop illegal immigration. In 1986, there were about three million illegal immigrants living in the U.S. Today, there are an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. and about seven million of them work here, unfairly taking jobs from unemployed Americans.

While DREAM Act supporters claim that it would only benefit children, they skip over the fact that it actually rewards the very illegal immigrant parents who knowingly violated our laws. Once their children become U.S. citizens, they can petition for their illegal immigrant parents and adult siblings to be legalized, who will then bring in others in an endless chain.

This kind of chain migration only encourages more illegal immigration, as parents will bring their children to the U.S. in hopes of receiving citizenship.

President Obama tried to get the DREAM Act passed during a lame duck session about a year ago but it faced bipartisan opposition in Congress. This hasn’t stopped the administration from passing its agenda. The Obama administration does everything it can to let illegal immigrants stay here, which compounds the problem.

Political appointees at the Department of Homeland Security recently issued new deportation guidelines that amount to backdoor amnesty and strike another blow at millions of unemployed U.S. workers.

Under the administration’s new deportation policy, DHS officials review all incoming and most pending cases before an immigration court to determine if the illegal immigrant can remain in the U.S. Since the administration has made clear that many illegal immigrants are not considered priorities for removal, including potential DREAM Act beneficiaries, this could open the door to allow millions of illegal immigrants to live and work in the U.S. without a vote of Congress.

The Obama administration has also cut worksite enforcement efforts by 70%, allowing illegal immigrants to continue working in jobs that rightfully belong to citizens and legal workers. And the list goes on and on – this administration has a pattern of ignoring the laws and intent of Congress.

The United States is based on the rule of law but the Obama administration already has dirty hands by abusing administrative authority to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants. The DREAM Act doesn’t stop illegal immigration—it only encourages more of it by rewarding lawbreakers.


Australia: Asylum seekers 'straining' Northern Territory hospital

DARWIN'S main hospital is under strain from asylum seekers needing treatment, some with chronic anxiety, doctors say.

President of the Australian Medical Association in the Northern Territory, Dr Paul Bauert, says the Royal Darwin Hospital has three to five asylum seekers a day turning up at the emergency department.

"They are all complicated cases, because virtually of them will have some mental health issue," Dr Bauert said.

He said some of the patients had serious psychiatric illnesses.

Others had chronic anxiety, manifested in symptoms such as abdominal pain or chest pain, which became worse after they were returned to detention centres following treatment.

"The longer they are detained, the more likely these mental health issues are going to become permanent and we end up producing permanently damaged Australian citizens," Dr Bauert said.

Because of the difficulty in treating the patients and the need for interpreters, each asylum seeker tended to take up at least double the resources used by a typical patient, he said.

People housed in Darwin's two main detention centres were coming to hospital on a weekly basis after harming themselves, he said.

Last year a senate inquiry into mandatory detention heard a nine-year-old asylum seeker in Darwin had attempted to take their own life.

Dr Bauert said the money and resources used to address the health of asylum seekers could be better spent trying to fix the health needs of people in the Northern Territory.

He called on Immigration Minister Chris Bowen and Health Minister Tanya Plibersek to visit the hospital to see for themselves what was happening. "Nothing seems to change, and I just think it is a bit of (a case of) out of sight, out of mind, on the part of Minister Bowen and Tanya Plibersek," he said.

A spokeswoman from the Royal Darwin Hospital was unable to comment immediately on the claims by Dr Bauert. Neither the Department of Immigration and Citizenship nor Minister Plibersek was immediately available for comment on the matter.

Chinese Learning French to Emigrate to Canada

"Sacre bleu!"

(Beijing, China) Despite the economic surge experienced by China in recent years, Chinese citizens still crave a ticket out of the communist country.
Chinese desperate to emigrate have discovered a backdoor into Canada that involves applying for entry into the country's francophone province of Quebec -- as long as you have a good working knowledge of the local lingo.

So, while learning French as an additional language is losing ground in many parts of the world -- even as Mandarin classes proliferate because of China's rise on the international stage -- many Chinese are busy learning how to say, "Bonjour, je m'appelle Zhang."[…]

Despite China's growing prosperity and clout, more and more of its citizens are rushing to the exits, eager to provide better education prospects for their children and escape from their country's long-standing problems, including hazardous pollution and contaminated food.
The province of Quebec has its own immigration procedures, apart from the Canadian national policy, without any cap or backlog.

Simply acquire a working knowledge of the French language and you're accepted as an immigrant. Afterward, new arrivals can move to any location in the entire nation.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

New Alabama Opinion Poll Shows Broad Support for State Immigration Enforcement Law

A statewide opinion poll of likely Alabama voters, conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, finds broad support for the state's immigration enforcement law, HB 56. The survey of 500 likely voters was commissioned by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and was conducted on March 6.

Seventy-five percent of Alabama voters support HB 56, with 52 percent of voters saying they "strongly support" the law. Only 24 percent of likely voters in the state oppose HB 56, including 11 percent who "strongly oppose" it.

Despite a vigorous effort by opponents of HB 56 to discredit the law, Alabamians overwhelmingly dismiss the contention that it will damage the state's economy. Only 18 percent of respondents think HB 56 "will harm Alabama's economy by depriving businesses of workers they need," while 59 percent believe it "will free-up jobs for other Alabama workers and will save the state money on services for illegal immigrants."

The poll was conducted while advocates for illegal aliens were carrying out what they described as a "reenactment" of the 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery. However, the poll shows that voters overwhelmingly reject the assertion that HB 56 will lead to racial profiling or other forms of unlawful discrimination. Just 22 percent of Alabama voters agreed that HB 56 "is likely to lead to discrimination against people who appear foreign, especially people who are Hispanic." Two-thirds of Alabama voters, 66 percent, believe the law "will only be enforced when there is evidence that someone of any race or ethnicity is in the country illegally and will not rely on profiling."

As critics of HB 56 press for repeal or substantial changes to the law, Alabama voters remain firmly committed to maintaining the law and allowing the state to play a role in immigration enforcement. Fifty-four percent of Alabama voters want to keep the law on the books, compared with just 18 percent who strongly support and 15 percent who somewhat support repealing the law.

"Despite shrill and relentless attacks by illegal alien advocacy groups, the media, and the Obama administration, HB 56 continues to enjoy strong support from the people who should count the most: the voters of Alabama," commented Dan Stein, president of FAIR. "This is a phenomenon we see repeated over and over again wherever an effort is made to enforce immigration laws. Advocates for illegal aliens make a lot of noise and hurl unfounded accusations, while voters steadfastly register their support for common sense immigration enforcement policies.

"HB 56 enjoys broad support among Alabama voters because, like Americans all across the country, they do not believe that the federal government is doing the job or protecting their interests," continued Stein. "It is clear that voters in Alabama believe that mass illegal immigration is a serious problem and that the state has a legitimate role to play in enforcing laws that discourage illegal immigration."


Recent posts at CIS below

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

1. Jessica Vaughan Interviewed by MSNBC Rock Center on the Foriegn Exchange Student Program (Video)

2. Religious Agencies and Refugee Resettlement (Memorandum)

3. USCIS Again Focus Resources on a Tiny Alien Population — Wandering Ministers (Blog)

4. Where Are You, Now That We Need You, Booker T?: Black Leadership and Immigration Reform (Blog)

5. USCIS Annual Report Lacks Editorial Punch of the Phone Book (Blog)

6. Sunshine, Saguaros, and Smugglers (Blog on our 2012 Border Tour)

7. Album of 2012 Border Tour: Tohono O'odham Nation (Pictures)

8. Album of 2012 Border Tour: Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge (Pictures)

9. Album of 2012 Border Tour: Ajo and Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge (Pictures)

10. Album of 2012 Border Tour: Yuma, Imperial Valley, and San Luis (Pictures)

11. Album of 2012 Border Tour: Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (Pictures)

12. Why You Should Be Concerned About Utah's Key Role in the Amnesty Movement (Blog)

Monday, March 19, 2012

SC immigration law exempts farmworkers, nannies

A loophole in South Carolina's immigration law exempts farmworkers and private maids and nannies from a mandatory immigration status check.

The law went into effect January 1 and requires all private employers in South Carolina to use the federal E-Verify database to check newly hired employees' immigration status.

But the State newspaper reports ( Sunday that a little-known loophole provides exceptions for agriculture laborers, domestic workers in a private residence, ministers and fishermen working on small crews.

Bill supporter Sen. Chip Campsen says the loophole was necessary to get the legislation passed. The Charleston Republican says he opposed the exemption but said it doesn't make the bill ineffective.

Critics say it's is unfair for legislators to create an exemption for select groups and not provide it to other small businesses.


DHS Border Patrol Arrest Statistics Underestimate Illegal Immigration

Recently published reports have focused on a letter submitted on March 1st by Congressman Darrel Issa to Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano. Issa is the Californian Republican who chairs the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight. His letter demanded Napolitano address claims that the Border Patrol has been “cooking the books”--distorting the true number of undocumented immigrants who are apprehended along our nation's southwest border. Issa's letter to Napolitano was predicated on information that insiders at the DHS have purportedly provided to Issa's office.

These statistics are extremely important because they have not only been used by the administration to reflect on how secure our border is, but also used to support the contention that because arrests along the border are down, that the number of undocumented immigrants present in the United States is also down.

This claim has a number of potential benefits for the administration, especially as the upcoming election looms closer on the horizon.

It used to be said that Social Security was the “Third Rail” of politics. Today you could say that immigration and border security constitutes the so-called “Third Rail,” and this third rail has lots of political juice running through it.

Some Liberals have tried to demonize anyone who seeks to enforce the immigration laws and secure our borders while Republicans like to portray themselves as being tough on law violators and want to be perceived as being in favor of the “Rule of law.”

In order to win the upcoming election, current administration would like to be able to say that the immigration problem is correcting itself, thereby placating voters on both sides of the issue. By touting reduced arrest statistics, the administration could lay claim to securing our nation's borders and convincing everyone that immigration is no longer a problem. This would enable the president to be in two places at one time.

Clearly if the arrest statistics being reported are false, then all suppositions based on those doctored statistics would be false. As the folks in the computer field would say, “Garbage in – Garbage out!”

However, as a former INS Special Agent, I have been more than a bit skeptical about the validity of using Border Patrol arrest statistics to determine how many undocumented immigrants are actually present in the United States. There is lots more to the immigration system than the Mexican border.

On December 21st I was a guest on Neil Cavuto's program on the Fox Business Network. Neil noted that it is believed that because of the economic situation in the United States that fewer undocumented immigrants were seeking to come to the United States to seek employment. I commented that “Attempting to determine how many illegal aliens are present in the United States by simply looking at arrest statistics were a bit like taking attendance and asking those not present to raise their hands.”

There is no definitive means of determining what percentage of undocumented immigrants are actually arrested and what percentage evade the Border Patrol. Additionally, undocumented immigrants do not only enter the United States by running our nation's border, that is supposed to separate the United States from Mexico.

Our nation also has a border that separates the United States from Canada that is nearly twice as long as the U.S.-Mexican border.

Additionally, our nation has some 95,000 miles of coastline and seaports and marinas to be found all along that huge coastline.

While the extreme porosity of the U.S. borders creates a huge problem for the United States in terms of national security, crime and other factors to be associated with the lack of border security, it is estimated that some 40 percent of all undocumented immigrants in the United States did not run our nation's borders at all, but entered the United States through the inspections process and then, in one way or another, violated the terms of their admission into the United States.

Still more aliens have been granted immigrant visas and work visas who committed fraud in order to game the system. This not only impacts national security but costs American workers jobs, especially in the high-tech fields.

On March 6, 2012 the Washington Post published an article entitled: “Illegal immigrants with long-expired visas remain tough to track 10 years after 9/11 attacks.” That report addressed how a would-be terrorist, Amine El Khalifi had been living illegally in the United States for more than a decade, an issue that became the basis for a hearing conducted by the House Homeland Security Committee.

“The criminal case against Amine El Khalifi, 29, of Alexandria, Va., has renewed the debate about how the U.S. government — a decade after the terror attacks of 2001 — routinely fails to track millions of foreign visitors who remain in the country longer than they are allowed,” the article reads.

“A House Homeland Security subcommittee is conducting an oversight hearing Tuesday. The panel’s chairwoman, Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich., said El Khalifi ‘follows a long line of terrorists, including several of the 9/11 hijackers, who overstayed their visa and went on to conduct terror attacks.’ His tourist visa expired the same year he arrived from his native Morocco as a teenager in 1999,” the piece continues.

This is not a newly discovered problem. Nearly six years ago, on May 11, 2006, I testified before a Congressional hearing entitled “Visa Overstays: Can We Bar the Terrorist Door?” that was conducted by the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on International Relations.

Finally, while so many politicians talk about the need to create jobs, just about no one talks about the need to liberate jobs by effectively enforcing our nation's immigration laws from within the United States.

The point is that by attempting to keep everyone's attention focused on the Mexican border, many of the other components of the immigration system are being ignored.

It is important and commendable that Rep. Issa continues to demand accountability where the DHS is concerned, but neither he nor anyone else should lose sight of the fact that where immigration is concerned, we are dealing with a system with many moving parts, and all are critically important.

Simply stated, our immigration laws are intended to save American lives and American jobs and no politician from either side of the aisle should lose sight of those two incredibly vital goals.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Immigration hits Canadians in the pocket

A leading public policy organization wants Canada's immigration selection process revamped to counter the huge cost caused by people emigrating to the country.

The Fraser Institute said the cost of supporting immigrants who arrived in Canada between 1987 and 2004 is between $16 billion and $23 billion a year.

That's because they receive more in government services and payments per person than they pay in taxes.

“As a result of Canada's welfare-state policies, our progressive income taxes and universal social programs, these immigrants impose a huge fiscal burden on Canadian taxpayers,” said report co-author Herbert Grubel.

Immigrants who have come to Canada since 1987 “are not doing as well economically” as those who came previously, with their annual income 72 percent of that of other Canadians, he said.

The controversial report calls on the government to scrap the points-based selection process and instead let the market decide the types of workers and professionals that are needed in Canada.

Report co-author Patrick Grady said their lower income and tax payments “are likely to persist over all stages of their lives.”


Foes of illegal immigration put pressure on GOP leadership to vote on E-Verify

A group calling for a crackdown on illegal immigration is pushing a bill that would require businesses nationwide to verify the work status of their employees. They're also running ads accusing House Republican Speaker John Boehner of not letting Congress vote on internet database E-Verify:

Right now, only a handful of states require employers to check a nationwide electronic database before hiring new workers. According head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Alejandro Mayorkas, so far, more than a 100,000 have tapped into E-Verify.

"We have the capacity currently to process far more queries than we currently handle," he said.

A bill sponsored by Republican House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith of Texas would require nationwide use of Everify. Mayorkas said that would be a challenge.

"If it was mandated across the country, it would take us some time to ramp up for that exponentially greater volume," he explained.

Critics accuse GOP leaders of dragging their feet in an election year for fear of alienating Latino voters. A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner says the bill is stuck in the legislative process. The Obama administration supports nationwide expansion of E-verify as part of comprehensive immigration reform.