Saturday, March 17, 2012

Congressmen furious as DHS delays partnership with tough-on-immigration Alabama

Members of Congress are openly criticizing Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano after tough questions from Alabama Republican Rep. Mike Rogers revealed that she halted a tough deportation program involving his state and her Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

Testifying on Feb. 15 before the House Homeland Security Committee, Napolitano said pending federal litigation over Alabama’s tough anti-illegal-immigration law forced her to freeze ICE’s cooperation.

Responding to a question from Rogers, Napolitano explained that “one reason is that, as you know, the Alabama state law is in litigation. It’s at the 11th Circuit. The schedule for oral argument is coming right up.”

“We left the program in place where it was turned on, and where it’s turned on covers 75 percent of the foreign-born population in Alabama,” Napolitano told Rogers. “But given the pendency of the litigation we decided to just hold off on the remaining quarter.”

The federal government and a coalition of activist groups sued Alabama in 2011 to invalidate its immigration law, seen as one of the most unforgiving in America. On March 8, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked two provisions of that law, but said it would not decide the larger case until the Supreme Court had ruled on a similar challenge to new immigrations laws in Arizona.

Napolitano also said ICE would stop implementing the program, known as “Secure Communities,” in additional Alabama counties as long as the pending federal lawsuit reflects unanswered constitutional questions. Currently 37 of Alabama’s 67 counties are enrolled in the program and cooperate with ICE.

Secure Communities is already implemented in every county in South Carolina and Arizona, states with similar immigration laws. The program is a data-sharing initiative intended to give ICE instant access to biometric data of municipal inmates when they are booked into jails, for the purpose of identifying known illegal immigrants.

“I was not satisfied with Secretary Napolitano’s response to my questioning and would love to know why the administration has put the brakes on the Secure Communities program when it originally touted it as a way to crack down on illegal immigration,” Rogers told The Daily Caller.

Committee chairman Rep. Peter King also wasn’t satisfied. “I am supportive of both the 287(g) and the Secure Communities programs,” the New York Republican told TheDC, referring to the section of the Immigration and Nationality Act which permit the federal government to enforce immigration laws in partnership with state and local governments.

“If, as Secretary Napolitano asserts, Secure Communities is more cost-effective than 287(g), then DHS should roll the program out everywhere, and as quickly as possible. Delaying the program in states that have passed immigration laws that are the subject of litigation is unacceptable.”


How uncontrolled immigration to Britain has created primary schools with 1,000 pupils and forced children to eat lunch in shifts

One of the first lessons learned at Ladybarn Primary School is not to linger over lunch — a recent surge in pupil numbers means there isn’t enough room in the dining hall for that.

Instead, more than 400 children at the Manchester school eat in five shifts — the first wave sitting down to their lunch at 11.15am.

‘The trouble is that the ones who eat early are hungry again by 2.30pm, so we then have to give them a snack,’ says headteacher Lisa Vyas.

‘And because the dinners take longer to serve, I can’t provide every child with a gym and dance lesson because there’s not enough time available in the hall.’

It’s clear the school is bursting at the seams: there are temporary buildings in the playground, the cloakroom has been turned into a library and the 60 teachers can’t all fit into the staff-room.

‘The temporary classrooms are state-of-the-art, but they are separate from the main building, so some children don’t feel as if they are part of the school,’ says Mrs Vyas. ‘We can’t all fit in for assembly.’

Educational analyst Professor John Howson, a senior research fellow at Oxford University, has warned that a shortage of places for five-year-olds ‘is the biggest problem facing schooling in Britain’.

Due to a baby boom caused in part by a decade of open-door immigration under New Labour, and also because many women born in the late Sixties and early Seventies delayed motherhood, the pupil population is rapidly rising.

By 2015, the number of children at primary school is predicted to increase by 10 per cent compared with last year. By 2020, the increase will be 20 per cent — a total of 4.8million primary school pupils, a figure not seen since the early Seventies.

The increase in demand is sharper in some areas of the country. In the London borough of Barking and Dagenham, for example, the local council is predicting a 43 per cent increase in primary school pupils between 2011 and 2015.

Other London boroughs are expecting 30 per cent increases, while places such as Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds, Kent and Hampshire are also predicting heavy demand.

Overall, it is estimated that an extra 450,000 primary places will need to be created in England by 2015.

The problem is that many primary schools where demand is most acute are already over-subscribed and unable to expand any further. As a result, temporary classrooms are popping up on playing fields, and store cupboards are being converted into teaching areas.

One council in East London is drawing up plans to lease an empty Woolworth’s store and a vacant MFI building and turn them into makeshift classrooms.

In Brighton, it has been mooted that pupils could be taught at a football stadium, in a bingo hall or in redundant churches.

Super-sized primaries with five forms of 30 pupils for each year — 1,000-plus across the school — could soon become the norm.

Desperate council chiefs are even calling for the law that sets maximum class sizes at 30 to be scrapped.

More radical still are proposals to teach in ‘split shifts’, where one group of pupils would attend from 8am until 2pm and a second from 2pm until 8pm.

Frank Field is the joint chair of the Cross-Party Group on Balanced Migration. He is also a Labour MP — one of the few voices from the Left prepared to speak out about the strains placed on the country’s infrastructure by immigration.

Mr Field says that the situation facing primary schools today was ‘entirely predictable’.

‘The birth rate has risen among the host population, but the big stimulus is people who have migrated here and brought children or had children here — mainly the latter,’ he says.

‘We had the figures showing what proportion of babies were being born to mothers born overseas, so the figures and the trends were clear — people just wanted to ignore it.

‘They continued to vote for what was, in effect, an open-door policy, irrespective of being told what the outcome would be. It was serious when public expenditure was actually increasing, but when it is being cut, it is proving to be chronic.’

While the Government is providing an extra £1.3 billion this year to help provide more places, schools complain that the money is too little, too late to do anything more than provide a stop-gap.

‘You don’t need to be a statistical genius to realise that an increased birth-rate in the middle of this decade is going to lead to a massive increase in the need for primary school places later,’ says Gavin Williamson, Conservative MP for South Staffordshire.

‘I think immigration was, and still is, a pertinent issue in politics. There was a desire under the last government to deny this was going to have any impact in terms of a need to deal with this issue. ‘They buried their heads in the sand and hoped the problem would go away. The trouble is that it hasn’t.’

In 2000, 15.5 per cent of all births in the UK were to mothers born outside the country — in 2010, it had risen to 25.1 per cent.

This is because the number of foreign-born women living here has increased, but also because they have more children than British-born women, and because they are more likely to be aged 25 to 34, when fertility is at its highest.


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