Monday, April 30, 2012

Obama's semi-amnesty not always popular with illegals

The federal government last year vowed to review the country's 300,000 pending immigration court cases and exercise so-called prosecutorial discretion to shift its focus to those cases involving convicted criminals wreaking havoc on local neighborhoods. As of mid-April, Immigration and Customs Enforcement had reviewed more than 70 percent of the files and decided to offer to temporarily suspend roughly 7.5 percent of deportation cases, agency officials said.

The agency declined to state how many of the 16,500 immigrants had accepted the deal.  So far, only 2,700 cases actually have been put on hold. In many instances, the process is pending paperwork and background checks, immigration officials said.

In December, ICE attorneys began reviewing their caseloads to see which immigrants should qualify for the program, which mainly consists of administrative closure _ an indefinite suspension of their cases but one that can be lifted at any time. Once the offers have been approved by a supervisor, attorneys have been reaching out to immigration attorneys or raising the issue directly with immigrants who lack lawyers in immigration court.

The government hopes to whittle down its caseload since the agency only has the manpower and resources to deport a finite number of immigrants. In the last fiscal year, ICE deported nearly 400,000 people, an all-time high for the agency.

"We need to get a handle on this exploded docket and figure out a way where ICE can prosecute the cases that really do warrant our resources and skills _ the bad guys," said Jim Stolley, ICE's director of Field Legal Operations.

For some immigrants, prosecutorial discretion is a lifeline. Immigrants waiting in line for a green card after being sponsored by relatives could use the extra time. Others, who may have lived here for years and have clean records but don't qualify for legal residency because they don't have American relatives, may have no other way to stay.

Concepcion Velazquez was sponsored for a green card by her American sister but must wait roughly two more years to get one. The 43-year-old from Fairfield in Northern California also has applied for a visa for crime victims who collaborate with law enforcement after a neighbor fired a gun into their living room.
Those are good prospects for being allowed to stay here, said Kevin Crabtree, her attorney. But Velazquez and her husband have no legal status today, which is why getting their case shelved by the government was such a relief.

"We're less anxious, not having to wait to go to court since we were always appearing in court," said Velazquez, who came here from Mexico more than two decades ago and wound up in deportation proceedings after an unscrupulous immigration attorney offered to get the couple legal papers and failed. "We're a little bit more relaxed in that sense, but we're still in the fight."

For other immigrants, however, getting an offer of prosecutorial discretion can be a double-edged sword. Some attorneys say they'd rather not even be approached by ICE because they'll be forced to choose between accepting a one-time offer to stave off deportation and seeking a more lasting solution in court such as asylum or a green card, both of which let an immigrant work here legally.

But turning down an offer of prosecutorial discretion also carries risks. Some immigration attorneys say they fear ICE attorneys might fight a case more vigorously if their client shuns an offer, or that immigration judges might apply more scrutiny to their clients' cases.

"A strong bird in the hand is worth two in the bush," said Angela Bean, an immigration attorney in Oakland, who has urged her clients to snap up the government's offer. "There is the issue of playing with fire."

It's still too soon to see whether the program will yield a significant improvement in the country's backlogged immigration courts, where it can take up to two years to get a hearing date.
On a recent morning in immigration court in downtown Los Angeles, several judges asked whether immigrants might be interested in seeking prosecutorial discretion. Some said they were eager for the opportunity, but not all _ such as a Mexican woman raising three American children on her own, two of them autistic, who opted to try her chances.

Government attorneys are still reviewing cases in most regions of the country.  Once immigrants are offered discretion, they must undergo background and national security checks before final approval.


Voters Understand the Immigration Debate; Politicians Don't>/b>

As the U.S. Supreme Court wrestles with the Obama administration's challenge of Arizona's crackdown on illegal immigration, the overall issue of immigration remains misunderstood by both political parties in Washington.

Many Washington Republicans confuse voter opposition to illegal immigration with opposition to all immigration. Their remarks often contain an ugly tone toward those who want to come to America.

Many Washington Democrats confuse public respect for hardworking immigrants with a belief that borders and immigration laws don't matter. Their remarks often contain an ugly tone toward those who believe the nation's immigration laws should be enforced.

On the issues before the court, most voters tend to side with the state of Arizona rather than the federal government. Fifty-nine percent of voters nationwide, for example, agree with one of the law's most controversial provisions, that police officers should routinely check the immigration status of those they pull over for other violations. Most voters would like to have a law like Arizona's in their own state.

But that says more about voter respect for the law than it does about the immigration issue. Voters figure if there's a law on the books, the government should enforce it.

That's why, among voters who are angry about the immigration issue, 83 percent are angry at the federal government rather than the illegal immigrants themselves. It's also why two-thirds of voters think those who knowingly hire illegal immigrants are a bigger problem than the people they employ. Simply put, most Americans are angry at those who would entice others to break the law. They're not angry at people who are willing to work hard to provide for their families.

It's a little bit like the public desire to go after drug pushers rather than occasional users of illegal drugs.

Still, there's another reason for the disconnect between official Washington and the American people on immigration.

In Washington, the entire focus of the immigration debate is on how to deal with those already living here illegally. For voters, this is a secondary concern. The bigger concern is how to secure the border so future immigrants enter the county according to the rules. Routinely, in surveys for years, 60 percent or more of voters say securing the borders is a higher priority than legalizing the status of the illegal immigrants who are here now.

Once voters are convinced that illegal immigration is a thing of the past, it will be easier to address the status of those in the country already.

But voters don't believe the federal government has any interest in securing the border. In fact, most believe the policies of the federal government are designed to encourage illegal immigration. This offends voters who want to respect the rule of law. If immigration laws -- or any laws -- are routinely ignored, then the government loses credibility.

If the laws are enforced, 61 percent of voters favor a welcoming policy that lets anybody come to America except national security threats, criminals and those who would live off the U.S. welfare system. All who would like to work hard and pursue the American Dream are welcome.

The bottom line is that voters remember what many in Washington often forget: America is a nation of immigrants -- and of laws. The American people want both traditions to be honored.


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Immigrants bring TB back to London

In the shadows of some of London’s tallest skyscrapers and richest banks lurks a disease borne of the poverty and squalor usually associated with the Victorian era rather than a 21st-century financial capital.

Tuberculosis is staging a comeback in London, where some neighborhoods suffer infection rates found in African countries in which the disease is endemic. The number of cases surged 50 percent in the 10 years to 2009, according to a National Health Service agency.

The airborne bacteria has taken root in a population of recent immigrants, addicts and homeless who live close to affluent business districts and may pose a risk for those they rub elbows with.

“You wouldn’t expect to see that,” says Brian McCloskey, the Health Protection Agency’s regional director for London. “TB is one of the biggest public health problems we have.”

One hotspot is Tower Hamlets, a borough that draws together Canary Wharf, the home of some of Europe’s largest banks, and pockets of poverty that stretch along the Thames’ old docks east of the Tower of London and north past Whitechapel, where Jack the Ripper preyed on prostitutes in 1888.

Tuberculosis, transmitted by coughs and sneezes, doesn’t just strike the needy.

After a worker at a Canary Wharf bank fell ill in 2010, Julian Surey, a nurse at Tower Hamlets Tuberculosis Service in East London, says he was sent with colleagues to her office to screen 14 of her co-workers, a challenge in an open-space environment where employees share keyboards and telephones.
Single Sneeze

“They were hot-desking and it was a nightmare,” Surey says. “People did get concerned.” Some workers demanded to see private doctors rather than be tested and treated by the state- run NHS, the 37-year-old nurse recalled. One person who sat next to the original patient contracted TB, according to Surey. He declined to identify the bank, as did other nurses.

One sneeze can release up to 40,000 droplets and each one can potentially cause infection. An untreated patient can infect up to 15 others a year, the World Health Organization estimates.

The condition, which can remain dormant in the body for decades but spread through the air and require extended courses of antibiotics once it has been roused, is difficult to diagnose, treat and contain.

Drugs are only part of the solution. Tuberculosis is a sensitive subject with social and political ramifications, says Graham Cooke, a senior lecturer in the department of medicine at the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College London.

In the U.K. capital, 84 percent of the 3,302 people infected in 2010 were foreign-born, according to the HPA, which means they may be grappling with language barriers, fear of stigmatization or homelessness.

“You don’t just give them tablets,” says Surey, who has worked as a nurse in Calcutta, India and Lima, Peru. “You have to understand the community.”

The disease was as prevalent in London as in some of the world’s poorer nations in 2010. The city had 43 cases per 100,000 overall and rates of 65 or more per 100,000 in hotbeds such as Tower Hamlets, some of them on par with Karonga district in Malawi, says Ali Zumla, a professor at University College London. By contrast, New York reports nine cases per 100,000 people and Berlin eight.
Two Cities

The U.K.’s colonial history, which ties it to countries like India, Pakistan, Nigeria and Bangladesh where tuberculosis is rife, plays a role.


Your papers, please!

 Jonah Goldberg
With the Supreme Court taking up Arizona's "show me your papers" immigration law, we're once again thrust into a useful debate over the role of the government and the obligations of the citizen -- and non-citizen. Rather than come at it from the usual angle, I thought I'd try something different.

If there were one thing I could impress upon people about the nature of the state, it's that governments by their very nature want to make their citizens "legible."

I borrow that word from James C. Scott, whose book "Seeing Like a State" left a lasting impression on me. Scott studied why the state has always seen "people who move around" to be the enemy. Around the world, according to Scott, states have historically seen nomadic peoples, herdsmen, slash-and-burn hill people, Gypsies, hunter-gatherers, vagrants, runaway slaves and serfs as problems to be solved. States have tried to make these people stay in one place.

But as Scott examined "sedentarization" (making mobile people settle down), he realized this practice was simply part of a more fundamental drive of the state: to make the whole population legible to the state. The premodern state was "blind" to its subjects. But the modern state was determined first to see them, and then organize them. This is why so many rulers pushed for the universal usage of last names starting around 1600 (aristocrats had been using family or clan names for centuries already). The same goes with the push for more accurate addresses, the standardization of weights and measures, and of course the use of censuses and surveys. It's much easier to collect taxes, conscript soldiers, fight crime and put down rebellions if you know who people are and where they live.

Perhaps the most obvious means of making the populace legible is the identity card or internal passport. The history of the identity card is a fascinating and shockingly complex one. For instance, did you know that identity cards were seen as a war on bigamy in many countries?

Opponents of the Arizona immigration law like to conjure scenes from Nazi Germany, with the Gestapo asking, "Ihre papiere, bitte" ("Your papers, please"). And it's indisputably true that police states, from Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union to Castro's Cuba and the North Korea of the Kims, have a deep relationship with the identity card for obvious reasons. But German officials were saying "Ihre papiere, bitte" long before anyone heard of the Nazis.

The United Kingdom has debated the merits of identity cards several times over the generations. During World War I, Britain's National Registration was hugely controversial because it was seen as too "Prussian." A generation earlier, the Prussians, under Otto von Bismarck, had famously created the first modern administrative state, which included the precursor to America's Social Security system and what today might be called "jobs programs." The Prussians also pioneered the public school system in order to make the people more legible to the state -- imposing common language, political indoctrination and the like.

A system of reliable ID was necessary for conscription and internal security -- government's top concerns -- but it was also necessary to properly allocate the benefits and jobs the state doled out in order to buy popular support, and to enforce school attendance.

And this brings me to our current debate over Arizona's immigration laws. Opponents like to conjure the police-state association of "Ihre papiere, bitte." I think that's wildly exaggerated (and so do several Supreme Court justices, apparently). But as someone who's against a national ID card, I'm sympathetic to the concern nonetheless. The Constitution lists three federal crimes -- treason, piracy and counterfeiting -- but today we have more than 4,500 federal crimes, all because the government in Washington wants to make the American people more legible. I don't want to make that easier with a national ID card.

But what I wish liberal opponents would understand is that in a society where the government "gives" so much to its citizens, it's inevitable that the state will pursue ways to more clearly demarcate the lines between the citizen and the non-citizen.

Most (but by no means all) conservatives I know would have few problems with large-scale immigration if we didn't have a welfare state that bequeaths so many benefits on citizens and non-citizens alike. I myself am a huge fan of legal immigration. But if you try to see things like a state for a second, it's simply unsustainable to have a libertarian immigration policy and a liberal welfare state. Ultimately, if you don't want cops asking for your papers, you need to get rid of one or the other.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Border Agent Indicted For Violating Illegal Alien's Rights

In almost total secrecy, the Obama Justice Department has charged a U.S. Border Patrol agent, Luis Fonseca, for depriving the rights of a yet to be identified illegal alien at the Border Patrol station located on Imperial Beach, California, last July. Fonseca, however, was not indicted until a week ago.

Agent Fonseca, 32, allegedly kneed and choked an unidentified alien during his tour near the Mexican border last summer. During his arraignment on Monday April 16, he entered a not guilty plea.

A grand jury had handed down the indictment on April 12, but details were withheld and the DOJ neglected to promulgate why the legal action was taken against the Border Patrol agent, according to an "Inside-the-Beltway" public-interest group that investigates and exposes government corruption and misconduct.

"Border Patrol Agent Fonseca kneed and choked an unidentified alien, depriving him of the right under the Constitution and the laws of the United States to be free from use of unreasonable force by a law enforcement officer," the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement. "The indictment also alleges as a result of the use of unreasonable force the individual sustained bodily injury."

According to Department of Justice's records, a federal grand jury indicted Fonseca on a single charge of deprivation of rights under color of law. The charge, a civil rights violation, carries a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment.

The case is problematic for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the government's secrecy surrounding details. In the one-page indictment the illegal immigrant is identified only as "UA#1." The document also claims that, as a result of the use of "unreasonable force" the undocumented alien sustained some kind of "bodily injury" yet no further details are provided, according to Judicial Watch's Corruption Chronicles.

"The grand jury indictment is dated April 12, 2012 which means the feds dragged their feet, probably because they knew it was a weak case," stated the Judicial Watch's entry.

Fonseca was arrested on Friday during a shift at the Border Patrol's Imperial Beach station and is currently on paid leave. He pleaded not guilty in federal court this week, according to DOJ records.

Here is why the DOJ is going after the particular agent, according to the federal prosecutor handling the case: "People detained at the border should be treated with human dignity and respect by federal agents. It is important for the public to know that the Department of Justice takes alleged civil rights violations seriously. We have processes in place to investigate and will take action where appropriate to protect those rights."

Many law enforcement professionals are highly suspicious of this latest case of a Border Patrol agent being "dragged into court by the Obama Justice Department.

"It's clear that Obama's sympathies are with the illegal aliens entering the U.S. He's all but told U.S. immigration and border officials to stop enforcing the law. This is just another message from the Obama Administration to Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to not be too zealous in doing their jobs," claims former New York City Detective Jeff Knudson.
On top of the DOJ's actions against Fonseca, -- himself a Latino -- the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General is also investigating the matter.

"Perhaps when that report is finished, more information will be revealed to the public. For instance, the victim's identity and the exact bodily injury that he or she supposedly suffered at the hands of the Border Patrol agent accused of committing the choking and kneeing," states the Judicial Watch posting.

The U.S. government has worked hard to protect illegal immigrants and their "constitutional" rights in the last few years. This has empowered them to file a number of lawsuits against local and federal law enforcement agencies for violating their rights. In Connecticut a group of illegal aliens sued the government for violating their constitutional rights during the operation that led to their apprehension.

In New York an illegal immigrant with a lengthy criminal record got a $145,000 settlement from the state for having his civil rights violated during one of his many arrests. In Maryland an illegal immigrant from El Salvador for unlawfully and unconstitutionally detaining her based on race and in California illegal aliens sued a city for banning them from seeking work on public streets.

The Law Enforcement Examiner has regularly exposed President Barack Obama's illegal-alien relatives, one of whom was arrested for drunk driving in Massachusetts.


Even the French socialist leader is talking tough on immigration

 French presidential frontrunner Francois Hollande vowed Friday to crack down on illegal immigration, as he and incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy battle to win over the public ahead of a second-round vote.

Hollande, of the center-left Socialist party, will hold a rally in the central city of Limoges Friday evening, while Sarkozy addresses supporters in Dijon, to the east.

The pair face a run-off vote for the presidency on May 6. Sarkozy received 27.2% of the vote in the first round of voting last Sunday, just behind Hollande's 28.6%.

Speaking to French radio station RTL Friday morning, Hollande said that the number of legal economic migrants should be limited and that he wants to "fight against" illegal immigration.

Immigration has been a key election issue, alongside the struggling economy and high unemployment figures.

Hollande's comments came hours after the two rivals were quizzed on television channel France 2 Thursday night, taking turns to answer journalists' questions.

Hollande, who was first to be put on the spot, said he feels "confident" and the political left's results had been even better than hoped for.  "Nothing is decided until the people have spoken. I have three duties: to put things right in France, to apply justice where it has been missing, and to bring together the French around a great cause -- the young people."

Sarkozy, who leads the center-right UMP party, defended his record, saying: "I have been president for five years. I've tried to protect France with all my might."  He said predictions of a landslide for the left in the first round had not been borne out, with the far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen coming third, well ahead of far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon.

Since Sunday, both Sarkozy and Hollande have sought to reach out to the 6.5 million people who voted for the National Front, giving it 18% of the vote.  "They are not from the extreme right, they are expressing themselves through a vote of crisis or of loyalty," Sarkozy said on France 2.  "I would like to say to them that I respect them. When someone suffers or protests, we must listen to them in order to be able to provide them with responses."

However, Sarkozy rejected any notion of striking a deal with the far-right group in remarks Wednesday.

The National Front's tough line on immigration appears to have struck a chord with many voters.

Responding to a question on Thursday's TV show, Hollande said, "There are too many foreigners" in France. "But that does not mean that we must expel those who are here on our territory."

Hollande, who has previously avoided that question, said those who are in France legally would be able to remain -- but those who do not have the right to live there would be driven out.

Sarkozy said he wanted to cut by half the number of foreigners allowed into the country over the next five years. The reason, he said, is that he wants to welcome them in the right way, "with housing and employment, and that from now on, before all entries onto French national soil ... an exam on the French language and republican values should be passed."

Immigrants should have rights and responsibilities equal to those born in France, he said, even if he is opposed to extending them the right to vote.


Friday, April 27, 2012

For first time since Great Depression, more Mexicans leave US than enter (?)

I am pretty skeptical about this report.  How do they know?  Even in recession, the USA is a lot better place to be than Mexico

A four-decade tidal wave of Mexican immigration to the United States has receded, causing a historic shift in migration patterns as more Mexicans appear to be leaving the United States for Mexico than the other way around, according to a report from the Pew Hispanic Center.

It looks to be the first reversal in the trend since the Depression, and experts say that a declining Mexican birthrate and other factors may make it permanent.

“I think the massive boom in Mexican immigration is over and I don’t think it will ever return to the numbers we saw in the 1990s and 2000s,” said Douglas Massey, a professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton University and co-director of the Mexican Migration Project, which has been gathering data on the subject for 30 years.

Nearly 1.4 million Mexicans moved from the United States to Mexico between 2005 and 2010, double the number who did so a decade earlier. The number of Mexicans who moved to the United States during that period fell to less than half of the 3 million who came between 1995 and 2000.

The trend could have major political consequences, underscoring the delicate dance by the Republican and Democratic parties as they struggle with immigration policies and court the increasingly important Latino vote.

Illegal immigration has emerged as one of the most emotional political issues in the country — one that dominated much of the Republican presidential contest and has proven complicated for President Obama.

Mitt Romney has courted conservatives with aggressive anti-illegal immigration rhetoric. But the GOP presidential hopeful has said in recent days that he wants to build ties with Hispanics, many of whom have chafed at his statements, and the new immigration trends could offer him a chance to soften his stance.

Obama has been criticized by immigrant advocates for stepped-up deportation policies that analysts have said were partly responsible for the decreasing flow of Mexicans into the United States. The trend could offer the president a political silver lining: the chance to take credit for a policy success that, his aides have said in the past, should persuade Republicans to embrace a broad immigration overhaul plan.

According to the report, the Mexican-born population, which had been increasing since 1970, peaked at 12.6 million in 2007 and has dropped to 12 million since then.

The reversal appears to be a result of tightened border controls, a weak U.S. job and housing construction market, a rise in deportations and a decline in Mexican birthrates, said the study, which used U.S. and Mexican census figures and Mexican government surveys. Arrests of illegal immigrants trying to enter the United States have also dropped precipitously in recent years.

Whether the reversal is temporary or permanent, it could have significant implications for the United States. Many Mexican immigrants work in agriculture and construction.

One in 10 people born in Mexico live in the United States, and more than half entered illegally. Most live in California and Texas; about 120,000 live in the Washington region.


Court sympathy for tough US immigration laws

There are signs the United States supreme court is going to side in favour of Arizona's tough immigration law being challenged by the Obama administration.

In a setback for the president, several justices have voiced support for the state's effort to crack down on illegal immigration, appearing to reject arguments it was an encroachment on federal responsibility.

"I felt very confident as I walked out of there that Arizona has a right, and I as governor was somewhat assured that I had a right, to protect the citizens of Arizona," governor Jan Brewer said.

The ruling is likely to set a precedent with Arizona the first of half a dozen states to pass laws allowing police to check the immigration status of anyone they detain and suspect of being illegally in the country.

Mexico and 17 other countries have also filed arguments with the court opposing the law, saying the delegation of authority over such matters to individual states threatens bilateral relations with Washington.

Chief justice John Roberts said the federal government's arguments could not centre on the civil rights issues but rather on its claim under the constitution to exclusive authority in immigration matters.

He then went on to suggest the law's most controversial provisions were not an effort to over-ride federal law, but to support it.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, often the swing vote on the court, said Arizona was "cooperating in implementing federal law".

The court's conservative majority has been strengthened in this case because Justice Elena Kagan, who served as solicitor general under Mr Obama, recused herself, leaving only eight justices to hear the matter.

More than 1,000 protesters outside the court lashed out against provisions of the law they say encourages ethnic profiling.

"God, give us the courage to stand up against draconian immigration laws," Reverend Gabriel Salguero, president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, said in a prayer.

The court is expected to hand down its decision in June.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Majority of voters favor Arizona immigration law

By a more than two-to-one margin, American voters favor the 2010 Arizona immigration law. A Fox News poll released Friday shows 65 percent of voters favor the controversial law, while 31 percent oppose it.

Eighty-four percent of Republicans favor Arizona’s law, while 46 percent of Democrats do. A 51-percent majority of Democrats opposes the law.

Independents favor the law by a 40 percentage-point margin (67-27 percent). That’s good news for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who has said he thinks Arizona’s law would be a good model for the rest of the country.

The Arizona law took effect in July 2010. It makes illegal immigration a state crime and allows local law enforcement to question the legal status of anyone stopped on suspicion of a crime and detain anyone who cannot prove his or her immigration status. 

The Justice Department filed suit challenging it, and the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments next Wednesday on whether many of the law’s key provisions are constitutional.

Voters who live in the West (72 percent) and the Midwest (69 percent) are more likely than those living in other regions (61 percent) to approve of the Arizona law.

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cellphone interviews with 910 randomly-chosen registered voters nationwide and is conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from April 9-11.  For the total sample, it has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points. 


Marine Le Pen is no conservative

Her concern about immigration is realistic but her other policies are simply populist

Are the French getting their Tea Party on? That's what an outsider looking at the country's first-round presidential voting results might have been led to believe. But, as with many things French, the reality is très compliquée.

The weekend vote knocked out all but the two candidates long expected to square off in the May 6 final: Socialist Francois Hollande (28.6 percent) and incumbent center-right President Nicolas Sarkozy (27.2 percent). This isn't the story, though. The most striking news is the 17.9 percent score by Marine Le Pen's National Front party. That's even better than her father Jean-Marie's best showing of 16.9 percent when he shockingly knocked out the Socialist candidate in the first round of the 2002 race to face incumbent President Jacques Chirac in the final.

What's behind Le Pen's surprising showing? What sentiment is she capturing, exactly? Who are her supporters?

It's precisely the attempt to marginalize people who don't adhere to the increasingly prevalent culturally Marxist views that drives them to seek out and support democratic entities (like Le Pen's National Front party) that accord them a proper public voice. That's how it's done in civil societies. Where's the alarmism in that? If dialogue around these issues is quashed or marginalized, the parties championing these concerns will serve as pressure valves and grow in popularity. This partly explains the National Front's record electoral figure -- but it's not the whole story.

It would be a mistake to think that the "far right" in France stands for limited government and a free market. The National Front rails against decentralization, advocates a strong federal government, and complains that European legislation forces competitive trade and prevents the French government from financially assisting companies, thereby inhibiting "economic patriotism."

Sounds more like Russia than the Tea Party, doesn't it? Under the National Front's political tent, one finds a political buffet consisting of far more than just a righteous battle against cultural Marxism and population replacement. There's something for nationalists, socialists, protectionists and anti-elitists -- everything but a significant helping of free market and limited government.

When Le Pen denounces Sarkozy's "ultra-liberalism," she isn't talking about leftism. In Europe, "liberalism" isn't synonymous with "leftism" as it is in America. Rather, it refers to the kind of classical liberalism prevalent in 19th century America and incarnated by the likes of right-libertarian heroes Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek. As a free-market, limited-government conservative who once served as a Republican think-tank director, I'm typically considered a "liberal" in France.

So, how many people within Le Pen's party adhere to politics similar enough to mine that they'll vote for Sarkozy in the final round? Based on various analyses, I'd wager no more than about half, with the rest supporting the Socialist. One might even argue that because former Trotskyite Jean Luc Mélenchon did worse than expected and the Socialist scored precisely as expected, Le Pen's "far right" party scooped up some nanny-state Communists in the first round. (Try reading that last sentence again without your brain exploding.)

Blaise Pascal once said, in adapting a famous Montesquieu quote, "Truth on one side of the Pyrenees is error on the other." It's a fitting adage as Americans try to make sense of the politics at play behind this dramatic French electoral spectacle.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

We only deport a third of illegal migrants we catch: New figures deliver another blow to UK Border Agency

Fewer than one in three of the illegal immigrants caught last year have been deported, according to figures disclosed yesterday. They showed that of 21,298 individuals discovered in Britain unlawfully, only 6,232 were returned to their countries in the same year.

The figures threatened to deepen the troubles at the UK Border Agency, the organisation responsible for policing immigration law.

The agency has already been heavily criticised this month after it was shown that more than one in five foreign criminals supposed to have been deported from the country after release from prison in 2010 were still here.  It was found that 60 per cent of another group of 1,000 foreign criminals mistakenly freed from jail six years ago have not been removed from Britain.

Border officials have also been found to have abandoned checks on arrivals into the country without seeking the clearance of ministers.

The unapproved relaxation of passport controls meant 500,000 passengers who came on Eurostar trains entered the country without being checked against lists of suspected terrorists and criminals.

The failure to deport illegal immigrants detected last year was revealed in figures obtained under Freedom of Information rules.

The biggest group of illegal migrants who have successfully evaded deportation during the year in which they were found to be here are from Pakistan.  Other countries featured in the figures include Iran, India, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.

Earlier this year, the Mail revealed how authorities are aware of a number of such immigrants sleeping rough under the M4 in London.

Most of the so-called Bridge Men of Little Punjab, living near Heston, West London, are thought to be illegal immigrants, and the police, the UK Border Agency and local authorities are said to have long been aware of them.

The lack of success in rapid deportation of illegal immigrants comes as the stand-off between Home Secretary Theresa May and the European Court of Human Rights over terror suspect Abu Qatada continues.

The failure of Mrs May to deport Qatada to his home country Jordan has given the impression that the Government is unable to deport foreign criminals or terrorists in the face of opposition in the courts and the reluctance of many unwanted migrants to go home.  A spokesman for the UK Border Agency said: ‘Of the 21,298 individuals identified as being an immigration offender, 6,232 were removed during the period January 2011 to December 2011.

‘It should be noted that removals are hindered by barriers such as outstanding appeals, documentation issues, and subjects absconding.’

Alp Mehmet, of the MigrationWatch pressure group, said: ‘If we are going to have confidence in our immigration control system we have got to make greater efforts to deport people who should not be here, and we have to do that quickly.’


Sarkozy the loser doesn't deserve our support, says French anti-immigration leader

Marine Le Pen dealt Nicolas Sarkozy a major blow last night by declaring he had ‘lost’ the election and refusing to tell her supporters to back him.

The French president’s hopes of clinging to power rely on picking up the votes of many of the six million who backed Miss Le Pen’s National Front in record numbers in the first round of the national poll.

The strong showing for the Far Right party triggered alarm around Europe, while the prospect of Mr Sarkozy losing to socialist opponent Francois Hollande in the second round spooked financial markets.

Economists fear Mr Hollande will unpick a Brussels deal on fiscal union and shatter an uneasy consensus on the need for austerity measures across the Continent.

The political uncertainty in France, the world’s fifth largest economy, helped trigger a sell-off on both sides of the Atlantic. The French stock market fell by 2.83 per cent, Germany’s by 3.36 per cent and London’s by 1.85 per cent.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday expressed shock that nearly 20 per cent of French voters had gone for the National Front. The alliance between Berlin and Paris is key to the European project.

Miss Le Pen’s party won 18 per cent of the vote, its largest ever share, in Sunday’s first round, but yesterday her party said there would be no deal with the current president.

She said: ‘I don’t expect anything except that the system will implode,’ adding: ‘Sarkozy has already lost the presidential election.’ Bruno Bilde, Miss Le Pen’s senior aide, said: ‘There has to be reorganisation of French political life.

‘It’s therefore out of the question for the National Front candidate to negotiate … or to offer her vote in favour of Nicolas Sarkozy or Francois Hollande. Marine Le Pen is convinced of that.’

A National Front spokesman said: ‘We shall be abstaining, because we do not want to give a green light to any of the two candidates, because they are the same’.

Opinion polls have suggested that up to six in ten Le Pen voters could back Mr Sarkozy in the second round. Mr Hollande won 28.6 per cent and Sarkozy took 27 per cent on Sunday.

Mr Hollande is now the favourite to win. If he does, he would become France’s first socialist leader in 17 years.

Both contenders tried to tack to the right to try to appeal to voters who had backed Miss Le Pen. Speaking at a rally in central France, Mr Sarkozy said he ‘had heard’ Le Pen’s message and vowed to be tough on immigration.

He said: ‘National Front voters must be respected. They voiced their view. It was a vote of suffering, a crisis vote. Why insult them? This anxiety, this suffering, I know them, I understand them.  ‘They concern our borders, outsourcing, control of immigration, work, security, for them and their families. I know that in this fast-moving world, the concern of our patriots to preserve their way of life is the key issue in this election.’

In Brittany, Mr Hollande said: ‘My message? We are a large country and we will recover – we have no need of divisions.’

Pierre Moscovici, his campaign director, said the Socialist candidate would continue to be ‘very open’ to legal immigration, but ‘we must fight with absolute firmness, without concession, against illegal immigration’.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Bungling British immigration control

A THREE HOUR wait to get into Britain: Olympic official's fury after he was delayed at passport control  -- and  no sign of an apology from the Border Agency

An Olympic official has complained after he queued for three hours to pass through immigration checks at Heathrow.

The revelation is bound to cause fresh embarrassment for Home Secretary Theresa May after it was recently revealed passengers could be 'left on runways' as airports struggle to cope during the Olympic Games.

Senior MPs warned earlier this month that planes could be forced to circle the airport and tourists made to queue at passport control for several hours.

In a leaked letter to Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, the MPs claim cuts to UK Border Agency staff and poor contingency plans could be a recipe for disaster during the London 2012 Games.

Heathrow's owner BAA has confirmed that a senior Olympic official made a complaint and said that some passengers had queued for 2.5 hours. The Home Office and BAA both declined to name the official concerned.

A source at the UK Border Agency told The Sunday Times a report explaining the delays at Heathrow's Terminal 5 on Tuesday night was drafted because 'a senior Olympic bigwig was caught in [the queue] who was not impressed and had made a complaint'.

Shashank Nigam, chief executive of Simpliflying, an airline marketing company, said he had also queued for 2 hours and 50 minutes on the same day.  He told the Sunday Times: 'To my horror, the queues were spilling into the overflow area and there weren't enough staff to manage everyone.'  Other people reported seeing passengers sleeping because of such long delays.

As many as 600,000 people are expected to arrive at Heathrow around the time of the Games, which run from July 27 to August 13, causing further chaos and longer queues.

This latest incident has caused airport and airline bosses to accuse the border agency of not being able to cope.

BAA, which owns Heathrow, said immigration does not have enough staff to carry out the checks following the reintroduction of tougher checks after unauthorised relaxation of procedures by Brodie Clark, former head of the UK Border Force.

The Government plans to cut the number of border officer staff from 8,874 in March 2010 to 7,322 by March 2015.  But unions have been told extra staff will be drafted in to ease pressure during the Olympics and will include people from the Home Office and HM Revenue & Customs, some of which have retired.

A BAA spokesman said they are experiencing high levels of arrivals in the airport for which the border force is failing to provide resources.

A Border Agency spokesman said they refuse to compromise security but will aim to keep disruption to a minimum. It said it was inevitable that thorough checks would cause some queuing during peak times.


 Recent posts at CIS  below

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

1. The Alleged Costs of Ending Universal Birthright Citizenship: A Response to the National Foundation for American Policy (Memorandum)

2. Document Fraud in Employment Authorization: How an E-Verify Requirement Can Help (Congressional Testimony)

3. Flushing Out the Extremes on Immigration. The DREAM Act was supposed to, but didn’t. Secure Communities can (Op-ed)

4. Reform Our Visa System for Entrepreneurs or Reform the Economy? (Blog)

5. Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are (Blog)

6. Let's Create American Workers' Desks in Federal Agencies (Blog)

7. Clueless in Cook County (Blog)

8. Dear Reader: Please Encourage USCIS Do the Right Thing! (Blog)

9. 'I Absolutely and Entirely Renounce and Abjure ...' (Blog)

10. A Little Bit of Nationalism, Please: Or Which of Those Are U.S. Firms? (Blog)

11. EB-5's Institutional Allies Give the Program a Hard Time (Blog)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Showdown on Arizona immigration law goes to Supreme Court

The Supreme Court and Obama administration are set for another politically charged clash Wednesday as the justices take up Arizona’s crackdown on illegal immigrants.

It will be a rematch of the attorneys who argued the health care case a month ago and another chapter in the partisan philosophical struggle over states’ rights and the role of the federal government.

And once again, Obama’s lawyers are likely to face skeptical questions from the Supreme Court. Last year, the court’s five more-conservative justices rebuffed the administration and upheld an earlier Arizona immigration law that targeted employers who hired illegal workers.

To prevail this year, the administration must convince at least one of the five to switch sides and rule the state is going too far and interfering with the federal government’s control over immigration policy.

The election-year legal battle goes to the heart of the dispute between Republicans and Democrats over what to do about the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the country.

Arizona and five other Republican-led states seek a stepped-up effort to arrest and deport illegal immigrants. They say the federal system is "broken" and fault Obama for a "relaxed" enforcement policy.

If cleared by the courts, Arizona would tell its police to check the immigration status of people they lawfully stop and suspect of being in the country illegally. If they were unable to show a driver’s license or other "proof of legal presence," they would be arrested and held for federal immigration agents. Arizona also would make it a crime for illegal immigrants to seek work or to fail to carry immigration documents.

For its part, Obama’s administration favors targeted enforcement, not mass arrests of illegal immigrants.

The administration has gone after drug traffickers, smugglers, violent felons, security risks and repeat border crossers. Last year, nearly 400,000 people were deported, a record high. At the same time, the administration says mere "unlawful presence" in this country is not a federal crime, and it opposes state efforts to round up and arrest more illegal immigrants.

Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Indiana and Utah also have adopted tough immigration enforcement laws. But judges have blocked many of their provisions, awaiting a ruling from the Supreme Court..

Washington lawyer Paul Clement, President George W. Bush’s solicitor general, will argue for Arizona and Republican Gov. Jan Brewer on Wednesday; Obama’s solicitor general, Donald B. Verrilli Jr., will argue the Democratic administration’s case.

Clement is arguing for a stronger state role in enforcing the immigration laws, a traditional federal function. Verrilli is contending that Arizona’s "maximum enforcement" policy for immigration goes too far and conflicts with federal policy.

The court’s decision, expected by the end of June, could ignite the immigration issue in the presidential campaign.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said he supports laws in Arizona and elsewhere that seek to drive away illegal immigrants. "The answer is self-deportation," he said in one debate.

President Barack Obama, on the other hand, has expressed concern about the effect on millions of normally law-abiding Latinos, including those with U.S. citizenship.


Big vote for French anti-immigration candidate in first round of Presidential election

Getting close  to  the two mainstream candidates.  Her voters will decide the final outcome so both mainstream candidates  will be under some pressure to move towards her policies.  Only Sarko is likely to do so, however

Socialist Francois Hollande and President Nicolas Sarkozy progressed to the final round of France's election, with the incumbent's hopes of victory resting on winning supporters from Marine Le Pen's anti-euro National Front.

Hollande won 27.1 percent of the vote against 26.7 percent for Sarkozy, the interior ministry said in Paris late yesterday. The anti-immigrant Le Pen got 19.3 percent, a record for the party that surpassed the predictions of all pollsters. The second round takes place on May 6.

The presidential race was thrown open by Le Pen's performance, which highlighted voters' angst in the face of unemployment at a 12-year high, immigration and a worsening euro region debt crisis. While Hollande's first-round lead was narrower than polls predicted, Sarkozy must now appeal to National Front supporters without alienating more moderate voters.

"He's going to have to hunt right-wing voters," Antonio Barroso, a political analyst at Eurasia Group in London. "That's a bad dynamic for the second round when you normally want to capture the center and unite the country."

Hollande would beat Sarkozy by 56 percent to 44 percent in the final round, said the CSA polling company, citing a survey it conducted after the results. The euro traded at $1.3199 in early Asian trade compared with $1.3219 on April 20.

Siamese Twins

Le Pen's showing surpassed the 16.9 percent that propelled her father into the second round in 2002 and came after a campaign in which she slammed Sarkozy and Hollande as "Siamese twins" who offered no solutions to France's problems.

Her performance channeled voters' concerns about foreign workers taking French jobs, terrorism and the global financial crisis, issues that Sarkozy tried to tap during the campaign.

The risk for investors is that he may now be tempted step up his criticism of the European Central Bank in a bid to boost his pro-growth credentials, said Holger Schmieding, chief economist at Berenberg Bank in London.

"The first round may offer a glimmer of hope for Sarkozy," he said. "But it also entails a risk that he could pander to right-wing sentiment on European issues in the next two weeks. Stronger calls for a 'growth mandate for the ECB' and the like may not go down well in Berlin and Frankfurt."

'Elements of Fear'

Hollande, 57, started drawing the battle lines for the second round, highlighting Sarkozy's appeal to anti-immigrant sentiment.

"I have no doubt he will use all the elements of fear," he told reporters at Brive-La-Gaillarde, central France, before flying to Paris. "I am stronger because I came first."

Sarkozy, the first incumbent since 1958 not to win the first round, said the results represent a "vote of crisis."

The French are "suffering faced with the new world that is taking shape," he told supporters in Paris. "These worries, I know and understand. They rest on the respect of our borders, the fight against off-shoring and the crisis of immigration, the recognition of work and security."

About 57 percent of Le Pen voters will back Sarkozy in the second round, while 23 percent will abstain and 20 percent will back Hollande, according to a survey by the BVA polling company.

In yesterday's vote, Communist Party-backed Jean-Luc Melenchon got 10.8 percent and self-styled centrist Francois Bayrou won 9.2 percent, the government said. CSA estimated turnout at 79 percent, below 2007's first-round level of 84 percent.

Sarkozy Defense

Sarkozy's term has been dominated by a financial crisis which started just months after he took office in May 2007 and is still ricocheting through Europe's bond markets.

Sarkozy, 57, argues that he protected France during the financial crisis by saving its banks and is pushing to expand the ECB's mandate to include spurring economic growth rather than just fighting inflation.

Hollande has pounced on his economic record, pointing to an unemployment rate that has now risen to 9.8 percent. France's economy has also been hurt by Europe's debt crisis, which contributed to France losing its AAA credit rating for the first time in January.

While Sarkozy must try to reach out to National Front voters, Hollande must also overcome the relatively poor performance of Melenchon, a potential ally, if he's to become the first Socialist to win the presidency since Francois Mitterrand in 1988.

"The combined score of the left is not as strong as expected," said Vincent Tiberj of the European Research Center at Science Po. in Paris. "Francois Hollande had a good first round but he has fewer reserves than expected. The second round will be a tighter race than expected."


Sunday, April 22, 2012

TX: Sheriff just doing  his job comes under fire

In thousands of local jails and prisons across the country, federal agents use computer databases to look for possible undocumented immigrants, then file what's known as a detainer a document requesting that local authorities notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement before releasing an alleged immigrant and delay his or her release for up to 48 hours so ICE agents can take custody of them.

In Travis County, where an average of almost three undocumented immigrants have been deported every day since 2009, making it one of the busiest deportation sites in the country, Sheriff Greg Hamilton has said federal regulations require him to comply with those detainers.

But Hamilton has recently come under increasing pressure from critics, including his opponent in the Democratic primary, who contend the detainers aren't mandatory and urge the sheriff to follow the lead of a growing number of other urban areas that have stopped automatically honoring all of them, reducing the number of deportations. Federal officials and Austin's police chief both warn that such a move would come with potentially serious public safety risks.

Austin's Human Rights Commission last month passed a joint resolution with the city's Commission on Immigrant Affairs, urging the Austin City Council to publicly condemn the federal Secure Communities program — the computer information-sharing system that helps ICE agents decide whom to "flag" for possible deportation — and to oppose the jail's "continued honoring of every ‘hold' request."

The March 26 resolution by the two advisory panels claims that Secure Communities has led to the detention and deportation of "thousands of productive Austin residents," wastes taxpayer money by keeping immigrants locked up for longer periods and "creates the perception that all Travis County law enforcement agencies are engaging in immigration enforcement" that makes immigrants less likely to report crimes.

Rebecca Bernhardt, a detainer opponent and policy consultant for the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, a nonprofit group that advocates for criminal justice reforms, said ICE's operations in the jail "discourages a huge section of our population from interacting with law enforcement, which makes all of us less safe."

The American-Statesman reported last month that Travis County ranks 11th nationally in the number of people deported from its jails since Secure Communities came online here in June 2009. Even though ICE says the program prioritizes dangerous criminals, national security threats and repeat immigration law violators, the paper found that more than 1,000 people in Travis County have had detainers placed on them after arrests for traffic violations and other Class C misdemeanors — offenses that typically result in only a fine.

Hamilton has asked County Attorney David Escamilla for legal advice about whether immigration detainers are mandatory or voluntary, Escamilla said Thursday. Hamilton hasn't said whether he's considering changing his department's approach to detainers.

The sheriff is far from alone: The vast majority of the nearly 2,600 counties and other local jurisdictions where Secure Communities has been activated also routinely honor immigration detainers, which take effect after an immigrant's criminal case is resolved or when the person is set to be released on bail. The government plans to have the program in every U.S. county by next year.

The campaign to persuade Hamilton to change his policy focuses on a small but increasing number of urban areas — including New York, Chicago and San Francisco — that have decided to set their own policies to determine which inmates they will hold for ICE and which detainer requests they'll ignore.

Like Austin, they are cities where local officials have adopted policies barring law enforcement officers from asking about a person's immigration status, in hopes of gaining the trust and cooperation of immigrants in fighting crime.

Officials in those cities say the perception that local police are aiding federal agents undercuts that trust. And they have cited a host of other concerns behind their decision: the deportation of people charged with traffic offenses and other low-level crimes, the cost of housing inmates for longer periods and questions about whether local police are being directly or indirectly used to help enforce federal law, which raises constitutional issues.


Canada slowly upping the pressure on less desirable immigrants

Ottawa could require evidence of French, English language skills

Immigrants hoping to become Canadian citizens may soon have to provide written proof of their language abilities.  Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Friday his latest reform is aimed at requiring citizenship applicants to prove they can speak English or French.

"I’ve met a lot of Canadian citizens who have lived here for many years who can’t express themselves in French or English," Kenney said during a speech Friday to the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations.  "It’s not acceptable because it limits their social mobility and their life in Canada."

Kenney announced a change to citizenship rules which would require prospective Canadian citizens to provide what’s called objective evidence of their language ability with their application.

Expanding on language changes he’s already announced for some immigration applicants, Kenney said people will also have to provide new documents to become Canadian citizens.

They will be asked to submit evidence they completed secondary or post-secondary education in English or French; they could also provide results of approved third-party tests, or proof of success in government-funded language training programs.

Kenney explained he wanted the linguistic proof to "ensure that all of those who join us as full members of our Canadian family in the future are able to fully participate in our society."

Adequate knowledge of English or French has already been a requirement since the first Citizenship Act of 1947 — but these new mechanisms are meant to enforce that requirement.  The government also provides language training free of charge to permanent residents.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Immigration boom under Labour changed face of Britain faster than any major country except Italy, Oxford experts reveal

The immigration boom under Labour led to the face of Britain changing faster than any major nation except Italy, a study by an Oxford University think tank revealed.

During the five-year peak of the influx, the UK’s migrant population soared by 22 per cent – double the average of G8 countries, figures from the Migration Observatory show.

Over the past two decades, Britain’s foreign-born population has increased from 3.8million – or 7 per cent of the total population - in 1993 to almost 7million, or 12 per cent per cent in 2010.

During the same period, the number of foreign-born residents without British citizenship doubled from just under two million (4 per cent of the population) to over four million (7 per cent).

Net-migration – the number arrivals minus those leaving - increased from 564,000 during the five years from 1996-2000, to 923,000 in 2001-2005 and 1,044,000 during 2006-2010.  In 2010, net-migration reached 252,000, its highest level for a single calendar year on record.

But it is the period between 2000 and 2005 – a period of an open border policy during and rapid  expansion of the EU - that immigration really spiked.

Only Italy, which experienced a 44.6 per cent rise in immigration, saw a higher rate in the developed world.

Figures also show that as the global population has increased considerably in the last two decades, so too has the number of international migrants.  The number has increased from 156million in 1990 to 214million in 2010.

The comparison with G8 countries compares other high-income nations this group, which also includes Russia, Italy, France, Canada, the U.S. Germany and Japan.

For all the G8 countries, with the exception of Japan, migrants are defined as foreign-born residents in the data.  In the data for Japan, migrants are defined as foreign citizens.

Alp Mehmet, of pressure group Migration Watch, told Mail Online: ‘This underlines what we have been saying about Labour’s mass immigration policy.  ‘It also shows why it will be so difficult to get immigration back down to sensible levels’


Uproar in Italy after illegal immigrants are deported gagged with duct tape and bound with plastic bands

An investigation has been launched after two illegal immigrants were deported from Italy gagged with duct tape across their mouths, surgical masks across their faces and their hands tied with plastic bands.

Details of the case emerged after a passenger travelling on the same flight as the two men took a snap of the incident with his mobile phone as he boarded the plane.

He asked police who were accompanying the Algerians why they were being treated in such a way.

Film director Francesco Sperandeo claimed the officers told him: 'Get back to your seat. This is just a routine deportation operation.'

Astonished by what he had heard and the indifference of fellow passengers, he posted the photo on his Facebook site.

Prosecutors opened an investigation into what had happened on the Alitalia flight from Rome to Tunis earlier this week after the story was picked up by the Italian media and splashed across several front pages as well as dominating TV news bulletins and websites.

Police justified their actions saying the men had been biting their lips and tongues and spitting blood at officers and other passengers in an attempt to hold up the deportation.

The incident happened after the men landed in Rome and then refused to board an onward flight they had booked to Istanbul.

On his posting, Sperandeo, from Palermo, wrote: 'Look what happened today on the 9.20 Rome-Tunis Alitalia flight.  'Two Tunisians [he was unaware of their correct nationality] thrown out of Italy and treated in an inhuman manner.

'They had brown packing tape across their mouths and plastic bands on their wrists. This is civility and European democracy.

'But the most serious aspect is that everything took place to the total indifference of the passengers and when I asked for them to be treated more humanely I was told in an arrogant manner to get back to my seat as it was a normal police operation....Normal ????

'Anyway I managed to take a picture. Spread the word and denounce this.'

By late today, more than 5,000 people had shared the posting with hundreds of comments being posted both on his Facebook site and on the web pages of Italian newspapers, with many expressing outrage.

MPs from all parties also called for the government to investigate.

Gianfranco Fini, president of the Italian lower house of parliament, said: 'I ask the government to explain fully the circumstances of what happened.'  He added that he had asked police chief Antonio Manganelli to look into the incident.

Laura Boldrini, Rome-based spokesperson for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, said: 'This is scandalous treatment. It is humiliating and unjustified.  'I am completely speechless. I have never seen people treated like this in Italy.  'Those masks and that tape blocked out any word of protest. Can you imagine how those two people felt?

'It is correct that those who try and and enter the country illegally should be sent back, but this process should be carried out respectfully and under the proper procedures.

In essence the only thing these two people are guilty of is seeking better life.'

Although the majority of comments on Italian news websites were outraged at the treatment of the men, several also said that 'the full facts should be investigated before judgement is passed'.

Another asked: 'Those people who expressing shock may well have had a different view if they were the ones being spat at.'

Last month, a report by the Council of Europe - the human rights watchdog representing 47 European countries blamed failures by the Italian coastguard and NATO for failing to help rescue a boat packed with illegal immigrants which had been spotted in the Mediterranean and later sank with more than 60 people drowning.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Alabama House passes immigration law revisions

The House on Thursday passed revisions to the controversial anti-illegal immigration law the Legislature approved in 2011.

After more than five hours of debate and an hour of reading the lengthy bill, the House on a vote of 64-34 passed a new bill that revises House Bill 56, which led to lawsuits, demonstrations, a few misdemeanor arrests and intensive media coverage.

After a federal court struck down parts of the law, Gov. Robert Bentley and others called for revisions.  The revision, House Bill 658, was by Rep. Micky Hammon, R-Decatur, author of the original bill that passed largely along party lines — as was the case Thursday.

Hammon said he sponsored the original law because he believes the federal government has failed to prevent illegal immigrants from entering Alabama, taking jobs and using public benefits.

He said revisions contained in his new bill will strengthen the existing law by limiting the number of times identification must be provided by citizens when conducting simple government business such as renewing a driver’s license or vehicle registration.

“This is to make it easier on our law-abiding citizens,” Hammon said. “We have changed some language that deals with some of the judge’s rulings.”

Rep. Blaine Galliher, R-Rainbow City, voted for the bill but believes the revisions did not weaken the immigration law.

“There were some areas (in last year’s bill) that needed clarification in regards to government entities that deal with the general public,” Galliher said. “There were some clarifications that were needed for problems that were creating significant complications for some of the industries. I think what we did was strengthen it in some areas, clarified in some areas and made it simpler to understand and simpler to enforce.

“When you have a complicated piece of legislation, you have to make adjustments, and that’s what we did,” Galliher said.

Rep. Kerry Rich, R-Albertville, one of two Republicans to vote against the bill, said it weakened penalties by giving judges the discretion to suspend licenses. He said the immigration law hasn’t hurt Albertville as much as portrayed with the “self-deportation” of immigrants after last year’s law was passed.

Most of the opposition came from black lawmakers, who said they especially didn’t like a part of the bill that would allow police officers to check identification of vehicle passengers if they ticket a driver during a simple traffic stop.

“This encourages profiling,” said Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa. “I don’t believe my constituents want me here to support a bill that allows them to be arrested for a traffic stop.”

Hammon said the bill aligns with current law on reasonable suspicion involving passengers of a vehicle during a traffic stop. “This language will mirror the other laws we have in the state and fall in line with what law enforcement officers do now,” he said.

Hammon said if a police officer suspects illegal activity, he or she can seek identification from vehicle passengers.


Tough proposal in Canada

If you’re on employment insurance, start paying attention to temporary foreign labourers in your community. You might be asked to take over their jobs in the not-too-distant future.

In his visit to Halifax on Thursday, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney stopped short of making what’s sure to be a controversial announcement. On Wednesday, he had told the National Post’s editorial board that Canada’s EI program will be tied to its immigration program.

Unemployed Canadians will be “required” to take local jobs that employers are now filling with foreign labour, the newspaper said.

In Halifax, Kenney did not confirm that workers will be forced to work those jobs or lose their benefits, despite repeated questions from reporters wondering if laid-off professionals will be driven to work as fruit pickers or in low-paying service jobs.

Kenney described the program more as a communication effort linking open jobs with unemployed Canadians. Employers applying for immigrant labour will be turned back to their own communities and told to offer the jobs there first.

But the minister said he’s leaving the details of the announcement to Human Resources Minister Diane Finley.  “She’ll be dealing with the details and the application of this,” he said.

“My understanding is that, in general, the way the EI program works is that beneficiaries are required to look for work, apply for work that’s available, and take it when it’s available. I think that’s always been the case.”


Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Swiss don't want to be swamped by immigrants from impoverished Eastern Europe

(They're not all that keen on Germans either)

European Union reacted angrily Wednesday to a move by Switzerland to stem a recent wave of immigrants from central and eastern Europe, calling it discriminatory and unjustified.

The Swiss Federal Council announced that it had decided to impose quotas starting May 1 on certain categories of residence permits for citizens of eight E.U. member states: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Hungary.

The government said it was acting to promote better integration and to prevent abuses on the labor market, following a tripling of arrivals from those countries over the past year.

E.U. officials insisted, however, that under its agreement with Switzerland on the free movement of people, all restrictions on those eight countries, which joined the bloc in 2004, were to have ended a year ago and could not be reimposed.

“This measure is neither economically justified by the labor market situation nor by the number of E.U. citizens seeking residence in Switzerland,” Catherine Ashton, the E.U.’s foreign policy chief, said in a statement.

The E.U. said it would raise its concerns directly with the Swiss authorities, most likely at a meeting set for June.

Since May 1, 2011, some 6,000 people from the countries concerned had been granted type B residence permits, compared with an average of 2,075 for the three preceding years, according to the Swiss government.

“So far the population has been quite open, and unemployment is quite low, so there’s no reason to be anxious,” said Agnès Schenker, a spokeswoman for the Swiss Federal Department of Justice and Police. “The Federal Council wanted to be sure it stays that way.”

Immigration has long been a sensitive issue in Switzerland, where one in five residents is foreign-born. The nationalist Swiss People’s Party, the country’s biggest vote-getter, recently started campaigning for an immigration cap.

In a statement announcing its decision, the Federal Council said the 1.1 million E.U. citizens living in Switzerland, which has a total population of only 7.8 million, “make a crucial contribution to the Swiss economy and to the creation and preservation of jobs.”

But given the “complexity of the immigration theme,” it said additional debate on the impact on the job market and integration were needed. It also ordered up “concrete proposals” on Wednesday for steps to ensure companies comply with minimum wage conditions, for example.

Ms. Schenker said that people arriving from relatively poor countries in Eastern Europe were especially vulnerable to pressure to take black-market jobs, “which naturally puts pressure on wages.”

The quotas on people from those eight countries would last for one year, she said, but could be extended for a maximum of one more.


 Recent posts at CIS  below

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

1. Janice Kephart Discusses Massachusetts Driver's License Issuance to Illegal Aliens (Video)

2. DHS Has Nothing Good to Say About the Border, Again (Blog)

3. Key to the Latino Vote? (Blog)

4. K-12 Education Systems May Be Losing Interest in H-1B (Blog)

5. Removing 'The Righteous Mind' from the Immigration Debate (Blog)

6. More on the Innards of H1-B Program: Indenture Starts in OPT Period (Blog)

7. H-1B Concentrated in a Few High-Wage States

8. H-1B Program, with a Couple of Deserved Black Eyes, Opens Filing Season (Blog)

9. Romney Said What About Immigrants? (Blog)

10. A Savvy Terrorist with a Quality Fake ID Can Breach Airline Security (Blog)

11. A Study in Light and Dark: How ICE Has Implemented the Secure Communities Program, in the Field and at Headquarters (Blog)

12. DHS Report Confirms ICE Officers Use Secure Communities Properly (Blog)

13. Massachusetts Suffering More Crime by Not Complying with REAL ID Legal Status Check (Blog)

14. Religious Groups Oppose Mississippi Immigration Bill (Blog)

15. National Commissions on Immigration, 1907-1997 (Blog)

16. Immigration Issue Playing in Big Blue State (Blog)

17. The Green Card Top 20 for 2011 (Blog)

18. Canada Shows the Way: Closes Files on Backlogged Immigrant Applications (Blog)

19. A 'New IDEA' Whose Time Has Come (Blog)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Rubio's immigration push a potential lift for GOP

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's push for a Republican version of immigration legislation looks like the answer to the election-year prayers of the GOP - and Mitt Romney

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's push for a Republican version of immigration legislation looks like the answer to the election-year prayers of the GOP - and Mitt Romney.

Rubio - telegenic son of Cuban exiles and potential vice presidential pick - is pulling together a bill that would allow young illegal immigrants to remain in the United States but denies them citizenship, an initial step in the drawn-out, divisive fight over immigration policy and the fate of the 11 million people here illegally.

The freshman senator calls his evolving legislation a conservative alternative to the DREAM Act - the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors measure. That Democratic-backed bill, which is overwhelmingly popular with Hispanics, would provide a pathway to citizenship to children in the United States illegally if they attend college or join the military. The measure came close to passage in December 2010 but has languished since then.

"We have to come up with an immigration system that honors both our legacy as a nation of laws and also our legacy as a nation of immigrants," Rubio told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

An immigration plan from Rubio, the GOP's best-known Hispanic, could help Republicans make some headway with the fastest growing minority group and its 21 million eligible voters, many concentrated in the contested presidential battleground states of Florida, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and Colorado.

Democrats maintain a significant political advantage with Hispanics, numbers that were only strengthened by the harsh rhetoric from Republican presidential candidates in this year's primary. Hispanics overwhelmingly backed Barack Obama over Republican presidential nominee John McCain, 67-31 percent, in the 2008 presidential race and they favored Democratic congressional candidates 60-38 percent in 2010, according to exit polling. A Pew Research Center survey out Tuesday showed Obama with a solid edge over Romney among Hispanic registered voters, 67-27 percent.

It's a reality the likely Republican presidential nominee clearly recognizes.

"We have to get Hispanic voters to vote for our party," Romney told a private fundraiser in Florida on Sunday in which he insisted the GOP needs an alternative to the DREAM Act. He warned that a significant number of Hispanics backing Obama "spells doom for us," according to NBC News.

Rubio, who notably called on his party to tone down the anti-immigrant talk earlier this year, is working on a plan that would allow young illegal immigrants who came to the United States with their parents to apply for non-immigrant visas. They would be permitted to stay in the country to study or work, could obtain a driver's license but would not be able to vote. They later could apply for residency, but they would not have a special path to citizenship.

Rubio said he has not talked to the Romney campaign about his plan but definitely would. "He's our nominee and I think it's important for him to feel comfortable with and be supportive of whatever endeavor we pursue," the senator said.

The 40-year-old freshman lawmaker is looking at unveiling his bill in the coming weeks. The early outlines have drawn interest and skepticism from pro-immigration groups. Rubio's political motivation also has been questioned, especially since congressional Republicans and Democrats say legislation as ambitious as immigration is unlikely to be done seven months from the election.

"Is this really a legislative initiative or a political ploy?" asked Frank Sharry, executive director of America's Voice. "If it's about a political ploy, it's about throwing a lifeline to Romney, rather than throwing a lifeline to the dreamers."

Joaquin Castro, a Democratic member of the Texas legislature and a candidate for the U.S. House, said Rubio must be troubled by the GOP anti-immigrant talk.

"It must be difficult for a Hispanic Republican to sit there and listen to all of the harsh rhetoric coming from the Republican Party about his community," Castro said in an interview.

Rubio insists that Democrats, who controlled the White House, Senate and House for two years and never completed immigration legislation, are "just panicked about the prospects of losing this issue as a campaign tool."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., signaled Tuesday that Rubio's effort has little chance in the Democratic-controlled Senate, telling reporters that he won't accept an alternative that stops short of providing a path to citizenship.

Brent Wilkes, national executive director of the League of United Latin American Citizens, said if it's Rubio's bill or nothing, "I think we would have to look pretty hard at the offer because the most important thing for these students, at least initially, is for them to get right with the law and get on with their lives." But Wilkes cautioned against creating an apartheid-like system in the United States with a permanent group of second-class individuals.

President Barack Obama challenged the GOP for opposing changes to immigration while Rubio works on an alternative.

"Somehow Republicans want to have it both ways. That looks like hypocrisy to me," the president said in an interview last week with Telemundo News.

Rubio faces a major obstacle in pushing his measure. The Republican Party and its allies remain fiercely divided over immigration policy, a split even more pronounced in an election year.

Moderates who favor a route to citizenship are pitted against lawmakers who want tough laws cracking down on illegal immigrants. The agriculture industry, which relies heavily on illegal immigrants, and its GOP backers in Congress have challenged Republican legislation in the House requiring employers to use an electronic database to determine whether a new worker is legal, commonly known as e-verify. Businesses fear it will be an unnecessary regulation while tea partyers worry about government intrusion.

Opponents of Rubio's work-in-progress already have appealed to their rank-and-file members to contact the senator and express their opposition.

Numbers USA, which wants to reduce the number of legal and illegal immigrants, provided talking points to their nearly 1 million members.

"It is downright appalling that you are working on a DREAM Act amnesty. There is no difference between giving illegal aliens citizenship and giving them an amnesty. They would still be able to compete against unemployed Americans for jobs! You need to drop this plan presto!" the group said.

Roy Beck, president of Numbers USA, said the bill was "just a slower motion amnesty than the DREAM Act that was defeated in December 2010."

"For the pro-amnesty, open borders crowd, the DREAM (Act) is their most compelling case," Beck said in an interview. "So what you've got is some Republicans who feel like somehow they'd like to take that off the table. And frankly if Rubio were to put one of these things out there, and then it's the Democrats that kill it, it could potentially hurt the Democrats."

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, who has led the fight for the DREAM Act for the past decade, said Republicans once backed his measure.

"It's really sad," the Illinois senator said. "When I first offered the DREAM Act, we had more than a dozen Republicans support it. In fact, it was a bill I co-sponsored with Sen. (Orrin) Hatch, but it has become so political over the years."


Skeptical reaction to Obama’s second-term immigration reform promise

One impressive thing about President Obama’s recent pledge that he’d try to get comprehensive immigration reform passed in his second term if reelected, made during a televised interview with the Spanish-language Univision network, is the seemingly bipartisan nature of the unhappy reactions that skeptics have been posting online.

During a network interview Friday, Obama said: “I can promise that I will try to do it in the first year of my second term. I want to try this year. The challenge we’ve got on immigration reform is very simple. I’ve got a majority of Democrats who are prepared to vote for it, and I’ve got no Republicans who are prepared to vote for it.”

A good intention perhaps, but much of the online reaction since has tended to bring up where the road paved with good intentions leads to. During Obama’s first term, immigration reform efforts like the Dream Act have failed while enforcement-based policies like the controversial Secure Communities fingerprint-sharing program have stuck, contributing to record deportations.

The end result, if reaction to Obama’s statement is any indication, is skepticism from voters who had hoped for comprehensive immigration reform by now – and jeers from those who don’t support it. On both right- and left-leaning websites, critics have been recalling similar campaign promises in 2008 and dismissing Obama’s statement as election-year pandering, with reactions ranging from yawns to snark.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A rich exodus: Thousands of more affluent Britons expected to leave in next two years over fears about high crime and taxes

And that is setting the mark for being rich quite low.  You could spend all of £250,000  just buying a house in a middle-income suburb in Australia.  Escaping the mess that Britain is in would be worth it though.  It's one of the few countries where the average person gets poorer every year

More than half a million wealthy Britons are expected to move abroad in the next two years amid concerns about crumbling road and rail networks, crime and high taxes, a survey reveals today.

Some 19 per cent of people with savings and investments worth more than £250,000 are considering a new life overseas, which is up from 17 per cent six months ago and 14 per cent a year ago.

The figures suggest that at least 500,000 people with that level of personal wealth may leave the UK in the next two years.

Investing in improving the infrastructure, such as roads, railways and communications networks, is seen as the most important way to make the UK a more attractive place to live, with 61 per cent of wealthy people choosing this option.  But cutting regulatory red tape for businesses, lowering taxes and improving public services such as healthcare, education and the police were all high on the agenda.

Nicholas Boys-Smith, director at Lloyds TSB International Wealth, which carried out the survey, said: ‘While the figures strongly suggest we won’t see a mass exodus, it is clear that a significant and growing minority see opportunity and a better quality of life overseas.’

Crime and anti-social behaviour is the most popular reason for people to contemplate leaving the UK, chosen by 56 per cent.

While the figures do reveal that a minority of wealthy people are discontent about life in the UK, a majority of 62% said they are currently happy with the UK as a place to live.

Some 42% of wealthy Britons think the UK offers a worse quality of life than other developed countries, while 41% think life in Britain is generally more stressful than life overseas.


Revealed: How HALF of all social housing in parts of England goes to people born abroad

British taxpayers should get priority in the social housing queue over new migrants, David Cameron’s poverty tsar has said.  Frank Field called for the shake-up after a study revealed up to half of all social housing lets are given to those born abroad.

At the same time, nearly five million families are languishing on waiting lists for subsidised housing in England.

According to figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government, in 2010/11 8.6 per cent of new social housing tenants were foreign.  But in London – where the waiting list has soared by 60 per cent  to 362,000 in the past decade – up to half of such housing was handed over to immigrants.

In Haringey, North London, 43 per cent of new social housing tenants were foreign while in Ealing, West London, the figure was 45 per cent.

Although some boroughs did not record tenants’ nationality, making it impossible to scrutinise who is at the top of the queue, on average 11 per cent of new social housing lets in London went to foreigners.

Mr Field, former Labour welfare reform minister, described the trend as a ‘scandal’ that ‘must stop’.  ‘For years we have been told that British people on the waiting list for social housing are getting a fair deal,’ Mr Field said.  ‘Yet, when the situation in London is examined, we find that, in reality, nobody has any idea how many new lets are going to foreign nationals and how many to British citizens.’

‘This scandal must stop. I have a bill before parliament that will ensure that those citizens who have made most contribution to society, who have paid their taxes and whose children have not caused trouble, for example, will have first choice of any housing available.  ‘This would be a major change in our welfare state whereby benefits have to be earned rather than automatically allocated on need.’

Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of Migration Watch said, ‘The present situation is a scandal. The records are in chaos. British people who have lived in the area for many years are given little or no priority.’  ‘What is clear is that the proportion of new lets going to foreign nationals in London is far higher than has previously been admitted.’

He added that only British citizens - including those who were foreign born but had taken up citizenship - should be considered for social housing.

He added: ‘Foreign nationals would still get housing allowance but not social housing; there is no reason why they should be entitled to subsidised housing provided by British taxpayers while British citizens spend years in the queue.’


Monday, April 16, 2012

Boeing resumes bringing Russian engineers to Wash.

These are  obviously valuable  people so it is good that something has been worked out.  A lot of Russian aircraft design is brilliant  -- as brilliant as Russian maintenance is woeful

The Boeing Co. has resumed bringing Russian contract engineers into Washington state, following an incident last fall when a group of them was denied entry by customs officials at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Documents obtained by The Seattle Times under a public records request ( show that the 18 contract engineers were turned back last October because they arrived on B-1 visas, which allow for job training but not direct work for a U.S. company. Under questioning, several of the engineers admitted they'd be working at Boeing's plant in Everett. B-1 visas are easier and cheaper to obtain than H1-B nonimmigrant work visas.

When pressed, several admitted to being coached by their bosses in Moscow on what to tell U.S. border officials, the documents show. One design engineer said her company had told her "she would perform the same work in the United States as she did in Russia," but "admitted that she was instructed by her company not to state that she would be working in the United States."

Boeing was embarrassed by the incident and said it would suspend the practice. But in December, Boeing quietly resumed the visits by Russian contract engineers, without further friction at Sea-Tac — and with the apparent blessing of the federal agencies that police immigration.


British judges still protecting foreign criminals from deportation

Judges have fired a warning shot against Theresa May’s plan to stop foreign criminals abusing human rights laws.

The Home Secretary disclosed last week that immigration rules will be changed by the summer to ensure the “right to private and family life” can only be used to avoid deportation in “rare and exceptional cases”.

But the country’s most senior immigration judge has delivered a ruling in a landmark case which, experts say, reinforces the rights of immigrants who commit serious crimes to avoid deportation.

Mr Justice Blake, the president of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber, said a “settled migrant” could not be removed from the country unless there were “very serious reasons” to do so.

Having lived in the UK from a young age, or having a child or partner here, can strengthen a criminal’s claim to stay.

The judge has flagged up his ruling as a “reported determination”, which means that it will used by other judges to decide similar cases.

Meanwhile, a Conservative MP has warned that Mrs May’s plans to amend the rulebook for immigration officials may not go far enough, and new legislation may be required to ensure that foreign criminals can be returned to their homelands.

Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, Dominic Raab says: “Tinkering with guidelines won’t fix this problem, but amending the UK Borders Act 2007 would.”

Officials from 47 European countries will meet in Brighton this week to debate plans put forward by the Government to reform the European Court of Human Rights, in an attempt to limit its interventions in the UK.

Mr Justice Blake’s decision came in the case of a foreign criminal who was convicted of drug dealing and burglary, but who later overturned a bid by the Home Office to deport him to Pakistan.

Shabaz Masih came to Britain in 1998, aged 10, with his family, who claimed asylum as members of the Christian minority in their homeland. By the age of 15 he was using Class A drugs.

In 2009, he was jailed for 50 months at Ipswich Crown Court for possessing Class A drugs with intent to supply and for another crime which involved burgling a house to steal two cars, including one which was driven away at high speed, and crashed.

Masih, from Haringey, north London, was part of a gang known as the “James Business”, distributing heroin and crack cocaine from a flat above an antiques shop in Ipswich.

Just before his arrest for the burglary Masih conceived a child with a British woman, Jade Millard, and their son was born in March 2009.

A report by probation officers at the time of Masih’s sentencing said he presented a high risk of reoffending and a medium risk to the public.

At the end of Masih’s jail term the Home Office began proceedings to remove him from Britain under laws which state that anyone jailed for 12 months or more is liable to automatic deportation.

He appealed and won his case, citing Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights which protects the “right to a private and family life”. The Home Office lodged a further appeal.

Hearing the new appeal, Mr Justice Blake ruled: “A first sentence of imprisonment, especially if it is as long as this one was, may have a rehabilitative effect on a young offender whose problems seemed to be linked with his abuse of drugs.”

He heard evidence that Masih, now 25, had “put crime ... behind him” and had been free of drugs since being released.

Mr Justice Blake refused the Home Office’s appeal, and said previous case law showed that a “settled migrant” who had “lawfully spent all or the major part” of their youth in this country could only be deported if there were “very serious reasons” to justify the steps.

The Sunday Telegraph’s End the Human Rights Farce campaign has highlighted cases where criminals have escaped deportation, often by claiming their rights under Article 8.

Mr Justice Blake has faced criticism over previous rulings which permitted foreign criminals to stay in Britain.

In one case, he ruled that deporting Rocky Gurung, a 22-year-old killer, to Nepal would breach his right to a family life, even though he was single, had no children and lived with his parents. The judgment was later quashed by Court of Appeal judges.

A Home Office spokesman said: “Too often Article 8 has been used by criminals to dodge deportation and by this summer the Government will have in place new immigration rules which will end this abuse.”