Monday, May 21, 2012

Sheriff Joe is still stirring them up

 Two of Arizona's most prominent advocates for tougher border enforcement are seeking financial contributions to counter potential legislation that would prevent states and cities from enforcing immigration laws.

An email solicitation made by former Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio on behalf of the Ban Amnesty Now group seeks donations to oppose legislation that U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer of New York has promised to pursue if Arizona's 2010 immigration law is upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Critics of Pearce and Arpaio say the group is within its rights to seek the contributions but added that they believe the two are using illegal immigration as a fundraising tool and aren't all that interested in lessening the country's immigration woes.

"It seems they haven't heard the political message," said Randy Parraz, an organizer of a recall effort that led to Pearce's ouster from the Legislature in November, adding that rank-and-file Arizonans are more concerned about jobs and education than illegal immigration. "They are still playing that one note."

Pearce, the chief sponsor of the state's 2010 immigration enforcement law and now president of Ban Amnesty Now, said the fundraising pitch is no different than those made regularly by politicians and that contributions are needed to continue opposing those who seek soft immigration policies.

"Of course, they are going to complain," Pearce said. "And the reason they complain is that they are losing. The public wants the borders secured."

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule in late June on Gov. Jan Brewer's appeal of a ruling that blocked enforcement of the most controversial sections of the immigration law.

The governor is asking the nation's highest court to overturn a ruling that, among other things, blocked enforcement of a requirement that police, while enforcing other laws, question the immigration status of those they suspect are in the country illegally.

The day before the Supreme Court heard arguments in the case late last month, Schumer held a hearing regarding the Arizona law. Schumer vowed that if the Supreme Court upholds the law known as SB1070, he would pursue legislation that would prohibit states and cities from enforcing immigration laws without first getting federal permission.

Angela Kelley, an immigration analyst for the liberal-leaning Center for American Progress, said the legislation promised by Schumer would have a tough time becoming law given the difficulty in recent years of getting enough support for immigration proposals to pass. Kelley said Pearce and Arpaio aren't interested in genuine efforts to fix the nation's immigration woes.

"They're more about the emotions behind it and the politics behind it rather than coming up with smart policies," Kelley said. "The tone that this and other organizations take isn't about a constructive outcome. It's about continued shouting."

Arpaio's office declined to comment and said Pearce should speak for the group.

Pearce said no one is twisting arms to get contributions and scoffed at the notion that he shouldn't seek contributions to fight potential legislation that faces tough odds at passage.


Britain's insane border controls

Hundreds of clerical staff are being drafted in to solve the crisis at airport immigration desks and will be expected to spot fake passports and suspicious passengers after just three days’ training.

Low-level filing clerks and receptionists are among 700 usually desk-bound civil servants recruited for the temporary work.

They will be able to claim up to £250 a day in bonuses and expenses on top of their salaries as they cope with the massive influx of visitors expected for the Olympics.

The move comes just months after the Home Office laid off about 1,000 passport control workers as part of a programme of cutbacks.

The temporary staff will be responsible for spotting dubious passengers, passports and visas after only the most rudimentary classroom instruction.

In contrast, UK Border Agency staff receive up to 15 weeks of training before they man the front line.

Documents obtained by The Mail on Sunday reveal that some staff from the Home Office’s human resources department in Whitehall – whose  normal duties involve handling job applications and employee grievances – have already volunteered.

But the temporary staff will not be given powers to detain passengers and refuse them entry because they won’t have completed the full training.

Instead they will have to hand over suspects to qualified passport officers.

The scheme has been condemned by MPs and unions, who have accused the Home Office of compromising Britain’s national security as up to 600,000 extra passengers  are expected for the London Games....

Home Secretary Theresa May was criticised when passengers faced three-hour queues at Heathrow last month because of a shortage of border staff.

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, said: ‘The delays at our airports have been caused by a 22 per cent cut in staff, and the Home Office is simply trying to put a sticking plaster on what is a very serious injury.’


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