Friday, October 12, 2012

DREAM dying

Kris Kobach, architect of Arizona’s controversial immigration measure, as well as similar ones in other states, says he is confident that by January courts will declare Obama administration’s program for suspending deportation for some undocumented immigrants a violation of federal law.

Kobach told Fox News Latino that the debate between President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, over the president’s program --which Romney said he will end if he assumes the presidency in January– likely will be “a moot issue by the time he takes office.”

The lawsuit, in which Kobach is a lead attorney, was filed in August in federal court in Dallas on behalf of 10 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) employees. It contends that DACA violates federal law and forces ICE employees to break the law by not arresting certain undocumented immigrants.

Kobach, who described himself in the interview as "an informal adviser" to the Romney campaign on immigration matters, made his comments Wednesday as Mississippi became the first state to join his lawsuit against the president’s program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

"States must protect their borders while the federal government continues to ignore this growing problem," said Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant in a news release. "I believe this action by the Obama administration is unconstitutional and circumvents Congress' authority.”

"The fact remains that illegal immigration is a real issue with real consequences, and ignoring the rule of law is irresponsible,” said Bryant, a Republican. “As governor, I cannot turn a blind eye to the problem of illegal immigration and its costs to Mississippi."

Romney, who took a hard line on immigration during the GOP primaries, has said that as president he would end DACA as soon as he assumes office. He assailed DACA as a stop-gap effort that fails to bring any real solution to illegal immigration, and vowed to put in a “permanent solution,” though he has not provided specific information about what that would entail.

Kobach said that Romney did not discuss DACA with him. Kobach, who is Kansas’s secretary of state, added that Romney “will enforce immigration law” as president. As for DACA, he said: “It’ll be a moot question by the time he takes office. I expect the judge in the case will have ruled by January and that he’ll find that the deferred action directive violated federal law.”

Under DACA, immigrants have to prove that they arrived in the United States before they turned 16, have been in the country for at least five years, are 30 or younger, are in school or have graduated or have served in the military may be eligible. They cannot have a criminal record or otherwise be considered a threat to public safety or national security.

Kobach characterizes DACA applicants as people who are a drain on the country.

“Most of the individuals who qualify who are encountered by ICE are already in the penal system,” he says, noting that he is not referring to those who come forward now to apply. “A very high percentage (of DACA immigrants) is within the jail system.”


Right-winger feeds French immigration row with pastry tale

A right-wing politician vying to head France's opposition conservative party has raised a storm by suggesting Muslim youths tear pain au chocolat pastries from children's hands during Islam's fasting month.

The controversy has inflamed old strains over secular and mainly-Catholic France's struggle to assimilate Muslim culture.

Jean-Francois Cope, who is challenging a moderate rival to lead the main opposition conservative UMP party, made the allegation of bullying by young Muslims in front of an audience of supporters last week.

"There are areas where children cannot even eat their 'pains au chocolat' because it's Ramadan," Cope said, referring to an incident allegedly reported to him a few years ago by the mother of a child whose pastry was snatched at his school gate.

The remark, with its evocation of one of France's best-loved breakfast treats, has provoked accusations that Cope is seeking to boost his appeal with the hard-right of his UMP party and so raise his chances of winning next month's leadership contest.

"(Cope) has never hesitated in going too far when it's in his interest," said Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac, a leading figure in Hollande's Socialist government.

The comment has also drawn fire from UMP moderates, with ex-minister Francois Baroin calling it "toxic". Even National Front leader Marine Le Pen weighed in, sniffing that Cope was trying to mimic his mentor, ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy.

"He only notices the reality of racism when he is in a political campaign," Le Pen told France 5 TV.

Yet Cope insists he is taking the lid off a real problem of anti-white racism. In a recent book, he relates an incident in the northern town of Meaux where he is mayor in which a woman was robbed by Arab youths who yelled: "Get lost Gaul woman".

Attitudes to immigration from largely North African former colonies since independence are complex and France, a secular nation of 65 million people, has struggled in the past to assimilate its 5 million-strong Muslim community.

France is also home to a well-established Jewish population of 600,000 that is Europe's largest.

While a study by the INSEE statistics institute released this week found 90 percent of children born to immigrants felt quite French, a survey by pollster TNS Sofres found 56 percent of respondents agreed with Cope that tensions in mixed-faith areas were a problem.


Muslims in the northern Paris suburbs said Cope seemed to be stirring up the issue of ethnic intolerance for political gain.

Abdel Hamza, 39, a bank employee, called it ridiculous. "On the other hand, Cope is pretty clever to make this into an issue. He knows it will make the government uncomfortable, that it puts them in a difficult position," he added.

Hollande has taken a tough line on crime in immigrant-heavy areas since taking power in a May election where security was a key voter concern, but he is also under pressure to bring down rampant unemployment among Arab youths in poor suburbs where opportunities are few.

"There is an urgent need to help these young people, because the far-right is trying to stir up tensions," said Leila Leghmara, a centrist politician in the suburb of Aubervilliers.

Seeking to ease tensions over the issue, the CCIF association that fights Islamophobia set up a stand in Paris's St Lazare station on Wednesday handing out free pains au chocolat to commuters and offering to discuss the issue.

CCIF volunteers said only one passer-by made an offensive remark as they handed out some 400 of the chocolate pastries.

"We got a warm welcome and lots of supportive comments. People told us they are fed up with petty remarks by politicians that stigmatize Muslims," said Marcia Burnier, 26.

"We dispute the idea that there is tension between Muslim and Jewish groups. The issue is France accepting its diverse communities." ($1 = 0.7751 euros)


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