Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Obama Stakes Reelection On New Immigration Promise
The Obama campaign's closing argument to Latino voters boils down to this: Elect our ticket and the chances go up that comprehensive immigration reform becomes a reality.
The latest evidence came on Tuesday, when Vice President Joe Biden told Univision Radio's Enrique Santos why Latinos should back President Barack Obama over Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
"For example, right now you got the president and I and a lot of Democrats out there breaking our neck, trying to get a real immigration law that takes million of people out of the shadows," Biden said. "Making sure that DREAMers don't have to go back -- in many cases -- to countries they never been."
And take what Obama told the Des Moines Register in an interview last week. "The second thing I'm confident we'll get done next year is immigration reform," he said. "George Bush and Karl Rove were smart enough to understand the changing nature of America. And so I am fairly confident that they're going to have a deep interest in getting that done. And I want to get it done because it's the right thing to do and I've cared about this ever since I ran back in 2008."
Here is where it comes full circle as a message to Latino voters. The Obama/Biden ticket makes the case that increased turnout from Latino voters will improve the chances of a bill passing through Congress. And Republicans will support it in an effort to avoid further backlash from a community they have failed to properly court.
"All of the sudden those guys who paid no attention to you -- no attention to the Hispanic community, no attention to the Latino community," Biden told Santos, "-- all of the sudden they are going to say, 'Oh my Lord, I guess we had better get in line with the president.'"
Republicans have responded that Latino voters shouldn't be buying into any of this.
The Republican National Committee circulated a memo to reporters on Monday highlighting that Obama did not deliver on his 2008 campaign promise to bring up a comprehensive immigration bill during his first year in office, something that the president said happened in part because of resistance from congressional Republicans and efforts to pass an economic stimulus to address the Great Recession and healthcare law.
The memo also noted that Obama called immigration reform the "biggest failure" of his first term during a Univision-sponsored event in September.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), who has repeatedly criticized his own party's tone on the immigration issue, called Obama's handling of it "incredibly cynical," telling Newsmax that he's let the issue linger in order to use it as a "political club."
Still, Obama strategy appears to have paid dividends among Latino voters. He leads Romney by 52-points within this group, according to a Latino Decisions poll released Monday. With the horse race becoming increasingly close, Obama's advantage among Latinos could help him defeat Romney if enough voters show up to the polls. Latinos have become an increasingly important group, considering that non-Latino white voters overwhelmingly support Romney.
As it stands, Romney's position on immigration is unpalatable to a vast majority of Latino voters who favor some kind of relief for the 12 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.
Spain's southern coast dealing with massive immigrant arrivals
Spain's southern coast is experiencing the massive arrival of Sub-Saharan [black] immigrants in open boats, a situation that the secretary-general of immigration and emigration on Tuesday linked to the good weather in the region. Since Sunday, 95 immigrants traveling in 16 open boats have been rescued in the Strait of Gibraltar off the coast of Spain's Andalusia region.
At a press conference in the autonomous city of Ceuta on the North African coast, Marina del Corral said that the continuing arrival of boatloads of immigrants is due to the prevailing good weather, adding that the Spanish government has not activated any special plan for dealing with the matter.
The situation is one of "an end-of-summer upturn," said the immigration official, who added that the migrants are taking advantage of the good weather "the latest who have arrived perhaps with less luck, but the protocol is identical."
Del Corral emphasized that the Spanish government is viewing this increase in the migrant flow calmly, given that "we have the mechanisms to confront it, we have the humanitarian aid to offer ... them and we're doing it adequately."
On Tuesday, the Spanish Maritime Rescue service intercepted in the Strait of Gibraltar 29 Sub-Saharan migrants, among them three women and a baby, as they were trying to make it to the Spanish coast aboard five inflatable toy boats.
Posted by jonjayray at 8:52 AM
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
NYT says Arpaio in trouble
Some wishful thinking there
Election Day brings with it the tantalizing possibility that voters in Arizona will do what should have been done years ago: end the career of Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, the self-appointed, self-promoting scourge of illegal immigrants whose five-term reign has been a disaster for law enforcement, county budgets, the lives of immigrants and Latinos and the rule of law.
Sheriff Joe, who is seeking a sixth four-year term, faces a credible challenger in Paul Penzone, a retired Phoenix police sergeant and Democrat. It’s hard to know the current state of the race – The Arizona Republic reported that the polls have varied, depending on which campaign paid for them, but said that the sheriff’s lead has ranged from 14 to 4 percentage points, unusually narrow for someone who previously coasted to re-election with negligible opposition.
Anti-Arpaio forces see signs that the sheriff is breaking a sweat — in the abundance of outside money, ferocious negative ads and election-related mischief. A reporter for the local CBS-TV affiliate, for example, stated wrongly on the air that it was a felony to possess someone else’s ballot — which, if true, would pose a huge problem for the dump-Arpaio groups that have been scouring the county gathering early-voting ballots for delivery to election officials. As long you have a voter’s permission and don’t pretend to be a government employee, handling other people’s ballots is perfectly legal, a fact that the county recorder, a Republican named Helen Purcell, was urged to point out (she eventually did). That didn’t stop Sheriff Arpaio’s campaign from reportedly making robo-calls urging voters not to let anyone take their early ballots — you wouldn’t want to break the law!
Anti-Arpaio groups have also argued that the sheriff’s supporters are trying to suppress the Latino vote. It’s hard to blame them for being suspicious. This is the county, after all, where supporters of a Republican state senator facing a tough recall election put a fake opponent with a Spanish name on the ballot, to dilute the opposition. The sham candidate, Olivia Cortes, eventually withdrew.
Ms. Purcell’s office has already had to acknowledge that voting-information cards and bookmarks it printed in Spanish gave the wrong date for Election Day: Nov. 8, not Nov. 6. Ms. Purcell called it an error. (“I wish I could say we never made a mistake in this office,” her statement said.) The same mistake was not made in the English-language materials.
WA Politicians Eye Utah's Immigrant License System as Model
Washington and New Mexico remain the only two states in the country not to require proof of legal U.S. residency when applying for a driver's license.
But the races for governor and attorney general have brought renewed attention to a proposal that would create a two-tiered driver's license system in Washington to address the issue of driving by immigrants who can't provide proof of legal U.S. residency.
Under the proposal known as the Utah model, a person who can't prove U.S. residency can get a permit that allows them to drive, but that document is not a valid identification.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna backs the idea, and attorney general candidates Republican Reagan Dunn and Democrat Bob Ferguson speak of it favorably.
"The idea that you should be able to obtain (a key identity document) without proving you're a legal resident of the country is seriously mistaken," McKenna said during a debate in Yakima earlier this month.
McKenna's opponent, Democrat Jay Inslee, has said he prefers keeping Washington's current system in place.
Over the years, this has been a contentious issue in Olympia that pits immigrant advocacy groups against conservatives.
Immigrant groups argue that when undocumented immigrants have access to driver's licenses, it creates safer roads and allows them to purchase insurance. Opponents say that failing to ask for proof of U.S. residency invites identity fraud and could end up putting noncitizens in the state's voter rolls.
In Utah, one industry that relies heavily on immigrant labor hasn't seen much change since the law there was passed in 2005.
"Certainly there are labor shortages in our agricultural community, but we didn't feel (the driver's license law) had a significant impact," said Sterling Brown, vice president of public policy at the Utah Farm Bureau Federation. "It has not had an immediate or significant impact on the agriculture community."
According to Utah Driver License Division data, the number of people applying for the Driving Privilege Card has steadily climbed since 2005, from 21,600 to 38,997 in 2011. It peaked at 43,000 in 2008. That same year a state audit found that more than 75 percent of people who had the driving permit also had active car insurance, comparable to the 82 percent rate of drivers with a regular license.
But now immigrant rights groups in Utah are worried about information sharing between the state and the federal government.
In the 2011 legislative session, lawmakers changed the law to mandate the state to notify U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement if an applicant has a felony on this record. If the individual applying has a misdemeanor warrant outstanding, the state notifies the agency who sought the person's arrest.
Luis Garza, executive director of Comunidades Unidas, says he's concerned that people with minor offenses such as traffic infractions will be caught in the dragnet. He's also worried about the database of people applying for the driving permits being leaked.
Beyond that, the system creates a two-class society, he said.
"They have big red letters saying for `driving privilege only'," Garza said. "Anyone who shows that card -- who may or may not be undocumented in the country -- is a second class citizen."
In 2010, the Utah Legislature created another driving permit for noncitizen legal residents, who initially could get the Driving Privilege Card. Still, nearly 160 legal immigrants have the permit.
It's not just immigrant rights groups who oppose the two-tier system. In 2011, a Republican state senator wanted to undue the law because he saw the driving permit as a magnet for undocumented immigrants
In Washington, numerous bills to require proof of U.S. residency have been filed but have never made it the floor of any legislative chamber in recent memory. A bill using the Utah model was introduced in 2011, but did not make it out of committee.
In 2010, the Department of Licensing answered some of the concerns about driver's licenses by narrowing the documents that it now requires to provide proof of Washington residency. It now requires proof of a valid Washington residence address if an applicant doesn't provide a verified Social Security number. The proof documents, such as rental agreements, will be copied and verified by the agency before a permanent license is issued.
"First and foremost, we believe the current system works and we want as much as possible that DOL doesn't become ICE," said Toby Guiven, public policy director at OneAmerica, an immigrant advocacy group.
According to Department of Licensing data, fewer out-of-state people who didn't provide a Social Security number have sought to obtain a driver's license in Washington in the last two years, suggesting the department's new restrictions are deterring undocumented immigrants from other state from getting a license here.
The department's data shows that in 2011, 9,237 people didn't provide a Social Security number when obtaining a license. In all of 2010, more than 23,000 did not. As of October of 2012, more than 5,000 have.
Guiven argued that creating a new system would add costs to the state budget, new bureaucracies and more wait time at the local DMV office.
In Utah, wait lines did increase shortly after the new law was passed, but subsequently decreased, according to an audit.
One unsolved issue around driver's licenses is the arrival of the federal REAL ID act. It was passed in 2005, but its implementation has been delayed since then. The latest deadline for states to come into compliance is January of next year. But officials expect that deadline to be extended.
Department of Licensing spokeswoman Chris Anthony said the Department of Homeland Security has asked for so far an update package for the state at the end of October, but that's it so far.
She added that state lawmakers passed a measure that prohibited the department from acting on REAL ID until the federal government provided money.
Posted by jonjayray at 9:29 AM
Monday, October 29, 2012
Obama's Spanish Language Ads
In an off the record conversation with the Des Moines Register that made it on to the record, Barack Obama stated that, “Should I win a second term, a big reason I will win a second term is because the Republican nominee and the Republican Party have so alienated the fastest-growing demographic group in the country, the Latino community.”
Obama, did not mention, however, what he and the Democrats will offer to the Hispanic community. To see what he thinks will animate this demographic, it is worth looking at his Spanish language ads. In September he released an ad featuring a Latina whose message translates as:
“My name is Nydia. I am an attorney, and Puerto Rican. I would like to talk to you about the Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor. When she was named by Obama we all celebrated, the Puerto Ricans and Hispanics. But Mitt Romney opposed Sotomayor. He offended me when he declared that he rejected her nomination. And now he wants our vote for president. Señor Romney, the time has come to pay the bill.”
The ad ends with Barack Obama stating "Soy Barack Obama y yo apruebo este mensaje." [I am Barack Obama and I approve this message.] Apparently themessage that Obama approves is that Hispanics should vote solely based on their ethnicity. Notice that the ad mentions nothing about Sotomayor’s qualifications or judicial philosophy, but merely the fact that she was Puerto Rican. Hispanics should be outraged by this assumption that they will vote for him based on race rather than policy.
Obama’s most recent ad touts his support for the DREAM Act Amnesty. Obama, who does not speak Spanish, nonetheless drags out his old teleprompter to give a Spanish language message. Obama’s states:
“In the young people known as the DREAMers, I see the same qualities that Michelle and I try to inculcate in our daughters. They respect their parents. They study to get ahead. They want to contribute to the only country that they know and love. As a father, it inspires me. And as president, their courage has made me remember that no obstacle is too great. No road is too long.”
I am the first person to admit that the children whose parents brought them here illegally are a difficult case, and some of them are perfectly nice people. Some, such as Humberto Leal Garcia, an illegal aliens whose parents brought him here when he was 2 and then who murdered and raped a 16 year old, are not. Rather than consider Leal someone who only knew and loved America, Obama tried to block his execution on the grounds that he was a “Mexican National” entitled to legal assistance from the Mexican consulate.
Nor does Obama acknowledge that his amnesty is available for illegals as old as 31. It’s also interesting that he keeps on referring to parents. If some of the “DREAMers” are in a difficult position, the fault is with their parents for making breaking our laws, not America for having immigration laws.
This Spanish language pandering is nothing new for Barack Obama. In 2008, he ran Spanish ads attacking John McCain because his “friend” Rush Limbaugh had supposedly said “stupid and unskilled Mexicans” and that all immigrants must “shut your mouth or you get out!” Besides the fact that anyone who listens to Rush Limbaugh knows he is not fond of John McCain, Obama intentionally took both clips completely out of context.
Limbaugh was not calling all Mexicans stupid and unskilled, he was only referring to Mexicans who were taking low skilled jobs. Perhaps it was a broad brush to apply to unskilled workers, but certainly not meant to apply to Mexicans. The comment about telling immigrants to “shut up or get out” were from a clip where Limbaugh was describing Mexico’s immigration laws, where foreigners who engage in political protests can be deported.
For all his claims that Republicans are anti-Hispanics, these ads show that Obama and the Democrats clearly view Hispanics as little more than a voting block that can be manipulated by lies and racial appeals. Hopefully, patriotic Hispanics voters will prove them wrong.
Britain facing new eastern Europe immigration surge
Britain is facing a new wave of Eastern European immigration which will put British workers’ jobs at risk, experts have warned.
Twenty nine million Bulgarians and Romanians will gain the right to live and work unrestricted in Britain in 2014 under European “freedom of movement” rules.
Last night forecasters said it could lead to a significant number of new arrivals, in the same way as when Poland and other Eastern European countries gained the same rights in 2004, with the scale likely to be increased by the economic crisis gripping the rest of Europe.
And a Government report was disclosed to show concern among official advisers that the British labour market will suffer “adverse effects” as a result.
Both the countries’ citizens currently have restricted rights to come to Britain since they joined the European Union in 2005, but those limits end on 31 December 2014, opening the way for them to move freely.
The restrictions will be lifted at a time when there is increasing political tension over Britain’s relationship with Europe and questions over whether European “freedom of movement” rules have harmed the job prospects of British people.
Theresa May, the Home Secretary, has already indicated she is keen to press for an end to the free movement of EU workers. But there appears to be no prospect of Britain preventing the restrictions being lifted, as it would involve tearing up the provisions of the treaty signed when Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU.
The Home Office has made no official predictions of how many more Bulgarians and Romanians will seek to enter Britain when the current limitations end, and argues that most who want to come have probably arrived already, finding work on the black market if they cannot work legally.
However, critics believe that the Government’s reluctance to issue predictions is because it grossly underestimated the numbers that came in the previous wave of migration in 2004, when citizens from eight new EU members, including Poland, were given full access to the UK job market.
Despite official predictions that less than 20,000 would arrive, some 669,000 people from those eight countries were working in the UK as of last year, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Experts on the government’s Migration Advisory Committee agree immigration is likely to rise when the restrictions are lifted, and have warned it will have a negative effect on the job market in Britain.
It said in a report: “Lifting the restrictions would almost certainly have a positive impact on migration inflows to the UK from those countries.
“At one extreme the effect could be small (with the additional annual inflow being in the hundreds or low thousands, for instance) but it could be significantly higher. “It would not be sensible, or helpful to policymakers, for us to attempt to put a precise numerical range around this likely impact.”
It said there was evidence Bulgarians would come to Britain because of this country’s higher rates of GDP, and also said it was “plausible” that Romanians would come for the same reasons.
Robert Rowthorn, emeritus professor of economics at Cambridge University, said: “The potential for immigration is very large because these are poor countries and they have populations of nearly 30 million between them.
“I think it will have quite a big effect. When Poland and other eastern European countries joined the EU in 2004 there was an unexpected surge and around one million of them are living in this country now, with net migration running at about 40,000 a year.
“I imagine a similar pattern will be repeated with Romania and Bulgaria, although the transitional controls have perhaps taken the edge off somewhat.”
Already figures obtained by The Sunday Telegraph show the number of immigrants coming from the two countries reached a peak of just over 40,000 last year - suggesting that there is likely to be an even great number in 2015.
More than 130,000 immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria are living in Britain and Britain is one of the most popular destinations for Bulgarian migrants, along with Greece, Spain and Germany, while the Romanian Embassy says that Spain and Italy attract 80 per cent of their emigrants.
But the perilous state of the Greek and Spanish economies may mean that much larger numbers of Romanians and Bulgarians decide to come here instead.
Those who come currently either have to have a job when they move or declare themselves as self-employed.
However an investigation by The Sunday Telegraph has revealed how loopholes in current restrictions have allowed eastern Europeans to take 50,000 jobs from which they should have been excluded.
By declaring themselves technically “self-employed”, Bulgarians and Romanians have been able to access jobs in trades like hotel and restaurant work, sales, and taxi-driving. Hundreds of women have also been hired as self-employed lapdancers.
Romanian and British job agencies have become adept at streamlining the paperwork involved for employers, so that even waiters, hotel receptionists and porters can be hired on a self-employed basis.
The “self-employed” category is also being used by strip clubs to recruit young Romanian and Bulgarian women, according to adverts placed on tjobs.ro, Romania’s leading recruitment website.
Official figures from the Department for Work and Pensions showed 40,260 Romanian and Bulgarian workers applied for National Insurance numbers last year - the largest number on record and a 28 per cent rise year on year.
Sir Andrew Green, director of MigrationWatch UK, said: “I think there could be a significant spike from Romania and Bulgaria, particularly as the economies in other parts of the EU are suffering serious difficulties. “Neither Spain nor Italy are a good bet at the moment if you’re looking for a job.
“I think we need a further five year extension of the transitional arrangements. Britain has done our bit with eastern European migrants - we’ve taken far more than any other country - and we could justify a special case for such an extension.”
Sinclair Stevenson, the chief executive of Bucharest-based Premier Global International recruitment, said: “I think people in Romania will take advantage, as there is already now quite a strong community in the UK. With their language abilities, they have a propensity go there anyway.”
Croatia is also due to join the EU in July next year but with a population of just four million it is unlikely to lead to large numbers of arrivals in Britain, and will also be subject to transitional controls.
Posted by jonjayray at 12:08 AM
Sunday, October 28, 2012
3K illegal immigrants applying daily under Obama's deportation reprieve plan
More than 3,000 young illegal immigrants are applying daily to take part in the administration's new deportation reprieve policy, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said last week.
Napolitano said a total of roughly 200,000 people have applied since the agency began accepting applications two months ago.
She made the announcement Wednesday to a panel of educators from across the country who serve on the Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council, as reported by The Hill newspaper.
The agency began accepting applications after President Obama in June made the policy change -- after failing to pass comprehensive immigration reform and during an election year in which he will again need the Latino vote to help him win.
Napolitano announced earlier this year the agency would focus its resources on deporting illegal immigrants who are the most serious.
The change allows people under 31 who were brought the United States illegally by their parents to remain in the country for at least two years and get a temporary work permit. And the two-year permit can be renewed.
Applicants cannot have committed a felony or have been convicted of more than two misdemeanors. They also must have lived in the U.S. for the past five years, have graduated from high school or received an equivalent diploma, or been honorably discharged from the military.
Asylum rioters rewarded with visa to stay in Australia
ASYLUM seekers convicted of participating in riots that caused more than $5 million damage to the Christmas Island detention centre have been handed protection visas to stay in the country.
Just one of seven offenders convicted over the riots had his visa application rejected by Immigration Minister Chris Bowen on character grounds.
Three men found guilty of offences relating to the March 2011 riots - in which accommodation and administration facilities were burned down and rocks thrown at police - have been granted protection visas to remain in Australia.
Two others convicted were found not to be refugees and another has a current protection claim but is appealing against his conviction. Six of the seven remain in Australia.
At the time of the riots, Mr Bowen talked tough about the 200 participants, most of whom had their faces covered. Only 22 were charged, leaving just seven with convictions.
"Again, a group of around 200 protesters seem to think that violent behaviour is an acceptable way to influence the outcome of their visa application or influence government decision-making," he said at the time.
A month after the riots, Mr Bowen said he was toughening the character test provisions "to make it very clear that anybody who commits an offence, regardless of the penalty, regardless of the sentence, while they are in immigration detention will fail the character test and can be denied a permanent visa".
It has been revealed to parliament that the three rioters given protection visas received a warning on their character assessment before being handed their visas.
The character test clearly states if an asylum seeker has been convicted of an offence while in detention they fail the test. Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said that the rioters' visa applications should have been rejected.
Australian Federal Police and dog squad in riot gear prepare to relocate asylum-seeker detainees within the detention centre on Christmas Island, following the March riots.
"Minister Bowen has proved himself a soft touch on our borders at every opportunity," Mr Morrison said.
"Every chance he has had to send a strong message on our borders, he has rolled out the welcome mat.
"The fact that he granted permanent visas to those who rioted and burnt sections of detention centres to the ground on his watch is a disgrace."
Posted by jonjayray at 3:44 PM
Friday, October 26, 2012
Study: Undocumented Immigration From Mexico on the Rise
A finding that more Mexicans are crossing the border for low-skilled jobs is a sign of economic recovery, a study says.
A slight bump in the flow of undocumented Mexican immigrants during the first half of 2012 appears to signal a rebound of some U.S. sectors that realy on low-skilled workers, according to a two-nation study.
The population of illegal immigrants has reached prerecession levels (11.7 million). That figure led the study’s authors to argue that laws such Arizona’s SB1070 that aim to expel undocumented immigrants by making it impossible for them to live and work in the U.S. had little impact.
In a way, the study reveals a simple fact: People will move where there is work. The latest federal jobs report shows that of the 114,000 jobs added in September, most were in health, transportation, and warehousing, sectors that employ minorities, including low-skilled legal and unauthorized immigrants.
Even a small increase in the need for Mexican labor “would prompt a positive response in the migration flows despite intensified enforcement efforts by the federal government, several states, and some local governments,” according to the study.
Despite three years of unemployment levels at 8 percent or higher, “the size of the Mexican migrant population has not shrunken.” Similarly, record levels of federal deportations and state immigration laws have not curbed undocumented immigration, the study found.
The data are in direct contrast to an April Pew Hispanic Center study that revealed that net migration from Mexico to the U.S. had fallen to zero or had even reversed.
“Mexican Migration Monitor” is a joint publication of the University of Southern California’s Tomás Rivera Policy Institute in Los Angeles and El Colegio de la Frontera Norte in Tijuana, Mexico. The study analyzed data from various sources, including unpublished data from the Border Survey of Mexican Migrants.
Key highlights of the report:
* While the construction industry has continued to shed jobs through 2012, opportunities have been increasing in the leisure and hospitality arenas.
* Mexican migrants still come to the U.S. primarily to work as low-skilled laborers.
* Immigrants deported from the interior of the country, such as those caught during workplace immigration raids, are likely to be have resided in the U.S. longer, often are heads of households, and are age 35 or older. People apprehended closer to the border often are younger and have been in the U.S. for a shorter length of time.
State Cracking Down on Businesses to Verify Workers' Immigration Status
Any business -- with the exception of a few industries -- hiring a new employee must verify that person's immigration status or face potential punishment.
It's called the E-verify program, and it's one part of South Carolina's immigration reform law that was amended last year.
The state's department of labor, licensing and regulation says in the past ten months it's checked more than 3,000 businesses for compliance. In most cases, LLR says, businesses are complying.
"We've got a 92 percent compliance rate," according to Jim Knight, the administrator of the LLR's Immigrant Worker Compliance program.
But there are a handful of businesses that aren't using the electronic verification program -- likely because they're unaware of the law.
At least 16 businesses, ranging from welders to pizza shops, have been put on probation after LLR discovered the companies weren't using E-verify.
But all of them, Knight said, quickly came into compliance and now understand the law. None of the employees who weren't checked through E-verify were illegal immigrants, Knight said.
To see a list of non-compliant businesses, click here.
The verification program was one part of the state's law which was passed to make sure available jobs are going to legal US citizens, Knight said.
The director says the law is having a positive impact on ensuring illegals aren't given jobs, and he said it's sendind a message to the illegals that they won't be able to find work in this state.
A business found to be non-compliant is issued a warning and put on probation for a year where they have to send quarterly reports to LLR.
Any business which violates the law a second time within three years could have its right to conduct business suspended by the LLR.
The E-verify program was suspended in 2010 after a US Supreme Court ruling brought into question the law's constitutionality. The court made it clear state's couldn't monetarily fine businesses which violated the requirement. State lawmakers quickly amended the law in 2011 by dropping the monetary fines.
Posted by jonjayray at 10:24 AM
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Millions of Brits desert the Labour Party because of immigration -- with 80% of supporters wanting drastic curbs on numbers
Millions of Labour voters have deserted the party in protest over mass immigration. A poll reveals that nearly eight in ten former Labour voters support drastic curbs on migrant numbers. It also shows huge support for sharp cuts in arrivals among those who have remained with the party.
In 1997, some 13.5million voted for Labour, but by the 2010 election that had fallen to 8.6million. Analysis of the views of some of the five million ‘lost’ Labour voters by YouGov shows 78 per cent want net migration cut to zero.
That policy would mean foreign migrants would be allowed in only to replace people who left – in effect, a one-in-one-out rule.
The YouGov poll, published in Prospect magazine, interviewed thousands of Labour 'defectors'. Pollsters also found that two-thirds of Labour party loyalists backed zero net migration.
Sir Andrew Green, chairman of the MigrationWatch think tank, said: 'This is stunning research which is bound to affect Labour’s immigration policies. 'We will see whether they have the courage to declare a limit on immigration or whether they try to duck this essential issue. The track record so far is not encouraging.'
Ed Miliband signalled this month that he wanted more done to tackle immigration, saying low-skilled immigration into Britain was 'too high'. But the Labour leader offered no policy proposals for how he would fix the problem.
Labour’s open-door migration policy led to the largest population explosion in Britain since the Saxon invasion. Between 1997 and 2010 the foreign-born population of the UK increased by three million, while nearly a million British citizens left the country.
Last year net migration stood at 216,000, down from 252,000 in 2010.
Home Secretary Theresa May has imposed a cap on migrant worker numbers and led a crackdown on family migration and bogus students.
Hispanic woman whose entire LIFE was stolen: Illegal immigrant 'used teacher's private details to get a job, a mortgage and medical care for her own two children'
When Candida L. Gutierrez's identity was stolen, the thief didn't limit herself to opening fraudulent credit and bank accounts. She assumed Gutierrez's persona completely, using it to get a job, a driver's license, a mortgage and even medical care for the birth of two children.
All the while, the crook claimed the real Gutierrez was the one who had stolen her identity. The women's kafkaesque nightmare puts a face on 'total identity theft,' a brazen form of the crime in which con artists go far beyond financial fraud to assume many other aspects of another person's life.
The scheme has been linked to illegal immigrants who use stolen Social Security numbers to get paid at their jobs, and authorities fear the problem could soon grow to ensnare more unsuspecting Americans.
'When she claimed my identity and I claimed it back, she was informed that I was claiming it too,' said Gutierrez, a 31-year-old Houston elementary school teacher. 'She knew I was aware and that I was trying to fight, and yet she would keep fighting. It is not like she realized and she stopped. No, she kept going, and she kept going harder.'
A 32-year-old illegal immigrant named Benita Cardona-Gonzalez is accused of using Gutierrez's identity during a 10-year period when she worked at a Topeka company that packages refrigerated foods.
For years, large numbers of illegal immigrants have filled out payroll forms using their real names but stolen Social Security numbers. However, as electronic employment verification systems such as E-Verify become more common, the use of fake numbers is increasingly difficult.
Now prosecutors worry that more people will try to fool the systems by assuming full identities rather than stealing the numbers alone.
For victims, total identity theft can also have serious health consequences if electronic medical records linked to Social Security numbers get mixed up, putting at risk the accuracy of important patient information such as blood types or life-threatening allergies.
Federal Trade Commission statistics show that Americans reported more than 279,000 instances of identity theft in 2011, up from 251,100 a year earlier. While it is unclear how many of those cases involve total identity theft, one possible indicator is the number of identity theft complaints that involve more than one type of identity theft - 13 percent last year, compared with 12 percent a year earlier.
Nationwide, employment-related fraud accounted for 8 percent of identity theft complaints last year. But in states with large immigrant populations, employment-related identity fraud was much higher: 25 percent in Arizona, 15 percent in Texas, 16 percent in New Mexico, 12 percent in California.
Prosecutors say that the longer a person uses someone else's identity, the more confident the thief becomes using that identity for purposes other than just working.
Once they have become established in a community, identity thieves don't want to live in the shadows and they seek a normal life like everybody else. That's when they take the next step and get a driver's license, a home loan and health insurance.
'And so that is a natural progression, and that is what we are seeing,' said Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Anderson, who is prosecuting the case against Gutierrez's alleged impostor.
Gutierrez first learned her identity had been hijacked when she was turned down for a mortgage more than a decade ago. Now each year she trudges to the Social Security Administration with her birth certificate, driver's license, passport and even school yearbooks to prove her identity and clear her employment record.
She spends hours on the phone with creditors and credit bureaus, fills out affidavits and has yet to clean up her credit history. Her tax records are a mess. She even once phoned the impostor's Kansas employer in a futile effort to find some relief.
Both women claimed they were identity theft victims and sought to get new Social Security numbers. The Social Security Administration turned down the request from Gutierrez, instead issuing a new number to the woman impersonating her.
And in another ironic twist, Gutierrez was forced to file her federal income tax forms using a special identification number usually reserved for illegal immigrants.
'It is such a horrible nightmare,' Gutierrez said. 'You get really angry, and then you start realizing anger is not going to help. ... But when you have so much on your plate and you keep such a busy life, it is really such a super big inconvenience. You have to find the time for someone who is abusing you.'
When Gutierrez recently got married, her husband began researching identity theft on the Internet and stumbled across identity theft cases filed against other illegal immigrants working at Reser's Fine Foods, the same manufacturer where Cardona-Gonzalez worked. He contacted federal authorities in Kansas and asked them to investigate the employee working there who had stolen his wife's identity.
The alleged impostor was arrested in August, and her fingerprints confirmed that immigration agents had encountered Cardona-Gonzalez in 1996 in Harlingen, Texas, and sent her back to Mexico.
Posted by jonjayray at 9:43 AM
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Government of Canada cracking down on immigration fraud
With the winds of war blowing in the Middle East and other trouble spots it's hard to blame the well-to-do of the world for coveting Canadian passports as an insurance policy, but the government says you will either do it legally or lose it. That's what a couple from Turkey found out the hard way when they tried to sneak back into Canada where they were supposed to be living as permanent residents.
Reha and Ecehan Ozcelik were arrested at Trudeau International Airport when it turned out under questioning that they knew just about nothing about Montreal, their adopted home town in Canada.
Permanent residents must live 2 of 5 years in Canada to maintain their status and make a statutory declaration to that effect when applying for citizenship, which is still a very low threshold compared to other countries that accept immigrants.
Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) charged the Ozceliks with making false representations, to which they pled guilty. A Quebec court convicted the couple, who might have preferred jail instead, and imposed an unusually steep fine of $120,000. Now six-figure poorer but certainly wiser they will have to return to their native Turkey unless they can find a legal way to keep their immigration status.
With Turkey looking more and more like the Islamic Republic of Iran every passing day, many affluent Turks are looking to Canada and the United States to guarantee their children's future in a secular country.
The incident was recently announced by Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, who reiterated government's determination to crack down on immigration and citizenship fraud. Kenney congratulated CBSA for their vigilance and said that those who obtain Canadian citizenship under false pretenses will lose it.
Some 3100 naturalised citizens are slated to lose citizenship for making false residency representations. Revoking citizenship is an extreme measure that requires cabinet approval. It was rarely applied prior to 2010, mostly to those accused of war crimes.
Investigations are specially targeting immigrants from the Middle East
Recent posts at CIS below
See here for the blog. The CIS main page is here.
1. What Are They Thinking? A Look at Roman Catholic “Doctrine” on Immigration (Backgrounder)
2. What the DACA Ordered: The Intersection of Administrative Amnesty and Health Reform (Memorandum)
3. The Placid Response of DHS to its Enigma Challenge — the Border Tunnels (Blog)
4. My Vote for Weakest Immigration Sob Story of the Year (Blog)
5. What Cuba's New Exit Rules Mean for the United States (Blog)
6. 3,400 Border Patrol Agents on the Chopping Block (Blog)
7. Another One Bites the Dust (Blog)
8. ICE Refuses to Detain Illegal Alien Journalist (Blog)
9. No Limiting Principle (Blog)
10. USCIS Does Right Thing on EB-5 Issue — and Wins a Round in Court (Blog)
11. Choose You This Day Whom You Will Serve (Blog)
12. NYC Immigration Judges Favor Aliens More Frequently (Blog)
Posted by jonjayray at 9:10 AM
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
A pox on both their houses!
Barack Obama and Mitt Romney should stop talking about immigration. Even when they're asked about it, as they were during their second debate, they should just smile politely and say: "No comment."
Otherwise, why remind voters that there is so much about this issue that the candidates don't understand? Not to mention that both of them have taken positions or enacted policies that they are having a tough time explaining?
For Romney, it was his shameful posturing in the Republican primary contests when he lurched to the right and not only took a hard line on anything resembling "amnesty" but also denigrated hardworking immigrants as takers who come to America for the freebies.
For Obama, it is his shameful record in office that includes 1.5 million deportations, divided families, thousands of U.S.-born kids of deported parents dumped into foster care, battered wives deported after calling the police, street vendors deported for selling ice cream or tamales without a permit, and expanded Arizona-style cooperation between local police and U.S. immigration officials nationwide by way of the Secure Communities program.
To avoid being criticized for all this by Latino supporters, Obama, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and White House official Cecilia Munoz -- the administration's designated Latina apologist -- insist that it is only undesirables who are being deported.
Meanwhile, community activists in Detroit are protesting what they claim is a serious infraction by the local field office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, where agents are accused of staking out an elementary school to detain parents as they pick up their kids. How low can the administration go?
In trying to navigate the choppy waters of the immigration issue, each candidate has his coping mechanism.
Obama retreats into a fantasy world of unicorns and cotton candy where immigration officials only deport -- as he said during the debate -- "criminals, gangbangers, people who are hurting the community, not after students, not after folks who are here just because they're trying to figure out how to feed their families." Back in the real world, ICE agents have deported, since Obama took office, hundreds of thousands of gardeners, housekeepers, nannies and farm workers who were just "trying to figure out how to feed their families."
Meanwhile, Romney prefers to keep his answers vague, especially when asked what he would do with the estimated 10 million illegal immigrants in the United States.
Team Obama has to feign outrage over Romney's plan to allow illegal immigrants to voluntarily leave the country while ignoring that Obama prefers the more hands-on method. That's where ICE agents will kick down doors, put people in shackles, and toss them into a detention facility. According to a PBS documentary that aired last year, "Lost in Detention," many report allegations of being physically and sexually abused.
Team Romney -- in a futile bid to win Latino support -- is trying to criticize Obama for breaking his 2008 campaign promise to pursue comprehensive immigration reform, while ignoring that -- at least until the debate -- the Republican candidate opposed the concept. Now Romney says that he'll "get it done" in his first year.
Really, what's the point of Obama and Romney bickering over immigration to see who is the lesser evil? On this issue, they're both dreadful.
Prince William County renews focus on immigration
As Prince William County grapples with the sudden loss of a controversial program to identify and deport illegal immigrants who commit crimes, the immigration debate has been renewed just ahead of Election Day.
County officials were surprised that a partnership allowing Prince William to enforce federal immigration laws, known as 287 (g), is being renewed only until year’s end by the Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. County officials had thought they were negotiating a new three-year deal.
Corey A. Stewart, chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, considers the program the crux of its anti-illegal immigration efforts, passed in 2007, mandating that police check the immigration status of people arrested.
Stewart (R-At Large) said he thinks ICE and the Obama administration are playing politics.
“Frankly, I didn’t think they’d have the guts to do it,” Stewart said of the Obama administration. “It’s going to hurt them in Virginia, and it’s going to hurt them in Prince William County. I really didn’t think they’d be foolish . . . from a political perspective to terminate the program right before the November elections.”
ICE has remained mostly mum about the reasons for the change. The Obama administration has instructed federal immigration offices across the country to focus on border security and people who commit serious crimes. It plans to phase out 287 (g) in favor of the Secure Communities program.
“The Secure Communities screening process, coupled with federal officers, is more consistent, efficient and cost effective in identifying and removing criminal and other priority aliens,” ICE spokeswoman Danielle Bennett said in a statement.
The department has declined to answer further questions.
Under Secure Communities, suspects’ names are run through an ICE database, which contains records of people who have come into contact with federal immigration authorities. After this year, Prince William law enforcement authorities would no longer be able to investigate the immigration status of people they arrest.
County officials say they won’t be able to identify nearly as many illegal immigrants. In a statement, they said that 5,000 people arrested in the county so far have been found to be here illegally. With the change, they estimated that number would drop by 60 percent.
The change was welcomed by people who say the 287 (g) program can lead to racial profiling and distract police from their core responsibilities.
Claire G. Gastanaga, executive director of the Virginia American Civil Liberties Union, said the ACLU has opposed the program from the beginning because ICE already detains and deports dangerous criminals.
“We think it’s antithetical to good, effective community policing,” she said. “You confuse the roles of local police and federal immigration authorities. You end up being less safe because people are not willing to cooperate with the police.”
Posted by jonjayray at 9:57 AM
Monday, October 22, 2012
Britain's immigration restrictions are hitting the wrong people
It's the welfare-dependent army of pseudo-refugees and illegals that they should be focusing on. Restricting welfare benefits to the native-born and those who can show 10 years worth of contributions to National Insurance would work wonders
THE prime minister’s speech at the Conservative Party conference on October 10th contained a thumping statement of the obvious. Britain might never recover its former glory, David Cameron admitted. The country is running a global race against much nimbler competitors. Its only hope is to slice regulations so that innovative, entrepreneurial folk can thrive, and trade furiously. Splendid stuff. So why is Mr Cameron’s government pursuing an immigration policy that is creating red tape, stifling entrepreneurs and hobbling Britain?
The country has, in effect, installed a "keep out" sign over the white cliffs of Dover. Even as Mr Cameron defends the City of London as a global financial centre, and takes planeloads of business folk on foreign trips, his government ratchets up measures that would turn an entrepôt into a fortress. In the past two years the Tories have made it much harder for students and foreign workers and family members to enter and settle in the country. Britain is not only losing the war for global talent, it is scarcely competing. More people now leave to take up job offers in other countries than come the other way.
Little England trumps Great Britain
Businesses everywhere complain about immigration systems. But Britain’s is comprehensively bad, in three ways. First, the policy itself. In opposition, Mr Cameron promised to bring net migration--immigration minus emigration--to below 100,000 a year by 2015. Since the latest tally stands at 216,000, this is hard, perhaps impossible. Britons and Europeans can come and go as they wish. Human-rights laws protect asylum-seekers. So Theresa May, the home secretary, has squeezed migrant workers and students--the very people who are most likely to boost Britain’s economy, as well as the most likely to leave soon. The number of study visas handed out has plunged by 21% in a year. The government has made it harder to move from study to work, which in turn will deter foreign students from applying. International education, one of the country’s most important export industries and an area where Britain should have a huge competitive advantage, is being starved.
In theory, Britain’s door is open to the most highly skilled, as well as to the very rich. In practice it is not, because of the second disastrous aspect of the immigration system: its bureaucracy. It takes far too long to process visa applications. Big firms can generally put up with the hassle involved in transferring a worker from Delhi. Smaller ones cannot. Fast-growing technology firms are in the worst position because they compete for a flighty, global pool of talent (see "Immigration and business: A harder road"). Workers who navigate the maze are tied to a firm, sapping their productivity. Britain fails to hand out even its meagre allocation of work visas. One category, for people of exceptional talent, has an annual cap of 1,000. Last year 37 such visas were granted.
Third, British politicians, led by the Conservatives, do their utmost to signal hostility and mislead the public. Last month Parliament approved a motion to take "all necessary steps" to keep the country’s population below 70m. Ed Miliband, Labour’s leader, has apologised on behalf of his party for the migration of east Europeans to Britain in the middle of the last decade (never mind that the Poles, like most people who migrate for work, claimed few benefits and contributed far more to the public purse). Mr Cameron has promised to review the rules guaranteeing freedom of movement within the EU. This right probably cannot be withdrawn unless Britain leaves the union, which it is not about to do. The only thing achieved by bringing it up is to add neon lights to the "keep out" sign. Talented folk, who can go elsewhere, will get the message.
The paradox of populism
Some senior politicians admit privately that Britain’s immigration policy is disastrous. A few business-minded Conservative MPs have begun to complain that the country’s immigration strategy is undermining its growth strategy. Boris Johnson, London’s ambitious, liberal-minded mayor, is egging them on. But what can be done, they ask? Britons, they shudder, will not wear a relaxation of the immigration rules. The government must stick to its promises.
The simple answer is that if a policy is doing as much harm to your country’s prospects as the net-migration target, then you should drop it entirely--and explain why. Mr Cameron is sadly unlikely to make such a bold U-turn, but he has some political room for smaller manoeuvres.
Immigration is certainly unpopular. Britons are more opposed to it than are the inhabitants of any other large European country. Fully 62% think immigrants make it harder for natives to get jobs, compared with a European average of 45%. Three-quarters argue that immigrants put too much pressure on public services. But the natives are not as xenophobic as their leaders suppose. Britons dislike skilled workers and students less than other immigrants. (Indeed, by European standards, they are exceptionally keen to discriminate between such desirable arrivals and the rest.) More important, they know the government’s policies aren’t working: immigration scores even lower than health, a Tory disaster area. If the net migration target is missed they will become angrier.
Even if Mr Cameron cannot scrap that foolish target, the government could take a few useful steps. Some groups, such as workers on company transfers and students, could be exempted from the target. The government should make it easier to move from study to work, at least for students at the best institutions. Somebody who can make it to a leading university will almost certainly prove an asset to Britain. The government should also speed and simplify the visa system. It has hacked back much of the red tape that binds business, and should do the same to immigration rules.
As emerging countries grow, the enthusiasm of young, talented foreigners to get an education in a British university or to sell their wares to Britain’s relatively prosperous consumers is likely to diminish. For now, though, the country’s global popularity gives it a huge advantage, which the government is squandering. The world is a competitive place. Britain is trying to run with its shoelaces tied together.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney seeks power to bar people from Canada
There are a number of good reasons for not letting certain people into Canada: having a criminal record, being deemed a threat to the security of residents or the security of the country, and involvement in human rights violations, among others. Decisions about entry are made by border officials every day.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney thinks he should also have a say.
Kenney announced last week that he will seek new powers to bar certain people from entering Canada if the minister concludes that it is justified by “public policy considerations.” It’s a vague term that has yet to be defined, but he says it would mostly apply to people entering with the intent to promote hatred and spark violence.
Kenney says the recent attempt by Qur’an-burning preacher Terry Jones to cross the border demonstrates the need for the law. Canadian border officials found, in the nick of time, that Jones had a minor U.S. conviction for breach of peace and were able to keep him out. If the proposed law, which will go in front of a Commons immigration committee in the fall, was in place, Kenney could have stepped in from the get-go.
But Kenney is not shy in exercising his ministerial powers and has done so before. In 2009, his office arranged to bar British MP George Galloway from entering Canada, allegedly for supporting Hamas, which is designated by Canada as a terrorist group. A year later, the Federal Court ruled that Galloway was denied because the government did not like his political views, not because of national security.
As a result, there is well-founded concern that this new law could be applied inconsistently and arbitrarily. And proponents of free speech may argue that it shouldn’t be the role of the government to keep out those with views we may find collectively reprehensible.
Yet Kenney says he will try to ensure that the law can’t be abused. He intends to issue a list of criteria by which one can be denied before the parliamentary committee, and reach out to his own party and the opposition for feedback. He insists he isn’t looking for “some broad generalized power to prevent the admission of people to Canada whose political opinions we disagree with.”
But the question is: if Kenney can already step in for “exceptional cases” at the border, why the need to enshrine it in law? And given his government’s track record, how can we be sure the law won’t be abused? We can’t. This is a bad plan and the minister would be wise to drop it now.
Posted by jonjayray at 10:26 AM
Sunday, October 21, 2012
U.S. immigration choice: Education vs. diversity, or both?
People around the world with accredited degrees in science and math should "get a green card stapled to their diploma," Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said in his Tuesday night debate with President Barack Obama, who has made similar appeals to retain skilled foreign students.
Stewed over by lawmakers since 2009, the visa-stapled degree is a bipartisan idea that Congress has been unable to achieve. Election-year politicking brought a rare opening but then quickly shut the door to compromise this fall -- specifically, whether to create more opportunities for highly educated scientists and engineers to stay in the United States at the expense of shutting down a random lottery of visas.
"Do we want to have 6,000 Iranians coming here or do we want 6,000 scientists and researchers?" U.S. Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-Coronado, asked on the House of Representatives floor. "Do we want over 2,000 Moroccans (or) individuals who have proved they have an asset?"
In other words, congressional Republicans said, the United States can award special green cards for permanent residency to foreign scientists and engineers or it can give out the visas in a random global lottery, but it cannot do both.
They sought to replace the "diversity visa lottery" with 55,000 visas annually granting permanent residency to immigrants with advanced U.S. degrees in science, technology, engineering or math, called the STEM fields. Most Democrats reject that choice, arguing that America has room for both visa programs. Neither Romney nor Obama has weighed in on the lottery side of the debate.
The House debate collapsed in late September in a hail of carefully calibrated finger-pointing but left open an important question: Should the country retain the most highly educated migrants by sacrificing a lottery that over the past 17 years has opened the door to thousands of people? Or do both?
Everyone expects the issue to return once the political season cools off.
"We should keep the great students already studying at Stanford and Berkeley and not worry about bringing in people who may or may not contribute to U.S. competitiveness," said author Vivek Wadhwa, who has warned of a Silicon Valley "immigrant exodus" of talented entrepreneurs.
Attaching visas to doctorates and master's degrees has bipartisan appeal and a strong constituency in Silicon Valley, but the diversity lottery has its defenders: people like Michael Shklovsky, whose Israeli florist parents got a break with the visa lottery that changed their family's trajectory.
"They weren't major professors or highly accomplished scientists," said Shklovsky, 33, a civil trial attorney who lives in El Cerrito. "There was really no way for us to come in other than through a lottery."
The diversity allocation was originally designed to help Europeans choked off in the 1980s by immigration policy favoring immediate kin of people already here. Today, nearly half who win the visas are from Africa. Defenders say the lottery is still the only legal immigration chance for the kind of plucky workers who historically defined American immigration.
Shklovsky was 16 when his parents won the visa, sold their Tel Aviv flower shop and moved the family to Contra Costa County in the mid-1990s. His father recently retired as a Martinez mechanic, his mother is a Montessori school head teacher and his brother is an assistant bank manager. "I'm really happy I'm here. I'm happy we left," he said.
About 50,000 people win the lottery each year, a small slice of the approximately 1 million who come in, mostly through family ties or work sponsorships.
Lottery eligibility requires little more than a high school degree, and only those from countries with low rates of U.S. immigration can apply.
On the other side of the debate is Marcos Hung, 24, born in Argentina to Taiwanese immigrants and now working at Stanford Hospital on a soon-to-expire student visa. He applied for a diversity visa, but lost out -- the chances of winning are about 1 in a 100.
"That's why they call it a lottery," said Hung, a bioengineer who already has his name on two patents.
His chances of winning a so-called STEM visa would be closer to 100 percent -- he has a master's in bioengineering from Rice University in Texas. Without it, he will likely go the more traditional Silicon Valley route -- hoping an employer will sponsor him for a temporary H-1B visa, and eventually being sponsored for permanent residency -- which can take many years and cost a small fortune in legal fees.
Republican and Democratic legislators say they want to make it easier for people like Hung to get green cards, but they disagree on how to do it.
A longtime diversity visa opponent, House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, sought to add the doctorate visas by killing the lottery. U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, the minority leader of the immigration subcommittee, wanted to add the STEM visas and keep the lottery.
On the House floor, Lofgren described the Smith version as a "sinister" ruse to cut immigration while showing a pro-immigration GOP face before the presidential election.
Even some immigrant advocates who once endorsed the lottery argue that it has done its work by welcoming more than 800,000 people since 1995.
Thirty Democrats joined Republicans voting for Smith's version, including Bay Area Reps. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, and Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton.
Garamendi said in an interview that he prefers to keep diversity visas -- "it's a value statement about who we are as Americans," he said -- but felt a need to compromise.
However, he said the Republicans set up the vote to fail by requiring two-thirds support instead of a simple majority. The tally fell 20 votes short, 257 to 158.
"That's the game," Garamendi said. "It's sad, but that's what most of this year's votes were about."
Other advocates for high-skill immigration say more Democrats should reconsider the "all-or-nothing" approach.
"Having diversity is important," Wadhwa said, "but I don't think anyone would say that America lacks diversity."
Deportation waiver process becomes campaign issue
As the federal government continues issuing its first round of deportation waivers to certain unauthorized immigrants, supporters and critics of the much-debated program are weighing presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s pledge to halt the program if he wins office.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program grants a two-year reprieve from deportation to eligible applicants, with possible renewal, and allows them to seek a job permit. People must be 18 to 30 years old and have arrived in the U.S. before they turned 16. They also must have graduated from high school or college, have no criminal record and meet other criteria.
An estimated 1.3 million individuals nationwide could qualify, including more than 400,000 in California — the highest count of any state.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said it had received nearly 180,000 applications and approved 4,591 as of Oct. 10, the most recent tally available. The agency does not provide regional breakdowns, but several immigration lawyers in San Diego County said some clients have gotten their exemptions.
In recent days, Romney has said that as president he would cancel Deferred Action but honor work permits already granted by the Obama administration. Some Republicans back his proposal, others want him to continue the program amid a Congress deadlocked on immigration issues and still others urge him to not only end the program but also rescind all approvals.
Deferred Action “is still a bad idea,” said Peter Nunez of San Diego, a former U.S. attorney here and a vocal opponent of allowing any residency reprieve for people who are in the United States without permission. “Nothing that Obama or (Gov. Jerry) Brown have done changes the reality that they are rewarding illegal immigration, the worst part of which is that it encourages more illegal immigration.”
Last month, Brown signed legislation allowing those who receive Deferred Action waivers to obtain driver’s licenses in the state.
In downtown San Diego, immigration attorney Lilia Velasquez said she has filed about 90 Deferred Action applications and that a handful have been approved.
She and some other lawyers are encouraging people who seem to meet all the requirements and want to apply to do so as soon as possible.
“Students who have clean cases should not wait until the end of the year, just in case Romney is elected,” Velasquez said.
Pedro Rios of the American Friends Service Committee in San Diego said the group’s staff is contacting people on a waiting list from its August workshop session about Deferred Action — to see how many of them still need help.
The nonprofit organization is stopping short of advising potential applicants to file sooner or later.
“If there is significant concern, then perhaps it might be best to wait,” Rios said. “I think they have to be as well informed as they can be and decide for themselves if it makes sense.”
President Barack Obama announced the Deferred Action program in June, and the application period began in mid-August. The evaluation time is running one to two months, but immigration experts and federal officials expect the process to take longer once more applications are filed.
Posted by jonjayray at 10:49 AM
Saturday, October 20, 2012
ACLU sues LA County sheriff for allegedly denying bail to arrestees on immigration holds
Guilty until proven innocent?
Arrestees who say they were denied bail because immigration agents wanted them held sued the Los Angeles County sheriff Friday claiming they were illegally detained for weeks or months.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California filed the lawsuit in federal court in Los Angeles challenging Sheriff Lee Baca’s ability to detain arrestees solely on the basis of a request from the federal immigration agency, when the inmates are eligible for bail or other forms of release.
Plaintiff Duncan Roy — a British film director — said he was held in jail for nearly three months because Immigration and Customs Enforcement had filed paperwork asking the Sheriff’s Department to keep him in custody, even though he tried multiple times to post bail.
“The sheriff says, he’s on an ICE hold, and the ICE people say, well, he’s got to make bond,” said Roy, who was eventually released after ICE withdrew its request, known as an immigration detainer, or hold. “They keep you in this limbo where each is blaming the other organization, but basically they’re colluding with each other to keep you there.”
Roy, who later pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor extortion charge, is one of several named plaintiffs among tens of thousands of inmates who should have been eligible for release but were detained because the department says it must honor the immigration holds, according to the ACLU.
ACLU staff attorney Jennie Pasquarella said the suit — which seeks class-action status — challenges the validity of immigration detainers, which have been increasingly used in jails across the country under the federal government’s flagship immigration enforcement program.
“There has to be authority for them to actually deprive a person of liberty, and we’re saying there isn’t based on state and federal law,” Pasquarella said.
Inmates should be allowed to leave custody if they post bail or qualify for release, then federal immigration authorities could seek to take them into custody if they so choose, immigrant advocates said.
Sheriff’s spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said the department may hold people at the request of federal immigration authorities. “If ICE tells us there’s a hold, we’re only doing what they wish,” Nishida said, adding that the detainers are usually placed for 48 hours but could go longer depending on the case.
ICE said in a statement that the agency uses detainers to ensure that potentially dangerous criminals are not released from jails. On its website, the agency says that if immigration agents fail to take custody of an inmate after 48 hours, excluding weekends and holidays, local law enforcement agencies are required to release the inmate.
The lawsuit seeks an injunction ordering the sheriff not to detain anyone solely on the basis of an immigration hold, and damages for plaintiffs who were unlawfully held. In the suit, the ACLU states the Sheriff’s Department recently agreed to put forth a policy clarifying that inmates should be able to post bail even if they have an immigration detainer.
The federal government’s Secure Communities program lets immigration agents check arrestees’ fingerprints against homeland security records to determine if someone might be in the country illegally.
In the past four years, immigration agents have removed more than 220,000 people from the country under the program. Roughly 12 percent of them came from Los Angeles County, according to federal government statistics.
Cuba's immigration reform casts spotlight on decades-old U.S. law
Cuba's decision this week to make it easier to leave and enter the country is unlikely in the short term to prompt a sudden exodus, but could result in a rethinking of preferential treatment Cuban migrants have long received in the United States.
Alarmed by the number of Cubans arriving in Miami for economic reasons, rather than the political causes that prompted earlier waves of migration from the island, even some Cuban exiles are increasingly questioning a decades-old law that has guaranteed Cubans safe haven in the United States.
The Cuban Refugee Adjustment Act of 1966 was passed during the Lyndon Johnson administration to adjust the status of some 300,000 Cubans who found themselves in legal limbo after fleeing Cuba's socialist revolution of 1959, arriving in the United States on temporary refugee visas.
The law was unusual, as it did not require the Cubans to make a case for political asylum, and automatically granted them entry and the path to permanent residency.
Nor did it envisage a cut-off date. In those early days, most Cubans - as well as U.S. policy-makers - never imagined the exodus would continue for decades, since they were convinced the communist government led by Fidel Castro would not last. The law has remained on the books ever since, giving Cubans a uniquely privileged immigration status, rivaled only by Hungarians in 1956.
"In all candor, it's anachronistic. The law really doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense today," said Jose Azel at the University of Miami's Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies.
Under new rules announced on Tuesday, Cubans will no longer need to obtain a special exit visa to travel abroad, and will need only a passport.
But most Cubans, who earn barely $25 a month on state salaries, will still face huge financial hurdles in order to travel, and opposition activists may still be banned.
U.S. officials say the new Cuban migration rules will not affect existing visa programs for Cubans seeking to travel to the United States.
"I think the question becomes whether more Cubans desire to travel and are applying for visas. ... So obviously, we need to see how it affects the flow of travel," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters on Tuesday.
The United States already accepts about 20,000 Cubans annually via a heavily oversubscribed immigration lottery, as well as thousands more under special programs for family members seeking reunification, and political asylum cases.
Posted by jonjayray at 4:17 PM
Friday, October 19, 2012
Ninth circus Hands Arizona a Victory on Immigration Law, But Says No to Part of Alabama's
Strict immigration enforcement won one and lost one Wednesday in the courts.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed an appeal by a coalition of civil rights groups that are challenging the “show me your papers” provision of Arizona’s immigration law, known as SB 1070.
The provision calls on police, while enforcing other laws, to question the immigration status of those they suspect are in the country illegally.
The U.S. Supreme Court in June overturned parts of the Arizona enforcement law known as SB1070 but ruled that a key provision on requiring police to ask people about their immigration status under certain circumstances can be implemented.
The Obama administration challenged that law in 2010 after Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed it into law.
The coalition's lawyers say the dismissal was needed because it would be quicker to continue challenging the questioning requirement in a lower court rather than tying up the case for months in the appeals court.
In Montgomery, a federal appeals court on Wednesday rejected a request from Alabama officials to reconsider its latest ruling in which the court invalidated some provisions of the state’s immigration law.
The Montgomery Advertiser reports that the court rejected a request that the full court review the decision of a three-judge panel.
The court did not give a reason for denying the request.
In August, the court invalidated several parts of the state's immigration law.
These included provisions that made contracts with immigrants unenforceable and that made it a crime to "harbor, conceal or shield" undocumented immigrants from law enforcement.
The 11th Circuit ruled the contracts provision was designed to make the lives of undocumented immigrants so difficult they would be forced to leave the state.
The appeals court ruled that the Alabama schools provision wrongly singles out children who are in the country illegally.
Alabama was the only state that passed such a requirement and the 11th Circuit previously had blocked that part of the law from being enforced.
The court also upheld Alabama's "show me your papers" provision in Alabama's law that allows police officers to ask someone they stop for another reason -and who they suspect may be in the country illegally- for their immigration documents.
The judges said fear of the law "significantly deters undocumented children from enrolling in and attending school ...." Last fall, educators in Alabama reported countless number of students withdrawing from schools as a result of the law.
Both private groups and the Obama administration filed lawsuits to block Alabama's law, considered the toughest in the country.
In Alabama, legal immigrants also reportedly left the state, leaving many employers in industries that depended largely on an immigrant labor force struggling with a shortage of workers.
Legal Latino employees evidently opted to leave their jobs and the area because they either felt the state was hostile, or because they had family members who were undocumented, some employers said.
Those employers have turned to refugees and Puerto Ricans in other states to fill the void.
They have imported hundreds of refugee and Puerto Rican workers after having tried to hire local residents, who either did not pass background screening or quit not long after starting. Refugees are lawfully present in the United States and, as such, are authorized to work here. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens.
Alabama was one of several states that passed immigration laws in the last two years on the contention that the federal government has been derelict in its responsibility to control the borders and enforce laws that punish, and by extension would cut down on, illegal immigration.
Obama's Immigration Fib
On several occasions during Tuesday's debate, Barack Obama accused Mitt Romney of lying, which has become a sort of over-arching theme for a campaign that can't run on the president's record. But on the topic of immigration, it was Mr. Obama who was stretching the truth.
The president accused Mr. Romney of calling Arizona's controversial immigration-enforcement law "a model for the nation." Mr. Romney denied the assertion. "I said that the E-Verify portion of the Arizona law, which is the portion of the law which says that employers could be able to determine whether someone is here illegally or not illegally, that that was a model for the nation," said the former Massachusetts governor.
Mr. Romney is correct. During a Republican primary debate earlier this year, he expressed support for an Arizona statute that mandates the use of E-Verify, though in fact the statute was part of legislation enacted in 2007, not the law that passed in 2010 and led the Obama administration to sue the state. Mr. Romney has expressed support for the 2010 law as well, but only in the context of supporting the ability of states to address illegal immigration when the feds refuse to do so. Mr. Obama suggested that Mr. Romney said he wants every state to adopt Arizona's 2010 enforcement measure, which isn't true.
I've been as critical as anyone when it comes to the GOP's handling of the immigration issue, but Mr. Romney was right to call out the president for putting words in his mouth. Mr. Obama already enjoys a huge lead among Latino voters—recent polls put it at 30 percentage points—so it's passing strange that he felt the need to pile on with fibs.
Posted by jonjayray at 4:02 PM
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Romney softens immigration stance on 'self-deportation' at debate
Or so The Guardian says below
Mitt Romney continued his march towards a centrist position on immigration during the second presidential debate, presenting a friendly face to undocumented immigrants starkly in contrast to his previous position.
Quizzed about his support for the policy of "self-deportation" that he articulated during the primary season debates between Republicans, he portrayed it as a matter of choice on the part of individuals. "People make their own choice, and if they can't find the job they want, then they'll make a decision to go to a place where they have better opportunities."
But that ignored a crucial aspect of the "self-deportation" policy espoused not just by Romney during the primary season but by his main immigration advisers, notably the Kansas politician Kris Kobach who was the architect of several of the laws clamping down on undocumented immigrants introduced across the US.
As Kobach explained to the Guardian earlier this year, the idea would be to make life so uncomfortable for undocumented Latinos and jobs so hard to find that they would be forced out.
Romney, mindful no doubt of the importance of the Hispanic vote in several crucial battleground status such as Florida and Nevada, also went further than he has before in embracing the idea of offering a pathway to citizenship to undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children. He said that service in the US military would be "one way" that such a pathway would be found – in contrast to previous statements that military service would be the only way residency could be obtained.
Barack Obama did overstep the mark in one regard, however, in that he accused Romney of exhorting Arizona's law clamping down on undocumented Hispanics as a "model for the nation". In fact, during the primary season Romney lauded just one specific part of the Arizona law, SB 1070, called E-Verify – a system that allows employers to check a federal database to see if people applying for work are documented or not.
Boat People arriving in Australia now a flood
IMMIGRATION officials have conceded that more asylum seekers have arrived by boat since the budget than had been predicted, but they refused to be drawn on how much the extra numbers will cost taxpayers.
The government says people smugglers are profiting by as much as $2 million for each vessel that arrives.
The Coalition has seized on budget forecasts in May of 450 asylum seeker arrivals each month - a predicted total of 5400 for the financial year, which has already been eclipsed in the first three months starting in July.
The arrival of almost 500 asylum seekers on five boats at the weekend underlined the pressure on border controls. Nearly 8000 people have arrived by boat since July.
Labor's revised Pacific plan for Nauru and Papua New Guinea will accommodate about 2100 people, far fewer than the number who have arrived since August 13, when the policy was embraced.
The Home Affairs Minister, Jason Clare, said people smugglers were making more money than some drug smugglers and they would fight hard to keep making money. People smugglers earned more than $1 million per boat and sometimes up to $2 million, he said.
Immigration officials were questioned in parliamentary hearings yesterday about the surge in arrivals but deflected the potential cost to the budget, which Labor brought down with only a thin surplus.
The Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, denied offshore processing on Nauru, embraced by Labor in August after months of political stalemate over the people swap with Malaysia, had failed to deter arrivals.
''There is no doubt that there is wide awareness now of our new policies and that they are being noted,'' he told ABC Radio. ''However, as I've consistently said, we have a very significant challenge in that we are tackling the lies and the spin of people smugglers.''
The Immigration Department chief, Martin Bowles, said the number of asylum seekers was higher than expected. He said the costs were a matter for the government to deal with in the midyear budget update.
The Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young asked officials who would bear responsibility for the psychological health of asylum seekers on Nauru.
Posted by jonjayray at 1:02 PM
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
ID card for illegal immigrants breezes through L.A. council panel
A plan to provide illegal immigrants with an official city ID card easily won a key vote Tuesday when members of a Los Angeles City Council committee agreed to solicit bids for a third-party vendor to handle the program.
Councilman Ed Reyes, a member of the Arts, Parks, Health and Aging Committee, said it’s “about time” that L.A. residents, regardless of immigration status, have the ability to easily open bank accounts and access city services.
“This card allows people who have been living in the shadows to be out in the light of day," Reyes said, calling Los Angeles a cosmopolitan city with an international economy.
Reyes said opposition to the so-called City Services Card is inevitable because it touches on the hot-button issue of illegal immigration. But in the end, “cooler heads will prevail and understand the humanity of the suggestion,’’ Reyes said.
The committee voted unanimously to ask the full council to approve a request for proposal that would allow potential vendors to study the city’s plan and offer bids on running it.
The committee's review was the first step in a process to create the card system.
Critics say the proposal initially raised by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is the latest indication that Los Angeles leaders are taking an increasingly supportive view of undocumented immigrants as they encourage them to join in the city's civic life.
"It is clearly an accommodation," said Ira Mehlman of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a group critical of illegal immigration. "Los Angeles is making it easier for people who have violated federal immigration laws to live in the city."
But backers said the mayor was doing the right thing, pointing out that the initiative could reduce crime because fewer people would have to carry cash.
The idea for the city ID card originated in his office, the mayor said, as part of previous efforts to help immigrants open bank accounts so they wouldn't become targets of crime.
Councilman Richard Alarcon recently introduced a more limited proposal to create a new library card that could also serve as a debit card. But Villaraigosa said he wants to go further and have the city begin offering full-fledged photo IDs.
A handful of cities, including San Francisco and Oakland, issue identification cards to anyone who can prove residency, regardless of immigration status. Villaraigosa said it's time that the Los Angeles metro area — home to an estimated 4.3 million immigrants — joined them.
Turning back illegal boats bound for Australia discussed
THE federal opposition says people smuggling was discussed at leader Tony Abbott's meeting with Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. However, Indonesian foreign minister Marty Natalegawa, who was in the meeting on Monday, says Mr Abbott did not raise the coalition policy of turning back boats.
Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison has confirmed Mr Abbott discussed people-smuggling issues with Mr Yudhoyono.
The issue of turning back the boats was discussed in a later meeting with Mr Natalegawa.
"The content of these discussions is private, as it should be," Mr Morrison told ABC Radio on Tuesday, adding the opportunity to discuss a broad range of matters at such a senior level was unprecedented for an opposition.
"(It) has been invaluable, serving to add further to the understanding and trust that already exists."
That would be critical to working in partnership with Indonesia to address people smuggling if the coalition was elected to power, Mr Morrison said.
In a speech to a business function in Jakarta on Monday, Mr Abbott said for Australia, people smuggling had become "a first order economic and security issue".
Border protection blowouts had cost almost $5 billion during the past four years.
As things stood, Australia had partially subcontracted its immigration program to people smugglers, Mr Abbott said.
On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Bob Carr said he had zero concerns about Mr Abbott's one-on-one with the Indonesian's president.
"No, I think it's very positive," he told ABC radio. "Any Australian opposition should have an engagement with Indonesia."
Senator Carr said the government had nothing to be worried about given its own excellent relationship with Jakarta. "I've had more meetings with Marty Natalegawa ... than I have with any other foreign minister," he said.
Posted by jonjayray at 9:16 AM
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Recent posts at CIS below
See here for the blog. The CIS main page is here.
1. When Tragedy Is the Hallmark of Failed Policy The Death of Agent Nicholas Ivie (Memorandum)
2. From Disruption to Dismantling: Feds Turn Up the Heat on MS-13
3. How USCIS Has Tilted DACA Decision-Making
4. DACA Amnesty Stats
5. Grand Old Man of Immigration Bar Weighs In vs. New H-1B Forms
6. The Caption Should Have Read: "EB-5 Investor Ducks Courthouse Camera"
7. ICE Declines to Detain Known Illegal Alien Stopped for Driving on a Suspended License
8. We Should Open Our Eyes to a Wider Set of Migration Issues
SCOTUS To Take Up Immigrant Voting Law
The Supreme Court entered another battle in the nationwide war over voter qualifications, agreeing Monday to consider whether Arizona can require proof of citizenship when people register to vote.
The case won’t affect the Nov. 6 election. The requirement has been blocked by a lower court, and Supreme Court arguments, as yet unscheduled, won’t take place until after Election Day. In June, the justices denied Arizona’s request to lift the lower court order while the state’s appeal proceeded.
But the suit could further set the lines between state and federal control over election procedures, a conflict that dates to the nation’s founding and continues to roil its politics.
The Arizona case involves a 2004 state law passed by voters requiring residents to provide proof of citizenship when registering to vote. Organizations representing Hispanic and Native American voters, among others, filed suit contending that the requirement violated the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, informally called the motor voter law, which provides that citizens nationwide can register through a universal voter form, in addition to forms published by state authorities.
In April, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, held that while Arizona can require proof of citizenship for its own forms, it could not impose additional requirements on the motor voter registration procedure that Congress authorized.
Arizona argues that the motor voter law sets only a minimum set of registration requirements which states are free to supplement. The plaintiffs argue that the simpler motor voter forms are helpful when conducting registration drives, efforts that could be frustrated because few people are carrying proof of citizenship when they pass by registration tables on the street.
Arizona’s attorney general, Tom Horne, welcomed the Supreme Court’s move. Jon Greenbaum, a lawyer for the challengers, said he was confident the Supreme Court would uphold the lower-court ruling that the Arizona law violates federal law.
Posted by jonjayray at 8:51 AM