Tuesday, June 4, 2013

AZ: Effort to recall Arpaio fails

Despite a recent court ruling that the department run by Maricopa County’s top cop used racial profiling in his quest to crack down on illegal immigration, a recall effort against Sheriff Joe Arpaio has failed.

On Thursday, members of Respect Arizona and Citizens for a Better Arizona -- who launched the recall effort against Arpaio -- failed to gather the necessary 335,000 valid voter signatures by the 5 p.m. deadline. The aim was to force a recall election.

Activists behind the recall effort would not say how many signatures they were short. Randy Parraz, president of Citizens for Better Arizona, only said the two groups had collected close to 300,000 signatures.

Arpaio, reelected in November, blasted the group in a prepared statement.

“After months of name calling, after the disparaging effigies and theatrics … this latest recall effort has failed,” Arpaio said. "This effort failed because the good people of Maricopa County, whom I'm honored to serve, rejected the wrongheaded idea of overturning an election."

The groups had struggled to raise funds necessary to hire paid signature gatherers — key to these sort of efforts. Instead, the groups relied heavily on volunteers to gather signatures against the six-term  sheriff who is something of an institution in Arizona’s largest county.

Parraz, who led a successful recall against state Senate President Russell Pearce two years ago, said Thursday’s setback wouldn’t stop Arpaio's critics.  “This fight is not over,” Parraz said.

The groups gained momentum after a federal judge ruled Friday that the immigration enforcement policies employed by Arpaio  violated the Constitution.

Judge Judge G. Murray Snow found that Arpaio's deputies used racial profiling when they detained people they suspected of residing in the country illegally.

The 142-page ruling came as part of a lawsuit brought on behalf of Latino plaintiffs who accused the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office of using race as a major factor in initiating immigration enforcement stops.

Arpaio has promised to appeal the ruling.


Migrants to Britain will have to wait six months before they can claim benefits: IDS plan puts him on collision course with Brussels

Immigrants will be banned from claiming benefits in Britain until they have been here for six months, under plans being developed by Iain Duncan Smith.

The Work and Pensions Secretary wants to make the current welfare rules even tougher – even though the Government is being taken to court by the European Commission over its existing restrictions.

Brussels claims that the ‘right to residency’ test on new arrivals from the EU, designed to prevent welfare tourists claiming benefits on arrival, are discriminatory. However, officials from the Department for Work and Pensions have told the Daily Mail that Mr Duncan Smith will defy the EC and make the system even stricter.

Mr Duncan Smith said he wants to ensure that no one who spends less than six months in Britain can access welfare, in a bid to prevent taxpayers’ money being ‘squandered’.

Immigrants will be grilled about how long they have been in Britain – and asked to explain how they have spent their time – if they want hand-outs.

The ‘six-month’ system will be drawn up after the DWP implements current plans to demand more evidence of residency rights from EU migrants before they can claim benefits.

The changes, which will be interpreted as a declaration of war against the European Commission, will mean new migrants will be asked to go even further to prove that they have a permanent address.

Would-be claimants will have to provide details of their mortgage or the length of their rental lease in order to secure eligibility.

Mr Duncan Smith ordered for these plans to be fast-tracked after the EC launched its legal fight at the European Court of Justice.

A friend of Mr Duncan Smith said: ‘Of all the people in the Cabinet, they’ve picked a fight with the wrong person.’

Mr Duncan Smith told the Mail: ‘I won’t be deterred. I will continue to press on with reforms of the measures we currently have in place, not only to enforce the “right to residency” test we have now but also to strengthen the test. I’m determined to ensure that taxpayers’ money in this country is not squandered on benefits tourism.’

A senior DWP source added: ‘After that, Iain wants to look at ways of making sure that people have been in the country for at least six months before they can claim benefits.

‘We’ll want to know what people have been doing for that six months. That’s the next step.’

A similar crackdown was floated by the Prime Minister in March.

In a speech, David Cameron said Europeans would have to be ‘genuinely seeking employment’ in order to claim jobless benefits for more than six months. Mr Cameron said this would be one of several measures to ensure people came to Britain ‘for the right reasons’ after it became a ‘soft touch’ under Labour.

Mr Duncan Smith’s decision  to pursue more benefits restrictions will further strain tensions between the UK and the European Union.

The Government expects its current legal battle to reach its conclusion in March 2015 – two months before the next general election.

The minister’s proposals  have emerged as Ed Miliband prepares to unveil new Labour policies on benefits on Thursday.
how would the system change

The first clues about the Opposition’s moves will come today, when the left-of-centre Demos think-tank unveils its blueprint for a two-tier welfare system.

Under its proposals, those who have worked and paid sufficient National Insurance contributions would receive £95 a week as a jobseeker’s allowance – a higher rate than the standard £71.70, which would be given to those who have not paid in.

The think-tank’s motive is to stress the importance of contributing to the welfare system, and dilute public anger at the something-for-nothing culture.

Demos says the plan could be paid for by reducing the amount spent on the Support for Mortgage Interest scheme, which currently covers the interest on up to £200,000 of loans or mortgages for homeowners who are out of work.

Senior sources say the Opposition’s frontbenchers have encouraged Demos to draw up the plans, with a view to including them in Labour’s next manifesto.

Labour peer and policy guru Maurice Glasman said: ‘I welcome this work from Demos and hope the Labour party looks closely at the idea.

‘There needs to be a much stronger relationship between what people put in and take out of the welfare system.

‘A two-tier system, with higher entitlements for contributors, is definitely the way to go.’


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