Wednesday, July 31, 2013
UK politicians draw battle lines over immigration
The British government’s latest attempt to crack down on immigration has been denounced as “stupid and offensive” by one of its own ministers, as the issue again rises to the top of the political agenda.
Vince Cable, Liberal Democrat business secretary, fears that the coalition government’s attempt to reassure public opinion on immigration is damaging community relations as well as the UK’s economy and universities.
Mr Cable’s frustration boiled over after the launch of a mobile poster campaign across six London boroughs telling illegal immigrants to “go home or face arrest”.
“It is designed, apparently, to create a sense of fear in the British population that we have a vast problem of illegal immigration,” he told the BBC. “We have a problem – but not a vast one – and it’s got to be dealt with in a measured way.”
The UK has a longstanding tradition of tolerance towards immigrants and its economy has benefited from a vibrant and open labour market: the last census found that just 45 per cent of Londoners class themselves as “white British”.
But immigration is regularly listed as among the most important issues by voters: in May that concern rose to a three-year high with 57 per cent of respondents ranking it in their top three main worries.
The influx of hundreds of thousands of Polish and Lithuanian workers to Britain after their countries joined the EU in 2004 – far in excess of the numbers expected – has created a sense that the UK is no longer in control of its borders.
Public anxiety over immigration was stoked this week when MPs on the Commons public administration committee said the official migration figures were “little better than a best guess” based on random interviews with travellers. Nick Clegg, deputy prime minister, said on Tuesday that formal exit checks should be introduced at ports and airports.
That sense has been exploited by the UK Independence party, which has combined an anti-European stance with warnings of a fresh surge of migrants from Bulgaria and Romania when work restrictions on those countries are lifted next year.
For years, mainstream politicians have shied away from confronting the issue of immigration but today there is an acceptance that the rise of Ukip is a manifestation of a failure to address something of genuine concern to ordinary voters.
Conservative party has responded by vowing to cut net migration to “tens of thousands” by the 2015 election.
That objective was seen by some as hopelessly optimistic, but figures released in May showed net migration was down by 80,000 – a fall of a third – to 153,000.
Mark Harper, immigration minister, claims this drop is down to the government “cutting out abuse” of the system, for instance by closing down “bogus colleges” – and therefore spurious student visas – or reforming the rules on work visas.
The Labour opposition argues that the main reason for the fall is the fact that more people are leaving the UK than before the last election, and fewer British people are returning home – a function of the “flatlining economy”.
While both claims have some truth to them, the immigration debate is not just about numbers: it also concerns whether a country with a previously liberal approach to the issue is turning its back on the world.
Mr Cable, whose first wife was Indian, fears the tone of the debate is deterring business people from applying for visas in the UK, even if the government insists its quotas for skilled workers are not being filled.
UK universities have suffered significant declines in the numbers of students from countries such as India, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia; a study found a 32 per cent drop in first-year students from India.
For Mr Cameron, who constantly proclaims Britain is engaged in a “global race” with other countries, this is somewhat embarrassing and a source of tension with trading partners.
He insisted on a visit to India this year that there was “no limit” on the number of Indian students who could come to Britain, provided they spoke English and had the offer of a place. Downing Street is also worried that visa red tape is deterring Chinese business leaders and tourists from coming to the UK.
Now Mr Cable has urged the government to scrap its £3,000 bond pilot for visitors from six countries – including India and Nigeria – because it sends out the “wrong message” about Britain. Asking visitors for a deposit before they enter the UK – to ensure they leave again – does not exactly sound welcoming.
But for the UK government, like many other western administrations, striking a balancing act between openness, global economic success and the concerns of austerity-weary domestic voters is proving a difficult one.
Immigrants have a lot to offer Britain, but those here illegally have no right to remain
Boris Johnson on "those" billboards
I took a while to focus on what she was saying, but I gathered that she was offended by the Home Office mobile posters that have been going around some boroughs, urging illegal immigrants to go home.
It was a scandal, she said; it was going to be damaging for race relations; and what, she wanted to know, was I doing about it? She was a barrister, she added, as if I wasn’t already apprehensive enough. As every politician knows, you cannot possibly hope to win in a position like this — the whole crowd listening as some well-spoken and well-educated woman decides to give you what for – and especially if she is armed with a lethal-looking glass of sangria.
“Er, I haven’t actually seen the posters,” I ventured, which was true — though I had been made vaguely aware of the controversy. That wasn’t good enough, she snapped. I should be speaking out, she said, witheringly, and so on and so forth. After about 10 rounds of pummelling, I was able to escape by promising to have a look at the offending propaganda, and to make up my own mind.
Well, I have — or at least, I have studied them online. The tone is certainly blunt. The message is uncompromising. “Go home or face arrest,” says the Home Office to illegal immigrants, in words that have even offended the tender sensibilities of Nigel Farage, the leader of Ukip.
I suppose it could have been more gently drafted. How about: “Illegal immigrant? Worried about being arrested? Need help getting home? We can help! Just text HOME to 78070 and we will act as your personal travel agent.” That might have at least sounded a bit friendlier — but I wonder whether it would have appeased my angry friend with the sangria. As far as I could tell, she objected to the whole concept of urging illegal immigrants to do the right thing.
She seemed to think it wrong and downright racist even to point out that they were breaking the law. On that point I am afraid I have to disagree. Illegal immigrants have every opportunity to make their case to remain in Britain, and we have courts full of eloquent lefty lawyers — like, I very much suspect, my sangria-charged friend — taking prodigious sums of taxpayers’ money to vindicate the human rights of their clients.
Such is the ingenuity of these lawyers that all government strategies to deal with these illegals have so far failed. Indeed, we already have a de facto amnesty for all illegal immigrants who have been able to stay here for a long time. Ask the Home Office how many illegal immigrants have been deported, after being here for more than 10 years. The number is tiny. For most hard-working and otherwise law-abiding illegal immigrants there is virtually no chance that they will be deported — and yet they cannot pay tax, cannot take part in the legal economy, and certainly cannot run for their country.
It is certainly not racist to point out this absurdity, since illegals come from all ethnic groups. It is not anti-immigrant to point this out, since illegals make a nonsense of the efforts of other immigrants to do the right thing and secure leave to remain. One way or another illegals need to regularise their position, and preferably to pay taxes like everyone else.
This poster campaign is unlikely, in itself, to solve the problem that expanded so massively under the last Labour government. But you surely can’t blame the Coalition for trying to enforce the law.
Posted by jonjayray at 12:08 PM
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Steve King is right about the KIDS Act
Steve King has provoked the wrath of both the Democratic and Republican establishments over his statements about a proposed GOP bill that hasn’t even been formally introduced yet, the “KIDS Act.” The firestorm over King’s comments illustrates why honest talk about the consequences of another amnesty bill is so rare.
Like the DREAM Act, which Congress voted down on many occasions, the KIDS Act purports to only help the most sympathetic illegal immigrants, those whose parents brought them here as children. What critics do not want discussed is that such bills also grant amnesty to millions of others not so easily characterized as model citizens-in-waiting.
Proponents of these bills always trot out a few young illegal aliens who came to America as infants and later became high school valedictorians. That is supposed to suggest that most of, if not all, of the millions of illegal aliens who would be awarded the amnesty are just like those most sympathetic cases.
Representative King poked a hole in that pretty pink balloon, and for that, he is being attacked.
King stated that while “some of them are valedictorians — and their parents brought them in. It wasn’t their fault. It’s true in some cases, but they aren’t all valedictorians. They weren’t all brought in by their parents. For everyone who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds — and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert. Those people would be legalized with the same act.”
As expected, the perpetually offended Democrats immediately expressed their outrage over King’s remarks. Obama’s press secretary called them “extremely unfortunate”, and, always eager to help Republicans win more votes, noted “They certainly don’t help any efforts by Republicans to improve their standing among Hispanic Americans.”
The GOP House Leadership, which is pushing this misguided bill, also attacked King. Eric Cantor said the comments were “inexcusable” and John Boehner said he used “hateful language.”
U.S. News and World Report characterized King as saying that “most immigrants were drug smugglers,” which is not the case. King was referring solely to young illegal aliens not all “immigrants.” Nor did King suggest most illegal aliens are drug smugglers. King said that far more entered the country as drug smugglers than ever became valedictorians, which is demonstrably true.
Since illegal aliens are by definition “undocumented” and neither the Obama administration nor anyone else is doing a statistical profile on their border-crossings, we have no way of knowing if King’s drug-smuggler to valedictorian ratio is correct. However, he did not make the claim out of thin air.
It has been common knowledge for a decade that both people smuggling and drug smuggling are controlled by the same Mexican drug cartels. The cartels’ use of thousands of teenagers and young adults to carry loads of marijuana across the border is well known and well documented. Illegals seeking to cross the southwest border are routinely required to carry drugs across the border as a partial payment of the $1500 price for the crossing.
Breitbart’s Matthew Boyle has pointed to an article by Lourdes Medrano entitled, “Along key stretch of US-Mexico border, more kids running drugs,” published just last week in the Christian Science Monitor. Medrano reports that “In 2012, 244 minors faced drug-smuggling charges in the Tucson sector.”
'Disney World can keep better track of its visitors than Britain'
Immigration policy attacked after report reveals figures rely on counting just 12 people a day
Britain is less able to keep track of its visitors than Disney World, it was claimed last night, as a scathing report exposed the failings of official immigration statistics.
Crucial estimates of arrivals from overseas rely on random interviews carried out with just 12 people passing through ports and airports each day – and even they may be lying, MPs said.
Ministers were warned they should not base their controversial immigration target – to limit population growth to the tens of thousands every year – on such shaky figures.
The Public Administration Select Committee urged the Home Office to combine its visa figures with forthcoming electronic data on visitors to build up a far more accurate picture of foreigner numbers.
Committee chairman Bernard Jenkin said: ‘Most people would be astonished to learn that there is no attempt to count people as they enter or leave the UK.
‘They are amazed when they are told that the Government merely estimates that there are half-a-million immigrants coming into the UK each year.’
Philippa Roe, leader of Westminster City Council, said: ‘When I gave evidence to this committee I said Disney World has better technology to keep track of its visitors than we do. I’m pleased this report accepts the current system is a blunt instrument which is patently not up to the job.’
The Coalition vowed to cut net migration – the number of new arrivals each year minus those who leave the country – from more than 150,000 a year to the ‘tens of thousands’ by granting fewer visas to foreign students and making it harder for families to settle here.
But today’s report reveals that the policy and the figures are not based on methodically counting everyone who arrives in the country or leaves it. Instead, officials rely on a sample of just under 5,000 migrants interviewed each year as they travel through UK air and sea ports, in what is known as the International Passenger Survey.
The risk of error in this poll is so great that annual net migration could be 35,000 higher or lower than is estimated.
Some advisers believe that, as a result, the Government should aim to reduce net migration to 50,000 rather than 100,000 in order to achieve its goal.
But the committee warned: ‘The Government should not base its target level of net migration on such an uncertain statistic as doing so could lead to inappropriate immigration policy.’
The passenger survey also relies on immigrants telling the truth about where they have come from and where they plan to settle.
A new system called e-Borders will record more detail on the identity of passengers travelling through British ports. But it will not be integrated into immigration statistics until 2018.
The Home Office counts the number of visas issued and asylum applications granted or received – but not people leaving unless they have broken the rules. The committee urged Ministers to integrate visa figures with port data ‘as rapidly as possible’.
Last night a Home Office spokesman said: ‘We disagree with the report’s conclusions. Government reforms on immigration are working and the statistics show that migration is at its lowest level for a decade.
Posted by jonjayray at 9:10 AM
Sunday, July 28, 2013
McClintock: If Senate Amnesty Bill Passes, ‘We’ll Never Secure the Border’
"The Senate pathway [to citizenship] . . . is going to make it very difficult to secure the border,” Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) said during a “Conversations with Conservatives” panel discussion Wednesday at the U.S. Capitol.
Insisting that border security remain a separate issue from immigration reform, McClintock added, “Until the government demonstrates a willingness to enforce the existing immigration law, I do not believe that it has any intention of enforcing stricter laws in the future.”
And if the House follows the Senate immigration bill’s pathway towards amnesty, he bluntly stated, “We’ll never secure the border.”
McClintock also criticized the Senate for giving illegal immigrants the impression that “if we just get there [the U.S.], we’re going to be eventually made legal.”
Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) agreed that without border security, the Senate bill fixes nothing and is “not worth doing.” But he harshly criticized Rep. Steve King’s (R-Iowa) controversial statements about the potential legalization of drug mules.
In an interview with Newsmax, King said that “for everyone who's a valedictorian, there's another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds — and they've got calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert. Those people would be legalized with the same act."
“Shame on him,” Labrador said. “Shame on the media for only concentrating on that aspect of it.”
Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) noted that chain migration, in which family members are allowed to join legalized immigrants in the U.S., would increase the total number of immigrants eligible for legalization far beyond the currently estimated figure of 11 million and place an unprecedented burden on border communities, including his own district. “A pathway to citizenship is not the only answer,” he said.
Republican House members are considering an alternative to the DREAM Act that would provide illegal immigrants who entered the U.S. as children options toward legalization.
Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va) are leading this initiative, but are being met with resistance by DREAM Act activists who do not support any legislation that does not include a way for illegal adult immigrants to achieve U.S. citizenship.
Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) criticized the “lack of press coverage over the last couple days of the reaction from the immigration activists” whom he said were “willing to throw the DREAMers under the bus because they had used them, exploited them for so long for their immigration agenda.”
“Where’s the discussion, where’s the analysis in your articles saying oh, by the way, now we’re finding out what the real agendas are?” Schweikert challenged reporters.
Obama to meet with Hill Democrats as immigration reform, agenda appears stalled
President Obama is headed to Capitol Hill Wednesday to meet with congressional Democrats on their legislative agenda, officials familiar with the meeting told Fox News.
The meetings with fellow Democrats in the House and Senate are scheduled to take place at a pivotal time in the president’s second term. The Obama-backed immigration reform bill that passed in the Senate is stalled in the Republican-controlled House and much of the rest of the president's agenda also appears to be stalled, including the full implementation of his signature health care law.
In addition, the clock is ticking on upcoming congressional deals on the federal debt ceiling and preventing a government shutdown.
Obama’s early second-term goal of passing comprehensive gun-control legislation failed this spring in the Senate.
One of the sources told Fox News that the president called for the meeting with House Democrats and that the full Democratic caucuses in both chambers have been invited.
Posted by jonjayray at 5:15 AM
Saturday, July 27, 2013
500,000 immigrants have been given British social housing in last decade as number of families on waiting list hits record high
Nearly half a million immigrants have been given taxpayer-funded homes over the past decade.
The revelation comes as the number of families on the waiting list for social housing hits a record 1.8million. Most are British born.
Of the four million migrants who arrived between 2001 and 2011, 469,843 were allocated council or housing association properties.
Around 1.2million foreigners now live in social housing – one in eight of the total. In London the figure is thought to be as high as one in five.
The national census statistics, which were released yesterday, highlight fears about increased pressure on public services when Romanians and Bulgarians win free access to jobs in this country in January.
The figures also show the effects of the large-scale immigration encouraged by the Tony Blair and Gordon Brown governments.
According to the census, 105,506 of the immigrants who found social housing after 2001 were from Eastern European states that joined the EU in 2004, most of them Poles.
In the mid-2000s, Whitehall officials estimated that the cost to taxpayers of maintaining a single social housing unit was £620 a year.
Assuming each unit is occupied by four people, that would put the housing costs of post-2001 migrants at between £5billion and £8billion.
Sir Andrew Green, of the MigrationWatch think-tank, said: ‘The figures serve to underline the huge costs of mass immigration – costs often ignored by the immigration lobby.’
In 2009, a report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission claimed there was ‘no evidence to support the perception that new migrants are getting priority over UK-born residents’.
The research found no evidence of abuse of the system such as queue jumping or providing false information.
But in March David Cameron announced a clampdown, including plans for a local residence test. Local people will be given priority on waiting lists for social housing and migrants will become eligible only after two years.
Councils say the fundamental flaw in the plan is they will still be obliged to help any EU migrants who present themselves as homeless.
Mike Jones, of the Local Government Association, says: ‘If we don’t house them that means we are going to have to deal with them under the homeless laws which cost us a great deal more.’
British doctors could be forced to carry out immigration checks on patients
Doctors and nurses could be forced to check the immigration status of patients to see if they can be charged, official documents have disclosed, despite a Government pledge that NHS staff will not become “border guards”.
Ministers earlier this month announced controversial plans to crack down on “health tourism” by making foreigners pay a £200 levy for NHS care.
A consultation document released by the Department of Health makes clear that frontline NHS staff could “clearly have a role in identifying chargeable patients”.
Despite assurances from Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, that the new measures will not affect patient care, the consultation only makes it clear that doctors will not be “diverted wholesale” from looking after patients under the controversial plans.
Health campaigners last night warned that the scheme will be a “disaster” and could cause more scandals like those seen at the Mid Staffordshire and Morecambe Bay trusts, where thousands may have died needlessly.
Under the plans, foreigners from outside the European Union applying for visas lasting more than six months will have to pay the new “health care levy”. They are currently entitled to free treatment.
Shorter-term visitors will also face charges for their treatment. There are additional plans to make it easier for the NHS to recover the cost of treating EU nationals and to help doctors identify those eligible for treatment.
Nobody will be refused emergency care under the proposals.
The 60-page consultation document states that clinicians “are often well placed to identify visitors who are chargeable”.
It says that for the system to be adopted by the NHS, officials will have to ensure that “clinicians’ time must not be diverted wholesale from clinical matters”.
The consultation adds that “the new system must not compromise the safe, efficient and cost-effective delivery of healthcare, particularly in critical front line services including Accident & Emergency and GP practices”.
“Staff across the system will clearly have a role in identifying chargeable patients, but the rules and systems should be as straightforward as possible,” the document states.
“Clinicians are not expected to take on the role of immigration officials, but they are often well placed to identify visitors who are chargeable. The process we design will need to ensure there is no conflict with their professional obligations.”
Mr Hunt this month said it was only right for immigrants to have to contribute towards the NHS, which costs taxpayers around £5,000 per family.
Official figures show that about £33 million was spent last year on treating foreign nationals in hospital. About two thirds of this money was recovered.
The Department of Health believes that less than half of overseas visitors are currently identified.
The Health Secretary said that he wants “a system that is fair for the British taxpayer by ensuring that foreign nationals pay for their NHS treatment”.
He added: “No one expects health workers to become immigration guards and we want to work alongside doctors to bring about improvements, but I'm clear we must all work together to protect the NHS from costly abuse."
Julie Bailey, who set up the Cure The NHS group after her mother Bella died at Stafford Hospital in 2007, told the Telegraph "It would be a disaster. Doctors and nurses are trained to look after people - not to look at people's immigration status.
“We can not expect out doctors and nurses to do any more than they are doing already. “Whoever came up with this ridiculous idea needs to think again. It will lead to more scandals like Mid Staffs.”
The British Medical Association warned that the proposals will “divert valuable time away from treating patients”.
“NHS staff are already struggling to cope with rising patient demand and declining resources, especially in general practice and key hospital services like emergency care,” a spokesman said.
“Asking them to undertake complicated vetting checks would place another burden on overstretched services and divert valuable time away from treating patients.”
Dr Clare Gerada, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “We agree that the health service must not be abused and that we must bring an end to health tourism, but it is the role of GPs and their teams to care for patients, not to be an arm of the border agency checking people's passports and collecting money at the till point.”
And Jamie Reed, Labour’s Shadow Health Minister, added: “The NHS is not an International Health Service - but neither should it be a branch of the UK Border Agency.
“Unfortunately, this Government has a habit of announcing policies that sound good but prove to be completely unworkable.”
Posted by jonjayray at 6:08 PM
Friday, July 26, 2013
TX: Federal appeals court overturns housing ID ordinance
A federal appeals court ruled on Monday that landlords in a Texas suburb may not vet incoming tenants according to their immigration status, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“All of Texas benefits from the contributions of immigrants who live and work in our state,” ACLU of Texas legal and policy director Rebecca L. Robertson said in a statement. “We fervently hope that this case marks the end of the anti-immigrant laws that target our friends, our neighbors, and our family members for harsh treatment.”
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled that an ordinance adopted in Farmers Branch in 2008 requiring renters to show legal residence in the country before becoming tenants conflicted with federal immigration law.
“The ordinance not only criminalizes occupancy of a rented apartment or single-family residence, but puts local officials in the impermissible position of arresting and detaining persons based on their immigration status without federal direction and supervision,” Judge Stephen A. Higginson wrote in the majority opinion (PDF).
The Dallas Morning News reported that Farmers Branch officials are unsure whether to continue their fight to uphold the measure. The Dallas County suburb has spent $6 million over the past seven years on legal fees connected to the ordinance.
“Obviously, I am disappointed,” City Council member Ben Robinson told the Morning News. “I didn’t read it that we were stepping on the shoes of the federal government. Anybody who rented an apartment had to make some statement about their nationality.”
Border emergency needs military -- says Australian conservative leader
PEOPLE smuggling is a national emergency that needs a senior military officer to control the response, the coalition says.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has announced that a coalition government will ask the defence force chief to appoint a three-star commander to lead a joint agency taskforce to deal with people smugglers and border protection.
Operation Sovereign Borders, as it would be known, would be established within 100 days of the coalition taking government and would involve all 12 agencies with direct involvement in border security.
The military commander in charge would report directly to the immigration minister.
Within its first 100 days a coalition government would also finalise and issue the protocols for Operation Relex II, to turn back asylum seeker boats when safe.
"This is one of the most serious external situations that we have faced in many a long year," Mr Abbott said on launching the policy in Brisbane on Thursday.
"It must be tackled with decisiveness, with urgency, with the appropriate level of seriousness.
"That's why we need to have a senior military officer in operational control of this very important national emergency."
Mr Abbott also pledged to quickly increase capacity at offshore processing centres.
He says the coalition will also lease and deploy additional vessels so that border protection patrol vessels can be relieved of passenger transfers.
Outspoken retired Major General Jim Molan joined Mr Abbott for the announcement, endorsing the policy and saying it set the stage for success.
He said he'd been brought on board to advise the opposition on how to conduct such operations.
"What I offer the coalition is a check on feasibility," he told reporters at the policy launch.
"The result is the coalition, if elected, will be able to give more refined direction to the agencies and the agencies' plans, when they come back for government approval, can be better understood.
"That thoroughness is far, far better than policy on the run."
He noted Operation Sovereign Borders would be a military-led operation rather than a military operation.
"It's certainly not an unusual circumstance for the military to be used in this way," he said.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has already dismissed Mr Abbott's new policy as another three word slogan: "Operation Sovereign something-or-other."
Mr Abbott pointed out that since Labor abolished the Howard government's border protection policies, 48,000 people have arrived on 800 boats and more than 1000 people have perished at sea.
Mr Abbott said that as a courtesy he had given Chief of Defence David Hurley and the Indonesian ambassador a heads-up about the announcement on Thursday morning.
He rejected suggestions he should have consulted with General Hurley while developing the policy.
"I'm very conscious of the proprieties here," he told reporters in Brisbane.
"The last thing I would want to do is get serving officers directly involved in advising the opposition."
General Hurley issued a statement saying that "contrary to media reporting" he did not advise Mr Abbott on the policy.
Mr Abbott said the coalition had informally consulted with serving officers as well as recently retired officers.
Asked about Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill's claim that the opposition had misrepresented his comments from a private briefing about control of foreign aid, Mr Abbott said he had a "good relationship" with Mr O'Neill.
Earlier this week the opposition claimed Mr O'Neill had said he was now in control of Australia's foreign aid money for PNG.
"What we've said ... is based on Mr O'Neill's public statements," Mr Abbott said.
"Yes we had a private meeting with Prime Minister O'Neill and what he said in private was consistent with what he said in public."
Posted by jonjayray at 4:55 AM
Thursday, July 25, 2013
Immigration is a constant drain on public services, says British PM as he attacks decade of 'completely lax' border policies
If all immigrants who came to Britain worked, that could well be beneficial to Britain, but large numbers do not. Claims about benefit from the Office for Budget Responsibility ignore that reality
Immigration is a ‘constant drain’ on public services in Britain, David Cameron conceded yesterday.
The Prime Minister said Britain had suffered a ‘frightening’ decade of ‘completely lax’ border policies, which had placed huge strain on communities.
And he hinted at further measures to cut the number of people arriving in the UK.
His comments come after the Office for Budget Responsibility warned Britain would need millions more immigrants in the coming decades to offset the effects of an ageing population.
But Mr Cameron made clear yesterday that he wants to accelerate progress towards meeting his pledge to slash annual net migration – the number by which the population grows after both immigration and emigration have been counted – to the ‘tens of thousands’.
During a question and answer session with workers at the headquarters of Bentley Motors in Crewe, Mr Cameron was asked why Britain lets in immigrants who are a ‘constant drain’ while others ‘work hard’.
He replied: ‘I basically agree with you. There are some benefits from being a country that welcomes people who want to come here and work hard. ‘But in the last decade we have had an immigration policy that’s completely lax. The pressure it puts on our public services and communities is too great.’
Mr Cameron said the Government has capped the number of migrants from outside the European Union by cracking down on bogus colleges.
He also highlighted action to reduce the so-called ‘pull factors’ that attract people to this country, such as restricting access to benefits and the NHS. But he added: ‘I want to see it [net migration] coming down faster.
‘On housing, health, education and legal aid we are showing we are not a soft touch.
‘By the end of this Government, we will be able to look back and say we may not have sorted out the whole problem, but we have got a much tougher approach to immigration that’s fair.’
In the run-up to the 2010 election Mr Cameron pledged to cut net migration by more than a half, from more than 200,000 a year to the ‘tens of thousands’.
Progress in reducing the numbers has been frustrated by resistance from the Liberal Democrats and by the difficulty of limiting immigration from the EU.
Last year the number of immigrants dropped by 89,000 to 153,000. But the fall was accompanied by warnings that limiting immigration could harm Britain’s economy in the long-term.
Earlier this month, an OBR report warned an extra seven million migrants would be needed over the next 50 years to balance the effects of an ageing population. The figure is equal to 140,000 migrants per year.
The report concluded that without a fresh wave of immigration to boost employment and tax receipts, Britain’s public finances could become ‘unsustainable’.
The OBR’s analysis suggests that Britain’s borrowing as a proportion of GDP would rise to 99 per cent if there is a steady flow of immigrants. But if there was a complete ban on immigrants, borrowing would rise to 174 per cent of GDP.
Nightmare on Immigration Street
Meet Sandra and Isaac (not their real names). Both hold advanced degrees and are in the United States on H-1B work permits, temporary workers’ visas which allow them to stay here as long as they are employed by a company that cannot find qualified Americans for their jobs. They pay income and social security taxes; they do not collect welfare or take advantage of other entitlement programs.
Sandra and Isaac, like many members of my church, are highly educated, law-abiding West Africans who would love to become Americans citizens or at least permanent legal residents. Unfortunately, their Green Card applications have been mired in decades of red tape. Yet a bill being debated in Congress right now would put 11 million people who entered the country illegally (or overstayed their initial visas illegally) on a “path to citizenship” that would add to Sandra and Isaac’s bureaucratic nightmare.
The proposed “reforms” being debated in Congress right now avoid the word “amnesty,” but would ultimately legalize over ten million illegal immigrants in exchange for a promise to increase border security. You do not have to be a policy expert to see that there are several problems with this approach. I will offer a partial list of my own concerns:
1. We’ve tried this before and it didn’t work. Our country actually enacted a similar “path to citizenship” under President Reagan. The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act legalized over three million illegal immigrants with the promise that further entrance of illegals would be halted or at least significantly reduced. Instead, the number of people living here illegally has more than doubled since the passage of the law. Its original sponsors, Alan Simpson and Romano Mazzoli, have admitted that the law did not achieve its intended ends.
2. Allowing unlimited numbers of low-wage workers into the country will continue to undercut the wages and job prospects of the poorest Americans. It is not upper level managers or CEO’s who lose their jobs when we receive ten million low-wage laborers over our borders. Studies consistently demonstrate that black employment rises in response to enforcement of immigration law. While unemployment nationwide hovers around 8%, black unemployment remains 13.2%. Might employers find a way to hire some of those blacks if we decided to enforce our immigration laws instead of loosening them?
3. Many countries are using American money to prop up their own corrupt and incompetent governments. We all know that many illegal immigrants are sending money back to their home countries; the total amount is unknowable, but it is probably more than $30 billion a year. While this is a completely understandable and noble act on a personal level, its scale allows American prosperity to subsidize the often incompetent and corrupt leadership of illegals’ countries of origin. While this may bring some immediate relief to certain individuals, over the long term it merely prolongs the suffering of the masses of people who do not have relatives sending them money from more competently governed countries.
4. A new influx of individuals eligible for numerous federally funded entitlement programs will bankrupt our already strained system. Our entitlement system is already badly broken. According to a Congressional Research Service study released in 2012, Federal and State welfare spending was more than one trillion dollars in 2011. Obamacare is set to add 30 million new people (not including any newly legalized immigrants) to government funded health insurance. Even the most pro-amnesty advocates admit that the taxes paid by newly naturalized illegals will not come close to offsetting the federal and state benefits they are likely to receive.
5. Almost no one believes the bill will result in greater border security. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano admitted to Congress last year that terrorists who want to harm Americans enter the US from Mexico “from time to time.” A Rasmussen poll released in May showed that just 30% of American voters trust the government to take steps to secure the border if the immigration bill passes Congress.
6. The people who would be responsible for implementing and enforcing the new law oppose it. Representatives for employees of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services called proposed reforms “a dramatic step in the wrong direction.” The Senate bill, they say, does nothing to address border security, nor does it address how the millions of new citizenship applications can be processed in the timeframe required.
Why are both major parties toying with such a deeply flawed bill? Quite simply, Democrats will get a huge influx of voters, and Republicans will continue to provide various corporations with cheap labor. Republicans also hope to shed the image that they are anti-immigrant, although this is not what happened after the Reagan Amnesty in 1986. It is long past time for both parties to create an immigration strategy that can work.
Be sure to let your representatives know that they need to take a step back and apply real leadership and common sense, instead of pandering to various special interest lobbies. Your voice does have power – call or e-mail them today!
Posted by jonjayray at 1:19 AM
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Australia's new rejectionist policy lifts vote for PM's party
KEVIN Rudd's tough new stance on asylum seekers has lifted Labor's ratings to its highest level since Julia Gillard's proposal for regional processing in East Timor during the 2010 election.
Mr Rudd announced on Friday that asylum seekers arriving by boat would not be settled in Australia.
Detainees who are found to be refugees could be permanently settled in PNG, while those found not to be refugees could be detained in PNG, returned home if possible or be sent to a third country.
The news has lifted Labor's standings, with the latest Newspoll, in The Australian newspaper on Tuesday, showing support for Labor rose six percentage points to 26 per cent, while the Coalition's dropped 14 points to 33 per cent, compared with February results.
The results were greatest in Sydney's western suburbs where there was a three percentage point rise among ALP voters who believe Labor is best able to handle the issue of asylum seekers.
There was a rise in coalition supporters who now favour the ALP, up from four per cent to seven per cent.
Labor supporters who believed the coalition was best able to handle the task also fell massively from 21 to five per cent.
"Coalition supporters remain overwhelmingly supportive of Tony Abbott's approach to asylum-seekers, with 71 per cent nominating the opposition as the best to handle the issue, down from 80 in February," The Australian said.
"Labor's 26 per cent is the highest in Newspoll surveys since August 2010 when it hit 29 per cent after Ms Gillard announced a plan to establish a regional asylum-seeker processing centre in Dili."
Australia: 'Creepy' photos of distraught asylum seekers?
It is just such photos that deter illegals
The Department of Immigration has published photographs of distraught asylum seekers heading for Papua New Guinea, prompting anger on social media, as a missing asylum seeker boat has been found on its way to Christmas Island.
The asylum seekers pictured were on the first boat - carrying 81 mostly Iranian nationals - to arrive in Australia after the new policy of processing and resettling asylum seekers on PNG took effect.
According to the Immigration Department, the group of asylum seekers were told of the new deal between Australia and PNG at North West Point Immigration Detention Centre at Christmas Island.
In a video of the scene at Christmas Island, the woman with her head in her hands in the photo can be seen wiping her eyes.
Immigration Department acting regional manager Steven Karras said the group listened calmly to the message. "It was apparent to me that they did understand what this message meant," he said.
"I'm sure they’re now thinking about whether it was wise to come in the first place. And I think in fact over the coming days … they will start to contemplate very seriously whether in fact returning home is a better option."
The move to publish the photographs was quickly questioned on Twitter. Asylum seeker NGO, House of Welcome, called the photos "creepy" and "upsetting".
Greens immigration spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young said the pictures were shameful.
Immigration Department spokesman Sandi Logan said that the department believed the images were "entirely appropriate".
Mr Logan said the department had taken the necessary steps to protect the identity of the asylum seekers involved.
"The opportunity to demonstrate graphically to people considering getting on the next boat is an absolutely vital opportunity for us," he told Fairfax Media.
Mr Logan said that the department regularly documented transfers and made them public, as it thought it was important to be "transparent in the way that we operate".
Mr Logan also said the images helped with the "believability factor" - getting the message of Australia's changed policy out to people smugglers and facilitators, those considering getting on a boat and disapora communities. "This is about saving lives at sea," he said.
The woman who is pictured with her head in her hands had been briefed within the previous hour about the transfer to PNG and was waiting for initial checks, Mr Logan said.
It is not known if she was upset because of the PNG transfer or another reason.
Posted by jonjayray at 9:07 AM
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Memo From Middle America: Lindsey Graham Wrong —Mexico Not A “Hellhole”, Doesn’t Need Northern “Safety Valve”
By Allan Wall
As long-time readers know, I resided for a decade and a half in Mexico. A few years ago, I moved back to the United States. Since my wife is from Mexico, we go back at Christmas and in the summer. Of course, I can follow Mexico on the internet, but these visits allow me to get a real feel for the country.
The violence in Mexico? It’s certainly a consideration for us. Coincidentally, it was getting worse about the time we moved to the U.S. Now, when we visit, we’re more careful than we used to be. We take toll roads and try not to drive at night. On this trip, there was violence in the metropolitan area where we used to live and now visit, but we did not personally encounter it.
But that’s what Mexican violence is like. It’s not like some imagine, with the whole country a free fire zone 24/7. It’s just that, in certain regions of the country, violence might erupt and you could be in the crossfire. The odds are quite low, but woe unto those to whom it happens.
Nevertheless, life goes on in Mexico. People live their lives and go about their daily business.
My family and I had a good summer visit. We spent time with my wife’s family, we saw old friends and neighbors.
We attended services in three different churches, two Protestant and one Catholic. I was even asked to preach a sermon in one of the Protestant churches, which I did, in Spanish of course.
We visited a children’s home, where we delivered sheets and towels that my church in the U.S. had donated.
We ate in favorite restaurants and bought things that aren’t available where we live
Lilia and the boys and I went to see the new Superman movie in a Mexican movie theater.
We also took a trip within a trip, by bus, to the city and state of Aguascalientes. Besides being a tranquil city, Aguascalientes has been called “The Cleanest City in Latin America,” and it may well be.
While there, I was asked by some Mexican pro-life activists to sign a petition. I told them that though I agree with them, since I’m not a Mexican citizen I shouldn’t sign it so as not to get them in trouble. (Mexico has a total ban on foreign participation in politics.)
Also in Aguascalientes, we visited a hunting supply store which was actually licensed to sell ammunition. There’s only one legal gun shop in all of Mexico, but there are stores licensed to sell ammo, and there are hunters in the region. (People who already have guns, that is. Guns, if properly maintained, last for many, many years.) The store’s manager lightheartedly told me he’d formerly been an illegal alien in the U.S. We bought our two sons bows and arrows.
Our bus was stopped by agents of the INM, (Instituto Nacional de Migración), Mexico’s immigration bureaucracy. We were sitting right at the front, and the agent got on and asked me for my identification. Fortunately, we had brought my Mexican visitor’s permit. No problem. I wasn’t offended at all. Why should I be, if I’m there legally?
At night, we watched the Mexican news broadcast.
(But before that we watched a rather silly but entertaining telenovela La Tempestad. As usual, the main characters were white, including former Miss Universe Jimena Navarrete—in her first regular televised thespian performance, pictured below. See its website here and the other major characters here.)Jimena Navarrete
The ongoing U.S. Amnesty/ Immigration Surge deliberations were widely reported and commented upon. I’ve noted some of that already
This is something I learned a long time ago: Mexican society supports illegal immigration to the United States. The common view is that illegal aliens are mistreated in the US, we owe the illegals, and haven’t done enough for them. There are dissenting voices, but most Mexicans side with their illegal countrymen north of the border.
In fact, when you get right down to it, anything we do to control our border or Mexican immigration is going to be criticized in Mexico.
Nevertheless, in another sense, it’s all very distant. What I mean is that life goes on in Mexico and I have a suspicion that support for the illegals is a mile wide but an inch deep. Most Mexicans aren’t really obsessed with the topic.
In other words, if the U.S. ever had a government that really cared about getting control of the border and controlling immigration—as, for example, Israel’s government does—there would certainly be plenty of screaming in the Mexican media and among Mexican politicians, and of course they would try to meddle. But if the U.S. had a resolute Netanyahu-type president who cared about our sovereignty (it’s been a while since we’ve have one of those), there’d be nothing that the Mexicans could do. And they would adjust.
Some people argue that if the U.S. were to shut down Mexican immigration, there would be some sort of revolution in Mexico. But I don’t think that that’s a foregone conclusion. The Mexican economy is doing well, and Mexicans are having smaller families (see my Mexico's Demographic Transition—America's Opportunity). Mexico can handle the shutting of its northern “safety valve”.
It’s funny, but Americans on both sides of the immigration debate frequently portray Mexico in as bad a light as possible.
Immigration patriots try to make Mexico look bad so we control that immigration and stop it coming here.
Open Border promoters also portray Mexico as horrible—Senator Lindsay Graham, one the Eight Gangsters, recently called it a “hell hole”—so they can make you feel guilty if you don’t support mass Mexican emigration to the U.S.
Of course, Mexico is poorer than the U.S.—but its standard of living is higher than the world average.
Indeed, my personal impression is that Mexicans, on average, may be happier than Americans. A lot of Americans may freak out to hear that, but it could be true.
An Ipsos poll released last year reported Mexicans did claim to be happier than Americans. Why not just take Mexicans’ word for it?
More recently, an OECD poll revealed a higher life satisfaction in Mexico than in the U.S. Respondents in 36 countries were asked to rate their general satisfaction with life on a scale of 1 to 10. Mexico placed #10. The United States placed #14. (The Swiss were #1.)
Why should we encourage immigration from a happier country (Mexico) to a country that, according to polls, is not as happy (the U.S.)?
Consider, too, that in the past couple of years, Hispanics in the United States had the most precipitous drop in the Harris “Happiness Index” survey. [Harris Poll: Only A Third Of U.S. Adults Qualify As Very Happy, UPI June 1, 2013 ] Could it be that, when Mexicans are being Mexicans in Mexico, with all its problems, it’s still their country and they’re comfortable with it? But when they emigrate to the United States, although they earn more money, they’re in a different country and, at some level, they aren’t as comfortable.
To complicate matters further, we now have millions of Mexican-Americans born in the U.S. and many of them (especially the younger ones) don’t really identify with the historic American nation, and are in fact encouraged not to. It’s a ticking time bomb.
Mexico and the United States are (still) two separate countries. We ought to respect the differences. I don’t think we ought to be meddling in Mexican internal affairs. I don’t think we should be allowing them to meddle in ours.
And I don’t think we should allow Mexicans to conquer us demographically.
I like to visit Mexico. But I want Mexico to remain a foreign country. I don’t want Mexico to become part of the US, nor the US to become part of Mexico.
Good fences make good neighbors.
Recent posts at CIS below
See here for the blog. The CIS main page is here.
1. CIS Video: DC March for Jobs Speakers Discuss S.744's Effect on American Workers
2. A "What if..." Scenario about Congress and Immigration
3. The Australia-Papua New Guinea Refugee Resettlement Agreement
4. Government Defines Video Gamers as Athletes for Immigration Purposes
5. The GOP and Immigration: Death by Pandering
6. Even Safe Cities Need the SAFE Act
7. Surprise! Few "Dreamers" Use In-State Tuition Breaks
8. The GOP and Immigration
9. Widening Existing Vulnerabilities
10. Reviewing the Daily Beast's Story on the March for Jobs
11. The GOP and Immigration
12. Virginia, Not ICE, Closes Suspect University of Northern Virginia
13. Better SAFE than Sorry
14. Empty Seats and Lobbyists
15. Black Leaders at March for Jobs Invoke Civil Rights Struggle and the 1963 March
Led by Martin Luther King, Jr.
16. Immigration and the Death of the Republican Party
17. Interior Repatriation in Mexico: Baby Steps in the Right Direction
Posted by jonjayray at 6:46 AM
Monday, July 22, 2013
Leahy: Senate Immigration Bill Says Forging Two Passports Is Not a Crime
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt) admitted Wednesday that under the Senate immigration bill, forging up to two passports is not a crime, adding that the bill leaves the decision whether to charge someone with passport fraud up to the discretion of prosecutors.
On Capitol Hill on Wednesday, CNSNews.com asked Leahy, "One of the provisions has to do with passports, that’s an important component. Do you know how many passports someone is able to forge before it’s a crime?”
Leahy said, "Well, it depends upon which interpretation is being used. You could have one form which is two, but then there are other criminal conduct that would be involved with that."
"Cause you give prosecutors a certain amount of discretion, you have two or three different crimes you have committed, so then it's [up to] prosecutorial discretion which one they will charge. I mean, I spent eight years as a prosecutor. One of things you learn [is] the importance of that."
Leahy made the remarks in an interview with CNSNews.com after he was asked how many passports someone could forge before it was a crime under Senate Bill 744, which passed on a 68-to-32 vote June 27. All Senate Democrats and 14 Republicans voted for the bill.
While not a member of the bipartisan "Gang of Eight" group of senators who sponsored the bill, Leahy was a staunch supporter and voted for passage.
“With this legislation, we honor our American values,” Leahy said in a press release on the day the bill cleared the Senate.
“We honor the search of our forbearers for freedom, for prosperity, and for the promise that America has held out to so many for so long. Today is a good day for the Senate, and for the country. Today, with the help of many Senators, we will address a complex problem that is hurting our families, stifling our economy and threatening our security.”
In June, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Ia.) introduced three amendments “that would tighten criminal laws that are being weakened in the comprehensive immigration bill being debated by the Senate,” but amendment #45 regarding passport fraud was rejected by the Senate Judiciary Committee on an 8-10 vote .
Title 18, Section 1541 of the U.S. Code provides for fines and imprisonment up to 25 years for granting, issuing, or verifying "any passport" without proper authority.
But Section 3707 of the nearly 1,200-page Senate immigration bill amends that section to impose criminal penalties only after a person fabricates "three or more" phony passports. (See S 744.pdf)
'Malta is small, we cannot cope with these migrants'
The tiny island of Malta has received 17,743 mainly African migrants this decade - the equivalent, in Britain, of 2.5 million people. And it is struggling to cope, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat says.
MOHAMMED ABDI, an asylum seeker from Somalia, counts himself to have made two new sets of friends this month. One is the "generous" people of Malta, who took him and 102 other African migrants in after their boat got into difficulties as it trafficked them towards Europe from Libya.
The other is the European Court of Human Rights, which stopped Malta's not-so-generous prime minister, Joseph Muscat, from flying them back to Libya after claiming the island could not cope with more illegal immigrants.
"It would have been wrong to send us back to Libya," beamed Abdi, 30, who now lives in a dormitory in an immigration detention centre surrounded by 20 foot high barbed wire fences. "We are sorry for the people of Malta, who are very generous, but we do need help as conditions are terrible in my country."
Perched on a tiny but strategic set of islands between Europe and Africa, the Maltese have long prided themselves on their ability to repel unwanted invaders. In the 1500s, their resident Knights of St John were the heroes of Europe after seeing off the Ottoman Turks, and in the Second World War, they won the George Cross for helping Britain to keep Hitler at bay.
Their latest efforts to turn back a foreign armada, however, are unlikely to win such plaudits. Or not from the European Union, anyway, which last week was embroiled in a bitter row with Mr Muscat's government over its plans to return Mr Abdi and his ilk to Libya, from where they came in a people-smuggling boat 12 days ago.
The boat, which was picked up by the Maltese Coastguard, was the 14th to arrive this year alone, and came just a week after another one carrying 290 people. Altogether, 1,079 refugees have arrived in similar fashion in Malta this year alone, and 17,743 in the last decade.
But in the EU's smallest state, which has just 400,000 people and is roughly the size of the Isle of Wight, that is a lot more than it might sound.
The equivalent in Britain would be 2,500,000 extra people - roughly the equivalent of two Birminghams - a point not lost on Mr Muscat, who last week accused Brussels of lecturing his country about human rights while doing nothing to share the burden.
"Right now we cannot cope with these numbers, they are unsustainable," he told The Sunday Telegraph. "Malta is the smallest state in the EU, and we are carrying a burden that is much bigger than any other country."
Mr Muscat, 39, who studied at Bristol University, was speaking during an official visit to Rome last week, shortly after the European Court of Human Rights had issued an interim order blocking any moves to fly the Somalis back to Libya.
Strasbourg's judges backed claims by Maltese human rights groups and EU commissioners that Mr Muscat was violating EU law by not allowing them to make asylum claims first, and that the move was an illegal "push-back".
"This is not push back, it is a message that we are not push-overs," retorted Mr Muscat. He added that as a contributor to the EU bailouts of its southern European neighbours, Malta should expect the EU to offer something in return. "People say solidarity, solidarity, but then nothing happens."
Whether Mr Muscat, whose centre-Left Labour Party resents the charges of xenophobia that have been thrown at it, really intended to carry out the "push back" is a matter of debate.
Some suspect it was just a stunt to force Brussels to give practical help rather than high-handed lectures. As Mr Muscat himself puts it: "We have stamped our feet to say look guys, don't leave us alone."
But either way, the row has highlighted how Malta - and nearby Italy - is struggling to reconcile their obligations as EU states with their unsought role as the doormat for illegal migrants from Africa seeking entry to Europe.
As Europe's most southerly nation - it lies level with Tunisia – Malta's immigration problems are not just about numbers. While Britain frets about an influx of educated, English-speaking Eastern Europeans, Malta contends mainly with arrivals from the poorest and most war-torn parts of sub-Saharan Africa.
Most arrive largely destitute, having blown most of their savings on an €700 people's smuggler's fee and the gruelling 15-day trip by truck and foot across the Sahara. And although a certain resourcefulness is needed to make that journey in first place, many have little schooling and speak neither Maltese or English, the island's second language.
Hence the groups of Africans who gather at certain road junctions around the capital, Valletta, hoping for labouring work from passing builder and hoteliers. It can be a long wait.
"I have been here a month, and have found nothing," said Goodluck Ajeh, 25, a footballer originally from Nigeria. "I will take any job - right now I am just looking for my daily bread."
Unusually for an EU country, Malta makes all illegal immigrants stay in secure detention centres while their asylum claims are processed, a process that can take up to 18 months. But when that time expires, few in practice are sent back. Nearly 90 per cent are from Somalia and Eritrea, both countries deemed too dangerous for deportation to.
Libya is likewise deemed off-limits, because of a wave of reprisals carried out against black Africans for their role in fighting as mercenaries for Colonel Gaddafi in Libya's civil war.
Instead, they end up languishing in large, government-run hostels and overcrowded rented homes, where they stand out conspicuously. While the locals pride themselves on being a tolerant, cosmopolitan people - large numbers of Maltese live abroad as immigrants themselves - there are tensions in areas like Marsa, a shipyard town of 6,000.
"For a place our size to be invaded by about 1,000 immigrants in the last six or seven years is a big shock," said Marsa's Labour mayor, Francis Debona, 53. "It's not because they are black, it's just a matter of suddenly having another big population with cultures and practices that are very different to our own.
"It's all very for the European Court to say these people can't be sent back, but their judges don't live around here, do they?"
A straw poll by The Sunday Telegraph revealed a mixture of views around Marsa. Some insisted the migrants caused no particular trouble, a view backed by Andrew Seychell, Malta's senior immigration policeman, who says there is no sign of an associated crime wave. Others, though, accused them of unclean habits and blamed them for a drop in house prices.
"Every night you see them around here, drinking and making a mess," said Raymond Zammit, 51, pointing to stains on the pavement near his tyre business which he said were caused variously by beer, wine and urine.
"The kids feel afraid to play in the parks," added Gerard Camelleri, 59. "In another few years, Malta is going to be African."
In fact, few African immigrants seek to put down roots down in Malta, preferring instead to head to mainland Europe, where job prospects are better, and where they can legally go under the Schengen arrangements.
But that creates another problem. The rules insist they must return to the country where they first claimed asylum within three months, and while the majority simply overstay, every year hundreds are caught and forcibly returned to Malta from other Schengen countries.
As such, few the estimated 5,000 currently resident in Malta have any real interest in settling, and therefore little incentive to integrate.
"Some will try five times a year to leave Malta for somewhere better," said one refugee worker. "Then, every time they are sent back, they start at square one again."
This weekend, it seemed that Mr Muscat's outburst had achhieved some of the desired effect. Having ticked Malta off over the "push-back" talk, the European home affairs commissioner, Cecilia Malmstrom, offered to make extra emergency funds available and also pledged to do more to get other EU states to take some of Malta's immigrants.
A transfer scheme is already in place, but over the past decade other European nations have taken only 700 of Malta's arrivals, with the US taking 1,300.
At the same time, the government embarked on a public relations damage-limitation exercise, attempting to allay concerns about asylum seekers' treatment with a visit to the detention centre where the Somalis were being held.
Mr Abdi, the Somali who had dodged deportation, told The Sunday Telegraph he was "very happy with the conditions, and very happy to be here".
Whether his cheer will survive a stay in the detention centre and a spell of roadside job seeking is, however, another matter.
And likewise, if as expected more boats continue to arrive in Mr Abdi's wake, it may no longer just be Mr Muscat stamping his feet.
Posted by jonjayray at 5:13 PM
Sunday, July 21, 2013
Voice of the American Worker Raised in Protest
Americans Need Jobs, Not Increased Competition for Jobs
Earlier this week the Black American Leadership Alliance hosted the DC March for Jobs, a rally in Washington to show support for the 22 million Americans who are presently out of work or underemployed. The Center for Immigration Studies is providing video of the speakers who voiced concern over the reduced wages and increased unemployment which would result from amnesty for the 11 million illegal immigrants residing in the U.S. and the doubling of legal immigration proposed by the Senate.
In speaking of the displacement of American workers by millions of illegal immigrants, the extraordinary unemployment rate of young blacks, double the national average, was emphasized. Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s former executive director and CIS board member Frank Morris told the crowd that the racism of U.S. immigration policy lies in the fact that "non-citizens, who have violated and benefited from the violation of our laws, are having a new bill that Congress is proposing for them, that gives them more benefits, while our own citizens are tragically suffering more."
View videos of the event’s speakers: http://cis.org/Videos/DC-March-for-Jobs
Many members of Congress, like Senators Jeff Sessions and Ted Cruz and Representatives Mo Brooks and Steve King, and community leaders of all races addressed the crowd. But the most powerful voices were those of black leaders, of whom Senator Elbert Guillory, the Rev. O’Neal Dozier, former Florida Republican Congressman Allen West, and TheBlackSphere.net’s Kevin Jackson, were just a few of the names participating.
View the Senate bill, CIS Senate testimony and commentary at: http://cis.org/Border-Security-Economic-Opportunity-Immigration-Modernization-Act
The above is a press release from from Center for Immigration Studies. 1522 K St. NW, Suite 820, Washington, DC 20005, (202) 466-8185 fax: (202) 466-8076. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact: Marguerite Telford, 202-466-8185, email@example.com. The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent research institution which examines the impact of immigration on the United States. The Center for Immigration Studies is not affiliated with any other organization
Now GERMANY admits mass immigration threatens 'social peace'
A new report leaked in Germany chronicles the disintegration of communities under the massive influx of Romanian and Bulgarian economic migrants while warning of possible civil disturbances unless the tide is checked.
Germany is experiencing what the UK can expect next year when restrictions covering the two EU countries come to an end and waves of job and benefit seekers are expected to pour across the channel.
In its report, Germany warns of the threat to the 'social peace' of its cities and towns.
Until January 1, 2014, Bulgarian and Romanian access to the German - and British - labour market is still limited and they can legally remain longer than three months if they have a trade and a job.
But a loophole in the law makes large families eligible for massive child benefits which can mean up to £2,000 a month for large families.
Interior expert Stephan Mayer of the conservative CSU party in Bavaria said: 'The abuse of German social security benefits under the guise of freedom of movement in the EU must be stopped. 'If necessary through a change in the European treaties.'
Germany's Federal Statistics Offices says 437,000 Romanians and Bulgarians have flooded into the country in the past three years.
In some towns, like Duisburg, the mayor has complained of gypsy families living in ghetto-style blocks sending out gangs of children to commit crimes.
Some 176,000 arrived last year alone, 40,000 up on 2011, and an internal paper of the interior ministry leaked to the media said Duisburg, Dortmund, Berlin, Hannover, Munich, Mannheim, Offenbach and Frankfurt are among the most severely affected cities.
'The paper explicitly warns of the consequences for the social peace,' said Bild, the country's biggest selling paper today.
The document warns of 'extreme occupancy of dilapidated, uninhabitable properties with illegal dormitories' where people often sleep 20 to a room, 'dirty patios, overfilled garbage bins' and 'noisy crowds into the small hours.'
The report also chronicles the chaos caused in schools where 'children who speak no German from Bulgaria and Romania' are holding back the native speakers.
Crime is on the way up in the areas where the newcomers have settled - particularly prostitution.
Germany's overall crime rate has been falling in recent years - but crimes relating to Bulgarian and Romanian criminals is on the rise.
One fast-growing category is pickpocketing. In Berlin last year robbery involving tricks - such as children asking for help while an accomplice robs the target - rose by 39 per cent. And break-ins of single-family houses, rising since 2006, increased by 32 per cent, with every 76th house affected.
Christian Pfeiffer, director of the Criminological Research Institute of Lower Saxony in Hanover, says the eastward expansion of the European Union, with full rights of free movement, is largely to blame.
'Romania and Bulgaria, in particular, have sophisticated crime syndicates, with training and scouting networks reaching deep into the nearest rich EU countries, Germany and Austria,' said a recent article in the Economist. 'Of the suspects in Berlin’s trick-robbery cases last year, 75 per cent were non-German; 31 per cent came from Romania.
'These eastern syndicates have local contacts and mark their targets, especially along motorway or railway escape routes. Then they strike with stunning professionalism,' says Mr Pfeiffer.
'They go where the return on risk is highest. They avoid Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, where homes are wealthier but better protected with alarms and there is a faster police response. Instead they go north, where police are overwhelmed and the risk of being caught and convicted is about one in 100.'
In Berlin the tricksters are brought in by fleets of mini buses pretending to be tourists. They are then housed in terrible conditions by organised gangs who get them registered as self employed businessmen which then leads on to the benefits that they so desperately need.
One media report said that each family that arrives has at least three children and some as many as ten. 'For each child the parents get more money than a teacher earns back in Romania,' said the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper.
Posted by jonjayray at 12:13 AM
Friday, July 19, 2013
The Strange Case of Mexican Emigration
Victor Davis Hanson
There are many strange elements in the current debate over illegal immigration, but none stranger than the mostly ignored role of Mexico.
Are millions of Mexican citizens still trying to cross the U.S. border illegally because there is dismal economic growth and a shortage of jobs in Mexico?
Not anymore. In terms of the economy, Mexico has rarely done better, and the United State rarely worse.
The Mexican unemployment rate is currently below 5 percent. North of the border it remains stuck at over 7 percent for the 53rd consecutive month of the Obama presidency. The American gross domestic product has been growing at a rate of less than 2 percent annually. In contrast, a booming Mexico almost doubled that in 2012, its GDP growing at a robust clip of nearly 4 percent.
Is elemental hunger forcing millions of Mexicans to flee north, as it may have in the past?
Not necessarily. According to a recent United Nations study, an estimated 70 percent of Mexico's citizens are overweight and suffer from the same problems of diet, health concerns and lack of exercise shared by other more affluent Western societies.
Mexico is a severe critic of U.S. immigration policy, often damning Americans as ruthlessly insensitive for trying to close our border. It has gone so far as to join lawsuits against individual American states to force relaxation of our border enforcement. Former Mexican President Felipe Calderon sharply criticized the United States for trying to "criminalize migration."
Is Mexico, then, a model of immigration tolerance?
Far from it.
Until 2011, when it passed reforms, Mexico had among the most draconian immigration laws in the world. Guatemala has criticized Mexico for initiating construction of a fence along its southern border.
Mexico has zero tolerance for illegal immigrants who seek to work inside Mexico, happen to break Mexican law or go on public assistance -- or any citizens who aid them.
In Mexico, legal immigration is aimed at privileging lawful arrivals with skill sets that aid the Mexican economy and, according to the country's immigration law, who have the "necessary funds for their sustenance" -- while denying entry to those who are not healthy or would upset the "equilibrium of the national demographics." Translated, that idea of demographic equilibrium apparently means that Mexico tries to withhold citizen status from those who do not look like Mexicans or have little skills to make money.
If the United States were to treat Mexican nationals in the same way that Mexico treats Central American nationals, there would be humanitarian outrage.
In 2005, the Mexican government published a "Guide for the Mexican Migrant" -- in comic book form. The pictographic manual instructed its own citizens how best to cross illegally into, and stay within, the United States. Did Mexico assume that its departing citizens were both largely illiterate and without worry about violating the laws of a foreign country?
Yet Mexico counts on these expatriate poor to send back well over $20 billion in annual remittances -- currently the third-largest source of Mexican foreign exchange.
Multibillion-dollar annual remittances from America fill a void that the Mexican government has created by not extending the sort of housing, education or welfare help to its own citizens that America provides to foreign residents.
In truth, many thousands of Mexicans flee northward not necessarily because there are no jobs, or because they are starving at home. America offers them far more upward mobility and social justice than does their own homeland. And for all the immigration rhetoric about race and class, millions of Mexicans vote with their feet to enjoy the far greater cultural tolerance found in the U.S.
Indigenous people make up a large part of the most recent wave of Mexican arrivals. Those who leave provinces like Oaxaca or Chiapas apparently find the English-speaking, multiracial U.S. a fairer place than the hierarchical and often racially stratified society of Mexico.
People should be a nation's greatest resource. Fairly or not, Mexico has long been seen to view its own citizens in rather cynical terms as a valuable export commodity, akin to oil or food. When they are young and healthy, Mexican expatriates are expected to scrimp, save and support their poorer relatives back in Mexico. When these Mexican expats are ill and aged, then the U.S should pick up the tab for their care.
The current problem for Mexico is that the U.S. might soon deal with illegal immigration in the way Mexico does. But for now, to the extent that Mexican citizens can potentially make, rather than cost, Mexico money, there is little reason for our southern neighbor to discourage its citizens from leaving the country -- by hook, crook or comic book.
Australian PM faces uphill election battle on asylum seeker issue
AFTER his quick political fix on the carbon tax, Kevin Rudd must now turn his attention to the tougher problem of asylum seeker policy. But this could prove a unsolvable dilemma.
Rudd was always planning to announce a crackdown on refugees soon after seizing back the nation's top job.
The new Prime Minister knows he has to find some way of distancing himself from the policy failure that is emphasised every time another boatload of asylum seekers arrives in Australian waters.
The latest deaths at sea after another boat disaster have only heightened the urgency for Rudd to convince voters he has a solution.
At a policy level, the Government needs to find a way of meeting its aim of stopping asylum seekers arriving by boat.
But at a political level, Labor needs to ensure the debate does not dominate the election campaign.
Labor has learned through bitter experience that it has little to gain from electoral battles over border protection.
The Coalition already has an natural advantage on the issue because voters tend to trust them more on national security.
When his opponents can point to a history of stemming boat arrivals the last time they were in government, Rudd's task is even tougher.
So Rudd is under immense pressure to neutralise the Coalition's campaign on asylum seeker boat arrivals before calling the election. But that is easier said than done.
The Prime Minister's chief problem could come down to one of believability. He has changed his position on asylum seeker policy before.
And the government he was a part of has gone through a series of policy contortions without finding a solution.
Unauthorised boat arrivals ballooned under Rudd's last time in power, after he dismantled the Howard government's Pacific Solution and moved asylum seekers into the community.
Rudd has since blamed other "push" factors of conflicts in other countries increasing the numbers of people willing to risk their lives on a boat to escape persecution.
The closest he has come to admitting to a mistake was "in perhaps not being quick enough to respond to the new change in external circumstances with an outflow from Sri Lanka from a civil war in 2009-10".
He has not accepted that changes in Australian laws when he was the leader have acted as "pull" factors by making Australia a more marketable destination for people smugglers.
But this is the focus of the Opposition's criticism that, in the reported words of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Australia needs to take "the sugar off the table" for people smugglers.
Julia Gillard appeared to admit the Rudd government had made mistakes on border protection when she rolled him as prime minister.
Asylum seeker policy was one of the three areas where Gillard said the government had "lost its way" and required a change of leader.
But after Gillard's failed ideas of sending asylum seekers to East Timor and swapping them with refugees in Malaysia - and a series of capitulations to the Opposition by reopening processing centres on Nauru and Papua New Guinea's Manus Island - the Government has little credibility left.
Rudd's political effort so far has been twofold. First, he has accused Opposition Leader Tony Abbott of lying when he says he can stop the boats.
Rudd used his first press conference after becoming prime minister to lambast Mr Abbott for using meaningless three-word slogans, and raise the spectre of a conflict with Indonesia if a Coalition government enacted its threat to turn around boats at sea.
Rudd is now entering the second phase of his attempt to take the sting out of the issue for Labor.
He has flagged new policies to make it harder for asylum seekers to be assessed as refugees in Australia, suggested he could change Australia's application of the Refugee Convention, and will push for better regional co-operation on people smuggling.
He has raised concerns in recent trips to Indonesia and PNG, and he could make another visit to Jakarta to take part in a planned summit with source countries including Iran, Afghanistan and Myanmar.
We are likely to soon see the Government announce a tougher process for weeding out economic refugees from those genuinely in fear of persecution.
Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr has been laying the groundwork for his change, and has recently claimed the vast majority of recent asylum seekers are "economic migrants".
But none of these options is likely to have any immediate impact on the rate of boat arrivals. Labor has made similar suggestions before. Now the Government is running out of time.
Posted by jonjayray at 12:34 AM
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Who'll pick our crops?
ON a windy morning in California's Salinas Valley, a tractor pulled a wheeled, metal contraption over rows of budding iceberg lettuce plants.
Engineers from Silicon Valley tinkered with the software on a laptop to ensure the machine was eliminating the right leafy buds.
The engineers were testing the Lettuce Bot, a machine that can "thin'' a field of lettuce in the time it takes about 20 workers to do the job by hand.
The thinner is part of a new generation of machines that target the last frontier of agricultural mechanization - fruits and vegetables destined for the fresh market, not processing, which have thus far resisted mechanization because they're sensitive to bruising.
Researchers are now designing robots for these most delicate crops by integrating advanced sensors, powerful computing, electronics, computer vision, robotic hardware and algorithms, as well as networking and high precision GPS localization technologies. Most ag robots won't be commercially available for at least a few years.
In this region known as America's Salad Bowl, where for a century fruits and vegetables have been planted, thinned and harvested by an army of migrant workers, the machines could prove revolutionary.
Farmers say farm robots could provide relief from recent labour shortages, lessen the unknowns of immigration reform, even reduce costs, increase quality and yield a more consistent product.
"There aren't enough workers to take the available jobs, so the robots can come and alleviate some of that problem,'' said Ron Yokota, a farming operations manager at Tanimura & Antle, the Salinas-based fresh produce company that owns the field where the Lettuce Bot was being tested.
Many sectors in US agriculture have relied on machines for decades and even the harvesting of fruits and vegetables meant for processing has slowly been mechanized. But nationwide, the vast majority of fresh-market fruit is still harvested by hand.
Research into fresh produce mechanization was dormant for years because of an over-abundance of workers and pressures from farmworker labour unions.
In recent years, as the labour supply has tightened and competition from abroad has increased, growers have sought out machines to reduce labour costs and supplement the nation's unstable agricultural workforce. The federal government, venture capital companies and commodity boards have stepped up with funding.
"We need to increase our efficiency, but nobody wants to work in the fields,'' said Stavros G. Vougioukas, professor of biological and agricultural engineering at the University of California, Davis.
But farmworker advocates say mechanization would lead to workers losing jobs, growers using more pesticides and the food supply becoming less safe.
"The fundamental question for consumers is who and, now, what do you want picking your food; a machine or a human, who with the proper training and support, can'' ... take significant steps to ensure a safer, higher quality product, said Erik Nicholson, national vice president of the United Farm Workers of America.
On the Salinas Valley farm, entrepreneurs with Mountain View-based startup Blue River Technology are trying to show that the Lettuce Bot can not only replace two dozen workers, but also improve production.
"Using Lettuce Bot can produce more lettuce plants than doing it any other way,'' said Jorge Heraud, the company's co-founder and CEO.
After a lettuce field is planted, growers typically hire a crew of farmworkers who use hoes to remove excess plants to give space for others to grow into full lettuce heads. The Lettuce Bot uses video cameras and visual-recognition software to identify which lettuce plants to eliminate with a squirt of concentrated fertilizer that kills the unwanted buds while enriching the soil.
Blue River, which has raised more than $3 million in venture capital, also plans to develop machines to automate weeding - and eventually harvesting - using many of the same technologies.
Another company, San Diego-based Vision Robotics, is developing a similar lettuce thinner as well as a pruner for wine grapes. The pruner uses robotic arms and cameras to photograph and create a computerized model of the vines, figure out the canes' orientation and the location of buds - all to decide which canes to cut down.
Fresh fruit harvesting remains the biggest challenge.
Machines have proved not only clumsy, but inadequate in selecting ripe produce. In addition to blunders in deciphering color and feel, machines have a hard time distinguishing produce from leaves and branches. And most importantly, matching the dexterity and speed of farmworkers has proved elusive.
"The hand-eye coordination workers have is really amazing, and they can pick incredibly fast. To replicate that in a machine, at the speed humans do and in an economical manner, we're still pretty far away,'' said Daniel L. Schmoldt at the US Agriculture Department's National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
In southern California, engineers with the Spanish company Agrobot are taking on the challenge by working with local growers to test a strawberry harvester.
The machine is equipped with 24 arms whose movement is directed through an optical sensor; it allows the robot to make a choice based on fruit color, quality and size. The berries are plucked and placed on a conveyor belt, where the fruit is packed by a worker.
Still, the harvester collects only strawberries that are hanging on the sides of the bed, hence California's strawberry fields would have to be reshaped to accommodate the machine, including farming in single rows, raising the beds and even growing varieties with fewer clusters.
Experts say it will take at least 10 years for harvesters to be available commercially for most fresh-market fruit - not a moment too soon for farmers worried about the availability of workers, said Lupe Sandoval, managing director of the California Farm Labor Contractor Association.
"If you can put a man on the moon,'' Sandoval said, "you can figure out how to pick fruit with a machine.''
Australia: Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr warns of new breed of asylum seeker, driven by economic factors
Big backpedal now Viets are coming. Viets mostly vote conservative. Muslims vote Leftist
FOREIGN Affairs Minister Bob Carr fears asylum-seeker numbers could double unless a new approach is found to stop the influx of boats.
Senator Carr's warning comes as a new breed of asylum seekers - not linked to conflict zones - is heading to Australia.
Senator Carr told a function in Sydney last night that the numbers would continue to grow - and be driven by economic factors - unless Australia found new solutions to stem the flow.
"The nature of the challenge has changed for us," he said. "It's no longer a tiny number, it's 3000 or more a month - that's 40,000 a year - it could go higher, and that's 20 per cent of the Australian migrant intake.
"And I just think people with humanitarian instincts, we've got to start thinking about fresh answers on this because if it can be 40,000 a year without a major upset in the region ... then that 50,000 a year, 40,000 a year could very easily double."
Senator Carr said it was a "different quality of the problem" faced by Australian between 2001 and 2004.
"It really is," he said. "We've got a capacity to turn Australians xenophobic against immigration because of the mounting numbers and the fact that - yes I will insist on this - we're getting many advise that it is economic pressure (and) economic aspirations (driving the arrivals)."
The latest boat, carrying 84 people, sailed directly from Vietnam, where there has been no conflict for 30 years.
Already this year, 759 Vietnamese boat people have come to Australia - the largest group to turn up since just after the Vietnam War - and more than four times the total number that has arrived in the three previous years.
The unexpected influx will put increasing pressure on Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to toughen up his asylum-seeker policies.
More than 17,000 boatpeople arrived last year, but already 14,500 have landed on our shores this year.
The new Vietnamese rush came as Mr Rudd left PNG with no breakthrough on the asylum crisis. There had been speculation of a new deal but Mr Rudd said the countries would "continue to strengthen and to further our practical co-operation against our common enemy, people smugglers".
Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa left open the prospect of accepting the Opposition's tow-back boat policy yesterday and said a conference to combating people smuggling would take place next month.
He also dealt the Government a blow after it had seized on Indonesia's insistence no country should take "unilateral action" as evidence it would reject the Opposition's policy.
"Well, I think the first point that must be underscored is that when we used the term 'unilateral action' it is not to deny the fact that there are things that countries can do at the national level," Mr Natalegawa said.
"We have had good communication, including with the Opposition party in terms of where they wish to take the discussion forward."
Posted by jonjayray at 5:20 AM