Sunday, September 30, 2007
Noose found hanging in Long Island police station.
A noose was found dangling in a Long Island town's police department, horrifying officials who rushed to condemn the hateful act.
The scandal at the Hempstead Police Department began early Friday, when a maintenance man spotted the noose hanging from a pipe in a men's locker room.
Officials said they were stunned that racism would rear its head in the diverse department - and questioned whether the act was linked to a deputy chief's recent promotion or a push to recruit more minorities.
"I used to read about this with the KKK, as far back as I can remember," said Perry Pettus, a town trustee. "To hear about something like this in this community, it's just a sad situation."
Nassau County and Hempstead police were investigating who hung the noose, long an emblem of lynchings and racism in the Old South. Scorn for the symbol has been renewed since three nooses were hung outside a school in Jena, La., last year, prompting race-related fights and arrests that have captivated the country.
"It's just mindboggling in the wake of the high-profile case in Jena that you would do that, that someone would be so full of hate," said Hempstead Mayor Wayne Hall.
In Hempstead, officials said about half of the 107-member department are minorities. Department officials recently hung a banner announcing their participation in an effort to recruit more women and minorities to be cops.
Several community leaders expressed concern that the noose could be linked to the April promotion of Willie Dixon, who is black, to deputy police chief.
Wing would not discuss what evidence was collected in the locker room, but confirmed that only cops have access to the basement room.
"They're upset, leaning toward outrage," Wing said of the department's reaction. "It's because of all of the symbolism that the noose comes with historically and the fact that it was hung in a police department."
Longtime residents said the incident was out of character for their community.
"I've lived here all my life, and I've never heard of anything like this," said Edward Tolver 2nd, president of the Hempstead NAACP.
"[The] Hempstead Police Department is one of the most diverse police departments in the state. It's sad to see something like this happen."
Border Patrol detains 22 at checkpoint. They all were farm workers. I am wondering who else will do their Jobs?.
Twenty-two people from Mexico and Guatemala were detained by U.S. Border Patrol agents after the farm bus on which they were riding was stopped at a DWI checkpoint in Oswego County Friday night.
State police reported the bus, owned by Zappala Farms in Fulton, was stopped about 9:25 p.m. at the checkpoint on Route 3 in the town of Granby. Agents from the U.S. Border Patrol determined during questioning that there were 22 illegal aliens on the bus.
They were all taken into custody without incident and transported to the U.S. Border Patrol station in Oswego for processing.
Border patrol officials declined comment on the case Saturday, referring questions to officials at headquarters in Buffalo. Owners of Zappala Farms could not be reached for comment.
It's the second incident this year involving farmworkers associated with Zappala Farms being taken into custody by federal officials.
On May 23, immigration officials searching for a fugitive stopped a van in Granby and arrested 16 farmworkers they said were in the country illegally. When officials took those workers to the Zappala farm to collect their belongings, agents found six more illegal aliens.
The farm's owners claimed they had followed all of the Department of Labor's requirements in hiring those workers.
The I.C.E. continue the Raids throughout the Nation. I think the priorities have changed from becoming law abiding. It's almost like, a cleansing mission of some sort.
TULSA, Okla.) September 28 - An overnight bust of illegal immigrants has a Tulsa community on edge.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, tracked down four suspected who are also in this country illegally.
Authorities say the four men, all from Mexico, had ignored a federal judge's deportation orders.
In the meantime, a tough new Oklahoma law on illegal immigration will soon go into effect.
Some in the neighborhood where the bust happened say they are leary of ICE’s tactics.
Hispanic groups across Oklahoma are planting their message, wanting you to know they want to put a stop to the state's new immigration law.
And one Hispanic mother says the state needs to lay off. As the convoy of ICE agents make its way through an east Tulsa neighborhood, Silvia Berumen-Garner is not really sure what to think. “If they were dangerous and fugitives a problem for society, but it doesn't seem to be that way.”
Berumen-Garner has no problem with criminals being deported, but she fears sweeps like these are going too far. “I think the priorities have changed from becoming law abiding. It's almost like, a cleansing mission of some sort."
A 30-year resident of the United States, Berumen-Garner says forcing illegals out of the state may appear to make sense on the surface, but she's convinced such a policy hurts Oklahoma. “There should be a solution more than just sending people out or taking people out because that hurts the people, hurts the economy. You know there's not one sweeping solution."
The Reverend Miguel Riveria, a member of the National Coalition of Latin Clergy and Christian Leaders, wants to put a halt to house bill 1804. "1804 is a frivolous law, it's a frivolous law."
It's an immigration law making it illegal to house or employee illegal immigrants. “We are on record that our borders need to be secure and we are on record also that we support the rule of law", Riveria says.
But they also support tolerance and humanity towards all people as opposed to a law they feel is hateful. “If there needs to be a change there needs to be a humanitarian change", Silvia says.
While Hispanic groups on the local level try to fight the state, on the federal level there's about 73 fugitive operations team nationwide. They say they strictly focus on those who ignore their deportation orders.
Supporters of immigrant rights plan to file an injunction in federal court to suspend 1804, pending the court's review. But as of right now, 1804 is set to go into effect November 1.
The phantom of my own skin will follow me until I die and I won't change your mind because it was already planted before you even born.
To Ignorants, Xenophobics, Extremist, called patriots with mask of Hitler, Racist, and pathetic people.
Instead of becoming a nation that has learned from its past we have become a more ignorant and racist nation। Illegal immigration Is an issue that has to be addressed, rather than a massive deportations, but racist comments and jokes seem to be growing along with ignorance। Address the issue and stop judging the people, most of whom work harder then some AMERICANS whom have nothing better to do but point fingers and name call. I feel that instead of going forward we as a nation are going backwards to the times of the KKK and slavery. I am an american citizen and I worked hard to earn that right, but that doesn't matter anymore because when I go out to a place thats mostly non latino I get stared at and treated like an illegal. Stop judging and stereotyping like 12 year olds and act like adults to address the real issue-We need a bill passed, but our government is too scared to touch the subject especially with elections around the corner. I would bet anything that most of these ignorant and angry comments come from older and more educated individuals and that's just sad.
Matthew 7-1,2 (From the Sermon on the Mount):
"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge
others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be
measured to you."
I am hoping that this video will touch your soul.
Friday, September 28, 2007
Unbelievable and outrageous crime. Young girl seen in sex video found ‘safe’
Police name Chester Arthur Stiles a suspect in taped sex abuse and raped a 3 year old child.
LAS VEGAS - A young girl who was seen being sexually assaulted in a homemade videotape has been found and is safe with family members and sheriff's officials, authorities said Friday.
"We believe everything is going to work out well," Nye County Sheriff Tony DeMeo said at press conference, adding that the girl was found in Las Vegas. "The girl is OK."
Nye County sheriff's Detective David Boruchowitz said the girl was "safe" with her mother. "She looks like a very happy 7-year-old girl," said Boruchowitz.
The girl was 3 years old at the time of the rape and sexual assault, he added.
DeMeo said the mother was cooperating with authorities and recognized furniture in the sex tape. "The mother was not aware of anything that went on with this young girl," he said.
Also late Friday, authorities named fugitive Chester Arthur Stiles as a suspect in the assault, which police believe occurred in Las Vegas. Stiles was described as a white male, 6 feet, 3 inches tall and with brown hair and hazel eyes.
Boruchowitz said Stiles was a "several-tier-away family friend" of the girl's family.
DeMeo urged Stiles to turn himself in.
"You will not be forgotten," DeMeo said. "Law enforcement will be relentless in tracking this person down and bringing him into the criminal justice system."
Widespread media accounts of the case led to the crucial tip that helped find the girl, Boruchowitz said. He did not provide details of her identity, where she lives or how she was located.
MSNBC.com does not usually identify or release photos of suspected victims of sexual abuse.
Stiles, 37, whose last known address was Las Vegas, is also wanted on an unrelated state warrant on a charge of lewdness with a minor younger than 14 and a federal charge of being a fugitive, DeMeo said.
Older girl not assaulted
Investigators determined that the video of the attack was recorded over the video of an 11-year-old girl taped in October 2005 through a window of a Pahrump home, DeMeo said.
Officials identified that girl, now 13, after releasing photos taken from the video and matched to records of a "peeping Tom" report at her home. No one was found outside the girl's home when deputies arrived, and the girl wasn't assaulted, authorities said.
A 26-year-old Pahrump man, Darren Tuck, surrendered the tape to Nye County sheriff's investigators Sept. 8 after another man reported seeing it, Boruchowitz said.
Tuck was arrested on charges of promoting child pornography and possession of child pornography, both felonies, and released without bail pending an appearance Nov. 26 in Pahrump Justice Court. The top charge carries a possible sentence of up to life in prison.
Tuck told detectives he found the videotape in the desert outside Pahrump more than five months ago. Investigators don't think Tuck made the tape, Boruchowitz said.
Another setback for youth Undocumented Immigrants from the conservative GOP Senate.The GOP lost the majority of Hispanic voters after blocked the Immigration bill so the next step is continue damaging and punishment The hispanic community with Raids against undocumented and Legal immigrants..
WASHINGTON — The prospects for immediate Senate action on the DREAM Act, which would grant legal status to hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants, disappeared Wednesday amid Republican opposition.
But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., pledged that senators would vote on the the measure, which is strongly opposed by anti-illegal immigration groups, before the Senate finishes its work for the year in mid-November.
"All who care about this matter should know that we will move to proceed to this matter before we leave here," he said.
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., had sought to attach the DREAM Act to the defense authorization bill. But Reid announced Wednesday night that Democrats were shelving the effort because of difficulties getting past legislative roadblocks.
"Unfortunately, some Republicans are opposed to this proposal and are unwilling to let us move forward on this bill," Reid said.
'Issue doesn't stop here'
Durbin and immigrant rights advocates were dismayed by the setback but vowed to find other means to pass the legislation, which they have sought since 2001.
"There is no question that this issue doesn't stop here," said Cecilia Muñoz, senior vice president of the National Council of La Raza. "The longer we wait, the more talented young people we close the door of opportunity to."
The bill — officially the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act — would allow illegal immigrants who entered the U.S. before the age of 16, and who have lived here at least five years, to receive conditional legal status if they have graduated from high school and have a clean record. After six years, they could become permanent legal residents if they serve in the U.S. military for at least two years or complete at least two years of college. As with most green card holders, they could apply for citizenship after five years.
The nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute estimates that slightly more than 1 million high school graduates and children still in class could gain legal status under the legislation.
60 votes needed
With conservatives being barraged with calls, faxes and e-mails from anti-illegal immigration groups that view the DREAM Act as amnesty, some Republicans who supported the measure in the past have been reluctant to do so now. Durbin needed 60 votes to surmount an expected filibuster.
Some Senate Republicans, including Texans Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn, objected to the measure being brought up on a defense bill.
"Putting extraneous things on this bill isn't helpful," Hutchison said.
Other Republicans aren't ready to revisit a debate that imploded in June when the Senate scuttled an overhaul endorsed by the White House that would have given most illegal immigrants a chance for legal status.
"People, I think, want to let the immigration thing cool off a bit before we jump back in," said Sen. Jeff Sessions, an Alabama Republican who helped derail the comprehensive immigration bill.
Josh Bernstein, federal policy director for the National Immigration Law Center, predicted DREAM Act supporters eventually will prevail.
"The politics is right and the commitment is there," Bernstein said. "We're not giving up."
ICE raids at McDonald's at Vegas Nevada. Is Burger King or the Casino's next?.
Over 40 Arrests in Nev. Immigration Raid. Social service advocates said arrests created a humanitarian crisis, with some children left with no one to care for them.
RENO, Nev. (AP) — Federal agents raided 11 McDonald's restaurants in northern Nevada and made dozens of arrests Thursday as part of an investigation into illegal immigration.
Agents for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement made at least 56 arrests in Reno, Sparks and Fernley after raids at the restaurants and a franchise corporate headquarters in Reno, agency spokesman Richard Rocha said.
"They are people suspected of being in the country illegally. As far as I know, they were all McDonald's employees," he told The Associated Press.
The investigation began five months ago and was sparked by an identity theft complaint, Rocha said. A local law enforcement agency then gave ICE information that illegal immigrants were working at specific McDonald's restaurants, he said.
Luther Mack, who owns at least some of the restaurants that were raided, insisted that his businesses require employees to provide documentation.
"As an employer, I do not knowingly hire or employ undocumented or unauthorized workers," Mack said in a statement.
Lisa Howard, a spokeswoman for McDonald's Corp., based in Oak Brook, Ill., said the company had no comment on the arrests.
"This is a local situation with a local operator," she said.
The raids drew immediate criticism from Reno Mayor Bob Cashell and activists, who estimated the number of arrests to be closer to 100.
The mayor joined a news conference area Hispanic leaders and members of the American Civil Liberties Union called in front of the federal courthouse late Thursday.
"We don't approve of the Gestapo methods ICE is using," said Gilbert Cortez, a Latino leader who urged Hispanic workers to stay home from work in protest Friday.
Cashell, a Republican and former lieutenant governor, said that if identity theft was involved, that was wrong, and that he opposed a protest that would keep workers at home on Friday.
He said he would contact Nevada's congressional delegation and ask the city council to look into the raids. He said that he opposes illegal immigration, as well as immunity for illegal immigrants, but that "there has to be a better way to do this."
"Think of some of the people who were arrested and picked up; they have children. They don't know where their mama or their daddy is. That's not right."
ICE was working with Washoe County social services to help provide care for children, Rocha said. The detainees were allowed to telephone their family during the processing, he said.
The workers arrested were being processed Thursday night and will be transferred to an unidentified local detention center to await deportation proceedings, Rocha said.
The ICE has made several raids in recent months, including large ones at meatpacker Swift & Co., poultry plant Crider Inc. and leather factory Michael Bianco Inc.
Social service advocates said arrests in March at the Michael Bianco factory in New Bedford, Mass., created a humanitarian crisis, with some children left with no one to care for them
Sheriff Joe Arpaio arrests undocumented immigrants at church sanctuary.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said he is not waiting for new Cave Creek laws to take effect before cracking down on the town's mostly undocumented immigrant day laborers.
Sheriff's deputies arrested nine people near a church sanctuary Thursday, just days after Arpaio heralded new town laws expected to trigger a crackdown on the workers when they take effect next month.
“We're not waiting for the 30 days for these ordinances to be implemented,” Arpaio said. “We have received a lot of calls about Cave Creek having drop houses and illegals in the area
Up in arms about the arrests is Father Glenn B. Jenks of Good Shepherd of the Hills Episcopal Church, 6502 E. Cave Creek Road, which for more than six years been a safe haven for the laborers to find employment.
“They'll just go to another community not as short sighted as this one,” Jenks said. “This may make the sheriff look tough, but it's not in the best interest of the community.”
Touted as safety measures, the Cave Creek Town Council passed two new laws Monday, one toughening the town's ban on loitering and the other outlawing stopping cars on town streets.
Both take effect Oct. 24.
But on Thursday, sheriff's deputies — which act as Cave Creek's police force — arrested workers who were passengers in two vehicles as they exited the church's parking lot. One car was speeding and the other had a broken taillight, Arpaio said.
“The drivers were legal, but the passengers were illegal,” the Sheriff said. “We've been doing this all over the Valley.” Deputies gave the drivers warnings. No citations were issued.
What was once only a climate of fear has flared into panic for workers at the town's day-labor center.
“I can't believe this is happening,” Jenks said. “The attitude is, ‘Let's just sweep the rats into Phoenix and get them out of our town.' ”
Jenks, who called the arrests “counter-productive,” said he expects the dozens of remaining workers to gather somewhere else.
Cave Creek Mayor Vincent Francia, a supporter of the church's efforts, dismissed the sheriff's arrests as “doing what they do everyday,” pulling over people suspected of breaking the law.
“It just has to do with the normal activities they do for us,” Francia said.
Arpaio said Thursday's arrests are just the beginning.
“We're not done yet, and I'm not just talking about Cave Creek,” the sheriff said.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
The State of Vermount added to the list of affected cities and States by the Anti Immigrants Laws. Two Men had been caught by I.C.E. 'I don't know if they'd been staking us out or what. 'They just caught them as they were coming into the driveway. 'They became like family to us.
The arrest of two immigrant farm workers Wednesday prompted Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas to tell Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff about the need for comprehensive immigration reform to ensure that farms have enough labor, Douglas's spokesman said.
It was apparently a coincidence that the Mexican workers were apprehended by the Border Patrol the same day that Chertoff was in Vermont to promote a state plan for enhanced driver's licenses that would make it easier for people to cross the border.
'The governor understands the responsibility of the Border Patrol is to enforce the existing law, which is why he talked about comprehensive reform,' Gibbs said.
Douglas, a Republican, told Chertoff that he supported the agriculture jobs bill being promoted by U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat, 'so the Border Patrol and other federal agencies could devote more attention to securing the borders from terrorist threats and drug runners.'
Douglas and Chertoff met briefly in Burlington before the two signed a memorandum of understanding for the state to develop enhanced driver's licenses.
'As I understand it, it did come up,' Chertoff Spokesman Russ Knocke said of the Border Patrol arrests.
'Secretary Chertoff really led efforts on the part of the administration to work with Congress to develop a workable solution to a problem that has been decades in the making,' Knocke said
Leahy's bill, known as AGJOBS, would offer longtime illegal farm workers a way to continue in their jobs with legal status. Since it was derailed, Leahy has looked for a way to enact the bill separately, said Leahy spokesman David Carle.
'That is not going to be easy to do, because immigration has become a political lightning rod in Congress, and the Bush Administration has resisted the AgJobs reforms,' Carle said.
More and more Vermont farmers are turning to immigrant farm workers because they can't find adequate local labor.
Douglas's in-laws, dairy farmers in Addison County, employ immigrant farm workers. And Gibbs said Douglas understood the need for reliable farm labor.
'They employ immigrant labor and the individuals they employ present valid documentation,' Gibbs said. 'The broader issue here is whether or not farmers are qualified to validate the authenticity of otherwise valid documents. I think everyone agrees the answer to that is no. They shouldn't have to be in the business of documentation. That's the role of the government.'
Richard and Dawn Dodd, of Sheldon, said the two workers -- an unrelated man and a woman -- were taken into custody by the Border Patrol at about 5:30 a.m. Wednesday as they arrived for work.
Richard Dodd his brother and their wives are partners in Dodd Farms, a 1,300-acre operation with 500 head of cattle that milks 300 cows three times a day. The two immigrants who were arrested had only been working for them for a few weeks, Dawn Dodd said.
Border Patrol spokesman Mark Henry said a routine traffic stop led agents to the workers, whose identities were not released.
But Richard Dodd said he felt someone had turned his workers in.
'I don't know if they'd been staking us out or what,' Richard Dodd said. 'They caught them as they were coming into the driveway.'
After the two were arrested, they were taken back to the mobile home where they had been staying and allowed to collect their belongings, Nocke and Gibbs said. Richard Dodd was later allowed to deliver their paychecks, although he did not get a chance to speak to them.
Dawn Dodd said the workers who were arrested replaced two other workers, who returned to Mexico after working for the Dodds for years. The couple said they turned to immigrant labor when they couldn't find acceptable local workers.
'The work ethic is unreal. They catch on quick. They're willing to learn,' she said.
'They became like family to us,' Dodd said of the workers who left a few weeks ago to return to Mexico. 'They became like family to us.'
Immigration rules may hurt economy. "It's going to be awful; the harvest is going to be awful. Everybody who criticized comprehensive immigration reform for being too complex, maybe now they're going to realize it's complex because there are a lot of interconnected pieces to this and when you try to deal with only one corner of it, you wind up with a huge impact on something else.
Crackdown on employers could cause havoc in agriculture, healthcare and other industries, Chertoff acknowledges.
By Nicole Gaouette, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON -- Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff predicted painful economic fallout from the array of immigration enforcement measures the administration unveiled Friday in an attempt to choke off the jobs "magnet" that draws illegal immigrants.
The changes, which would stiffen work-site enforcement, add border agents and increase penalties for rogue employers, could cause havoc in immigrant-dependent industries like agriculture, hospitality and healthcare, Chertoff acknowledged. "There will be some unhappy consequences for the economy out of doing this," he said in an interview with The Times.
FOR THE RECORD:
Immigration law: An Aug. 11 Section A article about predicted fallout from immigration enforcement measures said Rep. Brian P. Bilbray was from Solano Beach. The city is Solana Beach, which is where his office is, but he lives in Carlsbad.
Chertoff said he had little sympathy for businesses that hire illegal workers, saying they should have seen the crackdown coming after the Senate failed to pass immigration reform. "We have been crystal clear about what the consequences would be," he said.
The announcement of the multi-agency initiative -- made by Chertoff and Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez -- was the Bush administration's first extensive explanation of how it plans to ramp up the fight against illegal immigration. In a statement, President Bush called the measures "important" and promised "to take every possible step" to strengthen the nation's "broken immigration system."
The enforcement approach is aimed partly at placating conservative Republicans who are angry about the administration's failure to enforce existing immigration laws and the president's support for a plan that would have allowed illegal immigrants to become citizens.
But it also could create a political climate that might lead to the comprehensive changes the administration has sought, including a guest worker program and some accommodation for the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States. Chertoff said the provisions, some of which take effect in 30 days, could push corporate America to apply more pressure on Congress to reconsider broad reforms.
"I'm not a lawmaker, but I presume, at some point, somebody's going to take a look and say, 'We've got to find a way to address this problem,' and that's probably going to require some legal changes," he said. But he stressed that "this is not an effort to punish Congress."
Gutierrez framed the issue more starkly: "We do not have the workers our economy needs to keep growing each year. The demographics simply are not on our side. Ultimately, Congress will have to pass comprehensive immigration reform."
Business groups, unions, immigrant advocates and religious organizations protested the provisions. But longtime opponents of comprehensive reform greeted the news happily.
"This is exactly what the American people were saying. . . when they said, 'Why don't we start out by enforcing existing laws and prove that Washington will do the right thing?' " said Rep. Brian P. Bilbray (R-Solano Beach). "Once we reinstate confidence in the government, then we can come back and talk about the other stuff."
Bilbray compared ending the nation's economic dependency on illegal immigration to weaning an addict off drugs. "If there's some pain, it's not because we didn't have amnesty. It's because we didn't enforce the law 20 years ago when we should have," he said.
Others expressed skepticism about the Department of Homeland Security's ability to "It's going to be awful; the harvest is going to be awful. enforce the measures, pointing out that the department cannot even come up with the number of high-skilled visa-holders in the country. "The agency that can't count is now going to go on this enforcement gig," said Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose), chairwoman of the House immigration subcommittee. "We'll see how they do."
Business groups predicted the effect would be broadly felt." said Laura Foote Reiff, co-chairwoman of the Business Immigration Group, predicting the effect on agriculture, where more than half of the 2.5 million workers are believed to be illegal. "People will feel it when they go grocery shopping, when they read in the newspaper that we're importing our meat from China."
Many of the measures the administration highlighted Friday are already underway, including a dramatic increase in criminal prosecutions of employers with illegal workers. Immigration officials have made 742 such arrests in the first 10 months of this fiscal year.
Some measures are in the early planning stages. A couple are a few months from launching, including a requirement that federal contractors use E-Verify, an electronic system to confirm that their employees are legal.
Others had been under consideration for some time, including a move to force businesses to fire workers with discrepancies in their Social Security data or face civil fines. Because many illegal immigrants work under fake Social Security numbers or use those of citizens, it is considered a relatively easy way to identify them. But the regulation taking effect in 30 days has companies intensely concerned, in part because the error rate in Social Security data for U.S. citizens has been estimated as high as 11%.
"We're giving employers a clear choice," Chertoff said. "If you take the steps we lay out, you'll have a safe harbor. If you don't, you're putting yourself at risk."
He characterized the effect of the Social Security rule on most businesses as a "thunderstorm."
"There will only be a tsunami if I have a business where I have 80% of my employees I fear are illegal," Chertoff said. "If I'm basically confident my workforce is legal, it's going to be a little thunderstorm. But for some it will expose patterns and practices that may be illegal."
Chertoff brushed aside concerns that the rule could drive businesses to hire employees off the books. "An employer who does that is making a deliberate decision to compound their legal difficulties by committing tax crimes as well as immigration crimes," he said.
Administration officials began meeting to discuss these steps in June, immediately after the Senate failed to overhaul the nation's immigration laws. The White House presided over sessions that included the Departments of State, Labor, Commerce, Homeland Security and Education. Officials from Treasury and the Social Security Administration also took part.
Chertoff said the administration held off on implementing these measures in the hope that a legislative overhaul would provide a tougher arsenal. "We looked at these programs late last year, early this year, and we thought, 'You know, this is kind of a half-measure. Wouldn't it be better to get the full measure and the sharpest, newest tools if Congress passes them and gives it to us?' " he said.
While some of the new measures would add to the Department of Homeland Security's enforcement personnel, Chertoff said that it would not have the agents to track down every employer who breaks the law. Instead, he argued that high-impact, high-visibility enforcement would act as a deterrent.
Chertoff suggested that once the provisions had been in force for a while, Congress would see immigration reform in a different light.
"Everybody who criticized comprehensive immigration reform for being too complex, maybe now they're going to realize it's complex because there are a lot of interconnected pieces to this and when you try to deal with only one corner of it, you wind up with a huge impact on something else," he said.
"I would still like to believe Congress is capable of doing big things and not just producing bumper-sticker solutions to problems. I haven't given up yet."
The list of states suffering from the Anti Immigrants measure starting to climbing every day. Like Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Texas, Arizona know Oklahoma. Who's next California?.
Immigration crackdown called devastating to economy.
The telephone lines in Oklahoma City's Capitol Hill area were afire two weeks ago, as word spread that Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents had set up checkpoints on S Harvey and Robinson streets
Neighbors called to warn each other. Children were corralled into homes. The streets, typically full of restaurant goers and shoppers, nearly were bare.
That raid netted about 65 arrests, sending waves of panic through the predominately Hispanic neighborhood. But that panic pales in comparison to the effect of plans currently underway in Washington.
On that Capitol Hill, the Department of Homeland Security has unveiled a 26-point initiative that, among other things, requires all employers to terminate workers who use fake Social Security numbers.
"We know that people in the Latino community are really scared. You can see it, walking on the streets. People are selling their houses. They are leaving,” said Julianna Stout, 27, who edits a Spanish language publication called El Nacional de Oklahoma.
"They aren't just going to another state; they are going back to their countries of origin, which is not a good thing. It's not good for the economy,” she added.
Employers who do not comply may face fines or criminal sanctions
Department of Homeland Security officials said the initiative is designed to strike at the root of illegal immigration — the availability of jobs. Stepped up enforcement efforts would also provide for more border security and strict entry and exit procedures for foreign visitors.
"If we go after the employers, if we make it very risky for them to hire illegal immigrants, make them share in the penalties, there will be less of an incentive to cross the border,” said Pat Reilly, U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman.
No match, no jobAbout 2.2 percent of all W-2 forms contain "no match” Social Security numbers or names.
"No match” notices are letters sent to U.S. businesses that have more than 11 people on their payroll whose name does not match the Social Security number the employee is using. The letters have routinely gone out over the years, but the discrepancies rarely were resolved.
In 2005, about 10.5 million "no match” letters were mailed out. This year, it has been estimated that 12.5 million letters will go out.
But this year, the "no match” letters, if they are mailed, will come with a twist: An insert from the Department of Homeland Security and a 90-day time-frame to either resolve the discrepancy or terminate the worker.
Upwards of 90 percent of "no match” discrepancies are believed to involve illegal immigrants using fraudulent documents to work in the United States.
"It's the magnet, no one disagrees with that. The reason we have so many illegal immigrants that come here is to get a job, to get hired,” Reilly said.
It is believed the letters ultimately will be used as investigative tools in future worksite enforcement investigations.
The initial mailing of the letters, scheduled to start last Friday, has been blocked until an Oct. 1 hearing.
Laws may hurt economy
The letters have been vilified by immigrant advocates, multiple industry sectors, labor unions and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce who argue they will lead to widespread labor shortages, especially in agriculture, construction and food services. They argue it forces employers to act as immigration police. They argue immigrants will not leave the country but go underground where taxes are not paid and workers are routinely exploited. Ultimately they argue it will be devastating for the economy.
"You have to create a way for employers who need immigrant workers to get those workers, otherwise you are going to choke the economy,” said Tamar Jacoby, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a "free market” think tank.
While Jacoby says shoring up the Social Security Administration database is critical to national security and immigration reform, alone it might do more harm than good.
"The ‘no match' thing is a paradox,” she said.
"Meat packers are going to go out of business. Farms are going to move to Mexico. Even if you can pay better wages, it's going to be difficult to find enough American workers to fill all those jobs,” Jacoby said. "It will be devastating for the economy.”
At Maxpollo, a Hispanic-owned restaurant on S Harvey, Tex-Mex music is played a little above conversation level. The late-afternoon lunch crowd, primarily Hispanic workers, has thinned
"All of our customers here are Hispanic,” said Luiz Hernandez, whose father Max Hernandez owns Maxpollo. "We are going to lose a lot of business
While restaurant employees are not illegal, he assumes many customers are.
"Most of them, maybe, are here illegally,” Hernandez said. "It's not fair because they're just trying to make a living here.”
David Castillo, 47, is executive director of the Greater Oklahoma City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. About five years ago, the chamber conducted a survey discovering more than 250 new Hispanic-owned businesses within a 10-mile radius of the 4300 block of S Walker.
But this year, he's seeing economic depression, fear and ultimately anger.
"Some people have already closed up shop. Business has dropped tremendously,” Castillo said.
Even those here lawfully feel they are being targeted.
"It makes them feel like, ‘I'm not wanted here,'” he added.
Randy Terrill, R-Moore, co-sponsored Oklahoma's own immigration enforcement legislation — largely considered one of the toughest in the nation — set to go into effect Nov. 1.
For him, that's the point.
"We are talking about people who have entered this country illegally, and are now making demands for rights, specifically the right to pursue employment, for which they are not eligible,” Terrill said.
More laws coming
On Monday, the U.S. Congress returned to immigration, three months after it died on the Senate Floor. This time around, debates are narrower in scope and calmer in nature.
Democrats suggest giving conditional legal status to young illegal immigrants while Republicans consider overhauling the visa program for high-skilled foreign workers.
"If the administration doesn't have the resolve to do even this — reasonable enforcement of the law — I don't think the American public will have the appetite for anything else,” said Todd Gaziano, director for the center of judicial studies at the Heritage Foundation, also a conservative think tank.
"We need to have a breathing period, to actually engage in enforcement, then the American public might have the appetite for a temporary worker program,” he added.
Oklahoma's wide-ranging immigration law, House Bill 1804, goes into effect Nov. 1 for state and local government employers. It won't affect government contractors and subcontractors until July 1. It is largely considered one of the toughest immigration enforcement legislations in the country, requiring that employees check the immigration status of all new hires and contractors.
It also will open the door for U.S. citizens to file discrimination cases against employers if they have been fired and an illegal immigrant was subsequently hired to do the same job
Connecticut Town Sued Over Immigration Enforcement.
HARTFORD, Conn. — Lawyers for 10 Latino men arrested in Danbury in the past year filed a civil rights lawsuit Wednesday, accusing city and federal officials of a plot to harass immigrants through illegal arrests and intimidation.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in New Haven, alleges authorities violated the plaintiffs' constitutional rights to due process, equal protection, free speech, free association and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures.
Nine of the 10 were arrested during a sting targeting day laborers, while the 10th was arrested during an unrelated traffic stop.
Professors and students at Yale Law School, who are representing the men, put much of the blame on Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, who denied the allegations.
"The arrival of new Latino immigrants, and the failure of the federal government to address immigration's local effects, has sparked a backlash from Mayor Boughton's administration, which has targeted, harassed, and intimidated these new city residents through a number of discriminatory policies," the lawsuit says.
The plaintiffs say police officers have made civil immigration arrests despite not having the authority to do so. They also say the city has discriminated against Latinos in enforcing city ordinances, shutting down neighborhood volleyball games and encouraging police harassment of day laborers.
"These policies aim ultimately to drive unwanted immigrants from Danbury and to deter future immigrants from making Danbury their home," the lawsuit says.
Nine of the men were day laborers arrested in a sting operation on Sept. 19, 2006. They were waiting at a park and got into a vehicle driven by a man who they thought had hired them to demolish a fence, but who was actually an undercover Danbury police officer, according to the lawsuit.
When the men arrived at the purported work site, they were arrested and shipped to detention centers around the country. All nine are free on bond and their immigration cases are pending. The lawsuit says the 10th plaintiff was deported to Ecuador earlier this year after a racially motivated traffic stop by Danbury police.
The plaintiffs say police did not know who the nine laborers were before the sting and had no probable cause or warrants to justify the arrests. All nine were shipped to detention centers as far away as Texas and were denied access to phones to call their families and lawyers, the lawsuit says.
Boughton disputed the allegations Wednesday. He said local police provide support to federal operations and that they comply with the Constitution.
"Frankly, we are not going to be bullied by Yale or by anybody else as it relates to the equal application and the neutral applications of the laws of the city of Danbury," Boughton said at an afternoon news conference.
Boughton sparked controversy in 2005 when he proposed deputizing state police as federal immigration agents, but Connecticut's public safety commissioner rejected the request.
Danbury has been transformed in recent years with waves of new immigrants from Brazil, Ecuador and other countries. Boughton has said that the influx has strained schools, created overcrowded housing and led to other problems such as unlicensed and unregistered drivers.
The mayor has called for federal legislation that secures the country's borders, heightens enforcement and reimburses cities for what they spend on services for immigrants. He also wants a path to citizenship for the nation's illegal workers.
Lawyers for the 10 Latino plaintiffs declined to say whether they are in the country legally, citing the pending federal immigration cases.
Mike Gilhooly, spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said ICE officials had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment on the allegations. He offered only a general statement.
"All enforcement actions undertaken by Immigration and Customs Enforcement are done fully within the law and fully within the policies and procedures," Gilhooly said.
The lawsuit asks the federal court to declare the actions of Danbury and federal immigration officials unconstitutional. It also seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
The 10 plaintiffs are Juan Barrera, Jose Cabrera, Daniel Chavez, Jose Duma, Jose Llibisupa, Isaac Maldonado, Edgar Redrovan, Nicholas Segundo Sanchez, Juan Carlos Simbana and Danilo Brito Vargas. No criminal charges have been filed against any of the nine plaintiffs arrested in September.
Barrera, 42, told The Associated Press through an interpreter Wednesday that he supports the lawsuit because he wants to make it clear that he and the other plaintiffs are not criminals. He said he just wants to contribute to society and be able to work.
"I was treated poorly," he said about his arrest and detention in the September sting. "I asked what I did wrong, what did I do. I was just looking for work. They never explained why I was being treated like this
Exposed. Why build the wall against Mexico, Minuteman groups wasting their time at the borders, standing, screaming and inciting to violence on the labor locations when Terrorist can enter thru any border with current passport or visa? Because They are ignorants, pathetics and racist against Mexicans.
U.S. agents accused of aiding Islamist scheme.
A criminal investigations report says several U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services employees are accused of aiding Islamic extremists with identification fraud and of exploiting the visa system for personal gain.
The confidential 2006 USCIS report said that despite the severity of the potential security breaches, most are not investigated "due to lack of resources" in the agency's internal affairs department.
"Two District Adjudications Officers are allegedly involved with known (redacted) Islam terrorist members," said the internal document obtained by The Washington Times.
The group "was responsible for numerous robberies and used the heist money to fund terrorist activities. The District Adjudications Officers made numerous DHS database queries to track (Alien)-File movement and check on the applicants' status for (redacted) members and associates."
According to the document, other potential security failures include reports that:
Employees are sharing detailed information on internal security measures with people outside the agency.
A Lebanese citizen bribed an immigration officer with airline tickets for visa benefits.
A USCIS officer in Harlington, Texas, sold immigration documents for $10,000 to as many as 20 people.
A USCIS employee, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal, said many of the complaints in the multipage document are as many as three years old.
"Terrorists need immigration documents to embed in our society and work here without raising alarm bells," said the employee.
"Whether through bribing an immigration officer, an employee with the department of motor vehicles, or utilizing highly effective counterfeit documents produced by the Mexican drug cartels. They are always looking for that documentation to live amongst us."
Bill Wright, spokesman with USCIS, said that he could not comment on any ongoing investigations but that USCIS "takes all internal allegations seriously."
"The investigations that are referenced are ongoing investigations that we can not comment on," Mr. Wright told The Times. "We take all of these allegations seriously, and we are acting on them. For anyone to suggest that they are ignored is blatantly wrong."
In March, USCIS established the Office of Security and Integrity to investigate internal corruption.
"We'd like to clean up our own house first," Mr. Wright said.
The office would add 65 investigators and internal-review specialists, for a total of 245 employees and contract employees, but none of the new 65 vacancies approved in March has been filled.
The Times disclosed a confidential DEA report substantiating the link between Islamic extremists. The 2005 DEA report states that Middle Eastern operatives, in U.S. sleeper cells, are working in conjunction with the cartels to fund terrorist organizations overseas. Several lawmakers promised congressional hearings based on the information disclosed in the DEA documents.
USCIS Director Emilio Gonzalez in March told Congress that he could not establish how many terror suspects or persons of special interest have been granted immigration benefits.
"While USCIS has in place strong background check and adjudication suspension policies to avoid granting status to known terror risks, it is possible for USCIS to grant status to an individual before a risk is known, or when the security risk is not identified through standard background checks," said a statement provided to lawmakers.
"USCIS is not in a position to quantify all cases in which this may have happened. Recognizing that there may be presently known terror risks in the ranks of those who have obtained status previously."
Mr. Gonzalez's response, along with the 2006 USCIS document obtained by The Times, show a "pattern of national security failures that have put the nation at risk," the agency source said.
Another investigation involved more than seven USCIS and Immigration and Custom's Enforcement (ICE) employees — including special agents and senior district managers — who were moving contraband via "diplomatic pouches" to the United States from China.
ICE — the original investigating agency — downgraded the criminal investigation to a managerial problem, and the case was never prosecuted, a source close to the investigation said.
Arizona risks shooting itself in the foot "when it tries to take matters into its own hands. " Who should be blame to the economic burden Arizona will suffer from days to come. The person who called for the revival of the 1950's massive deportation program for Illegal Immigrants. He refused to apology for using the pejorative term "Wetback". Russell Pearce Pathetic and Ignorant.
Migrants fleeing as hiring law nears. Arizona State start to getting the economic impact of the Anti Immigrants Laws.
Immigration hard-liners cheer, but economic fallout begins.
Undocumented immigrants are starting to leave Arizona because of the new employer-sanctions law.
The state's strong economy has been a magnet for illegal immigrants for years. But a growing number are pulling up stakes out of fear they will be jobless come Jan. 1, when the law takes effect. The departures are drawing cheers from immigration hard-liners and alarm from business owners already seeing a drop in sales.
It's impossible to count how many undocumented immigrants have fled because of the new law. But based on interviews with undocumented immigrants, immigrant advocates, community leaders and real-estate agents, at least several hundred have left since Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano signed the bill on July 2. There are an estimated 500,000 illegal immigrants in Arizona
Some are moving to other states, where they think they will have an easier time getting jobs. Others are returning to Mexico, selling their effects and putting their houses on the market.
The number departing is expected to mushroom as the Jan. 1 deadline draws closer. After that, the law will require employers to verify the employment eligibility of their workers through a federal database.
"I would say we are losing at least 100 people a day," said Elias Bermudez, founder of Immigrants Without Borders and host of a daily talk-radio program aimed at undocumented immigrants.
Immigration hard-liners say the exodus is a sign the employer-sanctions law is working, even before it becomes official. The law is aimed at shutting off the job magnet by imposing harsh penalties on employers caught knowingly hiring unauthorized workers. Violators face a 10-day suspension of their business license for a first offense and could lose their license for a second offense.
"This is exactly what it is supposed to do. (Illegal immigrants) have no business being here, none," said Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, the main architect of the employer-sanctions law. "Shut off the lights, and the crowd will go home. I hope they will all self-deport."
The ripple effect
Immigrant advocates, business groups and analysts say the exodus is having a ripple effect that could add to an already-tight labor market and dampen the state's economy.
"Nobody is going to be untouched by the ramifications of this law," said Ann Seiden, spokeswoman for the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The chamber is one of a dozen business groups that have filed a lawsuit seeking to block the law on the grounds that it is unconstitutional.
Despite a slowdown in job growth, including the immigrant-dependent construction industry, Arizona's labor market remains tight with just a 3.7 percent unemployment rate in July, according to the state Department of Economic Security. An unemployment rate below 5 percent is considered full employment, meaning anyone who wants a job can have one and employers must compete for workers.
Illegal workers leaving the state could make the labor market tighter, which could lead to higher wages but also higher costs for goods and services, said Don Wehbey, the department's senior economist.
Analysts say it's too early to measure the effect the employer-sanctions law is having on the economy. But it could be severe if a large number of undocumented immigrants leave the state.
"If these workers leave, it's going to hurt the economy and put the state at an economic disadvantage with other states," said Judith Gans, program manager for immigration policy at the University of Arizona's Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy.
A study released by the center in July concluded that economic output would drop annually by at least $29 billion, or 8.2 percent, if all non-citizens, which include undocumented workers, were removed from Arizona's workforce. About 14 percent of the state's 2.6 million workers are foreign-born, and about two-thirds to three-fourths of non-citizens are undocumented, she said.
Several key industries in Arizona, including construction, manufacturing and agriculture, depend heavily on immigrants, legal and illegal, to fill gaps in the workforce, especially in low-skill jobs, she said.
The labor shortages are due to a native-born population that is aging and more highly educated and therefore doesn't produce enough low-skilled workers to meet growing demand. As a result, immigrants are doing jobs that Americans won't do and that Americans aren't available to do, she said.
"The frustration (with illegal immigration) is understandable," Gans said. But Arizona risks shooting itself in the foot "when it tries to take matters into its own hands."
Pearce doesn't buy that. He believes the state can easily do without undocumented workers. Although there may be some short-term economic disruptions, the free market will adjust in the long run, he said.
"Whatever adjustment takes place in the market, it will be worth it," Pearce said.
Sen. Robert Burns, a Peoria Republican who helped craft the employer-sanctions law, said what's also needed are more channels for immigrants to enter legally.
But only the federal government can do that, and Congress failed to pass immigration reform. Meanwhile, the state was forced to take action because people are "fed up with illegal immigration," he said.
"I wouldn't wish hardship on anybody and I don't want the economy to go south, but maybe we need a jolt to show people what's going on," Burns said.
Looking to leave
Abel Ledezma, a 31-year-old telephone technician from Chihuahua state in Mexico, has a work permit, but his fiancee, Cecy, a waitress, is undocumented. Ledezma put his house on the market in July after the governor signed the law. The two plan to move to Albuquerque, which Ledezma thinks is more welcoming of immigrants, legal and illegal.
"I feel like the people's attitudes towards not only immigrants but also Hispanics has become very rude" in Arizona, Ledezma said.
For example, Ledezma said, a man recently slammed the door in his face when Ledezma arrived to fix his phone.
"He said to me, 'Speak to me in English,' " Ledezma said. Ledezma speaks fluent English, though with an accent.
Adrian, a 34-year-old undocumented immigrant from Sonora, plans to move back to Mexico as soon as he can sell a 2-acre tract he owns in Tonopah.
"Yes, we are desperate to leave the moment I sell my property," said Adrian, who rents a house in Goodyear. He asked that his last name not be used because of his immigration status.
Adrian said his sister also is selling her house with plans to return to Mexico. He knows other undocumented immigrants who are refinancing their houses and getting cash out so they can return right away rather than waiting for their houses to sell.
Adrian said he plans to use the profits from the sale of his property to open some sort of business in Rocky Point, a booming beach resort in Sonora. He also is considering moving to Canada, where he heard jobs are plentiful and getting a work visa is easier than in the U.S., where Adrian has been unable to legalize his status in 13 years.
Adrian, a foreman for a major Valley homebuilder, was planning to construct a house for his wife and three U.S.-born children in Tonopah. But with the employer-sanctions law about to take effect, he is afraid he could lose his job any day: He works with fake documents, something Adrian said his employer suspects. Finding another job will be that much harder once the law's verification requirements kick in.
"There is a lot of uncertainty," Adrian said. "I supervise five workers, and the boss told us they are going to be checking the documents of each worker. If the papers are no good, they are going to get rid of those workers."
Impact on housing
Adrian has been calling his real-estate agent every day to see if there are any potential buyers for his property.
But Guadalupe Sosa, the agent, said this is a bad time to be selling. Undocumented immigrants are putting their homes up for sale when there is already an abundance of houses on the market, adding to a glut. Mortgage defaults and foreclosure also are rising.
In July, the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service listed 52,336 homes for sale in the Valley, up 17 percent from a year earlier. The average time on the market for houses sold in July was 95 days, compared with 65 days a year earlier.
What's more, Sosa said, many immigrants are not buying homes because they are worried about losing their jobs under the law. That has made it even harder to sell homes in immigrant neighborhoods.
She pointed to three of her West Valley listings that are owned by illegal immigrants who want to leave Arizona.
One was a brick four-bedroom selling for $167,000 in the historic district of Avondale. Another was a beige stucco house selling for $210,000 in a new subdivision in southwest Phoenix. One was a blue townhouse selling for $95,000 in west Phoenix.
"A lot of people are selling because of the uncertainty," she said. "They have one or more family members who are undocumented, and without that extra money, they can't make the mortgage."
Other areas of the economy also are taking a hit because of the employer-sanctions law.
Rosa Macias, vice president of Muebleria Del Sol, said projected sales are down 30 percent since the governor signed the law. The Phoenix-based furniture business has five Valley stores, and 85 percent of its customers are Latino immigrants. She said immigrants aren't buying because they are worried about losing their jobs or already have been let go.
"We have been noticing sales are really, really low," she said.
The drop in sales forced the company to lay off 10 of its 75 employees, Macias said. Macias is also telling suppliers not to deliver more inventory until sales pick up.
"I am very worried," she said.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Huge gap of security measures implemented from Northern Border to the Southern Border. Ironically only one bush or two bushes separating both borders between Canada and U.S.
Waiting for clearance on the U.S.-Canadian border
Getting to the Whitlash Port of Entry involves a 40-mile drive down a dirt road that never seems to end. One hill climbs into another, and there’s the elephant in the car you can’t ignore.
That elephant, of sorts, is the public relations officer for the Havre sector of the U.S. Border Patrol, the guy doing the driving. He’s a former Marine and was kind enough to haul us around, though he won’t reveal the details surrounding the operations going on up here.
Security reasons, he says.
We’re the media and he’s the government. There’s a natural distrust between the two of us and it keeps us talking all the way to Whitlash. By the time we get there, I think he’s on our side, at least in the way of the public’s right to know what its government is doing.
Less than three minutes after we pull up to the Whitlash station, a man with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection comes out, fidgeting nervously. He’s overwhelmed with the paperwork passed down to him by headquarters over in Sweetgrass, and his computer keeps crashing.
Besides, he said, he didn’t know we were coming and that could be a problem. He needs to make some phone calls. He needs to get clearance. What did we want, anyway? His time? He doesn’t have it to give.
Our guide grins and says he’ll figure this out. He follows the Customs officer back into the station and returns moments later.
“This is the deal,” begins our guide. He says we can’t take pictures of the officers or the buildings until the boss in Sweetgrass grants permission.
“I’ve already taken pictures of the building,” photographer George Lane grumbles.
This is where the awkward silence sets in. Our guide asks that we not run the pictures we’ve already taken until we get clearance. I imagine confiscated film, but this is the wrong country for that. The photographer replies that we don’t need clearance, anyway, because he took the photos from a public road.
“And it’s a public building,” he shrugs.
The silence grows thicker. We’ve reached an impasse on the Montana prairie, waiting for a phone call from Sweetgrass that may or may not come.
There’s nothing in any direction. Whitlash is like an outpost on Tatooine, and I can feel the camera watching — the little white box mounted atop a wooden telephone pole.
The day before, we had toured the Sweetgrass Port of Entry 40 miles west. There, I had seen the control room with the television screens — the real-time video that helps the officers there keep on eye on things here.
The Canadian flag flaps in the wind beyond the camera and the sign that says “You are now leaving the United States.” The signs beyond that are in French and the words seem unnecessarily long.
“Hey, George,” I say. “What do you say we walk over there and say hello to the Canadians?”
“Can’t hurt,” George says.
Down in New Mexico with the Montana National Guard in April, I found, there was no way to jump the fence and chat with the Mexicans. But here on the 49th parallel, you can walk down a dirt road and shake a Canadian’s hand, so long as the U.S. Customs officers are willing to let you back into the country once you leave.
“Got your ID?” George asks.
“Yeah. Got yours? Good. Let’s go see.”
This is no-man’s land. The distance between the U.S. port and the Canadian post is about 100 yards. There’s a bush or two between them and a small white car parked on the Canadian side. The door to the Canadian post is unlocked. The place looks empty inside.
The lone Canadian customs officer sits at a desk around the corner, smoking a cigarette. He looks like Santiago from the Old Man and the Sea with his long gray beard and white hair. The patch on the man’s arm says “l’Agence des services frontaliers du Canada.”
“Ello,” he says, but he doesn’t get up. “Star Wars” plays on the television. A cat sleeps in a box on the counter and the crumbs of catnip are scattered nearby.
Compared to the frenzy across the border at the American post, this place is downright relaxed. The officer is friendly, cracking jokes, real mellow. He lives in a cabin behind the port, out here in the middle of nowhere.
“You’ve got to be something of a recluse to do it, eh,” he says, grinning.
It’s easy to make generalizations at moments like this — how the Canadians are relaxed and the Americans are stressed. The Canadians are friendly with the world. The Americans are at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, arming Israel, disarming North Korea, siding with the Sunnis to suppress al Qaeda, and pondering a move into Pakistan.
Sure, the Canadian border isn’t exactly open, but it’s not Fort Knox, either. The Canadian agents didn’t even carry guns until recently. Really, it’s hard to hate a country that gave us the McKenzie Brothers and sayings like, “Take off, you hoser.”
Anyway, we’ve had our fun with the Canadian and he with us. It’s time to see if the boss over in Sweetgrass has given the U.S. Customs officer permission to speak with us.
“Got your ID?” asks George.
“Yep. Let’s go see if they’ll let us back in.”
A wall thru the park and a huge gaps between a Southern and Northern Border.
When most of the Xenophobics, Racist, Extremists, Minuteman Members, Congressmans (Tom Tancredo, Steve King) and another pathetics like Lou Dobbs, Pat Buchannan, Glen Spencer, Jim Gilchrist, Chris Simcox wants to build a wall against Mexico borders people sneaking thru the Canadian Borders and with belongings..
Kiwi trucker busted in big US immigration scam thru the Northern Border.
The trucking industry says a shortage of New Zealand drivers is being made worse by promises of a higher income overseas.
This comes after a Kiwi truck driver sunk a major immigration scam which officials say allowed hundreds of foreign truckers, mostly New Zealanders, to illegally enter the US thru Canada.
The unnamed driver was caught sneaking across the Canadian border with an official letter saying he was waiting for a visa renewal to work for another firm.
But it was found to be on of at least 260 visas illegally supplied by a local politician.
Tony Friedlander Chief Executive Officer for the Road Transport Forum says the shortage of drivers is a problem worldwide.
Immigration Reform and the self destruction of the GOP. The far-right has a racist agenda that has poisoned the entire immigration debate and Damage the GOP for years to come.
Written By Chris Jones
The debate on illegal immigration has been raging in Washington and throughout the country for a while now, but little has been done on either side of the debate legislatively.
Republicans have been unsuccessful in securing the borders, but what they have been successful at is ensuring that Hispanic Americans won’t be voting Republican anytime soon.
Much as the Democrats have allowed the far-left fringe to control the Iraq war message, Republicans have allowed the far-right to control the immigration message.
The vast majority of Americans just want a secure border in the dangerous age of terror we live in today, but a small element on the far-right has a racist agenda that has poisoned the entire immigration debate.
Just as the far-left wants to get out of Iraq at any cost, the far-right wants to deport all 12 million illegal immigrants currently living in the United States.
Both views are unrealistic, unreasonable, and extreme. It’s very unpopular on the right to admit that race has anything whatsoever to do with the immigration debate, but the fact is it does.
Again the undercover racism is only the motivation for a very small minority of the GOP, unfortunately they are the loudest.
In a Washington Post Op-Ed Former Bush speech writer Michael Gerson highlights recent blunders by Republicans as it relates to the immigration debate.
The Univision Republican debate, scheduled for last Sunday with simultaneous translation into Spanish, was postponed when only Sen. John McCain agreed to show up. Rep. Tom Tancredo objected to the event on principle: “We should not be doing things that encourage people to stay separate in a separate language”
Gerson goes on to cite staggering statistics that show just how much damage the GOP has actually done in driving away Hispanic voters.
Latino support for GOP candidates dropped back to 30 percent in 2006. According to one poll, Latinos under age 30 now prefer a generic Democrat over a Republican for president by 42 points. A harsh, Tancredo-like image of Republicans has solidified in the mainstream Hispanic media. And all of this regression will be even more obvious in the next few months, because more than half of the Hispanic voters in America live in states that are part of the new lineup of early primaries.
It is undeniable that if Republicans do not push aside the fanatical hardliners and come to a reasonable compromise on the immigration debate, they can count on losing elections for decades to come
Riverside, NJ thinking in Reverse the Laws Against Illegal Immigrants, I don’t think people knew there would be such an economic burden that being a populated city to a ghost town.
Legals, Citizens and Undocumented Immigrants fled the city after the passed those Anti Immigrants Laws.
A little more than a year ago, the Township Committee in this faded factory town became the first municipality in New Jersey to enact legislation penalizing anyone who employed or rented to an illegal immigrant.
Within months, hundreds, if not thousands, of recent immigrants from Brazil and other Latin American countries had fled. The noise, crowding and traffic that had accompanied their arrival over the past decade abated.
The law had worked. Perhaps, some said, too well.That the city looks like a ghost town.
With the departure of so many people, the local economy suffered. Hair salons, restaurants and corner shops that catered to the immigrants saw business plummet; several closed. Once-boarded-up storefronts downtown were boarded up again.
Meanwhile, the town was hit with two lawsuits challenging the law. Legal bills began to pile up, straining the town’s already tight budget. Suddenly, many people — including some who originally favored the law — started having second thoughts.
So last week, the town rescinded the ordinance, joining a small but growing list of municipalities nationwide that have begun rethinking such laws as their legal and economic consequences have become clearer.
“I don’t think people knew there would be such an economic burden,” said Mayor George Conard, who voted for the original ordinance. “A lot of people did not look three years out.”
In the past two years, more than 30 towns nationwide have enacted laws intended to address problems attributed to illegal immigration, from overcrowded housing and schools to overextended police forces. Most of those laws, like Riverside’s, called for fines and even jail sentences for people who knowingly rented apartments to illegal immigrants or who gave them jobs.
In some places, business owners have objected to crackdowns that have driven away immigrant customers. And in many, ordinances have come under legal assault by immigration groups and the American Civil Liberties Union.
In June, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction against a housing ordinance in Farmers Branch, Tex., that would have imposed fines against landlords who rented to illegal immigrants. In July, the city of Valley Park, Mo., repealed a similar ordinance, after an earlier version was struck down by a state judge and a revision brought new challenges. A week later, a federal judge struck down ordinances in Hazleton, Pa., the first town to enact laws barring illegal immigrants from working or renting homes there.
Muzaffar A. Chishti, director of the New York office of the Migration Policy Institute, a nonprofit group, said Riverside’s decision to repeal its law — which was never enforced — was clearly influenced by the Hazleton ruling, and he predicted that other towns would follow suit.
“People in many towns are now weighing the social, economic and legal costs of pursuing these ordinances,” he said.
Indeed, Riverside, a town of 8,000 nestled across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, has already spent $82,000 defending its ordinance, and it risked having to pay the plaintiffs’ legal fees if it lost in court. The legal battle forced the town to delay road paving projects, the purchase of a dump truck and repairs to town hall, officials said. But while Riverside’s about-face may repair its budget, it may take years to mend the emotional scars that formed when the ordinance “put us on the national map in a bad way,” Mr. Conard said.
Rival advocacy groups in the immigration debate turned this otherwise sleepy town into a litmus test for their causes. As the television cameras rolled, Riverside was branded, in turns, a racist enclave and a town fighting for American values.
Some residents who backed the ban last year were reluctant to discuss their stance now, though they uniformly blamed outsiders for misrepresenting their motives. By and large, they said the ordinance was a success because it drove out illegal immigrants, even if it hurt the town’s economy.
“It changed the face of Riverside a little bit,” said Charles Hilton, the former mayor who pushed for the ordinance. (He was voted out of office last fall but said it was not because he had supported the law.)
“The business district is fairly vacant now, but it’s not the legitimate businesses that are gone,” he said. “It’s all the ones that were supporting the illegal immigrants, or, as I like to call them, the criminal aliens.”
Many businesses that remain are having a hard time. Angelina Guedes, a Brazilian-born beautician, opened A Touch From Brazil, a hair and nail salon, on Scott Street two years ago to cater to the immigrant population. At one point, she had 10 workers
Business quickly dried up after the law against illegal immigrants. Last week, on what would usually be a busy Thursday afternoon, Ms. Guedes ate a salad and gave a friend a manicure, while the five black stylist chairs sat empty.
“Now I only have myself,” said Ms. Guedes, 41, speaking a mixture of Spanish and Portuguese. “They all left. I also want to leave but it’s not possible because no one wants to buy my business.”
Numerous storefronts on Scott Street are boarded up or are empty, with For Sale by Owner signs in the windows. Business is down by half at Luis Ordonez’s River Dance Music Store, which sells Western Union wire transfers, cellphones and perfume. Next door, his restaurant, the Scott Street Family Cafe, which has a multiethnic menu in English, Spanish and Portuguese, was empty at lunchtime.
“I came here looking for an opportunity to open a business and I found it, and the people also needed the service,” said Mr. Ordonez, who is from Ecuador. “It was crowded and everybody was trying to do their best to support their families.”
Some have adapted better than others. Bruce Behmke opened the R & B Laundromat in 2003 after he saw immigrants hauling trash bags full of clothing to a laundry a mile away. Sales took off at his small shop, where want ads in Portuguese are pinned to a corkboard and copies of the Brazilian Voice sit near the door.
When sales plummeted last year, Mr. Behmke started a wash-and-fold delivery service for young professionals.
“It became a ghost town here,” he said.
Immigration is not new to Riverside. Once a summer resort for Philadelphians, the town became a magnet a century ago for European immigrants drawn to its factories, including the Philadelphia Watch Case Company, whose empty hulk still looms over town. Until the 1930s, the minutes of the school board meetings were recorded in German and English.
“There’s always got to be some scapegoats,” said Regina Collinsgru, who runs The Positive Press, a local newspaper, and whose husband was among a wave of Portuguese immigrants who came here in the 1960s. “The Germans were first, there were problems when the Italians came, then the Polish came. That’s the nature of a lot of small towns.”
Immigrants from Latin America began arriving around 2000. The majority were Brazilians attracted not only by construction jobs in the booming housing market but also by the presence of Portuguese-speaking businesses in town. Between 2000 and 2006, local business owners and officials estimate, more than 3,000 immigrants arrived. There are no authoritative figures about the number of immigrants who were — or were not — in the country legally.
Like those waves of earlier immigrants, the Brazilians and Latinos triggered conflicting reactions. Some shopkeepers loved the extra dollars spent on Scott and Pavilion Streets, the modest thoroughfares that anchor downtown. Yet some residents steered clear of stores where Portuguese and Spanish were plainly the language of choice. A few contractors benefited from the new pool of cheap labor. Others begrudged being undercut by rivals who hired undocumented workers.
On the town’s leafy side streets, some residents admired the pluck of newcomers who often worked six days a week, and a few even took up Capoeira, the Brazilian martial art. Yet many neighbors loathed the white vans with out-of-state plates and ladders on top parked in spots they had long considered their own. The Brazilian flags that flew at several houses rankled more than a few longtime residents.
It is unclear whether the Brazilian and Latino immigrants who left will now return to Riverside. With the housing market slowing, there may be little reason to come back. But if they do, some residents say they may spark new tensions.
Mr. Hilton, the former mayor, said some of the illegal immigrants have already begun filtering back into town. “It’s not the Wild West like it was,” he said, “but it may return to that.”
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Preserve right of citizenship at birth. Said no to bill H.R. 1940, the Birthright Citizenship Act of 2007. It would be a betrayal of bedrock American values. Such proposals are truly absurd and Bigotry from Conservatives and extremist Republicans.
What if the U.S. stopped automatically granting citizenship to babies born to illegal immigrants?
A 14-year-old Des Moines girl, the only member of her family who is a U.S. citizen, finds it hard to imagine what her life would be like if her mother had not walked across the Mexican border several years before she was born. She does, however, see what her undocumented older brothers and cousins face: They cannot get a driver's license or qualify for federal financial aid for college
She calls the idea of withholding citizenship from anyone born in the U.S. "absurd."
Yet such proposals are out there.
n April, Republican U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal of Georgia introduced H.R. 1940, the Birthright Citizenship Act of 2007, which would limit who becomes an American at birth. Children would qualify only if they had a parent who is a U.S. citizen, a lawful permanent resident or an illegal immigrant who is actively serving in the military. Ninety members have signed on as co-sponsors, including Republican Steve King of Iowa, Republican Tom Tancredo, Republican Pat Buchannan, and the list goes on and on.
Or go to Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul's Web site. Under issues, the Texas congressman says: "End birthright citizenship. As long as illegal immigrants know their children born here will be citizens, their incentive to enter the U.S. illegally will remain strong."
Critics of birthright citizenship believe it's a magnet. Mothers sneak into this country to deliver U.S. citizens. The "anchor babies" qualify for benefits, such as government health insurance. When the babies become 21 years of age, they could legally bring close relatives to live here. The critics hold up ending birthright citizenship as the solution to the nation's illegal immigration crisis.
It is not the answer, not as a practical measure and not as a measure of the nation's character.
If birthright citizenship ended tomorrow, desperately poor people from Latin America and elsewhere still would slip into the U.S. for jobs. They still would have children. Because the children would not be citizens, a permanent underclass would grow, with no allegiance to the U.S.
The answer to the nation's immigration crisis is enforcing strong border security while raising U.S. immigration quotas to reasonable levels and creating a broad guest-worker program with safeguards against exploitation.
The nation cannot afford to write them off.
Birthright citizenship is enshrined in the Constitution's 14th Amendment, Section I, ratified in 1868: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside."
It would be a betrayal of bedrock American values. Such proposals are truly absurd.