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28 February, 2010
Warnings about Lebanese Muslim "refugees" ignored -- to Australia's cost
The latest headache for NSW prison authorities is how to safely house the five terrorists convicted this month of plotting bomb attacks in Sydney. With sentences ranging up to 28 years, the challenge will be how to prevent these unrepentant Islamist extremists from radicalising other inmates in Goulburn's supermax high security prison. This week the Premier, Kristina Keneally, told Parliament the men are still a danger, as presumably were their four co-accused who were sentenced earlier. She has reportedly ordered a "deradicalisation program", although clearly the only surefire way is to keep them in isolation.
This reminder of the reality of home-grown terrorism came as the Prime Minister released the government's counter-terrorism white paper this week. As the Herald's Jonathan Pearlman reported, Rudd insisted on highlighting the threat from jihadist and home-grown terrorists in defiance of advice from departmental officials, who had deemed it inflammatory. The timing of the release of the white paper was questionable - in the middle of the insulation furore - but it is still a credit to Rudd that he did not follow advice to sugarcoat the truth about terrorist threats.
Among other things, the white paper states the scale of the threat of home-grown terrorism depends on "the size and make-up of local Muslim populations, including their ethnic and/or migrant origins, their geographical distribution and the success or otherwise of their integration into their host society".
This is something that is rarely discussed. Debate over the make-up of immigration programs has been largely shut down and marginalised as a redneck racist pastime. But we have vivid evidence of the consequences of poorly managed immigration in the disproportionate number of problems that have emerged from some Lebanese families who arrived in 1977 and integrated poorly into south-west Sydney.
The prime minister of the time, Malcolm Fraser, has been out and about lately, accusing the modern Liberal Party of extreme conservative tendencies, while promoting his new book. But he has never adequately explained why he ignored warnings from his immigration department that relaxing normal eligibility standards to accept thousands of Lebanese Muslims escaping the civil war was problematic.
As cabinet documents from 1976 revealed, he was warned that too many of the new arrivals were unskilled, illiterate and "of questionable character", and there was a danger "the conflicts, tensions and divisions within Lebanon will be transferred to Australia". The consequences of poor integration today include social unrest, which culminated in the Cronulla riots and their violent aftermath.
And some of our worst home-grown terrorists have come from that community. They include M, the 44-year-old ringleader of the five men convicted of preparing a terrorist act this month, who cannot be named for legal reasons. He came to south-west Sydney with his family from Lebanon in 1977, along with 11 siblings.
NSW Supreme Court Justice Anthony Whealy said in sentencing M this month: "There is no present indication that [he] will ever renounce the extremist views. [He] has all the hallmarks of an offender whose motivation is not that of financial or other material gain but … from an extremist religious conviction."
Also born in Lebanon was his co-conspirator, Mr K, 36, who migrated to Sydney in 1977 when he was three. Justice Whealy said K had "absolute contempt for the Australian government and its laws [and an] extremist conviction that sharia law should rule, even in this country." Also convicted was his brother, L, 32, born here and likely to represent a danger to the community "even upon his release many years hence".
The court heard the five men had bought laboratory equipment and chemicals that could be used to make bombs: vast quantities of battery acid, acetone, hydrogen peroxide,methylated spirits and sulphuric acid. They shopped at Bunnings for PVC pipe and silver tape.
Whealy said they had on a USB stick "step-by-step" instructions for manufacturing explosives; electronic copies of The Sniper Handbook; and DVDs "glorifying the 9/11 hijackers". There were videos showing the execution of hostages or prisoners by the mujahideen which were "particularly brutal, distressing and graphic".
Justice Whealy also refers to an instructional video found in all but one of the offender's houses. On it, "a masked mujahideen speaks in English with a very obvious Australian accent and says: 'You kill us, so you will be killed. You bomb us, so you will be bombed'. This is an overly simplistic but reasonably accurate summation of the mindset of each of the offenders in this trial."
It's hard to believe in hindsight, now the evidence has been laid out and the men found guilty, but in 2005, when counter-terrorism laws were being amended and the men arrested, there was strident criticism of police and the government. Instead we should have been thanking police and security agencies for protecting us from attack.
But as the white paper says, past successes "should not give us any false confidence that all plots here can be discovered and disrupted". "Australia is a terrorist target," it says. "Public statements by prominent terrorist leaders and other extremist propagandists have singled out Australia for criticism and encouraged attacks against us both before and after September 11, 2001. "There are Australians who are committed to supporting or engaging in violent jihad in Australia and elsewhere. Most of these were born in Australia or have lived here since childhood."
The paper says one of our strengths is our "inclusive multicultural society" and we must all work together to "reject ideologies that promote violence" and work at "reducing disadvantage, addressing real or perceived grievances and encouraging full participation in Australia's social and economic life".
Home-grown terrorism is as much a threat to the vast majority of law-abiding Australian Muslims as anyone else. So efforts to suppress the facts are counterproductive and ultimately lead to distrust and disharmony.
More deception about immigration from the British Left
The carefully worded letters all send the same sympathetic messages to local 'white families' about the difficulties caused by the record rise in immigration. Soothing words of comfort are combined with powerful pledges of action to ease the pressure on jobs, school places and council housing. 'There is a great deal of worry about the pressure on schools, doctors' surgeries and housing allocations,' reads one of them. 'I want you to help me keep the pressure up on the Government in relation to reforming and updating our immigration and citizenship rules and laws.'
Stirring stuff indeed. So which party do you think is promising to fight the Government on these policy failings? The Conservatives? UKIP, perhaps? No, with astonishing hypocrisy, these pledges come from the Labour Party itself. For the authors are senior Labour MPs who fear losing their seats as a result of the political fall-out from the mass immigration policy that they gladly helped to implement.
Dozens of these letters from sitting Labour MPs have been passed to the Daily Mail - and the authors all have one thing in common. They are fighting for their political lives because of the threat posed by the odious, far-Right British National Party. They include Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary and key ally of Gordon Brown, and Margaret Hodge, the Culture Minister who is fighting a seat in the East End of London.
Some of the leaflets sent out to constituents include dubious immigration questionnaires and promises that local people will be put first in the jobs queue.
Labour's hypocrisy has come to light only days after the scale of Labour's deliberate plan to create a multicultural Britain through mass immigration was revealed. A draft Cabinet Office report, uncovered by a Freedom of Information request, showed how, in 2000, Labour ministers deliberately plotted to open the floodgates to new migrants to achieve the party's 'social objectives'. Traditionally, new immigrants vote for Left-wing parties. The document also revealed how those who dared to question this policy would be branded 'racists'.
Today, however, on the cusp of a General Election, many Labour MPs have realised that their secret plan has backfired spectacularly. As a result of mass immigration, many of their core white working-class voters complain that they feel like second-class citizens in their own communities, and believe that immigrants are given unfair precedence for jobs and public services. As a result, Labour MPs in marginal seats or with a BNP threat are desperately scrambling to play the race card in a shameless attempt to be seen as acting tough on immigration after all.
One of the MPs at the heart of the new get-tough policy on immigration in constituency backyards is Mr Balls, who is the Prime Minister's closest political friend. Mr Balls has been at the centre of Cabinet decision-making over the past decade and will have been only too well aware of Labour's encouragement of a multicultural Britain. Mr Balls, a front-runner to succeed Mr Brown as Labour leader, has held two public meetings and produced direct mail and questionnaires on the immigration issue in his newly-created Morley and Outwood constituency. Significantly, the Schools Secretary's Yorkshire constituency is a fertile breeding ground for the BNP, which already has one BNP councillor and hundreds of members registered locally.
In his recent constituency newsletter, Mr Balls wrote: 'I want to have a conversation with you about immigration. What we really need is proper discussion about the difficulties and benefits that immigration can bring to our country.' He admitted that there were 'concerns about jobs in our area', and asked: 'Do you support updating our immigration laws so that: migrants who want to settle here must speak English? A probationary period should be passed before they are able to claim state benefits?'
It is a similar story in Barking - the East London constituency where BNP leader Nick Griffin is fighting the Culture Minister Margaret Hodge. With one of the highest rates of immigration in Britain, Barking has seen a massive social upheaval as a result of Labour's policy, with many local families struggling to come to terms with the sheer number of new arrivals from abroad. Yet in a two-page letter to constituents, Mrs Hodge paints herself as being tough on immigration, saying that it can be 'very unsettling' for 'predominantly white' and 'traditional East End families'. She adds: 'I respect your concerns about the pace of change. It is wrong for others to dismiss these out of hand and rest assured that you do have my support on this.'
Earlier this month, Mrs Hodge even suggested that migrants should be forced to 'earn' the right to benefits and council housing over several years. She warned that British values of tolerance were under threat because of an increasing sense of 'unfairness' over immigration. Yet at no time has she accepted responsibility for her part in creating these problems, through her own Government's bitterly controversial 'social objectives'. Only now that her seat is under threat has she seen fit to speak out.
In Wakefield, West Yorkshire, the Government whip Mary Creagh has produced similar leaflets and surveys on immigration. 'One issue comes up time and time again,' she writes, 'immigration, and in particular its impact on local communities and the Wakefield job market.' It is a desperate response to the fact that the BNP captured 13 per cent of the vote in her area at the European elections - and may build on that support at the General Election. In an echo of Mr Brown's doomed slogan 'British jobs for British workers', Ms Creagh asks her constituents whether: 'Jobs should be advertised first to people in Wakefield before being opened up to overseas workers' - a statement that would almost certainly fall foul of race relations legislation.
Such concerns have also preoccupied Gisela Stuart, the former junior health minister, who is defending a wafer-thin majority in Birmingham Edgbaston. She carried out a recent survey which invited responses to the proposition: 'Migrants should have to pay into a fund to support communities experiencing significant change as a result of immigration.'
Or how about Tom Watson, the West Bromwich East MP and another close ally of the Prime Minister, who has also been busy posing as being tough on immigration? (Nick Griffin and other leading BNP figures took part in a St George's Day parade through West Bromwich which was attended by 20,000 people). In a recent direct mail and survey about immigration, Watson declared: 'Most people told me that they were concerned about the level of immigration. More surveys were returned than on any other subject I have asked you about in the past. 'There is a great deal of worry about the pressure on schools, doctors' surgeries and housing allocations. Also unsurprisingly, a lot of people also mentioned the issue of protecting local jobs. I want you to help me keep the pressure up on the Government in relation to reforming and updating our immigration and citizenship rules and laws.'
In Burton, Labour MP Ruth Smeeth has gone even further, actively campaigning to portray the Tories as the party that is soft on immigration. Defending a majority of just 1,421 - smaller than the number of BNP votes in her constituency at the 2005 election - Ms Smeeth has highlighted how London's Conservative Mayor Boris Johnson is 'campaigning for an amnesty for illegal immigrants'.
Such breathtaking hypocrisy from the party that has presided over the biggest influx of immigrants in British history has shocked even seasoned immigration campaigners. Sir Andrew Green, chairman of MigrationWatch UK, says: 'It would seem that some Labour MPs are singing to an entirely different hymn sheet from the rest of the Government. 'We have been pressing the Government on these issues for years. It appears to be only the onset of a General Election that has caused some of them to respond - even if it is in a surreptitious manner.'
Shown the evidence of Labour's new electioneering tactic, Lord Carlile, QC, the Government's independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, accused the MPs involved of willfully stirring up resentment and prejudice against immigrants. He says: 'I don't think that any candidate should demean him or herself by grovelling on the ground occupied by Nick Griffin and the BNP. 'We need a sensible debate, and a true analysis of the effect of immigration issues on the economy, benefits and the work place. But pandering to and encouraging prejudice is a very bad idea.'
Lord Ouseley, the former chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality, is similarly appalled by these 11th-hour demands for action from vulnerable MPs. 'Where have they been for the past ten years while this is going on? It is only because it has become such a high-profile issue and they fear they are losing support that they are now raising it. No wonder people are so cynical. 'They were too busy at Westminster to worry about the threat from the BNP. Yet their constituents have been worried about this issue for years. They are trying to shut the door now that the horse has well and truly bolted. 'The voters these MPs are trying to reach out to will not fall for this. They feel alienated because they have seen a government that is more interested in wealth and celebrity and has allowed the financial sector to bring the whole edifice crashing down.'
One thing is certain: however offensive, it seems that Mr Balls and his fellow vulnerable MPs will stop at nothing to cling on to their jobs and perks.
27 February, 2010
British Immigration boss admits his children have suffered because of migration
The immigration minister has admitted that his own children have 'suffered' because of the number of foreigners who have flooded into Britain. In an extraordinary declaration, gaffe-prone Phil Woolas accepted the influx of migrants under Labour has taken a toll on local communities and services. Confronted by an unemployed man on a BBC2 Newsnight special, he said: 'We recognise that. My own family... children have suffered from that.'
Mr Woolas, who has two sons, has a house in Chiswick, south west London, and Oldham, Lancashire, which is his constituency. It was not clear whether the minister was talking about class sizes or the pressure placed by migrants on school places or some other issue.
Shadow home secretary Chris Grayling said: 'The biggest impact from immigration in recent years has been on public services. 'It seems extraordinary to have the immigration minister now admitting that - and from his own experience - but yet still defending the policy that caused the problems in the first place.'
It is the latest in a string of blunders for Mr Woolas. He was condemned as 'deeply insensitive' last December after claiming immigration officials were 'putting their lives on the line' for their country. He said UK Border Agency staff were 'very brave' as he defended bonus payouts of more than £10,000 each for 29 senior officials.
Just a month earlier, he was attacked for saying British troops were in Afghanistan partly to help control the number of immigrants heading to Britain - on the day five UK soldiers were killed there by a rogue policeman.
In May, he was humiliated when he was ambushed by Joanna Lumley over the plight of the Gurkhas. In hilarious scenes, the actress sought him out in Westminster and frogmarched him to a live press conference for a very public dressing down.
His bizarre declaration came as new official figures revealed the number of foreigners given UK passports has soared. A total of 203,865 people were handed British citizenship in 2009 - an increase of 58 per cent on the previous year. Tens of thousands more immigrants were also given the right to settle in the UK, with the total up 30 per cent to more than 190,000.
Quarterly immigration figures, published by the Office for National Statistics, also showed a 30 per cent increase in student visa numbers last year compared to 2008. In the final three months of 2009, 61,715 student visas were issued - an astonishing rise of 92 per cent on the same period in 2008. The figures prompted questions over the effectiveness of the new points-based system for student visas.
Separate figures showed applications by asylum seekers arriving in the UK had dropped off, 30 per cent down on the previous year at 4,765.
Whitehall documents revealed this week confirm Labour encouraged mass immigration despite voters being against it. The Government said the public stance was down to 'racism' and ministers were told to try to alter the population's attitude. The approach was unveiled after a document from 2000 prepared by the Cabinet Office and Home Office was finally disclosed in full under freedom of information rules. It showed that ministers were advised that only the ill-educated and those who had never met a migrant were opposed to immigration.
They were also told that large-scale immigration would bring increases in crime, but they concealed these concerns from the public. Sections of the paper, which underpinned Labour policies that admitted between two and three million immigrants to Britain in less than a decade, have already been made public. These have showed that Labour aimed to use immigration not only for economic reasons but also to change the social make-up of the country.
Two British passports a minute are given to foreigners as 1.5m issued since Labour party elected
Passports were given to foreigners at the rate of two a minute last year. Officials approved a record 203,865 citizenship applications, 58 per cent more than in 2008. Another 190,000 immigrants were given the right to settle in the UK in 2009 – a rise of 30 per cent on the year before. Home Office figures show that 1.5million foreigners have become UK citizens since Labour came to power. In 1997, just 37,010 were granted the status.
Officials claim the massive rises during the past year may have been caused by migrants rushing to beat the supposedly tougher system of earned citizenship due to start next year. From then, obtaining a passport will usually take between six and eight years from a migrant’s arrival in the UK – rather than the current five. The figures also reflect the huge influx into Britain in the early part of the last decade. These arrivals are now reaching the stage where they can apply for passports.
Damian Green, Tory immigration spokesman, said: ‘It is now clear that immigration has been running out of control throughout the lifetime of this Government.’
A raft of statistics released yesterday showed that huge numbers of students continue to pour into the UK – despite concerns about bogus colleges and visas. In the final three months of 2009, 61,715 student visas were issued – an astonishing rise of 92 per cent on the same period in 2008.
The figures revealed a shift in the source of the arrivals. The number of Poles registering to work fell by a quarter at the end of last year, but arrivals from Latvia and Lithuania more than doubled. Overall, newcomers from the eight former Soviet countries which joined the EU in 2004 have halved since 2007.
The Institute of Public Policy Research think-tank said the figures showed the number of immigrants was falling as was the number of UK nationals emigrating. In the year to June 2009, 146,000 British nationals emigrated and 87,000 came back to the UK. This meant that net emigration was 59,000, down from 89,000 in the year to June 2008 – and a peak of well over 100,000 in 2004. In the same time period, net immigration by non-British nationals was 206,000, down from 257,000 in the year to June 2008. The weak pound has made it harder to afford to move abroad and, for most, made it more costly to stay there.
MPs Frank Field and Nicholas Soames, who chair the cross-party Balanced Migration Group, said: ‘The Government’s points-based system has had little effect, despite their repeated claims to the contrary. ‘Employment-related visas fell by only 20,000 last year, despite the recession. ‘There was also a modest fall in arrivals from Eastern Europe, as we have long predicted. 'But the reality is that, based on these figures, we are still firmly on course for a population of 70million in 20 years or so.’
Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said: ‘I welcome those who want to become British citizens – the increase in number of grants is as a result of UK Border Agency working through applications quicker. ‘We are clear that being British is a privilege, not a right, and that British citizenship should be earned. 'People who wish to settle permanently in the UK must earn that right by working hard, obeying the law and speaking English.’
Immigration Dept is racist, says Australia's most reviled conservative Prime Minister
Given Fraser's shaky attachment to the truth, one should ignore the claims below. He makes a great point of being "anti-racist" -- to the point of sucking up to African dictators. It is sad that he has no other claim on praise, given the many wasted opportunities for constructive reform he had whilst Prime Minister
Former prime minister Malcolm Fraser has blamed the immigration department for some policies such as remote detention centres that he believes may have racist motivations. He argues that white farmers fleeing Robert Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe would not have been held in remote detention centres like more recent asylum seekers have been.
"The whole idea for establishing a detention centre in a remote, harsh place ... that sort of idea came out of the department," Mr Fraser told ABC Television on Tuesday. Asked if there was a racist culture within the department, he replied: "Maybe."
Mr Fraser added the Rudd government was "a little" better than the former coalition government when it came to the treatment of asylum seekers. He also challenged the coalition argument that Labor had lost control of Australia's borders. The former prime minister has given media interviews to promote his book, Malcolm Fraser: The Political Memoirs by Malcolm Fraser and Margaret Simons.
26 February, 2010
Minority Advocates, Constituents Differ on Immigration
Zogby Poll Finds Wide Support for Enforcement, Lower Numbers
While it is sometimes assumed that minorities, particularly Hispanics, favor increased immigration and legalization for illegal immigrants, a new Zogby survey finds that minority voters’ views are more complex. The poll of Hispanic, Asian-American, and African-American likely voters finds some support for legalization. But overall each of these groups prefers enforcement and for illegal immigrants to return home. Moreover, significant majorities of all three groups think that the current level of immigration is too high. These views are in sharp contrast to the leaders of most ethnic advocacy organizations, who argue for increased immigration and legalization of illegal immigrants. The survey used neutral language, avoiding such terms as “amnesty,” “illegal alien,” or “undocumented.”
In contrast to the leadership of many ethnic advocacy groups, most members of minority groups think immigration is too high.
* Hispanics: 56 percent said it is too high; 7 percent said too low; 14 percent just right.
* Asian-Americans: 57 percent said immigration is too high; 5 percent said too low; 18 percent just right.
* African-Americans: 68 percent said it is too high; 4 percent said too low; 14 percent just right.
Most members of minority groups do not feel that illegal immigration is caused by limits on legal immigration as many ethnic advocacy groups argue; instead, members feel it’s due to a lack of enforcement.
* Hispanics: Just 20 percent said illegal immigration was caused by not letting in enough legal immigrants; 61 percent said inadequate enforcement.
* Asian-Americans: 19 percent said not enough legal immigration; 69 percent said inadequate enforcement.
* African-Americans: 16 percent said not enough legal immigration; 70 percent said inadequate enforcement.
Most members of minority groups feel that there are plenty of Americans available to fill unskilled jobs.
* Hispanics: 15 percent said legal immigration should be increased to fill unskilled jobs; 65 percent said there are plenty of Americans available to do unskilled jobs, employers just need to pay more.
* Asian-Americans: 19 percent said increase immigration; 65 percent said plenty of Americans are available.
* African-Americans: 6 percent said increase immigration; 81 percent said plenty of Americans are available.
When asked to choose between enforcement that would cause illegal immigrants in the country to go home or offering them a pathway to citizenship with conditions, most members of minority groups choose enforcement.
* Hispanics: 52 percent support enforcement to encourage illegals to go home; 34 percent support conditional legalization.
* Asian-Americans: 57 percent support enforcement; 29 percent support conditional legalization.
* African-Americans: 50 percent support enforcement; 30 percent support conditional legalization.
This survey of minority voters shows that when it comes to the issue of legalizing illegal immigrants, these voters disagree with the leadership of many ethnic advocacy groups. Most voters want the law enforced and illegal immigrants to return to their home countries. Overall they also feel that the current level of immigration is too high. The poll specifically asks voters to put aside the issue of legal status and focus only on the numbers. Even so, most think the level of immigration is too high and very few think it is too low. Not surprisingly, when it comes to allowing more unskilled workers into the country, most Hispanic, Asian-American, and African-American voters feel there are plenty of Americans here to do such work; employers just need to pay more.
The overall findings of this poll show a significant divide between the perception that minority voters want legalization and increased legal immigration and the reality, which is that they want enforcement and less immigration. Like most Americans, minority voters are not anti-immigrant or anti-immigration per se. Moreover there is not unanimity on the immigration issue among or between groups. What the poll does show is that, like most Americans, Hispanic, Asian, and black voters want the law enforced and illegal immigrants to go home. Moreover, they think the overall level of immigration is too high. When some leaders of minority groups speak on immigration and argue for legalization, they are merely offering their own personal opinions, not necessarily those of voters in these communities.
Zogby International was commissioned by the Center for Immigration Studies to conduct an online survey. A sampling of Zogby International’s online panel, which is representative of the adult population of the United States, was invited to participate. Zogby maintains the panel and has used it for other surveys. Slight weights were added to region, party, age, race, religion, gender, and education to more accurately reflect the U.S. population. The survey included roughly 700 Hispanic, 400 African-American, and 400 Asian-American likely voters.
The survey was conducted by Zogby from November 13 to 30, 2009. The margin of error for likely voters is +/- 0.5 percent. The margin of error for Hispanic likely voters is 3.7 percent; for African-Americans it is 4.7 percent; and for Asian-Americans voters it is 5.1 percent.
The poll is available online here
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: email@example.com. Contact: Steven A. Camarota, (202) 466-8185, firstname.lastname@example.org
U.K. Immigration Data Fuel Fire
New figures show mixed results in the U.K. government's efforts to tighten entry requirements for foreign workers and students, as immigration heats up as an election issue here. The 2009 statistics show fewer foreign workers are coming to the U.K., though the number of student visas issued to non-Europeans continues to rise.
The country has seen a dramatic increase in immigrants since the late 1990s, primarily Eastern Europeans and other foreigners seeking employment during the boom times. As jobs became scarce during the recession and U.K. citizens became increasingly uneasy about losing opportunities to foreigners, pressure has grown on the government to limit immigration.
Meanwhile, there has been pressure to tighten scrutiny of student visas, in part due to numerous incidents involving terrorism suspects who entered the country with student paperwork.
In response, the government two years ago began introducing new visa rules for non-European workers and students. Immigration specialists say the new rules—which include stiffer financial and qualification requirements—are making it tougher for some people to come to the U.K., or stay. In 2009, the number of visas issued to non-European workers and their families declined 21% from a year earlier, to 93,690, according to the Office of National Statistics. Most Europeans are free to seek work in the U.K. without a visa. Meanwhile, the number of student visas issued to non-Europeans increased 31% to 273,610. The U.K. issued two million visas in 2009, including family members and visitors, up 2% from a year earlier.
Polls show many voters want to see fewer immigrants.
Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said the decline in work visas "is a result" of the new visa system, rather than the economic downturn. The government hails the new system as the most significant changes to the U.K.'s immigration rules since World War II. The change, they say, protects British workers by allowing flexibility to prioritize entry for migrants for jobs that are difficult to fill.
However, some say the economic downturn is having a bigger impact than new policies, and point to the large increase in people leaving the country while arrivals have remained relatively steady.
The opposition Conservative Party argues that the government has lost control of the borders, putting pressure on jobs and public services. It pledges to cap the number of work visas issued, if it is voted into power in the spring election.
The net number of migrants coming into the U.K. has increased significantly to more than 200,000 in some years, up from fewer than 50,000 in 1997 when the current Labour government came into power, according to the Office for National Statistics. That equates to more than two million immigrants—a significant portion due to the inflow following the 2004 enlargement of the European Union to include countries such as Poland.
25 February, 2010
Immigration, Labor Laws a Catch-22 for Foreign Workers
Patrick Thibodeau of ComputerWorld reports that one result of the administration’s crackdown on employers using H-1B (non-immigrant skilled worker) visas is that one company, Peri Software Solutions, may be required to pay $1.45 million in back wages to 163 employees. Peri reportedly failed to pay workers prevailing wages — one requirement of the H-1B program is that employers pay foreign workers more or less what they would American workers, if they could find any — as well as forcing them to sign employment contracts that they were sued for violating.
Unlike American workers, however, the foreign workers at Peri might get their back wages, right after they’re sent home: "The Labor Department is also seeking to hit Peri with a $439,000 civil penalty and a two-year debarment from the H-1B program"
Unless Peri’s workers are able to find other H-1B jobs before being asked to leave the United States, punishing Peri for paying its workers less-than-prevailing wages will mean that their workers will lose their jobs and be sent back to their countries of origin.
The Catch-22 of immigration law — report the person who got you into the country, and get sent home for the privilege — is something many immigrants and foreign workers face on a regular basis. Without significant reform, for which Congress likely doesn’t have the stomach this year, the administration’s crackdown on employer violations of labor law will necessarily result in job losses for the people already hurt by the labor law violations.
Australia sets spies on people smugglers
Australia is setting its domestic spy agency on people smuggling, handing the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation greater powers and allowing it to operate overseas.
The Government in Canberra is also boosting co-operation with Malaysia - another key link in the people-smuggling chain - improving intelligence-sharing, immigration controls and the interception of smugglers' operations.
The moves emerged yesterday as Attorney-General Robert McClelland introduced new laws that will widen ASIO's brief and introduce tough new penalties, and as Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor met Malaysian counterparts in Sydney. The Government's drive to clamp down on people smuggling has been pushed by a new wave of boats carrying asylum seekers from Indonesia, straining detention facilities on Christmas Island and raising a political storm in Australia.
The Opposition claims the influx has been sparked by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's relaxation of the tough regime imposed by conservative Liberal predecessor John Howard.
But introducing the new laws to Parliament yesterday, McClelland said a global surge in asylum seekers was being driven by conflicts and turmoil in Afghanistan, the Middle East and Sri Lanka. He said the most recent report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimated there were 42 million forcibly displaced people worldwide at the end of 2008, including 15.2 million mandated refugees and 827,000 asylum seekers.
The new laws will enable ASIO to specifically target people smugglers and other serious border threats, and will change the definition of "foreign intelligence" to allow the organisation and other national security agencies to collect people-smuggling intelligence overseas. ASIO is at present not able to directly act against people smuggling and can only use and pass on information it has indirectly obtained as part of its counterterrorism operations. The new legislation will allow it to specifically work against people smugglers, supported by extended interception and surveillance powers and the ability to collect foreign intelligence.
The gathering of foreign intelligence under present laws is restricted to information relating to foreign Governments and political organisations relevant to the defence of Australia or the conduct of the nation's international affairs. "This position no longer adequately reflects the contemporary threats to Australia's national interests," McClelland said. "In an increasingly interconnected global community, activities such as people smuggling are usually undertaken by non-state actors, and [the new law] will enable information about foreign individuals or groups operating without Government support to be collected."
The legislation also introduces a range of new offences, including providing material support for people smuggling, which will carry a maxi-mum penalty of 10 years' jail and/or a fine of A$110,000 ($123,563).
24 February, 2010
5 Reasons Illegal Immigrants Shouldn't Be Given American Citizenship
Over the last few months most conservatives have quite naturally been distracted by Barack Obama's frightening incompetence, his elephantine spending, and his zealous attempts to swallow as much of the private sector as the government beast can stuff down its gaping maw. But while the cat's away, the mice will play. The little feet you may have been hearing pitter-patter back into the public square? They belong to advocates of amnesty for illegal aliens. Oh, they don't necessarily call it that. They call it comprehensive immigration reform, earned legalization, a path to citizenship -- but, it all amounts to the same thing: rewarding people for breaking our laws.
On behalf of the overwhelming majority of the conservative movement and the American people, let me say, "Not just ‘no,’ but ‘Hell, no’" to giving illegal immigrants American citizenship.
Now, I know what the response to this will be: "You must hate Hispanics!" Actually, it doesn't matter where the illegals are from; they're not welcome here. But, but, but...it'll help the GOP with Hispanics to support amnesty! Tell that to John McCain, who bombed with Hispanics despite being the Republican most associated with amnesty. Well, then you must not want any immigrants in this country! What a despicable argument. Comparing an illegal alien to someone who loves and respects this country enough to come here the right way is like comparing a burglar to an adopted son.
Let me tell you exactly why illegal immigrants shouldn't be given American citizenship.
1) It will only encourage more illegal immigrants to come here. We've already had a "one time only" amnesty deal for illegals. It occurred during the Reagan Administration and the idea was supposed to be that we'd allow the illegals who were here to become citizens and we'd simultaneously beef up security to try to keep the problem from occurring again. Well, guess what? That very bipartisan sounding compromise didn't work. To the contrary, it failed miserably. So why in the world would anyone who actually wants to stop illegal immigration want to try something that has already been proven to be counterproductive? We have far more illegals in America today than we did when the "one time" amnesty went through. Do we want 20 million illegals here when the next amnesty goes through? 30 million? Are we going to be accused of racism if we say the next huge wave of illegals shouldn't be given citizenship either? Where does it end?
2) Illegal aliens take jobs from American citizens. The economy stinks. American citizens are out of work. People are going out every day looking for jobs to support their family and they're coming home empty handed. Meanwhile, there are illegal aliens in this country holding jobs that American citizens would otherwise have. "Oh, but those are jobs Americans won't do!" There's no such thing. There's no job in this country that couldn't be filled if every illegal disappeared tomorrow -- but, here's the catch: the crooked business owners who are knowingly hiring the illegals might have to pay what the job is worth instead of hiring people who let everyone else pay their health care, pay their car insurance, and pay their share of the taxes.
3) We're importing poverty. It's no secret that the majority of illegals are uneducated manual laborers. In fact, that's supposed to be one of their selling points, isn't it? Don't advocates of amnesty say we need illegals to do the dirty, hard, manual labor that "Americans won't do?" But even if that were true, which it’s not, people with very limited skills often turn into liabilities for a society as they age. There aren't a lot of people picking oranges and scrubbing floors at fifty years old. In other words, in order to help crooked business owners get cheap labor today, the rest of society has to be burdened with people who are going to cost society far more than they ever pay in taxes. Are American taxpayers so unburdened that we want to actually bring in even more people to carry on their backs?
4) It rewards bad behavior. It's against the law to enter this country illegally. It's against the law to buy fake documents or steal someone's social security number. It's against the law not to pay your taxes. So after all of that, we're going to give people citizenship? What message does that send to all the immigrants filling out reams of paperwork, paying out significant chunks of their paychecks, and waiting for years in their home countries to finally achieve their dream of becoming an American citizen? Here's the message it sends: You're a chump! This is something you don't normally have to say to people north of five years old, but it's not smart to reward bad behavior and punish good behavior.
5) It cheapens and demeans our country. Is this Cuba? Is this Afghanistan? Is this Rwanda? Are we such a garbage dump of a nation that we have to desperately give citizenship to anybody and everybody we can find? Newsflash: This is the greatest nation God has seen fit to raise up in the history of mankind. We can not only have the cream of the crop from other nations; we can ask them to wait in line, obey our laws, and prove themselves -- and the ones worth having will do it because this is the place people all over the world dream of coming one day. American citizenship is a precious thing and it shouldn't be given to people whose first act upon American soil was to violate our laws
Whatever it may claim, Britain's Leftist Government thinks critics of immigration are racists
The plot thickens around “Neathergate” (as no one is calling it yet). As the Telegraph reports:Opponents of immigration could be racist, warned advisers a decade agoLabour has now claimed the “it’s not racist to talk about immigration” line as its own, in true Stalinist fashion, despite being the ones to throw that slur at anyone who ever dissented over these past dozen years. But what especially interests me is this:
People opposed to immigration in to Britain could be influenced by racism, a previously unseen Government paper signalled.
The draft paper, drawn up for the Home Office, said “anti-immigrant sentiment is closely correlated with racism” but the message was removed when the document was finally published, fuelling suggestions it was considered too sensitive a point to make. It was contained in an early version of an analysis of the impact of immigration on the UK first written in 2000 and published the following year.The latest draft to be unearthed said: “Recent research shows that anti-immigrant sentiment is closely correlated with racism rather than economic motives.
“Education and people’s personal exposure to migrants make them less likely to be anti-migrant.
“The most negative attitudes are found among those who have relatively little direct contact with migrants, but see them as a threat.”
It said it was “correct that public opinion favours relatively restrictive policies on immigration” and advised ministers to adopt a “clear strategy for public opinion and public debate” to change views – but they were removed from the published version.
Of course anti-immigration sentiment may be motivated by racism – it certainly is in some cases – just as anti-bankers’ bonuses sentiment may be motivated by envy, or anti-socialist sentiment by greed. But to suggest that any of these arguments are therefore invalid because some of their supporters are secretly motivated by dark motives is a logical fallacy.
So is the belief that hostility to immigration is correlated to a lack of education. Poor people may be more hostile to immigration, because they bear all its costs, but even then they’re often not: the white working class are more likely to intermarry than any other group in Britain, apart from African-Caribbeans. Likewise, anti-social or violent individuals may show more hostility and aggression towards members of other groups – but they also show more violence towards members of their own group as well. This does not mean there is any corrollation between anti-social, violent behaviour and hostility to diversity, or that diversity makes people less anti-social.
People’s exposure to migrants may make them less hostile to migrants where friendships are formed, but otherwise the increasing diversity of an area will, in fact, make more people more hostile and distrusting to all their neighbours. Sometimes what the political class call “racism” is racism; sometimes it’s just a recognition that large-scale immigration can unsettle an area, what Robert Putnam found about the downside of diversity:Across local areas in the United States, Australia, Sweden, Canada and Britain, greater ethnic diversity is associated with lower social trust and, at least in some cases, lower investment in public goods… immigration and ethnic diversity challenge social solidarity and inhibit social capital… People living in ethnically diverse settings appear to ‘hunker down’ – that is, to pull in like a turtle.Diversity has diverse consequences, and many people had social as well as economic reasons for opposing it. But the Government’s “clear strategy for public opinion and public debate” to counter this feeling was to shout “racism” at anyone who objected, even when opinion polls showed black and Asian Britons hostile to high levels of immigration.
But Whitehall officials were obviously too unsure of their own arguments to stand up this allegation of racism in public. Instead, the final document published in 2001 had all Labour’s hidden “social” motives taken out, and merely argued for the economic, rather than social, benefits of mass immigration.
But, as the House of Lords found in its 2007/2008 report, those economic benefits are virtually non-existent.
23 February, 2010
1. Immigration, Political Realignment, and the Demise of Republican Political Prospects
Excerpt: This Backgrounder examines the political implications of large-scale immigration. Between 1980 and 2008, 25.2 million people were granted permanent residency (green cards) by the United States. A comparison of voting patterns in presidential elections across counties over the last three decades shows that large-scale immigration has caused a steady drop in presidential Republican vote shares throughout the country. Once politically marginal counties are now safely Democratic due to the propensity of immigrants, especially Latinos, to identify and vote Democratic. The partisan impact of immigration is relatively uniform throughout the country, even though local Republican parties have taken different positions on illegal immigration. Although high immigration may work against Democratic policy goals, such as raising wages for the poor and protecting the environment, it does improve Democratic electoral prospects. In contrast, immigration may help Republican business interests hold down wages, but it also undermines the party’s political fortunes. Future levels of immigration are likely to be a key determinant of Republicans’ political prospects moving forward.
2. Dirty Work: In-Sourcing American Jobs with H-2B Guestworkers
Excerpt: Americans don’t want to mow your lawn. They don’t want to serve you your lobster roll sandwich during your summer holiday in Maine. They won’t drive the trucks that bring food to the grocery store you shop in, or chop down the trees that produce the paper you use, or perform at the circus you attend every summer. You’ll also need the helping hand of a “temporary, seasonal” guestworker to help you get on the chair lift in Vail, and to learn how to ski or snowboard. Nor will Americans guard your swim club’s pool, shovel the snow in your driveway, operate the rides at the amusement park you take your kids to, tidy up the hotel room you sleep in, or process the seafood you eat. Americans can’t even be counted on to coach sports, or work construction jobs. American workers have grown soft, young people don’t want to work, and the unemployed don’t want to do much of anything strenuous these days.
3. A Radical Suggestion Regarding Immigration Backlogs
Excerpt: In a recent blog, 'Our 89-Year-Old, Self-Created Booby Trap in Immigration Policy,' I pointed out how huge backlogs of approved visas for would-be immigrants have always caused additional pressure to expand immigration.
The U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform (the Barbara Jordan Commission), some 13 years ago, noted an even more significant problem regarding these backlogs, particularly in the siblings, nieces, and nephews program
4. Feature in Aviation Security International
Excerpt: The February issue of the British-based magazine Aviation Security International features an in-depth article laying out in detail the 9/11 Commission recommendations that, if implemented, could have directly affected the success of Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab's boarding of Flight 253 to Detroit on Christmas Day. It also discusses why President Obama's framing of the issues that arise from the Christmas Plot are potentially detrimental to truly curbing terrorist travel as they are both too myopic and too politically convenient.
5. Water Bottle Recycling by Narco Traffickers
Excerpt: From a Mexican friend of a friend, who titles the video below Trafficking Drugs in Bottles of Water and notes how clever this method of transporting drugs is. Everyone carries water, especially those crossing the southwest from Mexico. How easy, convenient, and terribly unsuspicious. Who would ever think that in the football fields of trash from illegal alien traffic over the southwest border, especially in Arizona as noted in the video Hidden Cameras on the Arizona Border, some of the water bottles laying about were an additional means to carry drugs.
6. Our 89-Year-Old, Self-Created Booby Trap in Immigration Policy
Excerpt: Four score and nine years ago our forefathers did something doubly stupid.
Not only was the Emergency Immigration Act of 1921 clearly racist with its country-of-origin quotas, it also introduced a structural defect into our immigration system that has haunted us ever since.
The country-of-origin quotas were wiped out with the Immigration Act of 1965 but the lingering structural defect, one complicating life for restrictionists, is still here, and still is largely ignored.
7. Here's an Idea: UK's Citizenship Test to Cover Queuing
Excerpt: The British Government is going to introduce a little behavior-modification into their citizenship (naturalization) screening process.
The London Telegraph reports that the art of queuing – which the Brits are so good at – will become part of their citizenship tests.
8. Lying With Statistics
Excerpt: There's new proof that the Obama administration is soft on immigration enforcement. Fewer illegal aliens were detained in the final three months of 2009. The drop in detentions shows that the new administration is willing to let illegal immigration slide for aliens who don't have a rap sheet. Easing off of those detentions means ICE has returned to 'catch and release' for the vast majority of illegal entrants. The bottom line: Fewer illegal aliens overall are being placed in detention, and that's a bad thing.
9. New Guestworker Regulations: One Step Forward and One Step Back
Excerpt: The Obama Administration has taken one step forward, and another step back, in two released regulations about nonimmigrant workers.
The backwards step is full of irony, because it allows some of the largest, richest banks in the United States to renew their hiring of H-1B nonimmigrant workers. These banks received billions in various financial breaks from Uncle Sam, and are paying their top executives multi-million-dollar bonuses. These are the banks which have been permitted by a new decision of the Department of Homeland Security to save a few dollars by opting out of the American labor market, to bring in technical workers from other nations.
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: email@example.com.
Australia's State governments to choose immigrants
I wonder how many illiterate Afghans they will choose -- or won't they be given a choice about that? When the Federal government does not choose many of Australia's migrants -- the "asylum seekers" -- giving the States power to choose seems a bit of a joke, if not a total illusion. It should be a good recipe for corruption, though
THE Bligh Government is set to draw up a migration plan for the state that could act as a brake on southeast Queensland's rampant population growth while ensuring regional centres receive a steady supply of skilled workers. Premier Anna Bligh said the plan would allow Queensland to choose which skilled migrants settled in the state.
Under new processing arrangements to be introduced by the Rudd Government, migrants nominated by Queensland would receive priority over applications by independent skilled migrants. "The State Government for the first time will have some influence on the migrant intake," Ms Bligh said. "It will ease some of the pressure off the southeast corner and ensure migrants are taken with the skills the state needs."
She said some significant new industries would emerge over the next five years and be big job drivers. She said over the next 10 years, cities such as Gladstone, Rockhampton and Toowoomba were likely to experience high population growth due to the ongoing resources boom. "The requirement of the LNG industry alone means Queensland will need more skilled labour, and the timing of these projects will be influenced by the access to skilled labour," she said.
Ms Bligh was speaking ahead of tonight's Our Future, Your Say public forum, sponsored by The Courier-Mail, where she will debate issues surrounding population growth with Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman, Sunshine Coast Mayor Bob Abbot and Griffith University urban planning Professor Brendan Gleeson. The Government's southeast Queensland regional plan envisages another 2 million people making the region their home over the next 20 years, sparking concerns about whether the state's infrastructure will be able to cope. Statistics show that net overseas migration is now Queensland's biggest source of population growth, followed by natural increase.
Ms Bligh said that 48 per cent of the state's population growth was due to overseas migration, while 35.5 per cent was due to natural increase and just 16 per cent was due to net interstate migration. "In the last five years, Queensland's net overseas migration has more than doubled while net interstate migration has almost halved," she said.
Ms Bligh said she understood why many people felt the pressure of population growth. "It's putting pressure on our roads, on our health services, on all sorts of areas of our lives," she said. But she said the growth was also a chance to build a vibrant city with more jobs, better productivity and more opportunities for children. "It really is a double-edged sword and the question of when is enough enough is a pretty hard one to answer."
She said state and local governments could introduce a population cap by ceasing to approve housing developments but such a move would have "diabolical" consequences. Housing would become unaffordable for essential workers such as nurses, teachers and police officers, she said.
She said regional Queensland still offered many opportunities to absorb population growth. "The challenge is to spread that population around the state in a more even way so that we don't overload some parts of the state and see the pressures build up to an unsustainable level," she said.
22 February, 2010
Big immigrant problems in Italy -- with immigrant versus immigrant
Riots and street killings will make Italians even more unhappy with immigrants than they already are. Anti-immigration politicians seem to think that the immigrants are making their case for them. The rioting will certainly enfeeble Leftist support for immigration
In the space of a few weeks, Italy has witnessed bouts of violence involving immigrants that seem to be lifted straight from Hollywood films, starting with Mississippi Burning replayed in Calabria last month and, on the streets of Milan last week, West Side Story.
After hundreds of African fruit pickers were hauled out of Rosarno in Calabria in January following battles with locals, an Egyptian man was left dying in Milan after a fight between North Africans and Latin Americans.
The death of Ahmed Aziz El Saied, 19, was followed by hours of rioting by North Africans on Milan's multi-ethnic Via Padova, during which 36 cars were damaged or overturned and five businesses, mostly run by South Americans, were destroyed.
"I'm not surprised, there are brawls here every day," said a neighbour of Saied. Amid calls by Northern League politicians for round-ups of illegal immigrants and a ban on house sales to non-Europeans, Italy's first inter-ethnic-minority riots woke the country to Milan's hidden world of South American gangs with names such as the Latin Kings.
Statistics show immigrants total 4.3 million, 7.1% of Italy's population, with 45% of young Italians opposed to immigration. But government ministers from the Northern League took a surprisingly soft line. League founder Umberto Bossi, who once said migrants arriving from Africa should be shot at, said "jobs and homes" were key to avoiding violence.
The involvement of Latinos – rather than Romanians who fill Italy's crime pages – may explain the muted reaction. The Dominican man arrested on suspicion of Thursday's killing was legally registered and dating an Italian woman. Calls within the government for greater integration are growing.
Australia: Christmas Island a disaster in waiting
The usual bureaucratic ineptitude and secrecy
Christmas Island is a disaster waiting to happen, according to a report that questions emergency preparedness on the Indian Ocean outpost that is now home to more immigration detainees than residents.
As the Rudd government prepared to expand the immigration detention centre, 2600km northwest of Perth, its consultants were completing a review of emergency management in the Indian Ocean territories. A Parsons Brinckerhoff report, dated last month and obtained under Freedom of Information laws, examines whether authorities are ready for everything from rockfalls to pandemics, cyclones and an air crash. "(Christmas Island) has a substantial portfolio of risks that have potential to cause major disruption to life on the island," the report says.
As of last Thursday there were 1739 detainees on Christmas Island and more than 100 of those were housed in tents, with additional permanent accommodation still under construction.
The report finds emergency management is "often an afterthought" and the airport emergency plan relies on people who probably do not know their roles -- even though a "significant accident at the Christmas Island airport is likely to overwhelm the island's response capacity".
But despite the risks to, and caused by, government interests on the island, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship is often difficult to contact and had not informed authorities of its contingency plans for the detention centre. "The isolated location of the (detention centre) and independent nature of their operations has resulted in limited engagement with the local emergency management community," the report says.
The report also notes that: "At present, notification of the arrival of suspect illegal entry vessels is currently not well co-ordinated. "As a result, some key island stakeholders such as medical, transport and port authority staff are not informed of the arrival of a vessel until the last possible moment. The politically sensitive nature of this information does not lessen the requirement for emergency management stakeholders to be informed as soon as possible."
21 February, 2010
American conservatives go to water on immigration
By Tom Tancredo
It's that time of year again. Pundits, pollsters and lobbyists are gathering in the nation's capital to tell conservative activists how to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. The Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, is meeting in Washington, D.C., this weekend to hear well-known political leaders like Dick Cheney and Newt Gingrich talk about prospects for electoral victories in 2010. This is an annual event dating back to 1974, and I have been there as a speaker myself a few times. But CPAC 2010 is different.
This year, the Beltway leaders of conservatism are racing hard to catch up with a parade they did not launch and cannot control. Across America, grass-roots patriots and anti-Obama protests have changed the political landscape in ways conservatism's entrenched Beltway Politburo did not anticipate.
The small Beltway Politburo that runs CPAC is worried. They are witnessing a growing conservative populism that owes its strength to ordinary people who have "had enough," not to policy wonks and lobbyists who must work at the margins of political compromise. The new citizen activists take their moral bearing from the Constitution, not from pollsters and focus groups.
Thus, it was predictable that conservatism's leading beltway Mafioso chose the week of CPAC to release the newly minted Mount Vernon Statement, a consensus document aimed at updating the landmark Sharon Statement of 1960. The justly famous Sharon Statement, midwifed by William F. Buckley Jr., was an eloquent synthesis of principles and policy imperatives, similar in tone to Barry Goldwater's 1959 classic, "Conscience of a Conservative." In contrast, the Mount Vernon Statement calls for a reaffirmation of America's founding principles, but it is largely silent about policy solutions to our most pressing problems.
There is also a telling irony in the political circumstances that gave rise to the two manifestos 50 years apart. The 1960 manifesto was bold and fresh, but the 2010 manifesto is timid and deliberately ambiguous on some key issues. Why is that? Has political success dulled conservatism's cutting edge, or is the Mount Vernon Statement a failed attempt to find consensus where there is none?
On both domestic policy and national security, the 1960 Sharon Statement threw down the gauntlet. It was vigorously anti-communist when "détente" was all the rage. In its unapologetic stridency, it foretold the rise of Ronald Reagan, a leader who was unafraid to articulate both sound principles and radical policies.
Now, 50 years later, conservatism can draw 4,000 activists to Washington, D.C., in the middle of winter to celebrate successes and debate policy strategies. But instead of building on the consensus that already exists on key issues, the Beltway Politburo strives to demonstrate their superior cleverness by undermining the grass-roots consensus. On two key issues, CPAC offered detours and blind alleys, not leadership.
At CPAC, activists come together to talk, debate, argue, plot and "build new coalitions." They celebrate famous victories and analyze painful defeats. But in 2010, there is a new urgency at CPAC. America is in peril as serious as any time in our history. By almost any measure, the nation is in worse shape than 50 years ago when modern conservatism was born. The question that haunts the halls of CPAC 2010 is: Are conservatism's new leaders up to this challenge?
The greatest threat in 1960 was international – how to deal with the threat of Soviet communism and the "missile gap" – and anti-communism was the unifying force among conservatives. Today, by contrast, the question of how to respond to the threat from radical Islam got barely a mention in CPAC forums. Indeed, as columnist Michelle Malkin has pointed out, some of CPAC's leaders have voiced support for Obama's insane policy of treating captured terrorists like ordinary criminals with full Miranda rights. This may be popular on K Street, but it does not sit well on Main Street.
The best example of how CPAC 2010 has failed the conservative movement is CPAC's attempt to redefine (sabotage would be a more accurate term) the potent issues of illegal immigration and border security. Whereas grass-roots conservatives and millions of 912 patriots – along with 80 percent of the American people – understand the need for border security as a precondition for immigration reform, CPAC board member Grover Norquist is busy launching a new project in support of the Obama administration's plan to grant another amnesty to 20 million illegal aliens. Neither border control nor immigration enforcement was included as a topic for any of the CPAC general sessions.
It is exceedingly odd that at the very moment everyone else is declaring the Democrats' amnesty plan dead in the water, CPAC leader Grover Norquist and a handful of Republican lobbyists are conspiring to resuscitate it. It's as though the pilots of an airplane headed to Houston decided instead to take the aircraft to Havana. But instead of a hijacking, conservatism's Beltway Politburo calls it a strategic partnership with Latino activists.
What all this tells us is that it is not only the Republican Party that is suffering an identity crisis. So is conservatism.
There is little that is black and white in attacks on Indians
An amusing article below. It is an academic's long-winded way of saying that the attacks on Indian students in Australia are the work of other immigrants, mostly blacks. Up until about 2007, that was from time to time admitted in the media but you are no longer allowed to say that openly.
The writer's "solution" is risible however. It amounts to saying that when you solve all the other problems of the world the attacks on Indians will cease. Sending badly behaved immigrants back to their countries of origin would, by contrast, work like a charm. There is ample provision for that in Australian law but it it is only done so far with immigrants of British origin -- which is clearly racist
One of the problems with the debate about violence towards Indian students in Melbourne is that the analysis has focused on the victims and their nationality. It is hardly possible to make claims of racism or otherwise in these attacks without knowing something of the offenders. Who are they, and can they be understood solely in terms of their own nationalities (which is basic to the racist claim)?
Are those who argue that the attacks are racially motivated assuming that the attackers are all of Anglo descent? If they were of Middle Eastern or African or South Asian heritage, would that make it different? Are all instances of inter-cultural violence racist?
The treatment of race in this discussion has been simplistic. One-third of Melbourne's population was born overseas. Relative to Australia's indigenous people, every non-Aboriginal here has a recent heritage from elsewhere. Most of us are hybrids of one sort or another, meaning that the concept of race is complex. The answer to the question "where are you from?" from someone who looks Asian is as likely to be "Prahran" as "Thailand".
It is partly because of this, according to Victoria Police, and partly because of concerns about racial stereotyping, that the racial backgrounds of the perpetrators and victims of crime are no longer routinely recorded in Victoria. The fact is, we don't know the race of people involved in the vast majority of crimes in Melbourne, let alone whether they are racially motivated. We do have a sense that many robberies of international students go unreported and that the geographic distribution of these crimes is skewed, so the vexed discussion of proportionate and disproportionate incidences is being held in a vacuum.
There is anecdotal evidence that racial abuse has occurred in some of the attacks on Indian people. I expect that Lebanese victims of similar crimes also suffer racial abuse. Women and openly gay victims likely experience a different choice of words. What connects these crimes, I am prepared to hazard, is a word that has not yet been mentioned: class, of both offenders and victims.
It is undoubtedly true that there are racist, misogynist and homophobic people looking for anyone "different" to beat up – there are testosterone-fuelled Neanderthals in every era and society. But, in the absence of good data, we can also assume that there is a large number of alienated young people, brought up in a culture of virulent individualism, with its relentless demand for wealth, fame and beauty, who have come to realise that their reality is devastatingly at odds with their expectations. Poverty combined with a sense of thwarted entitlement is a bad mix.
We can assume too that some of the attacks are drug-inspired and that a laptop translates directly into a foil of heroin. The offenders in these instances may well be doing their own form of racial stereotyping but not necessarily out of hatred for the presumed race of their victim.
As is so often the case, the victims of these crimes of poverty and marginalisation are themselves poor and marginalised. The international education market has become more essential to Australia and the global value and accessibility of an English-language education has increased. So Melbourne is seeing more, less advantaged students living in the most disadvantaged suburbs where the housing is cheapest, having to work poorly-paid night jobs to survive. If it were ever true to assume that international students are wealthy, it is no longer the case. Their marginal status and class in the Australian context makes them vulnerable by these facts alone.
What can be done? The old policy response of law and order — ever wheeled out by politicians at a loss — is a demonstrated failure. Nowhere in the world has extra policing and heavier sentencing prevented crimes of poverty. Even where hugely expensive "zero tolerance" policies are applied, such as in New York, crimes of poverty still occur while the prisons overflow with young, poor, predominantly black men whose continued alienation is assured.
A more effective response would be to try to reduce class inequality. Providing decent, affordable housing and equal educational opportunities would be a start.
But important socialising environments — where people learn about themselves and others and develop the skills to deal with the things life can throw up — go beyond housing and school. The places where young people learn to interact positively and meaningfully with others are the small places of community centres, local clubs, theatre groups and — dare I say it — live music venues.
It is in these small social environments that people form friendships based on shared interests, and become realistic about their hopes and expectations. In places such as these they also meet people from different cultures, and women and gay people. These interactions sow the seeds for empathy and appreciation of difference.
Any serious policy response to street violence needs to start with a good, hard look at the city, from the macro, contextual view of the distributions of wealth, locations and types of housing and jobs, and funding of and access to education, to the micro issues of the social opportunities and facilities offered to young people. Into all these analyses then come the complexities of racial and class differentiation.
Simple solutions to urban problems are invariably wrong. In this anything but simple matter, the categorical claims for or against "Australia as a racist society" are neither meaningful nor helpful.
20 February, 2010
Immigration in Greece
Hawa Sankoh speaks Greek to her two daughters, except, she admits, when she's angry. Then she sometimes slips back into the pidgin of her native Sierra Leone, but with mixed success. "They understand pidgin, but not so well," she sighs.
For 16-year-old Fatma, who goes by the Greek name Stephania, and Marie, 14, both born in Athens, Sierra Leone is a war-torn place they've only seen in documentaries and heard about from family members. But in the eyes of the Greek state — and most Greeks — they're still just temporary visitors to their adopted country. "The law is completely racist," says Sankoh, who moved to Greece 23 years ago, but like her two daughters, is still caught in an endless cycle of two-year-long residence permits. "You can't expect a child who grew up here ... to go back to their country. The children, they are just like the Greek children."
The Greek government agrees and has proposed legislation to address the problem. George Papandreou, the Socialist Prime Minister who was elected last October, has promised to grant citizenship to an estimated 250,000 children of migrants who were either born or educated in Greece, some of whom are currently stateless. Papandreou knows what it's like to be an outsider — although his father and his grandfather were both Greek Prime Ministers, he was born in the U.S. and spent most of his youth abroad. He has made improving Greece's dire immigration record a priority and says giving citizenship to "second-generation migrants," as they're called, is an issue of basic human rights.
The proposal has triggered a fierce backlash and sparked a long-overdue debate about what it means to be Greek. Right-wing parties have been the most vocal opponents of the plan, claiming the Greek people are a distinct race directly descended from the residents of ancient Athens and Sparta, and bound together by a common culture and the Greek Orthodox Church. But there's also a growing unease among everyday Greeks about the flood of new immigrants and the challenges they pose to the country's tight-knit, family-oriented society. When the government posted the draft citizenship law online, thousands of comments poured in. "Someone who is not of the Greek race cannot call themselves a Greek," wrote one person. "You are born Greek," said another. "You don't become Greek." The pressure prompted Papandreou to water down his initial proposal.
Immigration is new to Greece, a country whose people emigrated en masse throughout much of the 20th century. So new, in fact, that until 1991, the country used a law written in the 1920s to address the influx of Christians from Turkey after World War I. But one look at Sankoh's apartment building shows the changes that have taken place since the 1990s. Ten years ago, most of the residents were Greek. Today, the names on the intercom buttons are Bangladeshi, Bulgarian and Ugandan.
Noncitizens now make up more than 10% of Greece's population. The vast majority of these new arrivals come from neighboring Balkan countries, especially Albania. But in the last few years, Greece has also seen a surge of illegal immigrants from Africa and Asia, most of whom set off from Turkey in tiny boats and wash up on one of Greece's many islands. During the first half of 2009, almost a quarter of all European arrests of illegal immigrants took place in Greece — more than any other single country and twice that of Italy.
Without a coherent immigration strategy in place, the government has been overwhelmed by the volume of people. The country's detention centers have spaces for only 1,000 people, but more than 95,000 undocumented migrants came in the first nine months of 2009 alone. Most new arrivals are simply held for a short period before being released with a paper telling them to leave in a month. There's also a backlog of 42,000 unprocessed asylum claims, not to mention the thousands more people who have not yet been able to submit their applications. The chaotic system has created a vast underworld of migrants who are living in legal limbo on society's fringe and are turning parts of Athens into crime- and drug-ridden slums. Young African prostitutes are so ubiquitous now that Sankoh's daughters say they are frequently offered money by Greek men on the streets.
The new government recognizes the depth of the problems and has begun revamping the asylum system and trying to rein in police abuse, says Michalis Chrysochoidis, the minister responsible for immigration issues. But Chrysochoidis says the country will also tighten its borders, as well as build new detention centers and step up deportations, to send the message that Greece is no longer open to everyone. "Greece is facing a huge problem," he says. "You have to manage thousands of human souls with respect to human dignity, human rights, freedoms. And on the other hand you cannot host all these thousands of people because we are a small country."
While human-rights groups laud the government's intentions, they warn that a failure to tackle the immigration problem, combined with the current economic crisis engulfing Greece, could be explosive. "The climate in Athens is just getting worse and worse," says Alexia Vassiliou, a lawyer with the Greek Council for Refugees. "We've got to do something to relieve some of the pressure that's building up."
Partisan Fallout of Immigration to America
County-Level Analysis: GOP Vote Share Drops as Foreign-Born % Grows
What are the likely partisan consequences of continued mass immigration? Those on the left see it as benefiting them; union leader Eliseo Medina recently told a gathering that immigr ation, 'will create a governing coalition for the long term not just for an election cycle.' At the same time, some on the right claim that immigrants are natural Republican voters, given their relative conservatism on certain social issues. Which view is correct?
To shed some light on this question, the Center for Immigration Studies is releasing a new report, 'Immigration, Political Realignment, and the Demise of Republican Political Prospects' by James G. Gimpel. Gimpel, a professor of government at the University of Maryland, College Park, and co-author of The Congressional Politics of Immigration Reform, examined the Republican share of the vote and the foreign-born share of the population over three decades in all 3,000-plus counties in the United States.
Among the findings:
* The electoral impact of immigration has been greatest in counties with large populations, where most immigrants settle. In these locations, Republicans have lost 0.58 percentage points in presidential elections for every one percentage-point increase in the size of the local immigrant population. On average the immigrant share has increased 9.5 percent in these counties.
* In counties of at least 50,000, where the immigrant share increased by at least two percentage points from 1980 to 2008, 62 percent saw a decline in the Republican percentage. In counties with at least a four percentage-point increase, 74 percent saw a decline in the GOP vote. In counties with at least a six percentage-point gain in the immigrant share, 83 percent saw a decline in the GOP vote share.
* Republicans have remained competitive in presidential elections because losses in high-immigration counties have been offset by steady gains in low-immigration counties.
* Even in Texas and Florida, often thought to be an exception, the rising immigrant population across counties is associated with sharply diminished support for Republican candidates.
* In Texas, for example, the estimate shows that for every 1 percentage-point increase in the immigrant population in a county, the Republican vote share dropped by 0.67 percentage points, which is more than the decline nationally association with immigration.
* The decline does not seem to be associated with the local Republican Party’s position on illegal immigration.
The report is online here
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: Bryan Griffith, (202) 466-8185, email@example.com
19 February, 2010
E-Verify Law Gains Traction in Virginia
Following the lead of a handful of other states, the Virginia House yesterday passed a bill by an 82–13 margin that would require all state agencies, public contractors and Virginia-based employers with 15 or more employees to ensure that any potential hires are eligible to work in the United States.
The bill would require employers to use the Department of Homeland Security’s E-Verify system, a joint project between DHS and the Social Security Administration. The online system allows employers to check information from a new hire’s I-9 form against the government’s records. The program removes the major incentive for illegal immigration—the prospect of employment—while rewarding legal workers. As we reported this fall, the costs per search are typically low and roughly 97% of all workers are approved instantly.
Heritage has supported the use of verification systems, like E-Verify, that allow employers to enforce immigration law with an easy, inexpensive, and real-time solution. It is likely that other states will adopt similar laws as word of the program’s success spreads.
British poll finds 77% want immigration cut
An increasing number of British people believe ethnic minorities are integrating well within local neighbourhoods even though most still want a sharp reduction in immigration, a government poll on social attitudes has found.
The latest update of the "citizenship survey", which has sought people's views about community cohesion since 2001, showed that 77 per cent of people thought immigration should be cut, with slightly more than half saying it should be reduced "by a lot".
Those figures will be seized on by anti-immigration lobby groups, who argue that the mainstream political parties remain out of step with the electorate over the issue, with many voters saying it is one of their highest priorities.
However, the survey - conducted for the Department of Communities and Local Government - also showed that 84 per cent of people agreed that their local neighbourhood was a place where people from different backgrounds got on well together, up from 80 per cent in 2005.
The far-right British National party has made some electoral inroads in recent years by stoking up fears that "ordinary white people" have become marginalised in the UK. But the survey of 15,000 adults in England and Wales showed that, even among white respondents, 83 per cent of people thought their community was cohesive - up from 81 per cent in the previous year. People living in the most deprived parts of the country were less upbeat, with only 69 per cent believing their community was well integrated.
The 2008-09 survey also showed that negative attitudes towards immigration were not softening. There was a small decrease in the number of people who want to see a big fall in immigration, but the number who want some kind of cut remains stable at more than three-quarters.
Students, better-paid workers and holders of degrees were far more favourable towards immigration than those further down the wage scale and people without qualifications, who often find themselves competing with migrant workers. The issue of immigration is shaping up as a key electoral battleground.
The Labour government argues that its points-based system for non-European Union workers is helping to cut migrant numbers after a period in which it has been accused of operating an "open door" policy.
Alan Johnson, the home secretary, has admitted that the government has been "maladroit" in addressing the concerns of voters over the issue, with Labour particularly worried about losing core support in its traditional industrial heartlands.
The Conservatives have promised a yearly cap on migrants, although it is unclear how much scope they would have to make a reduction, given that they will not be able to stop people coming from the EU.
The survey also raises questions about Tory claims that British society is "broken", with nine out of 10 people saying that they "definitely" or "to some extent" enjoy living in their neighbourhood.
18 February, 2010
Dirty Work: In-Sourcing American Jobs with H-2B Guestworkers
Few economists would assert that America has a shortage of unskilled labor. Yet every year, employers are permitted to import tens of thousands of unskilled guestworkers to fill jobs the employers claim no Americans want – jobs they claim are temporary or seasonal.
A new report from the Center for Immigration Studies, 'Dirty Work: In-Sourcing American Jobs with H-2B Guestworkers,' by CIS Fellow and retired Foreign Service Officer David Seminara, explores the H-2B guestworker program, which is for temporary or seasonal non-agricultural work. This paper aims to shed light on the poor conditions that H-2B guestworkers often toil in; to expose the damage it does to the most vulnerable sector of American workers: the poorly educated, students, minorities, and legal immigrants; to examine the recruiters who find workers and the employers who hire them; and to scrutinize the government’s role in sanctioning and managing the H-2B bureaucracy.
Among the findings:
* The popularity of the H-2B program soared from just 15,706 visas issued in 1997 to an all-time high of 129,547 in 2007. Issuances dropped to 44,847 in 2009, as Congress declined to renew a temporary expansion passed in 2005.
* Despite the global economic crisis, demand for H-2B guestworkers remains strong, even in areas with high unemployment rates. American companies filed petitions to request nearly 300,000 H-2B workers in FY 2008. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce listed expanding the H-2B program as one of its 'Policy Priorities for 2009.'
* The H-2B program was originally intended to help employers needing seasonal and/or temporary workers, but the majority of the program's current users are neither small nor seasonal employers, but rather mid- to large-sized companies and recruiters that petition for H-2Bs to work for 10 months out of the year, year after year.
* Many of the businesses filing H-2B petitions for foreign workers are 'body shops' that have no actual 'seasonal or temporary' need for labor and instead rent workers out to other firms.
* Despite credible allegations and even convictions for fraud and abuse of both H-2B workers and the program in general, neither the Department of Labor nor the Department of Homeland Security has ever barred a U.S. company from filing H-2B petitions. Some repeat offenders continue to have their petitions approved to this day.
* Economists have found no evidence of a labor shortage in the occupational groups that constitute the bulk of H-2B employment.
The report is online here
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: Bryan Griffith, (202) 466-8185, email@example.com
Britain's immigration boom is stretching schools and hospitals to breaking point, council chiefs warn
Town hall chiefs yesterday condemned the Government's immigration figures, saying high and uncounted numbers of new residents are putting too much strain on services. A string of local authorities said few of the 1.5million Poles and other Eastern Europeans who came after 2004 had gone home.
Ministers say they arrived in Britain for only short-term stays and more than 700,000 have left, but councils in Peterborough, Slough and Westminster in London claim otherwise. The councils are challenging official reports that suggest people from eastern Europe stay in Britain for a short time before returning home.
Supported by their umbrella body, the Local Government Association, they argue eastern European couples are settling down to stay and placing an intolerable burden on services. Ruth Bagley, chief executive of Slough, said: 'They may not be arriving as quickly, but the anecdotal evidence is that more people are still coming, and staying.'
Peter Hiller, Peterborough's councillor with responsibility for social services and policing, said: 'We have coped thus far but as immigration continues the cracks are beginning to show.'
In Westminster, borough leader Colin Barrow said: 'The handling of migrant figures has been highly ineffective and at huge cost to local authorities. 'Thousands of migrants are not being counted because of the flawed population methodology used by the Office of National Statistics.'
But Immigration Minister Phil Woolas insisted: 'The number of Eastern Europeans leaving the UK is increasing and the number coming here to work is falling.'
17 February, 2010
Illegals accessing Air Force base
Illegal immigrants using fake identification cards have repeatedly breached security and gained entrance to Vance Air Force Base to work on construction projects, a recently fired civilian police officer has told The Oklahoman.
Base officials verified breaches have occurred, but said the pilot training base has multiple layers of security meant to prevent unauthorized access and penalties can be severe.
Former officer Corey Spradlin, of Enid, said it is disturbing that even after the 9/11 terrorists’ attack and shooting spree at Fort Hood, "we’ve got people who aren’t even legally authorized to be in the country that are gaining access to an Air Force base.”
"I know none of the people were part of the Mexican al-Qaida, but, the point is, if they’re getting on, then what’s to say some extremist isn’t,” he said. "There’s an attitude this is Vance, America. Nothing ever happens here.”
Spradlin said he was terminated within days of denying entrance to the mother of the base commander’s housekeeper because she had an expired visa. The housekeeper and her mother told police they were on their way to meet the commander’s wife for a Bible study, according to an Enid police report.
Spradlin said he previously had upset Air Force base officials by verbally clashing with a construction contractor over illegal immigrants being brought on base to do construction work. Lax security procedures had enabled illegal workers to obtain long-term contractor passes, Spradline said.
Spradlin has filed retaliation complaints over his dismissal with the base’s inspector general and equal opportunity officer.
Spradlin said during his short tenure at Vance, he encountered at least three illegal immigrants who successfully used fake identification cards to get base long-term contractor passes, enabling them to work on base. Two eventually were taken away in handcuffs after the deceptions were discovered. The third was turned away at the gate after his fake identification card and contractor pass were confiscated, Spradlin said.
One of the men arrested was Victor Martinez-Ochoa, 18. Spradlin said Martinez-Ochoa had a long-term contractor’s pass, which would indicate he previously had cleared the base security force’s background check.
AZ: Rival for Senate seat says he’ll rap McCain on illegal immigration
In explaining his decision to try to end John McCain's 24-year career in the US Senate, J.D. Hayworth, Mr. McCain's opponent and a fellow Republican, borrows an idea from an unlikely source: Barack Obama. "This is another year of change, but this time it’ll be a year of conservative change,” says Mr. Hayworth, who on Monday announced he would take on Senator McCain in Arizona's GOP primary in August. “The energy behind self-identified conservatives is really high, and that’ll make the difference.”
In a phone interview with the Monitor on Monday, Hayworth said he hopes his campaign will tap into the surge in conservative activism, as measured by "tea party" activists and the popularity of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R). He will be appealing to conservatives in the state who fault McCain for crossing the political aisle too often, collaborating with Democrats like Sens. Edward Kennedy and Russ Feingold on issues such as immigration reform and campaign finance reform.
Hayworth is a six-term member of the US House who, after a defeat in the 2006 general election, became a conservative talk-show host in Phoenix. The job allowed him a platform for his views and raised his public profile, which he says resulted in a flood of requests late last year to reenter politics and challenge McCain in the Republican primary.
Arizona voters can expect illegal immigration to be a major theme of Hayworth's campaign, especially the issue of "amnesty." McCain has advocated allowing special visas for undocumented workers and other measures that prevent immediate deportation, and he campaigned against Arizona's Proposition 200, which requires proof of citizenship to receive public benefits in the state. When voters approved it in 2004, some saw that as evidence that McCain was out of touch with the electorate.
Hayworth had proposed legislation in the House to deal with illegal immigration and, in 2006, wrote a book about the issue, but he found himself out of step with President Bush and other members of his party who sought a more measured approach. Hayworth says he takes a “broken window” position toward the issue, meaning, “when you start enforcing the law, people respond to that action.” He faults Presidents Bush and Obama for not putting border security at the top of their priority lists. “If [Obama] really wanted a grand public works project, building and securing the border and ports of entry makes common sense," he says. "It’s unconscionable [that] we spent almost a decade after 9/11 and have failed to protect our border.”
Hayworth has the endorsement of Chris Simcox, a cofounder of the Minutemen, a leading advocacy group for border protection. Mr. Simcox himself had planned to challenge McCain, but he dropped his own campaign on Monday and threw his support to Hayworth. Conservative commentator Pat Buchanan is also supporting Hayworth.
One issue McCain has already raised is Hayworth’s connection, while a member of Congress, to disgraced Washington insider Jack Abramoff, sent to prison for defrauding the Indian tribes he represented as a lobbyist. Hayworth’s political action committee received $101,620 in donations from Mr. Abramoff between 1999 and 2005, a time when Hayworth was co-chairman of the Native American Caucus in Congress, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan political research group.
The US Justice Department investigated Hayworth in 2006 regarding Abramoff but never filed charges. Today, Hayworth says he is vindicated by the outcome. If McCain continues to bring up the incident during the campaign, he warned during the interview, he will bring up Charles Keating, a convicted banker and McCain friend. McCain was accused of trying to sway federal regulators who were investigating Mr. Keating in the 1980s.
The McCain campaign "may think they’re scorching the earth, but it would be wise to keep on the issues rather than the litany of false accusations,” Hayworth says.
There is a bit of a disconnect in Hayworth’s desire to appeal to upset conservatives: Many of the stars of the far right, such as Ms. Palin and newly elected Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, say they will campaign for McCain. Palin’s decision is an “impulse of gratitude, politically,” says Hayworth, who adds that there is a growing Facebook group of voters who say they admire Palin but are supporting his campaign.
He credits Palin for saying in her recent book that primaries are the sign of a political party’s vitality. Their common interest, he says, is to appeal to “newly awakened Americans” who are dismayed by the “onslaught of the left.” “People are pulling back on the reins and saying, ‘We have to take a big right turn,’ ” he says.
16 February, 2010
1. Will DHS Secretary Talk about Interior Repatriation When She's in Mexico?
Excerpt: Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will be in Mexico City February 16-18 for talks on airline security, according to a DHS press release.
While she's there will she raise the issue of interior repatriation of the illegal aliens caught at the U.S./ Mexico border? Probably not, and that's a shame. (The word immigration is not mentioned in the press release.)
2. Appeals Court Rules Favorably on State Trooper Questioning of Illegal Aliens
Excerpt: On February 4, a federal appeals court ruled that a Rhode Island state trooper had acted reasonably when questioning foreign nationals he encountered on a traffic stop, and in contacting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) upon discovering that they were illegal aliens en route to work. The court rejected arguments from the ACLU, which claimed that asking aliens about their immigration status is unlawful discrimination, and that the call to ICE had unreasonably prolonged the traffic stop. As the Providence Journal editorialized, this decision is 'a victory for common sense and the rule of law.'
3. Welfare Use By Immigrant- and Native-Headed Households with Children
Excerpt: In 2008, 53 percent of all households headed by an immigrant (legal or illegal) with one or more children under age 18 used at least one welfare program, compared to 36 percent for native households with children. Immigrant use of welfare tends to be much higher than natives for food assistance programs and Medicaid. Use of cash and housing programs tends to be very similar to natives. A large share of the welfare used by immigrants is received on behalf of their U.S.-born children. But even households with children comprised entirely of immigrants still have a welfare use rate of 47 percent.
4. Book Burning
Excerpt: Linda Chavez and I have had our disagreements, so take this for what it's worth, but a paragraph in her column today was deeply disturbing, all the more so for its casualness. In listing lessons she learned from weathering the snow storms, she wrote
5. Immigration's Zero-Sum Impact on Health Care
Excerpt: President Obama and congressional Democrats are trying to figure out how to get health reform back on track. The president took a desperate, rare step and invited in GOP leaders this week to give his quest an air of bipartisanship. A key goal of those driving this 'reform' has ostensibly been to extend access to health coverage to the uninsured.
6. A New People
Excerpt: Not content with their political progress, certain figures on the Left have sought to use mass immigration as a way of bolstering their electoral support. The notion that a large majority of newcomers will naturalize, register, and vote for candidates that advocate radical agendas seems tenuous to some observers. But there is evidence that immigrants who vote generally favor Democratic candidates. And it is the prospect of increasing political clout that drives some ideologues to push for open-ended immigration policies.
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.
15 February, 2010
Bad behaviour by immigrants in Italy
Reading between the lines here, the Egyptian would have been an illegal and the South Americans would have been legal immigrants. Argentina is roughly 50% Italian ancestrally and many Argentinians have taken up the legal right of "return" that their ancestry gives them
Saturday night’s rioting by North African immigrants in Milan has provoked new calls for tougher controls on illegal immigration from right-wing politicians in Italy.
The riots began after a 19-year-old Egyptian man was killed, apparently by a group of immigrants from South America.
Last year the Italian government introduced tough legislation, making it a felony to be an illegal immigrant or to help one. “We have the laws,” said Italian Defence Minister Ignazio La Russa. “The problem is those working to prevent them being applied. There are judges and organisations who favour clandestinity, who seek to apply the principle that the more immigrants there are the better it is.”
The rioters clashed with police in the north eastern suburbs of Italy’s financial capital. The Egyptian man’s killers have not yet been found. “We’re frightened,” said one woman, “but you have to go forward.” “The authorities don’t want the immigrants to integrate,” said this man. “Because if people weren’t frightened they wouldn’t vote for them.”
Italian media say a climate of racial hatred between South Americans and North Africans has become established, while Milan’s deputy mayor Riccardo De Corato claimed certain districts had become “like the wild west”.
Australia joins the USA in strict limits on skilled migrants
When any illiterate Afghan who is capable of saying "asylum" can be accepted into Australia, what sense does it make to exclude highly skilled immigrants?
Much of the media has focused on how the changes to general skilled migration visas will affect overseas students. And with Indians making up the majority of overseas students in Australia, much has been reported of the changes in the Indian Press.
Certainly on the ex-pat forums too most of those affected by the cancellation of visas before September 2007 and the shake-up of the MODL and CSL appear to be applicants from countries such as India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. But many Brits have also been affected.
We spoke to one British man whose life has been turned upside by the changes brought into place last week by the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship.
Alastair and Sarah applied for a general skilled visa back in 2009 and were granted state sponsorship by Western Australia. Alastair has worked in the oil and gas industry for 20 years whilst his wife Sarah is a fully qualified hairdresser with her own salon. They have applied to immigrate to Western Australia with their three young children. Western Australia as we reported some weeks ago, is currently undergoing a boom in the mining industry and recently economic analysts warned the government that states like WA would lose out if occupations relating to mining and the oil industry were not included on future skilled occupational lists.
Western Australia’s own occupations in demand list already has many jobs vital to the mining industry that are not on the CSL. Alastair told us that he has been in contact with several companies in WA who have asked him for an interview, so he is aware that the work is there, waiting for him.
Back in September 2009 Alastair and Sarah found out that they were no longer entitled to priority processing and that their application may not be processed until 2012. Now with the MODL list scrapped and hairdressing not seen as a highly-skilled occupation, Alastair is pessimistic about their chances: “I expect DIAC to make another announcement in early 2012 to tell us our applications have been scrubbed the way those 20,000 were on Monday. But don’t worry because you will receive a full refund.”
When asked about how they felt they have been treated by the DIAC Alastair was very critical. “We feel betrayed and cheated. We fully understand that the processing system will change from time to time and we know that there are some out there who do try and cheat the system and that changes will be made. But when these changes do come around it should not affect the honest hard working applicants who are 90% down the processing line.”
Yet Alastair and Sarah refuse to be beaten and they still remain sceptical but hopeful for the future. “I hope that some time in the near future Sarah and I will be sitting in Kings Park having a picnic and the kids will be feeding the ducks.” Well we hope so too. For all the talk of the changes being more in-line with the skills that Australia needs to move into the future, the government is seeming to ignore many states who are crying out for migrant workers to fill the gaps in general skilled occupations. At the moment Australian workers are migrating from state to state to fill in the gaps, meaning that the shortage of workers is just passed from state to state.
Time will tell if Australia’s economy will benefit or suffer from tighter regulations on the general skilled migration visas. But for now the casualties are the hard-working visa applicants who have been kept in the dark for far too long on their future prospects of living in Australia.
14 February, 2010
Thousands of Haitians apply, pay for legal status in the USA
More than 12,000 Haitians have applied for the chance to stay and work legally in the U.S. while their country struggles to recover from last month's earthquake.
The applications have rolled in, even though the July 20 application deadline is months away, said Bill Wright, spokesman for Citizenship and Immigration Services, part of the Homeland Security Department.
The chance to work is critical for many of the immigrants who are hoping to help families trying to overcome the magnitude-7 earthquake that leveled parts of Haiti.
Because it is unsafe to return the illegal immigrants to Haiti, DHS said it would grant eligible immigrants temporary protected status. Successful applicants can remain and work for 18 months without fear of deportation or detention. Application fees to stay total $470.
As of Feb. 10, the agency had received 12,583 application packages. The agency estimated last month that between 100,000 to 200,000 Haitian immigrants would be eligible to apply. The status is only available to immigrants who were in the U.S. as of Jan. 12, the day the earthquake occurred.
Temporary protected status is granted when the federal government believes it is unsafe to send immigrants to their home countries because of natural disasters or armed conflict. The U.S. also has suspended deportations of Haitians, but continues to repatriate those intercepted on the sea.
Australian conservative leader launches immigration committee
The opposition has formed a border protection committee to develop a strategy to respond to the surge in asylum seeker arrivals, which could involve turning some vessels around. Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said Labor inherited a robust and effective border protection system that had now been progressively unwound, paving the way for what he said was a crisis on our borders.
Mr Abbott said the new strategy would initially aim to prevent the problem in the first place by minimising outflows from countries of origin and secondary outflows from countries of first asylum. It would seek to disrupt people smugglers and intercept boats en route to Australia, while ensuring those in need of refugee protection were identified and assisted as early as possible. Appropriate arrangements for dealing with unauthorised arrivals would be developed, focusing on the early assessment of refugee status and prompt removal of those who were not refugees.
Mr Abbott said an effective border protection policy required four central elements including being prepared, under the right circumstances, to turn around the boats. He said the opposition would retain a rigorous commitment to offshore processing. It would also create a special visa category for unauthorised arrivals to ensure permanent residency was not an automatic right. A coalition government would maintain close co-operation with source and transit countries, he said.
'The coalition is committed to pursuing policies based on these principles to ensure that Australia's borders are safe,' he said in a joint statement with opposition justice and customs spokesman Michael Keenan and immigration spokesman Scott Morrison.
Mr Abbott said the border protection committee would co-ordinate coalition policy across portfolios to develop a single border protection policy for the approval by shadow cabinet. No timetable has been indicated for development of this policy.
The committee would comprise Mr Keenan (convenor), Mr Morrison, opposition deputy leader Julie Bishop, defence spokesman David Johnston, shadow attorney-general George Brandis, opposition parliamentary secretary Jason Wood and former coalition immigration minister Philip Ruddock, now shadow cabinet secretary.
'The committee will also provide a forum for consultation with the community, stakeholders and other groups with an interest in border protection issues and to determine the coalition position in response to border protection matters as they arise,' Mr Abbott said.
13 February, 2010
Immigration detentions dropping under Obama
A data research group says the immigration detention population total dropped in the first three months of the 2010 fiscal year.
The reduction is the result of a decline in detentions of immigrants without criminal convictions, the researchers say.
An analysis of hundreds of records by Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse shows roughly 27 percent of immigrants in detention in fiscal year 2009 had criminal records. But in October to December of last year, that proportion was 43 percent. The 2010 fiscal year began last Oct. 1.
The research group says Immigration and Customs Enforcement agrees the drop is related to fewer arrests of non-criminal immigrants. An ICE spokesman could not be immediately reached.
Arizona Sheriff, U.S. in Standoff Over Immigration Enforcement
An Arizona sheriff said he planned to defy Washington's attempts to roll back his staunch enforcement of federal immigration law, a move that could put him on a collision course with the U.S. government.
Late last year, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the largest arm of the Department of Homeland Security, stripped Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio of the authority to use 100 of his deputies to enforce federal immigration in his jurisdiction, which includes Phoenix. The customs agency took the action because Mr. Arpaio's aggressive immigration crackdowns had drawn criticism from human-rights groups and had run afoul of the U.S. Justice Department, which is investigating whether he has used racial profiling and abused his authority.
In an interview this week, Mr. Arpaio said he would ignore Washington's effort to clip his powers and would train all of his 881 deputies to enforce federal immigration law on the streets.
"We have the inherent right to enforce federal immigration law," Mr. Arpaio said. "If Washington doesn't like it, I recommend they change the laws."
Asked about Mr. Arpaio's plans for reinstating street-level immigration enforcement, an ICE spokesman in Arizona said: "Sheriff Arpaio's efforts to conduct immigration-enforcement actions do not derive from any ICE-delegated federal authority."
The dispute stems from a provision called 287g, a federal program that enlists and trains local police to identify suspected illegal-immigrant criminals in jails and on the streets. The program was intended to target serious criminals. However, it was criticized for promoting racial profiling and serving as an excuse for local law-enforcement officers to hunt down illegal immigrants. Mr. Arpaio gained notoriety for his tactics.
The Obama administration sought to rein in the 287g program as part of a broader effort to retool the ICE, which became known in recent years for raiding companies and rounding up illegal workers. The administration has been taking steps to tone down the agency's image as a hard-edged enforcer.
When it attempted to curtail Mr. Arpaio's authority, Washington limited his deputies' ability to verify the immigration status of people in the streets during the course of duty. The deputies still retain the authority to check the status of people booked into Maricopa County jails.
"Since the Department of Homeland Security took away 100 of our federally trained deputies…we are going to train every sworn deputy to teach them how to enforce state and federal immigration laws," the sheriff said in a telephone interview.
The course, which will mainly be taught via computer, will equip deputy sheriffs to "recognize…immigration violations" in the course of duty, Mr. Arpaio said.
Mr. Arpaio has partnered with Kris Kobach, a law professor who has gained prominence as a national advocate for stricter measures against illegal immigrants.
Mr. Arpaio said "we don't engage in racial profiling." He noted that the training for his deputies would include a lesson on how to avoid the practice.
12 February, 2010
US population of illegal immigrants plummets, according to "estimates"
The number of illegal immigrants living in the United States dropped by 1 million in two years, according to new estimates by the Department of Homeland Security. The government thinks that 10.8 million illegal immigrants lived in the country in January 2009, down from a peak of nearly 12 million in 2007. If the official estimates are correct, not since 2005 has the population of illegal immigrants been as low as it was last year.
Some private researchers, however, are questioning the magnitude of the drop. "It's very clear the undocumented population basically stopped growing after 2006," said Jeffrey Passel, a demographer with the nonpartisan Pew Hispanic Center. "It's plausible that the numbers have gotten smaller. But the way that they're measuring it, if you compare this estimate with the one two years ago, it overstates the degree of decline."
Twice over the past two years, Passel said, the U.S. Census Bureau has changed the way it measures immigration in its annual population surveys. Since nearly all estimates of the unauthorized immigrant population rely on census survey numbers, these changes might have distorted the results. The authors of the government estimates could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
The report cautioned that changes made to the census survey could have affected the results. The report, produced annually since 2005, is the government's official tabulation of immigrants living here illegally.
Most researchers agree that no matter the size of the population, which is notoriously hard to measure, the rate of illegal immigration dropped sharply during the recession.
They disagree, however, on the causes. "The number of new undocumented immigrants coming in has plummeted," Passel said. Other researchers conclude that the drop is not because fewer illegal immigrants are coming in, but because more are leaving. "The illegal population is falling significantly," said Steve Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates reducing immigration. "The only way for that to happen is for a lot more people to be going home."
The government demographers reached the same exact estimate — 10.8 million illegal immigrants nationwide — that Camarota concluded in his demographic study last year. But while most researchers cite the recession as the cause for the decline, Camarota said border enforcement plays an important part. "The decline in the population begins before the economy turns down," he said. "That suggests that, at least initially, it's because of the stepped-up enforcement that increased during the end of the Bush administration."
Other analysts disagree, saying that slower migration flows are a worldwide trend associated with the economic downturn. "It's really driven by fewer people coming in," said Jeanne Batalova, a researcher with the Migration Policy Institute based in Washington, D.C. "People are staying put wherever they are. They are less likely to migrate, but if they're already in the country, the preferred destination, they will do their best to stay and weather the storm. That's particularly the case for undocumented immigrants."
There are no estimates of how the population of unauthorized immigrants has changed in the first year of the Obama administration, but demographers are likely to begin guessing later this year when the Census Bureau releases new population estimates for 2009.
You can't debate immigration without being called a racist
by Scott Morrison, Australia's Federal opposition spokesman on immigration and citizenship
Last week I returned from a visit to Christmas Island to Parliament where the Labor Member MP, John Sullivan, from Longman in Brisbane, interjected during a speech and called me a racist. At the time, I was speaking to an Appropriations Bill that was seeking additional funds to make up for shortfalls in this year’s budget. Included in these shortfalls was $132 million for off shore processing of asylum seekers. We were supporting the Bill.
I noted that the 100 per cent plus blow out in costs demonstrated the Government had failed to appreciate the impact of their policy changes on the detention population on Christmas Island, that is now at unsustainable levels. Apparently, criticising the government’s poor budget management these days is also grounds for being called a racist by Labor MPs.
Reflecting on John’s classy contribution, it occurred to me just how lazy arguments against stronger border protection can become. Rather than engage in the debate, some self appropriate piety and indulge in moral hectoring as a substitute.
It would seem easier for some to think that those who don’t agree with them are simply evil racists and unable to comprehend, let alone share, their own self assessed high minded capacity for human compassion, than listen to what they have to say.
The pro-boats doctrine pedalled by some and adopted in practice by the Rudd Government has no monopoly on concern for the world’s dispossessed. To suggest otherwise is simply arrogant. Here are some things to think about.
There are reports that more than one hundred Afghans – men, women and children – perished at sea last year in their bid to come to Australia. Their families in Brisbane will probably never know what happened to them. They’re still waiting for the call.
Where are the public protests about the fate of these 105 Afghans and the policies that encouraged them to get on that boat? We have no idea how many others have died on vessels that never arrived. We do know that last November 12 people drowned after their boat sunk west of the Cocos Islands, and on Saturday afternoon 45 people were rescued after drifting for four days without food or water. And then there were five people who were killed when their boat, SIEV36, was set alight and dozens more injured, also in an attempt to gain entry to Australia.
In each case people smugglers profit. The ticket price is between $5,000 and $20,000 per passenger.
Some will say, but what about those who arrive by air? Well, when was the last time you heard of an asylum seeker drowning on board a 747?
Then there are those in refugee camps. Around 140,000 Burmese refugees are in nine camps along the Thai-Burma border. They began arriving there in the early eighties. Today people who were born in these camps are now raising their own children there, where rape, domestic violence and substance abuse are commonplace. During the past five years Australia has granted almost nine thousand off shore humanitarian visas to Burmese refugees. This enjoys bi partisan support. I have no issue with taking 13,500 people under our humanitarian programme each year.
Where we differ is allowing places in our humanitarian programme to be exhausted by those who pay for the services of people smugglers in preference to those offshore in camps. I believe it violates our sense of fairness.
While there are many other reasons, saving lives and helping those who will never be able to pay a people smugglers ransom to come to Australia, strike me as good reasons to stop the illegal arrival of boats coming to Australia.
Since the Rudd Government started rolling back the border protection regime inherited from the Coalition in August 2008, 79 boats have illegally arrived carrying more than 3,600 passengers. Not even the monsoon and the threat of cyclones have been able to overwhelm the magnetic impact of the Rudd Government’s failed border protection policies. This summer, 23 boats have illegally arrived in our waters, compared to just four during the same period last year.
Rather than take action, the Rudd Government has been content to blame the rest of the world and hope the problem will just go away. Worse still, they cynically hope we will just get used to it.
Faced with an overflowing Christmas Island, the Rudd Government has already rolled over and transferred people directly to the mainland from Christmas Island before assessment of their asylum claims has been completed. This not only sends the worst possible message to people smugglers, but it opens up murky legal ground regarding the status of individuals transferred. It only takes one judge in one court with jurisdiction to hear a case and the dominoes will fall.
And then there was the Government’s special deal for the Oceanic Viking. Mr Rudd guaranteed fast track processing, spent Australia’s diplomatic favours around the world to guarantee resettlement and most significantly compromised our national security by bringing four people rejected by our security agencies to Australian territory. This is simply unforgivable. Mr Rudd still maintains the Oceanic Viking arrangement was ‘non-extraordinary’. He should try telling that to the 200 plus people sitting in the port at Merak, the Indonesian Government who no longer trust us on these issues and, for that matter, the 140,000 refugees in Thailand. The Rudd Government blinked and have now lost control.
The Coalition had no such difficulty when it came to dealing decisively with these issues in Government. Our views and resolve have not changed. We will not compromise the off shore processing regime. While Nauru and Manus are closed, if necessary, other alternative options will be found. Boats will be turned back if circumstances allow, as Mr Rudd promised he would do. And we will begin the work of recalibrating the policy settings unravelled by Labor, starting with the creation of a new temporary safe haven visa.
Some will not like these policies, but people smugglers will understand them. You will also be spared the hypocrisy of the Rudd Government pretending to be one thing while failing to be another.
11 February, 2010
Confirmed: The Labour Party deliberately threw open the doors to mass migration in a secret plot to make Britain multicultural
Labour threw open the doors to mass migration in a deliberate policy to change the social make-up of the UK, secret papers suggest. A draft report from the Cabinet Office shows that ministers wanted to `maximise the contribution' of migrants to their `social objectives'. The number of foreigners allowed in the UK increased by as much as 50 per cent in the wake of the report, written in 2000.
Labour has always justified immigration on economic grounds and denied it was using it to foster multiculturalism. But suspicions of a secret agenda rose when Andrew Neather, a former government adviser and speech writer for Tony Blair, Jack Straw and David Blunkett, said the aim of Labour's immigration strategy was to `rub the Right's nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date'. Mr Neather said he helped to write the 2000 report which outlined a strategy to `open up the UK to mass migration'.
The document was not published in its original format over fears of an adverse public reaction. Instead it was released a year later as a research document on the economic benefits of migration.
Mr Neather's claims last October were denied by ministers, including Justice Secretary Jack Straw, who said they were nonsense. A draft of the original Cabinet Office report has now been published following a freedom of information request by Migrationwatch. It contains six references to social policy, all of which were removed from the later, published version. One deleted paragraph said a framework was needed to `maximise the contribution of migration to the Government's social and economic objectives'.
Another says that migration pressures will intensify because of demographic changes across Europe but that this `should not be viewed as a negative'. It states: `The entry control system is not closely related to the stated policy objectives. This is particularly true in the social area, where in the past the implicit assumption has largely been that keeping people out promotes stability.'
Also cut out was a statement that `in practice, entry controls can contribute to social exclusion'.
Damian Green, Tory immigration spokesman, said: `This is a very significant finding because it would mean that Labour's biggest long term effect on British society was based on a completely secret policy. `This shows Labour's open-door immigration policy was deliberate and ministers should apologise.'
Mr Neather's claims were made in a column for the London Evening Standard. He said Labour's relaxation of immigration controls was a deliberate attempt to engineer a `truly multicultural' country and plug gaps in the jobs market. He remembered `coming away from some discussions with the clear sense that the policy was intended - even if this wasn't its main purpose - to rub the Right's nose in diversity'.
Whitehall research shows that the number of foreigners arriving in the UK rose from 370,000 in 2001 to 510,000 in 2006. The figures for net foreign immigration- the number of non-British citizens arriving, less the number leaving - are even more dramatic. In 2001, this figure stood at 221,000 but by 2007 it had risen as high as 333,000 - up 50 per cent. The number fell to 250,000 in 2008 mainly because of a decline in arrivals from Eastern Europe.
It had already emerged that the Cabinet Office report was censored to remove details of possible links between immigration and organised crime, street fights and begging. One of the sections missing from the final report said: `There is emerging evidence that the circumstances in which asylum seekers are living is leading to criminal offences, including fights and begging.' A second section warned: `Migration has opened up new opportunities for organised crime.'
Last night, immigration minister Phil Woolas said there was `no open door policy on migration'. He said the draft report made clear that migration was `not a substitute for Government policies on skills, education and training of British citizens - which the Government has invested in over the past decade'.
1. Business and Labor on Immigration
Excerpt: A new Zogby poll of senior executives, business owners, and members of union households finds that each of these groups thinks the best way to deal with illegal immigrants in the country is to enforce the law and cause them to return home. This is in stark contrast to lobbyists for large companies, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which argue for legalization. The findings of the survey are consistent with surveys done by the National Federation of Independent Business, which represents small enterprises, showing strong opposition to legalization. Among unions, the leadership strongly supports legalizing illegal immigrants, but the survey shows enforcement - not legalization - is by far the option favored by union members and their families. The survey uses neutral language and includes 7,046 members of union households, 2,490 executives (e.g., CEOs, CFOs, VPs or department heads), and 9,990 small business owners.
2. Money Talks: Selected Immigration-Related Proposals In the President's FY 2011 Budget
Excerpt: President Obama submitted his fiscal year 2011 budget proposal to Congress, as required by law, on February 1, 2010. This Memorandum examines several of the immigration-related provisions of that budget proposal
3. State Dept. slips back to pre-9/11 complacency
Excerpt: The tale of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian terrorist who nearly blew up a Northwest Airlines plane landing in Detroit on Christmas Day, reveals an alarming number of vulnerabilities in our immigration system that are still in place, even eight years after 9/11.
4. Sounding Like a Candidate, Jorge Castaneda Calls for Change
Excerpt: Jorge Castaneda, Mexico's Foreign Minister from 2000 to 2003, indicated that he's not likely to be a candidate in the 2012 presidential election. But he certainly is sounding like a candidate as he crisscrosses Mexico, promoting a new book and outlining a made-for-campaigning program for change.
5. Here's a Federal Regulatory Agency That Often Rules Against the Alien
The generally-accepted concept in the restrictionist community is that federal agencies and courts nearly always rule in favor of the alien. I think that's true.
6. Narcocorridos on Univision
Excerpt: Jorge Ramos grilled the mayor of Juarez today on his Spanish-language television program, Al Punto. The Univision newsman expressed indignation at the unrelenting violence that drug traffickers have inflicted upon that border city across from El Paso. He asked why the mayor hadn't resigned. Noting the five thousand killings in Juarez during the last two years, Ramos asked Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz, 'Isn't that a terrible sign of failure?'
7. USCIS Offers Two Faces When it Comes to Fee Waivers
Excerpt: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offers much detailed information to Haitians and their advocates on how the temporary legalization fees of $470 can be waived in the Haitian Temporary Protected Status program.
8. Proposed Budget Forces Governors to Choose Between Safer Borders or Safer Skies
Excerpt: In the president's new proposed budget, funding has been zeroed out for the one tool on the books that can help secure domestic aviation by assuring that people are who they say they are. While the president accuses those who work for him of not 'connecting the dots' to stop a terrorist attack, he and his Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, seem to continually fail to do so themselves. This is the case even though Secretary Napolitano seems sincere in her desire to strengthen aviation security. Unfortunately, she does not appear to understand that assuring identity security at airports before boarding is a step closer to connecting a 'dot' to aviation security.
9. What Do You Do With a Visa Program with a Fraud Rate of 30-33%
Excerpt: What do you do with a middle-sized visa program when two different government agencies find that 30 to 33 percent of its applications are fraudulent?
10. 'Temporary' Status Means Never Having to Say Goodbye
Excerpt: If you think the Haitian illegal aliens and legal visitors to whom the administration has granted 'Temporary' Protected Status (TPS) are ever going back, look at the experience of the Liberians.
11. Immigration Lawyers Don't Always Win Their Cases: A List of 374 Losers
Excerpt: While some restrictionists may think that immigration lawyers always win their cases, this is not so.
12. La Raza's Murguia and C-SPAN Callers from Ill. and N.J.
Excerpt: Janet Muguia, the National Council of La Raza's President and CEO, appeared on C-SPAN's Washington Journal yesterday, making a sales pitch for 'comprehensive' immigration reform that would legalize illegal immigrants and provide channels for future flows of low-wage workers into the U.S. job market. She said her organization is 'disappointed and frustrated' that President Obama skipped past immigration in his State of the Union Address.
13. Gutierrez Calls for D.C. Protest to Pressure Obama on Immigration
Excerpt: Rep. Luis Gutierrez is calling for a massive demonstration next month in Washington to demand that President Obama push Congress to move on immigration reform.
14. Environmentalists Who Get It
Excerpt: The Green Party has called for reducing future immigration to a more sustainable level. Unfortunately, it's the Australian Greens, not the U.S. ones.
15. Mass. Immigrant Health Proposal Shows Bigger Problems
Excerpt: Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has proposed $75 million in the state budget to fund health insurance for thousands of legal immigrants. This represents a 25 percent spending increase, amidst a crippling economic recession. The Democratic governor's proposal illustrates some of the problems in larger issues of government health care and coverage of legal immigrants.
16. Labor Secretary and Union Chief Still Pushing for Reform Bill This Year
Excerpt: Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Eliseo Medina of the Service Employees International Union say the are still hopeful for an immigration reform bill this year and are calling for public efforts to push Congress to move ahead with that effort. In interviews broadcast on Sunday's Al Punto program on the Spanish-language Univision network, they told newsman Jorge Ramos that they are convinced that President Obama remains committed to the reform, even though he gave scant attention to the issue in last week's State of the Union Address.
17. Detention Deaths . . . Now with Context!
Excerpt: There is no question that we should treat illegal-alien detainees as humanely as possible. Our system should expedite the removal process so that individuals are not detained any longer than is necessary. But while improvements can certainly be made, detention centers serve an important purpose and should not be abandoned, regardless of how loudly the open-border crowd yells.
18. Is the Intelligence Community Hiding its Most Precious - and Important - Information from the President?
Excerpt: Ever since the facts trickled out that Christmas Day attacker Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had a valid visa to the United States despite his father's in-person intelligence provided to CIA officials at the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria, the issue of why his visa was not revoked has been a top priority issue for the president, the press, and those of us that do national security policy development in Washington. During the discussions of why Abdulmutallab's visa was not revoked, we heard a dozen different excuses. Here are some of the best.
19. ICE Anti-Gang Surge Nabs 517
Excerpt: Last week ICE completed its largest anti-gang operation ever, arresting 517 people in 83 cities across the country (476 were involved in gangs). Dubbed Project Big Freeze, ICE teamed with other federal and local law enforcement agencies to target gangsters involved in cross-border drug trafficking, under an ongoing program known as Operation Community Shield.
20. Security News TV Interview on Christmas Day Plot
Excerpt: Janice Kephart was featured in an interview with Security-News.tv regarding ID security in the wake of the alleged Christmas Day plot. You can listen to the interview in either an mp3 or m4a format.
21. TSA has No Excuse for Not Really Checking that Passengers and Their Documents are Legit
Excerpt: The REAL ID Act of 2005 sought to secure state driver license ID issuance practices and require those secure IDs be presented at airports to create a more hardened aviation security system. Although unsaid, it is well-documented that any federal officer at a portal with no means other than a black light, some minimal training, and eyesight, is significantly curtailed in identifying fraud. This is the case whether it is a border inspector at our land border ports of entry, a bouncer at a bar, or a Transportation Security Administration officer at a commercial airport. For a long time, the TSA has had a feel-good check in place for IDs presented by travelers before passing through scanning equipment. Hundreds of varieties of passports, driver licenses and other federally issued ID documents are acceptable by TSA they have no ability to discern as to legitimacy, let alone associate that ID with a person entitled to travel. There is thus no surprise that the agency has finally been busted for only looking like they are reviewing ID documents, but not really doing so at all.
22. Some More Thoughts on the Intricacies of TPS for Illegal Haitian Migrants
Excerpt: Why should the application period for the Temporary Protected Status for Haitian illegals be extended over 180 days?
23. Amnesty Deported from SOTU
Excerpt: Since I knew His Majesty wouldn't say much of anything about immigration, and I can no longer stand the sound of his voice, I just went to bed. But he said even less than I expected:
24. Jewish Leaders' Reaction to CIS Survey Reveals They Know Their Own Polls Are Bogus
Excerpt: Following CIS's release of the survey 'Religious Leaders vs. Members: An Examination of Contrasting Views on Immigration,' the usually loquacious spokespersons for the Jewish Establishment have had little to say other than to downplay findings which reveal a Jewish community split down the middle over immigration between enforcement and legalization. What's more, lopsided majorities of respondents took positions on key policy questions strongly predictive of opposition to amnesty. For example, 60 percent believe the high number of illegal aliens results from the government's historical and ongoing failure to make a serious effort to enforce immigration law, as opposed to 21 percent that believe the cause is insufficient legal immigration; and 61 percent believe there are plenty of Americans willing and able to handle all jobs, while only 16 percent believe we need more immigrants to do work Americans are unable or unwilling to do. These responses strongly indicate the ascending trend favors support for enforcement only policies.
25. Did the President Really Tell Us that Tariq Ramadan Will Not Be Subject to Future Intelligence Assessments?
Excerpt: The State Department last week downplayed the decision to drop the 2004 visa revocation of Oxford professor Tariq Ramadan, enabling him to reapply for a visa. Only during questioning of the new policy during a January 20 press conference covering many other topics (principally Haiti) was it made clear that if Ramadan reapplies for a visa, any possible terrorist ties will simply not be considered - ties which rendered him inadmissible in 2004. This is what State Department Assistant Secretary Philip Crowley had to say on the issue last week:
26. Legalization Forever, for the Judges Make It Long*
Excerpt: Here's a thought: Maybe before we consider another amnesty for illegal aliens, we should complete the last amnesty - the one voted by the Congress a generation ago, the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.
27. Let's Support Higher State Department Fees for Nonimmigrant Visas
Excerpt: One of the perpetual problems with America's efforts to manage international migration is that they are always underfunded. The State Department has proposed about $84 million a year in increases in its nonimmigrant (i.e., temporary) visa fees, and has asked for public comment. (See the second page in this notice from the Federal Register). We should all rally around and encourage the State Department in this venture.
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: email@example.com.
10 February, 2010
Immigration amnesty to ensure 'progressive' rule
Granting citizenship to millions of illegal immigrants would expand the "progressive" electorate and help ensure a "progressive" governing coalition for the long term, declared a recent adviser to President Obama whose union group is among the most frequent visitors to the White House.
"We reform the immigration laws, it puts 12 million people on the path to citizenship and eventually voters," stated Eliseo Medina, international executive vice-president of Service Employees International Union, or SEIU.
Medina was speaking at a June 2009 Washington conference for the liberal America's Future Now!
Medina said that during the presidential election in November 2008, Latinos and immigrants "voted overwhelmingly for progressive candidates. Barack Obama got two out of every three voters that showed up."
"Can you imagine if we have, even the same ratio, two out of three? Can you imagine 8 million new voters who care about our issues and will be voting? We will be creating a governing coalition for the long term, not just for an election cycle."
The SEIU is closely linked to the controversial Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN. SEIU President Andrew Stern was the most frequently logged White House visitor, according to an official list released in October.
Medina and the SEIU are top supporters of Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez's Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America's Security and Prosperity Bill, which seeks to document up to 12 million illegal immigrants inside the U.S.
During the most recent presidential campaign, Medina and Gutierrez served on Obama's National Latino Advisory Council. Also on the council was Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., the co-sponsor of Gutierrez's immigration reform bill.
Medina was a chief lobbyist credited with a change in the longstanding policy of the AFL-CIO, the largest union federation in the U.S. The union reversed its stance against illegal immigration in February 2000, instead calling for new amnesty for millions of illegals.
The New Zeal blog documents how Medina was honored in 2004 by Chicago's Democratic Socialists of America for his "vital role in the AFL-CIO's reassessment of its immigration policy." That same year, Medina became a DSA honorary chairman.
The DSA also supported Gutierrez's 1998 bid for Congress. In the mid-1990s, Gutierrez served on the board of Illinois Public Action alongside a number of DSA members, including Obama health-care advisor Quentin Young.
British Border Agency long way from target of removals, says watchdog
The border agency is “a very long way” from removing failed asylum seekers from the country promptly, according to a highly critical watchdog report published today. The report discloses that two further immigration backlogs built up as the organisation struggled to deal with hundreds of thousand of old asylum cases and the deportation of foreign prisoners. Ann Abraham, the Parliamentary Ombudsman, is scathing about the poor standard of service provided to some migrants by the agency which in 2006 was described by the Home Secretary at the time as “not fit for purpose”.
Unsuccessful asylum applicants should promptly leave the country or be removed as soon as practicable, Ms Abraham said. She added: “In our experience the agency are a very long way from achieving this.”
Ms Abraham found many cases where the agency failed to meet the most basic standards of administration including keeping customers informed, meeting promised standards of service and dealing with the public helpfully. She said: “Indeed there are numerous examples where the agency has been unable to perform at even a basic level of administration, such as reading and replying to letters, keeping proper records, keeping case files together and in the proper place, and notifying the applicant of their decision.”
Many of those suffering the worst service are migrants in two new backlogs that emerged as the agency diverted staff to deal with 440,000 old asylum cases and tackle the deportation of foreign national prisoners who had served their sentences. Backlogs of 77,000 applications for residence from European nationals and 33,000 cases of people seeking leave to remain in the country built up. Ms Abraham said that she had found numerous instances when the agency failed to reply to letters or deal with complaints from applicants or even give migrants an indication of when they would receive a decision.
In the past three years, the ombudsman received more than 1,300 complaints from from MPs about the work of the agency and of those she investigated 97 per cent were upheld.
One man received a refund of £755 in fees and £2,500 compensation for severe distress and inconvenience caused by failings in handling his case. The man, known only as Mr P, was a Jamaican who was given indefinite leave to remain in 1990. It took the agency 3½ years to provide a stamp confirming his right to stay for his new 2004 passport. During that time, Mr P was threatened with deportation and missed funerals in Jamaica because he was afraid he would not be able to re-enter Britain, the report said.
Ms Abraham said that the agency had made significant progress in recent years towards clearing backlogs but she said, given the scale of its problems, there could be no short term fixes. She said that the agency still had a long way to go to meet principles of good administration and dealing with complaints.
Lin Homer, chief executive of the UK Border Agency, said: “We take the ombudsman’s recommendations seriously and welcome the assessment that our complaints systems are improving.” She said that the agency, which has a budget of £2 billion a year and 24,500 staff, was continuing to make progress in dealing with the legacy backlog of 450,000 older asylum cases and had already concluded more than 235,000 cases. “I am confident we are on course to conclude these cases by the summer of 2011.”
9 February, 2010
Dreams of the US as Haitian exodus pushes on
The unfinished wooden boat rocks gently in the backwater of Cap-Haitien Bay, lulling 17-year-old Douna Marcellus and two dozen others to sleep as tight balls of mosquitoes hover overhead. Cicadas serenade them from the reeds on one bank and, on the other, black pigs root through rubbish.
Like the others in the boat, Douna is a refugee from Port-au-Prince and the unspeakable horrors of the earthquake and its aftermath. Her parents and sister were crushed in their home, just seconds after Douna walked out the front door to run an errand for her mother. The government offered free bus tickets out of town and Douna took one.
But this city on Haiti's northern coast is just a waystation. When builders finish the boat in a few days, it will set sail with the teenager and at least 40 others for the US. If they survive the 965-kilometre crossing, and aren't intercepted by the US Coast Guard, they'll soon be walking the streets of opportunity. "America is a place where everybody can become someone," Douna says. "It's where everyone lives like human beings."
The earthquake, and reports of a US administration newly sympathetic to undocumented Haitians, has meant opportunity for the shady world of Cap-Haitien boat builders who promise to make the dream of life in the US come true.
After the earthquake, the Obama administration announced it was granting "temporary protected status" to the more than 100,000 undocumented Haitians estimated to be living in the US, and suspending deportation proceedings. Some politicians expressed concern that it might trigger renewed efforts by Haitians to attempt to enter the US by sea.
Dorcilien Louis, a taciturn man of 40, is the captain of Douna's 13-metre boat. During his 15 years as a captain, Mr Louis has made a dozen journeys to the Turks and Caicos Islands with passengers hoping to find a way to the US. Mr Louis changed his itinerary after the quake, when thousands of people began arriving from Port-au-Prince looking for a way to get to the US. He said 40 passengers had signed up for the trip and he was expecting another 20 from the capital. The boat is built for 40 people, "but can hold 60," he said.
Among Mr Louis's passengers is Fanise Jean, 24, who has twice attempted the journey. "It's a lot of suffering," she said. "People throwing up on you, you can't take a shower, there's little food, and the boat is always shaking back and forth.' One of her journeys lasted 14 days because the captain got lost, and three people died. Leaving her family makes her sad, "but I'm not all that sad, because I'm going to look for a better life."
Australia Tightens Immigration Rules
Foreign doctors, nurses and school teachers who speak good English and have jobs already organised will be Australia's top priority migrants under new policy
Australian Immigration Minister Chris Evans announced Monday several reforms to his country's immigration policy, including several policy changes aimed at attracting more highly-skilled immigrants to the country.
Criticizing the ongoing trend for new immigrants to enroll for vocational courses for gaining residency, Evans said that Australia would change the current list of 106 skills in demand and review a points test based on qualifications, skills and proficiency in English currently used to assess migrants. He said that the present list will now be replaced by a "more targeted" Skilled Occupations List.
"We had tens of thousands of students studying cookery and accounting and hairdressing because that was on the list and that got them through to permanent residency," Evans told Australian radio, adding that such courses will no longer be an assured path to permanent residence.
"The current points test puts an overseas student with a short-term vocational qualification gained in Australia ahead of a Harvard-educated environmental scientist," Evans said.
"We want to make sure we're getting the high-end applicants," Evans said, stressing that the changes brought about by the new immigration policies would try to attract more health workers, including more doctors and nurses, as well more qualified professionals in the fields of engineering and mining.
"The new arrangements will give first priority to skilled migrants who have a job to go to with an Australian employer. For those who don't have an Australian employer willing to sponsor them, the bar is being raised," Evans said.
"If hospitals are crying out for and willing to sponsor nurses, then of course they should have priority over the 12,000 un-sponsored cooks who have applied and who, if they were all granted visas, would flood the domestic market," he added.
Evans also pointed out that some 170,000 people applied for living and working permanently in Australia last year alone, when there were just 108,000 vacancies available. He added that all lower-skilled applications lodged before 1st September 2007 would be withdrawn and application fees worth A$14 million ($12.15 million) refunded.
The reforms in Australia's immigration policy comes in wake of reports that thousands of students from overseas, mainly from Asia, were manipulating the existing system by providing fraud documents to enroll for vocational courses at private Australian colleges, purely to gain residency permits.
8 February, 2010
British government has taken too long to address student visa abuse
Comment from Scotland below. The Scots welcome anybody, as long as they are not Catholic. But even they don't like the blatantly fraudulent entry of "students" that the British government makes only token efforts to tackle
The Home Secretary was trying to talk tough yesterday as the government finally moved to tackle “the Achilles heel” of Britain’s immigration system. But in addressing the abuse of student visas, was Alan Johnson doing more than trying to score points in what promises to be a key fighting ground in the General Election?
In mid-2007, Andrew Denholm, The Herald’s education correspondent, exposed a number of bogus colleges in Glasgow that were taking large fees from overseas students for questionable or non-existent courses. There were hundreds of others across the UK, some of which were mere brass-plate operations with pretentious websites. Some acted as fronts for illegal immigration. Many of those coming in on poorly policed student visas were in Britain to work illegally, rather than further their studies. The same system can be a conduit for potential terrorists.
Britain is a popular choice for bright foreign students seeking further or higher education qualifications. They add at least £5bn a year to the UK economy and the full fees they pay are especially welcome in Scotland, where top-up fees from home-based students, an extra source of income, rightly have been resisted. But the widespread abuse of the student visa system besmirches the country’s well-founded reputation in this area, especially when the charlatans claim with bona fide institutions.
As Immigration Minister Phil Woolas admitted, bogus colleges are the Achilles heel of the immigration system. The new rules will impose a more exacting English language test and allow students on short courses to work no more than 10 hours per week. Institutions offering non-degree courses will have to feature on a new Highly Trusted Sponsors List. However, if this title is to avoid irony, it must be policed more rigorously than its predecessor. Some of the colleges highlighted by The Herald appeared on the previous Home Office list and one reappeared under a new name after being barred. The UK Border Agency often gives advance warnings of inspections and the problems have been exacerbated by the lack of exit checks at ports and airports.
In addition, the splitting of responsibilities between several government departments, as well as the police and trading standards, aggravates the issue, as does the misleading use of the term “college”.
Abuse of student visas serves to stoke support for those who adopt the “fortress Britain” approach, which is profoundly unhelpful in Scotland, a country that needs a steady supply of enthusiastic, hard-working immigrants and welcomes genuine students. Scotland has special need of a fair, coherent immigration system, not an easily abused student visa scheme, or colleges that exist primarily for the enrichment of their owners or as a backdoor for illegal immigration. It has taken the government far too long to get to grips with this issue.
The self-selected immigrants are flocking in to Australia
Just utter the magic word "asylum" and the door is open. Comments below by Scott Morrison, Australia's Federal opposition spokesman on immigration and citizenship
Christmas Island is overrun with asylum seekers to the point where the detention centre has become a visa factory for people smugglers. Ten days ago I stood on the shore at Flying Fish Cove on Christmas Island watching 30 Afghan asylum seekers transfer from HMAS Larrakia into the custody of immigration officials. Their boat was one of two that had been "intercepted" within 12 hours of each other the previous weekend. It's usually not too hard to find these boats, because they are usually looking for us. Getting intercepted is the point. Christmas Island is no longer a deterrent, it's the destination. The arrival of another boat is not a strange sight. It occurs twice a week these days. They're more predictable than Sydney ferries.
Immigration, Customs officials and police have the transfer process down to a fine art. They should, they've been getting plenty of practice. Since August 2008, 78 boats have illegally arrived in Australian waters, carrying almost 3600 people. Just this year, there have been 10 arrivals at an average rate of 100 passengers per week.
When I left the island I was told they had 1848 beds (including 200 in tents) and there was currently 1556 people in residence. While this represented a ten-fold increase in the detention population over the past year, it was clear, things were only getting worse. Since then another 320 people have been intercepted or transferred to the island, including one large vessel, carrying 181 passengers that motored straight into the harbour. Another was picked up on Thursday morning near the Ashmore Islands. During the same time, only 89 people left the island.
Despite its denials, operations at Christmas Island, under the government's failed border protection policies, are simply not sustainable. It is therefore no surprise that last week I was able to reveal in Parliament that the costs of running operations on Christmas Island had blown out by $132million this year, that's more than a 100per cent increase.
We are a generous nation and this is reflected in the way asylum seekers are being treated. In fact, if we looked after our first Australians in central Australia, where I visited last year, as well as we do those on Christmas Island, then there would be no gap to close. The key difference is that within 100 or so days, the vast majority of those on Christmas Island will be living on the Australian mainland with a permanent visa. Indigenous children have no such guarantee of ever being released from their desperate situation.
One of the more pleasing elements of the visit was to see that the many reforms introduced by the former Coalition government, such as case management, parallel processing, community detention for those at risk, separate facilities for families, women and children and a range of other improvements, are making a real difference.
In fact there is not one practical reform you can point to on Christmas Island that has been introduced as an initiative of the current government. Where they have made changes is to undermine the fundamentals of our border protection regime, by providing permanent visas to those arriving illegally, doing special deals for the Oceanic Viking passengers that traded away national security and being prepared to compromise offshore processing by taking people to the mainland before their asylum claims have been determined.
The government's changes have enhanced the product offered by people smugglers. They are now doing a roaring trade, but you can only come if you have the money. It is not uncommon, as I saw, for those arriving to have wads of cash in various currencies, in excess of $US1000 ($1140) at least. This is after paying up to $20,000 per person. Residence in Australia should not be driven by the highest bidder, where people smugglers ultimately decide who comes.
The government's changes have created a sea highway to Christmas Island that has become a visa factory for people smugglers. As long as these policies remain and the government continues in denial, people will continue to risk their lives on this journey. Also, places for those waiting five years in Indonesia and generations in camps, like those in Thailand, will be asked to wait even longer. These seem to me to be good reasons to change these policies and stop the boats.
7 February, 2010
France's burka ban a boost for equality
OF all the countries of Europe, France has the best chance of coping successfully with large-scale Muslim immigration. That's not to say it's a very big chance, but it has some chance. This is because of France's strong republican ideology. This enables it to confer benefits as well as responsibilities on citizens regardless of ethnicity. French republicanism demands something of the citizen and asserts certain fundamental values.
This is most evident in the law banning the hijab, or Muslim headdress, from state schools. Last week a French parliamentary committee recommended banning the full Muslim burka in government offices, public transport, hospitals and schools.
The hijab is a bit more than a loose scarf that covers all the hair and generally the shoulders. The niqab reveals only the eyes and the burka covers everything, allowing a woman to see only through some sort of mesh arrangement. However, burka is the term most commonly used in the West to mean full face-covering, body length female Muslim attire.
France's President Nicolas Sarkozy has been the most effective Western statesman on these issues. He gave an eloquent speech last year in which he rejected the burka and said it offends French values. This was not primarily because of the distance and separation the burka enforces between its wearer and the broader society. Rather, it was because of women's rights.
When, in 2005, the French banned the hijab, I thought they were making a mistake. Broadly speaking, I don't really care what anybody wears. But I was wrong. Spending time in France last year, I realised the French see this as a great liberal reform in the interests of women's rights. The French go to great lengths to distinguish secular from religious spaces. They have gone to great lengths to make this law non-discriminatory. At state schools, Christians cannot wear large crosses, Jews cannot wear yarmulkes, Sikhs cannot wear turbans.
The truth is this law was aimed at Muslims. And everyone knows this. One consequence of large-scale Muslim immigration, therefore, is that all of France has to become a little less liberal, in that Christians, Jews and Sikhs must suffer restrictions when there was no problem at all in their religious dress. But the hijab is both a symbol and a tool of the repression of women. The reform has been such a success because for several hours each day, young Muslim women at state schools are French women, with the rights and independence and respect that accrue to French women. They are for that time no longer subject to the rules of their brothers and fathers and the religious extremists in their communities.
Incidentally, the French rules are similar to those that have applied in Turkey for much of its modern history.
But the most important aspect of the French law is that it makes explicit to the Muslim minority the demand that to be a French citizen you must subscribe to, and live up to, certain French civic values, of which equality for women is one. The proposed limited ban on the burka is an extension of this. And here is a perplexing conundrum. If you really believe that women, but not men, should be fully covered, why would you want to live in a society such as France, or indeed Australia, in the first place?
Here we meet a hard truth of Muslim immigration to Europe, and perhaps to Australia. There is a strong body of belief that at least a large number of the African, and especially Maghrebi, Muslims who move to Europe do so not to embrace the European lifestyle, that is to pay the immigrant's traditional compliment to the new society, but to recreate their Third World lifestyle at a European standard of living.
Diversity is a good thing and there is a vast range of values and traditions that are perfectly acceptable in most Western societies. But women's inherent inequality is not one of them.
Muslim immigration to Australia and the US has so far been much more successful than Muslim immigration to Europe. This is often seen to be a consequence of our superior settlement policies, in particular that the US not only confers rights on immigrants but imposes civic obligations on them as well. The truth might be that it is just because the relative numbers of Muslims in the US and Australia are so much smaller.
Mass Muslim immigration challenges a liberal Western society in a way that no previous immigration did, in part because most mainstream interpretations of Islam see it as requiring its adherents to establish a political order as well as a religious order. The vast majority of Australian Muslims are perfectly law abiding, happy with the Australian civic order and in every way good citizens. But the experience of Europe strongly suggests this could be quite different if the Muslim minority were much, much larger.
For societies such as Australia and the US, the traditional pro-immigration bias, which I wholly share, may need some calibration in relation to Muslim immigration. Successful immigration involves acceptance and immersion in the core values of the new society. A state that tolerates open and socially destructive defiance of this is very weak.
These are very sensitive issues. But Western civilisation needs to stand for some positive values beyond an anything-goes relativism that will be destroyed by more vigorous belief systems.
The French are moving cautiously, incrementally, and in my view belatedly, but with almost unique courage and intelligence, to try to repair the outcome of the nihilistic trends in Western intellectual life and their interplay with a mass immigration that Europeans did not choose and have never understood. Vive la France!
Australia's immigration-fueled population growth too fast to be affordable
AUSTRALIANS must prepare for a fundamental shift in the way we live because the country cannot afford to cope with 36 million people. Economic modelling produced for the Herald by PricewaterhouseCoopers shows the task of building the new roads, houses, schools, supermarkets and recreation facilities needed by 2050 will be so great that the nation's current pool of savings will struggle to cover it, even with the help of foreign capital.
As a consequence Australians will have to make major lifestyle changes. These range from dramatic increases in housing density and an end to our reliance on the car, to the creation of self-sustaining urban communities capable of generating their own energy to avoid the need for new power stations.
Planning experts say we must also consider whether population increases will be accommodated in larger regional centres rather than allowing cities such as Sydney to grow. "The bottom line is 'prepare for change'," the PWC economics and policy team leader, Jeremy Thorpe, said. "The task of providing this infrastructure is a very significant one and at the moment we don't have the savings to cover it. Governments have to make a decision about what trade-offs they want to make to maintain a standard of living." Using figures from the government's intergenerational report, Mr Thorpe and his colleagues have calculated Australia will need 6.9 million more homes to cope with a population of 36 million by 2050. This represents 82 per cent of our existing housing stock.
Should Australians continue to rely on the car, the country will need 173,348 kilometres of new roads - a 51 per cent rise equivalent to the entire road network of Thailand. We would need 3254 new schools, 1370 new supermarkets and 1370 cinema screens.
In dollar terms, the amount spent by both government and the private sector on infrastructure would need to increase by approximately $2.5 billion every year until 2050.
The PWC economists say that while the government talks about increasing productivity, it makes no mention of the crucial role the national pool of savings plays in funding infrastructure. "The banks rely quite heavily on the savings of individual people to provide capital for investment in infrastructure. Because as a nation our savings are currently quite low, there is a real risk that there will be a significant shortage of credit."
As a result, both the private sector and government have come to rely heavily on foreign capital. But the global credit crunch has dramatically lifted the costs of overseas borrowing, requiring government and companies to take on extra debt.
The ageing population exacerbates this situation as older people contribute less to the savings pool, and tend to draw more from government coffers in the form of social security and healthcare.
But a spokesman for the Treasurer, Wayne Swan, dismissed the analysis. "Australia's reputation as one of the most attractive investment destinations in the world allows it to access large savings pools of foreign investors … to fund high levels of investment in our own economy," he said. "We are able to be a net importer of capital because foreign investors are confident we use their capital so well."
6 February, 2010
Fantasies of the Obama administration
If you are arresting fewer illegals entering the USA, does that mean that fewer are coming or that your enforcement activities have been less effective? Guess which the Obama admin wants you to believe?
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano (aka, J-No) in December 2009 assured the Senate Judiciary Committee that the Obama Administration had already made great strides in securing our borders, thus moving us one step closer to “Comprehensive Immigration Reform.”“Our efforts are achieving their desired results at the border. . . . In short, the security of our southwest border has been transformed.”As proof of this outrageously optimistic assertion, Secretary J-No pointed to a decline in the number of illegal aliens apprehended along the border.
--Testimony of Secretary Napolitano before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, December 9, 2009“[A]pprehensions of illegal aliens at the border have dropped to their lowest levels in decades, signaling reduced traffic flows and fewer attempts to illegally enter the United States.”Apprehensions have, in fact, dropped from 723,840 in FY 2008 to around 556,000 in FY 2009, and the FY 2009 figure is the lowest since the early 1970s. It is also likely that some of this decline reflects the fact that fewer illegal aliens are attempting to enter the United States, especially considering our double-digit unemployment. However, even DHS’s own inflated estimates acknowledge that the Border Patrol has “effective control” over only 939 of the 6,000 miles of land borders.
--Testimony of Secretary Napolitano before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, December 9, 2009
Moreover, when I visited with Border Patrol Agents in the Tucson Sector in mid-October of 2009 and asked if they believe the official DHS line that three illegal aliens successfully enter the United States for every one who is apprehended, they laughed. The reality, they said, is that 10 or more get through for every one who is caught. That was two months before Secretary J-No shared her rosy view with the Senate Judiciary Committee.
If the Border Patrol agents’ estimate is correct, that would mean that illegal aliens successfully penetrated our borders more than 5.5 million times in FY 2009. That doesn’t sound much like a “transformation” to me. In Secretary J-No’s world, however, this transformation explains why she has asked Congress for $11.6 million less in funding for “border security between ports of entry” and for $225.8 million less in funding for “border fencing, infrastructure, and technology” for FY 2011.
I also have to wonder if the marked increase in the number of armed illegal aliens and the astronomical increase in the number of reported incidents of violence against border agents are part of the “desired results” that Secretary J-No touted during the Senate hearing. The number of assaults against Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers along the Southwest border increased by 176% in FY 2008. While official data for FY 2009 have not yet been released, anecdotal evidence suggests that violence directed at CBP officers has continued to grow. It seems safe to say that this is not a desired result—at least not for CBP officers, in any case.
Speaking of armed illegal aliens entering the United States undeterred, the accompanying video was captured by “game cameras” (i.e., cameras with motion sensors to activate them) set up by a group of Arizona Minutemen in the Arizona desert in December 2009—the very same month that Secretary J-No was assuring the Senate that the Obama Administration has “transformed” the southwest border. The video you see here is actually three separate video clips caught when the game cameras were triggered on three different days in December. All three are from cameras set up in the Sonoran Desert National Monument, which is comprised of almost 500,000 acres southwest of Phoenix and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which has only a small handful of law enforcement rangers to patrol and protect this vast area.
The first two video clips were captured at the same location at two different times. The first clip shows two illegal aliens armed with rifles with scopes. The second clip shows a group of illegal alien drug mules (also called “backpackers” for obvious reasons) carrying bundles of marijuana on their backs. Each of the bundles weighs 40-50 pounds. The black jugs all these individuals are carrying are water jugs made specially for the Mexican drug cartels from black plastic, since regular plastic jugs reflect moonlight and so are easily visible at night. As I saw during my border visit in October, large parts of the desert are littered (no pun intended) with these black jugs.
When these backpackers reach a pre-designated place along a road or highway, they will stash the drugs near the road, but out of sight. The drugs will then be picked up by armed men in a vehicle with U.S. registration and driven to a stash house. The illegal-alien backpackers will either head back to Mexico for the next load or they will continue on into the U.S. city of their choice to join the existing illegal population, depending on whether they are employed by the cartels or were just working off part of their smuggling fee by carrying the drugs.
The third clip shows one illegal alien, followed shortly by a second illegal alien with a MAC-10 machine gun strapped over his chest.
Note that all three clips were captured in broad daylight.
I think we can probably all agree that the Southwest border has been “transformed.” I doubt, however, that most of us would associate this transformation with security or see it as a desired result.
Nevertheless, in Secretary J-No’s world this transformation (combined with double-digit unemployment) means it is time to concede the seven million American jobs currently held by illegal aliens and make sure those illegal aliens can keep those jobs permanently.“We must seize this moment to build a truly effective immigration system that deters illegal immigration, provides effective and enduring enforcement tools, protects workers from exploitation and retaliation, and creates a tough but fair path to legalization for the millions of illegal immigrants already here.”Note that Secretary J-No uses the oxymoronic term “illegal immigrant” here, but she uses the correct term, “illegal alien,” when she’s bragging about securing the border. (By definition, an “immigrant” is an alien who has been granted lawful permanent residence, and so cannot be illegal.) Hmmm.
--Testimony of Secretary Napolitano before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, December 9, 2009
Since taking office, Secretary J-No has dismantled many of our most effective enforcement tools. She has:
* Ended worksite raids;
* Prohibited state and local police from turning over regular illegal aliens (i.e., those who have not committed any crimes except illegal entry or other crimes associated with being in the United States illegally) to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE);
* Rescinded the so-called “No-Match Rule” which told employers to fire known illegal-alien workers; and
* Worked to repeal the REAL ID Act, which prevents illegal aliens from obtaining state driver’s licenses, among other things.
I have to agree that now is the time for “effective and enduring enforcement tools.” The problem is figuring out what this statement means in Secretary J-No’s world.
Obama Proposes to Cut 180 Border Patrol Agents
But he is hiring more bureaucrats
Pres. Barack Obama's newly proposed 2011 budget would reduce the number of Border Patrol agents along the Southwest border by 180 and cut the funding for the "virtual fence." Homeland Security said it plans to cut the jobs through attrition, and it would result in increased pay for the remaining agents.
White House senior officials say the move will not compromise the effectiveness of the border patrol. But House Judiciary Ranking Member Lamar Smith (R-Texas) says otherwise.The President’s budget proves once again that the Obama administration is not serious about enforcing our nation’s immigration laws.The "virtual fence" would have funding cut by $226 million. The system is made up of cameras, radar and sensors placed on towers.
The administration found money for 25 new positions in the Secretary of Homeland Security’s management office, but didn’t find funds for any of the following critical homeland security programs: there is no funding for a single new detention bed, no increase in funds to find and deport immigration fugitives or criminal aliens, no additional special agents to investigate workplace immigration violations, no funding to expand the visa security program, and no funding to build any more of the border fence.
The President ought to be using immigration enforcement to address key priorities such as jobs and national security. But instead of doing so, the Obama administration is maintaining the status quo. That means that citizens and legal immigrants will be forced to continue to compete with eight million illegal immigrants for jobs; and by underfunding key national security programs, we leave ourselves vulnerable to future terrorists attacks.
-- Ranking Member Lamar Smith
Obama's budget does include an increase of $103 million for improvements to E-Verify.
5 February, 2010
Rumbles about the unfairness of Britain's immigration rules in the Labour party
Migrants would be forced to 'earn' the right to benefits and council housing over several years under explosive plans outlined today by a senior Labour minister.
Margaret Hodge warns British values of openness and tolerance are under threat because of an increasing sense of 'unfairness' over immigration. The Culture Minister is calling for a new points system - based on length of residence or national insurance contributions - to determine that only migrants who have made a fair contribution to society get the same rights as local families.
Mrs Hodge, who is facing a General Election challenge from BNP leader Nick Griffin, told the Daily Mail it was time to 'lance the boil' of growing discontent over the wave of economic migrants entering Britain. Labour strategists fear there are signs that the far-Right BNP will mount a 'serious challenge' in her Barking, East London seat. One recent poll found that 65 per cent of voters believe foreign arrivals get favourable treatment over housing and benefits. It also showed a third of voters support a core policy of the far-Right BNP, proposing that people from ethnic minorities should lose all state benefits, including NHS treatment, to pay for a 'resettlement policy' for those wishing to leave the country.
Migrants currently have the right to claim in-work benefits, such as tax credits, if they have a job. Those who have come from the EU must spend a year working in Britain, but can then claim the same level of state support as any citizen. They are treated the same as UK citizens in respect of claims for income support, jobseeker's allowance, housing benefit and council tax benefit.
There has been particular controversy in recent years over revelations that taxpayers are funding child benefit for as many as 50,000 children of migrant workers, even though the youngsters still live in their home countries. Migrants qualify for the payments, even if they have left their children behind. British handouts are much higher than in other countries, particularly in Eastern Europe where the cost of living is much lower.
Mrs Hodge was attacked as 'offensive' by senior Labour colleagues after calling for a shake-up of housing rules two and half years ago. But last year, the Government announced it was adopting the policy proposal she made to give councils new powers to give local people priority on waiting lists. Now the minister is risking angering colleagues again by going further, with an admission that the Government has failed to address voters' concerns over immigration.
Her proposal to strip benefits from immigrants who have not been contributing to society for a fixed period will infuriate Left-wing Labour MPs, who argue people cannot be left destitute. But Mrs Hodge insisted: 'At the moment, people don't feel the system is fair and we can't ignore that. If we are serious about reconnecting with people, then we have to listen to what they are saying. 'We have to lance this boil. This isn't just a message to my own party, it's a message to all mainstream parties. 'If we can demonstrate we are being fair to people, and recognising what they and their families have put into the community, then we can address some of the racist exploitation of the issue that the BNP indulges in.
'I am talking about economic migrants, not genuine refugees. These are people who choose to come here because they want to improve their quality of life. The idea is people have to earn their rights. 'I think we need to be radical in our thinking and look at drawing up a point system based on length of residence, citizenship or national insurance contributions which ensures economic migrants can only access social housing and key benefits when they have paid into the system. 'This isn't about race, it's about having a transparent system which people understand and which is fair.'
Mrs Hodge conceded that she had been criticised for suggesting two years ago that economic migrants' rights should not come before people who were born or lived in Britain for many years. But she added: 'We need to have an honest conversation about what's going on in our working class communities. The very mention of immigration causes controversy and the whole debate is often seen through the prism of racism. 'The result is parties like the BNP tap into people's frustrations and that's why we've seen a rise in support for them. It's not because people like what the BNP stand for - in fact people are repulsed by Nick Griffin's views on the Holocaust and his sympathy with the Nazis.'
Mrs Hodge said she believed arrivals from new EU countries should be made to wait for longer than 12 months before they get the right to the same benefits and support as established British families. 'We have people staying on council waiting lists for housing for eight to ten years,' she said.
The minister conceded that some measures aimed at EU, rather than non-EU migrants, might need agreement from other countries. But she added: 'If we have to argue about this to get action at an EU level, then that is what we must do.'
Sir Andrew Green, chairman of the MigrationWatch, said: 'This sounds like a very promising idea. It's just a pity that the Government has not done anything about it over the last 13 years.'
Mrs Hodge received 13,826 votes at the last election, a majority of 8,883. The BNP finished only 27 votes behind the Tories on 4,916.
Boat people blow Australia's immigration detention budget
A flood of "asylum seekers" has blown the federal government's immigration detention budget, the opposition says.
Opposition immigration and citizenship spokesman Scott Morrison said the government had been forced to more than double the money it allocated in the last budget for offshore immigration processing. "In the May budget the Rudd government had allocated $125 million for offshore processing,'' he said in a statement today. "However additional estimates figures reveal the government is now asking for another $132 million for this work, an increase of more than 100 per cent.''
The claim comes on top of the arrival of another boatload of asylum seekers in Australia's northern waters today and fears the detention centre at Christmas Island will be unable to cope with further arrivals.
The boat was intercepted by HMAS Armidale at 11am (AEDT) about 11 nautical miles (20km) north of the Ashmore Islands, the federal government said. Initial indications suggest 89 passengers and four crew were on board. The group will be transferred to Christmas Island where they will undergo security, identity and health checks and their reasons for travel will be established.
It is the 10th asylum seeker boat to be intercepted in Australian waters this year. The Rudd government is under pressure over its border protection regime with detention facilities on Christmas Island at breaking point. There are already almost 1,800 detainees in immigration facilities on the island which have a capacity of 1900.
Mr Morrison said the government's border protection policy had failed. "Barely a day after 89 asylum seekers were flown to the Australian mainland in a futile effort to reduce overcrowding on Christmas Island, another 89 asylum seekers plus three crew are on the way to take their place,'' Mr Morrison said. "Seventy-eight boats have now arrived since the Rudd government started weakening the border protection regime they inherited from the coalition government, with 10 arriving this year alone with 602 people on board.''
4 February, 2010
Business and Labor on Immigration
Zogby Poll: DC Lobbyists Often Out of Step with Constituencies
A new Zogby poll of senior executives, business owners, and members of union households finds that each of these groups thinks the best way to deal with illegal immigrants in the country is to enforce the law and cause them to return home. This is in stark contrast to lobbyists for large companies, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which argue for legalization. The findings of the survey are consistent with surveys done by the National Federation of Independent Business, which represents small enterprises, showing strong opposition to legalization. Among unions, the leadership strongly supports legalizing illegal immigrants, but this survey shows enforcement — not legalization — is by far the option favored by union members and their families. This survey of likely voters uses neutral language and includes 7,046 members of union households, 2,490 executives (e.g., CEOs, CFOs, VPs or department heads), and 9,990 small business owners.
Among the findings:
When asked to choose between enforcement that would cause illegal immigrants in the country to go home or offering them a pathway to citizenship with conditions, most members of the business community and unions chose enforcement.
* Executives (e.g. CEOs, CFOs, VPs etc.): 59 percent support enforcement to encourage illegals to go home; 30 percent support conditional legalization.
* Small Business Owners: 67 percent support enforcement; 22 percent support conditional legalization.
* Union Households: 58 percent support enforcement; 28 percent support conditional legalization.
One of the most interesting findings of the survey is that members of the business community think there are plenty of Americans available to fill unskilled jobs.
* Executives: 16 percent said legal immigration should be increased to fill unskilled jobs; 61 percent said there are plenty of Americans available to do unskilled jobs, employers just need to pay more.
* Small Business Owners: 13 percent said increase immigration; 65 percent said plenty of Americans are available.
* Union Households: 10 percent said increase immigration; 72 percent said plenty of Americans are available.
Most members of the business community and union households do not feel that illegal immigration is caused by limits on legal immigration, as many of their lobbyists argue; instead, members feel it is due to a lack of enforcement.
* Executives: Just 13 percent said illegal immigration is caused by not letting in enough legal immigrants; 75 percent said inadequate enforcement.
* Small Business Owners: 10 percent said not enough legal immigration; 79 percent said inadequate enforcement.
* Union Households: 13 percent said not enough legal immigration; 74 percent said inadequate enforcement efforts.
In contrast to many businesses group and union leaders, most executives and union members think immigration is too high.
* Executives: 63 percent said it is too high; 5 percent said too low; 16 percent said just right.
* Small Business Owners: 70 percent said it is too high; 4 percent said too low; 13 percent said just right.
* Union Households: 63 percent said immigration is too high; 5 percent said too low; 14 percent said just right.
Discussion: The large divide between union members and their leadership on the immigration issue is not really surprising. Union members and their families want higher wages and better working conditions that would likely come from lower levels of immigration. While union leaders also want improved conditions for workers, they see legalized immigrants as potential new members, giving them a different point of view. The divide between some business lobbying groups and their members of the business community on immigration is perhaps more surprising.
The largest business association representing big companies is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber supports 'earned legal status leading to legal permanent residency' for illegal immigrants. But when given the options of a conditional legalization or enforcement and illegal immigrants going home, executives and small business owners choose enforcement over legalization two and three to one. As for future levels of immigration the Chamber has made clear that, 'We face a larger and larger shortage' of low-skilled workers. The Chamber's president argues that more immigrant workers are needed, 'to fill jobs Americans don't want.' While the idea of improving wages and working conditions to attract American workers does not seem to have occurred to the Chamber, small business owners and executives consider this the best option. Four to one, executives said if employers can't find enough workers they should pay more rather than increase immigration levels. For small business owners it was five to one.
The survey reported here might be surprising to some, but the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) states clearly on its website that, based on its survey of members, 79 percent 'believe undocumented workers should return to their country and seek admis¬sion legally.' Their website goes on to state that 'NFIB will not support legislation that contains amnesty for undocumented workers.' Although the Zogby poll discussed here never uses the word 'amnesty,' when asked about conditional legalization, versus enforcement, small business owners and executives are clear - immigration laws should be enforced and illegal immigrants should go home.
Methodology: Zogby International was commissioned by the Center for Immigration Studies to conduct an online survey of 42,026 adults. A sampling of Zogby International's online panel, which is representative of the adult population of the United States, was invited to participate. For small business owners, Zogby asked respondents if they owned a small business. Executives are those who indicated they were either a C-level executive, managing partner, managing director, or served on the board of directors. Persons in union households are either a member of a union themselves or live with someone who is a union member. The survey was conducted by Zogby from November 13 to 30, 2009. The margin of error for all likely voters is +/- 0.5 percent. The margin of error for executives is 2 percent, for small business owners 1 percent, and for those in union households 1.2 percent.
The survey is available online here
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: Steven Camarota, (202) 466-8185, email@example.com
3 February, 2010
Can Reid Win an Amnesty?
History will record January 19, 2010 as a day of transition for America; a day when a political bomb shell landed on politics as usual. While I initially thought the elections in 2006 and 2008 were simply bad election cycles for Republicans and a referendum on President Bush, I’m starting to change my mind and wonder if our country has actually entered a whole new era of history and politics. I wonder if the public wasn’t targeting Republicans, but instead incumbents and the Republicans were just the low hanging fruit as the party of power for the past decade. Like the Era of Good Feelings, Gilded Age, Progressive Era, Watergate, and the Reagan Era, America may be entering a new period of history, but what should it be called?
The election of Scott Brown of Massachusetts to the United States Senate may be an awakening and it may signal more change as populism returns to rotate the crops. Scott Brown may be a new and independent voice and he may represent the 41st Republican vote needed for a filibuster, but he will also be forever linked to the late Senator Ted Kennedy who held that seat from 1962 until his death in August. Like Brown, Kennedy also won the Senate seat in a special election. However, unlike Brown, Kennedy became the epitome of elitist liberalism on numerous issues including immigration. Kennedy was one of the Senate’s leading voices in support of amnesty and his leadership in passing the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 started the largest immigration wave in history. Scott Brown appears to be a sharp contrast to Kennedy on immigration, but most importantly his 41st vote severely complicates matters for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who still wants a healthcare bill and really wants another shot at “comprehensive” amnesty.
While there are a few pro-amnesty Republicans in the Senate like Sam Brownback and John McCain, even they realize the political stakes and don’t want to give Harry Reid a victory or endanger other Republicans, even if they personally support open borders. In effect, without the supermajority, the Democrats have less time to move an amnesty bill because Reid has to move at least one Republican to his side while holding all 57 Democrats and 2 independents, which is a tough lift and long negotiation process. Furthermore, immigration is still not the top issue for Democrats and it will take more time and negotiating to finish a healthcare bill before they move on to other issues, not to mention Appropriations season. And, if the 2005 and 2007 Senate amnesty bills are any indication, whatever comes from the Senate will contain numerous pages of legislation, numerous press conferences, and hearings in every committee of jurisdiction.
Reid has about 8 months to complete an amnesty bill before Senators return to their states to campaign and control the damage caused by an unpopular 111th Congress. Considering the slow process, the most likely threat for a Senate amnesty is a smaller bill like the DREAM Act after the elections and before the new Congress when lame duck Congressmen have one last shot to move their bills, and without political repercussions. More specifically, Reid’s Nevada senate seat is in cycle, he is trailing in the polls, and he has to return to Nevada to defend his record and convince voters to elect him to a 5th term. If he gets too involved in immigration, he has less time to raise money and defend his job in Congress. Not to mention the media and political winds blowing against him. Without a reliable Senate vote from Massachusetts, Reid’s entire policy agenda is now pushed off schedule, which reduces opportunities for comprehensive legislation of any type and threatens the reelection of the Democrat leader.
While I intend to write another blog about Harry Reid later in the election process discussing his polls, growth in office, and a conveniently located Mexican Consular office in downtown Las Vegas, the election shockwave from Massachusetts can be felt right now in Nevada and the grass roots populism that helped Scott Brown win a seat once held by the Kennedy family is ready to go after the Senate Majority Leader. If Reid is defeated, it will mean heavy apples falling high off the tree of liberty, not just low hanging fruit. Moreover, Reid is not likely to be the only apple to fall. We will have entered an age of the citizens.
Netanyahu Warns Israeli Union of High Immigration Numbers
In a speech to the Manufacturers Association, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned of the dangers of high immigration numbers. Like the United States, workers unions in Israel want an increase in immigration numbers, but Netanyahu is looking to pass strict immigration enforcement laws.
"You will not like this, but we plan to legislate strict laws and enforce them with a firm hand against the illegal employment of infiltrators and foreign workers," Netanyahu told the Manufacturers Association.
The Prime Minister also spoke about the "cultural, social, and economic damage" created by accepting a large number of immigrants. With an unsecured border with Egypt and close proximity to other Third World nations, Israel's economic success and prosperity has led to immigration issues much like the United States.
"Anyone walking around Arad, Eilat, or even south Tel Aviv today, can see this wave, and the change it is creating, with their own eyes," Netanyahu said. "They are causing socio-economic and cultural damage and threaten to take us back down to the level of the Third World. They take the jobs of the weakest Israelis."
A proposed immigration enforcement bill in Israel would construct a fence along the Egyptian border and calls for stricter penalties for Israelis who help illegal crossings.
"This is a strategic decision, that will ensure the Jewish and democratic character of the State of Israel," Netanyahu said. "Israel will remain open to war refugees, but will not allow its borders to be used to flood it will illegal foreign workers."
2 February, 2010
Obama’s Amnesty Footnote
At the very end of his State of the Union address, President Obama said, “we should continue the work of fixing our broken immigration system -– to secure our borders and enforce our laws, and ensure that everyone who plays by the rules can contribute to our economy and enrich our nation.”
Like most Americans, I agree with those broad principles, and that is exactly why Obama was so vague in his speech. His claim that “jobs must be our number one focus in 2010” would be exposed as a complete fraud if he promoted giving amnesty for illegal immigration and importing hundreds of thousands of additional legal foreign workers in the same address.
The situation is already bad enough as it is. At least twelve million illegal immigrants are in this country and eight million illegal aliens are in the American workforce. Additionally, our government issues 75,000 permanent work visas and 50,000 temporary work permits to foreign workers every single month. A recent census study found that one out of every six workers in this country is foreign born.
While he left the specifics on immigration out of his televised address, the White House website issued talking points to expand on what the line meant. They elaborated, The President is pleased Congress is taking steps forward on immigration reform that includes effective border security measures with a path for legalization for those who are willing to pay taxes and abide by the law. He is committed to confronting this problem in practical, effective ways, using the current tools at our disposal while we work with Congress to enact comprehensive reform.
“The steps forward on immigration reform” to which he is referring is HR 4321, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America's Security and Prosperity Act of 2009 or “CIR ASAP” sponsored by Rep. Louis Gutierrez, Solomon Ortiz, and 90 other Democrats.
As we all know, “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” and “Path for legalization” are nothing but code words for amnesty. The last two times the open borders folks introduced amnesties, they at least established some preconditions and made illegal aliens jump through a few hoops and before they could get amnesty. Under Gutierrez’s bill, every single illegal alien in this country the day of the bill is signed will be eligible. This gives foreigners a great incentive to come to this country illegally because they know they’d soon be eligible for amnesty. A recent Zogby found that 56% of Mexicans said themselves or people they knew would be more likely to enter America illegally if they knew an amnesty was coming.
To make matters worse, when proving they have jobs and were in the country before the amnesty passed, illegal aliens apply for amnesty they are allowed to use their stolen identities, fake green cards, and fraudulent social security numbers without fear of prosecution.
In addition to giving legal status to the 12 million illegal aliens already here, it will make it much easier for more illegal aliens to break into our country in the future. Contrary to Obama’s claim that the bill will increase border security, CIR ASAP does the opposite.
It guts successful enforcement measures, limits raids on illegal immigrants, prohibits use of troops on the border, and replaces the effective E-Verify system used to ensure that employers only hire legal American workers. It also overturns all state and local laws that crackdown on illegal immigration, and abolishes the successful 287 (g) program that allows local law enforcement to cooperate with federal authorities in apprehending criminal illegal aliens.
On top of the millions of illegal immigrants in this country, 1.5 million legal foreign workers come into our country each year. But this number isn’t high enough for Gutierrez and his friends.
CIR ASAP includes a provision “recapture” that will add up all the supposedly “unused” work visas since 1992 and issue them immediately. This is a complete fraud, as all unused work visas are rolled over to the family reunification category the next year. According to the State Department, this will mean 550,000 new foreign workers.
Additionally, CIR ASAP will create 100,000 visas from the countries that send the most illegal immigrants every year. This rewards countries such as Mexico who intentionally promote illegal immigration.
If Republicans want to defeat this bill, we need to stand united as a party against this atrocity. Democrats know this is a loser with the voters, but in the past Democrats were always able to justify their stance on amnesty by pointing to pro-amnesty Republicans like George Bush and John McCain. With Democrats firmly in control of Congress, they just need a few Republicans to give it the air of bipartisanship and to give cover to vulnerable Democrats. We also need to articulate our vision of true immigration reform so we cannot be accused of supporting our failed system.
Instead of granting amnesty, we need to stand for the rule of law. Instead of nullifying state laws like those in Oklahoma, we should use them as a model for the whole country. Instead of ending E-Verify, we should strengthen E-Verify. Instead of reducing workforce raids of illegal aliens and their employers, we should step them up. Instead of increasing legal immigration, we should institute a moratorium on most new immigrant work permits until unemployment falls below 5%.
By supporting Gutierrez’s amnesty, Barack Obama is making it clear he cares more about pleasing the Hispanic Caucus than protecting jobs for American Citizens.
High levels of immigration will be disastrous for the quality of life in Australia
By Barry Cohen, a former minister in the Hawke Labor government
NOW that Kevin Rudd has informed us that he favours a "big Australia" with a population reaching 35 million by 2050, will he also tell us what happens then? Do we continue to pursue policies that will further double our population by 2100, causing us to cease immigration altogether and then apply the Chinese solution: one child per family? And if the population is to increase to 35 million, what's the rush to get there so quickly?
Thanks to the ABC, Kerry O'Brien and The 7.30 Report, which devoted most of last week to showcasing the question of population growth, it appears that at last we are going to have the public debate some of us have been seeking for years.
I once asked in question time whether the prime minister was aware that immigration levels were causing concern because of the pressure they exert on "education, health and social services, housing and land prices and the consequent diminution in the quality of life that overcrowded cities have on our environment". I asked for a white paper on immigration to evaluate the costs and benefits of continued large-scale immigration. That was on June 10, 1970, and John Gorton's answer indicated he was none too pleased with my question. Neither was Labor's immigration spokesman Fred Daly. Having written and spoken about the issue for 40 years, I'm delighted a serious debate is about to begin.
My view then was that Australia couldn't have an immigration policy without first having a population policy. It hasn't changed. The then minister for immigration, Phil Lynch, understood what I was on about. He set up an inquiry under Wilfred Borrie, but when Borrie eventually reported in 1978, no mention was made of population numbers.
What surprises me is that Rudd has decided to support a massive increase without the matter being debated in public, the parliament, the party or the press. I am not alone in my concern. What advocates of big Australia haven't yet done is spelt out clearly the benefits from such a huge population increase. In the early 1990s our annual growth rate, including immigration as well as births and deaths, dropped below 1 per cent. It is now, thanks to more babies and more people living longer, almost 2 per cent.
With a population of 22 million, the deterioration in the quality of life in our cities is already obvious. Daily our media highlights the inadequacy of our schools, hospitals and transport system, housing and water shortages, and spiralling land prices. You don't need to be an urban planner, demographer or sociologist to see the problems. If the 35 million predicted by 2050 is correct, with Sydney and Melbourne rising to seven million each, we are courting disaster. Double the population and life in the cities will be intolerable.
No, no, say the big Australians, we can take millions more. We can but who will benefit? It is up to the big Australians to show how this will improve the quality of life for present and future generations of Australians.
In the immediate post-war period, Australia, having just fought a war of survival with the Japanese, recognised that we could not occupy or defend a vast island continent with six million people. It may seem xenophobic today but fear of being swamped by the yellow peril before, during and after World War II was real enough. Most of these fears have now abated and, thankfully, with the end of the White Australia policy, most Australians recognise that our security is no longer dependent on increased population. If it is, what numbers will be necessary to repel the three billion who live to our near north? .
The other reason given at the time was that a larger population would provide our manufacturers with the economies of scale. That may have had some validity then, but Australia's economy now depends more on mining, tourism and agriculture as well as financial and educational services rather than manufacturing.
The Prime Minister might also care to explain why the government is telling us we must reduce our carbon footprint while suggesting we should double the number of feet. We appear to be on two different planets. Some suggest that not to share our country with millions more immigrants is selfish and that we have the responsibility to help other countries to lighten their population load. Excuse me? What about helping them with population control?
Why has it taken so long for this debate to take place? One reason is that the ethnic lobby brands anyone who questions immigration as racist. That won't work with the type of people who are now entering the debate. People of the calibre of Dick Smith, Bob Carr and, if I may say so, yours truly can't be so labelled.
More and more Australians are speaking out on this issue and they will not be silenced out of fear of being blackguarded by those afraid to seriously debate the issue.
The pundits suggest the federal election will be fought on the economy, climate change, health care and education. To that we can add population and immigration. It's the big sleeper. Rudd and Tony Abbott take note. It will be a debate not about who comes to this country but how many.
1 February, 2010
Most American Jews want open borders
Or something close to it. Such ideas would seem to show a surprisingly limited ability to think ahead. Emotion rather than logic involved, I think
Even as health care reform twists in the wind, immigration policy looms as the next big political debate, and Hispanics and Jews are moving to the forefront in a burgeoning political alliance. The next three months are seen as critical in the fight for immigration reform, but the weakening of the Democrats, grip on Congress with the recent loss of a key Massachusetts Senate seat does not bode well for the passage of reform legislation.
The Jewish-Latino alliance on immigration issues builds on the heritage and experience of the Jewish community and on the enthusiasm and urgent needs of the Hispanic community, which has a strong interest in issues of family unification and the status of the some 12 million illegal immigrants, most of them from Latin America. But Jewish activists also see the joint work as an opening for cooperation with the Hispanic community on other issues, such as Israel.
"If we want to engage with the Latino community on issues that are of concern for us, including Israel, we need to engage on issues that bother their community," said Gideon Aronoff, president and CEO of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. "We want to create growing bonds with the Latino community, and we cannot create these bonds if we are indifferent to the issues that are of concern to them."
Alliance: Luis Gutierrez (left) and Charles Schumer are trying to drive reform through Congress.Some advocates view the ethnic backgrounds of the two key lawmakers leading the drive for immigration reform as symbolic of the growing alliance on the issue. In the House, the main immigration reform bill was presented Rep. Luis Gutierrez, an Illinois Democrat, and in the Senate it is expected that New York's Senator Charles Schumer will soon present his version of immigration reform legislation.
The Gutierrez bill has been praised by advocates for immigrants as providing answers to most of the concerns of the Hispanic community, but so far it has failed to gain any Republican support.
Schumer's bill, now in the making, is expected to have more bipartisan appeal, by taking a nuanced approach to the thorny issue of providing a path to legalization for millions of illegal immigrants.
While Democratic-backed health care reform legislation was uniformly opposed by Republicans and now seems to be stuck in Congress, advocates agree that immigration reform stands no chance of passage without bipartisan support.
But immigration advocates believe that the blow suffered by health care reform supporters following the Massachusetts Senate election does not necessarily dictate the same fate for immigration reform. Indeed, said HIAS?s Aronoff, it might even help the cause, due to increased pressure on lawmakers to show progress on key issues. "All Americans have seen the gridlock in Washington and are very frustrated with it,? he said. ?Now the president and Congress need to show that they can solve problems for Americans."
But with the political clock ticking, supporters of reform fear that major legislation is becoming harder to pass, and so they set the first half of 2010 as a desired deadline for passing legislation. "Every day we get closer to the elections, the harder it becomes," said Richard Foltin, director of national and legislative affairs at the American Jewish Committee, referring to upcoming congressional elections.
Jewish communal support for immigration reform is organized around several principles, including the need for a path to legalization for illegal immigrants; a mechanism for dealing with future immigration waves; speeding up work on family unification; integrating new immigrants into American society; and finding, as Jewish immigration advocates put it, an "effective and humane" way of enforcing immigration laws and border control.
This last point seems to be a growing concern within the Jewish community, said Jane Ramsey, executive director of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs based in Chicago. Ramsey, whose organization has been working closely with Hispanic groups, stressed that while both communities strongly support immigration reform, there is still a need to instill in members of the Jewish community the importance of the issue, which for most Jews carries a symbolic, not personal, importance. "Our community is one step removed," she said, "and therefore it is very important to make it real for people by interacting with the Latino community."
While the Jewish organizational world is essentially united on this issue, some have argued that the Jewish rank-and-file is not on entirely the same page as communal leaders.
The supposed divide between religious leaders of various stripes and their rank-and-file was the focus of a recent survey, sponsored by the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington-based group that opposes granting illegal immigrants a path to legalization and instead argues that many will return to their home countries if immigration laws are better enforced. That poll, which was conducted online by Zogby International in December, found that Jews were roughly equally divided between those who prefer a stepped-up enforcement approach and those who prefer granting legal status with a path to citizenship.
Jewish immigration advocates have questioned the survey's methodology, but they agree that there are diverse opinions within the community. Yet the CIS poll also found that Jews were still considerably more likely than members of other religious groups to support granting legal status to illegal immigrants, a finding that immigration advocates say rings true.
The organized Jewish community is more committed than ever to immigration reform. A letter supporting immigration reform, which will be sent out to all Senate offices in early February, was signed by dozens of national Jewish organizations.
Joining forces with the Hispanic community has been a longstanding goal for Jewish groups. But what seems to be a rare chance to reform immigration laws has helped galvanize the relationship.
At a January 10 roundtable in Durham, N.C., Jewish and Latino activists shared their immigration experiences and looked for ways to work together in support of the legislation. "We broke into groups and spoke about the similarity between our grandparents' immigration and their experience nowadays," said Stephanie Grosser, who has been coordinating outreach efforts for HIAS.
One of the issues activists from both sides discussed was hate and hostility directed at immigrants, both past and present-day, whether they were Jewish newcomers at the turn of the 20th century or Latinos in recent decades. "After we talked about why the Jewish community cares about immigration, two Latino women from the crowd came up and hugged me," Grosser recalled.
Cooperation between the two communities goes beyond the issue of immigration reform and includes many joint programs on the local level. On the national level, Jewish and Latino groups are part of broader coalitions organizing a Washington rally in March in favor of immigration reform, which will be preceded by advocacy work in congressional districts during the February congressional recess.
Jewish groups bring to the table their experience and well-established network of political contacts, a contribution highly appreciated by Hispanic organizers. "For us, as newcomers to the society, this experience is extraordinary," said Gutavo Torres, president of Casa Maryland, a Hispanic group active in the metropolitan Washington area. "They know how to work through the system, how to lobby, how to advocate. The Jewish community has a lot of experience and a lot of power."
Jewish organizations have been increasing their efforts to reach out to the Hispanic community for several years, and most national groups have established joint programs and sponsored Jewish-Hispanic events. With the rapid growth of the Hispanic community and with its rising political clout, Jewish groups see added value in building bridges to the community. "We are working on immigration, because it is the right thing to do, because it is part of our values," said the AJC's Foltin. "But the dialogue also creates better understanding for the needs of our community."
Singapore aims to ease fears over immigration
Singapore will seek on Monday to reassure multinational companies that plans to tighten immigration curbs will not affect the city state’s openness to relocation by white-collar expatriates.
A review of economic strategy, chaired by Tharman Shanmugaratnam, the finance minister, has concluded that growth in the number of resident foreigners must be slowed in response to growing concern among locals. Foreigners make up about 34 per cent of the country’s population of 4.99m, following a long period of high economic growth up to 2008 during which Singapore accepted up to 100,000 people each year.
In a report to be presented on Monday, the review committee will say that the focus of reductions in the flow of foreigners must be on relatively unskilled blue-collar immigrants, who work mainly in the service, construction and transport industries, rather than on workers concentrated in the financial sector and professions such as law and accountancy. “The report will make it clear that we remain open to highly skilled, talented people,” said a person familiar with the report. “This cannot be about Singapore letting up on openness.”
The committee is understood to have accepted that the reduction in blue-collar immigration will raise costs for multinational and local companies, requiring a significant improvement in productivity growth to maintain international competitiveness.
The report, by a mixed group of government officials and business people, is technically a series of recommendations to the government, which will respond during debates on the budget, due to be presented on February 22. However, the review committee includes several ministers in addition to Mr Tharman, and its members are understood to be confident its recommendations will be accepted in full.
The economic strategy report will confirm that Singapore’s long-term rate of economic growth is likely to fall to below 5 per cent a year from 8 per cent to 9 per cent a decade ago, as disclosed in the Financial Times in September.
The forecast decline in growth is in part a result of slower growth in the workforce caused by lower immigration and a fall in the birth rate to less than two children per woman, the rate at which population numbers are self-sustaining.
The report will propose a campaign to increase productivity, including government financial support for companies seeking to upgrade the skills of their existing workforces.
The report will also call for action to encourage more Singapore-based companies to expand overseas, and for a campaign to increase the city’s attractiveness to tourists and professional immigrants.
According to the latest government figures, only about 3.25m of Singapore’s 4.99m people are citizens, with 480,000 foreigners living in the city as permanent residents and 1.26m on short-term visas. This compares with just 312,000 foreign workers without permanent status in 1990, who then accounted for 10 per cent of a total population of just over 3m.
Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party.
The "line" of this blog is that immigration should be SELECTIVE. That means that:
1). A national government should be in control of it. The U.S. and U.K. governments are not but the Australian government has shown that the government of a prosperous Western country can be. Up until its loss of office in 2007, the conservative Howard government had all but eliminated illegal immigration. The present Leftist government has however restarted the flow of illegals by repealing many of the Howard government regulations.
2). Selectivity should be based on "the content of a man's character, not on the color of his skin", as MLK said. To expand that a little: Immigrants should only be accepted if they as individuals seem likely to make a positive net contribution to the country. Many "refugees" would fail that test: Muslims and Africans particularly. Educational level should usually be a pretty fair proxy for the individual's likely value to the receiving country. There will, of course, be exceptions but it is nonetheless unlikely that a person who has not successfully completed High School will make a net positive contribution to a modern Western society.
3). Immigrants should be neither barred NOR ACCEPTED solely because they are of some particular ethnic origin. Blacks are vastly more likely to be criminal than are whites or Chinese, for instance, but some whites and some Chinese are criminal. It is the criminality that should matter, not the race.
4). The above ideas are not particularly blue-sky. They roughly describe the policies of the country where I live -- Australia. I am critical of Australian policy only insofar as the "refugee" category for admission is concerned. All governments have tended to admit as refugees many undesirables. It seems to me that more should be required of them before refugees are admitted -- for instance a higher level of education or a business background.
5). Perhaps the most amusing assertion in the immigration debate is that high-income countries like the USA and Britain NEED illegal immigrants to do low-paid menial work. "Who will pick our crops?" (etc.) is the cry. How odd it is then that Australians get all the normal services of a modern economy WITHOUT illegal immigrants! Yes: You usually CAN buy a lettuce in Australia for a dollar or thereabouts. And Australia IS a major exporter of primary products.
6). I am a libertarian conservative so I reject the "open door" policy favoured by many libertarians and many Leftists. Both those groups tend to have a love of simplistic generalizations that fail to deal with the complexity of the real world. It seems to me that if a person has the right to say whom he/she will have living with him/her in his/her own house, so a nation has the right to admit to living among them only those individuals whom they choose.
I can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org -- or leave a comment on any post. Abusive comments will be deleted.