December 31, 2007
SPENCER, Iowa — The tiny jail here has housed many a typical small-town Iowa criminal since its bricks were laid in 1938 — drunk drivers, drug abusers, the occasional thief. These days, though, Sheriff Randy Krukow walks the cell row and behind the bars sees a new kind of increasingly typical lawbreaker: illegal immigrants. Six of the eight men locked up this month were in the country illegally, accused of identity fraud and drug dealing.
They worry Krukow, as did the 99 illegal immigrants he watched being arrested on television last year when federal agents swarmed a meatpacking plant three hours down the road. Krukow has never entered the variety store that advertises “envios de dinero” — money transfers — to Mexico and Central America that opened two years ago on Grand Avenue in Spencer, where antique lampposts are a reminder of the town’s founding more than 100 years ago. And across from Krukow’s three-bedroom rancher, on a block filled with flags for the local high school and ribbons for U.S. troops, sits a worn beige rental with a sheet in the front window that is home to a group of Hispanic immigrants. “When the weather’s nice, they’re all out there talking on their cellphones. All 10 of them,” said Krukow, 57. “Don’t speak a lick of English, but they are hardworking.”
Krukow understands and even sympathizes with what has brought his new neighbors. The hog and chicken confinement plants that opened a decade ago promise a decent wage and a better life. But he wants illegal immigrants gone before Clay County starts to resemble neighboring Buena Vista County, where half of the workforce at a Tyson meat plant is Hispanic and where one in eight residents is an immigrant. “We’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg,” said Krukow, who has lived in these parts all his life and serves as an elder at a Pentecostal church. “It’s still ‘God, family, country’ here. Illegal is illegal.”
The sentiments of voters such as Krukow have propelled the issue of illegal immigration to the fore of the Republican race for president in Iowa, where a relatively small but concentrated influx of newcomers has begun to transform the largely rural, largely white state. Immigrants are drawn to jobs in the agriculture industry that Americans are not filling. About 20,000 immigrants, most of them Hispanic, have moved to Iowa in the last six years, and the state is now home to about 112,000 of them, according to 2006 U.S. Census figures. More than half are undocumented, according to a 2006 study by the Pew Hispanic Center.
The Republican presidential hopefuls, particularly front-runners Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney, have seized on these numbers and are telling voters on the stump, in TV and radio commercials, and at debates that they will do the most to stem illegal immigration. Like many other Republicans, Krukow is torn between Huckabee and Romney, who has repeatedly criticized Huckabee’s support for tuition breaks for the children of illegal immigrants while he was governor of Arkansas. Krukow agrees with Romney that undocumented immigrants should not receive government benefits such as tuition breaks, but he understands Huckabee’s biblical argument about not punishing children for the sins of their fathers.
The sheriff also admires the Baptist-minister-turned-politician’s unabashed Christian faith. It is the same faith that leads Krukow to services every Sunday morning at DaySpring Assembly of God, where the U.S. flag and a cross-bearing Christian banner adorn the stage. He and his wife, Suzanne, also host a Sunday night prayer group for couples at their home. Still, Krukow wonders whether Huckabee is too soft on immigration. The sheriff is looking for a hard-line candidate who will wall off the border and ensure that taxpayers are not subsidizing illegal immigrants.
December 31, 2007
A strict policy to arrest, prosecute and jail illegal aliens who cross into the U.S. has shown significant success in reducing crossings and crime along the Texas border, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officials said this month.
The first 45 days of Operation Streamline – a collaborative effort of local, state and federal agencies in Texas – has resulted in decreased illegal border crossings and crime since its implementation Oct. 31 compared with last year’s numbers, said Laredo Border Patrol Sector chief patrol agent Carlos X. Carrillo.
“As more and more illegal aliens are prosecuted and incarcerated under Streamline-Laredo, the word is spreading quickly that illegal entry has its consequences,” Mr. Carrillo said. “Those found guilty of violating this statute face penalties that can include fines and up to six months in prison.”
During the first 45-day period of Operation Streamline in the Laredo sector only 2,833 illegal entries were reported, compared with last fiscal year, when 4,424 illegal entries were reported during a similar period.
The operation covers a 60-mile span along the U.S.-Mexico border at Laredo. Mr. Carrillo also noted that there was an overall reduction of 33 percent in apprehensions along the entire 171-mile Laredo border corridor.
The Laredo Police Department’s crime data for Oct. 31-Dec. 15 indicates a year-to-date reduction in reported crimes of approximately 30 percent, and a 36 percent decrease in major crimes during the 45-day Streamline-Laredo reporting period….
The program also shows the benefit of local law enforcement partnering with the immigration enforcement authorities and how it leads to a reduction in crime in general. There is a lesson here for sanctuary cities.
December 30, 2007
Michigan joined the nation’s majority on Thursday, when state Attorney General Mike Cox ruled that illegal immigrants no longer can get a state driver’s license. State Rep. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, said it’s a matter of national security, but those who work with immigrants called the move political and unnecessary. “We were becoming a magnet for illegals, and it’s dangerous,” said Jones, who requested the Cox opinion overruling the 1995 official stance from former Attorney General Frank Kelley, a Democrat. Cox is a Republican. Jones said he was surprised to learn how easily illegal immigrants have obtained licenses. “Since 9/11, we’ve got to be more aware of these kinds of practices,” the legislator warned.
Michigan has been one of seven states to allow undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses. Attorney general opinions are legally binding on state agencies and officers unless reversed by the courts. It was not known how soon the ruling might take effect nor what it means for illegal immigrants with currently valid licenses.
Michigan law prohibits the secretary of state from issuing a driver’s license to a nonresident. Cox, whose opinion noted that a driver’s license is routinely accepted as proof of identity, said it would be inconsistent with federal law to regard an illegal immigrant as a permanent resident in Michigan. His decision could boost momentum for legislation pushed by Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, a Republican, creating a new driver’s license and state ID card. Only those who are Michigan residents and legally in the United States could get the new license under the plan.
“I thought the attorney general was above politics,” said John Roy Castillo, executive director of the Cristo Rey Community Center. “We should be more concerned about more important things than this issue.” He’d rather see politicians turn their attention to jobs, the economy and education. Without that focus, he’s concerned that some populations will experience unfair treatment. “There’s going to be more discrimination against Hispanics and more individuals that don’t look white,” Castillo said.
Maria Zavala, a Lansing resident who does health care outreach in the local immigrant community, also criticized Cox’s decision. She believes illegal immigrants contribute more to the state’s economy than most people understand. Without the legal ability to get driver’s licenses for identification purposes, Zavala is concerned they will be more apt to falsify documents. “The people who come here really come here to work so they’re not a burden on the state,” she said. “Passing that law is helping to eliminate a whole working class – a nonvisible working class – that does help.”
December 30, 2007
The dream of most immigrants – at least when arriving to Spain – isn’t to stay here. Rather its to strike it rich and then move back home. Striking it rich is relative, given that in many of the countries these people come from the monthly salary can be around 200 dollars. But with a small nest egg, perhaps a home that was built in the country of origin while living in Spain, and hopes of a small retirement pension, many immigrants are willing to take their chances living in a foreign country.
One such case is Cesar Augusto, who came with his cousin to visit Spain in 2002. The two Venezuelans caught a flight from Caracas and arrived on three-month tourist visas. Like thousands before them, they didn’t bother returning when the visas expired. “My cousin decided to stay, so I thought I’d stay to accompany him,” said Augusto. “Besides, things are very bad in Venezuela.” And in Ecuador. And in Colombia. And in Argentina. And in Peru.
The economic and political upheaval in South America, along with a common language, have sent the numbers coming to Spain from that continent soaring into the hundreds of thousands, up from just tens of thousands at the turn of the century. That wave of late has been supplanted by workers from Eastern Europe as the borders drop and the European Union enlarges.
The face of Plaza Olavide has changed in the last 10 years. Nestled in the center of Madrid, the Chamberi neighborhood is one of the capital’s most expensive areas to rent an apartment. But high prices haven’t stopped poor immigrants from making this neighborhood their home to take advantage of its central location. Apartments are often rented, and then subsequently sublet to dozens of people – the going price can reach 300 euros for the right to a slot in a bunkbed and to use a communal toilet down the hall. The purchase price for a 130 square meter apartment in Chamberi can easily touch 750,000 dollars. One industrious Ecuadorean woman sublet to 30 people to finance the spacious apartment – when no immigrants were living there – where she and her family were living. The living room was divided into three rooms by curtains. With the rent money she was able to purchase a second apartment – and then move her family to London.
In the central plaza nearby the playground is filled with a rainbow of children from Africa, China, Eastern Europe and Latin America. In general, their parents have more children than the average Spanish family, sometimes even more than in their home countries – one of the local Chinese merchants has three children.
A walk around the circular plaza shows Romanian bartenders, a Cuban carpenter, a Peruvian sweets vendor, a French florist, an Egyptian ice cream vendor, and and Ecuadorean family in competition with their Peruvian colleagues across the square – and both selling Spanish tapas and drinks on popular terraces.
Make no mistake – there is work in Spain for immigrants. But immigrants – and I include myself in that number, not only as a US citizen, but also via my Peruvian wife – have to be willing to just that: work.
These waves of immigration have helped prop Spain’s economy, both by contributing to its welfare system and by supplying unpopular work to crucial sectors, such as construction and services. Included in the services sector is tourism, which contributes 12% to Spain’s gross domestic product, or construction. But there are concerns as the construction sector is now seen on the decline, with a recent report from the large Spanish bank BBVA even suggesting there could be losses of upwards of a quarter of million jobs.
The concern is where those people will turn – the vast majority of them being immigrants. Many are already taking courses sponsored by the govenment to learn new job skills. But the fear not all will have taken such an opportunity.
Often the needs of the Spanish economy don’t mesh perfectly with the needs of the arrivals. Many immigrants run the risk of being trapped in marginalized jobs, experts warn, preventing them from fully integrating into Spain’s economy and society even while their numbers grow. Where just five years ago it was impossible to speak of immigrant ghettos, today there are neighborhoods where a Spanish face is foreign. With roughly 11% of the European Union’s population and about 10% its GDP, Spain accounts for around 25% of Europe’s immigration.
Ecuador alone sent more than 200,000 citizens to Spain from 1998 to 2001. Now, in 2007 there are over 420,000 legal Ecuadorians in Spain, with estimates that number could swell to over 750,000 if illegals were included. Colombia added almost 150,000 during the same years. Argentine net migration to Spain rose nearly threefold for the same period, although the absolute numbers were lower. By comparison, Morocco, a mere eight miles away and a country whose migration problems with Spain are widely publicized, sent just more than 100,000 to Spain during the same three years.
According to the latest figures, the largest single immigrant population remains Morocco with 575,000, followed by Rumania (525,000) Ecuador, United Kingdom (315,000), Colombia (260,000), Bolivia (200,000), Germany (165,000), Argentina (140,000), Italy (135,000), Bulgaria (120,000), China (105,000) and Peru (100,000). A closer look at those numbers shows that Latin American immigrants as a whole are the largest group in Spain.
With such numbers it should be no suprise that there is also talk that political parties are actively seeking the immigrant vote – most South Americans can claim Spanish nationality after living and working legally two years in the country. On top of those numbers are immigrants from other European Union countries. As Spain heads into General Elections in March there will most likely be initiatives that seek to woo this potentially crucial swing-vote.
One important area will be how immigrants view their as of late loss of purchasing power – many of them, while still sending money home, have bought into the dream of buying an apartment. But as of late mortgages are rising, with many immigrants finding that the price of paying the bank is now surpassing what they make. To make ends meet many immigrants fall back on the tried-and-true method of subleting any available space in their apartments. In one more than one case a bed placed on a cold hastily glassed-in terrace can fetch an extra hundred euros a month.
South American, and other, foreign workers are helping to pay unemployment benefits Spain can ill afford. But despite their contribution, the arrivals are bringing tensions often hidden by the common language and which bode ill for the future. It is often conjectured that for every one legal immigrant there are between three and five others who are illegal. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development routinely warns that immigrants face precarious conditions because they aren’t legal, work on temporary contracts and tend to work long hours, sometimes paid below the contractual rate…..
December 29, 2007
1. Immigration, Mainstream Media, and the 2008 Election
EXCERPT: The narratives about the election of 2008 and the rebellion against Establishment immigration policy are intertwined: their nexus will become increasingly palpable in the months ahead. Strange as it will therefore strike politically savvy Americans, a confluence that could significantly influence or prove decisive in the campaign will likely become known largely despite mainstream media rather than because of it – the exception being the rigged but ultimately uncontrollable debates among primary candidates. If this seems professionally unaccountable, a dereliction of the role of the press in a democracy, or just extremely curious that mainstream media appears determined to pass up what may be the scoop of the 2008 election, there’s a reason if no rational justification. The explanation has nothing to do with a journalistic assessment of newsworthiness and everything to do with what the elite that controls the nation’s traditional sources of news and opinion deems ideologically outre.
2. The Case Against Immigration: Amy Chua gets a lot of things right but a few big things wrong
EXCERPT: . . . But Chua’s useful note of caution is almost lost in a mountain of nonsense. First, to imply that Huntington, this nation’s preeminent social scientist, is capable of ‘scapegoating vitriol’ is absurd. In his book, ‘Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity’ Huntington argues not that only WASPs can be Americans. He simply says that our institutions and culture were permanently shaped by British low-church Protestantism — and that diluting that inheritance would undermine much of what has made America such a successful multi-ethnic society…..
The other restrictionist ‘mistake’ Chua points to is neglecting ‘the indispensable role that immigrants have played in building American wealth and power.’ The present-day examples she cites have nothing to do with ‘a fierce global competition to attract the world’s best high-tech scientists and engineers.’ Intel cofounder Andy Grove, for instance, is a manager, not a technician, and Google cofounder Sergey Brin came here as a child as part of a refugee family. The push by high-tech firms to import more talent from abroad is simply a 21st century version of the eternal search for cheap labor.
And Chua’s examples from the past are just that. Although today’s immigrants are very similar to those of a century ago, we are a completely changed society. As I argue in my forthcoming book, ‘The New Case Against Immigration,’ immigration is simply incompatible with modern society. Our economy places a much higher premium than ever before on education. The United States already spends too much on an extensive welfare state. And advances in communications and transportation make immigration, even of the educated, deeply problematic for assimilation and security and sovereignty. In other words, the immigrants are the same, but we are different.
NOTE: “Who Are We?: The Challenges to America’s National Identity,” by Samuel Huntington can be purchased on line here
3. Immigration, both legal and illegal, puts huge strain on the country
EXCERPT: The debate over immigration has become one of America’s most heated. In a new report published by the Center for Immigration Studies, we provide a detailed picture of the nation’s immigrant population. Our conclusions will probably not surprise most Californians: First, legal and illegal immigration is at record levels. Second, immigrants are generally hardworking, yet they create enormous strains on social services. Why? Put simply, many are uneducated.
4. State Immigration Law Training and Enforcement Programs Enhance Homeland Security and Public Safety
EXCERPT: Nevada’s adoption of a carefully thought out program of immigration law training and enforcement for state law enforcement agencies will contribute significantly to homeland security and enhance public safety for all its residents. Due to geography, the presence of a number of high-profile sites, and a history of significant crime problems with a nexus to illegal immigration, Nevada is an ideal candidate for participation in the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s 287(g) program. This program provides advanced training in immigration law for selected state law enforcement officers, and enables trained officers, under the supervision of ICE, to identify, detain and begin the removal process for certain illegal aliens who come into contact with law enforcement. While a total of 34 jurisdictions have implemented 287(g) programs, there are three state programs in particular (Alabama, Colorado, and Florida) that seem best suited to Nevada’s situation and homeland security objectives. In addition, the state should take further steps to achieve these objectives, such as adoption of state anti-smuggling and document/identity fraud laws; establishment of document verification protocols for licensing and other state benefits; mandatory screening for status of incarcerated foreign-born individuals; uniform state-wide policies on handling foreign-born encountered by police; universal immigration law training for law enforcement agencies; and deterrence of illegal employment.
5. Immigrants in the United States, 2007: A Profile of America’s Foreign-Born Population
EXCERPT: Among the report’s findings:
* The nation’s immigrant population (legal and illegal) reached a record of 37.9 million in 2007.
* Immigrants account for one in eight U.S. residents, the highest level in 80 years. In 1970 it was one in 21; in 1980 it was one in 16; and in 1990 it was one in 13.
* Overall, nearly one in three immigrants is an illegal alien. Half of Mexican and Central American immigrants and one-third of South American immigrants are illegal.
* Of adult immigrants, 31 percent have not completed high school, compared to 8 percent of natives. Since 2000, immigration increased the number of workers without a high school diploma by 14 percent, and all other workers by 3 percent.
6. Farm Labor Shortages: How Real? What Response? Teleconference Transcript
Philip Martin, Professor of California Resource Economics, University of California, Davis
Mark Krikorian, Executive Director, Center for Immigration Studies
Dr. Philip Martin’s Backgrounder, entitled “Farm Labor Shortages: How Real? What Response?,” is on line here
7. Farmworker Farce: The shortage simply doesn’t exist
EXCERPT: The lobbyists’ “crops are rotting in the fields” story line has been repeated often and with little to back it up. This is one of those stories into which reporters buy so wholeheartedly, that they find no reason to actually check it out – like church burnings, or “Jeningrad.” The New York Times, of course, is the gold standard for this sort of thing, though it’s quite widespread . . .
Since only two percent of Americans still work in agriculture, many of the rest of us fall for this baloney. The research in this area, however, paints a very different picture. In a new paper, published by my Center for Immigration Studies, agricultural economist Philip Martin of the University of California, Davis, finds “little evidence” to support claims of a labor shortage on America’s farms.
December 29, 2007
A company specialising in removing failed asylum-seekers is to approach the Government with plans to use specially adapted aircraft to deport hundreds of “disruptive” refugees. Asylum Airways, run by an Austrian aviation consultant with ties to British security firms, will operate aircraft for European countries which do not wish to use established airlines for the forced removal of asylum-seekers. The planes will have specially designed seats so that the “passengers” can be strapped down and restrained by guards. A deal could save the Government millions of pounds compared with the piecemeal contracts it has negotiated with dozens of airlines as well as reduce the number of aborted deportations.
Hundreds of asylum-seeker removals have had to be aborted in the past two years because of what the Home Office describes as “disruptive behaviour”. And in the past few months airlines have been criticised for carrying failed asylum-seekers, many of whom allege they have been physically and racially abused by private security guards paid to escort them.
Earlier this year XL airlines announced that it would no longer work with the Home Office in removing failed asylum-seekers. But British Airways and others argue that they have a legal duty to take asylum-seekers on their aircraft.
Heinz Berger, who has set up the Asylum Airlines company and has worked with British companies providing security at British airports, says that he is still involved with the “bureaucracy” of the scheme but has identified Britain as a key market for his service. Mr Berger said that Britain was on a list of countries with whom he was seeking to do business. He said there was “ongoing interest all over Europe” for an airline that will organise flights around Europe, picking up failed asylum-seekers from various countries and then flying them back to their home nations around Africa, the Middle East and Asia. A special feature will be bespoke aircraft with padded rooms and restraining equipment.
Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show that the removal of hundreds of asylum-seekers each year has to be cancelled because of “disruptive behaviour”. But this can include medical problems as well as complaints from passengers. A spokeswoman for the Home Office said that while the Government was “open to new ideas” she said the present arrangements were working “pretty well”.
December 28, 2007
The usual Leftist attempt to silence opposition rather than debate it
Immigrant-rights groups are criticizing the organizers of an upcoming radio event that will promote a crackdown on illegal immigration. The groups accuse the Federation for American Immigration Reform of endorsing bigotry and racism. FAIR is sponsoring a broadcast marathon for Thursday and Friday in a downtown Des Moines hotel. The event is expected to attract 22 radio talk show hosts from across the country to discuss immigration. “We don’t agree with their views that are demonizing immigrants, and we don’t appreciate their coming to Iowa telling us what we should think about immigrants,” said Alicia Claypool, chairwoman of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission.
Dan Stein, president of FAIR, said his group is being demonized. “They’re trying to discredit an entire side of the debate,” Stein said. FAIR held a similar radio event last spring in Washington that it claims influenced the U.S. Senate’s defeat of a bill that would have created a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. FAIR placed an advertisement last week in The Des Moines Register taking note of the defeated legislation and promoting the upcoming marathon. “Earlier this year, talk radio shook things up in Washington and helped stop an amnesty for illegal aliens,” the ad stated.
Critics have said FAIR’s hard anti-immigrant line has discouraged a fair debate. They note that the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights organization, recently added FAIR to its list of hate groups operating in the United States. Stein said the law center’s report contains “serious fabrications. … It’s absolutely defamatory.”
FAIR’s Web site – http://www.fairus.org – says the group advocates for improved border security, an end to illegal immigration, and immigration levels “consistent with more traditional rates of about 300,000 a year.”
The Center for New Community, a Chicago-based immigrant rights advocacy group, disagrees with FAIR’s purpose and encourages the hotel to cancel the event. The Rev. David Ostendorf, the center’s executive director, said hotels and other places “have no obligation to provide a platform for hate speech.” Stein accused critics of the planned broadcasts of trying to obstruct free speech “and people’s right to be heard on public policy issues.”
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