March 2007

What a flood that could be!

Olivia Nabulwala says her family in Uganda was so angry and ashamed to learn she was a lesbian that her relatives hurled insults at her, pummeled her and, finally, stripped her and held her down while a stranger raped her. “I hated myself from that day,” she said in a sworn statement. “I disliked my family for subjecting me to such torture, and yet they felt this was a good punishment for me.” Now, in a case that illuminates a relatively unexplored area of U.S. immigration law, the African immigrant is asking for asylum in the U.S. on the grounds she was persecuted over her sexual orientation. A federal appeals court ruling last week has raised her hopes of success.

Persecution based on sexual orientation has been grounds for asylum in the U.S. since the 1990s, but such cases are still rare. Most involve gay men persecuted by their government. There are few cases involving women, who are more likely to be persecuted by family members, said Rachel B. Tiven, executive director of Immigration Equality, a gay rights group that represents immigrants.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said it does not systematically track the number of asylum claims based on sexual orientation. Most immigration cases are dispensed without a published opinion. “That’s why we’re so excited about this case,” Tiven said. “A published opinion gives it greater weight, makes it citable.”

Immigration Equality, based in New York, said that last year it won 18 asylum cases for gay men and transgender women from the Congo, Algeria, Jamaica, Russia, Egypt, Peru, Bangladesh, Venezuela and Colombia. It said it lost two such asylum cases. Among some recent cases: A man who said he was beaten by Mexican police and threatened because he is gay won asylum in January. Another Mexican man was granted asylum in a 2000 appeals court ruling that extended protection to transvestites.

To qualify for asylum, applicants must demonstrate past persecution or well-founded fear of future persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular group, which now includes homosexuals. Asylum seekers must also show, among other things, that their government was unable or unwilling to protect them. In 1990, a gay Cuban who said he was abused by government officials in his homeland won asylum in the first significant ruling of its kind in the U.S. That ruling became the basis for then-Attorney General Janet Reno’s 1994 order allowing gays from other countries to seek asylum for persecution based on sexual orientation.

“It is a relatively new area of asylum law; there’s not a lot of bricks in the wall as to how these cases get played out,” Tiven said. “But here’s a high-level court, citing a reasonable and relevant application of government passivity.” “For women, it’s developed quite slowly,” she added. “Around the world, women face harm, often severe harm, from the nearest and not so dearest.”

In an affidavit in support of her application for asylum, Nabulwala, who is in her late 20s, says being gay is shameful in African culture and illegal in Uganda, and that her family expelled her from the clan. The Associated Press normally withholds the names of people who claim to be victims of sexual assault, but Nabulwala agreed through her lawyer to allow her name to be used. In her affidavit, Nabulwala says she realized she was a lesbian while attending an all-girls Christian boarding school in Kampala. In her senior year, 1994, after the local newspaper wrote a story about lesbian relationships at her high school, and her parents confronted her, Nabulwala admitted she was gay. She says her admission was a “big blow” to her father, who angrily told her she must end it or she “could no longer be his child.” Later, she says, she was brought to a family meeting, where insults were hurled at her and an aunt “beat me so hard with clenched fists and said it would help bring me back to my senses.”

In 2001, Nabulwala, by then in college, says she was called to another family meeting after relatives learned she was still involved in a lesbian relationship. “During this meeting, my Dad said so many unpleasant and hurtful words to me,” she says. “He was so angry that he reached out to grab my neck to strangle me. He stated he was going to kill me because I was an embarrassment to him, our family, as well as the entire clan.” She says two aunts dragged her out of the meeting into her room, where a young man was waiting. “I was forced to have sex with a total stranger, which was very nasty, while my aunts watched in laughter,” she says. “Afterwards, they all left me lying there in a lot of pain.”

Three months later, she entered the U.S. on a visitor visa, overstayed, then fought deportation by asserting a right to asylum. An immigration judge in Minnesota, where she now lives, said he did not doubt Nabulwala had suffered in Uganda because of her sexual orientation. But he ruled that the rape was a “private family mistreatment,” and not sponsored or authorized by the government. However, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the judge used the wrong legal standard, and ordered the case sent back for further proceedings on whether the Ugandan government was unwilling or unable to control the abuse, as Nabulwala contends.

Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda and punishable by one to four years in prison. But a police spokeswoman, Alice Nakoba, said no one has ever been convicted. She defended her country’s treatment of gays, saying that Ugandans seeking asylum in developed countries exaggerate. Nabulwala is “extremely happy” about the March 21 ruling, said her attorney, Eric Dorkin. Dorkin would not allow her to be interviewed or photographed, citing concerns about her safety and privacy. If Nabulwala is unsuccessful, she will be deported. “She’s afraid to go back,” Immigration Equality legal director Victoria Neilson said. “There’s no protection in Uganda for gay people.”



1. ”Amnesty Follies: The false inevitability of ‘Comprehensive immigration reform”’
Mark Krikorian
National Review Online, March 15, 2007

EXCERPT: ”When the Democrats won in November, there was a sense that an illegal-alien amnesty and huge increases in future immigration were inevitable. Even Rep. Tom Tancredo, the uber-hawk on immigration, was taken in: ‘We will fight it, we will lose,’ he told the Washington Times. ‘It will go to the Senate, it will pass. The president will sign it. And it will happen quickly because that’s one thing they know they can pass.’

”Sometimes it’s good to be wrong. . . . ”


2. ”An easy curb on illegal immigration”
by Jessica M. Vaughan
The Providence Journal, March 14, 2007

EXCERPT: ” … The most widely accepted approach is to prevent the employment of illegal aliens by making sure that businesses, state agencies and their contractors confirm the immigration status of new employees with the federal government. Colorado, Georgia and Idaho have already passed some degree of mandatory verification, and a bill filed by Sen. Marc Cote and Rep. Jon Brien, two Democrats from Woonsocket, would establish a similar practice in the Ocean State. … ”


3. ”Latino Voting in the 2006 Election: Realignment to the GOP Remains Distant”
James G. Gimpel
Center for Immigration Studies Backgrounder, March 2007

EXCERPT: ” … Practically speaking this means that to attract a steady stream of Latinos toward the GOP, continued economic prosperity and upward economic mobility will be important issues of concern. Republicans will make steady gains among Latinos through policies that facilitate Latino economic prosperity, business ownership, and secure employment.

”There is no evidence that a more open immigration policy is one of those policies, as there is ample evidence from economics that unskilled immigrants compete in the same labor market niches as unskilled natives, lowering wages and living standards among all unskilled workers (Borjas 2001; 2003). The best course toward the long-term political realignment of the Latino vote may be a less open immigration policy. The share of Latinos voting Republican has remained largely unchanged across three decades, with fluctuations barely exceeding the error margin in most surveys. If the path to Republican Party identification is paved by upward economic mobility, there would be many more Latino Republicans if these last 30 years had not witnessed record levels of unskilled immigration. … ”


4. ”Assistance for Elderly and Disabled Refugees”
Statement of Mark Krikorian before the Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support, Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives March 22, 2007

EXCERPT: ” … In the context of limited government resources, and given the fact that a refugee is dramatically more costly to taxpayers than any other kind of immigrant, policymakers must consider whether the costs of admitting additional refugees should be balanced by a reduction in the admission of other immigrants. To govern is to choose, and if we choose to permit humanitarian immigration (as I would argue we must, though not necessarily as it is arranged today), then we must face up to the costs and order the rest of our immigration system accordingly.”


5. ”Crossing the Border: Immigrants in Detention and Victims of Trafficking”
Statement of Michael W. Cutler before the House Committee on Homeland Security March 15, 2007

EXCERPT: ” … Because of the inherent risks to the safety and well being of our nation and our citizens, I would strongly urge that aliens who apply for political asylum be kept in a detention facility until their true identities can be determined along with a proper determination being made of their credible fear should they be returned to their home country. I believe, however that it is essential to provide comfortable detention facilities for these aliens who are illegally in the United States and have applied for political asylum, especially if they are accompanied by their families. In this perilous era, it is my judgment that while our officials conduct investigations of the bona fides of claims of credible fear articulated by applicants for political asylum, that we have the way to detain such aliens until they are determined to pose no threat to our country and have, indeed, met the requirements to be eligible to be granted political asylum. However, should an alien be proven to not be eligible to be granted political asylum wither because he committed fraud or because he actually poses a threat to our national security, retaining such an alien in custody would deny him the ability to abscond and embed himself in our country. … ”


6. ”Preventing Illegal Employment: Federal ‘Basic Pilot’ Verification Program is an Effective and Business-friendly Tool”
Statement of Jessica M. Vaughan before the House Committee on Labor, Rhode Island General Assembly March 14, 2007

EXCERPT: ” … Mandatory verification of immigration status for new employment is not a silver bullet. Rather, it should be considered as one key part of a larger strategy to address illegal immigration that relies on partnerships between federal and state authorities, and between government agencies. This strategy acknowledges that the population of more than 12 million illegal immigrants realistically cannot be apprehended and deported one by one. Nor is the federal government likely to enact a mass amnesty to legalize this population. Instead, lawmakers should rely on an array of policies to increase the day-to-day enforcement of immigration laws, prevent employment, and encourage voluntary compliance with immigration laws. Other proven tools include electronic status verification for public benefits, immigration law training for state and local law enforcement and public agency employees, strict standards for drivers’ licensing, and rigorous identification standards for financial institutions. Adoption of these policies will convince a large number of illegal aliens that they would be better off returning home on their own, thereby easing the burden on local communities, and enabling federal authorities to concentrate their resources on the most problematic cases.”

The Bush administration floated elements of an immigration plan on Wednesday that would make it harder for millions of illegal immigrants to gain citizenship than under legislation passed by the Senate last year, according to officials in both parties. These officials said the administration also suggested barring future guest workers who enter the country legally from bringing family members with them — a proposal unlikely to survive intact. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to discuss about elements of a plan that was not yet public.

President Bush and Democratic leaders of Congress have both pledged to seek a compromise on immigration legislation this year, and the administration’s point men, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, sat down in the Capitol with key senators of both parties for an initial meeting.

Efforts to pass compromise legislation last year collapsed when Republican lawmakers objected to a Senate-passed bill that created a path to citizenship for many of the estimated 11 million to 12 million men women and children in the country illegally. Bush spoke favorably of the measure, even making a prime-time televised speech at one point backing a plan to allow millions of immigrants an eventual chance at citizenship as part of a comprehensive approach to the issue. But conservative critics attacked it as amnesty, and it died last fall when the expiring Republican-controlled Congress adjourned without taking final action.

Administration officials have been meeting privately in recent weeks with key Republicans, including some who opposed the 2006 legislation, in hopes of forging a general agreement within the party. As described by several officials, the proposal would allow currently illegal immigrants to stay in the United States under a new Z visa. They could apply for so-called green cards, taking their place in line alongside men and women who are in the country legally and want citizenship, and would be required to undergo periodic background checks while waiting. Immigrants possessing green cards have lawful permanent residency status.

The length of their wait would depend on the number of green cards available — a feature that officials in both parties said would mean millions of illegal immigrants would have to wait far longer than under the Senate bill of last year. “It takes longer and they’ve got to go through the same channels as everybody else,” said one Republican who had been briefed on the administration’s proposal.

Under last year’s bill, immigrants in the U.S. longer than five years could apply for citizenship without leaving the country. Those in the U.S. for more than two years but fewer than five would be required to go to a border point of entry, but they could return quickly as legal temporary workers while their citizenship application was pending.


Immigration agents arrested more than 50 people Thursday in raids on a temporary employment agency’s offices and places where it provided undocumented workers, including the port of Baltimore, authorities said. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement also seized a bank account containing more than $600,000 from the employment agency, Jones Industrial Network, which provides workers in the Baltimore area. The agency’s offices and eight other businesses were searched, including three where the temp agency is suspected of providing undocumented workers, ICE said.

The investigation began last year after immigration officials heard that temp agencies had provided illegal immigrants as workers to the port of Baltimore and other unwitting employers, ICE said. Having “illegal aliens working and having access to our ports is a major security vulnerability,” said ICE field office director Calvin McCormick.

The employment agency’s offices downtown near the Inner Harbor were closed Thursday, with a sign in English and Spanish saying the company would not be open. An exact number of officials and temporary workers arrested was not immediately released. Jones officials were not arrested or charged, although ICE officials said their investigation continued. Jones is the only company that has been targeted criminally, and all others involved in the raids have cooperated, ICE officials said.

A lawyer for sportswear maker Under Armour Inc., which was also raided, said the Baltimore company was not aware that employees were illegal immigrations. The company has cooperated fully with the investigation, of which it is not a target, and it is considering legal action against the temp agency, general counsel Kevin Haley said. “At Under Armour, we are patriots first and last, and we’re fully committed to compliance with all laws and regulations,” Haley said. “We’re furious that apparently one of the temp agencies we use was not so committed or gave the appearance of being not so committed.” The workers were employed at the company’s distribution center, Haley said.

McCormick said 20 of those detained may qualify for humanitarian release. James Dinkins, ICE special agent in charge, said those detained were being transferred to three institutions in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Immigration officials said state and federal officials would interview the detainees to determine whether any medical, sole-caregiver or other issues would qualify them for humanitarian release. Relatives of the detainees can call a 24-hour toll-free hot line, 866-341-3858.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick this month urged federal authorities not to move out of that state any more factory workers detained in an immigration raid until their children were located and arrangements made for their care. More than 300 people were detained for possible deportation in a raid at a leather factory that makes equipment for the military.


So can Sharia be far behind? But Sweden’s consul general in Istanbul, Ingmar Karlsson, is not concerned about that. No, he is sure that a tolerant, Europeanized Islam will somehow magically appear. He is much more exercised about “xenophobia” than about the Islamization of Europe. “Islam is and will be a European religion,” from Today’s Zaman:

“The birthrate among Muslim immigrants in Europe is three times higher than that of the non-Muslim European population. According to Sweden’s consul general in ?stanbul, Ingmar Karlsson, if this trend continues, the Muslim population will be doubled by 2015, while Europe’s non-Muslim population will decrease by 3.5 percent. Some estimates indicate that in 30 years the number of Muslims in Europe could be as high as 65 million.

The outspoken consul general, who is a doctor of divinity and the author of more than 10 books on the subjects of Europe’s relationship with faith, terrorism, Islam and minorities, has said that the trend towards a multi-racial and multi-confessional Europe is unstoppable; therefore, Islam must be recognized and regarded as a “domestic” European religion.

Therefore? Domestic?

Karlsson, whose latest book will be available in Sweden today, titled “Europe and the Turk,” said that Turkey’s membership in the European Union would demonstrate the falsity of the argument that Islam and democracy cannot mix, also helping to bring about favorable changes in the Islamic world’s attitude towards Europe.

Neither of these follow. All that Turkey’s entry into the EU would prove would be the suicidal short-sightedness of the Europeans, and it would make the Islamic world regard Europe favorably the way one may view his lunch favorably.

“There is nothing which intrinsically prevents a Muslim from being as good a Swede as a member of the Pentecostal Bretheren or an adherent of the Jewish faith, nor is there anything that prevents mosques from becoming as natural a feature of Swedish cities as churches have always been in ?stanbul, Aleppo, Damascus, Mosul or Cairo,” Karlsson said.

Wishful thinking. Karlsson ignores the fact that traditionally Islam has never recognized a sacred/secular distinction, and that Muslims come to Europe with a ready-made model of society — a model that many, if not most, believe superior to the European model, and which many, if not most, would be happy to see replace European society and laws as they are currently constituted. Pentecostals and Jews never went anywhere with anything comparable to that.

For EU membership, religion is not among the criteria, therefore, refusing Turkey’s admission on religious grounds would send a dangerous signal, especially after Sept.11, 2001, Karlsson noted, adding that Turkey’s rejection by the EU would have a radicalizing effect both in the Muslim world and in Turkey itself.

Did you catch that? Islam is benign, so let Turkey into the EU, because if we don’t, these benign folks will kill us. Karlsson just goes on in this vein. Read it all, if you have the stomach.


After 10 years of record immigration, the Government is to set up a high-level forum to assess its impact on communities. The move marks a significant change of approach by Labour, which has justified the four-fold increase since 1997 almost entirely on economic grounds. David Blunkett, a former Home Secretary, once said there was no obvious upper limit to the numbers that could come from outside the EU. But the Home Office said yesterday that it was establishing a Migration Impacts Forum (MIF) alongside another new body advising on skills shortages that immigrants might be able to fill.

The announcement was part of a package of measures that included the prospect of a 1,000 pound fine on families whose relatives failed to go home when their visas expired. It is already an offence punishable by a 5,000pound fine to retain a nanny who has overstayed. It also envisaged further curbs on forced marriage by raising the minimum age for bringing a spouse to the UK from 18 to 21. It will be a requirement for spouses to learn English before they can join their wife or husband.

Liam Byrne, the immigration minister, who will chair the MIF alongside Phil Woolas, the communities minister, said: “I want to make sure that when ministers decide how high the hurdle should be set, they have got a clear understanding of where in the British economy migration is needed and where it isn’t. They also must have access to information about the impacts that immigration is having on communities. “We need to ensure that we are making decisions with our eyes wide open.”

The forum will consider evidence that schools, hospitals, housing and transport infrastructure are all feeling the strain of a growing population. Doctors have complained that their surgeries cannot cope with the number of new patients now registering, largely from Eastern Europe. Many were women who were seeking assistance with a pregnancy or who were seeking an abortion.

Figures published today by Migrationwatch, which has campaigned for the wider impact to be considered, – suggest that at least 73,000 new homes would be needed every year to house England’s rapidly growing immigrant population. Council chiefs have already warned the Government that local services are coming under huge strain as a result of unprecedented levels of immigration. Over an 18-month period, about 9,000 new National Insurance numbers were issued in Slough, Berks, of which just 150 went to British nationals. Yet the Office for National Statistics recorded only 300 international migrants settling in the area. Net immigration in 2005 was close to 200,000 – four times the number when Labour took office in 1997.

The latest measures foreshadow a new visa regime for tourists, whose length of stay could be reduced from six months to three months. Officials said only two per cent of visitors stayed longer than three months and these could be people who worked illegally or breached their visa terms.

Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migrationwatch, said: “It is high time that the wider picture was considered, including the widespread public concern that we are losing our own culture. “But this forum will be useless if it includes only the usual suspects from the immigration industry and employers who stand to gain from immigration.”


The best interests of U.S. citizens are obviously not on the bureaucratic list of priorities

A Bradenton man is fighting to keep his family together, even though they are half a world away. He and his wife, a Japanese national, are caught in the middle of an immigration nightmare. It started with what seemed like a simple visa mistake. Now every moment of every day, Keith Campbell is fighting to bring home his wife and two young boys. “I can’t let it go on forever, being half a world away. I’ve got little kids. I feel like I need to be protected from my own government,” said Campbell.

He and his wife Akiko met in Asia while he was working overseas. They got married nine years ago and built a life together with their children in Bradenton. Campbell says his wife entered the country with a fiance visa – the problem was that they’d just gotten married. “That’s it. There’s no, no criminal activity, no questionable behavior, no link to terrorism. There’s no anything,” offered Campbell. But in the eyes of immigration officials, she was in the country illegally. Campbell says they’ve struggled to clear up the mistake for years. So, when a letter arrived, saying “notice of approval for visa petition,” they thought their prayers were answered.

In January, Akiko flew to Japan and went to the U.S. embassy as instructed. She took the kids with her for a visit to her homeland. But when she got there, Campbell says she was told she couldn’t come back. She was not only denied a visa, but told she couldn’t re-apply for another 10-years.

“It was a shock. It changed the spirit of what was going on. It went from her going over there for a visit, to her being over there forever,” said Campbell. He believes immigration officials never intended to issue a visa to his wife. “I went to the embassy. I asked if they knew it was denied all along and they said yes. We knew it up front. So it’s definitely an underhanded, dishonest way,” said Campbell. “It is an outrage. I can’t be outraged though. People who are outraged aren’t successful. So, I’ve got to be calculated and do what makes sense and be morally correct. And I’ve got to be within the law. But I feel like the government’s picked a fight and I’m gonna fight. I’m gonna fight to get her back because she deserves to be here.”

Campbell has received hundreds of letters of support from friends and colleagues. He’s also written plenty of letters himself to immigration officials and politicians. So far nothing’s worked. But, he’s not giving up. He says his wife and children are his life. “She hasn’t given up hope and that’s what fuels my fire. But she tells me it’s hard to hope. It’s getting harder to hope.”


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