April 2007


It’s broken all right but who broke it? Successive administrations that failed to enforce the laws they are entrusted to enforce. Recent enforcement efforts show what could have been done all along

President Bush came to a city of immigrants Saturday to press his case for an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws. In a 20-minute commencement address at Miami Dade College, Bush urged graduates to press Congress to bridge its divide over immigration proposals. He made the address at a college where more than half of the students were raised speaking a language other than English. “Our current immigration system is in need of reform. It is not working,” said Bush, as the crowd cheered. “We need a system where our laws are respected. We need a system that meets the legitimate needs of our economy.” Outside, several hundred people gathered to protest the war in Iraq.

Bush has called for a bill with tighter border controls, a temporary-worker program and legal status for many of the men and women living in the U.S. without documents. Congress failed to pass legislation last year as members of the then-GOP-controlled House passed a measure focusing on enforcement. But the Democratically controlled House in March passed a bill that offers 12 million immigrants living in the country without authorization a path to citizenship. If the Senate passes a similar measure, the president could get his wish.

Bush told the graduates he supports immigration that “will allow us to secure our borders and enforce our laws once and for all, that will keep us competitive in a global economy, and that will resolve the status of those who are already here, without amnesty, and without animosity.” Bush applauded the college’s diversity, which in Saturday’s ceremony represented 64 countries. As the graduates received their diplomas, protesters and musicians gathered near the four entrances of the campus holding signs that read “Fire the Liar” and “Out of Iraq.”

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Councils say the government’s statistics are seriously underestimating the total influx and they need more money to cope

Councils are so concerned that official figures are failing to record the true number of migrants entering their area that they are to start their own polling to gauge the scale of the influx. This is a serious embarrassment to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) which has tried to play down concerns that its estimates for the number of people entering the UK are badly flawed.

Although the office plans to improve its methods for tracking immigration, critics say the new way of counting migrants was equally problematic. The critics point out that, under the new calculations, the number entering London supposedly decreased by 60,000 between 2002 and 2005 – the most up-to-date records available – though most experts say they actually increased. Councils in and around the capital claim the rise in immigrants is placing greater pressure on services and is starting to have an impact on their finances.

‘We are so concerned that these official statistics still do not properly count those coming in to the UK that we will be commissioning our own independent polls,’ said Colin Barrow, deputy leader at Westminster council. ‘This will give a more accurate picture of the situation on the streets in central London.’ Other councils echoed Westminster’s concerns, saying they had experienced significant increases in immigration which appeared to be at odds with official estimates. ‘Our electoral register has gone up by 23,000 over the past few years yet they’re saying it’s gone down,’ said Sir Robin Wales, mayor of Newham, east London. ‘It’s ludicrous. We’ve nothing against migration – it is great for the economy and great for Newham. However, it needs to be properly funded. We would be willing to pay for a census just to rectify these figures. It would cost us a lot of money, but these inaccurate figures are costing us even more.’

The office estimates that Slough has received 1,100 extra migrants since 2002. But the local council estimates that at least 10,000 Polish people alone have arrived to work in the town since 2004. ‘The migrants that come to Slough are hard working and bring great benefit to the local economy but the council remains severely underfunded because of these poor statistics,’ said Andrew Blake-Herbert, strategic director of finance and property at Slough Council.

The ONS has previously acknowledged problems in the way it counts migrants. In May 2006, Karen Dunnell, National Statistician there, wrote to four government departments stating: ‘There is now broad agreement that available estimates of migrant numbers are inadequate for managing the economy, policies and services.’ And earlier this month the Immigration Minister, Liam Byrne, said the ONS needed to improve its figures on which key local financing decisions are based.

Critics say the office’s figures are also at odds with those collated by the government. Migration figures released by the ONS earlier this month suggested that approximately 56,000 Poles entered the UK in 2005, although the Department for Work and Pensions has issued figures suggesting that over 170,000 Polish citizens applied for National Insurance numbers in the same year. Stung by criticism, the ONS will use details from the quarterly Labour Force Survey, which selects households at random to provide a population snapshot, rather than relying on interviewing people entering ports and airports.

But councils are not convinced. ‘The government’s new figures suggest we have fewer migrants than three years ago,’ said Councillor Mark Loveday, cabinet member for strategy at Hammersmith and Fulham council. National Insurance registrations by people from countries which recently joined the European Union ‘are up by more than 550 per cent and that’s before other migrants are counted’. An ONS spokesman said its method for counting people at ports of entry ensured a reflective snapshot of population flows in and out of the UK. [I guess the illegals who enter in the backs of trucks don’t exist]

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Having immigrants and the children of immigrants blowing up your buses and trains (among other things) is beginning to get to even the tolerant British — and since the mainstream parties are trying to ignore the disquiet, a new party that does not ignore that is getting more and more votes

It is, at first sight, a vision of rural bliss – a cream-coloured cottage high in the hills of Mid Wales and two miles from the nearest road. The daffodils are out. Lambs gambol in the fields. Chickens peck around the yard. In the side garden, beyond the rabbit hutch and fishpond, two blonde girls are playing in the sun. Look closer, however, and you spot the incongruities: the two rottweilers in their caged kennel, security cameras, the burglar alarm. You begin to suspect that the owner has chosen this house precisely for its inaccessibility. He has reason to. Nick Griffin is leader of the whites-only British National Party and one of the most hated – and, to his many detractors, hateful – men in the country….

Griffin kisses Jackie goodbye, reminds her to water his newly planted aubretia, and we head off in his Ford Mondeo estate for the fertile BNP territory of West Yorkshire, with its immigrant populations of 10, 20 or even 30 per cent. In the back is a book recording the Scottish National Party’s transformation from an extreme to a mainstream party. Griffin’s inspiration, however, is Jean-Marie Le Pen, the leader of France’s far-right National Front, who turned “a bunch of crazies into a serious political force”….

He tells me about a life spent mostly on the extreme right of British politics. His parents met while heckling a Communist Party meeting in North London in 1948. During the 1964 general election campaign, Griffin pedalled up and down the street outside his home in Barnet with Conservative posters on his tricycle. By 1974 his father, a Tory councillor and member of the right-wing Monday Club, was so dismayed by Britain’s leftward drift that he took his family to a National Front meeting. Griffin, then 15, joined immediately…..

Griffin has earned his 1,800 pounds-a-month BNP salary. The party won three council seats in Burnley in 2002. It now has 49 nationwide, and on May 3 Griffin expects to win many more in what he sarcastically calls “enriched” areas such as inner Essex, the Black Country, West Yorkshire and Lancashire. The party will also be contesting seats in blue-rinse towns such as Harrogate, Bath, Windsor and Torbay. One recent poll suggested that 7 per cent of the electorate would consider voting for it.

Griffin says that membership has risen from 1,300 in 1999 to 10,500, boosted by home-grown Islamic terrorist plots, globalisation and his dramatic acquittal in last year’s race-hate trials. Critics insist that the BNP’s move towards respectability is purely cosmetic. Griffin retorts, as we join the motorway, that it is “deep and sincere”. He admits “past stupidities”, and says that he regrets the way that the BNP used to provoke confrontations or to discuss race in a way that was “frankly crude, or cruelly and inaccurately supremacist”. He is not racist, he argues. He does not believe that whites are superior. He believes that races are different and that multiculturalism is a recipe for disaster. He opposes miscegenation “because most people want their grandchildren to look basically like them”. If the liberal elite had its way, the world would become “a giant melting pot turning out coffee-coloured citizens by the million”.

The BNP no longer demands the recriminalisation of homosexuality, but Griffin still expresses disgust at the idea of two men “snogging in public”. His revised views on the Holocaust are striking, too. He says that he derided the Holocaust only because the Left used it as “a huge moral club” with which to beat opponents of multiculturalism. He now accepts that millions of Jews were killed, but claims that some historians (he cites David Irving) still question whether it was deliberate genocide…..

In pockets of Britain the BNP is almost a mainstream party now, with ever more people daring to run for office or to put posters in windows. But it still prints its newspaper in Eastern Europe because British plants refuse to, has trouble renting halls and cannot advertise its meetings because they would be picketed. Potential supporters are instead instructed to gather at “redirection points” and told where to go.

In Ripon the meeting point is the town square, where the local BBC radio station interviews Griffin. Ripon and Harrogate are “lovely English towns and we believe they should stay that way. They can’t if there are high levels of immigration,” he says. On our way to the meeting we pass a painting of a black inmate outside the Workhouse Museum. Griffin splutters. It was poor whites who suffered in workhouses, he says.

About 70 people are packed into a back room of the Golden Lion pub, with not a skinhead or pair of Doc Martens in sight and more tweeds than T-shirts. They are male and female, young and old, working class and middle class, ex-Labour and ex-Tory, several of them Daily Telegraph readers. They are mostly solid Yorkshire folk who have watched immigrants transform areas in which they grew up and believe – rightly or wrongly – that their way of life is under threat. They are bewildered more than hate-filled. They are fearful more than fear-inspiring, and feel gagged by political correctness. They do not come from sink estates. They are stakeholders, people with something to lose. “We’re being overwhelmed,” laments a retired Latin teacher. “I’ve nothing against other races. It’s just that they keep flooding into the country to breaking point,” says a lorry driver. “We can’t invite the whole world to live in England,” says a former merchant marine officer. Few will give their names.

Griffin and his fellow speakers do nothing to calm their fears. Quite the opposite. In a promotional video he decries the alleged banning of the cross of St George, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and even Piglet because the character offends Muslims. Against a background of soft music and beautiful scenery, a woman’s voice decries the millions of foreigners of all races settling in Britain: “The one thing they have in common is there are too many of them.”

Michelle Shrubb, a candidate who lived in South Africa, says that a black crimewave is coming to Britain. Nick Cass, the BNP’s Yorkshire organiser, declares that “decent British people are fed up to the back teeth with seeing the country fall apart and being called racist when they want to do something about it”. The merchandise table offers “It’s Cool to be White” T-shirts and “I vote BNP because they look after me” bumper stickers. BNP candidates are presented with rosettes for daring to stand up and be counted. Griffin humorously coaxes about 500 pounds in donations from the audience, then answers questions for an hour. He puts on no airs and graces. He has a pint on the table beside him. He presents himself as an ordinary bloke, like his audience, who is fighting a corrupt elite that bleeds taxpayers for its disastrous social engineering projects and treats them with contempt. He is a shameless populist. He calls the rise of the BNP “a peasants’ revolt”. He talks of “our people”, meaning whites. He mocks those who regard criminals as victims, advocates “damn good thrashings” for wayward teenagers, and says of drug-dealers: “Hang the bastards.”

The audience loves it, but this is more than knockabout political rhetoric. Griffin firmly believes all this. Party policy – which he sets – is draconian and xenophobic. The BNP would deport all illegal immigrants, asylum-seekers and subversive foreigners, and offer existing immigrants money to return home. “It’s clearly worth talking in terms of six-figure sums to persuade families to go,” Griffin says. He would create civilian anti-crime patrols. Anyone who has done National Service would be allowed to keep guns to shoot burglars, and as “a last resort against a tyrannical government”. He would restore hanging for the worst murderers, paedophiles, rapists and drug-dealers, and bring back the birch.

He would abolish affirmative action programmes and hate-crime legislation, ban the promotion of homosexuality, prevent the NHS from recruiting foreign workers and stop women soldiers serving on the front line. State schools would restore mandatory (nonhalal) lunches and morning assemblies with Christian worship (minorities should “either accept our ways or go somewhere else”). A BNP government would take Britain out of the EU and the European Convention on Human Rights. Remove the BNP label, Griffin claims, and most Brits would support these policies….

Between umpteen calls on his mobile phone – one is about ways to use Simone Clarke, the ballet dancer identified as a BNP member – I ask if Griffin sees any advantages to multiculturalism. Chicken tikka masala, he replies. And some good sportsmen, though he thinks that England’s all-white 1966 World Cup footballers outperformed today’s team because they had “common values and identity”. Then he lists the downsides – a catastrophic loss of social cohesion, racial harassment and violence, spreading knife and gun cultures and old folk dying in nursing homes surrounded by staff who do not speak their language and feeling “totally alone, alienated and in a foreign place”.

He warms to the theme, claiming that some Muslims deliberately use heroin – “Paki poison” – to undermine non-Muslim communities around them. “It’s narco-terrorism.” Even worse, he says, is the way that hardline Muslim males deliberately seduce and corrupt “thousands” of young white girls in a practice called “grooming” that the authorities downplay for fear of being labelled racist….

The 60 people at that night’s BNP meeting in a Batley pub are not thinking in such apocalyptic terms. They have more immediate and prosaic fears about the consequences of immigration – their children being squeezed out of jobs and council housing, the emergence of no-go areas, the undermining of their rights and culture.

“We’re frightened to be British,” says Ann Nailor, who runs five Age Concern shops. “I feel alienated in my own community,” says Neil Feeney, a water company employee. “People who read your paper have no idea about places like this,” said Marjorie Shaw, a former policewoman now in a wheelchair. “The BNP are the only ones standing up for this country,” adds Lynn Winfield, a pub dishwasher. Griffin fans the flames. He calls the English “one of the most oppressed peoples on earth”. He says that when people like him try to speak out about real problems “they try to throw them in jail”. He says that bad laws should be broken. He calls global warming “an excuse to say that we, the international elite, have to interfere with every sovereign state in the world, and if we don’t you will sink by Thursday”.

Source

Two of Britain’s most dangerous terror suspects will be on our streets within days, after a hugely damaging defeat for the Government. A map marking routes under Birmingham airport’s flight path was found at the home of one of the men – described as a “global jihadist” – who has family links to two notorious terrorists. The second man is accused of being a former leader of a terror cell in Italy, that authorities feared was on the verge of an attack, probably in Europe.

But the pair, both Libyans, are expected to be bailed next week, after winning their appeals against deportation. The ruling leaves the Government’s anti-terror policy in chaos, after judges threw out much-heralded agreements between Britain and Libya that the men would not be tortured if they returned.

Special Immigration Appeals Commission chairman Mr Justice Ouseley said there remained a real risk that the European Convention on Human Rights would be breached if the two men were returned.

The so-called memoranda of understanding are a key part of the promise by Tony Blair and John Reid to return terror suspects to countries known for human rights abuses.

Yesterday’s decision leaves the planned deportation of at least eight Libyan suspects, including the two who are to be bailed, in disarray, and casts grave doubts over similar agreements with other nations.

The Tories’ terrorism expert, MP Patrick Mercer said: “I find it extraordinary that we have imposed these people on our society. “It will be extremely difficult to keep these men to their bail conditions, particularly with this level of oversight. “They will not be on bail forever and I am very interested to know what the Government will do.”

The two Libyans, granted bail in principle, have been held in the maximum-security prison at Long Lartin, Worcs, under immigration detention. But Mr Justice Mitting said keeping them in after they had won their appeal would be on the “cusp of legality”. Instead they were bailed with strict conditions, including a 12-hour curfew and no access to mobile phones or the internet. They will still be allowed out for 12 hours a day. The two Libyans are accused of travelling on false passports. Both claimed asylum after they got into Britain. One, who can be identified only as DD, had an AtoZ street map in a car parked near his house, marking footpaths under the flight path to Birmingham International Airport. The appeals commission ruled that DD is a “real and direct threat to the national security of the UK” and a “global jihadist with links to the Taliban and Al Qaeda”. The second terror suspect, AS, was also ruled a “clear danger to national security”.

The Government wants to deport eight suspects to Libya. Moves against another four have been put off while they face terror prosecutions here. A Home Office spokesman said: “We are very disappointed with the decision that it is not safe to deport these individuals. “We believe that the assurances given to us by the Libyans do provide effective safeguards for the proper treatment of individuals being returned and do ensure that their rights will be respected. We intend, therefore, to appeal.”

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Immigration-related felony cases are swamping federal courts along the Southwest border, forcing judges to handle hundreds more cases than their peers elsewhere. Judges in the five, mostly rural judicial districts on the border carry the heaviest felony caseloads in the nation. Each judge in New Mexico, which ranked first, handled an average of 397 felony cases last year, compared with the national average of 84. Federal judges in those five districts _ Southern and Western Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Southern California _ handled one-third of all the felonies prosecuted in the nation’s 94 federal judicial districts in 2005, according to federal court statistics.

While Congress has increased the number of border patrol officers, the pace of the law enforcement has eclipsed the resources for the court system. Judges say they are stretched to the limit with cases involving drug trafficking or illegal immigrants who have also committed serious crimes. Judges say they need help. “The need is really dire. You cannot keep increasing the number of Border Patrol agents but not increasing the number of judges,” said Chief Judge John M. Roll of the District of Arizona.

A bill by Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., and co-sponsored by Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., and Texas Republican Sens. John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison, would add 10 permanent and temporary judges in Arizona, New Mexico, and Southern and Western Texas. This proposal, and others like it, have gone nowhere in the past two years. “I can’t even tell you how much we need that,” Roll said. The entire federal court system is affected, from U.S. marshals to magistrate judges. The bottleneck has even derailed enforcement efforts.

During a push to crack down on illegal immigration last fall, Customs and Border Protection floated a plan for New Mexico that would have suspended the practice of sending home hundreds of illegal immigrants caught near the border with Mexico. Instead, these people would be sent to court. The idea, called “Operation Streamline,” was to make it clear that people caught illegally in the U.S. would be prosecuted. Then New Mexico’s federal judges reminded the Border Patrol that they lacked the resources to handle the hundreds of new defendants who would stream into the court system every day. “We said, ‘Do you realize that the second week into this we’re going to run out of (jail) space?'” Martha Vazquez, chief judge for the District of New Mexico, recalled telling Border Patrol chief David Aguilar. “We were obviously alarmed because where would we put our bank robbers? Our rapists? Those who violate probation?” she said.

Border Patrol eventually dropped the idea. Officials said they could not get all the necessary agencies to agree to it. It is estimated more than 1 million people sneak across the southwestern U.S. border and illegally enter the country every year. In Arizona, the busiest entry point for illegal immigration, state officials believe almost 4,000 people attempted to enter every day in 2006.

Many lawmakers, advocates and President Bush favor overhauling guest worker programs and rules for businesses that hire illegal immigrants. The intent is to eliminate the incentive for workers to sneak into the country. Bush promoted his latest proposal for new worker visas this month in the border community of Yuma, Ariz. In recent years, however, Congress has focused on increased enforcement.

The Border Patrol has almost 2,800 more agents than the 9,821 it had in September of 2001. An additional 6,000 National Guard troops have provided logistical support to the Border Patrol since last May. Congress has made available more than $1.2 billion for reinforcements, including fences, vehicle barriers, cameras and other security equipment. Homeland Security officials say the increased security is working. In Yuma, Bush said that the number of people apprehended for illegally crossing the southern border into the U.S. has declined by nearly 30 percent this year.

Court officials, however, say they are in crisis mode trying to deal with all the defendants. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., a staunch opponent of illegal immigration, has urged U.S. attorneys and courts to prosecute more illegal immigrants and pushed for more resources for both. But he has discovered that while his colleagues who do not represent a border district are eager to add Border Patrol officers, many do not realize the effect that will have on the court system, his spokesman said.

Even lawmakers from border states say they cannot justify adding judgeships in one district when other districts also need them. California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, says her state needs 12 judges, not just help on the border. “I’d be happy to support any bill that gives California its fair share,” Feinstein said in a statement. “And I will seek to amend any bill that does not.”

Court officials say they have had to be creative just to try the cases they have. Visiting judges help out in some districts. In Arizona, magistrates hold sessions on the weekends and have seen as many as 150 defendants in a day. In New Mexico, Vazquez, the chief judge, and former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias went on a Spanish-language radio station broadcast in Mexico this winter to warn people about the penalties for illegally entering the country.

Court administrators have trouble keeping employees, such as interpreters, because of the grind. Judges’ staffs struggle with burnout. Everyone fights to keep up morale as they hear countless sad stories from migrants who broke the law searching for a better life in the United States. “It’d be swell to have another judge or two,” said Judge George Kazen, who is based on the border in Laredo, in the Southern District of Texas. “It would mean a little more time to spend on civil stuff, and a little more time to reflect. We have to make quick calls and move on.”

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Australia has very little illegal immigration so the Feds are cracking down on abuses of legal immigration

Employers will be subject to unannounced spot checks by immigration officials and could face fines for exploiting or underpaying migrant workers in a shake-up of visa arrangements. Under reforms announced yesterday by Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews, employers will also be required to ensure that overseas workers have a functional level of English. Applicants will be required to detail their English language skills and, on a targeted basis, may be required to complete an International English Language Testing System test.

The Howard Government has faced criticism for its handling of the scheme, which has grown so rapidly recently because of labour shortages that the bureaucracy could not keep up with monitoring and compliance of employers. Over the past 12 months, the union movement and the Labor Party have highlighted extreme cases of exploitation where workers have been charged exorbitant amounts for rent and other fees, paid in foreign currencies and forced to work in unskilled roles despite being highly qualified.

Mr Andrews said the changes, to take effect later this year, would reward employers who had a “strong and demonstrated record” of complying with the 457 visa program by having their applications to sponsor workers fast-tracked. Employers who underpaid workers or made them perform in unskilled jobs would face civil penalties similar to those in the Workplace Relations Act, he said. Mr Andrews said existing penalties, where employers faced being excluded from access to further foreign workers, were insufficient. The government’s workplace watchdog, the Office of Workplace Services, would also be given greater powers to investigate breaches of the minimum salary level under the changes. The immigration department granted 368,333 business visitor visas in 2005-06.

Labor’s immigration spokesman Tony Burke said the announcement simply put “a band-aid over a gaping wound”. “The real problem remains: that the Government doesn’t understand that most of the abuses have in fact been legal and continue to be legal,” he said. “We saw the example not long ago of the 40 Filipino welders I visited in Brisbane last year who were being paid the minimum salary level under the visa, but this was 20 per cent below the going rate in the area. Mr Burke urged the Government to do more to stop foreign workers being exploited and said unscrupulous employers would be able to undercut local Australian wages by tens of thousands of dollars despite the changes. “You will still be able to undermine a salary through exorbitant compulsory deductions and kickbacks to rogue employers,” he said. “With the new announcement, the system is better than it was but decent businesses can still face unfair competition from shonky operators who exploit foreign workers.”

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In 2005, an estimated 565,000 migrants arrived to live in the UK for at least a year. This was lower than the 2004 estimate, but higher than all other years since the method to estimate Total International Migration began in 1991. In the same period, 380,000 people emigrated from the UK for a year or more; over half of these were British citizens. Australia was the most popular destination for British emigrants followed by Spain and France. Net migration, the difference between immigration and emigration, was 185,000. This was equivalent to adding just over 500 people a day to the UK population.

In 2005, 80,000 citizens from the group of eight central and eastern European countries that acceded to the EU on 1 May 2004 (known as the A8) immigrated to the UK for a year or more. This was 54 per cent higher than the 52,000 estimate for 2004. This can be explained by 2005 being the first calendar year following EU accession, and A8 citizens having increased freedom to live and work in the UK. Over 70 per cent of A8 migrants arriving in 2005 were Polish citizens.

Almost 85 per cent of those A8 citizens migrating to the UK came for work reasons, that is, they were ‘looking for work’ or had a ‘definite job’ to go to. Overall, nearly half of all citizens migrating to the UK gave work-related reasons.

‘Formal study’ is another important reason for people migrating to the UK accounting for almost a quarter of all immigration in 2005.

There are notable differences in the routes that migrants of different citizenships use to enter the UK. In 2004 and 2005, nearly 90 per cent of A8 migrants entered via routes other than the main UK airports (such as via sea ports, the Channel Tunnel, or Stansted and Luton and other local airports).

In contrast, nearly 75 per cent of citizens from Commonwealth and Other foreign countries entered the UK via Heathrow airport. Over 60 per cent of British migrants entered the UK via Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester airports.

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