February 2008


Employers who hire illegal immigrants can be fined 10,000 pounds per worker from today in cases involving negligence, compared with previous figure of 5,000. If the employer acts knowingly the penalty could be an unlimited fine or jail. Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, described the moves, which include a points-based immigration system for people from outside the European Union, as “the biggest changes to British immigration policy in a generation”.

Highly skilled migrants who wish to extend their stay will have to have suitable employment. The points-based system will be tested for highly skilled migrants applying from India in April, and extended to the rest of the world by the summer. The system will then be extended to skilled workers with a job offer, students, and temporary workers. A tier for low-skilled workers is not planned while vacancies can be filled by migrants from Eastern Europe.

The system puts in question the scheme under which Commonweatlh citizens with a British grandparent are allowed to settle in this country. The Labour MP Austin Mitchell said that any proposal to scrap “ancestral visas” would cause anger.

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(“Secure America through Verification and Enforcement”)

For months, leading Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chief Rahm Emanuel have tried to talk tough on illegal immigration. Mr. Emanuel told The Washington Post last year that immigration is “the third rail of American politics,” adding that “anyone who doesn’t realize that isn’t with the American people,” earning himself angry denunciations from the far-left fringe. Last month, Mrs. Pelosi joined House Minority Leader John Boehner in announcing that the House-passed economic stimulus bill would “not allow any taxpayer funds to be distributed to illegals.” The Democratic leadership’s efforts to sound tough on illegal immigration have created serious friction with some members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which believes the Democratic leadership is too timid about pushing for amnesty legislation.

If senior Democrats were really serious about a get-tough approach toward illegal immigration, we would be urging the Republican minority to reach across the aisle and work with the Democratic leadership to come up with a genuine bipartisan solution. But unfortunately, the Democrats are putting together an elaborate con job: using tough-sounding rhetoric while working behind the scenes with open-borders advocates in the business community to win support from firms that have become very dependent on cheap foreign labor. The goal of these Democrats – and possibly the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as well – is to defeat a bipartisan bill that takes a no-amnesty, enforcement-oriented approach to illegal immigration. Specifically, they are very worried about the fact that a growing number of moderate and conservative Republicans and Democrats (and even a few liberals) are cosponsoring the Secure America through Verification and Enforcement (SAVE) Act, H.R. 4088, introduced by Rep. Heath Shuler, North Carolina Democrat.

The SAVE Act is an omnibus bill that would strengthen border security and require that employers verify that their workers are legally present in the United States. Forty-seven Democrats and 89 Republicans are cosponsoring the Shuler bill, which is currently bottled up in the House Judiciary Committee, where liberals like Rep. Zoe Lofgren, California Democrat and chairwoman of the Immigration Subcommittee, will work to ensure that it stays there. Cosponsors range from conservative Republicans like Rep. Tom Tancredo (Colorado); Rep. Brian Bilbray (California), chairman of the Immigration Reform Caucus; and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (California) to moderate and liberal Democrats like Rep. Mark Udall of Colorado, Reps. Sanford Bishop of Georgia and Artur Davis of Alabama (both members of the Congressional Black Caucus); and Rep. Ciro Rodriguez of Texas, a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

Right now, Republican supporters of H.R. 4088 are circulating a discharge petition in an effort to bring the bill to the House floor for a vote. They need 218 members’ signatures, meaning that at least 20 Democrats would have to take the supreme act of rebellion: directly defying Mrs. Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and the rest of the party leadership to bring to a vote legislation that the leadership wants no part of. Senior Democrats, worried that they may not be able to keep the bill tied up in committee, have come up with a Plan B – muddling the issue by attaching a killer amendment to the Shuler bill, which would come in the form of an amendment proposed by Rep. Joe Baca, California Democrat and chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

The Baca Amendment would give illegal aliens who pass a background check a “five-year temporary worker permit” that expires on Dec. 31, 2012. It would also provide employers who hired illegal aliens “safe harbor” (apparently some measure of immunity from prosecution) for past hiring of illegal aliens. If Mr. Shuler gets enough signatures to force his bill to the floor to be debated, Democrats hope to neuter it by attaching the Baca Amendment. If Mr. Baca’s proposal were to become law, open-borders advocates could come back later and pass legislation putting these illegals on a path to citizenship. While not endorsing the Baca Amendment, a senior official with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce told Congressional Quarterly that he believed there was “some kind of deal in the works.”

Fortunately, not everyone in the business community is pushing for amnesty. The National Federation of Independent Business, a leading group representing small businesses, has endorsed Mr. Shuler’s bill as drafted. “I can’t believe the leadership would be able to get any benefit from that,” Mr. Bilbray says of Mrs. Pelosi’s efforts to derail the SAVE Act with amnesty legislation. “What happened last summer,” with the defeat of the Senate amnesty bill, “should be a warning,” he told The Washington Times.

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It seems counterintuitive. The government pulls people suspected of being here illegally out of airplane lines and then pays to detain, prosecute and deport them to the country they were headed to in the first place. Public defenders say it’s a colossal waste of time and taxpayer money. “What’s silly about this is that they are on their way home. They have gotten the message that they shouldn’t be here,” said Houston’s Federal Public Defender Marjorie Meyers. “It’s not cost-effective.”

Not true, says Houston’s U.S. Attorney Don DeGabrielle. The people they are prosecuting are repeat violators of U.S. immigration laws and it’s not only necessary, but also efficient, to stop them and prosecute them, he said. “We had already expended some time, effort and money before to institute deportation,” DeGabrielle said. To allow them to come back into the country without proper permission and then just let them leave would minimize what the government is trying to accomplish, he said. “We feel it’s definitely worth the resources to hold these people accountable,” DeGabrielle said.

It’s not the number of people who’ve been detained and prosecuted that has public defenders most concerned. The numbers have been relatively small. But a trend could be developing: five cases since July, four in the past three months. All five had been deported previously, had no criminal convictions and were stopped and detained by Customs and Border Protection officials at Bush Intercontinental Airport while trying to board planes to leave the country. The four men and one woman were heading south – to Mexico, Honduras or El Salvador. All were accused of the felony of re-entering the United States illegally after their prior deportation. A felony record will make it difficult for them to ever get legal permission to come back to this country. DeGabrielle said there is no new policy, and the cluster of people stopped while leaving the country, at least four of them just flying through Houston making a connection, is a coincidence. His office is not convinced they were leaving the country for good, he said, since all have come back without permission before.

Generally, the suspects are detained first at the airport, then brought downtown into custody of the U.S. Marshals Service. They then plead guilty to having entered the country illegally and are sentenced to time served, then deported at government expense, the lawyers involved said. The biggest cost to taxpayers is the detention, which a Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman said averages $66.96 a day nationwide. They are held for two to three months, so that cost would be roughly $4,000 to $6,000. Added to that is the cost of deportation – a bus trip to the border for Mexico, a plane ride for other countries. And then there is a portion of the salaries of the government lawyers and the court personnel involved, plus court costs.

In the earliest case noticed by the public defenders in Houston in July, Freddy Navarro-Doblado was accompanied by a California police officer who had planned to take him all the way to Honduras. Instead, Navarro-Doblado was taken into custody in Houston.

The other four cases were in December and January. “It’s a Catch-22 for these people. They can’t leave the country to make it right,” said Michael Herman, an assistant federal public defender who’s handling some of the cases. “They are self-deporting, but they wind up in shackles and chains when these people have … heeded the cry of the public for them to leave.”

One defendant was sentenced this month by U.S. District Judge Nancy Atlas. Hector Manuel Palafox-Acevedo, 29, pleaded guilty to the felony of entering the United States without proper documentation and was sentenced to the two months he has already served in detention. He will now be deported to Mexico, where he was heading when he was stopped as he tried to board a plane Dec. 12. Herman defended Palafox-Acevedo in court and said he was heading to his hometown on a one-way ticket to Mexico to get married to his fiancee, a U.S. citizen, and work to get proper papers to come back to the United States legally. He said Palafox-Acevedo has been here since he was 14, working as a machine operator and migrant worker and recently helping his fiancee raise her children.

Palafox-Acevedo, a slight man wearing detention center khakis, cried as he told the judge on Feb. 11 he would not come back to the United States again. “The only thing I want is to go back,” Palafox-Acevedo told the judge tearfully through a court interpreter. “I am afraid of going back to jail.” But as prosecutor Bert Isaacs noted, Palafox-Acevedo has been deported without a felony conviction three times: in 2002, 2006 and 2007. Isaacs asked the judge to hold Palafox-Acevedo longer while a full background check was done. “I don’t know whether Mr. Palafox-Acevedo has gotten the message or not,” Isaacs told the judge, when asking for the maximum penalty of six months in prison, given all the sentencing factors in the case. But the judge said it would not be a good use of resources to do a further background check since Palafox-Acevedo had already been vetted.

Kelly Klundt, a spokeswoman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Washington, D.C., said the agency checks passenger lists to find people who have broken the law, which has helped stop a child abduction and find large amounts of currency and drugs. “We have an obligation and the authority to intercept them,” Klundt said. She said she hasn’t been asked about these kinds of detentions and prosecutions anywhere but Houston, and that it is the prosecutors’ decision whether to see the cases through.

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For months, leading Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chief Rahm Emanuel have tried to talk tough on illegal immigrationIllegal-Immigration-Ruling Dec-07 . Mr. Emanuel told The Washington Post last year that immigration is “the third rail of American politics,” adding that “anyone who doesn’t realize that isn’t with the American people,” earning himself angry denunciations from the far-left fringe. Last month, Mrs. Pelosi joined House Minority Leader John Boehner in announcing that the House-passed economic stimulus bill would “not allow any taxpayer funds to be distributed to illegals.” The Democratic leadership’s efforts to sound tough on illegal immigration have created serious friction with some members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which believes the Democratic leadership is too timid about pushing for amnesty legislation.

If senior Democrats were really serious about a get-tough approach toward illegal immigration, we would be urging the Republican minority to reach across the aisle and work with the Democratic leadership to come up with a genuine bipartisan solution. But unfortunately, the Democrats are putting together an elaborate con job: using tough-sounding rhetoric while working behind the scenes with open-borders advocates in the business community to win support from from firms that have become very dependent on cheap foreign labor. The goal of these Democrats – and possibly the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as well – is to defeat a bipartisan bill that takes a no-amnesty, enforcement-oriented approach to illegal immigration. Specifically, they are very worried about the fact that a growing number of moderate and conservative Republicans and Democrats (and even a few liberals) are cosponsoring the Secure America through Verification and Enforcement (SAVE) Act, H.R. 4088, introduced by Rep. Heath Shuler, North Carolina Democrat…..

Right now, Republican supporters of H.R. 4088 are circulating a discharge petition in an effort to bring the bill to the House floor for a vote. They need 218 members’ signatures, meaning that at least 20 Democrats would have to take the supreme act of rebellion: directly defying Mrs. Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and the rest of the party leadership to bring to a vote legislation that the leadership wants no part of. Senior Democrats, worried that they may not be able to keep the bill tied up in committee, have come up with a Plan B – muddling the issue by attaching a killer amendment to the Shuler bill, which would come in the form of an amendment proposed by Rep. Joe Baca, California Democrat and chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

The Baca Amendment would give illegal aliens who pass a background check a “five-year temporary worker permit” that expires on Dec. 31, 2012. It would also provide employers who hired illegal aliens “safe harbor” (apparently some measure of immunity from prosecution) for past hiring of illegal aliens. If Mr. Shuler gets enough signatures to force his bill to the floor to be debated, Democrats hope to neuter it by attaching the Baca Amendment. If Mr. Baca’s proposal were to become law, open-borders advocates could come back later and pass legislation putting these illegals on a path to citizenship. While not endorsing the Baca Amendment, a senior official with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce told Congressional Quarterly that he believed there was “some kind of deal in the works.” ….

When it comes to immigration, the Democrat House leadership is not to be trusted. They are creating a track record to run against. They are also creating an opportunity for Republicans to work with some Democrats on bipartisan ways to thwart liberalism.

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When I saw the headline above, I thought: Aha! This is the usual Leftist attempt to deceive by ignoring facts that do not suit. It is true that illegals do not have particularly high crime rates overall. BUT THEIR CHILDREN DO. So I was pleased to see that mentioned. I have highlighted in red why immigrant crime is low. But the kids are citizens so they do not have such incentives.

Note also that the report is about immigrants IN GENERAL. Very few illegal immigrants may have been included. Failure to note that explicitly was the real deception in the article. Do you think that illegal and legal immigrants might be kinda different?

Note also that even though the crime rate among illegals may not be high as a percentage, there are still a lot of criminal illegals so effective immigration law enforcement would still significantly reduce the number of crooks in the country.

Countering a widespread belief, a new report shows California’s foreign-born population — including illegal immigrants — makes up only a sliver of the state’s population of inmates. The report released Monday by the Public Policy Institute of California also suggests that the foreign-born population, which makes up more than a third of the state’s adults, plays a disproportionately smaller role in serious crime. “Crime, Corrections, and California: What Does Immigration Have to Do with It?” gives one of the clearest glimpses yet into the effect of immigrants and immigration on the state’s justice system. It also aims to dispel the perception that cities with large foreign-born populations are criminal hot beds, with several California cities showing a dip in police activity amid recent immigration waves.

But while the findings are surprising, they do not account for a complete relationship between immigration and crime. The report did not, for example, examine petty crimes such as shoplifting and vandalism, which would not necessarily result in jail time. The findings also do not take into consideration the effect that immigrants’ children might have on crime.

Kristin Butcher, one of the report’s co-authors, said the low rate of incarceration could be linked to U.S. immigration policies, which call for carefully weeding through visa applicants and deporting illegal immigrants accused of serious crimes such as gang involvement and murder. “The type of people who are immigrating are less likely to commit crimes because they’re here for jobs,” said Butcher, a professor at Wellesley College and a fellow for the nonpartisan policy research group.

The report underscores what Salvador Bustamante has been telling people for several years about the foreign-born population — and illegal immigrants in particular. “A lot of people have painted immigrants as the criminal element in our society, and that isn’t the case,” said Bustamante, Northern California director of Strengthening Our Lives, a statewide nonprofit group that works to empower immigrants. He said immigrants come to the United States to work, often trying to stay under the radar of authorities and away from criminal activity to avoid deportation. “The more we can do to dispel the myths that have been created about immigrants will help with immigrant rights and immigration reform,” he said.

The findings do not sit well with Bill Cole, an advocate for more stringent laws to make sure illegal immigrants who commit crimes are deported. Bill Cole’s ex-wife, Sara, was hit by drunk driver Lucio Rodriguez — an illegal immigrant previously convicted of driving drunk –in September, nearly severing her legs. Rodriguez has since pleaded guilty to drunk driving charges. “What we’re trying to do is make the community safer,” Bill Cole said.

The institute obtained its findings by examining the state’s foreign-born population, which includes anyone born outside the United States, regardless of their naturalization status, Butcher said. It then focused on men ages 18 to 40 in jails, institutions and state prisons, drawing comparisons with their U.S.-born counterparts using California Census data.

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The government has started cracking down on illegal border crossers in the Tucson Sector. But limited resources in Arizona’s federal-court system are blocking the goal of prosecuting everyone who enters the country illegally.

The Border Patrol has referred 757 cases to authorities since the government began prosecuting illegal crossers in the Tucson area on Jan. 14. Up to 42 are prosecuted daily, and there are plans to prosecute up to 100 cases a day in the busiest human-smuggling area on the border. But federal courts in Tucson can hold only 60 immigration defendants a day, and even if they could handle the 100-a-day workload, that amounts to prosecuting only 10 percent of those arrested by the Border Patrol.

Still, officials expect the threat of prosecution and prison time to deter illegal crossers. The Operation Streamline policy, which has proved effective in the Yuma Sector and two parts of Texas, involves filing charges against nearly everyone caught crossing the border illegally.

Mexican authorities confirm that illegal immigrants have been deterred from crossing into the Yuma Sector by the prospect of spending two weeks to six months in prison for the misdemeanor crime. Historically, illegal immigrants have immediately been shipped back to Mexico if they did not have criminal records. Foreign criminals are deported after serving their prison sentences. And if they are caught re-entering illegally again, they are charged with felonies, which can carry sentences up to five years.

Demand on courts

The U.S. District Court of Arizona is the nation’s busiest, presiding Chief Judge John M. Roll said. He said judges in his district sentence 500 felons a year, compared with a national average of 90. His office has asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to lend magistrates. U.S. Magistrate Glenda Edmonds said she and her colleagues in Tucson typically handle half a dozen pretrial hearings a day. To meet the demand of the new flux of immigration cases, one magistrate takes them all for a week in a rotation system. “If we get to the point where we get to 100 cases a day in this building, we will need at least one more magistrate,” Edmonds said.

Lawyers are also in short supply. The Department of Homeland Security has lent the U.S. Attorney’s Office four lawyers to help prosecute the new immigration cases. First Assistant Federal Public Defender Heather Williams said there are only 32 panel lawyers who are willing to handle Streamline cases on a contract fee from the government. The court may increase the maximum caseload per lawyer or assign a public defender exclusively to immigration cases, Williams said, concluding that her office “will be able to handle fewer criminal cases.”

Operation Streamline was created to deter illegal immigration. The Yuma Sector saw a 70 percent drop in arrests last year at a time arrests borderwide fell 20 percent. The policy was credited, along with extra border agents and improved fencing. Yet even in the Yuma Sector, where the Border Patrol arrests one-tenth of those arrested in the Tucson Sector, authorities have been unable to prosecute everyone. The Border Patrol has referred 1,511 immigrants for prosecution since the program was extended to the entire sector in the fall. It made 4,066 arrests. Courtroom holding space is a limiting factor in Yuma, too. Judges say they can handle up to 75 prosecutions a day, but because of space constraints, only 30 cases can be sent.

In the Tucson Sector, the Border Patrol has no immediate plans to phase in more than 100 prosecutions daily. That means at its peak, only one in 10 of those arrested can be prosecuted.

Still, Deputy Chief Robert Boatright said the clampdown is having results. He said that, in the 15-mile target area where the program was launched, a 79 percent recidivism rate has plummeted to 46 percent. Elsewhere in the Tucson Sector, immigrants re-enter 80 to 92 percent of the time. “We’ve been able to gain control of that area, maintain control of that area and widen out that area,” Boatright said.

Tucson Sector agents arrested 11 percent fewer border crossers in January than they did a year earlier, although many believe this has as much to do with a slowing U.S. economy and Arizona’s strict employer-sanctions law.

Boatright said even a 10 percent risk of being imprisoned appears too great for many immigrants. “I’ve talked to detainees, and they say it’s just not worth it to them,” said Ray Kondo, assistant chief in Arizona for the U.S. Marshal Service, which transports and houses the prisoners.

Effect on prisons

With federal detentions taking in the extra misdemeanor-immigration convicts, some prison-reform watchdogs worry that the prisons will run out of bed space and create a demand for more prisons or a crunch to release other criminals early. Kondo said that won’t happen because once prosecutions reach their quota, people will be deported as fast as they are convicted. Even if Arizona’s prisons get overloaded, federal prisoners can, and routinely do, get transferred to facilities throughout the country.

Reformists such as Judy Greene of Justice Strategies are unconvinced, knowing the government faces a million border crossers a year. “This looks tough but accomplishes very little. It will increase pressure for expanding the detention systems,” she said. “It’s going to cost a lot of money and drain resources from more important cases.”

Two weeks ago, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a Tucson Democrat, met for the fourth time with judges and federal agents about Streamline. Her spokesman, C.J. Karamargin, said Giffords supports the stronger enforcement and has been advised that it has worked elsewhere, but Giffords shares concerns about the drain on resources for the criminal-justice system. “Those concerns are valid,” Karamargin said, “She wants these federal agencies to have the resources but doesn’t want them wasted on something ineffective

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“I’d have more chance of being allowed to stay and care for my frail mother if I was a foreign criminal”

All Deborah Phillips wants to do is care for her increasingly frail 80-year-old mother. She has no intention of claiming benefits and would save the taxpayer the cost of helping to look after another elderly woman. But because Miss Phillips was born in the United States, moving to England when she was three, she has been refused permission to stay and must leave the country with her seven-year-old daughter Alexandra by the end of April. When that happens her English mother Betty Phillips will be left alone.

Despite huge support from her local community and the backing of her MP, Immigration Minister Liam Byrne has rejected her request for residency.

Miss Phillips, 48, believes she would have a better chance of avoiding deportation if she was a foreign criminal or terror suspect facing the risk of persecution back home. She said: “Some of these people stay here with the help of human rights laws. What about the human rights of my English mother and her right to a family life? “Sometimes I feel like a criminal. I’m just a very soft target because I am doing everything by the rules. It is annoying because terrorist suspects are treated better and allowed to live here. I don’t see the logic in that. We are not costing the Government a penny.” Miss Phillips, who lives with her mother in Cottingham, near Hull, has a U.S. Navy pension and works part-time as a volunteer teaching assistant.

“We are not a burden on this Government nor are we criminals. I just want to be able to look after my mum. Once the Home Office gets rid of us, they will never let us back in. Then what would happen to this 80-year-old woman?”

Her mother lost her husband Phil, 77, who suffered from Alzheimer’s, in May 2005. She has had two small strokes and suffers from arthritis, heart trouble and hypertension. She is also prone to stress and anxiety. Miss Phillips, who has been turned down four times for permission to live permanently in this country, insists her mother is too frail to take to the U.S. Her mother, a former teacher, is English and her late father was American.

Miss Phillips came here as a small child in 1963 when her father retired from the U.S. Navy. She speaks with an English accent, went to school and college in Hull and lived here until she too joined the U.S. Navy at 21 and went to sea. After leaving the Navy and working in the U.S. she decided to join her family in Yorkshire. Miss Phillips, whose brother David, 45, is a businessman in Kentucky, wanted to return to care for her parents and made the move in December 2003. “I always knew I could come back to England one day because this is my home,” she said. “My parents needed looking after. I never knew it would cause this bother.”

The divorcee misses out on automatic citizenship by 15 months after a rule change in 2003. Children born abroad to a British mother and foreign father after February 7, 1961, and before January 1, 1983, can now become British citizens through the maternal line. Miss Phillips missed out because she was born on November 5, 1959.

She first applied for residency in August 2005 but hit a mountain of red tape. In May 2006, Miss Phillips – and her daughter – were forced to leave Britain but returned in June last year aboard a U.S. military cargo plane after her mother’s health deteriorated. “But I made no secret of what I was doing and applied again for permission to stay,” she said. “Again I’ve been turned down.”

The latest refusal from the Home Office gives one reason as “she (her mother) may also rely on friends and neighbours to some degree to alleviate her sense of loneliness and isolation”. Miss Phillips said: “The day after receiving the notice one of mum’s neighbours, they are all OAPs, was taken away in an ambulance. The Home Office doesn’t even know who my mum’s neighbours are.”

Tory MP David Davis, who represents Haltemprice and Howden in East Yorkshire, said: “This decision is a disgrace when somebody born to a British woman is being threatened with deportation at a time when the Government cannot even deport foreign criminals. “This woman wants to stay in this country to care for her elderly mother and is actually saving the state money and making a positive contribution to society.”

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