April 2008

And may drive others in the same direction

Hundreds of foreign-born families have pulled their children from Prince William County public schools and enrolled them in nearby Fairfax County, Arlington County and Alexandria since the start of the school year, imposing a new financial burden on those inner suburbs in a time of lean budgets. The school-to-school migration within Northern Virginia started just as Prince William began implementing rules to deny some services to illegal immigrants and require police to check the immigration status of crime suspects thought to be in the country illegally.

Opponents of the rules say they have had a chilling effect on Prince William’s once-thriving Latino community, prompting even legal immigrants to flee a hostile environment. Supporters say the rules have done what they were supposed to by primarily pushing illegal immigrants out. “The resolution is clearly working,” said Corey A. Stewart (R-At Large), chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors. “It is driving down the non-English-speaking portion of the schools and saving us millions of dollars. They’re going to other jurisdictions and costing them money.” Stewart called those jurisdictions “sanctuary” cities and counties, saying illegal immigrants are welcome there. He added: “There is going to be pressure to enact similar resolutions in those neighboring cities and counties.” Officials from those jurisdictions reject that assertion.

Until now, the evidence of a migration has been largely anecdotal, making it difficult to measure or trace its causes. Data from school systems, however, provide the most concrete evidence to date that a significant exodus of immigrants is underway — and that most of those leaving are settling in neighboring communities.

According to the Prince William school system, enrollment in the English for speakers of other languages, or ESOL, program dropped by 759 between September and March 31. It was the first known instance of a decline in ESOL students, said Irene Cromer, a schools spokeswoman. During that period, 623 ESOL students from Prince William enrolled in Fairfax schools, compared with 241 in the same period the previous year. Eighty-three enrolled in Arlington, and 75 signed up in Alexandria, the latter up from 10. Twenty-three ESOL students from Prince William enrolled in Loudoun County, officials there said.

School officials in Fairfax and Arlington said the new students are scattered across a number of schools, minimizing their effect on programs and budgets. In Fairfax, for example, a net increase of about 400 students isn’t so dramatic when measured against the county’s overall ESOL population of more than 21,000 students. “We get about 6,000 new language-minority students a year,” said Teddi Predaris, director of Fairfax’s Office of ESOL Services. “An increase of 400 is noticeable, but what adjective you put in front of it depends on your perspective.”

Still, Stewart noted that Prince William’s schools expect to save $6 million in education costs as a result of the exodus — a cost that will be borne by the other communities. Some officials in Fairfax and elsewhere say they expect the numbers to climb in the next academic year.

More here


The overall figures below don’t give the full story. Not all immigrants are equally desirable or undesirable. Some groups are much more crime-prone than others — as just about all Italians are now acutely aware. Romanian Gypsies and Africans have, for instance, been particularly troublesome in Italy. By the same token, the very high percentage of foreigners in Switzerland is less troublesome because relatively few of the foreigners there are from troublesome groups. Most foreigners in Switzerland are of Western European origin.

Note the high concentration of foreigners in Italy’s prosperous North. That is of course the foundation of the furiously anti-immigration attitudes of the influential Northern League political party — shortly to be included in Italy’s government.

Note also that the figures below say nothing about ILLEGAL immigration

The number of foreign residents in Italy with valid residence permits has been put at just over two million, four hundred thousand (129,000 more than there were last year). Over 88 pct of them live in the Centre-North of the country, with a good quarter in Lombardy.

These are among the figures (up-dated as of first January 2007) in the initial Report on Immigration issued by Italy’s Interior Ministry and presented at the President’s palace by Minister Giuliano Amato and Under-Secretary Marcella Lucidi. The dossier contains a fair few “surprises” starting with the number of foreigners as a percentage of the whole population: at 5 pct Italy takes twelfth place in an imaginary European league table headed by Switzerland (20.2 pct), Austria (9.4 pct), Germany and Belgium (8.8 pct), Greece (8.1 pct), France (5.7 pct), Ireland (5.6 pct), Sweden and Denmark (5.4 pct), the United Kingdom (5.2 pct), Norway (5.1 pct).

There is a clear territorial division between the South (where foreign residents make up just 1.6 pct of the population) and the Centre-North (where the ratio peaks at 6.8 pct). The regions with the highest densities of immigrants are, following Lombardy, Veneto, Lazio and Emilia Romagna, but the situation within individual provinces is highly chequered, with peaks of over 10 pct, for example in Prato and Brescia.


And it is the leader of Britain’s wishy washy party that says so!

Rising immigration is putting pressure on schools and undermining education standards, Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, warns today. Mr Clegg says an influx of children who do not speak English is hampering the work of teachers and proves that ministers failed to plan for current levels of migration. We must acknowledge that rising migration is putting pressure on schools at all levels,” he will say.

Mr Clegg’s comments mark his party’s strongest criticism of Labour’s open-door immigration policy, and may spark speculation that he is moving to the Right. In a speech to the 4Children conference in London today, Mr Clegg will reveal figures showing that nearly 800,000 pupils – 12 per cent of the total – are registered as having a first language other than English. That marks a 60 per cent rise since Labour came to power in 1997. The Daily Telegraph revealed in December that children with English as their first language were now in the minority in more than 1,300 schools.

“The latest wave of migration has brought large numbers – of Eastern Europeans in particular – to parts of the country that have little experience of dealing with speakers of other languages in schools,” Mr Clegg will say. “Even a few children in a class can be a real challenge for a teacher used to strong English language skills, especially if children are arriving in the middle of a school year – and in unpredictable numbers. “It’s a challenge for native English speakers, as well – because their learning suffers too when a class can’t move forward together, learn together and share experiences fully.”

Mr Clegg’s aides say he has chosen to raise the issue of immigration and education after receiving complaints from head teachers who say their biggest challenge is coping with the number of languages spoken at their school. He will insist that his party will never support calls to end mass immigration, saying: “The problems stem from our failure to plan for population changes, not from the existence of migrants.”

However, his speech could still raise suspicions among Lib Dem activists that Mr Clegg is trying to shift to the Right to counter a resurgent Conservative Party. Some analysts say the third party will be badly squeezed in Thursday’s local government elections, perhaps losing as many as 200 seats as the Tories advance. Although the Lib Dems’ poll ratings are steady at about 17 per cent, the party has reaped no clear benefit from Gordon Brown’s recent troubles.

Mr Clegg has been testing the waters for a shift to the Right, even hinting that the Lib Dems could fight the next general election on a promise of cutting the tax burden


New Report Shows That Most Are Not

A new report from the Center for Immigration Studies demonstrates that most H-1Bs are ordinary people doing ordinary work, not the geniuses claimed by industry lobbyists.

Those arguing for an increase in the number of H-1B visas (ostensibly temporary visas for ‘specialty occupations,’ many of them in the computer industry) claim that continued U.S. leadership in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics hinges on our ability to import the world’s best engineers and scientists. But this new data analysis shows that the vast majority of H-1B workers – including those at most major tech firms – are not the innovators industry portrays them to be.

The new report, entitled ‘H-1Bs: Still Not the Best and the Brightest,’ is authored by Dr. Norman Matloff, a professor of computer science at the University of California, Davis, and is online here

The analysis is based on the simple fact that in a market economy, if workers are indeed outstanding talents, they will be paid accordingly. This can be determined by computing the ratio of the foreign worker’s salary to the prevailing wage figure stated by the employer (this report calls that ratio the ‘Talent Measure’ or TM). A TM value of 1.0 means that the worker is merely average, not of outstanding talent. The findings:

# The median TM value over all foreign workers studied was just a hair over 1.0.

# The median TM value was also essentially 1.0 in each of the tech professions studied.

# Median TM was near 1.0 for almost all prominent tech firms that were analyzed.

# Contrary to the constant hyperbole in the press that ‘Johnnie can’t do math’ in comparison with kids in Asia, TM values for workers from Western European countries tend to be much higher than those of their Asian counterparts.

# Most foreign workers work at or near entry level, described by the Department of Labor in terms akin to apprenticeship. This counters the industry’s claim that they hire the workers as key innovators.

CIS press release above

Watching as states around the country take immigration into their own hands, Texas lawmakers who failed last year to crack down on illegal border crossers have vowed to catch up in 2009. Last year, state lawmakers nationwide submitted more than 1,500 immigration-related bills, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. More than 200 of those proposals became new laws in 46 states. Texas neighbor Oklahoma and fellow border state Arizona have adopted some of the toughest anti-immigration measures, and at a hearing last week, some Lone Star lawmakers said they hoped to follow suit. “I think God would have us work on it and vote,” said state Rep. Debbie Riddle, R-Tomball.

Some legislators say laws in those states are helping the economy and reducing pressure on public services. But lawyers and some business groups in Arizona and Oklahoma said immigration restrictions there have hurt businesses and have created an exodus of not only undocumented immigrants but also of Hispanic citizens. “The perception from the Hispanic community is they have been solely targeted by a bunch of racist rednecks,” said Campbell Cooke, an immigration attorney in Tulsa. The city, he said, has lost about half its Hispanic population since Oklahoma legislators adopted anti-immigration legislation and Tulsa police began enforcing federal immigration laws.

Among other things, the Oklahoma law requires public employers to use a federal system to verify an employee’s citizenship. Later this year, all contractors and subcontractors for public agencies will also have to use the system. Employers would also be subject to a discrimination lawsuit in Oklahoma if they fired an employee who is a citizen while keeping a worker who is undocumented. Under the law, transporting or “harboring” an undocumented immigrant is a felony. It also requires anyone older than 14 to provide proof of citizenship before receiving public benefits, except for some emergency services. “This has a huge impact throughout the community, both social and from an economic and work-force perspective,” Cooke said.

Arizona adopted even more-stringent employer penalties, requiring all companies to conduct citizenship checks for their workers or risk losing their operating licenses. Ann Seiden, spokeswoman for the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said it’s difficult to gauge whether economic slowdowns in the state have been caused by the new laws or by the overall financial troubles nationally. But she said businesses have been confused about their new responsibilities and what liabilities they might face. “It’s created an atmosphere of uncertainty, and that was our greatest fear,” Seiden said.

Arizona state Rep. Russell Pearce wrote much of the anti-immigration legislation. He said claims of economic woes and Hispanic exodus were lies. “It’s a huge economic boon,” he said. With undocumented immigrants leaving the state, he said, taxpayers would save on costs for education, health care and public safety. And, he said, wages would go up because employers would not have a readily available supply of cheap labor. He also said those in the United States legally have no reason to flee the state. “The goal is to not to incentivize people to break our laws,” Pearce said.

Texas lawmakers last year filed dozens of bills meant to force undocumented immigrants to leave the state. None of the major restrictions made it far in the process, though, after the lawmaker overseeing the bills asked the Texas attorney general to review them. State Rep. David Swinford, R-Dumas, said he wanted to ensure that Texas didn’t wind up in losing lawsuits over unconstitutional measures. Instead, he concentrated on a law that put $110 million into border security. The measures also faced stiff opposition from civil-rights and business groups.

Disappointed that Texas has fallen behind other states, state Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, said he would file legislation to follow their leads. He said the Oklahoma economy is improving as thousands of immigrants leave the state. Any positive impact undocumented immigrants have on the Texas economy, he said, is outweighed by their cost to the state in public services. At the very least, Berman said, Texas should implement laws that punish employers who hire undocumented workers, should make English the state’s official language, should require photo identification for voting and should restrict noncitizens’ access to public benefits.

By not stopping illegal immigration, he said, elected leaders are allowing “multiculturalism to prevail and flourish.” “We are a nation of laws, and if we continue on this path, we will lose the great republic that our forefathers gave to us,” Berman said.

State Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van, said anti-immigration measures were not targeted at Hispanics, but were meant to ensure national security. “We’re not just talking about Mexico. We have a concern about all the folks coming over our southern border.”

Kathleen Campbell Walker, lawyer with Brown McCarroll in El Paso and president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said Texas lawmakers should expect a surge of lawsuits and a departure of businesses if they adopt measures like Oklahoma and Arizona did. “You’re going to have racial profiling; you’re going to have proliferation of discrimination,” she said. “Do we really want to go back to an era like the civil-rights era?” Companies, she said, are already beginning to have trouble deciphering the patchwork of immigration laws that states are adopting in addition to existing federal regulations. “It will drive you looney-tunes,” she said. “I don’t know if a Ouija board is enough to help you figure it out.”

Bill Lenderman, who lives in East El Paso, said controlling immigration was not about race but about maintaining American sovereignty. “They’ll destroy the culture of the country,” he said of undocumented immigrants. Lenderman said Texas lawmakers should follow Oklahoma’s example. “Tell them ‘you’re not welcome here,’ ” he said. “Go away — no benefits and no jobs.”


Some U.S. Border Patrol agents along the Mexican border are packing paintball rifles, but they’re not being used for games. Agents in the patrol’s Tucson, San Diego and Yuma sectors have been armed with guns that launch pepper spray and paintball projectiles and are trained to fire paintballs when they come under attack along border fences.

Splattering paint on rock throwers at high velocities is intended to dissuade them and to combat what has become a sharp increase in the number of rockings and other assaults on agents along the Mexican border. “It has become a very effective tool,” said Border Patrol spokesman Ramon Rivera. “It has helped agents dramatically.”

The Border Patrol has about 1,000 of the paintball guns, which have been in the hands of agents since October. The gun, known as the FN303, is produced by a Belgian company and it replaced a less effective paintball gun that was used for three or four years in Nogales, Ariz., Rivera said. At a range of about 225 to 250 feet, someone hit with a paintball could end up with stinging, welts, bruises or contusions, “and you’re not going to just be able to wipe it (the paint) off your clothes,” Border Patrol spokesman Lloyd Easterling said. “It certainly lets you know that you’ve been hit with one of these things; it’s designed for you to take note and to stop what you’re doing.” ….

I think that is called a “memorable experience” in using non lethal force. For a while I had a low voltage wire around some of my flower beds to keep the critters out. Having accidentally touched it on occasion, I can attest that it too was a memorable experience that got my attention. Most of the rock throwing is cross border. That is the reason there are no arrests.


Should reduce house prices too

Unemployment rates are rising across the United States, except Oklahoma. That state is experiencing the most dramatic reduction in unemployment since 2007, an improvement many in Oklahoma attribute to the passage last year by the state legislature of a strong employment-focused immigration reform law. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday reported unemployment in Oklahoma had fallen to 3.1 percent in March, down from 4 percent in March last year, while unemployment nationwide was 5.1 percent, up from 4.4 percent in March last year.

“Oklahoma is no longer ‘OK’ for illegal aliens,” said State Rep. Randy Terrill, who sponsored House Bill 1804 which passed by overwhelming majorities last year in both the House (84-14) and Senate (41-6) of the Oklahoma Legislature. “The bottom line is illegal aliens will not come here if there are no jobs waiting for them,” Terrill said. “They will not stay here if there is no government subsidy, and they certainly won’t stay here if they know that if they ever encounter our state and local law enforcement officers, they will be physically detained until they are deported.”

House Bill 1804, the Oklahoma Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act of 2007, has been characterized by USA Today as “arguably the nation’s toughest state law targeting illegal immigration.” The Oklahoma law imposes strict penalties on employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens, makes it a felony to transport or shelter illegal immigrants, forbids the state to issue drivers licenses or pay social welfare benefits to illegal aliens or their families, and empowers state and local police to enforce federal immigration laws.

Last month, the Oklahoma Bankers Association threatened Oklahoma would lose about $1.8 billion annually in productivity and wages, largely because House Bill 1804, which went into effect in November last year, will force an estimated 50,000 illegal immigrants to leave the state. The group based the conclusions on a study done by economists Russell Evans and Kyle Dean of the Oklahoma-based Economic Impact Group that estimated as many as 70,000 illegal immigrants were living in Oklahoma when the legislation was passed.

Proponents of the law would counter that forcing illegal aliens to leave Oklahoma was precisely the intended effect of the bill. “The next question to ask would be whether citizens have taken jobs that illegals used to do,” observed blogger Tom Blumer. “Though the lower unemployment rate doesn’t in and of itself prove that, it does point strongly in that direction.” “Will anyone in Old Media dig more deeply into the Sooner State’s situation?” Blumer wondered. “Or will they try to pretend that Oklahoma’s improvement doesn’t exist, because finding out why might expose some inconvenient truths, and hurt the cause of illegal-immigrant ‘amnesty.'”


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