April 2009


A growing Labour rebellion against the Government’s treatment of the Gurkhas has put intense pressure on ministers to allow more Nepalese veterans to retire in the UK.

Dozens of Labour backbenchers are expected to vote against the Government’s treatment of the Gurkhas. The revolt comes after the Labour-dominated Home Affairs Committee told the Government to do more for the Gurkhas and summoned Phil Woolas, the immigration minister, to explain its stance.

The Government has been accused of betraying thousands of Nepalese men who fought for Britain in conflicts including the Falklands after setting new immigration rules that stop short of allowing all former Gurkhas to come to Britain. Under the new rules, only Gurkhas with at least 10 years’ service are eligible to come to Britain. Other foreign nationals serving with the British Armed Forces can apply after only four years.

The High Court last year declared that preventing Gurkhas who had served in the British Army before 1997 from living in this country was unlawful. In response, the Home Office last week issued fresh criteria for allowing Gurhkas into the UK, but set the bar for entry so high that campaigners say that only a few hundred veterans will ever qualify.

Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, has called for all former Gurkhas to be admitted to Britain [Hear, Hear!] and will today trigger a Commons vote on the issue. Forty-five Labour backbenchers have signed a Commons motion calling for Gurkhas who retired before 1997 to have the same immigration status as those who retired after that time. In all, 109 MPs have backed the motion.

Martin Salter, a Labour backbencher, said: “This completely disgraceful decision does a great disservice to the brave Gurkha soldiers who have willingly risked their lives for this country.”

Mr Clegg appealed to Labour MPs to vote against the Government’s “insulting decision to turn its back on these brave soldiers.” He said: “People who are prepared to fight and die for our country should be entitled to live here. Yet even this basic principle is broken by this out of touch and morally bankrupt Government.” The Lib Dem motion in the Commons will also be publicly supported at Westminster rally by the actress Joanna Lumley, whose father served in a Gurkha regiment.

Mr Woolas has claimed that giving free access to all former Gurkhas and their families could mean as many as 100,000 people moving to Britain. Advocates of the Gurkha cause say that is an overestimate, and the Home Affairs Committee has summoned Mr Woolas to explain the Government’s treatment of the Gurkhas.

Keith Vaz, the Labour chairman of the committee said ministers should “do the honourable thing” and admit the Gurkhas. He said: “The Committee was tremendously impressed by the merits of the Gurkha argument and the dignity with which they have attempted to redress a great injustice. “It is indisputable that the UK owes an historic debt of gratitude to the Gurkhas for their brave, loyal and distinguished service in the defence of this country. Natural justice as well as moral rectitude dictate that we should treat them equally as any other individual prepared to fight and die for this country.” [I never thought I would applaud Keith Vaz but I do on this occasion — JR]

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Asylum-seekers on Christmas Island receive generous payments for doing nothing

A FAMILY of four asylum-seekers living on Christmas Island in community detention receives up to $1000 a fortnight from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC). DIAC spokesman Sandi Logan said 33 asylum-seekers who had undergone health and security checks were living in houses in the community while awaiting outcomes of their visa applications.

A further 40 asylum-seekers, mostly family groups, women, children and those with special needs, are in alternative detention while 193 single men are detained at the Christmas Island Detention Centre. Women and children are not housed in the detention centre itself, and instead live in alternative detention called the construction camp near the Poon Saan neighbourhood on the island.

Mr Logan said adults in community detention were given $100 cash and $360 in store credit, which can be used at one of two local stores, a fortnight to buy food and other items. A family of two adults and two children would receive $300 cash and $766 store credit each fortnight, which is administered by the Red Cross.

Those under the age of 18 who were deemed unaccompanied minors [In other words, young adults pretending to br teenagers] in community detention receive $50 a week and each household consisting of up to five minors, who are looked after by a carer, is given $900 a week for food and supplies.

Mr Logan said those on community detention had to cook and buy their own food. “We can’t put them out in community detention and let them starve,” he said. Some chose to save their money and buy luxury items including sunglasses and MP3 players, and were entitled to do so, Mr Logan said.

Inside the detention centre, detainees have 20 internet terminals. “There is also a telephone available in each of the (eight) compounds and they are issued with a phone card each week to make phone calls, it could be to their representatives, to friends or to others …,” Mr Logan said. The calls are unrestricted and include international calls.

Mr Logan said the detainees are encouraged to participate in activities and are rewarded for attending English classes and helping out in the detention centre. The reward system has been in place for some time in Australian detention centres, Mr Logan said.

Detainees are free to move around the inside of the detention centre, often playing cricket and soccer on the oval, but have a night-time curfew when they go back to their single rooms.

The centre was built by the Howard government at a cost of $400 million and is located on the remote corner of Christmas Island, an Australian territory 2,600km northwest of Perth. More than 200 people including 38 DIAC staff are on the island to support the centre.

More than 130 asylum-seekers picked up in the interception of four boats since Saturday, including two today, will also be taken to Christmas Island. It is not known when they will arrive on the island.

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Rate now exceeds native-born, a change from recent past

A new report finds immigrant unemployment (legal and illegal) was higher in the first quarter of 2009 than at any time since 1994, when immigrants were first separated out in the monthly data. This represents a change from the recent past when native-born Americans tended to have higher unemployment rates. The findings show that immigrants have been harder hit by the recession than natives. Although data on immigrants is collected, it is generally not published by the government. This report is one of the few to examine this data.

The report, entitled, ‘Trends in Immigrant and Native Employment,’ is embargoed until Wednesday midnight, for publication on Thursday, April, 30. Advance copies are available to the media. The study will be available online at: http://www.cis.org.

The report also contains employment data for Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington State.

The report is coauthored by Dr. Steven Camarota, the Director of Research at the Center for Immigration Studies and Karen Jensenius a Research Demographer at the Center.

The above is a press release from from Center for Immigration Studies. 1522 K St. NW, Suite 820, Washington, DC 20005, (202) 466-8185 fax: (202) 466-8076. For more information, contact Steven Camarota at (202) 466-8185 or sac@cis.org

Man unlawfully held in detention for six months now seeking compensation

A ZIMBABWEAN immigrant wrongly held in detention for six months is seeking $2 million in compensation. Troy Parker arrived in Western Australia with his Australian wife and two children in 1999, having fled persecution from the government of Robert Mugabe. He was granted a temporary spousal visa but his application for permanent residency was rejected in 2002 after the relationship broke down.

However, Mr Parker says he never received the notification and continued working in Perth until 2004 when immigration officials placed him in detention as an illegal immigrant. He remained at the Perth immigration detention centre for six months before being released on a bridging visa though he was denied work rights for another 12 months.

Mr Parker, who now resides in Cairns in north Queensland, was finally granted permanent residency last Wednesday, after his case came to the attention of migration agent John Young who lobbied the Federal Government on his behalf.

However, a freedom of information application to the Department of Immigration revealed department officers acknowledged in 2006 that Mr Parker had been detained unlawfully. The documents reveal the letter notifying Mr Parker his visa application had been rejected was not dated, meaning his temporary visa remained valid for the entirety of his detention. They also revealed the visa cancellation was later overturned by the migration review commission, in the interests of Mr Parker’s children, but the letter notifying him of the decision was sent to the wrong address.

“This is just a total mess, it’s the biggest mess up I’ve ever seen,” Mr Young told AAP. “The whole thing was flawed. He had rights, he had a valid visa.”

Mr Parker is now seeking $2 million in compensation from the Federal Government. Two weeks ago he received a letter from the Department accepting there was a risk his detention may have been unlawful and indicating the matter had been referred to the Government’s insurer to consider a payout figure.

Mr Young said he and his client were unlikely to accept an offer less than $2 million. “If he’d just been held in detention for six months and had been able to work immediately and get on with his life then we’d probably accept a lesser figure,” Mr Young said.

Mr Parker said he was also seeking a formal apology from the Department. “I think some people have to answer for quite a few mistakes – it’s caused quite a bit of chaos, it’s split families up,” Mr Parker said.

An immigration spokeswoman said the Department could not comment because the matter had not been finalised. “Given that the legal issues in this case are yet to be resolved it is inappropriate to discuss at this stage whether, and the extent to which, Mr Parker’s detention was indeed unlawful,” she said.

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1. MD Faces Music on Drivers Licenses

Excerpt: Maryland has done something important: admitted they need the requirements of REAL ID and lawful presence for the good of the state. Will the federal government listen? Or will it ignore Maryland’s important strides by supporting legislation that guts secure ID issuance? With whispers that a measure to effectively repeal REAL ID will be introduced in the Senate any day now, we shall see.

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2. Maryland: Gang Haven

Excerpt: The fact that Maryland is experiencing an increase in gang violence does not come as a surprise. Neighboring Virginia has been cracking down on illegal alien gangs – and illegal immigration, generally – for a number of years. New anti-gang legislation, increased police cooperation with federal immigration authorities, and tightening of drivers license policies, for example, have made Virginia less welcoming for those violating the law.

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3. Update on PASS ID Act negotiations

Excerpt: The National Governors Association (NGA) is continuing to negotiate its bill called PASS ID Act (analyzed in my April 6, 2009 Backgrounder ‘The Appearance of Security: REAL ID Final Regulations vs. PASS ID Act of 2009′). The March 27, 2009 bill draft I analyzed continues to be honed, with the goal of introducing it (so I’m told) in conjunction with the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Spring Forums in Washington, D.C., April 22-25, 2009. The NCSL, in turn, is discussing the possibility of releasing a statement on the bill while they are in session. Historically, the NCSL has been, for the most part, aligned with the NGA on REAL ID.

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4. I Think They Hope We’ll Just Forget About It

Excerpt: The administration has delayed, yet again, the implementation of the rule that would require most federal contractors to use the E-Verify system when hiring to screen out illegal aliens.

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5. ACLU-UNC Wrong on 287(g)

Excerpt: The University of North Carolina School of Law recently joined forces with the ACLU and published a report aimed at stopping ICE cooperation with state and local law enforcement. The paper also advocates mass, illegal-alien amnesty.

Despite the fact that the report has been celebrated by a number of media outlets, the paper is quite an embarrassment for the law school as it provides no new data, no statistics, and very little analysis—even though the paper is a whopping 152-pages long. Instead, the paper is full of accusations, inaccuracies, and anecdotal evidence. It is heavy on conclusions, all of which seem to be cut-and-pasted from earlier ACLU publications aimed at perpetuating illegal immigration.

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6. Castaneda to Calderon: Press Obama for the whole enchilada

Excerpt: Castaneda observes that despite the recession in the U.S., the famous massive return (of Mexican illegals) hasn’t taken place and isn’t going to take place, the small decrease in (illegal) flows to the U.S. will be ephemeral, and the number of Mexicans who have lost their jobs in Mexico is reaching alarming proportions.

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7. David vs. Goliath

Exceprt: It’s hilarious when the open-borders side complains about ‘deep-pocketed restrictionists’ (see this example — from the Wall Street Journal, no less!) given the almost unbelievable disparity in funding between the two sides. But this story on the Ford Foundation in today’s NYT really illustrates the huge money advantage that the open-borders side enjoys

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8. Labor Sells Out American Workers, Yet Again

Excerpt: In the NYT’s latest front-page story pushing amnesty, it reports that the AFL-CIO and the breakaway Change to Win coaltion (basically the Service Employees International Union and the Teamsters) have agreed on a common approach to amnesty. Last time, the AFL-CIO didn’t back the Bush-McCain-Kennedy amnesty because it expanded the various indentured-worker visas, while the SEIU figured amnesty for its illegal-alien members (and importing even more in the future) was the main goal and they’d worry about the rest later. With an increased Democratic margin in Congress and with the Great Helmsman in the White House, the unions seem to have decided to give the finger to the rope-sellers at the Chamber of Commerce by proposing a phony commission to decide future levels of ‘temporary’ worker admissions. And I note with much rejoicing that the Chamber isn’t liking that at all:

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9. Look to Zion

Excerpt: Steinitz: Deport 100,000 illegal workers

New finance minister teams up with Immigration Authority to deal with problem ‘threatening Israeli workers’; comprehensive plan includes increased fines and indictments against employers

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10. New DHS Report on Non-immigrant Admissions

Excerpt: From the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Immigration Statistics:

During 2008, there were 175 million nonimmigrant admissions to the United States according to DHS workload estimates. These included tourists and business travelers from Canada, Mexican nationals with Border Crossing Cards, and all admissions requiring the submission of an I-94 form. I-94 admissions accounted for 23 percent (39 million) of the total admissions. The majority (90 percent) of I-94 admissions were short-term visitors, such as tourists and business travelers, while the remaining 10 percent (3.7 million) were temporary residents characterized by a longer duration of stay, such as specialty workers, students, and nurses. The leading countries of citizenship for I-94 admissions were Mexico, the United Kingdom, and Japan.

The above is a press release from from Center for Immigration Studies. 1522 K St. NW, Suite 820, Washington, DC 20005, (202) 466-8185 fax: (202) 466-8076. Email: center@cis.org http://www.cis.org

Members of far-right party in Finland make headlines with controversial remarks

Finland has relatively few foreigners but that has not stopped a heated debate on immigration, rousing bloggers, the media and politicians amid rising support for the nationalistic True Finns party. “Xenophobia has become organized in Finland,” said Pasi Saukkonen, a senior researcher at the Foundation for Cultural Policy Research.

The immigration issue has for months topped the agenda in newspaper op-eds, blogs, special television debates, and community websites. Saukkonen said he had observed a change in attitudes, noting that the weakness of the far-right in Finland for a long time made the country “quite abnormal” compared with other European countries. In recent years, however, there has been growing support for the Perussuomalaiset party, or True Finns.

The party kickstarted the debate on immigration late last year when a number of its local election candidates made headlines for their controversial remarks. In a blog, party member Jussi Halla-aho described foreigners as criminals and called asylum seekers “African gang rapists” and “parasites on tax payer money.” He has since been charged with hate crimes and risks up to two years behind bars.

But the publicity did not hurt the True Finns. It raked in 5.4 per cent of votes in the October polls, increasing its support by more than a percentage point from the 2007 general elections. The leader of the party, Timo Soini, insists that neither he nor his party is racist, stressing instead that the True Finns promote conservative and patriotic values. “I am offended by allegations that I or my party is racist. It is an unfair statement and against my beliefs,” Soini told AFP.

Foreigners make up only 2.5 per cent of Finland’s 5.3 million inhabitants, but increasing numbers of immigrants have prompted an outcry in some quarters. “There are very few foreigners in Finland. In recent years more immigrants have come here to work and that has been a big change for Finnish society,” Johanna Suurpaeae, a state-appointed advocate for minorities, told AFP.

Last year the overall number of asylum requests in Finland soared to 4,035 from 1,434 in 2007, with the number of Iraqi asylum seekers nearly quadrupling to 1,255, according to Immigration Service statistics. The increase came at a time when numbers were declining in other Nordic countries that have traditionally been more hospitable to refugees.

A new immigration law that among other things will for the first time allow immigrants with temporary residence permits to work in Finland has also attracted criticism. Despite being adopted by a broad parliamentary majority, a number of dissenting voices insisted the new law was dangerous and called on the house instead to tighten existing immigration legislation.

Raimo Vistbacka, an MP for the True Finns, said he believed the “current government’s liberal immigration policy” had actually attracted people traffickers. Even the opposition Social Democrats have called for tighter rules, with MP Kari Rajamaeki telling parliament the country “needs to have better controls on immigration.”

Conservative Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen has lashed out at xenophobia. “We mustn’t give even the slightest room for racism in Finland,” he said recently.

The fact that Finland still lags far behind most other Western countries in terms of numbers of immigrants and refugees has however done little to calm some Finns’ fear that the country will soon be deluged with foreigners. Finland is one of the world’s fastest ageing nations and statistics show its labour force will start declining by 2010. “Finland is a small country and Finnish companies need more skilled workers in the future,” Migration and European Affairs Minister Astrid Thors told AFP. Immigrants will be needed to keep the wheels of Finland’s generous welfare state rolling as the number of Finnish workers declines. [That’s assuming that the immigrants will contribute more than they consume. With a high rate of welfare dependency among them that may not be so]

Observers note attitudes towards immigration tend to toughen during economic downturns like the current one. “In a way it is understandable that when many people suddenly become unemployed, people start to ask why we should have more immigrants,” Suurpaeae said.

Some immigrants, meanwhile, say that Finland’s harsh climate, with its long, dark winters, combined with a host population often perceived as unfriendly, make it difficult for foreigners to integrate. “Winter is six months long and the language is difficult,” said Hannah Artes, an English woman who has lived in Finland for about 10 years. “To have (a Finn) smile back at you makes your day as a foreigner,” she added, commenting on Finns’ reputation for being taciturn.

Singer Bina Nkwazi, who moved to Finland about a decade ago from Zambia, said there was less racism now as Finns had gradually become more accustomed to immigrants. “Finns are more open concerning foreigners. They have realized we are here to give and to contribute to society,” Nkwazi said.

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The deadly flu strain sweeping across Mexico and into the U.S. has world health experts sounding the alarm bells. Mexico City has been shut down. Officials are advising citizens there to wear masks. There’s talk of a pandemic. California and Texas have seen several reported cases, but no deaths in the U.S. Yet:

A new flu strain that has killed up to 68 people in Mexico could become a pandemic, the World Health Organization warned on Saturday, as health experts tried to track the disease’s spread.

Hospitals tested patients with flu symptoms for the never-before-seen virus, which has also infected eight people in the United States. No further deaths had come to light since Friday afternoon, but officials warned the person-to-person infections meant there was a risk of a major outbreak…

…Mexico has shut schools, cinemas and museums and canceled public events in its sprawling, overcrowded capital of 20 million people to try to prevent further infections. Weekend soccer matches were played in empty stadiums and people on the street wore face masks. The strain of flu has spread fast between people and infected some individuals who had no contact with one another.

The WHO says the virus from 12 of the Mexican patients is genetically the same as a new strain of swine flu, designated H1N1, seen in eight people in California and Texas. All of the eight later recovered. An emergency committee of WHO experts, convening on Saturday, will advise Chan on issues including possibly changing the WHO’s pandemic alert level, currently 3 on a scale of 1 to 6.

A NYC prep school saw 75 students fall ill on Friday and health officials are testing to see if it’s the new strain of swine flu. The World Health Organization is set to declare the outbreak an “international concern.”

I’ve blogged for years about the spread of contagious diseases from around the world into the U.S. as a result of uncontrolled immigration. We’ve heard for years from reckless open-borders ideologues who continue to insist there’s nothing to worry about. And we’ve heard for years that calling any attention to the dangers of allowing untold numbers of people to pass across our borders and through our other ports of entry without proper medical screening — as required of every legal visitor/immigrant to this country — is RAAAACIST.

9/11 didn’t convince the open-borders zealots to put down their race cards and confront reality. Maybe the threat of their sons or daughters contracting a deadly virus spread from south of the border to their Manhattan prep schools will.

Update: Two swine-flu cases confirmed in Kansas…

Kansas state health officials have confirmed two cases of swine flu, just minutes after New York health officials said they had eight probable cases, CNN reported on Saturday.

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