August 2010

As Arizona tries to make illegal immigrants a little more uncomfortable, residents in Portland, Maine are trying to make legal immigrants more comfortable.

“Legal immigrants are an important part of our community,” says Will Everitt as he walks down Congress Street, just a block from City Hall. “They contribute a lot.”

Everitt is from the Maine League of Young Voters, a group that’s sponsoring a ballot initiative to give non-citizen legal immigrants the right to vote in Portland City elections. . “They’re sending their kids to our schools,” he says. “And they should be able to have a right to vote for say the school committee.”

Portland is a city of 65,000 and currently has about 10,000 legal non-citizen immigrants, mostly from African nations like Somalia. .

One of the petition-signers is Alfred Jacob, who came to Maine from the Sudan in the mid-90’s. For eight and a half years he worked jobs and paid taxes but had no say in how Portland city government spent his tax money. “I had no say whatsoever,” he said earlier this week as he walked past the sites of some of his former jobs including a restaurant and a museum. “I was not part of the process at all.”

Everitt calls that a blatant case of taxation without representation and he says it’s clearly not fair. “It’s not fair because these people are here legally,” he says. “They’re living in our community…and they should have a say in how their tax dollars are being spent.” . He says the whole point of the initiative is to make Portland more democratic.

Anti-immigration activists contend it will make it less so. . “It devalues democracy,” says Bob Dane. “And in a way, it’s watering down the very thing immigrants want the most, and that is the gift of American citizenship. ”

Dane is from the Federation for Immigration Reform, which wants to limit, not expand immigrant rights.

“Handing out instantaneous voting rights,” says Dane, “to people who still have not taken the requisite citizenship exam, is really just demeaning citizenship and it’s setting us back.”

Everitt disagrees. “I think this is all about democracy, “ he says. “This is about diversity and I think diversity equals democracy.”

Everitt is also proud Portland may buck the anti-immigration trend this year, “I think it’s a chance for Maine to be a counter-point to what’s going on in Arizona.”



Amid chronic shortages of housing for Brits

Thousands of Eastern European citizens are given council houses every year, leapfrogging millions of Britons languishing for years on waiting lists. The Daily Mail can reveal that last year some 4,000 homes were allocated to applicants from countries which have recently become part of the European Union, such as Lithuania and Poland.

Thousands more go to other European migrants and others without British citizenship even though the waiting list for social housing stands at 1.8million, with the average wait lasting more than six years.

Helena Horvatova is grateful for her council house. Her only complaint is that it has just three bedrooms for herself, her husband and their seven children. The 27-year-old was allocated the property by Peterborough council in March, days after the family arrived from the Czech Republic. Her 29-year-old husband does not work.

Their youngest child, born six months ago, is named Kevin. ‘It is a very British name,’ Mrs Horvatova said. ‘We want him to grow up British. ‘We came to Britain because we wanted a better life for all our children.’

She added: ‘My husband is claiming the Jobseekers’ Allowance. Back in our country he was a school cleaner, but in Peterborough they say there are no vacancies. ‘Our oldest boy has to go to school five miles away. The schools nearby are full of children who came to Peterborough before us.’ At least 10,000 eastern European immigrants have arrived in the city since the EU expanded its borders six years ago.

Now the Coalition has pledged to let British people jump the queue. Social housing allocation has previously been entirely ‘needs based’. Councils will now be free to acknowledge ‘local connections’ in their policies.

Housing minister Grant Shapps said: ‘It causes a great deal of concern and is very problematic for social cohesion when people find they aren’t provided with any preference when they are actually in the area they have lived in for a very long time.

‘People who have made contributions to the system deserve to benefit from the system.’

The move was welcomed by Edward Lister, the Tory leader of Wandsworth council in South London. He said: ‘We want to give a measure of priority to local residents. It builds stability in the community and keeps families together.’

No fewer than 310,000 council and housing association homes – around one in 12 – are now headed by someone who is not a UK citizen.

Some towns claim they are being overwhelmed by immigration from eastern Europe, putting pressure on hospitals and schools.

Philip Davies, Conservative MP for Shipley, said: ‘Immigration from Eastern Europe is putting a massive strain on local authorities, especially at a time when everyone is having to cut costs. ‘It helps build up resentment that otherwise wouldn’t exist. ‘It is not the fault of the people who are offered these homes, it is the fault of the system.’

The shortage of social housing has become a hot political issue in recent weeks, with David Cameron suggesting ending the right to council housing for life as a way to make more homes available.

He said it was wrong that tenants should be able to keep state-subsidised homes if they get a well-paid job when others were in need.

Figures seen by the Daily Mail show that in 2008/09, at least 3,350 homes were given to new tenants from countries which have recently joined the European Union.

The figures are collated by the Continuous Recording of Lettings and Sales in Social Housing in England, a body funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

But Richard Capie, policy director of the Chartered Institute of Housing, said: ‘It is likely that only a small proportion of these are new migrants.

‘Most of these lettings are likely to be to long-standing residents of the UK who have kept their foreign nationalities.’


“We’re under siege,” said rancher Ed Ashurst as he pointed to where he had tracked the killer of his friend and neighbor to the U.S.-Mexico border. “Five years ago, we didn’t even bother to lock our doors. Now my wife and I carry firearms everywhere we go.”

John Ladd is a fifth-generation cattle rancher in southern Cochise County, Ariz. The southern boundary of his family property is a 10-mile stretch of steel fence erected by the U.S. government. On the other side of the fence: Mexico. He told us, “Mexican drug cartels are running this part of America.”

The poet Robert Frost posited that “good fences make good neighbors.” From what our Fox News’ “War Stories” team documented this week, that’s not the case here in southern Arizona, where “the fence” on the U.S.-Mexico border remains unfinished. According to many levelheaded, beleaguered Americans here, the fence is little more than a “speed bump” for drug couriers, killers, human smugglers and lesser criminals flooding into our country.

Wednesday night, just hours after Barack and Michelle Obama and their doting supporters dined on Martha’s Vineyard, our team, accompanied by members of the Cochise County sheriff’s Border Interdiction Unit, walked up a quiet hilltop a few hundred yards north of the “fence.” There we watched through night-vision devices as a group of individuals approached the Mexican side of the steel barrier, timing their movement with the passing of U.S. Border Patrol vehicles.

By the time we departed for another location two hours after dawn, the “jumpers” — all wearing backpacks — had yet to make it into the U.S. Heartened by what we had seen, I said to one of the deputies, “It looks as if the fence worked.”

“Yeah,” said one of our guides and well-armed protectors, “but they have spotters who saw us leave. They will try again. Maybe we’ll get ’em, maybe not. But there are a lot more of them than there are of us. And they are better-armed than we are because the cartels have bigger budgets.”

The numbers verify the claim. Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman — a multibillionaire who heads the Sinaloa cartel just across Arizona’s border — commands an army of more than 11,000 “shooters” equipped with heavy machine guns, other automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenades and armored vehicles. That’s more than twice as many “troops” available to the U.S. Border Patrol, Arizona Department of Public Safety, Indian Affairs police and county sheriffs on Arizona’s border.

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu — more than 90 miles north of the border — explained the consequences: “Our deputies are outnumbered and outgunned. We’re up against drug runners carrying AK-47s,” the Soviet-era weapon used by al-Qaida terrorists and Taliban insurgents fighting U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

After one of his deputies was wounded by an AK-47-toting border crosser, Babeu requested funding to purchase AR-15 rifles for his department. The county turned him down for lack of funds. He told us, “My deputies shouldn’t have to buy their own weapons to protect themselves and the public.” A group of concerned citizens is soliciting donations to buy the rifles for them.

Larry Dever is the sheriff of Cochise County. At 6,000 square miles, it is larger than Connecticut. His jurisdiction is home to Tombstone, scene of the legendary 1881 shootout at the OK Corral. It also shares an 82-mile border with Mexico. Last year, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, more than 550,000 people were arrested trying to enter the U.S. illegally. Nearly half of them crossed the border in the “Tucson sector,” which includes Cochise County. Yet Dever has fewer than 90 sworn deputies.

After Cochise County rancher Bob Krantz was murdered by an illegal border jumper March 27, the Obama administration promised to deploy 1,200 National Guard troops to “assist the U.S Border Patrol on the Mexican border.” Arizona will get fewer than 550 of them — when they finally arrive. Not one cent of the $600 million appropriated by Congress this month for “border security” will go to any of the border states or sheriffs. The money all goes to federal agencies.

Instead of new weapons, reinforcements and help protecting our southern border, Arizona’s sheriffs and Gov. Jan Brewer received something entirely different from the Obama administration: a federal lawsuit. Last month, a federal judge in Phoenix decided Arizona could not enforce certain provisions of a state law — SB 1070 — which allowed Arizona law enforcement officers to ascertain the citizenship of individuals stopped for legal infractions. Arizona filed its appeal in the case this week, while we were on the border.

That’s not all that happened this week in what one of our hosts called “the northern edge of the new war zone.” A mass grave containing the remains of more than 70 murdered men, women and children from Central America and South America was found in northeastern Mexico, less than 90 miles from the U.S. border. That brings the civilian murder toll in Mexico to more than 28,000 since 2006 — higher than Afghanistan. And last night, two were killed and three were wounded in a drug-related gunfight here in Tucson.

Meanwhile the president — who insinuated himself in a local police matter in Cambridge, Mass., and a zoning matter for a mosque in Manhattan — has been too busy to send condolences to Sue Krantz, the widow of an American murdered by a foreign criminal on U.S. soil.


Two-thirds of Michigan voters support an Arizona-style immigration law for the Great Lakes State, while the “tea party” movement enjoys more support than opposition, a poll shows.

An EPIC-MRA survey of 600 likely voters released to the Detroit Free Press and WXYZ-TV shows nearly three in four state voters like the controversial Arizona law that would require police to ask people they stop or arrest for proof they are in the United States legally if police suspect they might not be. Two-thirds say Michigan should have such a law.

State Rep. Kim Meltzer, R-Macomb Township, who has sponsored legislation in Lansing similar to the controversial Arizona statute, said she’s not surprised because people are fed up. “Some would say we don’t have to deal with it at all,” she said. “We need accountability on this issue.”

Signed into law in April, the Arizona statute made it a state crime to be in the United States illegally and required police, when practicable, to inquire during a stop or arrest about a person’s legal status if the officer had a reasonable suspicion that person was in the country illegally.

The number of illegal immigrants living in the state dropped in recent years — from 120,000 in 2006 to 110,000 in 2008, far fewer than the 2.7 million in California or 500,000 in Arizona, according to 2008 statistics from the Pew Hispanic Center.

But that was no bar to support for the Arizona law, with 67 percent of people in Wayne, Macomb and Oakland counties and 75 percent of people in the rest of the state favoring the Arizona law. It enjoyed strong support among every age group, and union households favored it, 69 percent to 24 percent.

Nationally, a CBS News poll conducted Aug. 20 through Tuesday showed 63 percent of people believing the Arizona law either did not go far enough or was about right in dealing with illegal immigration.

Frederick Feliciano, a Detroit businessman and member of the state’s Commission on Spanish-Speaking Affairs, said anger over the lingering bad economy is what’s driving the support, even though immigrants — illegal or not — are not to blame. “It’s all correlated to the perception that jobs are tied to immigration,” he said. “Immigrants don’t come to take your or my job.”

State Rep. Dave Agema, R-Grandville, who has sponsored legislation like the Arizona law but said bills have been bottled up by Democratic leaders, disagreed, saying contractors get rich paying illegal immigrants less. Meanwhile, he said, illegal immigrants are a strain on social services, health care and schools. “It’s a drag on society,” he said. “Yes, we do have an illegal-immigration problem.”


So much for a President’s duty to enforce the law. This one makes his own laws up. There’s plenty of money for Wall St. banks but no money for law enforcement, apparently

Federal authorities have issued a new policy aimed at stopping deportation proceedings for some illegal immigrants, according to a memo issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The memo, which ICE released on Aug. 20, could affect up to tens of thousands of illegal immigrants who are married or related to a U.S. citizen or a legal resident who has filed a petition on their behalf. Illegal immigrants with criminal convictions will not qualify under the plan. ICE Assistant Secretary John Morton wrote the memo to Peter Vincent, principal legal adviser and head of the agency’s removal operations.

The memo directs ICE attorneys to check cases of detained illegal immigrants for any “serious” or “adverse” factors weighing against dismissal, including criminal convictions, fraud, national security and public safety considerations.

“If no investigations … or serious adverse factors exist, the offices of chief counsel should promptly move to dismiss proceedings,” the memo reads. “Once the Field Office Director is notified, the FOD must release the alien.”

The change in policy could affect thousands of the estimated 17,000 pending removal cases. According to ICE data, nearly 40,000 immigrants obtained U.S residency status due to sponsorship of relatives who were legal residents in fiscal year 2009. By comparison, more than 393,000 illegal immigrants were deported during that same span.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, likened the change to a “free pass” for illegal immigrants, a characterization federal authorities denied. “Actions like this demoralize ICE agents who are trying to do their job and enforce the law,” Grassley told The New York Times. “Unfortunately, it appears this is more evidence that the Obama administration would rather circumvent Congress and give a free pass to illegal immigrants who have already broken our law.”

A Department of Homeland Security official told Fox News that the new policy was designed in July 2009 to improve docket efficiency.

Richard Rocha, ICE’s deputy press secretary, said the agency remains focused on removing foreign nationals who have criminal convictions. “This administration is committed to smart, effective immigration reform, prioritizing the arrest and removal of criminal aliens and those who pose a danger to national security,” Rocha said in a statement. “In 2010 to date, ICE has removed more than 150,000 convicted criminals — a record number.

“ICE is not engaged in a ‘backdoor’ amnesty and has placed more people in immigration proceedings this year than ever before. ICE has implemented a new policy to expedite the removal of criminal aliens and those who pose a danger to national security by ensuring these cases are heard.”


The email below has been circulating for over a year now. It is a bit oversimplified but does make clear that the past is not always a good guide to either the present or the future

Maybe we should turn to our history books and point out why today’s American is not willing to accept this new kind of immigrant any longer. Back in 1900 when there was a rush from all areas of Europe to come to the United States , people had to get off a ship and stand in a long line in New York and be documented.

Some would even get down on their hands and knees and kiss the ground. They made a pledge to uphold the laws and support their new country in good and bad times. They made learning English a primary rule in their new American households and some even changed their names to blend in with their new home.

They had waved goodbye to their birth place to give their children a new life and did everything in their power to help their children assimilate into one culture. Nothing was handed to them. No free lunches, no welfare, no labor laws to protect them. All they had were the skills and craftsmanship they had brought with them to trade for a future of prosperity.

Most of their children came of age when World War II broke out. My father fought along side men whose parents had come straight over from Germany, Italy , France and Japan . None of these 1st generation Americans ever gave any thought about what country their parents had come from. They were Americans fighting Hitler, Mussolini and the Emperor of Japan. They were defending the United States of America as one people.

When we liberated France, no one in those villages were looking for the French American, the German American or the Irish American. The people of France saw only Americans. And we carried one flag that represented one country. Not one of those immigrant sons would have thought about picking up another country’s flag and waving it to represent who they were. It would have been a disgrace to their parents who had sacrificed so much to be here. These immigrants truly knew what it meant to be an American. They stirred the melting pot into one red, white and blue bowl.

And here we are with a new kind of immigrant who wants the same rights and privileges. Only they want to achieve it by playing with a different set of rules, one that includes the entitlement card and a guarantee of being faithful to their mother country.

I’m sorry, that’s not what being an American is all about. I believe that the immigrants who landed on Ellis Island in the early 1900’s deserve better than that for all the toil, hard work and sacrifice in raising future generations to create a land that has become a beacon for those legally searching for a better life. I think they would be appalled that they are being used as an example by those waving foreign country flags.

The cold blooded murder of 72 illegal migrants by members of Mexico’s notorious Zeta cartel in the state of Tamaulipas is another stark and gruesome reminder of the current criminal and drug-related turmoil in Mexico. According to press reports the victims came from Honduras, El Salvador, Brazil and Ecuador. The lone survivor stated the migrants were killed for failing to pay off their Mexican captors. This massacre runs against the conventional narrative that the escalating violence in Mexico primarily pits drug trafficker-against-drug trafficker. It shows the significant overlap between transnational criminal organizations and human smuggling.

Why then were these migrants and tens of thousands like them still willing to risk the perilous journey? Why is there still such a high expectation that migrants will successfully cross the U.S.-Mexican border and find shelter in the U.S?

Amnesty International rushed to blame the Mexican government for failing to “protect” illegal immigrants.

“This discovery once again demonstrates the extreme danger and violence that Central Americans face on their treacherous journey north, as well as Mexican authorities’ abject failure to protect them,” Amnesty International said. “Mexico must immediately investigate this massacre, bring the perpetrators to justice and establish the identities of those killed so that their families can be informed.”

Such harsh criticism of Mexico alone is not entirely merited. The Tamaulipas massacre is yet another indication of systemic failures and of a chain of complicity that runs up and down the line. It begins in Central and South America where leaders, politicians and large segments of society view the export of migrants to the U.S. as an easy solution to poverty and poor economic policies. It involves Mexico where porous borders, lax enforcement and corrupt officials either ignore or even facilitate massive movements toward the U.S. It involves the ruthless criminal cartels who victimize even the weakest without mercy. It ends in the U.S. where failures and inconsistencies in enforcing immigration law and the Obama administration’s implementation of a de facto amnesty for the vast majority of illegal immigrants, helps to fuel the hopes of illegal migrants headed to the U.S.

As Heritage’s Jim Carafano observed last year: The Administration can’t fight cartels and ignore illegal immigration. People smuggling is part of the problem, not a separate issue.” He adds, “legalization will only make matters worse. Granting asylum to people here illegally would only encourage more illegal border crossing. It always has in the past, because people assume that—if they enter illegally, they’ll eventually be “amnestied” too. Likewise, failure to enforce workplace and immigration laws only encourages more to ignore the law.”

These latest victims among Mexico’s 28,000 drug-related dead certainly carried with them a firm belief they could successfully cross the U.S.-Mexican border. It was this hope – understandable but both patently illegal and highly dangerous – that led to the tragic ending on a ranch in rural Mexico.


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