Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Majority of Border Patrol agents are now Hispanic

A goal the Bush administration will meet is hiring 6,000 new agents to boost the force to 18,000. While there were about 6,400 Hispanic agents in 2006, there were 9,300 in November 2008. Hispanics now comprise 52 percent of the agents.

Because southwest border communities are largely Latino, recruits there have an advantage in the required Spanish fluency as well as familiarity with the job. Applicants who can pass a Spanish proficiency test can skip 40 days of required language instruction at the academy.

''We have a large Hispanic population on the southwest border, and they are familiar with the Border Patrol, so the opportunity is more appealing if they're closer to home,' said Joe Abbott, director of recruitment for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

There are concerns about thousands of new agents enforcing laws in the same communities where they have strong family ties, some that extend across the border. ''The problem is with people who are born and raised there, and have associates on both sides of the border. I don't think that's especially good from an integrity standpoint,' said James Dorcy, a director of the National Association of Retired Border Patrol Officers.

His organization and the National Border Patrol Council worry that the rapid buildup of the Border Patrol, along with an outsourcing of background investigations of applicants to private contractors, has allowed unsuitable candidates to become federal agents.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Pennsylvania congressman joins those calling for pardon for Ramos, Compean

U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent, Republican of Pennsylvania, has added his voice to those calling on President Bush to pardon two former border agents convicted of shooting an unarmed drug smuggler who was trying to escape. 

Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean are serving more than 10 years each for shooting Osvaldo Aldrete Davila in the buttocks while he was fleeing from an abandoned van loaded with 750 pounds of marijuana.



The men argued that they thought Davila, a Mexican, was armed. They were convicted two years ago in federal court in Texas of assault, civil rights violations and other charges. Davila later pleaded guilty to smuggling following another incident and also was sentenced to 10 years in prison.



Dent asked Bush to review their cases and ''seriously consider'' a pardon.

''These agents were acting in fulfillment of their duty and responsibility to protect our borders and enforce the law and they have been unjustly punished for their actions.

''This case has not only undermined the trust and confidence of our Border Patrol, but it has also raised questions about the discretion and decisions of federal prosecutors.''



You can help build pressure for pardoning the two by sending an email alert demanding a pardon. Visit www.usbc.org and go to the Legislation Action Center or send an email directly to the President at president@whitehouse.gov.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Mexico consulate in El Paso gives free health care to illegals

At least 600 Mexicans, most of them in the U.S. illegally, have received vaccinations this year at the Mexican Consulate in El Paso, Texas. Mexico's consul in the border city, Roberto Rodriguez Hernandez, said that 250 AIDS tests have also been performed.

'The immigrant community, especially those who are undocumented in El Paso, come to us so that we will provide them with free health care because they're afraid of being reported if they show up at clinics or hospitals,' Hernandez said.

Vaccines have also been sent to remote rural and poor areas like Lovington and Hobbs in neighboring New Mexico, where illegal-alien workers from the El Paso consulate go as well.

'The intention is to improve the quality of life of Mexicans in South Texas and New Mexico by giving them ways to take care of their health and avoid worse problems later on that could require emergency service,' Hernandez said.

The consulate has also established support centers in American jails like La Tuna Federal Prison in New Mexico. More than 150 inmates have received high-school instruction and upon graduation receive a diploma from Mexican educational authorities.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Ramos-Compean treatment has border agents hesitating to fire

On December 1 south of Tucson, Arizona, drug smugglers unloaded $1 million in drugs across the U.S. border and sprayed bullets at U.S. Border Patrol agents with automatic weapons. The agents did not return fire. They fear losing their jobs or ending up behind bars like agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean.

Former decorated border agents, Ramos and Compean are serving lengthy prison sentences for shooting an illegal alien drug dealer while he smuggled 750 pounds of marijuana across the border. They were convicted of assault, discharge of a weapon in the commission of a crime of violence and deprivation of civil rights after the drug dealer was given immunity from prosecution.

On December 22 President Bush issued 19 pardons and commuted one sentence, but has issued none as yet for Ramos and Compean. Lawmakers and many others have asked Bush to commute their prison sentences. Bush will leave office January 20.

'Any kind of shooting toward Mexican territory is rejected by the Mexican government,' Mexican Consul General Remedios Gómez Arnau warned Border Patrol agents.

After this month's incident, an anonymous officer said that agents often fear defending themselves because shooting back could mean prison time – just as it did for Ramos and Compean.

'These men are still in prison for doing what many of us think was just doing their jobs as Border Patrol agents,' he said.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Just over the border – six police officers killed in one week

Let’s imagine six police officers were killed in one week in Winsor, Canada, across a bridge from Detroit, Michigan. Would the U.S. be concerned? You bet.

Six police officers were killed last week and 40 so far this year, in Juarez, Mexico, across a bridge from El Paso, Texas. A hit list naming 26 officers was found days earlier
.
Roberto Ramirez, who headed a precinct, was the sixth Juarez officer killed in a week. He was abducted, and his body was found hours later, near a dog racetrack where the bodies of four civilians were found earlier in the week. Ramirez was named precinct chief in May after several police commanders asked for early retirement because of the violence.

More than 40 Juarez police have been killed this year, many in attacks blamed on drug gangs battling over territory. Some officers have quit, fearing for their lives after their names appeared on hit lists.

Juarez has been hit the hardest in a surge of drug-gang homicides sweeping Mexico. More than 1,300 people have been killed in the city of 1.3 million this year.

Across Mexico, more than 5,300 people have died in gangland-style killings in 2008 - more than double the number last year.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Economy is not driving Hispanics from Oklahoma

The headlines say “Economy may force immigrants back to Mexico.” But that’s not happening in Oklahoma.

Rogers is one of six counties in the state where the Hispanic population has nearly doubled since 2000. The county is booming. In the past seven years, its population increased by 17 percent to 83,105.

Hispanics account for 1,290 new residents, doubling the previous number, and now account for 3 percent of the county population. Hispanics account for more than half of the overall population growth in the U.S. since 2000.

Since 2000, Oklahoma County's population has increased by 6 percent to 701,807 from 660,448. The Hispanic population in Oklahoma County grew by 50 percent to 86,033 last year. That means roughly one in eight county residents is Hispanic.

Areas in northeastern Oklahoma, southeastern Oklahoma and the Panhandle have seen the most growth. Combined, Rogers, Wagoner and Tulsa counties have seen their Hispanic population increase by 23,798.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Motorist helps police arrest illegal impersonating police officer

Police in Grapevine, Texas have credited a motorist for alerting them to an illegal alien who now faces a charge of trying to impersonate a cop.

They arrested 22-year-old Adan Ramirez in a white pickup with flashing lights allegedly followed a car on a Texas highway, and are holding him in the Grapevine jail. A "hold" was placed on Ramirez by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, indicating he is believed to be an illegal alien, and making him ineligible for bond.

Police lauded the motorists who brought Ramirez to their attention, immediately calling 911 when he suspected the flashing lights on the truck didn't belong to a real cop. He also stayed on the line as he drove, helping dispatchers send police to his location.

"He did everything exactly right," said Sgt. Kim Smith, police spokeswoman. "If we could write it in a textbook and give it to the public, this would be it."

The white pickup truck had special police-style flashing lights on the front and back, similar to the ones used on unmarked police cars. Ramirez carried a fake identification that was actually a gift card from a restaurant that had been painted black and had the word "police" on it.

Impersonating a public servant is a third-degree felony in Texas, and is punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Colorado judge halts arrests in immigration-identity theft cases

A judge has halted arrests in the largest immigration-identity theft case ever investigated in one Colorado county.

The Greeley Police Department, along with the Weld County District Attorney's Office and Sheriff's Department, seized 1,338 tax files from Amalia's Translation and Tax Service in mid-October.

Investigators claim many people used the tax service with false names and false Social Security numbers in a massive identity theft scam. They traced about $2.6 million in payments to illegal immigrants using phony Social Security numbers who used the tax service. By mid-November, 26 arrest warrants had been issued and 11 people arrested as a result of the investigation.

Judge James Hartmann, however, issued a show-cause order directing the district attorney to show why any state court has jurisdiction to issue a search warrant for federal tax files. The judge said he believes the filing of a federal tax return and the receipt of a federal tax refund may be matters that fall within the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States government, not a state court.

The district attorney's office, however, maintains the state court has jurisdiction. Those involved, they said, filed a federal tax return and obtained a tax refund unlawfully. Others, it alleges, were able to obtain employment through the use of a Social Security number belonging to someone else. Hartmann has set a hearing on the matter for Thursday.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Texas spends $677 million per year for illegal aliens' health care

Texas and its local hospital districts spend an estimated $677 million per year providing health care to illegal aliens. A Texas Health and Human Services Commission study shows that most of the money was spent by local hospital districts for the illegals’ care during a recent fiscal year.

State lawmakers were not surprised at the amount, and said they hoped the report, required by the 2007 Legislature, will help prompt Congress to pass immigration reform legislation. Federal law requires hospitals and ambulance services to provide care to anyone needing emergency treatment regardless of their citizenship, legal status or ability to pay.

The report underestimated the cost of care to illegals because it did not include figures for the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, which functions like a hospital district by providing safety-net services. It spends $140 million annually on illegal alien care.

State Rep. Warren Chisum, the House Appropriations Committee chairman, said the report puts a number on health care costs that the state cannot do anything about. 'Show it to our congressman, I guess. Tell him, 'Merry Christmas,' Chisum quipped. 'This is something we can look at the federal government and say, 'You guys ought to do a better job of guarding your borders or at least pay for 'em if you're going to allow them to come over here.' '

One of the most prominent critics of illegal immigration, Rep. Leo Berman, said he is glad that Congress is getting the report. 'I'd like to bill the United States government,' he said, 'and have them pay Texas for the cost of the benefits that they require us to provide to illegal aliens.'

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Judge blames federal government as illegal alien is sentenced in drunk driving case

A judge in Richmond, Virginia blasted the federal government for "its failures" in a fatal drunk driving case he was about to rule on. He then sentenced the illegal alien to 10 years in prison for killing two people while driving drunk.

Carmen Alejandro Garcia-Hernandez, in the U.S. illegally, pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. 
Judge Bradley Cavedo blamed the federal government, saying it failed to do its job when a family house warming party last May ended in tragedy. Kathryn Jones, 44, and Joseph Owens, 40, were killed in a chain reaction crash started by Garcia-Hernandez.

Kathryn Jones and her sister, Constance Ragsdale, were leaving the party, standing by a car in the front yard when Garcia-Hernandez came barrelling at them in a pick-up truck. He had no driver's license, and his blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit.

Garcia-Hernandez was going 55 miles an hour. He hit a parked car and caused a chain reaction crash which killed both Jones and Owens. Garcia-Hernandez tried to flee the scene but, was caught by bystanders.
The judge blamed the federal government for “failing to perform its basic and fundamental duty -- keeping the borders safe and secure.”

Owens' sister-in-law said of Garcia-Hernandez, “He was allowed to come into the United States and takes someone's life and now he gets to do his time and go back home with his family and nothing else is said.” Garcia-Hernandez will be deported to Mexico after serving his 10 year sentence. Both families have filed civil suits against his former construction company employer, the owner of the pick-up truck.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Journalists are targets in Mexico's drug war

The death toll in Mexico's drug war — already above 4,000 this year — had just risen. But on this day, none of the seven bodies belonged to journalists. Photographer Hector Dayer grabbed his camera, pulled up the collar of his jacket to hide his face, and stepped out to photograph the carnage.

Mexico is the deadliest place in the Americas to be a journalist, and among the deadliest in the world. The Committee to Protect Journalists says at least 24 have been killed since 2000. Seven have vanished in the past three years. Many of the victims had reported on police ties to cartels. Some are suspected of accepting drug money. Of the 24 cases, the committee says, only one has been solved.

Some attacks target specific journalists, others entire newsrooms. In at least two cases, grenades have been thrown at newspaper offices.

The attacks are silencing journalists and undermining the Mexico democracy. News media in Mexico have stopped reporting on the drug war, with most limiting their reports to facts put out by authorities, with no context, analysis or investigation. Most of the time, journalists don't even report on killings they witness.

Ciudad Juarez, Mexico's bloodiest city with about 1,400 deaths this year alone, is an exception. There, journalists continue to cover the daily deaths, without using bylines or photo credits.

Nearly all the crime reporters have received threats. Media-freedom groups are lobbying Mexico's Congress to pass a bill that would make attacks on the news media a federal crime.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Green-card marriage a significant source of illegal immigration

Green cards obtained through fraudulent marriages are a significant contributor to illegal immigration. The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) this week released a new document called 'Inside the Green Card Marriage Phenomenon.' The report was written by David Seminara, who adjudicated thousands of marriage-based green-card applications for the US State Department in several countries.

Marriage, he concluded, is the quickest way to get a green card. Over the past 10 years more than two-million foreign nationals have obtained permanent residence cards by marrying an American citizen.

'Unfortunately...one of the oldest tricks in the book for people who are looking to get to the U.S. or who are here illegally and want to legalize their status is to marry a U.S. citizen,' Seminara explained, adding 'Of that 2.3 million, the overwhelming majority are legitimate relationships -- but there are tens of thousands of fake ones out there as well.'

The marriages, he said, are 'most common in developing countries, the obvious suspects being Mexico, the Philippines, Brazil. The State Department and the Department of Homeland Security have nowhere near the resources needed to combat the problem, he concluded.

As Seminara's report became public, an FBI agent trainee from Williamsburg was arrested, accused of entering into a sham marriage to gain U.S. citizenship seven years ago. Yue Cheng was charged with five offenses linked to a marriage she entered into in Las Vegas when she was 19.

The criminal complaint says that she applied to the FBI in Norfolk to become a special agent in March 2007. During training, she admitted marrying a 57-year-old California resident for the sole purpose of gaining citizenship. Her charges include making false statements to the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and lying to the FBI.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Supporters of former Border Patrol agents continue to push president for pardon

A request to suspend or shorten the 10-year and 11-year prison terms of former U.S. Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean is still pending. Lawyers and family members for both agents are hoping that Bush will commute their sentences before he leaves office at noon on January 20.

Before Thanksgiving, Bush issued pardons for 14 convicted criminals and commutated the sentences of two others. Ramos and Compean were not on that list.

"We have the support of millions of people throughout the country," said Joe Loya, Ramos' father-in-law. "And that includes about 150 congressmen and senators. Among the elected officials who have publicly come out and supported the commutation for the agents, who were convicted of shooting a drug dealer, are U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California

Even U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton has said that the 10-year sentence is too much for these former agents. Ramos' lawyer, David Botsford, said he hopes Bush takes into account what Sutton has said.

"Hopefully, Mr. Sutton, who has publicly admitted that the sentence is too harsh, will recommend to the President that at least a portion of their sentence be commutated," Botsford said.

You can help build pressure for pardoning the two by sending an email alert demanding a pardon. Visit www.usbc.org and go to the Legislation Action Center or click on this link to go directly to the email to send to the Presdent.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

California Congressmen predict more amnesty legislation ahead

President-elect Barack Obama chose Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano as his secretary of Homeland Security, and according to two California Congressmen, that selection is a sign that the battle of amnesty will have to be waged again.

'I think it sends a clear signal that we’re in for a long fight on this amnesty issue because she’s clearly an open borders advocate,’’ said Rep. Royce.

Napolitano, he said, opposed Proposition 400 in Arizona in 2004 that would have required the state to verify the immigration status of people applying for welfare and requiring them to verify citizenship when voting. She only signed Arizona’s law requiring employers to verify the employment status of workers, he said, after it reached her desk a second time and clearly had overwhelming public support.

'Napolitano is someone who is not committed to stopping the most important security problem we have in America today and that’s illegal immigration, said Rep. Rohrabacher.

Napolitano has been hailed by immigration advocates as someone who supports comprehensive immigration reform and as a border governor who has been intimately involved in such issues.

Royce did note that Napolitano called for the National Guard to continue to patrol the border, something he supports and open border advocates have opposed. 'I would say that her choice is no better or worse than what George Bush has done on homeland security,’’ said Rohrabacher.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Obama nominee Napolitano on immigration

President-elect Barack Obama has nominated Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano to be Secretary of Homeland Security in his administration. Early this year, Napolitano was interviewed on the immigration priorities she would recommend to a new president.

Reflecting her experience as governor of a border state, her first recommendation was that a new president develop an eight-year program for the border and immigration reform, as well as an eight year budget to fund the program.

Napolitano said she would recommend beefing up border security with technology and manpower, cracking down on employers who hire illegal workers, and increasing the availability of work visas. She also included offering amnesty to the country's illegal immigrants.

Earned legalization for illegal immigrants must be on the next president's agenda, Napolitano stressed. And she wouldn’t require waiting for new border security measures to be in place before offering amnesty. “I don't know that you should do those sequentially, “ she said.

In exchange for amnesty, Napolitano would simply require illegal immigrants to pay a fine, learn English, and "get in line.” She would not require illegal immigrants to return to their country of origin before earning amnesty.

She also opposes asking border governors to certify the integrity of the border, a proposal of Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona. Relying on governors to certify that the border is secure amounts to shirking responsibility, said Napolitano.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Tancredo plans to oontinue his crusade against illegal immigration

Outgoing Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo might not be leaving the political limelight for long. 'I'm not done with politics,' Tancredo declared before Thanksgiving, as his staff was packing up his old congressional office.

After five terms in Congress Tancredo says he's not finished making noise about his crusade to stop illegal immigration.

That could mean working for an immigration-focused think tank. It could mean talk radio, or a behind-the-scenes role in Colorado Republican politics. Or it could mean throwing his hat into the ring for another campaign of his own.

Tancredo and his defenders said they doubt the country would be talking about securing the U.S. borders and cracking down on illegal immigrants without his loud, incessant demands.

The way he figures it, someone had to stretch the 'outer limit of the debate,' to give other conservatives the cover to talk about the immigration-control issue while still arguing that at least they weren't as extreme as Tancredo.

His 6th District seat is about to be filled by Secretary of State Mike Coffman. Tancredo expects Coffman to be strong on immigration issues, although doesn't expect him to try to match his own fervor.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

30 illegal aliens arrested in routine traffic stops over eight hours in Arizona county

Despite a slumping economy and a lack of jobs, the Sheriff for Arizona’s Maricopa county, which includes Phoenix, says his deputies see little change in the number of illegals they find in routine traffic stops. In eight hours on a recent Monday, deputies made 30 arrests of illegals in a span of eight hours.

The first two vehicles they stopped, a SUV and a Minivan, were determined to be smuggling vehicles, and contained 25 people, including two Coyotes (Mexican smugglers).

The illegals admitted they each paid between $500 and $8000 each for transport into the United States.

A third vehicle was stopped later in the evening with six people, and all were determined to be in the country illegally.

"Our unemployment rates are through the roof. Americans everywhere are struggling to make ends meet," said Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio. "Yet these illegal aliens are still coming. What other proof is needed to show that stricter immigration laws must be enforced?"

The arrests bring the total arrests made by the Sheriff's Office under the felony Arizona State Human Smuggling Law, which became effective in January 2008, to 1,357 including both smugglers and their human cargo.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Lawmakers step up pressure on Bush for border agents’ clemency

As they leave office, it's a long-standing tradition for presidents to offer clemency. Lawmakers from both parties have formally pressed President Bush to commute the sentences of former Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, serving 11 and 12 year sentences for shooting a drug smuggler in the backside as he fled the scene.

'It's frustrating. Scooter Libby was pardoned before he even goes to jail,' said Rep. Ted Poe, R-Humble, a former judge. 'These two guys are political prisoners.'

Rep. William Delahunt, a Massachusetts liberal, is leading the bipartisan push for clemency with Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a California conservative.

If Bush fails to act in the next nine weeks, advocates may have an ace in the hole. President-elect Barack Obama's White House chief of staff, Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., co-sponsored a resolution calling for clemency for the two former agents last December.

Rep. John Culberson, R-Houston, 'I can't think of a better way for Bush to restore political capital, with one stroke.'

T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council – the agents union – called it past time for the president to redress the 'terrible injustice.' 'The effect on morale has already been devastating. You have agents out there wondering what the rules of the game are,' he said.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Pardons for Ramos and Compean being considered at DOJ

In the last two months of the Bush administration, the Department of Justice (DOJ) is considering whether to recommend pardons for two former Border Patrol agents, each jailed for more than a decade after shooting a Mexican drug smuggler in the buttocks.

The cases of Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean are now before the DOJ’s Pardon Attorney Donald Rodgers, who works in consultation with the attorney general’s office to assist the president. The president has sole power of clemency in federal cases under the Constitution, and will make the decision, no matter what the Office of Pardon Attorney recommends.

This month, U.S. Border Control members have mailed over 100,000 postcards to President Bush, telling him that he should pardon the two decorated Border agents immediately, and that their imprisonment is a stain on his legacy.

You can help build pressure for pardoning the two by sending an email alert demanding a pardon. Visit (www.usbc.org) and go to the Legislation Action Center or click on this link to go directly to the email to send to the Presdent.

Both the House and Senate have held hearings investigating the prosecution of the agents, and numerous members of Congress have called on President Bush to pardon the two men.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Perry demands assistance from ICE in deporting alien criminals

Texas Governor Rick Perry has demanded that the federal government take steps to help state and local officials ensure that illegal aliens who commit crimes remain in custody until they are deported. Perry said he was "outraged'' to learn that many convicted immigrants in Texas jails were released after they completed their jail sentences instead of being deported.

"Texas has spent the last four years investing unprecedented amounts of state resources to secure our border with Mexico. To now learn that criminal aliens who have been jailed are being released back into our communities by federal authorities who have neglected to secure our border is infuriating and unconscionable,'' he said.

Perry was reacting to recent reports describing how federal immigration officials have allowed scores of violent criminals to be freed despite the inmates' admission to jailers that they were in the United States illegally. He noted that some of the released immigrants were later charged with felonies, including capital murder, rape, robbery and child molestation.

In a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, Perry asked that the agency "immediately institute a policy that requires every criminal alien identified in a Texas jail to be detained after their sentence has been served and then immediately deported to their country of origin.''

Perry also asked Immigration and Customs Enforcement to share its criminal database with all Texas counties that have a jail with an electronic fingerprint booking capacity.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Prayer, food and immigration lead to disputes

Ten days before Thanksgiving, it's surprising that all across the country, ongoing arguments center on prayer, food and immigration.

In Iowa, Latinos and Orthodox Jews have clashed over Kosher meat. Latinos and Somalis are skirmishing in Tennessee. Latinos, Somalis, and Sudanese are wrangling in Nebraska. All the disputes concern work in slaughterhouses.

The arguments are specifically about prayer breaks during Ramadan, paid holidays, cultural clashes and, generally, lack of assimilation into the Thanksgiving-celebrating American melting pot.

In August, Tyson Foods made Eid al-Fitr instead of Labor Day a paid holiday for Somali workers at a Tennessee plant. There was such a backlash from other workers, Tyson reversed the decision.

A JBS Swift Nebraska plant offered striking Somali workers an earlier dinner break so they could pray at sunset. Hispanics, Sudanese and whites demonstrated against the concession, charging favoritism.

Agriprocessors in Iowa, the nation's biggest kosher slaughterhouse, lost half of its work force to an immigration raid in May.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Dallas school district provided fake ID numbers for bilingual teachers, years after being told to stop

The Dallas Independent School District continued to provide foreign citizens with fake Social Security numbers, years after being advised by a state agency to stop the practice. Some of the numbers were real Social Security numbers already assigned to people in Pennsylvania.

The practice took place generally for those hired to teach bilingual classes, and was described in a September report by the district's investigative office. The report said the Texas Education Agency learned of the of the practice in 2004 and told DISD at that time that it was illegal.

It continued, however, until this summer. The investigation found that ‘the inappropriate procedure of assigning false SSNs has been systemic for several years' within DISD's alternative certification program, which prepares new teachers for state certification when they don't have traditional credentials.

The numbers were assigned to expedite the hiring process, and were supposed to serve as temporary identification numbers until employees received real Social Security numbers. In some cases, criminal background checks were run on the stolen numbers.

This July, investigators discovered that some of the false numbers were still in use. DISD officials said they did not know whether the practice had caused problems for anyone holding the legitimate numbers.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Federal judge delivers setback to effort to free Ramaos and Compean

A federal judge in El Paso, Texas has resentenced former Border Patrol agent Jose Compean to 12 years in prison for his conviction on charges of using a weapon in the commission of a felony and other charges.

Compean, along with former agent Ignacio Ramos, was convicted in 2006 of shooting admitted and now convicted Mexican drug smuggler Osvaldo Adlrete Davila and trying to cover up the incident. The two men argued during their trials that they shot Aldrete, whom they believed was armed, in self defense. Aldrete denied having a weapon the day he was shot.

The 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans prompted this week's new sentencing hearing. Lawyers for Compean said they are also asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case. The two former agents have been in prison since January 2007.

The case against the two prompted a massive outcry from supporters of the former agents who argued that U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton should have focused his office's efforts on prosecuting illegal immigrant Osvaldo Aldrete Davila for his drug-smuggling activities. Several supporters, including members of Congress, have asked President Bush to pardon the men, or at least commute their sentences.

Aldrete, who admitted smuggling several hundred pounds of marijuana on the day he was shot in 2005, pleaded guilty earlier this year to drug charges related to two smuggling attempts several months after he was shot in the buttocks while running away from Ramos and Compean. The same federal judge who sentenced the former agents ordered Aldrete to serve 9 1/2 years in prison.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Election results show immigration is still a major concern in Arizona

The re-election of Arizona’s Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and County Attorney Andrew Thomas demonstrate that in Arizona, immigration continues to be a major issue. Both Arpaio and Thomas vowed to continue to combat illegal immigration and suggested they may even step up their efforts in light of their victories.

Arizona voters also rejected Proposition 202, a measure backed by business groups that would have weakened aspects of the state's tough employer sanctions law.

Over the past year, Arpaio and Thomas have teamed up to launch a series of immigration-related sweeps and worksite raids that have led to the arrests of several hundred illegal immigrants. Many county residents have cheered the efforts.

Raul Yzaguirre, the former president of the National Council of La Raza, a Latino organization, and now a professor at Arizona State University, said he is concerned that the current economic downturn could deepen frustration over illegal immigration as more Americans lose their jobs.

Yzaguirre and other immigrant advocates said they are hopeful that President-elect Barack Obama and the Democrat -controlled Congress will pass immigration reforms that will solve illegal immigration.

"At a certain level, (voters) have a right to be frustrated. The current system is not working and we need reform," Yzaguirre admitted.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Tom Tancredo: End of the Bush-McCain era brings lessons for Republicans

Tom Tancredo, Congressman from Colorado's Sixth District, made the following remarks following the November 4 election," Barack Obama won the presidential election by making it a referendum on the Bush presidency and by successfully making John McCain look like a Bush clone. Voters decided they wanted more "change" than McCain could be expected to deliver.

"There are some clear lessons for Republicans from the McCain campaign and eight years of the Bush presidency. First, Karl Rove's grand paradigm for a "permanent Republican majority" built on "compassionate conservatism" was grand hype based on a grand illusion. No political victory can be permanent; each generation must fight for human liberty all over again.

"Second, it was neither smart politics nor smart policy to allow Ted Kennedy and the American Immigration Lawyers Association to write a Bush-McCain immigration reform plan which gave only lip service to border security. Those congressional battles alienated 90 percent of the Republican base and 75 percent of independents. Did the McCain support of two amnesty plans in 2006 and 2007 win him more support among Hispanic political groups than Republicans normally get? No. McCain could not out-pander the Democrat party, and it was foolish to try.

"Can the Republican Party rebuild to gain substantial victories in 2010 and 2012? Yes, absolutely. In the first place, recovering the principles, vision and verve of Ronald Reagan will be a lot easier with Barack Obama in the White House and George Bush back on his ranch. And not everyone in heartland America drank the New Change Kool-Aid; many voters would have voted for Benedict Arnold just to poke Bush in the eye. That sentiment will dissipate quickly.

"The party of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan has endured a tortuous detour down the Bush Parkway and then into the McCain cul-de-sac. Fortunately, we do have a compass -- a compass called the Constitution and a north star called limited government. The first step to regain our bearings is to stop talking about where we have been and start thinking about where we want to go. More than the future of the Republican party depends on our resilience and our abiity to chart that new course successfully. "

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Hispanic support helped elect Obama

On election day, a substantial number of Hispanic voters swung their support to the Democratic Party, helping bring four states into President-elect Barack Obama's column. Obama made huge gains nationally, winning 67% of the Hispanic vote — 23 percentage points higher than President Bush's did in 2004.

Dramatic increases in Hispanic support put Obama over the top in Florida, Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado.

Obama carried 75% of U.S.-born Hispanics and won 35% of the Cuban vote in Florida, the highest any Democratic candidate has ever scored. In Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado, analysts see a replay of California's demographic and political evolution. California hasn't voted for a GOP nominee since George H.W. Bush in 1988.

Hispanics repeatedly chose New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton over Obama during their long primary battle, triggering speculation about whether Hispanics would ever support a black presidential candidate. "The election results officially debunk the myth that Latinos will not vote for blacks," said Matt Barreto, a University of Washington political scientist and Latino pollster. "That is officially laid to rest now."

Barreto says that while Hispanics were concerned about immigration, most are working class and cared most about the economy.

"They are looking for economic stability in their own personal life," he says, and responded to Obama's plans to avert foreclosures, make health insurance and education more affordable, and step up spending on job-creating infrastructure projects.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Owner of raided Massachusetts firm admits he hired illegal aliens, will serve prison term

Francisco Insolia, former owner of a Massachusetts leather goods company, has pleaded guilty to charges that he hired and harbored illegal aliens. His plea marked the end of a case brought by federal authorities following a factory raid in March 2007 which resulted in the detention of 361 illegal aliens.

Insolia will serve a prison term of 12 to 18 months and pay a fine of $30,000.

The company, Michael Bianco Inc., will pay nearly $2 million in fines as well as restitution for the overtime owed to workers. Attorneys for the company entered guilty pleas on 18 counts of knowingly hiring illegal immigrants between 2004 and 2006.

Insolia admitted helping harbor and conceal illegal immigrants by allowing the company to submit false Social Security numbers to the government.

Two managers at the company pleaded guilty two weeks ago. Dilia Costa, 56, the company's production manager, pleaded guilty to hiring and harboring illegal aliens. Gloria Melo, 42, pleaded guilty to continuing to employ illegal workers after the company had reason to know they were illegal. The two women as well as Insolia will be sentenced in January.

Michael Bianco Inc. made military backpacks and other equipment for the federal government, for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The company was sold last year to Eagle Industries of Fenton, Mo.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

U.S. Border Patrol agents detain Mexican troops on U.S. soil

U.S. Border Patrol agents detained seven members of the Mexican military after they were found inside the United States on Friday. The Mexicans told the border agents they became disoriented while on patrol and accidentally crossed into the country.

U.S. Congressman Tom Tancredo, R- Colorado commented "This is not an uncommon occurrence. Oftentimes, it is the result of the Mexican military providing cover essentially for drug transportation into our country, and/or creating a diversion so it will draw our people away from the place where the drugs are coming across."

The U.S. Border Patrol's Yuma, Arizona, sector was notified early last Friday that a military-style Hummer was broken down on the U.S. side of the border. Agents found the vehicle about 200 yards from the Colorado River, with seven individuals dressed in military-style clothing. Their Hummer was equipped with a turret-mounted machine gun.

Th U.S. agents told the Mexican troops that they were inside the United States and "peaceably" took them into custody. The soldiers, their weapons and their vehicle were placed in Border Patrol custody and transported to the San Luis, Arizona, Port of Entry, where each of the Mexicans was processed in accordance with Border Patrol policy. None of the seven was found to have any criminal or immigration history. Finally, the Mexican soldiers, their weapons and their vehicle were returned to their commanding officer.

Tancredo said the U.S. State Department lodged a complaint with the Mexican government for the first time ever over the military incursions a few weeks ago.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Intoxicated illegal alien kills Phoenix police Officer in highway crash

Seen here: Police Officer Shane Figueroa

Salvador Vivas-Diaz, an illegal alien, is accused of driving impaired and causing the crash that killed Phoenix Police Officer Shane Figueroa in late October.

Mark Spencer, President of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association, said the crash should serve as a reminder to the Federal Government to have tougher immigration laws and barriers.

"It's very frustrating that he lost his life to a person who shouldn't have been here," Spencer said, adding “It was an intoxicated driver that murdered Shane Figueroa, but it was an intoxicated driver that shouldn't have been here in the first place."

Spencer said men enforcement of federal law is mandatory to reduce the likelihood of these crimes being committed by someone who is in the U.S. illegally.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

In campaign, Los Angeles company seeks to "Legalize L.A."

American Apparel, located in a pink factory in downtown Los Angeles, is a nightmare for those seeking enforcement of immigration laws. The company has made one statement in the ongoing election campaign. It is not for or against a candidate. American Apparel’s one statement, in a sprawling banner and in ads all over the city, is simple: “Legalize L.A.”

English-speaking audiences cannot get candidates Obama or McCain to talk about immigration, but American Apparel, the biggest garment manufacturer in the country, is getting its point across, saying legalizing foreign workers is good for business.

A special benefit for workers at American Apparel - telephone calls to family in Mexico are free. If also recently offered a voter registration drive for workers.

The company churns out some 230,000 garments a day in the factory, which it claims is 'sweatshop free.' American Apparel has never been raided, but it has let workers go whose papers are discovered to be false.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Mexican immigration official arrested with 169 lbs. of marijuana


A Mexican immigration official was arrested after U.S. border inspectors found about 169 pounds of marijuana in his pickup truck, a U.S. law enforcement official said Monday.

The Mexican official was identified as Francisco Celaya Carrillo and was in uniform when he crossed the border in Lukeville, Arizona. Carrillo told Customs and Border Protection officers that he was entering the United States to do some shopping.

Carrillo was confirmed as a low-level immigration officer assigned to a border bridge at Sonoyta, across the border from Lukeville. He was apparently on his day off from the job and was driving a private vehicle when detained.

In Tucson, Customs spokesman Brian Levin confirmed that a pickup truck had been stopped at the border crossing. When it was examined with a noninvasive gamma-ray machine, Levin said, officials found “79 packages of marijuana, just shy of 169 pounds” in the spare tire and fuel tank.

Levin said at least one person was arrested. He declined to identify anyone who was arrested, saying the case had been turned over to the U.S. attorney's office.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Illegal alien drug dealer, deported 10 years ago, shoots cops in New York subway fracas

Raul Nunez, an illegal alien from the Dominican Republic, was deported 10 years ago following convictions for selling cocaine in the mid 1990s. This week, he shot two plainclothes transit police officers in New York City after being challenged for using a student fare payment card.

When Nunez was stopped by the officers, he immediately struggled with them, grabbing one of their guns and shooting. The two transit police officers were wounded, and one remains hospitalized. Each was wearing a bulletproof vest during the fracas.

Nunez will be arraigned on charges of attempted murder. Federal immigration officials said Nunez also faces a charge of re-entering the country after deportation, and would face 25 years to life in prison and deportation if convicted.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Arpaio takes on City Hall after months of cautious planning

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his deputies knew last August that more than 20 Mesa, Arizona city custodians were using fraudulent information to illegally work in the United States, but cautiously held off in making arrests until mid-October. A Maricopa County Superior Court Judge issued a search warrant last week, and 60 deputies and posse members raided the municipal buildings.

The raid has generated a dispute between Mesa police and sheriff's officials about the role a Mesa police lieutenant is suspected to have played by ignoring an employee's claims that the cleaning contractor was hiring illegal workers.

The Sheriff’s office received a tip in May about specific custodial workers using false IDs and Social Security numbers.

Sheriff Arpaio said last week that the city’s response to the situation was indicative of the Mesa Police Department's approach to fighting illegal immigration in general.

The current version of the state's employer-sanctions law protects a general contractor, in this case Mesa, from prosecution when the burden of employee verification rests with the subcontractor, in this case the cleaning company.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tancredo charges Denver is a sanctuary city

Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo has called on his state’s Governor, Bill Ritter, to cut state funding to the city of Denver. Tancredo says Denver has created a 'sanctuary city' by failing to implement Colorado's 2006 anti-sanctuary city law.

The law requires municipalities to refer suspected illegal immigrants to ICE. Along with 11 members of the state legislature, Tancredo sent a letter to Ritter outlining the charges.

'Denver's attitude seems to be, 'We're Denver. We're the 800-pound gorilla on the block, and we make our own laws,' ' Tancredo said.

Tancredo said that during 2005 and 2006, Denver was reimbursed more than $2.2 million by the state Criminal Alien Assistance Program for incarcerating more than 2,900 illegal immigrants, a number greater than actual ICE referrals.

'Where did they go?' Tancredo asked.

'Denver is the capital of the state. They set the example for the rest of the state. If they don't follow through on the law, and it's not enforced by the state, nobody's going to,' Tancredo said.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Oregon voters to choose future of state's bilingual education

On November 4, Oregon voters will have the opportunity to choose how non-native speakers are taught English in the state's public schools. Ballot Measure 58 would prohibit teaching non-English-speaking students in their native language for more than two years.

The measure is intended to ensure that non-English speakers learn English. Bill Sizemore, author of the measure, said he sought the referendum after learning from some teachers that English-language-learners were being kept in ESL programs longer than necessary as a way for the school to receive extra funds.

'They even had kids in ESL classes that spoke only English, but they were in ESL classes simply because their last name was Hernandez or Rodriguez,' Sizemore said.

Bilingual education was intended to prevent non-English speakers from falling behind in critical subjects by allowing them to be taught part of the time in their native language.

Under Measure 58, non-English-speakers would be placed in English-immersion classes for a limited amount of time before being taught only in English. The State Legislature would determine what constitutes English immersion. The Legislature also would have to determine whether the measure complies with federal law.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Homeland Security finds widespread fraud in H-1B visa program

The Department of Homeland Security’s Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has found evidence of forged documents and fake degrees, and even "shell" companies in the agency’s H-1B visa program. The report showed that serious violations of the H-1B program by employers are so common that one in five visas are affected by either fraud or "technical violations."

Thousands of employers may be violating the rules, many willfully.

Some employers didn't pay prevailing wages, some employees worked at jobs different from what the application claimed they would be doing. In one case, an H-1B holder was found working in a laundromat doing laundry and maintaining washing machines.

The investigators used a random sample of 246 cases drawn from a pool of nearly 100,000. Documents were reviewed and H-1B employers and workers were interviewed. The report's investigators discovered most of the problems during visits to work sites.

The tech industry has lobbied for an increase in the H-1B program, now capped at 85,000 annually, with 20,000 visas set aside for graduate degrees. Congress has not taken action on that legislation, and efforts to increase the H-1B cap have so far failed as well. The report of the USCIS investigation predicted that the agency will make procedural changes in the program.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Armed August incursion into U.S. by Mexican soldiers is confirmed

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner W. Ralph Basham has concluded that Mexican soldiers bypassed a barbed-wire fence and other clearly visible barriers, crossed into the United States and held a U.S. Border Patrol agent at gunpoint in August.

Basham told the Tucson unit of the Border Patrol Officers union that the August 3 incursion was a “potential lethal encounter involving four Mexican armed military soldiers north of the international boundary." The U.S. State Department and the Mexican government had earlier claimed that the soldiers were simply lost.

The tactics used against the agent, Basham said, were "unacceptable.” He said the matter has been sent to the State Department "with a request for diplomatic action."

The Border Patrol agent was detained at gunpoint for several minutes by members of the Mexican military who crossed the border into Arizona about 85 miles southwest of Tucson. The soldiers returned to Mexico without incident when backup agents responded to assist. Local union President Edward "Bud" Tuffly II said "Had the agent panicked and fired a shot or attempted to flee in his vehicle, there is little doubt the Mexican soldiers would have opened fire."

Tuffly had earlier sent a letter to President Bush about the incident, stating "It is disgraceful that Border Patrol agents are put in harm's way and our government doesn't do everything reasonably within its power to protect us from marauding Mexican soldiers and others."

Monday, October 13, 2008

Presidential candidates address immigration, only with Spanish audiences


One of the most unusual aspects of the 2008 presidential campaign is that John McCain and Barack Obama continue to fight over the issue of immigration, but only before Hispanic audiences and in only their Spanish language ads. The issue is very rarely discussed in their English-language political debate. Spanish-speaking television viewers continue to see the issue mentioned frequently in campaign ads.

A new message, 'Otra Vez Con Lo Mismo,' comes from the Obama campaign and attacks McCain for a message he started airing last week.

'McCain is up to the same distortions and lies on the immigration issue,' the new ad states in Spanish. 'He wants to hide the fact that he's the one who turned his back on us.' The ‘us’ apparently means Obama and the Hispanics.

The Obama ad continues: 'McCain caved to the anti-immigrant crowd. If John McCain is not willing to stand up against his own Republican Party, how will he stand up for our community in the White House?'

Obama’s ad will air for an undetermined amount of time in Colorado, Florida, Nevada and New Mexico. Both the Obama and McCain campaigns have focused virtually all of their Spanish-language ad efforts in the 'Latin quartet' of states, where Hispanic voter turnout could significantly tip the scales in favor of either candidate.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Rap video decries L.A. gang violence that took life of young athlete

The stars of a new Ice Cube video are the grieving relatives of 17-year-old Jamiel Shaw Jr., a Los Angeles high school football star who was shot to death outside his home.

'It just was a tragic, tragic story of why,' Cube says. 'Young people are dying for no reason all over the world that don't know why. It's ugly, everywhere.'

Shaw had been on track for a college sports scholarship when he was gunned down in March a few yards from his house in a working-class neighborhood south of downtown Los Angeles.

Prosecutors say Pedro Espinoza, an illegal alien and gang member released from jail one day earlier, drove to Shaw's neighborhood and shot him after asking him about his gang affiliation. Police have said Shaw was never in a gang.

The Shaw family has called for the passage of 'Jamiel's Law,' which would push Los Angeles police to crack down on illegal immigrant gang members.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Sanctuary cities are a problem for ICE's 'Operation Community Shield'

Having recently completed a four-month national roundup, arresting and detaining some 1,759 gang members called “Operation Community Shield,” the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement said that sanctuary cities were a problem for federal agents seeking to arrest and deport criminal gang members living in the U.S. illegally.

“It definitely is a problem for us if local law enforcement are encouraged not to cooperate with ICE or not to work with ICE, even when we’re talking about known gang members who may have committed very, very serious crimes,” said Julie L. Myers, Assistant Director of Homeland Security for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Myers said progress had been made in some cities where local law enforcement officers had been killed by illegal aliens, but there were still complications in other cities. A federal law enforcement official confirmed that ICE agents in California faced the greatest problems in San Francisco, where a citywide sanctuary policy bars immigration officers from reviewing arrest records or training local jailers on federal immigration law.

In Los Angeles, ICE agents have better access to inmates and local jailers have been trained to identify arrestees who may be living in the U.S. illegally. Seventeen percent of the gang arrests were made in Southern California, ICE officials confirmed.

Friday, October 03, 2008

No mortgage bailout for illegals

Jim Boulet, executive director of English First, is concerned that illegal aliens may receive mortgage bailouts. His concern follows Congress’ passage of a $700 billion government bailout plan, and President Bush signing the legislation into law.

Boulet said it is simply not right that those who are in the country illegally should be bailed out, and that American citizens would pay for it.

Aracely Panameño, Director of Latino Affairs for the Center for Responsible Lending, said that 375,000 high-interest loans went to Hispanics in 2005, and that nearly 73,000 of them are likely to go into foreclosure. 'We don't know among those Latinos who's legal and who's illegal because they won't tell us,' he acknowledged, 'but there's some percentage there. [So] watch and see if there isn't a nice bailout for illegal aliens....'

Boulet has encouraged citizens to contact their members of Congress as soon as possible, asking them to oppose any mortgage relief for illegal aliens. It would be very simple, said Boulet, to exempt those loans from the bailout. 'Then illegal aliens will not benefit, nor will the banks that try to profit on them. There is no such provision [in the bailout] at this point.'

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Almost 1,200 illegals who were deported or ordered deported are arrested in California

Federal immigration agents recently targeted illegal aliens who ignored deportation orders, or those who had been deported and returned to the U.S. They arrested more than 1,150 people in California.

The raids ended Saturday and produced 436 arrests in the San Francisco area, 420 in the Los Angeles area and 301 in the San Diego area. Of the 1,157 illegal immigrants arrested statewide, 595 had outstanding deportation orders and 346 had prior criminal convictions.

'Individuals who defy immigration court orders to leave the country need to understand there are consequences for willfully disregarding the law,' said Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary Julie L. Myers.

The most notorious case involved Jose Avila, 41, a Mexican national whose criminal history includes convictions for lewd acts involving a child and for battery. He was arrested September 15. After he is released by local authorities, Avila will be returned to federal custody for prosecution on felony charges of reentering the country after his deportation last year.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Drug war tally: 1,000 slain so far this year in Mexican city just two miles south of El Paso, Texas

A 24-year-old man slumped over inside a Chevrolet Silverado in west Juárez last Thursday, just one of seven murdered that day in the city of 1.5 million just two miles south of El Paso, Texas.

Organized crime has turned the streets of Juárez into a battleground, leaving more than 1,000 dead so far this year in a war between the Juárez and the Sinaloa drug cartels. Law enforcement officials say that nearly 80 percent of the slayings in Juárez this year are believed to be linked to organized crime

August 2008 had about 227 homicides and was among the bloodiest months in what has been a record-shattering year for homicides. In all of 2007, there were 309 reported homicides in Juárez, and in all of 2006, there were 242.

Just in the month of August, 2008, 1,700 vehicles were stolen in Juárez. By comparison, about 1,900 vehicles have been stolen through the eight months of 2008 in El Paso.

"There is no law," said El Pasoan Fernando Apodaca, 47 who survived a recent carjacking in Juarez. "It's like the Wild West over there. I want people to be aware. ... My business in Juárez is pretty much done."

Saturday, September 27, 2008

New business ad campaign seeks to end immigration enforcement effort, offer amnesty

The advertising business may have reached a new low. Southwest and national business groups are now funding a campaign launched in Arizona that aims to convince voters that this country has already done enough to secure the border and now needs to legalize the 12 million or more undocumented immigrants and even consider allowing more foreigners into this country.

The group will spend "several hundred thousand dollars'' on to air the campaign on television in four states.

The commercial says there have been "incredible strides'' made in border security, the number of deportations is up and there are stronger penalties against employers who hire undocumented workers.

Glenn Hamer, president of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, "We need to finish the job on immigration reform at the federal level,'' he said. Hamer said that means not just legalizing those already here but ensuring that employers can bring in more foreign workers.

At the same time, many incumbent federal lawmakers and those hoping to unseat them in November are appealing to voters by promising to do more to staunch the flow of illegal immigrants into the U.S. Check USBC’s Election Central to find candidates seeking for increase immigration enforcement in your state.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Illegal aliens from Mexico, Brazil and Slovakia arrested on Maui, Hawaii

Federal agents have arrested 21 illegal immigrant workers at a Maui luxury condominium construction site. Those arrested, including 12 men from Mexico, eight from Brazil and one from Slovakia, are undergoing deportation proceedings.

It was the second straight month that federal agents have arrested illegal alien workers at the Honua Kai construction site in Kaanapali. The agents coordinated the arrests with LEDCOR Hawaii, general contractor for the Honua Kai pro-ject. The Maui Police Department assisted in the raid.

U.S. Attorney Ed Kubo said some companies feel they can plead ignorance about their employees. But he warned them not to.

'I strongly advise them to think again, because if there is enough evidence, we will aggressively pursue all available remedies to address this issue,' Kubo said.

In July, federal agents arrested 43 illegal alien farm workers in Waipahu, Hawaii during a raid on an apartment complex. In May, immigration agents arrested 22 suspected illegal alien workers at two chain restaurants on Maui. A few months before that, immigration officials arrested 19 foreign nationals on immigration charges at a downtown Honolulu construction site and a Halawa warehouse.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Illegals keep ICE, Coast Guard busy over a long summer

September 3, 2008 - ICE agents arrest 25 criminal aliens and gang members in Ft. Myers, Florida….August 26, 2008 - ICE Team Arrests 130 fugitive aliens in New York….August 26, 2008 - ICE Agents Arrest 595 illegal aliens from eight countries at manufacturing facility in Mississippi….August 25, 2008 - 46 Illegal Aliens Caught in Tucson, Arizona.

August 25, 2008 - Customs and Border Patrol agents arrest more than 60 illegal aliens near Naco, Arizona….August 18, 2008 - 42 gang members arrested in ICE-led operation in Salt Lake City, Utah….August 14, 2008 - 50 gang members arrested in Minnesota during ICE-led operation….August 13, 2008 - ICE teams arrest 119 fugitive aliens in Pennsylvania and Delaware.

August 13, 2008 - ICE arrests 57 illegal aliens working for defense contractor in Asheville, N.C….August 8, 2008 - ICE-led operation arrests 80 gang members and other criminals in Massachusetts….August 7, 2008 - ICE agents arrest 321 gang members in South Florida….July 31, 2008 - Coast Guard, CBP officers interdict 20 migrants off San Diego, California.

July 23, 2008 - ICE agents arrest 58 on immigration violations in Ohio….July 22, 2008 - Coast Guard repatriates 107 Haitian migrants….July 22, 2008 - ICE agents arrest 81 in San Diego, California….July 18, 2008 - ICE agents arrest 49 in Chicago, Illinois…..July 18, 2008 - CBP agents arrest 31 after vehicle stop in Tucson, Arizona.

July 17, 2008 - ICE agents arrest 45 gang members in Tulsa, Oklahoma area….July 9, 2008 - ICE teams arrest 24 illegal aliens in Nashville, Tennessee….July 3, 2008 - Arizona Border Patrol Agents apprehend 27 aliens after discovering them packed into a tractor trailer container...June 26, 2008…ICE arrests 32 in Washington State Puget Sound Area….June 25, 2008 - ICE Fugitive Operations Team arrests 38….June 25, 2008 - ICE Fugitive Operations Team arrests 38 fugitive aliens and immigration violators in southeast Wisconsin area.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

E-Verify is 99.5 percent accurate

E-Verify, a federal government program which allows employers to check the immigration status of new employees, has been improving and is now 99.5 percent accurate. The voluntary program is already screening more than ten percent of new hires nationally. As of September 13, E-Verify had processed 6.21 million queries.

The program is scheduled to expire on November 30, 2008 unless it is re-authorized by Congress. While the House of Representatives has already overwhelmingly passed a reauthorization bill, the Senate has not yet taken any action.

An evaluation by the Center for Immigration studies showed that:

• One-half of one percent of eligible employees screened had to take additional steps to obtain work authorization. The system is 99.5% accurate.

• More than 93 percent of employees are verified within five seconds; another 1.2 percent are verified within 24 hours.

• About 5 percent of new employees are not confirmed as work authorized, mirroring the same percentage of illegal aliens estimated to be in the labor force.

• As of September 13, 2008, 85,816 employers representing over 446,000 sites and over 6.21 million queries had been processed. About 1,000 new employers join per week.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Appeals court upholds Arizona immigration law

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld an Arizona law that targets employers who hire illegal immigrants by revoking their licenses to do business in the state. Arizona attorney general Terry Goddard welcomed the ruling, and said his office would "continue to defend the statute should there be an appeal to the highest court."

Immigration, business and civil rights groups challenged the law, saying it was preempted by federal rules governing immigration.

They also contended the law violates employers' due process rights by denying them the chance to challenge allegations that their workers are illegal before their licenses are revoked. The appeals court ruled that federal law does not preempt the Act or its requirement that employers to use an electronic verification system to check the work-authorization status of employees through federal records.

The court also ruled that the law "can and should be reasonably interpreted to allow employers, before any license can be adversely affected, to present evidence to rebut the presumption that an employee is unauthorized." Although the court upheld the law "in all respects", it noted that its opinion did not bar later challenges once it is enforced.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Mechanic at LAX smuggled illegals through giant airport

Roberto Amaya Canchola, 53, an elevator mechanic at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), has been charged with smuggling illegal immigrants into the U.S. by helping them evade federal inspectors and ushering them into taxis outside a terminal.

Canchola was indicted on three counts of making money by smuggling illegal aliens, and three counts of helping passengers skirt immigration officers. He was arrested in August after officials noticed that several passengers on the same Mexicana Airlines flight each week from Guanajuato state did not appear to be passing through customs or immigration screenings.

Agents believe Canchola was using his airport security clearance to escort passengers out of the terminal without being inspected by authorities. The passengers had boarded the plane in Mexico with fake documents, according to ICE.

Robert Schoch, special agent in charge for ICE's office of investigations in Los Angeles, said 'It is a tremendous vulnerability if you think about criminals to the worst extent, terrorists, anybody who could be brought in surreptitiously into this country. So we acted very decisively.'

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Illegal immigration is a major source of identity theft

Smithfield Foods, the focus of two ICE workplace enforcement raids last year, has joined the voluntary “ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers” (IMAGE) program which requires businesses to enroll in E-Verify.

Businesses joining the program will be deemed “IMAGE Certified,” a distinction that the Department of Homeland Security hopes will become “an industry standard.” Success in the effort, it believes, will help turn off the “jobs magnet” and reduce illegal immigration.

Dick Poulson, an executive vice president of Smithfield Foods, said that once the raids occurred, “We saw the writing on the wall. We think we’ve taken steps to protect our employees by hopefully checking credentials and seeing that we’re not vulnerable to people stealing identities.”

He raises an issue not mentioned often enough: in addition to undercutting wages and undermining the rule of law, illegal immigration also creates incentives for identity theft. Every year, countless numbers of Americans have their Social Security numbers stolen and their credit damaged by illegal aliens.

Identity Theft 911 estimates that in the illegal-immigrant heavy state of Arizona, 1.57 million people – a quarter of the state’s population – have been victims of identity theft over the last six years. A serious commitment to the enforcement of immigration law is necessary if we are serious about keeping identity theft in check.