Thursday, February 28, 2008

New Jersey State Senate considers penalties for businesses hiring illegals

New Jersey State Senate Majority Leader, Stephen Sweeney, a Democrat, has proposed legislation that that would punish business owners who knowing hire and employ illegal immigrants. The bill would suspend the license of a business owner caught employing illegal immigrants for 10 days. A second violation would result in a permanent suspension.

Republican legislators praised the plan, and announced their support. State Sen. Christopher J. Connors said “It's time for the state to stop turning a blind eye to this unlawful activity and impose penalties for companies that knowingly hire illegal aliens."

"Each day this issue remains unaddressed, fraudulent business persons line their own pocket at the expense of honest taxpayers," said Assemblymen Brian E. Rumpf. "In the majority of cases, illegal immigrants are hired as cheap labor, limiting opportunities for legal citizens to obtain work at reasonable wages. Law-abiding businesses who hire legally are at a competitive disadvantage. Simply ignoring this issue because it is controversial represents a failure of our government to enforce its own laws."

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

85 illegals discovered in four tractor trailers in one day in Texas

Four men face alien smuggling charges after 85 illegal aliens were discovered inside four tractor trailers earlier this month in Texas. The arrests were made by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Border Patrol.

The four stops occurred within a five-hour time span in Laredo, Texas. On-site canines assisted officers in discovering the illegal aliens.

The truck drivers told later their companies that they were approached at a truck stop and told they could make extra money if they would leave their trucks and come back later. Once the truck was filled with illegal aliens, the drivers were instructed to drive them to San Antonio, and were promised $300 per alien smuggled.

ICE officials are still investigating the case and are not releasing details at this time.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Homeland Security takes a baby step in increasing business fines

The Department of Homeland Security announced Friday that it will increase fines against employers who hire illegal immigrants, the first increase in almost a decade. However, the fines will not be doubled or tripled, but will increase by a mere 25 percent, no deterrent to greedy businesses.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff nevertheless expressed pride at the announcement, “Work site enforcement and interior enforcement are critical elements of a strategy to deal with this issue of illegal migration,” he said, adding that the departments of Justice and Homeland Security are also working on a plan to increase criminal penalties against “the most egregious employer offenders.”

The announcement also included stepped-up raids at businesses and the construction of fencing and other barriers along the border with Mexico. But Chertoff said the steps were needed due to Congress’ failure to pass an amnesty program, rather than the Bush Administration’s failure to enforce existing law.

Fines for employers caught knowingly hiring illegal immigrants will now range from $275 to $11,000.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Amnesty is not dead in Washington

While the reporters are out of town covering the primary campaigns, House Democrats are busy crafting a “scaled-down” immigration amnesty plan, despite the issue's political minefields.

Washington insiders say that Hispanic House members, including Rep. Joe Baca, are seeking five-year visas for illegal immigrants who would have to pay fines and pass criminal background checks. Baca, a California Democrat, is chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

Baca said the possibilities of success for a 'compromise package' were discussed in high-level meetings that included Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel, and Rep. Zoe Lofgren, chairs of a key immigration subcommittee.

Democrats say drafts of the legislation have already been written and are being vetted behind the scenes.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Texas GOP voters can voice opposition to illegal immigration when they vote March 4

Republican voters in Texas have a unique opportunity. They can sound off on illegal immigration when they vote in the March 4 primary election. Voters will cast ballots on three nonbinding resolutions.
• The first measure asks if local, state and federal officials should be required to enforce U.S. immigration laws 'to secure our borders.' 'I would be shocked if it didn't pass,' said Kathy Ward, chairwoman of the Collin County Republican Party.
• The second referendum, also related to illegal immigration, calls for legislation to require voters to show photo identification.
• The third item would require state and local governments to limit annual budget increases to the sum of the population growth and inflation rate.
State Republican officials put the items on the primary ballot in hopes of influencing future legislation. Mandy Tschoepe, of the State Republican Executive Committee, said, 'It gives us a big stick to take to the Legislature. We can say, 'Ninety-two percent of Republican primary voters think a voter ID in order to vote is an important issue. Let's get it done.''

Texas legislators are studying an Oklahoma illegal immigration law that's considered the nation's toughest. People who shelter or conceal undocumented immigrants can be charged with a felony under the law passed last year.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Mexicans hold mass wedding in Tijuana

Close to 600 Mexican couples got married in a mass Valentine's Day wedding in Tijuana, just south of the U.S. border. More than three-quarters were migrants returning from, or trying to get into the United States.

A live band blasted out Mexican love songs just a short walk from the busy San Ysidro crossing into California. A judge simultaneously married the crowd of couples whose ranged in age from 16 to 65.

Inocencio Felix declared his love for his new wife Angelica Perez. She had been deported by U.S. immigration officials two weeks earlier from the state of Oregon, where the couple met. Felix also lived in the United States illegally, and said he came back to Tijuana, near San Diego, for the mass open-air wedding.

Felix then declared their intent 'We're going to go back to the United States soon, our life is there,' he said.

Mexico's civil registry office began the mass weddings several years ago 'Many migrants do not have any kind of documents, not even a registered birth certificate, so they cannot get married. We try to resolve that,' civil registry official Silvia Alvarez said.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Illegal alien pleads guilty to strangling filmmaker

Diego Pillco, an illegal alien from Ecuador, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the November 2006 strangling death of "Waitress" filmmaker Adrienne Shelly in New York City's Greenwich Village. The construction worker admitted he strangled Shelly, 40, in her Manhattan apartment after she caught him snatching money out of her handbag. He is due to be sentenced to 25 years in prison.

"Waitress," which Shelly wrote, directed and co-starred in with Cheryl Hines and Nathan Fillion, earned rave reviews at the Sundance Film Festival when it was released two months after her death.

Last spring, Hines said that promoting the film without Shelly was “bittersweet." "This movie is so beautiful and it's very exciting that people are noticing that . At the same time, Adrienne should be right here and it's not fair," she told UPI. "I wish she could be here to hear people tell her and to see for herself how she has affected them," Fillion said. "What should have been one more piece in a long line of beautiful works has become a legacy."

"Adrienne and our family suffered an unimaginable horror that nobody should have to go through," said her husband Andy Ostroy, who has set up the Adrienne Shelly Foundation to help women filmmakers establish themselves.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Mexican President tells Mexicans in California "Don't give up"

On Valentine's Day, Mexican President Felipe Calderon delivered an emotional message to fellow Mexicans living in Los Angeles and throughout California - "In Mexico, we miss you and think about you a lot. You work hard for this country and help Mexico at the same time. Don't give up."

Calderon told his compatriots he would give them more support while they are in the United States. Mexico's government, he said, wants to promote and even increase migration to the United States

Los Angeles is already about half Hispanic, with Mexicans citizens accounting for the vast majority of Hispanics. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, whose father was a Mexican immigrant, demonstrates the political influence of illegal aliens.

"We need to generate the conditions for work, opportunity and a dignified life so that these people never, ever have to leave," Calderon said. "We don't want to be a country that expels its people.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Federal judge upholds Arizona law penalizing hiring of illegals

A federal judge has upheld an Arizona law that mandates the closure of businesses which knowingly hire illegal immigrants. The law became effective in January.

In making his decision, U.S. District Judge Neil Wake rejected the arguments of business and immigrant-rights groups. They had sued, saying the law was unconstitutional. Wake disagreed,'The act does not make employers conform to a stricter form of conduct than federal law.'

Wake also noted that federal law specifically lets states regulate business licensing. 'Preservation of that state power was itself part of Congress' careful balancing of policy objectives,' he wrote.

Under the law, a company is placed on probation the first time it is found to have knowingly hired undocumented workers. The second time, its license is revoked, essentially ending its ability to operate in Arizona.

The Arizona law is the only one in the country which mandates the closure of businesses that hire illegal immigrants. Several states have contacted Arizona looking to duplicate it.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

After three years, Texas incident remains a hot immigration issue

Three years ago this month, U.S. Border Patriol agents Ignacio 'Nacho' Ramos and José Compean encountered a Mexican citizen in the Texas desert, heading north with a van full of 800 lbs. of marijuana. The Mexican, Osvaldo Adrete Davila, ran south, ditching the van just before the border. Davila sprinted across the border, half-turning and waving something silvery in the air. Ramos and Compean fired, hitting him in the buttocks.

Davila disappeared across the border, and the agents discovered the contents of the van. After close to a year, a jury in El Paso convicted the two of assault, obstruction of justice and civil rights violations. Each received lengthy federal prison sentences: 11 years for Ramos, 12 for Compean.

Conservative media took up the cause, portraying Ramos and Compean as martyrs to an immigration policy out of control. CNN's Lou Dobbs called the agents' imprisonment an 'outrage' and 'warrantles.' At a 'Meet Mike Huckabee' event last month in Iowa, the former Arkansas governor said, 'Of course I would review their case,' adding that he hoped the agents would be back home by Valentine's Day 2009, just after a new president takes office. Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have not commented on the case.

Bush has so far declined to pardon the agents. His spokeswoman noted that their case is on appeal, and that neither has applied for a pardon, which requires admitting guilt.

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California has held hearings on the case, saying the agents' sentences were too harsh and their case should be reviewed. Democratic Rep. Bill Delahunt of Massachusetts has introduced a resolution in the House calling on Bush to commute the agents' sentences to time served. The bill has bipartisan support with 75 co-sponsors.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Florida legislators propose immigration enforcement bills

Florida state legislators have unveiled a series of immigration-enforcement bills which would make it tougher to hire illegal immigrants, limit public services illegals can receive and penalize anyone who brings illegals into Florida.

The majority of the bills echo legislation proposed in other states across the country. One is a response to a unique problem facing Florida: the growing number of Cubans and others smuggled across the Florida Straits every month.

In introducing the bills, Rep. Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart, said 'We want to make sure the state of Florida can do everything in its power to deal with illegals. It's a federal issue, but there are things states can do.' Harrell proposed a law making it illegal for state funds to go to day labor centers where illegal immigrants are among those seeking work.

Rep. Don Brown, R-DeFuniak Springs, sponsored the most comprehensive bill, much of which simply codifies existing practices or parallels federal law. It would also prohibit cities from restricting efforts to enforce immigration laws, pre-empt municipalities from creating so-called 'sanctuary cities' for illegal immigrants, and would require drivers licenses to be issued only to U.S. citizens or those with legal status in Florida.

Brown's proposal would affect Florida business by requiring that anyone contracting with the state participate in the federal government's volunteer worker verification program. Under the program, employers run the names of prospective employees through Social Security and Department of Homeland Security databases.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Texas Governor now supports border fence

Texas is faced with illegal immigrants flowing in from other U.S. states as well as over the Mexican border, and Governor Rick Perry is talking tough on immigration and border security, saying he favors border fences in some areas.

Nearby states have enacted laws cracking down on the hiring of illegal workers. As a result, illegal immigrants are driving down Interstate 35 from Oklahoma or heading east to Texas from Arizona to flee the tough new laws.

In August 2007, ahead of a meeting with Mexican President Felipe Calderon in Mexico City, Perry railed against all the 'mean rhetoric' sparked by the immigration debate in Washington and declared that border fences 'absolutely won't work.'

But in February 2008, Perry is embracing fencing. 'There is some strategic fencing that we support. There are areas, particularly in metropolitan areas, that you can use strategic fencing to help control the flow of illegal activities,' he said.

Perry is now emphasizing border security over immigration reform, and says that if a comprehensive overhaul occurs he wants temporary workers who apply for U.S. citizenship to wait their turn behind others who have already done so. 'There's a line. Get in just like everybody else,' he said.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Phoenix group backs Romney, rejects McCain immigration stand

A Phoenix organization critical of Arizona Sen. John McCain's immigration policy is backing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the presidential race.

The group, Mothers Against Illegal Aliens, is looking for a get-tough approach to illegal immigration including stiff penalties against businesses that hire illegal immigrants.

Business interests have opposed such sanctions, instead backing a guest worker plan and pathway to legal status for illegals already in the U.S. McCain also has advocated such a plan.

In a statement, Michelle Dallacroce, a USAF Veteran, a mother and President and Founder of Mothers Against Illegal Aliens, said "As a mother, I know that respect for the Rule of Law and the enforcement of our laws that have been ignored, will ensure that our American children enjoy the promises that we as parents have made to them. With Mitt Romney as our President, the American Dream and our Nation, will remain alive and well. There is only one real statesman who happens to be Republican who seeks to lead this nation as our President, and that man is Governor Mitt Romney!"

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Tancredo - Congressional stumulus package is a giveaway to illegal aliens

Former presidential candidate and Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo has criticized the tax package passed by the Democrat-controlled Congress as a 'giveaway' to illegal aliens. Among other problems, the package directs the Internal Revenue Service to issue checks of up to $600 to individuals and $1,200 to married couples, and also offers rebates for any children. The legislation, however, does not contain any provision barring illegal aliens from receiving the checks.

“This package will stimulate one thing for certain - more illegal immigration,” said Tancredo. “It’s just the latest unfortunate example of American workers footing the bill for illegal aliens.”

The bill also allows “Resident Aliens” to receive rebate checks. The Treasury department classifies someone as a “Resident Alien” based on how much time that person has spent in the United States. No proof of legal presence, however, is required.

“A large portion of this money will just be sent back to the home countries of illegal aliens,” concluded Tancredo. “So it might stimulate someone’s economy – just not ours.” The bill was considered under a procedure in the House of Representatives that did not allow for any opportunity to amend the bill to restrict payments to illegal aliens.