Tuesday, April 29, 2008

In Arizona, illegal aliens plea to sheriff is “Send us home to Mexico”

On a recent afternoon, four illegal immigrants asked the Arizona’s Maricopa County Sheriff's Office for a ride back home to Mexico, say department officials.

The four were located in the Aguila area west of Phoenix and were seeking work. They admitted they were in the country illegally and after being unable to find work, they wanted a return ride to Mexico.

The illegal aliens were processed by the county sheriff’s office human smuggling unit and then they were turned over to ICE. ICE finally granted their request and sent them home to Mexico.

The county sheriff’s office says that in the past, Aguila area residents have sought the department's help because of "problems related to illegal immigration."

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Identity theft often tied to illegal immigration

The IRS said Amanda Bien owed the federal government $3,300 in back taxes for five jobs in multiple states. Jobs she had never worked. It turned out a 28-year-old illegal immigrant had used Bien's name and Social Security number.

Though the IRS may suspect that multiple people are using the same Social Security number, the agency does not investigate identity theft. Local police and prosecutors who investigate identity theft cannot deport the illegal immigrants they arrest.

Many victims don't learn of the crime until their credit score drops or a loan is denied. In one recent case, a man found out when he was arrested for a crime committed by an illegal immigrant using his identity.

The market for false documents and stolen Social Security numbers is booming. Officials say that legal residents with Hispanic last names, or names like Bien that could sound Hispanic, are especially vulnerable. Children and the elderly are also especially susceptible.

Federal estimates indicate that nearly 10 million Americans become victims of identity theft each year. 'We know there are thousands and thousands of people working here who aren't even supposed to be here,' said Brent Anderson, assistant U.S. attorney for Kansas. 'There is rampant ID theft going on.'

Friday, April 25, 2008

Border Patrol detains registered sex offender crossing into U.S.

Border Patrol agents in El Paso, Texas say they know that smugglers for many years have wanted to cross the border on its bridges in order to enter the U.S. But they were surprised when they recently saw a man hiding near a support beam under the Bridge of the Americas.

After attempting to rescue him, Border Patrol officers detained the man after they found that he is from Chile, and is also a registered sex offender in Dade County, Florida. They say the man was abandoned on the bridge because a wheel fell off the cart he used to travel under the bridge. One agent described the cart as "almost a railway cart with wheels fitted underneath."

In February, Mexican authorities arrested 6 people with a similar cart in Juarez. They believe the carts are used to smuggle drugs and/or individuals, but are not sure yet if the individuals use a pulley system or have to push themselves along.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said the El Paso arrest is indicative of the increased dangers forced on border crossers as smugglers as they look for more creative methods to avoid the "Zero-Tolerance" policy in west Texas and New Mexico.

"Zero-Tolerance" is a new strategy in which all illegal immigrants caught crossing into the U.S. in west Texas and New Mexico are fingerprinted and entered into a database. If they are caught crossing into the U.S. again, they will face criminal charges. Before the initiative, illegal immigrants caught by Border Patrol agents were simply deported back to Mexico.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

LA Mayor asks ICE to stop workplace raids, accept fake ID’s from illegals

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who says he represents Aztlan on the City Council, has asked the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to quit raiding businesses to find illegal aliens. He says the federal government should restrict itself to investigating businesses that mistreat workers.

Villaraigosa said "So-called 'illegals' deserve the same wage-and-hour protections as other workers." He added that work-site raids can have "severe and long-lasting effects" on the local economy.

Concluding with his traditional "Viva la Raza!," Villaraigosa argued that the counterfeit documents were actually better than real documents and said he hoped the state legislature would declare the counterfeits as good as legitimate papers.

"Look," said the mayor, "the documentation that some undocumented workers present to employers looks legitimate, so businesses can't tell if they're hiring somebody who is technically 'illegal' or not. As a matter of fact, the documentation of these undocumented workers often looks better than the real thing.

"Phony drivers' licenses, for example, frequently have photos that don't look like post postmortems, and Social Security cards don't look like they've been through the wash three or four times," the Mayor said

Monday, April 21, 2008

Tancredo takes on the visiting Pope, challenges church on illegals

Colorado Congressman and former Presidential candidate Tom Tancredo, a Republican known for his fight against illegal immigration, took offense at a statement of Pope Benedict XVI. Pope Benedict reportedly said during his visit that the United States must do “everything possible to fight…all forms of violence so that immigrants may lead dignified lives.”

Tancredo said: “I would like to know what part of our lax immigration policy is considered violent. I fail to see how accepting more refugees than any other nation -and providing free health care, education, housing and social service benefits to millions of illegal aliens is in any way ‘violent’ or ‘degrading.’”

In Washington, Pope Benedict also said: 'I want to encourage you and your communities to continue to welcome the immigrants who join your ranks today, to share their joys and hopes, to support them in their sorrows and trials and to help them flourish in their new home.'

Tancredo was raised as a Catholic, but now attends an evangelical Christian church. He accused the pope of welcoming illegal immigrants to the U.S. in order to build membership in the church. "I suspect the Pope’s immigration comments may have less to do with spreading the gospel than they do about recruiting new members of the church,” said Tancredo. “This isn’t preaching. It is ‘faith-based’ marketing.”

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Memphis realty company stops writing mortgages for illegals

In 2007, Su Casa Realty, Spanish for "Your House," sold about 300 homes in the Memphis area, including 60 to people using ITIN numbers rather than Social Security numbers. But Su Casa Realty has stopped selling homes to immigrants without Social Security numbers, that is, immigrants in the U.S. illegally.

Because of the sub-prime housing crisis, banks have cracked down on credit, said Juan Romo, part owner of the Century 21 franchise. His company is not likely to return to writing mortgages for illegal aliens, he said.

Federal law allows banks to offer mortgages to illegal immigrants, if the immigrants present an individual tax identification number, or ITIN. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) willingly gives ITINs to illegal aliens so that they can pay income taxes. But Romo said he's done with ITIN mortgages for now. "It's better to invest your time with people with bad credit now than with the ITIN number."

It is still against the law to either enter the country without inspection or overstay a visa, but businesses have been successful in recent years in lobbying for lax enforcement. Many immigrants in the U.S. illegally use fake documents to get jobs, and some earned enough to buy homes. But with the economic slowdown, fewer illegal immigrants can afford homes. Some employers are also checking documents more carefully and turning illegal immigrants away.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Georgia employment agency owners charged with supplying illegal workers

The owners of six Georgia employment agencies have been indicted on charges of providing illegal immigrants to work in Chinese restaurants on the East Coast. Defendants include the agency owners; drivers who transported the workers; operators of 'safe houses' where immigrants waited for jobs; and immigrant smugglers who brought the workers to Georgia from Florida.

Each agency operated somewhat differently, but all in general recruited Mexican or Central American illegal workers. The agencies would obtain the illegal immigrants by advertising in ethnic newspapers or direct referrals from immigrant smugglers or 'coyotes,' and also accepted 'walk-ins.' They charged a commission of hundreds of dollars to place the worker, which was deducted from wages.

The agencies placed workers in Georgia, and in Tennessee, Kentucky, New York, Alabama, Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, Florida and Ohio, according to the indictment.

Restaurant owners would work the immigrants long hours, pay cash and not withhold state or federal taxes. They gave them food and housing, but paid $3 or $5 per hour in some cases.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

ICE wants other states to copy Arizona program, deport illegal inmates early

Federal immigration officials want other states to copy an Arizona program that releases nonviolent illegal immigrants from state prisons early and then deports them. Arizona has turned over more than 1,400 state prisoners to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement since the program began in 2005, saving $18.6 million.

Eligible inmates were those convicted of crimes from drunken driving to lower-level drug charges. Arizona was the first state to team up with ICE under the Rapid Repatriation program helping state prison officials identify illegal immigrants when they are booked. New York has a similar program.

'It's a great program,' ICE spokesman Vincent Picard said. 'It keeps criminals off the streets of Arizona. It saves the state lots of money.'

Julie Myers, assistant secretary of homeland security for ICE. said the federal government has approached all the other states and is close to inking agreements with 'a handful' in the next few months. Populous border states with overcrowded prisons are a priority.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Myrick cites DWI statistics among illegals in support of legislation

In support of legislation she has introduced which would mandate the deportation of illegal aliens convicted of driving while intoxicated, North Carolina Congresswoman Sue Myrick has released numbers showing widespread drunk driving among illegal aliens in North Carolina. According to officials in the county sheriffs’ offices, almost 1,000 illegal immigrants were charged in 2007 with drunken driving.

The sheriff's offices broke down the percentage of DWI arrests only for illegal immigrants, not for other inmates.

The Scott Gardner Act is named after a Gaston County high school teacher, killed in 2005 by an illegal immigrant driving under the influence. The bill is now before a Homeland Security subcommittee.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Parents of murdered LA teen seek repeal of Los Angeles’ Special Order 40

Jamiel Shaw Jr., 17, was shot to death March 2 as he walked home in South Los Angeles. Pedro Espinoza, 19, an illegal immigrant and a gang member, has been charged with murder in Jamiel's slaying. Espinoza was released from a Los Angeles County jail one day before the shooting after serving time for assault with a deadly weapon.

Jamiel's parents have called for passage of a law requiring Los Angeles police to hunt down gang members who are illegal immigrants, altering Special Order 40, a 30-year old policy which prohibits city police officers from asking about immigration status or enforcing immigration law. The new law would require police to work with federal officials "to identify, arrest, prosecute, imprison and deport illegal aliens who are, or appear to be, gang members or affiliate gang members," regardless of whether they have committed any other crimes.

"My son was murdered by someone that was not in the country legally," Jamiel's father told the Los Angeles City Council. "We want him back, but we can't get him back," he said, adding "We're not living in Beirut or Iraq. We're living in a nice neighborhood. He thought he was safe."

Police said the shooting was carried out by two Latino gang members who pulled up in a car and asked Jamiel Jr. where he was from - a question about gang affiliation. The teen, who did not belong to a gang, was shot before he could answer.

As the City Council considered the request, a dozen or more speakers blamed Special Order 40 for gang-related homicides. Council members did not specifically respond to the comments.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Swedish vodka ad fulfills Mexican dream

The latest advertising campaign in Mexico from Swedish vodka maker Absolut should be a hit south of the U.S. border, but U.S. citizens find it disturbing. The billboard and press campaign now running in Mexico, is a colorful map showing what it calls an “Absolut” world. The U.S.-Mexico border lies where it was before the Mexican-American war of 1848, when California, Texas, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico and Arizona, were all part of Mexico.

The Argentinan creative director of a large Latino advertising agency, not involved in the campaign, said: “Mexicans talk about how the Americans stole their land, so this is their way of reclaiming it. It’s very relevant and the Mexicans will love the idea.” The ad also ties into the “Reconquista” agenda of La Raza and other Latino organizations in the U.S.

The ad campaign has generated strong negative responses among U.S. citizens. “I find this ad deeply offensive, and needlessly divisive. I will now make a point of drinking other brands” said one visitor to MexicoReporter.com. Many people have decided to boycott Absolut vodka in response to the ad campaign. One web site user wrote: "Maybe we should show a map with Sweden as part of Norway." Another said “If you drink Absolut vodka, you can voice your approval or disapproval of this advertising campaign with your purchases. I know I will be switching to Grey Goose or Stoli and will never have another bottle of Absolut in my house.

To record your opinion of the ad campaign, go to http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/laplaza/2008/04/mexico-reconque.html

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Congressmen renew lobbying efforts for Ramos and Compean

Two California congressmen have renewed their efforts to improve conditions for two jailed border patrol agents, urging the Bureau of Prisons to move Ignacio Ramos, 37, and Jose Alonso Compean, 28, to a minimum security facility.

'If agents Ramos and Compean must continue serving their sentences, then they should be moved to a minimum security facility where they will not be threatened and under such restrictive conditions,' stated Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.).

Compean receiving a 12-year sentence and Ramos an 11-year sentence after they were convicted of assault, obstruction of justice and civil rights violations against a drug dealer who was retreating across the border.

'After 14 months of enduring the harsh conditions of solitary confinement, Director Lappin should do the right thing and exercise his authority to move the agents into more humane conditions,' stated Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.).'They are effectively serving a double sentence for an unjust conviction that may very well be overturned.'

Because of security threats from Hispanic inmates imprisoned with them, Compean and Ramos were segregated from the general prison population and must remain in their cells for 23 hours a day. They are not afforded basic privileges other prisoners enjoy, such as telephone use, daily showers and television access.

The congressmen noted that Harley Lappin, Bureau of Prisons director for the federal government, has visited the Phoenix facility currently housing the two agents. 'I have asked Director Lappin to review the status of agent Ramos and consider his transfer,' Hunter said. 'He assured me that he would personally meet with agent Ramos and review his situation, as well as the events that led to his incarceration. ‘

Friday, April 04, 2008

Voters are unaware or disagree with presidential candidates positions on immigration

A poll using careful language to maintain impartiality has found that those who voted in a primary or caucus were very unaware of the candidates’ immigration positions. The poll also showed that the voters often do not share their candidate's position.
• Although all three candidates favor amnesty for illegal immigrants, only 34 percent of McCain voters, 42 percent of Clinton voters, and 52 percent of Obama voters correctly identified their candidate's position.

• Of McCain voters, 35 percent incorrectly thought he favors enforcement that would cause illegals to return home, another 10 percent thought he wants mass deportations, and 21 percent didn’t know his position.

• Only 31 percent of McCain voters had the same immigration position as he does. For Clinton voters, 45 percent shared her position; 61 percent of Obama voters shared his position.

• Whoever wins the presidency will face significant opposition to giving amnesty and eventual citizenship to illegal immigrants.

• Just 25 percent of Republican and 50 percent of Democratic primary/caucus voters said they would support such an effort.

The survey of 1,276 persons who had voted in a primary or caucus was conducted March 12-13 by Pulse Opinion Research.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

DHS will waive federal requirements to complete hundreds of miles of border fence

Congressman Brian Bilbray (R-CA), Chairman of the Immigration Reform Caucus, praised the Department of Homeland Security following its April 1 decision to waive certain federal laws in order to build hundreds of miles of fence along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“I applaud the Administration and the Department for recognizing the importance of moving forward with this fence. The American people demand that our borders be secured and this decision will go a long way toward accomplishing that. You just have to stop this kind of open traffic along the border," Bilbray said.

The department's decision will allow it to slash through a thicket of environmental and cultural laws. One waiver applies to certain environmental and land management laws for various project areas in Calif., Ariz., N.M., and Texas, encompassing roughly 470 total miles. It will facilitate additional pedestrian and vehicle fence construction, towers, sensors, cameras, detection equipment, and roads in the vicinity of the border.

A separate waiver was signed for the levee-border barrier project in Hidalgo County, Texas. The 22-mile project will strengthen flood protection in the area while providing the Border Patrol with important tactical infrastructure. In addition to environmental and land management laws, this waiver addresses other legal and administrative impediments to completing the project by the end of 2008.

Congress gave Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff the power to waive federal requirements in order to build the fence quickly. Since construction began, the department has faced opposition from local communities and has had to go to court against more than 50 property owners simply to survey land to determine whether it is suitable for a fence. The department has so far built just 309 miles of fence.