Sunday, August 31, 2008

GOP Convention opens with conflict between platform and candidate on immigration

The GOP Convention opens in Minneapolis Monday with a conflict over immigration between its platform and its presidential candidate. The draft for the platform says “We oppose amnesty” for illegal immigrants.

However, Sen. John McCain, the party’s presidential nominee, has been a leading proponent in Congress for giving illegal aliens a “pathway to citizenship.”

The platform says, “It [the rule of law] does not mean driver’s licenses for illegal aliens, nor does it mean that states should be allowed to flout the federal law barring them from giving in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens. We oppose amnesty.”

By contrast, in June, McCain told the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials that comprehensive immigration reform is his 'top priority -- yesterday, today and tomorrow.' In 2006, McCain worked with Democrat Senator Ted Kennedy to draft and introduce in the Senate a 'comprehensive' immigration reform bill that would have given illegal aliens a path to citizenship and allow 200,000 new 'guest workers' to enter the country each year.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Golfers on the LPGA tour must speak English

The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour includes female professional golfers from all over the world, and the organization wants all of them to be able to speak English. Though "LPGA"s exist in other countries, each with a geographical designation, the U.S. organization is the largest and best known.

As of 2009, the association will require LPGA tour players to speak English. Players who have been LPGA members for two years will face suspension if they can’t pass an oral evaluation of English skills. The rule is effective immediately for new players.

Deputy association commissioner Libba Galloway told the press “We want to help our athletes as best we can succeed off the golf course as well as on it.”

The tour held a mandatory meeting with South Koreans last Wednesday at the Safeway Classic to inform them of the new policy. There is no such rule on the PGA Tour. There are 121 international players from 26 countries on the LPGA Tour, including 45 players from South Korea.

The policy was endorsed by at least one tournament director, Kate Peters of the LPGA State Farm Classic. 'This is an American tour,' Peters said. 'It is important for sponsors to be able to interact with players and have a positive experience.'

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Americans overwhelmingly see controlling the border as top priority

The great majority, 69 percent, of American voters recently told poll takers that gaining control of the border is more important than legalizing illegal immigrants. Three of every four told the Rasmussen Reports national telephone poll that the government is not doing enough to make that happen. Thirty-four percent say the current immigration situation makes them angry, while another 25 percent said they are mildly frustrated.

The new findings show an uptick of concern among voters. Increasingly frustrated with the slow pace of federal action, states and localities are attempting to deal with the problem of illegal immigration on their own. Both major presidential candidates have called for stronger border enforcement but have not made it a central element of their campaigns.

Support for gaining control of the border is high in all age, income, gender and racial categories. Only those who describe themselves as liberals are more divided, although they still favor border control slightly more than legalization.

For 86 percent of likely McCain voters, gaining control of the border is more important than legalizing the status of undocumented workers. Potential Obama voters are split, with 53 percent favoring control of the border versus and 35 percent who put legalization first.

The two sides are close to agreement when asked if the government is doing enough to secure the borders. Only eight percent of likely McCain voters and 19 percent of potential Obama voters believe the government is doing enough to secure the borders.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Feds to intensify deportation efforts after killing ‘self-deportation’ program

The federal government is scrapping its three-week old ‘Scheduled Departure’ program for illegal immigrants. In the program, illegals with a previous deportation order could turn themselves in for deportation without penalty. Only eight people had volunteered during the trial. ICE offered such illegals in five cities 90 days to plan their departure and coordinate travel with relatives instead of facing the prospect of being arrested, detained and deported.

ICE offered the program to 457,000 illegal immigrants nationwide who have ignored judicial orders to leave the U.S. but have no criminal record. Immigrant advocates, who said the program had few incentives said they now worry that ICE will cite the weak turnout as a reason to step up raids.

Jim Hayes, acting director of ICE's detention and removal operations, told the press, "Quite frankly, I think this proves the only method that works is enforcement."

Hayes said ICE will intensify efforts to track down illegal immigrants after scrapping the program, with more illegals arrested this year than last, and even more next year as more agents are assigned to the effort. "We are going to continue our enforcement of immigration law whether it is convenient for people, or whether it's not convenient,” he said.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Rhode Island's Roman Catholic bishop seeks to protect his illegal flock

Rhode Island’s Roman Catholic bishop is seeking an end to mass immigration sweeps in the state. At the same time, he wants to persuade individual Border Patrol agents to refuse to participate in raids ‘as a matter of conscience.’

Providence Bishop Thomas Tobin made the request in a letter to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Signed by 15 priests, it urges individual ICE agents to consider the morality of their actions.

'If their discernment leads them to the conclusion that they cannot participate in such raids in good conscience, we urge them not to do so. If ICE agents refuse to participate in immigration raids in conformity with their faith and conscience, we urge the Federal Government to fully respect the well-founded principles of conscientious objection,' the letter said.

Tobin's request tries to suggest that raids are forcing immigration agents to choose between their jobs and their religious faith. Roman Catholics, legal or illegal, carry clout in Rhode Island, where 60 percent of the state’s population call themselves Roman Catholic.

The letter was sent in the middle of a heated debate over illegal immigration in Rhode Island. Authorities recently raided six Rhode Island courthouses and arrested 31 people, mainly Hispanic immigrants who are overwhelmingly Catholic. In a separate raid, ICE agents apprehended 42 suspected illegal immigrants in Newport and Middletown.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

School district’s Raza studies denounced by Arizona School Superintendent

Tucson’s $2.6 million Mexican American/Raza Studies program has been severely criticized by Arizona School Superintendent Tom Horne. He calls it racially divisive and hypercritical of American history and culture, and wants the program halted.

The program’s director, Augustine F. Romero, is making the rounds of talk radio shows in the Tucson area, defending the program and its1,700 students. When asked about the racist name and nature of his program, Romero frustrates the questioner by saying “Raza studies is an anti-racist project. In fact, we are the ones who are combating racism.”

Horne says “People are individuals, not exemplars of racial groups. It is fundamentally wrong to divide students up according to their racial group and teach them separately.

"Hector Ayala was born in Mexico and is an excellent English teacher at Cholla High School. He reports that Romero accused him of being the 'White man's agent' and that when Romero was a teacher, he taught a separatist political agenda. Romero's students told Ayala they were taught in Raza studies to 'not fall for the White man's traps.'

"I have heard from many TUSD employees, complaining about the climate of fear created by Romero and the principals and TUSD board members aligned with him. It is up to the citizens of Tucson to get the board to change or change the board," Horne concluded.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

California man charged with running fake ID factory

Police have arrested Luis Alberto Montana, 44, and charged him with renting a room in a Watsonville, California home and running a document factory there, producing a variety of ID cards.

The operation was underway in a bedroom and bathroom at 30 Ninth St. in Watsonvillle. Police found a laptop computer with an ID card and photo on the screen. Also in the room were printers, paper cutters, stacks of laminating paper, which contained numerous types of gold government seals used on different types of ID cards.

"It's rare that we would find a location where those things are manufactured," Watsonville police Lt. Darren Thompson said. "What makes this case unique is we were led to where man had rented a bedroom in a home and he had set up fraudulent manufacturing."

The man lived elsewhere in the town. He had been renting the space for eight to nine months. There were residential tenants in the building. Evidence seized included sheets of blank social security cards, immigration cards, driver's licenses, W-2 forms as well as completed cards, including driver's licenses from California, Arizona, Oregon and California license plate stickers, Matriculas and resident alien cards, according to police.

Montana was charged with possession of false documents, manufacturing false government documents, manufacturing false citizenship or resident alien documents, forgery of driver's license or ID cards and forgery of seals. He is being held in Santa Cruz County Jail on $250,000 bail.

Friday, August 15, 2008

ICE arrests illegals discovered manufacturing military parachutes

Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents raided a parachute manufacturing company in Asheville, North Carolina on Tuesday, arresting 59 illegal aliens who were working on the assembly line making parachutes for the U.S. armed forces. ICE called the situation it a possible threat to national security.

Those arrested included 40 women and 19 men who are now being processed. Agents say 29 of them, mostly women, will be released on their own recognizance for humanitarian reasons, meaning they have children or health issues. The others will be held pending hearings in Atlanta which could lead to deportation.

Mills Manufacturing has made parachutes for the military since World War II. ICE agents say the company cooperated in the investigation. Immigration agents say the company had been given false identity papers provided by the workers.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

U.S. State Department begins issuing biometric passports

The U.S. State Department has begun issuing electronic passports, with biometric technology. The e-passports are designed for enhanced border security as well as efficient travel screening. Production started at the Colorado Passport Agency and will be expanded to other production facilities over the next few months.

A contactless chip in the rear cover of the passport contains the same data as that found on the biographic data page of the passport (name, date of birth, gender, place of birth, dates of passport issuance and expiration, passport number), and also includes a digital image of the bearer’s photograph. The passport's format is consistent with the global interoperable specifications adopted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

A several-layer approach helps protect the privacy of the information and lessens the chances of the electronic data being skimmed (unauthorized reading) or eavesdropped (intercepting communication of the transmission of data between the chip and the reader by unintended recipients). Metallic anti-skimming material incorporated into the front cover and spine of the e-passport book prevents the chip from being skimmed, or read, when the book is fully closed; Basic Access Control (BAC) technology, which requires that the data page be read electronically to generate a key that unlocks the chip, prevents skimming and eavesdropping; and a randomized unique identification (RUID) feature lowers the risk that an e-passport holder could be tracked. The information on the chip includes an electronic signature.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Tennessee Tyson plant to forgo Labor Day, celebrate a Muslim holiday instead

A Tyson Foods poultry plant in Shelbyville, Tennessee, will no longer celebrate Labor Day. Instead, the union that representing workers at the plant has negotiated a contract substituting a Muslim holiday as one of the plant’s eight paid holidays. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union pact has delighted the plant’s Somali workers, who account for hundreds of its 1,200 employees.

Many outside the plant, however, are infuriated. One person wrote: 'You had no right to drop Labor Day. Muslim employees must integrate Labor Day into THEIR lives if they are going to live in America.'

Under the five-year contract at the Tennessee plant, Id al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting, is now one of the plant’s eight paid holidays.

Mark Krikorian, Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), says it is outrageous that union employees at the Tyson processing plant in Shelbyville, Tennessee, will not have Labor Day as a paid holiday this year, but instead will celebrate the end of Ramadan on October 1. The plant has also provided a 'prayer room' to accommodate the 250 Muslim employees, mostly Somalis, who work at the plant.

“Tyson is giving all workers, Muslim and non-Muslim workers, an Islamic holiday off and replacing Labor Day. I mean it's really pretty outrageous.” Krikorian added.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Mexican soldiers cross into U.S., hold border agent at gunpoint

Four Mexican army soldiers crossed the border into the U.S. and pointed their rifles at a U.S. Border Patrol agent on August 3. The incident was the Mexican military's 43rd incursion across the U.S. border since last October, the beginning of the federal fiscal year. Most of the other incursions, however, did not involve firearms.

The incursion occurred on 2 a.m. on the Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation, 85 miles southwest of Tucson, in an area just north of the border, which is fenced only with barbed wire.

The Mexican soldiers held their weapons on the U.S. Border Patrol agent for several minutes until he identified himself in Spanish. At that, they lowered their guns and walked back across a gap in the fence.

T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, the union for Border Patrol agents, said "It's a minor miracle that none of our agents have been killed or seriously injured,“ “It's inexcusable to not know where the border is" when military units have global positioning capabilities, “ he added.

"We're working with the Mexican government to make sure that this doesn't happen again. This can't be happening," said Lloyd Easterling, a Border Patrol spokesman in Washingto

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Despite Mexican protests, Texas executes Mexican killer

Despite official protests and public demonstrations in Mexico City, Texas on Tuesday executed Jose Ernesto Medellin, a Mexican national convicted of the 1993 rape and murder of two Texas girls.

Demonstrations had been held in Mexico before the execution. The controversy surrounding his execution is expected to continue, as there are 50 other Mexican citizens on U.S. death rows.

Medellin was 18 when he and five fellow gang members raped Elizabeth Pena, 16, and Jennifer Ertman, 14, then beat and strangled them. Medellin later boasted to friends about the deed.

The International Court of Justice in The Hague court had ordered the United States not to execute any of five men on death row in Texas while the court reviewed their cases. But the court, a branch of the United Nations, had no power to enforce its rulings. A spokesman for Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, has said that 'the world court has no standing in Texas.'

The Bush administration had tried to intervene in the case, in support of the Mexican government, urging Texas prosecutors to reopen the death row cases. In March, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the Bush administration's arguments, ruling 6-3 that under the Constitution, the president did not have the 'unilateral authority' to compel state officials to comply with an international treaty.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Illegal crack dealer arrested five times in San Francisco, feds were never told

How bad are sanctuary laws? Marco Martinez is a 26-year-old illegal immigrant from El Salvador who has been arrested by San Francisco police five times in the past 18 months for selling crack cocaine. Until last month, he was never turned over to the federal government.

When he was arrested, he was booked, but posted bail so quickly, a background check was never run. This July, Martinez pleaded guilty to charges stemming from his first three arrests in exchange for prosecutors dismissing the fourth case. But within two weeks, Martinez was arrested a fifth time.

A judge ordered him to stay in jail, and the next day the Sheriff's Department notified U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents that Martinez was in their custody. ICE officials have confirmed that he was in the country illegally and have put a hold on him - before the sheriff can release him again, the feds have 24 hours to take him into custody and to start deportation proceedings.

There’s nothing in San Francisco’s sanctuary ordinance or in the Police Department's general orders that precludes officers from alerting the feds when they've arrested illegal immigrants.

But retired police Captain Tim Hettrich said it was 'common knowledge' throughout the department that 'you were not to do anything with ICE or immigration and illegals whether or not they committed a crime - even to arrest them - because there will be the perception we are harassing illegals.'

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Tuberculosis rate is rising in Georgia county

Health officials in Gwinnitt County, Georgia have reported that t he number of tuberculosis cases is on the rise. The county now has the second highest rate of TB cases in state, following Fulton County said the county health department.

In 2007, there were 55 active cases of TB reported in Gwinnett. The increase, according to health officials, is probably because of the county's large immigrant population. People who enter the country legally are tested for contagious diseases such as TB, but there is no way to check those who come here illegally. They are not detected until they present symptoms

Health officials believe the county’s East Metro Health District’s Preventive Health Clinic is adequate to combat the disease. The clinic is a special center that focuses on the treatment of TB infection and disease. It serves residents of the East Metro Health District, which includes Gwinnett, Rockdale and Newton counties.

As a safeguard to employees, the entire clinic contains negative pressure, which helps prevent the spread of TB, Goins said.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Ramos and Compean remain in jail, “The good guys lost this round”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, issuing its opinion in the case of Border Patrol agents Ignacio “Nacho” Ramos and Jose Compean, has affirmed all convictions except those for tampering with an official proceeding. The agents were convicted of charges arising from the shooting of an unarmed drug smuggler. Their sentences were increased because they were found guilty of committing a crime with a firearm.

Judge E. Grady Jolly noted, “For the most part, the trial of this case was about credibility, and although the jury could have gone either way, it chose not to believe the defendants’ version of the crucial events of February 17, 2005."

But Congressman Dana Rohrabacher quipped “The court has sided with the prosecutors who threw the book at the good guys, and the good guys have lost this round.” Republican lawmakers, conservative media personalities and critics of illegal immigration see the case as that of agents acting in self-defense against a dangerous drug smuggler who had illegally entered the U.S.

Ramos and Compean have been in prison 560 days, in solitary confinement. They still can appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. If that fails, President Bush is the only person who could shorten their sentences. The president has shown little interest in the case.