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 PanameƱo, 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.