Wednesday, July 30, 2008

New Oregon license rules dramatically decrease demand

A law passed in February requires Oregon driver's license applicants to present a verifiable Social Security number before their application can be considered. As of July, applicants for driver's licenses were also required to show proof of citizenship.

Since the ID rules went into effect, the number of license applicants asking to take the written knowledge test in Spanish has dramatically declined. David House of the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles says that many of the would-be drivers cannot provide a valid Social Security number or valid proof of citizenship, so they don't apply for a license or a renewal.

There are now 65% fewer Spanish-speaking applicants than there were before the ID verifications went into effect, he noted.

Previous federal immigration investigations have uncovered large-scale, illegal businesses involved in the manufacture or theft of Social Security cards. An Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid of a Portland, Oregon manufacturing company turned up numerous stolen ID's. But the new driver's license requirements demand more than a Social Security card. They also require some sort of official U.S. document like a passport, a birth certificate or immigration papers, which are much less common, and more expensive, in the forgery business.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Illegals commit rampant voter fraud throughout the U.S.

Illegal aliens and immigrants with green cards are committing rampant voter fraud in the United States. Reports of ineligible persons registering to vote have raised concerns about how states verify voter lists using the voter's age, US citizenship, mental competence, and felon status.

Some states, for instance, fail to do any more than ask on their application forms if the registrant is a US citizen. The applicant checks off the "Yes" box, but there is no action to verify the authenticity of that answer. Other states merely ask for a utility bill or a driver's license, neither of which prove citizenship.

Federal data sources have the potential to help state election officials identify registrants who may be convicted felons or non-citizens, but few states communicate with federal agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security's immigration section.

"Thousands of non-citizens are registered to vote in some states, and tens if not hundreds of thousands in total may be present on the voter rolls nationwide," said Hans A. von Spakovsky, a researcher at the Heritage Foundation.

"To keep non-citizens from diluting citizens' votes, immigration and election officials must cooperate far more effectively than they have to date, and state and federal officials must increase their efforts to enforce the laws against non-citizen voting that are already on the books," he added.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Legal immigrant from Mexico seeks recall of Phoenix mayor

Mayor Phil Gordon of Phoenix, Arizona is facing a recall effort lead by a woman who was born in Mexico, came to the U.S. legally and became a citizen. Anna Gaines says illegal aliens are committing crimes in Phoenix, and the mayor is not doing enough to fix the problem.

The group headed by Gaines, a retired teacher, wants tougher immigration enforcement.

The mayor, of course, describes the group as “extremists.” He went on the offensive this spring in criticizing Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's immigration and crime sweeps in two predominantly Hispanic areas of Phoenix. Gordon has asked for a federal investigation of Arpaio for possible civil rights violations.

Gordon was criticized last year for not changing a longstanding policy that ordered police officers to hold off on asking questions about people's citizenship, except for people suspected of committing a serious felony.The policy has since been changed to let officers ask all criminal suspects about their immigration status.

Gaines says the change in the police department policy was made because advocates like her pushed for it.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Chinese mothers seek their own ‘gold medal’ baby with American citizenship

In May 2008, President George W. Bush signed into law The Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008. Chinese mothers are using the law as a means to bring home their own ‘gold medal,’ a baby with American citizenship.

The Act enabled the United States to take over the labor and immigration system of Saipan, the largest island and capital of the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). As a result, employers in Saipan are now allowed to apply for U.S. work visas for immigrant workers under the new act. Also, importantly, babies born in Saipan are now automatically U.S. citizens.

Many Chinese moved quickly to take advantage of the act. Immigration services in big Chinese cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Wuhan have started programs like “Labor Export to Saipan” and “Deliver an American Baby in Saipan.”

Expectant mothers pay anywhere from 140,000 to 240,000 RMB (about $20,000 to $35,000) for the service that allows them to deliver their babies in Saipan.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Women loses husband, two sons to road rage as a result of San Francisco’s sanctuary law

Danielle Bologna's husband and two sons were gunned down a month ago by an illegal alien. Now, she is demanding San Francisco do something about its sanctuary law.

Edwin Ramos, 21, an illegal alien from El Salvador, gunned down Anthony Bologna, and the couple’s two sons, Matthew and Michael, in a road rage incident. The family was returning from a picnic. Ramos has been charged with three counts of murder. Under the city’s sanctuary policy, Ramos had remained in San Francisco despite committing previous crimes.

"Had the city done something, this animal would not have taken my family," Mrs. Bologna said. "The government should have stepped in. They allow these immigrants to come in and how dare they strip our families like this."

Ramos had been convicted of two gang-related felonies while a juvenile and remained in San Francisco because the city’s Juvenile Probation Department did not alert federal authorities. San Francisco's 1989 "City of Refuge" ordinance prohibits city agencies from contacting the feds on immigration matters.

But federal officials also knew about Ramos' immigration status when he was arrested on a gun charge in March. They never however, put an immigration hold on him.

Mrs. Bologna blames the city. "I want justice. I want the people to see: If my family wasn’t safe, what makes you think yours will be?"

Sunday, July 20, 2008

After 31 illegal-alien workers are arrested, Rhode Island probes two firms’ 45 state contracts

Rhode Island’s Department of Administration has launched a review of two contractors whose janitorial workers were swept up in a federal immigration raid on several courthouses. The two companies, Falcon Maintenance Co. and Tri-State Enterprises, have 45 state cleaning contracts between them, including cleaning contracts at the main state office buildings.

Thirty-one employees of the firms were arrested in the sweep of six courthouses on Tuesday. Numerous employees of the two firms failed to show up for work at various state facilities later in the week.

A 32-year-old woman from Guatemala failed to show up for work in the Attorney General’s office on Wednesday. When the Attorney General’s investigators asked immigration officials to check the documents that the woman provided in April for employment, they learned that her Social Security card and “resident alien card” were “evidently fraudulent.”

Friday, July 18, 2008

Owners of 11 Nevada McDonald’s plead guilty to immigration charges

The owners of 11 McDonald’s restaurants in northern Nevada have pleaded guilty to felony immigration charges – specifically providing illegal aliens with false names and fake Social Security numbers so that they could work in the restaurants.

Attorneys for Mack Associates Inc. pleaded guilty on behalf of the franchise to two felony counts, including conspiracy to encourage an alien's unlawful residence and aiding and abetting an alien to remain in the U.S. Under a plea agreement, the franchise will pay $1 million in fines.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had arrested 56 people in Reno, Sparks and Fernley, Nevada last September.

"This case should serve as a reminder to employers that knowingly hiring illegal aliens violates federal law," said Nevada U.S. Attorney Gregory Brower. "Companies and their managers who engage in such conduct are on notice that violations will be prosecuted and that the criminal penalties can be significant."

The company's operation's director Joe Gillespie, 53, of Sparks, pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and abetting an alien. Jimmy Moore, the franchise's former vice president, pleaded guilty to inducing an illegal alien to remain in the U.S. Both face up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines when sentenced by U.S. District Judge James Mahan. Sentencing was set for October.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Immigration sweep nets 42 in Lake Tahoe area

Forty-two illegal aliens were arrested in a sweep by immigration agents recently in the Lake Tahoe Basin in California and Nevada. Half of those detained, 21, were immigration fugitives, and had previously been ordered deported by an immigration judge but refused to comply, said Virginia Kice, spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Six of the detainees had previous criminal convictions.

The sweep took place June 30 and July 1 around the Tahoe area and were part of the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement Fugitive Operations Program.

The majority of those detained during the operation have already been deported to their native countries.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Obama, McCain address La Raza convention; each promises 'immigration reform'

Democratic Presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama said that Latinos are “the critical swing group” in the presidential election. Obama was received like a rock-star Sunday from La Raza (The Race,) the largest Hispanic rights group in the U.S. He promised a new effort to pass an immigration bill during his first year in office.

Janet Murguia, president and chief executive of NCLR, heaped praise on Obama for both his leadership on immigration and his personal outreach to NCLR.

Republican Presidential nominee John McCain addressed the convention on Monday. He was the author of a 2006 bill that was the precursor to last year's amnesty proposal, but now says the government must prove it can secure the borders first as part of any immigration bill. He said his goal is to have border-state governors certify that the U.S.-Mexico boundary is secure before moving to the broader immigration issue.

Several attendees at the La Raza convention said McCain will have a difficult time trying to appeal to both Hispanic voters and conservatives who want to see stricter border enforcement.

Obama said that by embracing the 'enforcement-first' approach, McCain has now in effect 'abandoned his courageous stance' he took to support the 2007 bill.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Congressmen demand accounting from White House over BP agent's death

Thirty-nine congressmen have formally asked President Bush and Attorney General Michael Mukasey whether the U.S. had ever asked Mexico to extradite a suspect in death of a U.S. Border Patrol agent. The suspect has been freed in Mexico. U.S. Justice Department officials have refused to say what steps they had taken to have Jesus Navarro Montes returned to this country.

The Mexican government said Navarro was released in June after the U.S. government failed to issue an arrest warrant, provide evidence or contact Mexican authorities to seek extradition.

Navarro's Hummer struck and killed Border Patrol Agent Luis Aguilar on January 19 as the agent tried to stop suspected drug smugglers by setting spike strips on a road. Navarro was later arrested in Mexico, where a judge released him June 18 after he was cleared of an unrelated migrant smuggling charge.

California Congressman Brian Bilbray, head of the Immigration Reform Caucus, drafted the letter to Bush, specifying concerns over Navarro's release and the Mexican government statement. The lawmakers want a full accounting of the communications between U.S. and Mexican officials.

The letter noted that Mexico "has stated that the U.S. government has not issued an arrest warrant, provided evidence or contacted Mexican authorities regarding extradition either formally or informally." The letter requested "a full report of all activities and correspondence the U.S. government has had with the Mexican government'' in the case.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sleepy Arizona towns hurt as California gangs take over

In Douglas, Arizona, walls are tagged with graffiti, cars are shot up in drive-by shootings. Young men flash gang signs and battle with bricks, sticks, bats and pipes in the local park.

It was once a sleepy smelter town on the Mexican border, but Douglas is being transformed into an urban battlefield by warring street gangs. It is now a patchwork of territories held by the East Side Torrance and the South Side Harbor City, both Los Angeles-area street gangs, as well as lesser home-grown gangs.

Tattooed and wearing colors, the newcomers are part of a scramble by street gangs to make money from tons of illegal drugs pouring over the border into Arizona from Mexico each month, along with tens of thousands of fee-paying illegal immigrants.

Smuggling is big business in southern Arizona. Last year the Border Patrol seized 440 tons of marijuana in a furiously trafficked corridor south of Tucson and arrested more than 370,000 illegal immigrants.

Gang members steal vehicles stateside and drive to Mexico where they collect marijuana loads and groups of fee-paying illegal immigrants from Mexican smugglers, as well as consignments of prescription drugs. They spirit their loads up to the Interstate 10 freeway and on to Tucson, Phoenix and the gang wracked sprawl of southern California several hours west.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

States are tightening requirements, barring illegal aliens from public colleges

States are making it harder for illegal immigrants to attend college, denying in-state tuition benefits or banning undocumented students. In the past two years, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia and Oklahoma have refused in-state tuition benefits to students who entered the USA illegally with their parents but grew up and went to school in the state.

South Carolina this year became the first state to bar undocumented students from all public colleges and universities. North Carolina's community colleges in May ordered its 58 campuses to stop enrolling undocumented students after the state attorney general said admitting them may violate federal law.

Georgia, which barred undocumented students from in-state tuition rates in 2006, enacted laws in May preventing them from receiving state scholarships and certain student loans.

The University of Arkansas this fall will require students to submit Social Security numbers and proof of residency. Arkansas Department of Higher Education Director Jim Purcell warned that students without documentation 'will not be considered as legally enrolled students' when determining an institution's state funding.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Mexicans are being urged to reclaim a piece of Texas by buying foreclosed properties

Texas real estate agents have headed into Mexico to drum up interest in buying cut-price land and property in foreclosure-hit Texas. Thanks to a rising Mexican peso and an economy growing faster than that of the US, Mexico is now seen as a potential source of rich investors.

A 'Texas for Sale' sign and cowgirl-clad models greeted visitors to a recent property fair in Monterrey, Mexico. Hundreds of Mexicans looked over lists of potential investment opportunities.

Foreclosures in Texas have risen by 29 per cent in a year with one in every 274 households now going through the process. Meanwhile, the peso has risen by 5.9 per cent against the dollar since the beginning of the year.

The United States annexed Texas in 1845 after Texans gained independence from Mexico nine years earlier following the Battle of the Alamo. A three-year war between the two countries resulted in Mexico losing about half its territory - including what is now Arizona, Nevada and California - to the United States.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Owner, supervisors of Houston factory charged with hiring illegal workers

A week after immigration agents detained 170 workers at Action Rags USA in Houston, Texas, the owner and four supervisors have been charged with knowingly hiring and employing illegal alien workers. U.S. Attorney Don DeGabrielle said the five not only hired illegal workers, they also knowingly accepted false documents as proof of citizenship.

Those charged include factory owner, Mabarik Hahlon, 45; his partner and uncle, Rasheed Ahmed, 58; manager Cirila Barron, 38; resource manager Valerie Rodriguez, 34; and warehouse supervisor Mayra Herrera-Gutierrez, 32.

Federal immigration agents conducted a major raid June 23 to investigate allegations that the company was employing illegal immigrants. The raid involved 150 to 200 agents.

The sign at Action Rags includes the phrase ropa usada, Spanish for "used clothing." A number of companies in Houston buy and sell used clothing, much of which is cut up for use as industrial rags. Action Rags U.S.A.'s Web site describes the company as a leading grader and exporter of used clothing. "We specialize in selling used clothes to worldwide markets" including Africa, South America and Asia, according to the Web site.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Tiny Pennsylvania town puts McCain on the spot on immigration

At a McCain town hall meeting Monday in Pipersville, Pa., (population 6,336) one woman had a pointed question for Republican presidential nominee John McCain. "Why, as an American, do I have to push a button to speak English or hear English?" The audience, a sea of mostly white faces, erupted in deafening applause.

"I think you struck a nerve," replied McCain. It’s a delicate issue for McCain, who had introduced the 2007 amnesty bill in the U.S. Senate, where it stopped.

McCain acknowledged that he now understands the importance of securing the country's borders first. English, he said, must be learned by anyone wanting to become a citizen. "I understand your frustration," he said.

But the Pennsylvania Town Hall encounter followed by just two days presentations that McCain and Democratic nominee Barack Obama made before a national association of elected Latino officials. At that meeting, each of the nominees had pledged that reform of immigration law would be their top priority in office.