Archive for the ‘immigrants’ Category

Refugee, Immigrant, U.S. Senator To Retire

December 2, 2008

This man is one of our true favorites at Peace and Freedom. A former refugee, immigrant and a true man of strength and character, he has seved his nation and mankind in coutless ways.  Vietnamese immigrants and those locked in Communist jails were among those he stood up for…. He is truly “the embodiment of the American Dream.” 

****

S. Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida, who has struggled to boost his approval ratings because of close ties to President George W. Bush, announced Tuesday he will not seek a second term in 2010.

His seat was widely seen as vulnerable in two years, but Martinez, a Republican, rejected suggestions he faced difficult re-election prospects in a state won last month by Democrat Barack Obama.

“I’ve faced much tougher obstacles in my life,” Martinez said. “My decision is not based on re-election prospects, but on what on what I want to do with the next eight years of my life.”

By BRENDAN FARRINGTON and MARK WANGRIN, Associated Press Writers

Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., speaks at the Republican National ... 
Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., speaks at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., Sept. 4, 2008. Martinez , who has struggled to boost his approval rating since taking office, will not seek a second term in 2010, a state Republican party official said Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2008.(AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

Martinez, 62, was elected in 2004 after serving as the U.S. secretary for Housing and Urban Development during the Bush administration. He served as general chairman of the Republican National Committee for 10 months, resigning in October 2007.

Martinez was born in Cuba. At the age of 15, he fled to America as part of a Catholic humanitarian effort called Operation Pedro Pan. Catholic charitable groups provided Martinez, who was alone and spoke virtually no English, a temporary home at two youth facilities. He then lived with two foster families, with whom he remains close. He was reunited with his family in Orlando in 1966.

In appointing Martinez in 2001, Bush said he was “the embodiment of the American Dream.”

Advertisements

Loss of Tax Revenue, Plus More Students Makes For Ugly School Prognosis

November 10, 2008

Schools all over Ameroca are discovering that the global economic crisis means smaller tax revenues to spend on schools.  Plus many areas have more new students, many of them immigrants needing additional help and special teachers.  Here is a report from two big counties near washington DC….

By Michael Alison Chandler and Daniel de Vise
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, November 10, 2008; 4:13 PM

Leaders of the region’s two largest school systems outlined today their grimmest scenarios to date for how looming budget shortfalls could play out in classrooms, with Fairfax County schools facing an average increase of 2 1/2 students per class and Montgomery County forced to renegotiate teacher pay increases or cut positions.

Fairfax Superintendent Jack D. Dale sketched a proposal to close a $220 million projected shortfall for the fiscal year that begins in July by eliminating summer school, except for certain special education students, and cutting more than 1,000 positions, including custodians, office workers and teachers.

The $2.2 billion spending plan would be only slightly smaller than the current budget but would absorb about $50 million in lost state revenue and $46 million in added expenses because of projected enrollment increases. Officials expect the 169,000-student system, the region’s largest, to grow to 174,000. The proposal assumes no increase in Fairfax County’s share of the budget.

“It will take decades to recover” from such cuts, Dale said. “We hope this is the worst-case scenario.” The superintendent will present the proposal Friday to the Board of Supervisors, which funds nearly three-quarters of the school system’s budget.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/10
/AR2008111002066.html?hpid=topnews

President Elect Obama and “Survivor” McCain: A Personal Reflection

November 5, 2008

I needed a taxi in Virgina’s election night darkness and rain, and was delighted to meet an Ethiopian-American driver.  He told me his name, translated from Amarigna, meant “Strength.”  His Christian or baptismal name is John — the same as my name.

I told the driver that I had been in meetings all afternoon and well past dark and that I didn’t know anything about the election returns.  He said his car radio was dead — and then fished an old transister radio from his pocket and gleefully showed me how he was keeping involved in the historic election.

“Strength” said he had voted for the first time yesterday and that “America is such a wonderful place….”  He said in Ethiopia, Russia, China and many other lands there are all sorts of elections but that “ruling leaders know the outcome before the vote….”

I also heard from many John McCain supporters, including my friends who lived with him inside the Hanoi Hilton and some of McCain’s Naval Academy classmates.  One congratulated me and said, “John has always served with grace and aplomb and courage — and conducted himself as a gentleman.  You saw this and reported it when all other media treated him badly….”

I call McCain “Survivor” because of his near-death experience during the great fire that killed 134 aboard USS Forrestal and for his strength and determination inside the Hanoi Hilton.  My own wife suffered some of the same torture that McCain endured so we count him as a brother and fellow “Survivor.”

The campaign was exciting and now the real work begins.  We wish President Elect Obama and all who will assit him the best….We seek now unity and the national good….

John McCain's capture

Above: This Oct. 26, 1967, photo from the Library of Congress shows Navy fighter pilot John McCain, center, being captured by Vietnamese civilians in Truc Bach Lake near Hanoi.

Dirty Tricks That Confound Voters

November 3, 2008

In the hours before Election Day, as inevitable as winter, comes an onslaught of dirty tricks — confusing e-mails, disturbing phone calls and insinuating fliers left on doorsteps during the night.

By Deborah Hastings
Associated Press

The intent, almost always, is to keep folks from voting or to confuse them, usually through intimidation or misinformation. But in this presidential race, in which a black man leads most polls, some of the deceit has a decidedly racist bent.

Complaints have surfaced in predominantly African-American neighborhoods of Philadelphia where fliers have circulated, warning voters they could be arrested at the polls if they had unpaid parking tickets or if they had criminal convictions.
Over the weekend in Virginia, bogus fliers with an authentic-looking commonwealth seal said fears of high voter turnout had prompted election officials to hold two elections — one on Tuesday for Republicans and another on Wednesday for Democrats.
In New Mexico, two Hispanic women filed a lawsuit last week claiming they were harassed by a private investigator working for a Republican lawyer who came to their homes and threatened to call immigration authorities, even though they are U.S. citizens.
“He was questioning her status, saying that he needed to see her papers and documents to show that she was a U.S. citizen and was a legitimate voter,” said Guadalupe Bojorquez, speaking on behalf of her mother, Dora Escobedo, a 67-year-old Albuquerque resident who speaks only Spanish. “He totally, totally scared the heck out of her.”

Read the rest:
http://news.aol.com/elections/article/some-voters-hit-with-
dirty-tricks/235328?icid=100214839x1212694777x1200806876

Immigration to Britain ‘will be capped’

October 18, 2008

Many in the United States — even many of my immigrant friends — believe immigration to the U.S. is out of control.  But many Brit lawmakers believe they can and must control and manage immigration….

By Mattthew Moore
Telegraph (UK)
.
Phil Woolas, the new immigration minister, said that there would be a sharp reduction in the number of foreigners allowed to stay in the country.

He appeared to announce a reversal in Labour policy by backing plans to set a strict upper limit on immigration.

“This Government isn’t going to allow the population to go up to 70 million,” Mr Woolas said in an interview.

“There has to be a balance between the number of people coming in and the number of people leaving.”

He added: “If people are being made unemployed, the question of immigration becomes extremely thorny. It’s been too easy to get into this country in the past and it’s going to get harder.”

Mr Woolas also warned that businesses risked fuelling racial resentment if they relied on cheap foreign labour.

“Britain has to get working again. The easiest thing for an employer to do is to employ an immigrant. We need to help them to change that,” he said.

“In times of economic difficulties, racial stereotyping becomes stronger but also if you’ve got skills shortages you should, as a government, attempt to fill those skills shortages with your indigenous population.”

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the population grew by nearly 2 million people to 60,975,000 between 2001 and 2007.

Read the rest:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/
politics/3219776/Immigration-to-Britain-
will-be-capped.html

Arrests made in Chinese spying cases

February 12, 2008
By LARA JAKES JORDAN, Associated Press Writer 

WASHINGTON – A Defense Department analyst and a former engineer for Boeing Co. were accused Monday in separate spy cases with helping deliver military secrets to the Chinese government, the Justice Department said.

Additionally, two immigrants from China and Taiwan accused of working with the defense analyst were arrested after an FBI raid Monday morning on a New Orleans home where one of them lived.

The two cases — based in Alexandria, Va., and Los Angeles — have no connection, and investigators said it was merely a coincidence that charges would be brought against both on the same day.

The arrests mark China’s latest attempts to gain top secret information about U.S. military….

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080212/ap_on_
go_ca_st_pe/chinese_spies;_ylt=AqQ2DwgA8C59cJJJgMELX72s0NUE

Citizenship on hold for many immigrants

February 9, 2008
By Suzanne Gamboa, Associated Press

WASHINGTON – President Bush is asking Congress to spend money to help businesses root out illegal workers but he did not request additional funds to help legal immigrants become American citizens more quickly.

In his budget proposal issued this week, Bush asked for $100 million to expand E-Verify, the system employers use to check whether they are hiring documented workers. He didn’t ask Congress to allocate money to chip away at millions of citizenship and other immigration applications that flooded the government last summer, before an increase in the agency’s filing fees.

Instead, Citizenship and Immigration Services will rely on $468 million in fees to pay for reducing the backlog by 2010. Those funds are a portion of the total fees that came in with the applications this summer.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said….

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080209/ap_on_go_
pr_wh/immigration_backlogs;_ylt=Av2WSou
AB3Plepg8RdZvctKs0NUE

France: Tireless Sarkozy Promises the Moon

January 26, 2008

By Andrew Borowiec
The Washington Times
January 26, 2008

PARIS — A visiting Arab potentate compared him to a “racehorse that has to be reined in” but President Nicolas Sarkozy continues galloping through issues, plans and projects showered on France with unprecedented profusion.
His opponents say his five-year mandate might not be enough to carry out his ideas intended to change France.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080126/FOREIGN/257524037/1003

Russia: A boom that depends on migrant workers

October 24, 2007

By Celestine Bohlen
Bloomberg
October 24, 2007

KHOTKOVO, Russia: Slapping a coat of paint on the pedestal of a bust of Lenin in a provincial Russian town may not be much of a job, but Kuram, 49, says it beats making the equivalent of $16 a month back home in Uzbekistan.

“If things were better there, I wouldn’t be here,” said the tractor driver, at work in Khotkovo, 60 kilometers, or about 40 miles, northeast of Moscow. He declined to give his last name for fear of running afoul of the Russian immigration authorities.

Russia’s booming economy is luring more and more people like Kuram, who are willing to take jobs its own citizens can’t or won’t do. The country’s increasingly capitalistic society is creating greater wealth and aspirations, forcing Russia to confront a problem more familiar in the West: integrating foreign workers who often face discrimination and harassment.

A shrinking work force complicates the situation….

Read the rest:
http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/10/23/
europe/letter.php?WT.mc_id=rssfrontpage

Chistopher Columbus: World’s Finest Navigator (and Fundraiser)

October 8, 2007

By John E. Carey
October 8, 2008

First we salute Christopher Columbus, a wise mariner and colonizer. Mostly we think of him as a great navigator but let’s not forget that he also had to raise his own money for his adventures by “pitching” his plans around Europe. On May 1, 1486, Columbus laid out his plans before Queen Isabella, of Spain, who funded the project. Columbus then built, manned and supplied a three ship unit.

Christopher Columbus

Portrait by Alejo Fernández, painted between 1505 and 1536. Photo by historian Manuel Rosa.

Christopher Columbus faced immense challenges.  His critics said the earth was flat and he would fall off.  Few people had any idea how large the earth was or the distances between unexplored places.  And finally, Chistopher Columbus had no accurate timepiece. Estimating longitude depends on accurate time measurement. No reliable chronometer existed in the 14th and 15th centuries. Time was kept on board ship by the use of sand filled hour glasses which had to be watched and turned hourly.  

As a former Naval Officer who had to raise money, give some “pitches” and navigate in my own life, at sea and ashore, I have the deepest admiration for Christopher Columbus and his tenacity.

Pretty cool guy.

Notes from the shop

My wife and I run a small business — but she does all the work. I admit it!

I try to sit quietly at the computer doing research and cranking out newspaper articles.

And I also tell stories to people purely for the entertainment and fellowship (and I don’t mean just men: no offense intended to the women out there!).

Today I told stories about Columbus.

One customer today was born in Bolivia and I told him he might not be here if not for Chris Columbus. I told him he has two ties to Columbus: his life in the Americas and his Spanish language.  The Bolivian man was impressed that Columbus found this land but he also convinced a  Spanish Queen to fund the quest!

Another customer, who is a 49 year old mailman who walks five miles every day, was born in Brazil. He thought Columbus did an incredible job at navigation and said, “Whenever I get a new route I need a map. Columbus followed the stars and his dream.”

A woman born in Thailand added that the key to life is hope, your dream and determination. She thought Columbus would say that if he lived today.

Like a lot of Asian-Americans she spent time at sea as a refugee.

One customer, named Shaka, told me he is named for the greatest warrior of all time: Shaka who united the  Zulu nation in Africa. He said Shaka is viewed and respected for his military adeptness like Attila the Hun or Alexander the Great.  He said that Columbus was just as important as Shaka and maybe more so because Columbus had no idea what he would find or quite how he would find it.  In fact, Columbus was searching for India (that is why Native Americans have been referred to as “Indians”).

I told two day laborers born in Guatamala that Columbus probably landed closer to what is today Guatamala than say New York! Their response: “We don’t know much because all we do is work.”

All we do is work: a common thread among many of first generation American immigrants.

Finally, my own wife escaped Vietnam with the “Boat People” after the fall of Saigon in 1975.   She has no love of the sea’s vastness and perils.

About Columbus she said, “Don’t even think about it. He has to make that trip without me in the crew.”

Read more about Columbus:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Columbus#Funding_campaign