Archive for the ‘immigration’ Category

Department of Homeland Security Pick Will Tell a Lot

November 11, 2008

The background of President-elect Barack Obama‘s pick to head the Department of Homeland Security will reveal a lot about how his nascent administration views the future of the troubled agency, according to Washington insiders.

“There are any number of excellently qualified candidates,” P.J. Crowley, director of homeland security at the Center for American Progress, told United Press International. “It will be interesting to see the selection. The skill set will tell us a lot about the future direction [of the department] in an Obama administration.”

Mr. Crowley was a senior national security official under President Clinton, and John Podesta, the head of CAP, is co-chairman of Mr. Obama’s transition team.

Mr. Crowley and other security experts said in interviews that the Homeland Security Department, with the second-largest work force in the federal government, has responsibilities in areas of potentially enormous political significance for the new government – counterterrorism, disaster recovery and immigration.

“That is why the skill set is interesting … you can compare it to the challenges in these … diverse areas,” said Mr. Crowley.

“How do you lead an agency that is still searching for a common identity?” asked Mr. Crowley, adding that the department’s agenda was “still a work in progress.”

By Shaun Waterman, UPI

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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.

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Blogger outreach boosts McCain

March 31, 2008

By Stephen Dinan
The Washington Times
March 31, 2008

Even as talk radio was brutalizing Sen. John McCain in the Republican presidential primaries, conservative bloggers reached a respectful truce with the Arizona senator over touchy issues and gave him what the campaign called a “tremendous positive psychological” boost.
The main reason: Mr. McCain’s blogger outreach, the most extensive of any presidential campaign in either party, helped keep him afloat in the dark days last summer when the major press was sizing up his campaign grave. During those times, Mr. McCain got attention and digital ink from the bloggers he invited to biweekly conference calls, and got a chance to talk policy.
“During the unpleasantness, whenever Senator McCain put himself in front of reporters, the question was always, ‘How much did you raise today, when are you dropping out,’ ” said Patrick Hynes, a conservative blogger who Mr. McCain hired in 2006. “And then we’d put him on the phone with bloggers, and they’d want to talk about Iraq, and pork and chasing down al Qaeda.”
For the campaign, it came down to deploying the campaign’s best asset — Mr. McCain himself — in a forum where he can excel.
Mr. Hynes said the back-and-forth with bloggers took “a great deal of sting out of the criticisms” over immigration, Mr. McCain’s push for campaign-finance changes and other areas where conservatives have registered their discontent with the senator, who has secured enough delegates to win the Republican Party’s presidential nomination.

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Back From Near Death Again: Cinderella McCain

March 6, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
March 6, 2008

Encyclopedias define “cinderella” as one who unexpectedly achieves recognition or success after a period of obscurity and neglect.

Mr. McCain went to the United States Naval Academy and served as a naval aviator — but he was widely known for his rebel ways.  He was almost killed flying jets even before he went to Vietnam.

While flying combat missions from an aircraft carrier, McCain was shot down over Hanoi.  He landed in the water where his communist foes fished him out and beat him.  They took him to the infamous “Hanoi Hilton.”

He was now a Prisoner of War (POW) with severe injuries.

It is difficult to imagine a more unlikely fantasy that a Prisoner of War – tortured, alone, largely forgotten by the bulk of his countrymen, and lost in an un popular war – returning years later to win his party’s nomination for President of the United States.
 In a broadcast from North Vietnam, October 27, Radio Hanoi reported that an American pilot identified as Lieutenant Commander John Sydney McCain, U.S.N., was rescued from Truc Bac Lake near Hanoi, October 26, after parachuting from his crippled aircraft, which had been hit by North Vietnamese ground fire. The broadcast said that McCain had been pulled from the water by North Vietnamese soldiers, treated for injuries and jailed. This photo shows McCain in the water.

Add to that the fact that last summer Senator McCain’s campaign for the nation’s highest office was on its knees financially and morale in his inept staff was so low that the Senator had to entirely retool his campaign.

Rush Limbaugh hated Senator McCain and told the greater world so. And the Governor of Arkansas attacked him from the right.

Even the Democrats said they’d rather run against Senator McCain than Mitt Romney or the others.

If that is not enough, many Republican Party stalwarts, seeing Senator McCain dealing with and sponsoring bills with the likes of hated liberal Senators Kennedy and Feingold, claimed they’d rather vote Democrat or not at all.

And his wife had a well know drug addiction – now healed.

Finally (though there are more reasons Senator McCain is a cinderella), conservatives said McCain was flat wrong on immigration.

Yesterday, the President of the United States, George W. Bush, endorsed the McCain run for the presidency – meeting candidate McCain at the ceremonial entrance to the White House normally reserved for, well, presidents and heads of state.

Don’t count John McCain out.

A Vietnamese veteran of the war in Southeast Asia said to me, “He’s lucky to be alive. But what he has done since the end of his POW days is pure McCain.”

Vietnam Deportation Agreement with U.S. Will Separate Family

February 3, 2008
Anh Le’s secret started to unravel last month, shortly after the U.S. and Vietnam announced a repatriation agreement that was nearly a decade in the making.

In 2002, two years after Le arrived in Houston on a green card from Vietnam, she stole sandwiches and soda pop from a Houston store. She said her children were hungry, and she could not afford food. Three years later, she was convicted of taking two purses and a hat and spent two days in Harris County jail.

For those misdemeanor crimes, Le is now in deportation proceedings, facing separation from her husband and two grown children, who are all legal permanent residents in Houston. Le has kept her pending deportation a secret from most of her friends and extended family, even from her mother, who, like Le, immigrated legally from Vietnam.

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Key Setbacks Dim Luster of Democrats’ Year

December 20, 2007

 By Jonathan Weisman and Paul Kane
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, December 20, 2007; Page A01

The first Democratic-led Congress in a dozen years limped out of Washington last night with a lengthy list of accomplishments, from the first increase in fuel-efficiency standards in a generation to the first minimum-wage hike in a decade.

But Democrats’ failure to address the central issues that swept them to power left even the most partisan of them dissatisfied and Congress mired at a historic low in public esteem.

Handed control of Congress last year after making promises to end the war in Iraq, restore fiscal discipline in Washington and check President Bush’s powers, Democrats instead closed the first session of the 110th Congress yesterday with House votes that sent Bush $70 billion in war funding, with no strings attached, and a $50 billion alternative-minimum-tax measure that shattered their pledge not to add to the federal budget deficit.

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The dark side of illegal immigration

December 3, 2007

Wichita, Kansas, Nov. 28, 2007

While the nation focuses on illegal immigration, there is a whole set of criminals preying and profiting off the fear of illegal immigrants. In a special investigation, KSN exposes the dark underground of human slavery, extortion and trafficking.

The story begins at an apartment in Houston, TX, where an alleged victim was told he could go and find work. We’ll call him Rico to protect his identity.

“When we arrived at the apartment, I realized there was something wrong. A lot of people were being held against their will. Then there was an individual with a handgun and he was telling folks that they could not go outside and leave.”

Rico says he was loaded into a van and brought to Wichita, where he was forced to work all day washing dishes in the kitchen of a Chinese restaurant. He was never paid.

“I was standing for 14 hours a day and we could not take breaks, we had to keep working.”

At night, Rico claims he and others were locked in a nearby apartment until the next morning when they were taken back to work. Then one morning, Rico and another man decided to make a run for it.

Rico says he has been working with federal authorities on the case, but no government official would comment to KSN.

Rico’s story however, comes on the heels of another case – the first ever prosecuted in Kansas involving the kidnap and smuggling of illegal immigrants.

Two Mexican nationals were arrested last January after the mini-van they were driving to a flat tire west of Hutchinson on Highway 50.

Deputy Shawn McClay responded to the call, “The tow truck company and myself opened up the back compartment of the van to see if we could find the tool and the spare tire to help them and change it. And it was at that time as soon as we opened it we saw the 11 Hispanics in the back.”

None of them were wearing shoes. Odd, thought Deputy McClay who knew at the very least he had a van of illegal immigrants.

“Now that I look back on it, some of them kind of seemed relieved. But at the time I didn’t know why.”

McClay’s instinct would prove right. When immigration officials questioned the group, they discovered the immigrants were hostages. A spokesperson says the captors deprived the group of their shoes, so they wouldn’t run away.

The Justice Department says the illegal immigrants were abducted from a stash house in Phoenix, Arizona. They were then held at gunpoint and then forced to call family members for payments. They’re not alone – nationwide these crimes are on the rise.

So why is this happening? Law enforcement officials say after September 11th, increased border patrols made human smuggling big business. Other crimes associated with smuggling have increased as well.

Rico says once in Wichita he learned his captors paid for him, “he said, no you owe me money I had to pay for you guys.”

Even though Rico managed to escape, he was left homeless, with no money and hundreds of miles from anyone he knew. He says he’s met others in Wichita who have experienced the same thing he has.

They don’t say anything, they don’t do anything they’re afraid because of the fear of being deported, and they are scared.”

But Rico says nothing’s scarier than what he has experienced, so he shared his story hoping authorities will put a stop to it.

Russia: A boom that depends on migrant workers

October 24, 2007

By Celestine Bohlen
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….

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Human Smugglers Torturing Mexicans

October 21, 2007

PHOENIX (AP) —  Police raided a drop house for illegal immigrants and discovered several, including a pregnant woman, whose handlers had beaten and tortured them, authorities said.

Police took 54 people into custody after the raid Friday, including four children and seven suspected smugglers.

One man’s head had been wrapped in a plastic bag and submerged in a waste-filled toilet, said Maricopa County sheriff’s spokesman Capt. Paul Chagolla. The man’s pregnant wife was severely beaten and will probably lose her baby, he said.

Deputies are investigating reports that smugglers held at least five other immigrants at gunpoint and demanded more money.

Women and children were screaming inside the home when deputies entered, Chagolla said. There was little food and no furniture inside, he said.

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America Going Soft?

September 15, 2007

By John E. Carey
September 15, 2007 

Did anybody notice that talking heads and politicians are now wearing the soft pastel necktie regularly? I remember when dark blue with stripes was the order of the day. England’s famed regimental ties were considered “classy” and they had meaning.

I have a little problem with pink, yellow and white ties.

Those pastel ties, believe it or not, remind me of the softening of America. We have nearly thrown in the towel in Iraq, a liberal blog accused the leader of the war effort of “betrayal,” and our movie stars (except for Russell Crowe and he’s an Aussie) are slim, lightweight and not overpoweringly manly — not that there is anything wrong with that.

John Wayne is dead — and in many sectors the one-time American icon is the butt of jokes.

The rise of women in America, a very good thing, has also prompted a kind of erosion into what a man is considered to be.

As the summer closes I am struck by two major news stories. First, we discovered this year that much of what you buy at WalMart, Target and Sears is made in China — and the standards and business practices of China are vastly different from our own. And two: former Chairman of the Federal Reserve said our nation gave up on standards like fiscal constraint which had served us well for decades.

You don’t hear many people talk about “standards” and “principles” very much and maybe it takes an octogenarian like Mr. Greenspan to remind us who we are and who we might be — with a little more restraint, wisdom and a dash of principles.

Sometimes the mantra of tolerance seems on the slipper slope to “anything goes.”

You don’t hear about hard work much either. Even President Bush says we need our immigrants (and the strong backs of people in other countries) to do the jobs “Americans” refuse to do.

A friend of mine in China commented at the height of the food and product safety scandals in China that the U.S. has outsourced and basically given away much of the manufacturing might that made America a superpower. His question is, “Would the United States have given much of its manufacturing to the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War?”

This election season is a good time to talk about standards, principles and the big picture of our world view. I haven’t seen a lot of that except from newt Gingrich and he isn’t running. But there is still time and Americans are a hopeful people.

U.S. economy weakens further

Greenspan: Republicans Tossed Out Their Principles

Newt Gingrich: America Needs a New Debate