Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Juan Sebastian Gomez' Parents Deported

Previously Posted by NILC:

Posted on Wed, Oct. 31, 2007
Undocumented Gomez brothers' parents deported
Miami Herald

Brothers Juan and Alex Gomez bid wrenching goodbyes to their parents and grandmother Tuesday afternoon at Miami International Airport as the three were deported to their native Colombia.
The family was ordered deported in July, but a passionate lobbying campaign by Juan's high school classmates garnered the backing of several South Florida lawmakers, who helped him and his brother get a temporary stay of deportation.

For the brothers' parents, Julio and Liliana, and 85-year-old grandmother Carmen, time ran out Tuesday.

''I'm feeling such a tremendous pain, because I don't know what's going to happen to us,'' said Liliana Gomez, 43, as she wept in the check-in line. ``I don't know when I'm going to see my sons again.''

Juan, 18, and Alex, 19, were granted an additional reprieve. Rep. Lincoln Díaz-Balart, R-Miami, filed a private bill in Congress that, if passed, would allow the brothers to remain in the United States. They may be allowed to stay until the bill is taken up by Congress, sometime by early 2009.

Juan -- an outgoing and popular Killian High School honors graduate now attending Miami Dade College Honors College -- was all but mute at the airport, with only a ''no comment'' for the crush of reporters. He offered a few tearful words for his family.

''I love you,'' he said to his father in English as his parents headed to the airport security line.

The family came to South Florida on a six-month tourist visa in 1991, when the brothers were toddlers. They stayed and built a small catering company. They eventually filed an asylum petition that was denied more than a decade later, leading to their deportation order in 2003.

After they were detained by immigration officials on July 25, their lawyers filed a motion to reopen their asylum case, saying that several family members had been killed in Colombia's civil war since they were ordered deported. The effort failed.

With their parents gone, Juan and Alex, also a student at MDC, are looking for work to support themselves while they continue going to school, said their lawyer Cheryl Little, of the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center.

''This is literally tearing a family apart,'' Little said. ``It's so un-American.''

Those who favor stopping illegal immigration disagree.

''If the parents think it's important they should have children with them, their kids should go home with them,'' said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington think tank. ``Illegal immigrants are moral actors. They're grown-ups, and we're treating them like they're children in this debate. It's not like they didn't decide to come here.''

The family will go first to Bogotá, then to their native town of Pereira in western Colombia.

''I have so much pain but also much hope,'' said Julio Gomez, 51. ``Our sons will keep fighting, not just for them but for the thousands of kids who have the same problem.''

A few hours after the family said goodbye, dozens of the brothers' classmates at Miami Dade College's downtown campus held a rally to protest the recent failure of the DREAM Act, a bill aimed at allowing undocumented students such as the Gomezes the opportunity to apply for citizenship after two years of college or military service.

The legislation died last week after the Senate refused to take it up for debate.

''The DREAM Act is important because thousands of children who have lived here most of their lives are being deported, and families like Juan Gomez's are being destroyed,'' said Felipe Matos, president of MDC's Wolfson Campus Student Government Association. ``We're not going to give up.''


How do you pretend you are for something, but inside you know you are faking? Perhaps a number of poltiicians (esp. democrats) are doing this now that immigration has become such a hot potato.

I wonder how all this will influence the 2008 presidential election.


The GOP’s deep internal divisions over how to fix the problem also have contributed to the congressional stalemate.
Local votes could be immigration kingpin
By: Gebe Martinez
Oct 30, 2007 06:52 PM EST

...In Virginia, three-fourths of voters surveyed recently by The Washington Post said the immigration issue would be important in their votes for the state legislature. A year ago, the issue ranked near the bottom of state voters’ concerns.

But many Democrats have yet to be convinced immigration is the third rail of politics, despite that pronouncement by House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel of Illinois.

...“It’s clear that this is the weapon of choice for Republicans right now. They have nothing else going,” said Chris Dorval, a Democratic activist who has pulled together campaign professionals to study the impact of the immigration issue on the elections. His group found that, in 2006, candidates who specifically focused on immigration usually lost.

...Last week, they drove the defeat of the bipartisan Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors, or DREAM, Act, which would have allowed children of illegal immigrants who entered the United States before age 16 and lived here at least five years to gain conditional legal status and eventual citizenship if they were to attend college or serve in military for at least two years.

And in playing to the conservative base — while ignoring the party’s business community, which favored a comprehensive immigration plan — the GOP presidential primary race has become a wrestling match over who can throw down illegal immigrants faster. By doing so, they have written off the minority vote that is critical to winning the presidency.

“They are playing the game they are in right now, which is to win the primaries,” Autry said of the Republican presidential candidates. “I don’t think they are thinking one iota about the general election right now.”

Meanwhile, the Democrats — more specifically, Emanuel and House Democratic leaders — have run away from the immigration debate but have not escaped voters’ demands that the federal government do something about it. Sounding like they want to crack down on illegal immigration, but doing nothing about it, may be worse, Dorval conceded.

The more Democrats “keep kicking the can down the road and pretend they hate [illegal] immigrants, too, the worse it’s going to get,” Dorval said. “People are very smart, and they are tired of the issue...”

Debate on Immigration in the U.K.

An editorial in today's London Independent describes the current anti-immigration debate in the U.K. It sounds similar to what is happening in the U.S.

One comment:

"In the public debate on this subject, there always seems to be a strong assumption that immigration is something to be feared. Not only is that a slur on the character of the vast majority of immigrants"

The editorial says its hypocritical for the UK to complain about immigrants when the economy has profited so much from them. Isn't that what has happened here?

The mob mentality that is taking over is strange, especially when editorials like this and the one from the NY Times on illegality keep appearing.

It reminds me of when in the middle ages the Jews were blamed for the outbreak of the plague - and many were killed or banished from cities.

This rabid emotion that shows on the face of Lou Dobbs and his followers seems like a plague. And yes its very contagious. Could it be happening again and we are sending the blame the wrong way?

Leading article: The stench of hypocrisy
Published: 31 October 2007
London Independent

An unseemly anger against immigrants seems to be boiling over in the country. A speech by Tory leader David Cameron calling for a cap on migrant numbers has been given a warm reception. An underestimation by ministers of the number of foreign workers in Britain has been seized upon with glee by the usual reactionary subjects. And yesterday the Government announced not only that it will retain the restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian immigration, but also that it will plough ahead with its Australian-style points system – a Conservative cast-off – for migrant workers.

In the public debate on this subject, there always seems to be a strong assumption that immigration is something to be feared. Not only is that a slur on the character of the vast majority of immigrants, it flies in the face of the reality of the British economy. It is a debate that demeans us as a nation. Take the blunder over figures. It is certainly embarrassing for ministers that they used the wrong statistics. But consider the implications of the true figures. What they show is that more than half of the new jobs that have been created since 1997 have been filled by immigrants, even more than previously stated. This confirms the crucial role immigration has played in our economic vibrancy. It is this economic contribution that exposes the wrong-headedness of Mr Cameron's protectionist proposal to curb migrant numbers regardless of the demand for their labour. Is this the party that prides itself on its free-market principles?

The Government has been just as hypocritical. While taking credit for strong economic growth, it is dancing to the tune of the anti-immigrant lobby. The restrictions on Bulgaria and Romania fly in the face of the principle of free movement of labour within the EU. Meanwhile, the points system will discriminate unfairly against unskilled workers from outside the EU; one also wonders if ministers are really best-placed to dictate to the marketplace over hiring policies.

One argument from the anti-immigrant lobby that contains an element of truth is that immigration puts a strain on housing and transport. But whose fault is it if the Government has failed to build enough houses and neglected the national transport infrastructure? Ministers should concentrate on how best to absorb the inflow of migrants rather than dreaming up devious ways of keeping down numbers. After all, immigrants have put more than enough into the Exchequer in the form of tax revenues over the years to pay for these improvements. But, sadly, such a rational approach seems a distant prospect while our society insists on regarding immigration as a problem rather than a benefit.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What We Are Afraid Of

David Williford wrote an angry letter to the Houston Chronicle. He is very concerned that the DREAM ACT would have been amnesty. His most ludicrious statement was "that there would be no verification process that they were in fact part of that person's family" actually he framed it as a question, but it still looks like he believes such a prepostorous notion. Was he thinking DNA tests?

His other statement which sounds more mean spirited than the Chronicle did in presenting the GOP as a bunch of non-caring people is that the DREAM ACT would allow any: thug, murderer, criminal, whomever could have waltzed right into the United States

Mr. Williford has not read or doesn't believe any of the results from the numerous studies (a number from independent sources, government agencies etc.) that immigrants have a much lower crime rate.

In the meantime the NYT labels its Letters to the Editor on its "Illegal" editorial as "Unleasing a Storm" -- a number of letters were posted and only one agreed that using the word illegal was inappropriate. I guess that means that they recieved an overwhelming number of negative responses -

When I asked people about all this those that are wanting the border to close say the U.S. is losing everything from the quality of neighborhoods, to safety, to its culture etc. The fear is extraordinary. For those who are having such intense reactions of hatred, I urge them to re-think such extreme responses. Sounds like their terror is about losing the most precious thing they have - or even perhaps their lives.

Its true that immigration changes lots of things. But the real change is what is going on with the earth and the future of our landscape where we'll be seeing many more natural disasters like Katrina and the California wildfires.. Or that so many of our young people are dying in Iraq. It could hit any family except perhaps that of an upper level government official or corporate administrator. Yes, your regular America is at risk. But its not from the guy that crosses the desert in the dark.

Houston Chronicle Letters to the Editor
DREAM editorial's failures
October 30, 2007

THE editorial board's comments regarding the DREAM Act were selected to paint a picture of a mean-spirited Republican Congress but failed to explain how it was that the DREAM Act was nothing more than amnesty. (Please see Monday's editorial "Mean achievement.") Why did the editorial not also mention that there is no deportation once a person is eligible per the act, that a person can bring over an unlimited number of family members, but that there would be no verification process that they were in fact part of that person's family? Or that it would overburden the government to try to prove that persons were in this country before the age of 16, and given the plethora of false identification circulating in the illegal commu-nity, it would be easy enough to show the most minimal of evidence for verification? Since verification would have been almost impossible, any thug, murderer, criminal, whomever could have waltzed right into the United States.


Who Are Those 800,000 Who Watch Lou Dobbs Every Night?

Who are those 800,000 Americans that watch Lou Dobbs everynight? What is going on inside their minds that makes them think his information is accurate?

I watched his show for about 5 minutes last week. He looked so incredibly angry - with a sneer on his face. If so many people are watching him, does that mean they are just as angry - you know this kind of thing is contagious. Like the bug going around that can't be cured... it destroys you from the inside, your mind and your soul.

Sitting in front of the tv, I thought for a moment of another orator who was great at mobilizing the masses. He came into power in the early 1930s in Germany. He was angry too.

Dobbs clarifies his 'idiot' line

The CNN host apologizes for so labeling N.Y.'s governor but says Spitzer's views on driver's licenses for illegals are 'idiotic.'
By Larry McShane, Associated Press
Los Angeles Times
October 29, 2007
NEW YORK -- Lou Dobbs is sorry about calling Gov. Eliot Spitzer an idiot.


As for ripping the New York Democrat as arrogant, spineless and "a spoiled rich-kid brat," the host of CNN's "Lou Dobbs Tonight" stands by those nationally broadcast broadsides.


Dobbs has made Spitzer an almost daily target over his recent plan to ease restrictions on illegal immigrants seeking New York state driver's licenses, mixing vitriol with sarcasm while endlessly lambasting the governor's decision.

The lifelong Republican has taken on politicians of every stripe, as when he blasted the Bush administration over port security. But his nightly diatribe against Spitzer is notable for its intensity and for elevating a state proposal onto the national stage.

"What he's doing is an outrageous, arrogant abuse of power," Dobbs said before a recent show. "He's pandering to a constituency aligned directly against the interests of U.S. and New York state citizens."

Dobbs' ire boiled over Tuesday night when he ripped Spitzer as an idiot -- and then offered an on-air mea culpa.

"I'm the idiot," Dobbs said. "Governor, I apologize for calling you one. Your policies are idiotic. But I have to apologize for calling you an idiot."

Dobbs shouldn't hold his breath waiting for a bouquet of roses (the state flower) and a thank-you note from Spitzer.

"Mr. Dobbs has clearly demonstrated that he is not interested in a real debate on New York's driver's license policy change," said Jennifer Givner, a Spitzer spokeswoman. "He has repeatedly refused to offer balanced coverage of the issue."

Dobbs has turned the first-term governor into a verbal piñata over his September announcement that illegal immigrants with valid foreign passports could obtain a driver's license.

Spitzer has said the plan, set to go into effect in December, would make New York safer by bringing its 1 million illegal immigrants "out of the shadows."

The decision reversed a 2002 order by then-Gov. George Pataki issued after the 9/11 attacks and placed Spitzer directly in Dobbs' cable cross hairs. But Dobbs, while perhaps the highest-profile critic of the plan, is not alone: A state poll showed 72% of New Yorkers opposed Spitzer on this issue, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has also expressed skepticism.

Spitzer, in a speech last week, noted that "despite the hysteria this policy has created in some circles, it is simply a return to the policy we had for most of our state's history."

Dobbs is hardly swayed by the history lesson, complaining that the relaxed license requirement could produce voter fraud and raise security issues. Spitzer has ignored repeated invitations to appear on the program, Dobbs said; the show has turned down guests supporting Spitzer, including former national counter-terrorism advisor Richard A. Clarke, according to Givner.

Dobbs, who has made immigration one of his show's centerpiece issues, was criticized last week in a New York Times editorial for his Spitzer bashing.

"Mr. Dobbs has trained his biggest guns on Mr. Spitzer, branding him with puerile epithets like 'spoiled rich-kid brat' and depicting his policy as some sort of sanctuary program for the 9/11 hijackers," the Times wrote. "Someday there may be a calm debate, in Albany and nationally, about immigrant drivers. With Mr. Dobbs at the megaphone, for now there is only histrionics and outrage."

Dobbs isn't expecting any apology from the Times. And he has few kind words for the newspaper.

"The New York Times is the house organ for Gov. Spitzer," Dobbs said. "They're wrong on this issue, as they are on many others."

Dobbs draws a nightly audience of roughly 800,000, making him second in CNN viewers to Larry King's nightly program. He has no intention of lightening up on Spitzer.

"Why should I?" Dobbs asked. "He's wrong. This issue is of vital importance to the state of New York and the nation. My job as an advocacy journalist is to confront directly abuses of power and wrongheaded politics."

And sure enough, 24 hours after his "idiot" apology, Dobbs was again taking shots at Spitzer.

"This governor is irresponsible," Dobbs told his audience. "It's clear arrogance. . . . He has declared himself to be what people hoped he would not be -- and that is an arrogant tool of special interests.",1,3393180.story


Takoma Park: A City That Goes Against the Tide:

Amazingly there are places in the U.S. that are not crying out that there is an invasion. Congratulations to Takoma Park. As one of their residents stated that the city "is a place where I can feel not just physically safe but politically safe."

I think this whole issue is about fear anyway. People are afraid... and the fear is being focused on undocumented immigrants. There is a lot to be afraid of these days: Our president saying there could be a WWIII, our housing market collapsing, an unknown bug that can't be eradicated.

Perhaps worst of all is that many people agree with the man from Takoma Park, but they are afraid to speak out because they know they are being watched, listened to and their emails are being read.

Takoma Park Stays Immigrant 'Sanctuary'
By Steve Hendrix
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 30, 2007; Page B01

The Takoma Park council voted unanimously last night to reaffirm the town's status as a "sanctuary city" where police and other municipal employees are forbidden from enforcing federal immigration laws, an action members say is meant to set the community pointedly apart from localities roiled by the illegal immigration debate.

It comes two weeks after they turned down a request by the police chief for more flexibility in executing immigration warrants for possible deported felons.
"I hope it comes out very clearly that Takoma Park is going in the opposite direction as some of these other communities," Mayor Kathy Porter said.

In recent months, a handful of local jurisdictions have taken action against illegal immigrants. Prince William County, for example, has authorized its police force to check the immigration status of certain crime suspects and has voted, along with Loudoun County, to curtail government services to illegal immigrants. Herndon has closed a day-laborer center used by many immigrants.

Takoma Park has long been known for its independent stands. In the past, it has declared itself a nuclear-free zone, and earlier this year, the council voted to call for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney. The town also allows residents who are not U.S. citizens to vote in municipal elections.

The flurry of activity on immigration was sparked this year when a Guatemalan man was deported after a traffic stop by Takoma Park police. An immigration warrant for the man showed up on the National Crime Information Center database, and the officer contacted federal authorities, not knowing that the city's sanctuary law prohibited him from doing so.

The law was originally passed in 1985, but immigration warrants were added to the crime database only in 2002.

Takoma Park Police Chief Ronald Ricucci, who took over the department in February, instituted rules to keep his officers in compliance with town law. But he also asked the council to loosen restrictions for one particular category of illegal immigrant: those who were once convicted of violent felonies and were deported after serving their sentences.

To check for such violators, Ricucci asked that his officers be allowed to follow up on the database hits with a call to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). If the warrant was for an ordinary immigration violation, police would go no further and let the person go. If it was for a deported violent felon, they would detain him for federal authorities.

"It's very rare," Ricucci said. "We've only gotten three ICE hits this year out of hundreds of checks we make a day. But I thought it was my duty to bring it up."

Ricucci said he had positive meetings on the issue with council members and the advocacy group CASA of Maryland, whose objections focused on the reported unreliability of the federal crime database and with the importance of not fraying the immigrant community's trust in the police. The request turned into a discussion on Takoma Park's commitment to its sanctuary law.

A series of hearings in recent weeks featured often emotional testimony, frequently from residents who see the law as central to the town's reputation as a hub of social and political activism.

Takoma Park "is a sanctuary for me against what is going on in this country," said resident Jenny Hughes at an Oct. 15 hearing. "I have always been proud of the fact that our city is a place where I can feel not just physically safe but politically safe."

The few residents who spoke in favor of the change said the chief should be granted the powers he sought.

"We want police enforcement. We want law enforcement," Steve Davies said. "But this guy comes in and tries to propose something to protect officers and the public, and you're not agreeing with him."

Monday, October 29, 2007

Cornyn: Dream Act Has Nothing to Do With Helping Children

Senator Cornyn sent me an email today. I can't remember what it was about, but I do know it didn't mention the DREAM ACT. He had a link to his web page so I thought I'd look it up and see if he mentioned anything.

The day the vote went down on the DREAM ACT, Cornyn sent out a press release that really surprised me.

His comment on the DREAM ACT:

"this bill had nothing to do with helping children"

The man must be blind.

Cornyn: Americans Deserve Action On Immigration Reform, Not Political Posturing
Wednesday, October 24, 2007

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, made the following statement today regarding his vote against the motion to proceed to the DREAM Act (S. 2205), which was introduced by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. The motion to proceed, which required 60 votes, was rejected by a bipartisan vote of 52 to 44.

“This was a difficult vote because I have a great deal of sympathy for the plight of children who have no moral culpability for being in this country illegally. Congress must continue seeking reasonable and responsible ways they can complete their education and achieve opportunity.

“Unfortunately, this bill had nothing to do with helping children or addressing the critical issue of immigration reform, and everything to do with political posturing and partisan gamesmanship by the Senate Democratic leadership. This lack of seriousness was demonstrated by the decision to prevent any amendments to even be considered, including one that I sought to introduce which would have added a graduation requirement to the bill. If the goal is to promote education and strengthen our skilled workforce, and the proponents of the Durbin bill were serious about that objective, then one has to wonder why the bill did not even require students to complete a degree.

“Further, the decision to prohibit amendments left open the gaping loopholes that would allow certain categories of criminals, including gang members, to apply, while tying the hands of law enforcement by denying them basic information on the backgrounds of these individuals.

“The reality is that America is facing a critical immigration problem, and the American people deserve bipartisan action from their leaders in government. I stand ready to work with my colleagues in both parties to address this issue in a comprehensive and bipartisan way. I am disappointed, however, that once again today we saw a lack of commitment by some to doing the hard work that the American people deserve.”

Sen. Cornyn serves on the Armed Services, Judiciary and Budget Committees. In addition, he is Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Ethics. He serves as the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee’s Immigration, Border Security and Refugees subcommittee and the Armed Services Committee’s Airland subcommittee.

Showing of Film Made About DREAMERS

Loz Invenzivlez/Our Invincible Youth
Indiannapolis Museum of Art
Saturday November 3 5 pm

for more information:
Kathy Souchet-Moura (765) 617-5224
Felipe Vargas (210) 844-0005



Contact(s): Kathy Souchet-Moura Felipe Vargas
(765) 617-5224 (210) 844-0005


Indianapolis, IN – Local elementary, high school and college students have created a documentary, Loz Invenzivlez/Our Invincible Youth, exploring the educational dreams, realities, and sometimes nightmares of Latin@ children who immigrated to Indianapolis. Loz Invenzivlez/Our Invincible Youth will premiere on November 3, 2007, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Indianapolis Museum of Art as part of the 2007 Spirit & Place Festival. The film explores issues of education, immigration and identity through the eyes of youth, who rarely speak and are seldom heard on such issues important to Indiana and our nation.

More than a varriomentary film debut, the event will engage participants in dialogues led by youth with the goal of raising consciousness and moving the audience from empathy to solidarity. Youth will engage community members in participatory theatre exercises to better understand the significant mutual impact the immigration experience has had on Indianapolis. We all want to know what has been learned. “Like all of us, immigrant youth are just trying to make a good life for themselves,” says IUPUI Professor José Rosario, director of El Puente Project, a partner in the event. “And like all of us, they long to share what that means to them. So it is fitting that we be generous of heart and listen to their story. “

The Loz Invenzivlez/Our Invincible Youth event is free and open to the public. Sponsors include: El Puente Project, FIRME (Film Inquiry Research Media Education), Indianapolis Museum of Art, IU School of Education, IUPUI, National Society of Hispanic MBAs - Indianapolis Chapter and Provocate. Please visit and for additional information.

Who: El Puente Project, FIRME (Film Inquiry Research Media Education), Indianapolis Museum of Art, IU School of Education, IUPUI, National Society of Hispanic MBAs - Indianapolis Chapter and Provocate.

What: Spirit & Place Festival debuts film, Loz Invenzivlez/Our Invincible Youth, created by Local elementary, high school and college students.

When: Saturday, November 3, 2007: 5:00-7:00 p.m.

Where: Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA)
4000 Michigan Rd.
Indianapolis, IN 46208

Why: To raise consciousness and move the audience from empathy to solidarity

Contact: Kathy Souchet-Moura (765) 617-5224
Felipe Vargas (210) 844-0005

Cornyn's Vote Against the DREAM ACT

Maybe John Cornyn was looking ahead at his re-election campaign. Maybe he thought there were enough mean-spirited voters in Texas that he could win their approval if he said no to the DREAM ACT. Who knows what his motivation was, but for sure, it was a sad day for Cornyn and the DREAM ACT kids.

The one person who supported the DREAM ACt (which surprised many of us) was Kay Bailey Hutchisen. I had been told by people who know her that she is the last one to be reasonable in these sort of things. Maybe she is thinking about the Texas Governors race.

Either way, as usual with politics, things are not done because of compassion, they are done to win votes.

Lets hope voters remember Cornyn's lack of emphathy in the next election

Oct. 29, 2007, 5:53AM
Mean achievement
Lawmakers, including Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, slam the door on young immigrants eager to serve.
Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle

It was a dismal day's work in the U.S. Senate Wednesday, when lawmakers, including Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, shot down the DREAM Act. The bill would have given some high-performing children of illegal immigrants a chance for legal status if they had clean records, had spent more than five years in the United States and attended college or served in the military.

Even after the divisive effort to reform U.S. immigration policy, the DREAM Act inspired substantial bipartisan support in Congress. That's because it neither rewarded, or even applied to, immigrants who chose to come here illegally. The measure singled out their children, brought here without their say, who nevertheless aspired to college and military service.

By the time the measure appeared before the Senate last week, it had lost even a provision allowing these youngsters in-state tuition.

Simply, the bill tested lawmakers' ability to rationally address a small, blameless and high-achieving fraction of young people caught up in our chaotic immigration status quo.

The failures in that test glared harshly. There was the Bush White House, which failed to rouse support for comprehensive reform, but rallied just in time to undercut a much narrower bill that was much like its own past proposals.

Attacking the DREAM Act Wednesday morning, the White House Office of Management and Budget stated, "Any resolution of [the students'] status ... must be careful not to provide incentives for recurrence of the illegal conduct that has brought the nation to this point."

The DREAM Act couldn't incentivize any illegal conduct. Eligibility for it would have ended five years before the bill's passage.

The vote also exposed the full depth of U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo's pension for bullying. When immigrant students joined Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., at a news conference Tuesday, Tancredo called on immigration agents to perform a raid. (The demand was ignored, and the students all had legal status, anyway).

And Cornyn — lawmaker in one of the 13 states that have a partial version of the DREAM Act — voted against the national form, which would have given students legal status. His objection? Loopholes such as the fact that DREAM Act students didn't have to graduate from college before receiving legal status.

But this excuse fails the test of plausibility. He could easily have worked behind the scenes to improve the bill, which is what Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison did.

Hutchison, who voted for the DREAM Act, quietly secured a commitment to tailor it later to satisfy Republican concerns. She wanted to ensure the undocumented students could not jump ahead of legal immigrants in processing their green cards.

"[I]t's a situation that's just not of the students' making, and they're the young people we want in our workforce," she explained later in a telephone conference. Hutchison's conduct reflected both a moral center and a practical refusal to waste human capital. It was an exemplar of good leadership that too many of her colleagues failed to equal.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Columbus Did Not Have a Visa

Did Columbus Have His Papers?

Lawrence Downes of the NYT has a great point when he says that the word illegal can be erased as long as you are not an undocumented immigrant. Martha Stewart went to prison - even this hasn't kept her from coming back full force as the nation's home interior design queen.

Let's see who else has been illegal.

Scooter Libby
Richard Nixon
JFK's father (producing and distributing alchoholic beverages during Prohibition)
Jesse James (Brad Pitt makes us forget James was a bad guy)
Oliver North (Iran Contra)
The Bush twins (underage drinking)
Duke of Windsor (for collaborating with the Nazis)
Jim Bowie (Alamo hero - for importing slaves after 1807, when it became illegal)
Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando as the Godfather)
George W. Bush (for DWI)
Senator David Vitter (for visiting prostitutes)
President Lyndon Johnson (for lots of things)
Robert MacNamara (for lying about the Vietnam War)
Dick Cheney (for shooting his friend)
Rudy Guiliani (for being a repeated adulterer)

These are just a few examples. Yet in everycase, the stigma of being "illegal" has been erased. Even Don Vito Corleone looks like a cool guy now.

But why is it that people who committed a misdemeanor by entering this country without permission are permanently given the stiff sentence of being called "illegal?" This is because the word illegal means something more. As Downes states, the word "illegal" is a code word - even if Lou Dobbs denies it.

The translation for this code is:

dark skinned


October 28, 2007
Editorial Observer
What Part of ‘Illegal’ Don’t You Understand?
New York Times

I am a human pileup of illegality. I am an illegal driver and an illegal parker and even an illegal walker, having at various times stretched or broken various laws and regulations that govern those parts of life. The offenses were trivial, and I feel sure I could endure the punishments — penalties and fines — and get on with my life. Nobody would deny me the chance to rehabilitate myself. Look at Martha Stewart, illegal stock trader, and George Steinbrenner, illegal campaign donor, to name two illegals whose crimes exceeded mine.

Good thing I am not an illegal immigrant. There is no way out of that trap. It’s the crime you can’t make amends for. Nothing short of deportation will free you from it, such is the mood of the country today. And that is a problem.

America has a big problem with illegal immigration, but a big part of it stems from the word “illegal.” It pollutes the debate. It blocks solutions. Used dispassionately and technically, there is nothing wrong with it. Used as an irreducible modifier for a large and largely decent group of people, it is badly damaging. And as a code word for racial and ethnic hatred, it is detestable.

“Illegal” is accurate insofar as it describes a person’s immigration status. About 60 percent of the people it applies to entered the country unlawfully. The rest are those who entered legally but did not leave when they were supposed to. The statutory penalties associated with their misdeeds are not insignificant, but neither are they criminal. You get caught, you get sent home.

Since the word modifies not the crime but the whole person, it goes too far. It spreads, like a stain that cannot wash out. It leaves its target diminished as a human, a lifetime member of a presumptive criminal class. People are often surprised to learn that illegal immigrants have rights. Really? Constitutional rights? But aren’t they illegal? Of course they have rights: they have the presumption of innocence and the civil liberties that the Constitution wisely bestows on all people, not just citizens.

Many people object to the alternate word “undocumented” as a politically correct euphemism, and they have a point. Someone who sneaked over the border and faked a Social Security number has little right to say: “Oops, I’m undocumented. I’m sure I have my papers here somewhere.”

But at least “undocumented” — and an even better word, “unauthorized” — contain the possibility of reparation and atonement, and allow for a sensible reaction proportional to the offense. The paralysis in Congress and the country over fixing our immigration laws stems from our inability to get our heads around the wrenching change involved in making an illegal person legal. Think of doing that with a crime, like cocaine dealing or arson. Unthinkable!

So people who want to enact sensible immigration policies to help everybody — to make the roads safer, as Gov. Eliot Spitzer would with his driver’s license plan, or to allow immigrants’ children to go to college or serve in the military — face the inevitable incredulity and outrage. How dare you! They’re illegal.

Meanwhile, out on the edges of the debate — edges that are coming closer to the mainstream every day — bigots pour all their loathing of Spanish-speaking people into the word. Rant about “illegals” — call them congenital criminals, lepers, thieves, unclean — and people will nod and applaud. They will send money to your Web site and heed your calls to deluge lawmakers with phone calls and faxes. Your TV ratings will go way up.

This is not only ugly, it is counterproductive, paralyzing any effort toward immigration reform. Comprehensive legislation in Congress and sensible policies at the state and local level have all been stymied and will be forever, as long as anything positive can be branded as “amnesty for illegals.”

We are stuck with a bogus, deceptive strategy — a 700-mile fence on a 2,000-mile border to stop a fraction of border crossers who are only 60 percent of the problem anyway, and scattershot raids to capture a few thousand members of a group of 12 million.

None of those enforcement policies have a trace of honesty or realism. At least they don’t reward illegals, and that, for now, is all this country wants.

Driving in New York Part II: A License that Marks You as Undocumented

Spitzer has negotiated with the NY legislature and with Michael Chertoff and has come up with a license for undocumented drivers. Only thing is... the license is not like everyone elses. It won't work to board planes or entering government facilities..

The new license plan has not been welcomed by pro-immigration groups: "...advocates for immigrants said the multi-tiered system of identification and the clear marking of one license as “not valid for federal purposes” would stigmatize those who carry it and could potentially make the police suspicious..."

In fact, clerks from two New York counties actually stated that they would report those who could not prove residency. It doesn't sound like such a good deal if applying for a license could bring an ICE agent to one's door.

However, this latest round of drivers license negotiations is no surprise considering our current xenophobic environment.
October 28, 2007
Spitzer Tries New Tack on Immigrant Licenses
New York Times


ALBANY, Oct. 27 — In a major shift, Gov. Eliot Spitzer is backing off his plan to allow illegal immigrants to obtain the same kind of driver’s licenses as other New Yorkers, after weeks of furor over the proposal.

Instead, the governor said on Saturday, illegal immigrants in the state would be able to obtain a license that would permit them to drive but would not be accepted as identification to board planes or cross borders.

Other New Yorkers who can prove that they are legal residents of the United States would be eligible for federally recognized ID cards. These would serve as driver’s licenses and would be accepted as identification for a number of purposes, including boarding planes and entering federal facilities.

The move followed a wave of criticism over the governor’s proposal, with many Democrats warning that Mr. Spitzer had put the state party in political peril. The new plan also reflects the increasingly complicated security requirements that have been developed by the federal government since the Sept. 11 attacks.

The plan will probably do little if anything to quell the controversy over the issue, as people on both sides of the debate in New York expressed concern about it on Saturday.

And the State Legislature, which has expressed concern about any extension of licenses to illegal immigrants, would probably be required to provide the funds for the new system, which is expected to be costly.

And even though Mr. Spitzer announced his new plan at a news conference in Washington with Michael Chertoff, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Mr. Chertoff explicitly did not condone the move by New York and some other states to allow illegal immigrants to apply for any kind of driver’s license.

“I don’t endorse giving licenses to people who are not here legally, but federal law does allow states to make that choice,” Mr. Chertoff said in a statement. “What we can do is insist that licenses that do not meet federal requirements be clearly so labeled. New York has agreed to do that.” Still, he said the plan in total “represents a major step forward for security, both for New York and for the country.”

In an interview, the governor called the new plan “the perfect resolution” and said it was “not at all a shift” from what he had previously laid out.

Under the plan, New Yorkers who are here legally can obtain a federally recognized identification card known as a Real ID. The highly secure identification card is expected to be phased in nationwide by 2013, but would be introduced in New York next year. It could be used for identification to board domestic flights instead of a passport.

In addition, for frequent border crossers, like residents near the Canadian border, an even more secure license could be used to cross borders as well as board planes. This license, almost a substitute for a passport, would comply with the stricter requirements of a program called the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative and would require applicants to prove they are citizens.

The most limited class of license, available to both citizens and illegal immigrants, would not require proof of legal residency. This final kind of license would have a lower fee than the other licenses, would be demarcated “not valid for federal purposes,” or some similar designation, and could not be used to board planes or cross borders.

Citizens will have to apply at the Department of Motor Vehicles for the first two kinds of licenses, but could potentially continue to renew by mail for the third kind.

“This is the perfect policy outcome,” the governor said. “You get Real ID, which Congress has determined is the right security measure, you get driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, which I believe is the right policy at every level, and we are getting the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.” Mr. Spitzer insisted that his plan was not a compromise with the federal government.

Yet he and Mr. Chertoff both made it clear that several related issues had been resolved at the same time, suggesting horse-trading between Albany and Washington over the thorny issues of illegal aliens, national identification cards and easy crossing of the New York-Canadian border.

Mr. Spitzer stressed that the agreement was the result of an “evolution” in talks between New York and the Department of Homeland Security over how to define and implement the Real ID program. Only eight states do not require drivers to prove legal status to obtain driver’s licenses: Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington.

Under Mr. Spitzer’s plan, New York is likely to become one of the first states to offer the new federal license; it intends to start as soon as the middle of next year. The governor had previously opposed granting two classes of driver’s license right away, but did not rule out eventually creating a second class of license that would comply with new federal Real ID regulations. By moving up the timetable for complying with the federal license, after two weeks of negotiations with Mr. Chertoff, the governor said he was getting a better outcome, and he emphatically denied he was shifting course.

The Spitzer administration emphasized that there would not be a special class just for illegal immigrants, saying that some citizens who did not travel often might opt for the cheaper class of license. However, advocates for immigrants said the multi-tiered system of identification and the clear marking of one license as “not valid for federal purposes” would stigmatize those who carry it and could potentially make the police suspicious. .

Mr. Spitzer’s move displeased some people on both sides of the debate.

Frank Merola, the clerk in Rensselaer County who said he would refuse to carry out the governor’s policy, said that the latest twist was “a sign of desperation.”

“No matter how he wants to cut this into different pieces, he’s still giving licenses to people who are here illegally,” he added.

Assemblyman Adriano Espaillat, who had supported the governor’s initial policy, expressed disappointment. “That’s a position that, initially, many of the advocates and myself opposed, a two-tier,” he said. “It’s separate, but certainly not equal.”

Among other things, he and other advocates have worried that creating a separate class of license that illegal immigrants could obtain would make them fearful of doing so, lest they attract attention to their status.

“I think the administration could have handled this a little bit better,” Mr. Espaillat added.

But Assemblywoman Carmen Arroyo, chairwoman of the New York State Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force, said in a statement that the new plan “not only satisfies his promise of fairness to the immigrant community but ensures that New York has a driver’s license that is nationally recognized as the most secure system in the country.”

Bill Sherman, the chief of staff for the Assembly Republican leader, James N. Tedisco, said, “today’s flip-flop by Governor Spitzer shows his policy was wrong.”

He said any plan to offer illegal immigrants a license was reason for concern. “We’re still asking the governor to delay any changes to the policy until everything is sorted out,” he said.

The governor faced a firestorm of criticism both from Republicans and from within his own party since he unveiled his policy last month. More than a dozen county clerks, who operate Department of Motor Vehicles offices upstate, have refused to carry out the policy, even though they are considered agents of the governor’s administration.

Last week, in Erie and Niagara Counties, the clerks — including a Democratic appointee of the governor’s — even said they would report those who could not prove residency to the local sheriff.

James Risen contributed reporting from Washington.

Southern California Fires Bring in Border Agents

The Border Agents made their presence known. Undocumented immigrants were afraid to seek shelter because officials were asking for ID's. Worse still, the ACLU is saying that some of the migrant camps were not warned to evacuate when fires were approaching.

Evacuations raise deportation fears
Seeing U.S. agents and being asked for ID at rescue centers spark concern among illegal immigrants, making them wary of seeking help.
By Richard Marosi and Ari B. Bloomekatz
Los Angeles Times

October 28, 2007

SAN DIEGO -- Flames were only one worry for some illegal immigrants in the fire zone. Equally scary were the crowded roads and evacuation centers, heavy with law enforcement officers, including U.S. Border Patrol agents.

Some wondered if they would be deported if they went to shelters.

"We decided that we wouldn't go because they ask for your name and everything," said day laborer Jose Salgado, waiting for work off the 5 Freeway near Rancho Santa Fe.

His friends working in the nearby tomato fields had different concerns, he said: "They didn't know if they would have a job when they got back."

Disasters can magnify the marginalized status of people here illegally. Seeking help can mean taking risks, and decisions can be informed as much by rumor and miscommunication as by facts and actual events.

In response to recent rumors, U.S. authorities deny that they have been rounding up illegal immigrants at evacuation centers, and Mexican Consulate officials in San Diego who visited numerous sites have found no evidence to support the rumors. "We are not arresting fire evacuees. It's absolutely ludicrous to suggest otherwise," said Lauren Mack, spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Immigrant rights groups and the American Civil Liberties Union, however, claim that authorities have created a climate of intimidation through neglect and such policies as asking for identification at some shelters.

During the wildfires, more than 100 federal agents were redeployed from their border posts to lend assistance. They helped evacuate homes, staff checkpoints, guard against looters and assist at evacuation shelters.

At Qualcomm Stadium, a Border Patrol communications vehicle provided key logistics support. Agents in their distinct green uniforms mingled with law enforcement from all over the county.

The mere presence of Border Patrol was enough to scare off some immigrants. "Having people at evacuation sites in Border Patrol uniforms is asinine," said Enrique Morones, president of the Border Angels, an immigrant rights group.

Rumors of deportations grew Wednesday when San Diego police arrested a Mexican family at Qualcomm Stadium for allegedly stealing food they intended to resell. After being handed over to border agents, the family, which had been living in the U.S. for several years, was deported. Footage of their arrest was replayed numerous times on local television stations.

Though Mexican consular officials and some immigrant rights groups said the arrests appeared to be an isolated incident, some migrants avoided going to Qualcomm. "They were petrified," said Remy Bermudez, a teacher who served as a volunteer at the stadium. "They said, 'After what happened . . . we're afraid.' "

The ACLU and immigrant rights groups claim illegal immigrants were subjected to racial profiling at Qualcomm and were abused by some volunteers who questioned their legal status. They have also said the city did not go out to migrant camps to tell people to evacuate.

Fred Sainz, a spokesman for San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, said identification wasn't required to enter shelters. And if people living in remote migrant camps were not told to evacuate, he said, it wasn't part of any calculated effort to hurt migrants.

The mayor, he said, has always looked out for the needs of the migrant community and has tried to protect them from encounters with Minutemen and other groups that oppose illegal immigration.

"The mayor has bent over backward to protect the migrant population," said Sainz.

Critics say local and federal officials should be more sensitive to how immigrants might perceive things. A checkpoint that might seem inconvenient but understandable to a citizen could represent potential deportation to an immigrant, they say.,1,2904297.story

The Battlefield of Names: Anti Immigration Candidate Changes Obama's Name

Romney is a scary figure. Remember he helped nix in-state tuition for DREAMERS in Massechussetts. He has announced some of the most virulent anti-immigration ideas - battling to sound worse than Rudy Guiliani. This week the New Yorker published a very descriptive article on Romney's background - makes you wonder what he's made of.

Yesterday he mis-spoke Barack Obama's name - called him the name of someone known as America's arch enemy. I just don't believe this was a Freudian slip (posted below New Yorker article)

The New Yorker
The Political Scene
The Mission
Mitt Romney’s strategies for success.
by Ryan Lizza
October 29, 2007

..Romney’s transition from the boardroom to the campaign trail has been clumsy ... According to “Turnaround,” at Bain Capital, the investment firm that Romney headed, the partners suspected that their boss fostered a cutthroat competitive environment in order to motivate them. When he greets voters, this competitiveness often surfaces as posturing; chitchat turns into one-upmanship. After a voter at the New Hampshire diner told Romney, “My daughter goes to Michigan State,” he replied, “Oh, does she, really? My brother’s on the board of Michigan State.” When another patron said that she was from Illinois, Romney told her, “I won the straw poll at the Illinois Republican convention!” Romney’s most seemingly innocuous comments can be head-scratchers. Later that afternoon, standing next to a local supporter who had escorted him to several Derry businesses, Romney told reporters, “Now I understand why I’m going to be gaining a couple of pounds with him, because we’ve eaten everywhere we’ve gone, almost.” Romney, a fitness buff who is shown jogging in a recent campaign ad, had about half a frappe at the diner (he threw the rest away) and a cookie at a bakery—nothing at an Italian restaurant, a feed store, a scrapbook shop, or a hardware store.

Whatever gene causes hyper-competitive perfectionists always to go one step beyond their adversaries, or anyone else, Romney has it. Republican candidates inevitably criticize, with some accuracy, Democratic proposals on health care or taxes as being closer to the way things are done in Europe. Earlier in the day, before a crowd of New Hampshire college students, Romney said that the policies of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards were similar to those of a Communist dictatorship. Their ideas, he said pointedly, “didn’t work for the Soviet Union...”

...Romney is a sixth-generation Mormon”—what scholars call a DNA Mormon. “His ancestors were some of the very first converts...”

Romney’s ancestors had important roles at every turning point in the Mormons’ dramatic nineteenth-century history. Mormonism was founded in western New York, in 1830, by Joseph Smith, after he claimed to have been visited by an angel who directed him to gold plates with inscriptions, which he “translated” into the Book of Mormon. In the eighteen-forties, Romney’s forefathers were present in Nauvoo, Illinois, a settlement established by Smith. After Smith’s murder, in 1844, which forced many persecuted Mormons to move westward, it was Mitt Romney’s great-great-grandfather who first explored the mountain pass leading down to the Salt Lake Valley, according to “Turnaround.” When, in the eighteen-nineties, the federal government cracked down on polygamy, again scattering Mormon families, Romney’s great-grandfather, who had five wives, was among those who fled to Mexico, where Romney’s father, George, was born, in 1907...

Romney trips over his tongue

They say Osama, he says Obama -- but don't look for him to call the whole thing off.
October 28, 2007
Los Angeles Times

So, Mitt Romney is in South Carolina talking to a Chamber of Commerce meeting about terrorism, which Republicans tend to do a lot more than Democrats. He was apparently referring to a recent audiotape, allegedly of Osama bin Laden calling on jihadists to assemble for the main fight in Iraq.

"Actually," Romney said, "just look at what Osam -- Barack Obama -- said yesterday. Barack Obama calling on radicals, jihadists of all different types, to come together in Iraq. That is the battlefield."

Romney spokesman Kevin Madden immediately admitted the mistake: "He misspoke. He was referring to the audiotape of Osama bin Laden and misspoke. It was just a mix-up."

Mix-ups are also opposition opportunities. Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton said, "Apparently, Mitt Romney can switch names just as casually as he switches positions."

LA Times:,0,2497649.story?coll=la-home-nation
The New Yorker:

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Ultimate Nightmare: Lou Dobbs Voter Will Decide U.S. Presidential Election?

Immigration Prof Blog noted an article that gave me the chills. It states that Lou Dobbs will be the biggest influence on American voters in the 2008 presidential election - that the elites of both parties are underestimating his influence on everyday Americans.

Perhaps this is so. Our defective public education system has not taught students to think criticially or see the long term consequences of dangerous public policy. Its natural for this voting generation to be swayed by Mr. Dobbs' silver tongue. What is so incredible about all of this is that he fragrantly publicizes mis-information about immigration - has been confronted with this and refuses to correct his statements... and people continue to believe him!

If one were to believe in re-incarnation, who would Lou Dobbs have been in a past life?

‘Lou Dobbs voters' will decide '08
By: Christopher Gacek
October 22, 2007 03:42 PM EST

CNN anchor Lou Dobbs may be the most important person in the 2008 presidential election aside from the candidates themselves. The bundle of concerns that Dobbs and his audience have about globalization, trade, diminished American sovereignty and immigration will be ignored by politicians at their own peril.

The elites of the Democratic and Republican parties don’t realize the deep political vein Dobbs has struck. In fact, they tend to be quite scornful of him. Nevertheless, the presidential candidate who pursues and captures the “Lou Dobbs voter” will win the 2008 election.

In 1980, Dobbs began his career at CNN, where he gained national prominence hosting “Moneyline.” Currently, his “Lou Dobbs Tonight” reviews the daily news while focusing on stories related to U.S. sovereignty, immigration and trade policy.

The program includes an ongoing, popular segment called “The War Against the Middle Class.”

Dobbs is denounced by conservatives as a protectionist, but this is grossly inaccurate. Reciprocity is the key to Dobbs’ thinking on trade. That is, he believes the Congress should reject agreements that give other countries the right to charge higher tariffs than the United States can for the same or similar products.

Dobbs’ thunderous jeremiads focus on the nonreciprocal trade provisions that our trade negotiators routinely accept.

For example, on July 9, Dobbs reported that the Chinese-made Chery car will face a 2.5 percent tariff when entering America, while U.S. cars imported into China will be taxed at 25 percent.

Dobbs is also highly critical of U.S. immigration policy. It isn’t just that the lawlessness of mass illegal alien migration offends him but that Washington and Wall Street elites are allowing immigration (and trade) policies to undermine America’s own political, economic and cultural institutions.

Dobbs is an American who prefers his own nation to multinational and supranational political institutions — he is not a “globalist,” and neither are American voters.

The fact that the Beltway establishment’s full-court push for immigration amnesty was defeated twice this year by an alternative-media-led populist rebellion indicates the political power of these issues. It isn’t just about immigration.

Middle-class families are deeply concerned about the impact of globalization — i.e., nonreciprocal arrangements for open borders allowing people and goods into the U.S. — on their ability to survive economically.

The politics of the Lou Dobbs voters are still fluid, because neither party has moved to gain their support. The Democrats are too busy kowtowing to immigration interest groups as they look to import future voting blocs, and the Republicans are too beholden to big business globalists, trade ideologues and open-border libertarians.

The pre-Clinton Democrats could have approached these voters on trade issues, but Democrats have abandoned the New Deal party. President Bill Clinton and his Treasury secretary, Robert Rubin, turned the Democrats into a European-style corporatist party committed to globalism.

Consequently, they signed off on NAFTA, the World Trade Organization and most-favored-nation status for China — all items for which GOP senators and representatives provided congressional majorities.

The Democratic presidential candidates are no better. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards oppose measures to meaningfully stop illegal immigration. It won’t help that a spokesman for Sen. Clinton attacked Dobbs after a recent Spanish-only debate held in Miami.

On trade, the House Democrats have taken the lead in slowing down the trade agreement sausage factory, but it is hard to imagine that a Clinton II administration would be different from that of Clinton I in this regard.

The GOP may not be able to adapt, either. The party depends on a donor base that wants to import cheap illegal labor while moving manufacturing jobs to lower-cost locales abroad. Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Mitt Romney have been weak on illegal immigration in the past. Romney seems to be taking a tougher line now, but on the “Glenn Beck” show recently, Giuliani defended his record supporting “sanctuary cities” in New York.

All three show little understanding of the effects of trade on the middle class. Fred Thompson looks tough on immigration but has not indicated an awareness about our trade problems.

Only the GOP candidates polling in single digits — Duncan Hunter, Tom Tancredo and Ron Paul — might appeal to the Lou Dobbs voter on both trade and immigration. This goes to a deeper point about the GOP.

Even though evangelical voters are being blamed for waning party support in states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois and Michigan, it is the “values voters” — e.g., supporters of traditional marriage in Ohio’s November 2004 referendum — who are saving the GOP in the industrial states, where many voters have clearly been alienated by the party’s trade policies.

There is no doubt that the pro-marriage voters defeated John F. Kerry in Ohio.

For both Democrats and Republicans, winning the Lou Dobbs voter would greatly increase the chances of victory in November 2008. The question becomes: Will either party make the necessary changes to reach for the brass ring?

Christopher Gacek, J.D., Ph.D., is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council; the views expressed are his own and do not necessarily represent those of the FRC.

previously posted on Immigration Prof Blog


Immigrant Advocate Nora Sandigo

Posted on Sat, Oct. 27, 2007
Ex Contra activist represents U.S. children of illegal immigrants

AP Hispanic Affairs Writer
Experts say Nora Sandigo's bid to get the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the deportation of illegal immigrants with U.S.-born children hasn't a prayer.
Sandigo just nods - she's heard it all before.

Naysayers scoffed when the Miami immigration activist and former Contra rebel supporter pushed to stop the deportation of thousands of Central Americans immigrants who'd fled their region's civil wars in the 1980s. Then Sandigo helped bring a class-action lawsuit for them, prompting Congress to pass a law protecting them in 1997. Experts said the same thing before she helped thousands more Central Americans win temporary protection after natural disasters struck several years later.

"We have to try. The worst battle is the one not waged," said Sandigo, a petit, stylish, single mother of two.

Already, illegal immigrants living in Florida, New York, California and Illinois have asked Sandigo to become the legal guardian of their 600 children, so she could help the children if the parents are deported. About 100 children have been entered into the lawsuit. Ultimately, it would cover an estimated 4 million children of illegally immigrants who have no criminal background.

Those born in the U.S. are automatically citizens, even if their parents are illegal immigrants. If their parents are deported, they are allowed to stay. The question is with whom? Most have to return with their parents to a country and culture they've never known.

Sandigo's lawsuit seeks to allow the parents to stay in the U.S. until Congress passes an immigration bill that would give them legal status or until the Department of Homeland Security provides them another avenue to remain.

Sandigo, 42, is in many ways an unlikely immigration activist. Although she has worked with Democrats such as Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy on immigration, her virulent opposition to Nicaragua's socialist Sandinista government has won her respect among conservative Republicans in Congress, as has her support for free trade. She's visited the White House at least five times in the last year.

"It is so good to have Nora be so involved at the local, state and federal level on immigration reform because it balances the ideological spectrum," said U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., who has known Sandigo for more than a decade.

Sandigo fled Nicaragua as a teen, leaving her own parents behind, after the socialist Sandinista government confiscated her family's farm. During the 1980s, she provided the U.S.-backed Contra insurgents with clothes and "everything that was needed" and later spirited her brother out of the country at age 16 before he could be drafted into the military. She became a U.S. citizen in the early 1990s.

Her support for free trade agreements with Latin America also puts her at odds many immigrant advocates who fear such deals won't sufficiently protect worker rights and small businesses.

Sandigo says free trade and immigration go together.

"I don't want people to say we are just trying to bring more immigrants to the U.S. I want people to be able to stay in their countries and find work," she said.

But Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which favors strict limits on immigration, said the lawsuit will only encourage more people to come.

"Family relationships and employment are what bring people here," he said. "On the other hand, if having a U.S.-born child is a guaranteed get-out-of-jail-free card, then it will become a magnet. No question about it."

Sandigo said she's not asking for open borders and favors more border security. She simply believes those immigrants who've worked for years in the U.S. shouldn't be separated from their children or forced to uproot them.

Among the children in her lawsuit are 15-year-old Teresa Flores of Yakima, Wash., and Ivan Torres, 8, of San Jose, Calif.

Teresa and her four siblings awoke in April 2006 to see her mother hauled off by immigration agents. She dropped out of school to take care of her younger brother before returning to the Mexican town of La Huerta, Jalisco, where her mother now works as a waitress. In the U.S., where she lived for more than a decade, Teresa's mother earned enough at a fruit packing plant to provide the basics for her children. In Mexico, she did not. Teresa again was forced to work and eventually returned to the U.S. to live with another family and catch up in school.

"As a citizen, I want to be heard. I want to be with her," Teresa said.

Ivan's mother hasn't been tapped by immigration authorities, but she and her husband, who run a janitorial service, say they fear they will be caught any day. That's why they signed up Ivan.

"I don't want to get to that point. I was too afraid even to go to a lawyer, because you hear cases of fraud," said Noemi Salas, 29, of Durango, Mexico, who came to the U.S. in 1999 on a temporary work permit and never left.

Attorney Alfonso Oviedo initially filed the lawsuit in a Florida federal court, naming President Bush and Homeland Security. But he withdrew that lawsuit and instead filed it directly with the Supreme Court because federal law has severely limited lower courts' abilities to hear deportation cases, and in particular, class-action lawsuits.

It is a long shot. The Supreme Court rarely takes cases that have yet to move through the lower courts. Sandigo is still lobbying Congress for a bill to support her case. But she said a lawsuit was the best option after the U.S. Senate failed Wednesday to revive a bill to allow some illegal immigrant students to seek U.S. residency - likely dooming any immigration bills this year.

University of Virginia law Professor David Martin, who served as Immigration and Naturalization Services general counsel under President Clinton, says even if the Supreme Court accepts the case, the odds against Sandigo are great. Courts have typically ruled that there is nothing unconstitutional about a U.S. child being forced to live outside the country, he said.

"It's up to the parents to figure out the custody case. The child suffers no risk to his or her citizenship status," he said. He added that cases like Sandigo's will likely bolster arguments by those who support removing the automatic citizenship of immigrants' children born in the U.S.

Miami immigration attorney Ira Kurzban, who helped bring Sandigo's lawsuit on behalf of Nicaraguans in the 1990s, agreed the case has little chance. Yet he dismissed the notion that simply raising the issue would ultimately hurt immigrants.

"Should we be putting (parents) in the situation that if the they don't want to take the children, the children have to be public charges? Or, should we have a humane policy that would allow parents to stay under certain conditions?" he questioned.

Sandigo leaves the legal details to others. Besides running the nonprofit immigrant advocacy group American Fraternity, she owns a senior care center and a small real estate investment firm.

But she is adamant about one thing.

"By sending parents back, what are you creating here? You're creating children who are going to be resentful, angry," she said. "You're creating enemies within the country."

© 2007 Miami Herald Media Company. All Rights Reserved.

Blog Conversation on the DREAM ACT - Washington Post

"A very sad moment."

A Washington Post blog thread on the DREAM ACT. Much of the comments responding to Dionne seem to be inaccurrate - but its still worth reading and responding to.

E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post published this comment on 10 26 07:

OK, I understand that many Americans worried about illegal immigration have honest concerns about the law and our inability to control our borders. But I really cannot believe that the Senate killed the Dream Act, sponsored by Sen. Richard Durbin. As Karin Brulliard reported in the Post, the bill "would have given conditional legal status to illegal immigrants now younger than 30 who graduated from American high schools, came to the United States before they were 16 and have lived in the country for at least five years. They would be eligible for permanent residency after two years of college or military service." The bill got 52 votes, eight votes short of the 60 needed to begin debate. "What crime did these children commit? They committed the crime of obeying their parents, following their parents to this country," Durbin said. "Give them a chance to prove themselves to this country." Sounds right to me, but not to Senator James Inhofe who said: "This or any other type of an amnesty bill would be a slap in the face of all of those who came in legally." Give me a break. This bill is trying to reward kids who do the right thing and who cannot be blamed for failing --when they were five or 10 years old -- to tell their parents, "Oh, no, Mom and Dad, don't cross that border illegally." It's also amazing, as The Post editorialized, that the Bush Administration "having supported a comprehensive immigration reform bill containing essentially the same provision, came out against the bill on the morning of the vote." What's your take on what I see as a very sad moment?

There have been over 50 responses so far. Worth reading some of them. Perhaps some DREAMERS can write in and correct some of the mis-information being published on these posts.

The address is:

Friday, October 26, 2007

New "Zero Tolerance" for Undocumented Immigrants on the Border

It will be hard to distinguish who has and doesn't have papers in Laredo. Most of the city speaks Spanish. Many are originally from Mexico. The Bush Administration's new "zero tolerance" operation is rather frightening. Actually Michael Chertoff is too. I saw a photograph of him in the 1980's with his colleague Rudy Guiliani. Guess Cherthoff has always been a law and order man. Maybe he wants to clean up the U.S. like his friend Guiliani cleaned up New York.

In most states "cleaning up" means getting rid of the Latinos. However, the thing is, you can't "clean up" Laredo. Its too Mexican. People constantly cross over the river to work, shop and go to school on the American side.

Thank goodness this isn't 1940. If it would have happened then, ICE officers in Laredo would have picked up my father.

Immigration crackdown expands along border
Laredo effort signals an end to return without prosecutions
Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle
October 26, 2007

The U.S. Border Patrol plans to announce today a "zero tolerance" operation to prosecute, jail and deport all illegal immigrants caught in the bustling Laredo area, marking a significant tightening of immigration enforcement along a key U.S. border corridor.

This stepped-up effort is an expansion of the Border Patrol's "Operation Streamline" project in the Del Rio and Yuma, Ariz., sectors, which sharply reduced illegal entries. That is being expanded to the sprawling Laredo sector beginning Wednesday, officials confirmed.

Extending the operation to a large, populous sector such as Laredo — the nation's largest inland port and a growing commercial center — signals a major expansion of a strategy officials plan to implement along the entire Southwest border.

It is a key facet of a Bush administration crackdown not only on the border — where National Guard troops now work with Border Patrol agents — but in the interior, where immigration agents have raided work sites and are targeting fraudulent work documents.

"This program is sending the message we're not letting illegal border-crossers have a free ride," Border Patrol assistant chief Ramon Rivera said. "We're hoping it goes nationwide."

Reactions to the project range from strong support to serious doubts about clogging already overloaded federal courts. More arrests mean more prosecutions, more court dates.

"The idea of doing in Laredo what they do in Del Rio is really terrifying for us," said Marjorie Meyers, who heads the Federal Public Defenders office in Houston, which oversees the Laredo area. "There is no way we can handle it."

Rivera said after the operation began in the Del Rio sector, apprehensions dropped by 46 percent from October 2006 to August, compared with the 2005-06 fiscal year. Agency intelligence indicated that human traffickers have shifted operations downriver to Laredo, he said.

The "zero tolerance" effort ends voluntary return in Laredo, a historic shift in enforcement. For decades, illegal immigrants from Mexico detained on the border were allowed to return home — if they did not have criminal records — without being prosecuted, often the same day they were apprehended.

And last year, Border Patrol ended "catch-and-release," the practice of freeing non-Mexican illegal immigrants after giving them a notice to appear before an immigration judge. Most immigrants never kept their court dates, officials acknowledged.

Dockets will fill up

The Laredo sector takes in 171 miles of Rio Grande frontage, extending to the Oklahoma border and including San Antonio and Dallas.
Details of the operation's coverage within the sector would be released today, officials said.

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, supports the operation but acknowledged it could add to strained border dockets.

"At the beginning, you'll see a spike in cases in the court but after awhile it will go down because it will be a deterrent," Cuellar said. "There's a criminal (smuggling) network out there ... and they'll get the message pretty quickly that if they come they're going to serve time."

Cuellar said he has sponsored legislation to add three federal judges to South Texas, and hopes one will be assigned to Laredo.

Laredo Mayor Raul Salinas, a retired FBI official, said the government has a duty to enforce the law but he's not certain it will work.

Salinas instead favors an expanded guest worker program for immigrants.

"The underlying solution to illegal immigration is solid, comprehensive reform legislation now — the longer we wait, the worse it gets," he said.

Mexican officials, who have been invited to attend today's announcement at sector headquarters in Laredo, said they would wait to comment.

"'It's very important for us," said Javier Abud, the Mexican consul in Laredo. "It's a very sensitive operation for our Mexican nationals."

Misdemeanor charge

When the pilot program began in Del Rio in December 2005, courtrooms were packed with undocumented immigrants who were prosecuted, jailed and then deported. But despite the crowding, there was sufficient space in area jails to house the immigrants.
The majority of the illegal immigrants are expected to be charged with entry without inspection, Border Patrol officials said. The misdemeanor charge carries a maximum 180-day jail sentence.

After they serve their time, they are deported. Those with previous deportations, or criminal convictions, face more serious felony charges carrying maximum penalties of up to 20 years in prison.

Rivera said the Laredo area has sufficient detention space in three jails.

Meanwhile, Meyers, with the Federal Public Defenders office, is concerned that the 17 attorneys in the Laredo office won't be able to provide effective representation to an expected influx of indigent clients.

"These cases are not simple," Meyers said. "We've had cases with people who thought they were aliens and turned out they were U.S. citizens. So it's not something where you say, 'OK, you're guilty, see you later.' "

'They've done just fine'

U.S. court officials in Laredo referred questions about staffing issues to Houston officials, who were not available for comment.
However, Rivera said the Laredo operation is a joint effort of the Border Patrol, the U.S. Attorney's Office, the U.S. courts, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Marshals Service and other agencies.

"The same question was brought up in the Del Rio sector, and they've done just fine," said Rivera, referring to legal representation. "Remember, we're working in collaboration with other entities ... everybody is working overtime on this."

And, the Border Patrol is expecting big results in the Laredo sector.

"Laredo has a bigger city on the Mexican side, so we're hoping we get a better return out of this operation than in Del Rio," Rivera said.

La Jornada: El Sueno Perdido. DREAM ACT Vote

La Jornada
Mexico City
October 24, 2007

Rechaza Casa Blanca proyecto para legalizar a jóvenes indocumentados
Agencias / La Jornada On Line

La OMB señaló que la Dream Act "es cuestionable y llevará inevitablemente a un fraude de documentos a larga escala". Dicha propuesta pide legalizar a quienes se inscriban a la universidad o fuerzas armadas.

Washington. La Oficina de Administración y Presupuesto de la Casa Blanca (OMB) rechazó hoy miércoles un proyecto de ley para legalizar a jóvenes indocumentados que se inscriban a la universidad o las fuerzas armadas, ante la posibilidad de fraudes.

La “naturaleza abierta” de la llamada Ley para el Desarrollo, Alivio y Educación de Menores Extranjeros (Dream Act) “es cuestionable y llevará inevitablemente a un fraude de documentos a larga escala”, señaló la OMB en un comunicado.

“El camino a la ciudadanía (en la Dream Act) queda abierto por décadas, creando así una fuerte tentación para que futuros inmigrantes ilegales compren documentos fraudulentos en un floreciente mercado negro”, indicó la entidad.

La OMB aseguró que la Casa Blanca simpatiza con los jóvenes que cuando eran niños fueron traídos ilegalmente a Estados Unidos, pero aclaró que cualquier propuesta del Senado no debe ser un incentivo para que se repita una conducta ilegal.

“Al crear un camino especial a la ciudadanía que no está disponible a otros inmigrantes potenciales, incluyendo a jóvenes cuyos padres respetaron las leyes de inmigración del país, la propuesta (.) deja mucho que desear”, manifestó.

“Por lo tanto, la administración (del presidente George W. Bush) se opone al proyecto”, recalcó la OMB.

En una votación de 52 a 44, los promotores de la Dream Act se quedaron este miércoles a ocho votos de superar la oposición de la minoría republicana y de algunos demócratas conservadores para someter la propuesta a votación final en el Senado.

El proyecto podría beneficiar a cientos de miles de ilegales, en particular a estudiantes que llegaron a Estados Unidos cuando tenían menos de 16 años, son menores de 30 años, han vivido en el país al menos cinco años y se inscriban para la universidad o las fuerzas armadas.

La OMB indicó que el camino a la ciudadanía bajo la Dream Act excluye a otros inmigrantes y permitiría que indocumentados regularicen su situación antes que otras personas que ya han iniciado el proceso.

Agregó que el proyecto autoriza a los beneficiarios a agregar a sus familiares cercanos en el país, lo cual los coloca en la “vía rápida” para la ciudadanía, además de que pueden recibir cierta asistencia pública en un lapso de cinco años.

Por otro lado, el proyecto tiene vacíos legales que permitirían la legalización permanente de ciertos indocumentados condenados por delitos menores múltiples, o incluso delitos graves, advirtió la entidad federal.

La OMB reiteró que la Casa Blanca cree en una reforma migratoria integral que incluya un mayor control fronterizo, aplicación interna de las leyes, un programa de trabajadores temporales y la legalización de millones de indocumentados.

European Views on the Blue Card and Immigration

Since most anti-immigration people do not take reports from U.S. universities or policy organizations seriously. Perhaps a report from someone who was previously at the World Bank would be of help.

Below are only excerpts from von Weizsäcker's report, which was released in 2006, but still highly relevant. The complete text can be found at:

The author is:

Jakob von Weizsäcker, a German citizen, joined Bruegel from the World Bank inWashington (2002-2005) where he was Country Economist for Tajikistan.Previously, he worked for the Federal Economics Ministry in Berlin (2001-2002) where he headed the office of a junior minister and Vesta, a venture capital firm(2000-2001). Before that, he held research positions at the Center for Economic Studies in Munich and CIRED in Paris.

Bruegel is a business focused economic policy think tank in Brussels.


A European Card Proposal
by Jakob von Weizsäcker
Horizons Strategiques
Centre de'analyse strategique
July 2006

This contribution argues that the EU should open up to skilled immigrants through a points system via a European “Blue Card” granting access to its entire labour market. This European version of the Green Card could become a powerful complement to any national effort to attract top talent. In addition, students graduating with a Masters degree or equivalent from European universities or from top universities abroad should be automatically eligible for a Blue Card. This “Blue Diploma” would help attract young talent early. Finally, in future rounds of EU enlargement, higher-skilled workers should be
welcome immediately, provided they reach an earnings threshold: the “External Minimum Wage”. To motivate the discussion, a tentative explanation why countries like Germany and France are lagging behind in the global competition for talent is provided. In Section 2, the basic facts of migration, its skill content, and the increasing supply of skills worldwide are examined. In Section 3 the basic efficiency and distribution arguments for and against high and low-skilled migration are analysed. The impact of emigration - “brawn drain” and “brain drain” - on developing source countries is also discussed. Finally, Section 4 proposes potential policy options for Europe...

Over the coming years, migration rates and migration pressures might well increase further. Globalisation is rapidly “shrinking” the world without shrinking worldwide income differences quite as fast. There are concerns in Europe over this influx of immigrants, and low-skilled immigrants in particular. At the same time, to become a competitive and dynamic knowledge-driven economy as spelled out in the Lisbon agenda, Europe will need to become much better at attracting talent from the rest of the world. The European Commission has accordingly become active in this area (Box 1).However, progress has been slow. Some of the reasons for this have already been mentioned in the previous section. In addition, many relevant stakeholders still use problematic economic concepts to discuss migration, most importantly the “lump-of-labour” fallacy according to which the number of jobs in an economy is fixed. This policy brief argues that the issue of economic migration should instead be framed in terms of the skill level of immigrants.

...Immigration rates in the EU-15 and the US remained at relatively moderate levels during the 1960s,1970s, and most of the 1980s, as shown in Chart 1. Migration rates only shot up in the late eighties and early nineties. They rose again substantially in the early 2000s in Europe in particular, driven by immigration to the EU-15 from Eastern Europe. In addition, there is significant illegal immigration...

As one particular variant of the Blue Card, an entirely qualification-based “Blue Diploma” could be introduced. Any graduate of a Masters programme (or equivalent) from a participating university could be made eligible for a Blue Card by virtue of his or her degree. Such a comprehensive and predictable arrangement would greatly help to attract foreign talent to European universities and to the European labour market afterwards. In principle, it would make sense to extend Blue Diplomas to universities outside Europe also. For a start, the top 100 non-European universities, as measured by academic excellence, should also be included in the scheme.

Even from a development perspective, the Blue Diploma could turn out to be beneficial. By providing guaranteed access to the European labour market without requiring a permanent presence, circular migration in the spirit of the proposal by Weil (2006) would be encouraged. The Blue Card would in effect act as an insurance policy for graduates from developing countries in case they would like to take the risk of going back home. They could always return to Europe for a second chance.

Borjas (2003) has pointed out, most of the empirical studies that fail to find a significant distributional impact of migration focus on the impact of immigration on wages in small geographic areas. But such an approach fails to control for the endogeneity of migration. Migrants tend to be attracted to locations that have the most vibrant local economies and therefore typically the most attractive wages. Hence, any negative wage impact of immigration might be hidden by above-average wages in areas that manage to attract the largest numbers of migrants

Dangers of an Ethnic Underclass

There are signs that certain immigrant communities in Europe are developing into an ethnic underclass. It is clear that much better education and improved economic opportunities for the children of low-skilled migrants already in Europe, need to be provided. Migration policies can usefully complement such integration measures by creating a high-skill bias among fresh immigrants. Low-skilled immigrants already in Europe are the closest labour market substitutes to new low-skill immigrants. Hence, by reducing the inflow of additional low-skilled immigrants, the economic prospects of existing low-skilled immigrant communities could probably be improved. For the source country, low-skilled emigration or “brawn drain” typically improves welfare as it improves both efficiency and redistribution. This positive impact of low-skilled emigration is
reinforced by remittances. Low-skilled emigrants will often help to support poor relatives in the source country with their higher earnings abroad.

By contrast, the welfare impact of high-skilled emigration or “brain drain” is ambiguous. The source country may suffer from an adverse efficiency and distributional impact as a result of the brain drain. There will be fiscal loss since high-skilled emigrants will no longer pay taxes in their home country. And just as high-skilled migrants help to uplift their ethnic communities abroad, they could have made notable contributions to public life had they stayed at home.

But a brain drain is not all bad for the source country. The option to emigrate may substantially increase the expected returns to education, thereby improving education incentive. Finally, if migrants return to their country of origin, and many of them do, the skills and savings they have acquired abroad become a powerful force of development. Therefore, moderate levels of brain drain may actually be beneficial for the source country as, for example, argued in Beine et al. (2003).

Economic migration can loosely be defined as any cross-border migration that occurs to take on a better paid job. If pay is broadly in line with productivity, a move to a better paid job thus increases global economic output. This is the fundamental efficiency argument in favour of migration.

But most people would prefer to stay at home if it wasn’t for the money. Therefore, why not upgrade productivity where the people currently are instead of having people chase more productive jobs abroad? International trade and cross-border movement of capital are helping to do just that. According to the classic factor price equalisation theorem of trade theory, wages might in principle be equalised internationally through the trade of goods alone! However, there are important reasons why migration pressures are likely to persist even under free trade, full mobility of capital, and flexible labour markets

First, many poor countries suffer from an inferior “production function” because of poor institutions.

Despite recent development success stories, upgrading poor institutions is a slow process. In thmeantime, workers in many developing countries will continue to suffer from inferior wages. Migration can short-circuit this development problem by allowing workers move to locations with a better“production function” immediately.

Second, agglomeration effects are an important rationale for migration. For example, France and the UK are large countries with fairly uniform institutions, free trade and free movement of capital. Nevertheless, workers continue to migrate to extremely expensive and crowded places like London or Paris. The reason is that people become more productive by virtue of geographic concentration. By moving to a large agglomeration, often in a foreign country, they can also hope to greatly improve the match between their skill and their job, thus boosting their productivity.

The findings of the previous sections are summarised...high-skilled migration tends to improve the welfare of the host country while the welfare impact of migration on the source country is ambiguous. By contrast, low-skilled migration has an ambiguous welfare impact on the host country while generally improving welfare of the source country. Hence, there need not be a conflict of interest between source and host country but there may well be. This raises the question how could the positions of host and source country be reconciled, if indeed there were a conflict.

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