Daily news updates from CIS

October 15, 2009  -- Click here for overseas news

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[For CISNEWS subscribers --

1. CIS survey finds Mexicans see amnesty as further encouragement
2. Census to target foreigners with foreign-language surveys (story, link)
3. Sen. Vitter drops status inquiry from Census bill (story, 3 links)
4. IL Rep. Gutierrez unveils initial amnesty framework (story, 2 links)
5. IL congressman to face challenge from prominent amnesty activist
6. SCOTUS mulls lawyers' duty to detainees (story, link)
7. Federal judge sends 'aged-out' residency applicants to back of line
8. Irish foreign minister discusses issues with DC leaders
9. Brookings report offers 'middle of the road' solutions
10. Report finds healthcare bills may leave immigrants in limbo
11. New snapshot compares MA Brazilians, Dominicans (story, link)
12. Localities fret details of new 287(g) agreements (story, link)
13. Arkansas Atty. Gen. certifies ballot restricting benefits (story, link)
14. CO Dems seek state tuition for illegals
15. OR capital city council endorses DREAM Act
16. Border crimes force prosecutors to neglect other issues
17. MA city candidates debate issue at forum
18. MI program prepares veterans for agri careers
19. UT veterans advocates decry benefits verification
20. Janet Reno adds weight to Cuban's residency appeal
21. Trial of IA meatpacking plant owner continues
22. Parents of hemophilia patient get deportation delay (link)
23. Brother of Jordanian terrorist held as witness (link)
24. Feds bust smuggling, drug ring in CA (link)
25. Mexican illegal badly beaten in NY (link)
26. Togolese woman convicted of visa fraud (link)

Subscribe to CIS e-mail services here: http://cis.org/immigrationnews.html

-- Mark Krikorian]

Poll: Mexicans say Mexican-Americans Owe Loyalty to Mexico Over U.S.
By Adam Brickley
The CNS News, October 15, 2009

Nearly 70 percent of Mexicans surveyed said that Mexican-Americans – including those born in the United States – owe their primary loyalty to Mexico, not the U.S., according to a Zogby poll commissioned by the Center for Immigration Studies.

The in-person poll, taken during August and September, sampled 1,004 Mexicans across the country on subjects related to illegal immigration and amnesty in the United States.

When asked 'Should the primary loyalty of Mexican-Americans be to Mexico or to the U.S.?' 68.8 percent of respondents in Mexico said that it should be to Mexico, while only 19.7 percent said it should be to the United States. Another 11.5 percent of respondents said they were not sure.

Steven Camarota, director of research at the CIS, told CNSNews.com that the Spanish phrase translated as 'Mexican-Americans' ('los estadounidenses de origen mexicano') was carefully selected to ensure that respondents knew that it included those born in the U.S. He particularly stressed the Spanish word ‘estadounidenses.’

'It means ‘United States-ian’ -- (that's) how it translates,' he said, 'and it’s understood by everyone in Mexico to include, clearly, people born in the United States of Mexican ancestry.'

Camarota also told CNSNews.com that just over one-third of respondents (36 percent) said that they would come to the U.S., if they could. Of that group, 68 percent said they think that Mexican-Americans owe loyalty to Mexico over the United States.

The data shows that the percentage of potential illegal immigrants who hold that belief is nearly identical to the percentage among the general Mexican population, Camarota said.

Other poll results centered on how Mexico itself would react to an amnesty in the United States -- which was the reason for the poll, according to Camarota.

'How an amnesty would be perceived or received in that country is important to think about if you’re arguing for legalization,' he noted. 'That’s the number one reason we did it.'

The results clearly showed that illegal immigration tends to encourage more people to emigrate in the future. he said.

'In Mexico, Mexicans overwhelmingly – especially those who have family here (in the U.S. )– overwhelmingly say that it (amnesty) would encourage illegal immigration in the future.'

In fact, 56.2 percent of respondents did indeed answer 'more likely' when asked, 'If the U.S. gave permanent legal status to undocumented immigrants (migrantes indocumentados), do you think it would make your friends and family members more likely or less likely to go to the U.S. as indocumentados, or would it make no difference?'

Just over 16 percent said that it would make them less likely to come to the U.S., while 19.6 percent said that it would make no difference. Another 7.6 responded that they were not sure.

Camarota was careful to note the limitations of the poll.

'It doesn’t tell us what Mexican-Americans think, it tells us what the expectation of Mexican-Americans is among Mexicans,' he said.

Nevertheless, the poll does have its uses, he added.

'(It) tells us what kind of society Mexican immigrants came out of, what the expectation is for those who go here,' Camarota told CNSNews.com.

He also said that, when asking which nation Mexican-Americans should be loyal to, 'If you’re asking the question in Mexico, you don’t have to worry that people will give a guarded answer.'

Calls to Mexican-American and immigration groups were not returned.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Zogby poll results are available online at: http://cis.org/ZogbyPoll-EffectsOfAmnesty

Rasmussen Reports also released results recently indicating most Americans believe current U.S. policies encourage illegal immigration. The results can be found at: http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/immigration/56_say_u_s_government_policies_encourage_illegal_immigration

The Pew Research Center also found that approximately 1/3 of Mexicans would immigrate to the U.S. if given the chance. The Pew results are available at: http://pewglobal.org/reports/display.php?ReportID=266

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Census 2010 to include outreach in more languages
By Juliana Barbassa
The Associated Press, October 14, 2009

San Francisco (AP) -- With the launch of the 2010 census less than six months away, the U.S. Census Bureau is preparing its most targeted and far-reaching language outreach yet to more accurately count the country's immigrants.

Census Director Robert Groves briefed San Francisco elected officials and community groups Wednesday on ways the federal agency is working to connect with residents who speak languages other than English.

'We're come to realize that a census run out of Washington, D.C., on a one-size-fits-all model doesn't work very well,' Groves said. 'We're working to customize the experience, to use words, languages that make sense and make it easier for people to participate.'

The campaign, expected to cost about $300 million, is designed to remedy that, Groves said.

Part of the outreach will occur through Census Bureau alliances with institutions such as churches and ethnic organizations to inform communities and overcome fears of working with the federal government.

A media campaign, including advertising in ethnic newspapers, will also help get the word out, Groves said.

Along with a 10-question form in English, postcards in five other languages — Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese, Russian and Spanish — will point users to a Web site in their language.

Assistance guides in scores of languages, designed to walk a respondent through the English forms, will be distributed through places such as barber shops and supermarkets, or delivered door-to-door, Groves said. Over-the-phone help will be offered in up to 59 languages.

Bilingual forms in English and Spanish will be mailed to 13.5 million households in neighborhoods where at least one-fifth of households report speaking primarily Spanish.

Some advocacy groups wanted the Census Bureau to ask immigration authorities to stop workplace enforcement raids during the nationwide count, so immigrants feel less fearful of the government.

One federal agency cannot ask another to stop doing its work, Groves said, but the confidentiality of respondents will be protected.

'We assure them their participation will not lead to any harm, in any way,' Groves said. 'We take this oath very seriously. This is a very safe thing to do.'

San Francisco is investing more than $800,000 in community outreach because undercounting comes at significant cost to the city.

In 2008, the city challenged the 2007 census estimate. New figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau recognized an additional 34,209 residents, giving San Francisco a total population of 799,185 — and additional federal funds.

'Given how much federal funding is at stake, we have to invest in this,' said David Chiu, a San Francisco supervisor.

On the state level, a PricewaterhouseCoopers census study estimated that more than half a million Californians were not counted in the last census, which meant a loss for the state of more than $1.5 billion in federal dollars.


Census Bureau director, in San Francisco visit, promises to reach out to immigrants
By Matt O'Brien
The Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, CA), October 14, 2009

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Sen. David Vitter to alter census proposal to drop inquiry into immigration status
By Jonathan Tilove
The Times Picayune (New Orleans), October 15, 2009

Sen. David Vitter, R-La., agreed Wednesday to modify his amendment requiring the 2010 census to ask all people their citizenship, even as he pleaded with colleagues to let him have an up-or-down vote on the issue.

Sen. David Vitter says Louisiana stands to lose a congressional district under the 2010 reapportionment unless the rules are redrawn to exclude noncitizens.

Responding to the concerns of Elliott Stonecipher, a Shreveport pollster and demographic analyst who has championed the cause of adding the citizenship question to the census, Vitter agreed to drop language that would require the census short form to ask every person about their immigration status.

Stonecipher had said that a question probing into a person's legal status might have the effect of scaring some respondents off. 'I appreciate very much the senator's choice to ask the citizenship question alone, ' Stonecipher said after Vitter made the adjustment.

It is still not certain that Vitter's amendment, which is co-sponsored by Robert Bennett, R-Utah, will come to a vote.

The Obama administration adamantly opposes it, and the Senate leadership has been trying to keep it from coming to a vote. The issue is likely to come to a head Thursday, when the leadership may seek for a second time a vote of cloture on consideration of the commerce, justice and science appropriations bill, which Vitter is seeking to amend.

The Census Bureau has warned that adding a new question at this late date would wreck all its planning, making it impossible to conduct the decennial count on Census Day, April 1, to have the results by year's end, and provide states with the data necessary for them to move ahead with reapportionment and redistricting by the legally required date of April 1, 2011. The bureau has also calculated that the change would cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

Vitter wants the citizenship question to be on the census so he can press an effort to exclude noncitizens from reapportionment and redistricting counts, an effort that would change past practice and would almost certainly land before the Supreme Court if it managed to pass Congress and gain the president's signature.

The practice of counting noncitizens in apportionment and redistricting may be time-honored, but Vitter said on the Senate floor Wednesday it is 'crazy.' 'It doesn't pass the smell test, and it doesn't meet the common sense test of the American people, ' he said.

'I don't believe noncitizens should be counted in congressional reapportionment, ' Vitter said. 'I don't think states which have particularly large noncitizen populations should have more say and more clout in Congress, and that states like Louisiana that don't should be penalized.'

Louisiana, according to Vitter and Stonecipher, stands to lose a congressional district under the 2010 reapportionment unless the rules are redrawn to exclude noncitizens, a process that would depend on a hard count of the noncitizen population from the census.

The Senate leadership on Tuesday sought, without success, to win a cloture vote, and in his floor speech Wednesday, Vitter beseeched his colleagues, especially in states situated similarly to Louisiana, not to vote for cloture when the leadership tries again. Reciting and repeating a list of states that stand to lose congressional seats under the current practice -- Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, North Carolina and Louisiana -- Vitter said, 'I'd implore all the senators' from these states 'please don't vote for cloture again until we can get a reasonable vote on this amendment.'

Critics have said Vitter's measure would be both unconstitutional and discriminatory. His agreement not to seek a question on immigration status is unlikely to mollify those critics.

At least in part because the issue may be decided today, Vitter said he will not be in New Orleans for President Obama's visit.


Senators Want to Add 'Illegal Immigrant' Question to U.S. Census
By Rob Kuznia
Hispanic Business, October 14, 2009

Immigration status question proposed for Census
The KVIA News (El Paso, TX), October 14, 2009

Senators try to exclude illegal immigrants from 2010 Census
By Haya El Nasser
USA Today, October 13, 2009

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Lawmakers promise immigration reforms
D.C. rally focuses on U.S. citizenship, humane treatment, keeping families together.
By Alexander Besant
The Hearst Newspapers, October 14, 2009

Washington, DC -- House lawmakers on Tuesday announced a new push for immigration reform to deal with the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., highlighted provisions of a bill he promised to introduce in Congress in the coming weeks that would allow immigrants in the country illegally to earn U.S. citizenship after certain conditions are met, such as learning English and being subject to background checks.

'It is time we had a workable plan making its way through Congress that recognizes the vast contributions of immigrants to this country and that honors the American Dream,' Gutierrez said.

His announcement came during a rally on Capitol Hill sponsored by advocacy groups seeking to revive the issue, which has been overshadowed by recent debates on health care and Afghanistan.

'We simply cannot wait any longer for a bill that keeps our families together, protects our workers and allows a pathway to legalization for those who have earned it,' said Gutierrez, who was joined at the podium by several other lawmakers who also support immigration changes.

Gutierrez, chairman of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, insisted that legislation should focus on putting those in the country illegally on a path to legal status and citizenship while making sure that border enforcement is beefed up.

Participants at the event also demanded more humane treatment from immigration authorities and an end to the separation of families through deportation.

'Many families are being separated right now because of the current immigration laws,' said Cynthia Garza, a member of a Houston-based immigration reform group, Crecen, 'this kind of treatment of illegal immigrants has to end.'

Rubiela Arias, who said she is an undocumented immigrant from Colombia, recounted the efforts of undocumented workers who helped clean the rubble in New York after the Sept. 11 attacks.

'I'm here representing the undocumented workers who cleaned ground zero and its surrounding area after the 9/11 terrorist attacks,' said Arias, who represented 'Make the Road New York,' an immigrant rights advocacy group. 'That day we were all from New York. We were all Americans.'

President George W. Bush attempted to get immigration legislation approved, but the effort collapsed on Capitol Hill amid worries about border enforcement and rewarding those who entered the U.S. illegally.

Critics of the legislation say its provisions amount to amnesty for law breakers.

'Amnesty sends a message that you're a sucker to play by the rules,' said Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a group that opposes relaxing immigration laws.

Support for the Gutierrez bill would be politically unwise for the Obama administration, Stein warned.

'It is highly risky for the Obama administration to be talking about an amnesty bill,' he said. 'If they want to follow Gutierrez off a cliff on this one, they can be my guest.'

It is estimated that 12 million undocumented immigrants are in the U.S., according to the Pew Hispanic Center. Texas, with about 1.4 million undocumented immigrants, has the second-highest number of illegal immigrants in the U.S., trailing only California.


Morristown Wind of the Spirit volunteers rally for immigration reform in DC
By Jamie Duffy
The Star Ledger (Newark, NJ), October 14, 2009

Immigration reform advocates gather in Carmel
By Marcela Rojas
The Journal News (White Plains, NY), October 14, 2009

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Lipinski Faces Challenge from Immigrant Leader
By Chip Mitchell
The WBEZ News (Chicago), October 15, 2009

One of the Chicago area’s most visible immigrant leaders is planning to challenge Congressman Dan Lipinski in this winter’s Democratic primary.

Illinois’s 3rd Congressional District includes parts of Chicago’s Southwest Side and some nearby suburbs. Many Latin Americans and Middle Easterners have been settling there.

Jorge Mújica of Berwyn says Congressman Dan Lipinski isn’t representing them well.

MUJICA: He’s consistently voting against any kind of legislation that could benefit these immigrants.

Mújica has helped organize huge immigrant rights marches through downtown Chicago. He’s gathering signatures to get on the February ballot.

Lipinski’s campaign Wednesday didn’t return our calls. The congressman holds a distinct advantage. He reported more than $450,000 in campaign funds on hand as of June 30.

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U.S. Supreme Court considering whether bad legal advice can void guilty plea
A legal U.S. immigrant has told Supreme Court justices that bad advice from his lawyer is behind his likely deportation.
BY Halimah Abdullah
The McClatchy News Service, October 14, 2009

Washington, DC -- The U.S. Supreme Court questioned Tuesday whether defendants are entitled to accurate legal advice on all the potential consequences of a guilty plea.

The case, Padilla v. Kentucky, which focuses on Jose Padilla, a Honduran-born immigrant who faces deportation after pleading guilty to felony marijuana trafficking, has broader significance for the more than 12.8 million legal immigrants living in the U.S.

Padilla wants his guilty plea tossed out, arguing that it violates his Sixth Amendment rights guaranteeing effective assistance of counsel and maintains that he wouldn't have pleaded guilty if he hadn't been misinformed by his court-appointed attorney of the broader consequences.

Attorney Stephen Kinnaird, representing Padilla in the Kentucky case, argued that it is the responsibility of defense lawyers to inform clients of both the direct consequences of a plea -- such as the scope and duration of a prison sentence -- and the broader ``collateral'' consequences such as deportation.

``A lawyer has a distinct duty to assess the advantages and disadvantages of a plea,'' Kinnaird told the court.

In 2001, Padilla, a Vietnam War veteran, truck driver and legal resident of the U.S. for 40 years, was pulled over at a Kentucky weigh station and arrested when Styrofoam boxes containing 1,033 pounds of marijuana were found in his 18-wheeler. Padilla was charged with several state crimes and felony drug trafficking. He originally pleaded not guilty, but was detained for a year pending investigation of possible deportation.

The following year, Padilla agreed to a plea agreement of reduced jail time after his court-appointed attorney told him that a guilty plea wouldn't affect his immigration status.

That advice was wrong.

Padilla was sentenced to five years in prison and five years of probation and now faces deportation -- fallout Kinnaird attributes to the poor legal counsel Padilla received.

The justices sharply questioned Kinnaird and expressed concern that such a stance would force attorneys to give myriad legal advice on the indirect consequences of a plea rather than focus on the case at hand.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wondered how time-strapped and overloaded court-appointed attorneys could be expected to distinguish between the broader consequences that could affect a defendant and those that don't.

Justices Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito pressed Kinnaird on how attorneys and courts could protect themselves from situations in which, after sentencing, defendants later say they were misinformed of a plea's larger consequences.


High court hears Kentucky case on lawyers’ duties
By James R. Carroll
The Courier Journal (Louisville, KY), October 13, 2009

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Judge: Immigrants' kids who 'age out' lose place
The Associated Press, October 14, 2009

Los Angeles (AP) -- A federal judge has ruled that adult children who turn 21 while waiting for family-sponsored green cards have to wait anew once they 'age out' of their parents' applications.

U.S. District Judge James Selna ruled in Los Angeles against a group of immigrants with green cards who sued the federal government, arguing a 2002 law means grown children should be allowed into the country when their parents file new paperwork on their behalf.

Friday's final ruling means the plaintiffs' children who became adults while waiting for processing must start the application process from the beginning.

Immigration attorneys say thousands of immigrants have waited a decade or more for their older children to join them in the U.S.

Plaintiffs' attorney Carl Shusterman said he plans to appeal.

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Martin discusses 'undocumented'
The Irish Times, October 15, 2009

Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin has discussed US immigration reform during a number of meetings in Washington with leading Democrats and Republicans.

Mr Martin, who is on a four-day visit to the United States, yesterday met seven US senators and 16 Republican and Democratic representatives on Capitol Hill.

Former presidential candidate Senator John McCain, a proponent of immigration reform, raised the issue of a temporary worker programme for Irish people.

'One of the aspects of the issue that's important is a legal temporary worker programme, and I think it is vital that we have that, where citizens of Ireland can come to the United States in a legal fashion, work and return to Ireland,' he said.

'And reciprocally we could have a situation where an American citizen could be a legal temporary worker in Ireland. I think there's a certain area of reciprocity that we could look forward to,' he said.

However, the most pressing issue was the fate of perhaps 15,000 undocumented Irish people, out of an estimated 12 million illegal aliens in the US. Mr Martin raised the issue with senators Lindsay Graham and Patrick Leahy and congresswoman Zoe Lofgren.

The Minister said: 'There is a window of opportunity in the springtime. There is work going on behind the scenes . . . we understand, and we accept, that it has to be within the context of a comprehensive response to the issue . . . and we have been in touch with the Hispanic lobby and their representatives in the House and the Senate, and I think there is common ground moving forward on the issue.

'For us it is an important issue, given the fact that a number of Irish people have been undocumented for a very long time and it’s causing real trauma and hardship on families,' he said. It was now clear the Irish immigration issue 'will be resolved within the context of comprehensive immigration reform', along with immigration from Mexico, Mr Martin said.

Although he had 'no illusions about how challenging it will be', the Irish Government hopes an immigration Bill may pass early next year. That was why he was 'very keen to keep Ireland’s voice heard in an informed, constructive way.'

With mid-term congressional elections in November 2010, it is unlikely such a controversial issue will be addressed later in the year. Mr Martin said it was 'a bit strange that given the long history and bond between us', there was not a bilateral immigration agreement between Ireland and the US.

He said he hoped a Bill would include a reciprocal agreement that would allow some 10,000 Irish people to live in the US and the same number of US citizens to live in Ireland.

Earlier the Minister spoke to the European Institute in Washington, where he told the audience he believes the Czech Republic will ratify the Lisbon Treaty before a British general election next year, and that the next British government will be forced to honour the Labour government’s commitment to Lisbon.

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Challenge: Forging Consensus on Immigration
Report outlines middle ground for policy reforms.
By Phil Leggiere
HS Today, October 15, 2009

In August the Obama administration had delayed its planned push for comprehensive immigration reform, a push in which Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Napolitano is expected to play a key role, until next year, causing a temporary lull in national media spotlight on the topic. Despite its relatively low current profile, however, the issue remains as contentious as ever, with opinions sharply divided and little consensus in sight.

Anticipating next year’s polarized debate the Brookings Institute this week released a report titled Breaking the Immigration Stalemate: From Deep Disagreements to Constructive Proposals.

'The national debate over immigration has been deadlocked,' the report begins. ' On one side, anxious and often angry citizens want to punish or even deport millions of illegal immigrants and then secure the borders against further intruders. Other Americans want to regularize the status of the undocumented and find ways for subsequent newcomers to arrive through more orderly channels.'

The report, based on over a year of formal and informal discussions by the Brookings-Duke Immigration Policy Roundtable, an assembly of twenty individuals with what Brookings describes as 'divergent perspectives and orientations toward immigration policy', outlines a series of middle-ground positions, recommended as a basis for potential consensus.

On what the report refers to as 'the most vexing and contentious aspect of the contemporary policy debate—illegal immigration,' it recommends an emphasis on enforcement of our immigration laws at the workplace.' In our view,' say the authors, ' enforcement at the workplace is the predicate for any legalization program.'

To begin to accomplish this the report suggests that Congress should authorize and fund simultaneously a mandatory workplace verification system and a legalization infrastructure. 'Specifically,' it says, ' this legislation should require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to certify when the workplace verification system has reached an agreed-upon level of use and effectiveness and bolster wage and labor law enforcement and audit and inspect workplaces.

In addition the report urges the Congress to launch a legalization program requiring unauthorized workers who have been in the country for five or more years to: pay a fine; provide evidence of current employment and a steady work history, payment of taxes, and good moral character; pass a background check; and study English and learn about US history.

Addressing what it calls 'the bewildering complexity of the nation’s current visa system', the report proposes to eliminate the Diversity Visa Program, whose rationale is at odds with the constraints confronting today’s immigration policy-makers. It also calls congress should eliminate the backlog of relatives waiting to apply for visas to become legal permanent residents by limiting such visas to the spouses and minor children of LPRs and) acting expeditiously to process their applications.

Further, the report advocates an increase in the number of skilled immigrants (generally, those with a bachelor’s degree or higher) admitted to the United States.

One way to accomplish this, they suggest, would be to replace temporary employment visas with non-renewable, five-year provisional visas to the extent feasible, and provide visa holders the option of moving to LPR status. Also, recommended is increased oversight of temporary worker programs, including consideration of increased fees and intensified random post-hiring audits.

As a important step toward building an infrastructure of consensus on immigration topics the report calls for the creation of an independent agency, to be called the Standing Commission on Immigration. 'Composed of commissioners with lengthy, staggered terms (we suggest a minimum of seven years), and backed by a permanent staff of economists, demographers, and other social scientists, such a body,' the report suggests, ' could provide the kind of deliberative forum that immigration policy has lacked.'

According to the report the Commission would have a broad mandate to issue reports and studies on various aspects of immigration policy. It also would be specifically charged with recommending overall visa category ceilings to Congress every two years.

The report further advocates the creation of an Office of New Americans (ONA) within the Executive Office of the President to oversee and coordinate the various efforts at all levels of government critical to the success of immigrants and their children.'

Finally, the report urges the continued forging and strengthening of bilateral agreements with Mexico.

'Despite past difficulties,' the report says, 'the United States and Mexico now need to cooperate to address issues of mutual concern, particularly immigration. Even those in our group who would emphasize the primary importance of our responsibilities to our fellow citizens acknowledge the compelling moral and prudential nature of our obligations to our neighbors to the south, as well as around the globe. All in our group recognize the present opportunity to engage Mexico in reducing the cross-border flows of illegal drugs, guns, and migrants and in managing other areas of shared interest and responsibility.'

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Brookings policy statement is available online at: http://www.brookings.edu/reports/2009/1006_immigration_roundtable.aspx

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Healthcare reform may leave some legal migrants to U.S. in limbo
By Tim Gaynor
Reuters, October 14, 2009

Immigration, particularly what to do with millions of illegal immigrants living in the shadows, has long been a divisive issue in the United States — so it comes as little surprise that undocumented migrants are excluded from benefits under President Barack Obama’s signature drive to overhaul healthcare.

But legislation to reform the $2.5 trillion U.S. healthcare system to cut costs, extend coverage and regulate insurers could also exclude more than a million legal permanent residents living, working and paying taxes in this country of immigrants from core benefits, according to a study published this month.

The report by the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute said 4.2 million lawful permanent residents in the United States are uninsured. More than 1 million of them could be excluded from Medicaid coverage or insurance subsidies outlined in the bill — five versions of which are currently on Capitol Hill — if Congress does not remove a five-year waiting period for eligibility.

Congress is set to debate the legislation in coming weeks, and the prospects for the overhaul are far from certain. But if legal residents are denied eligibility for Medicaid and insurance subsidies, yet are nevertheless subjected to mandates requiring them to buy health insurance coverage, the study concluded, many of them would face a 'significant burden.'
'Leaving large numbers of legal immigrants out of healthcare reform would defeat the core goal of the legislation, which is to extend coverage to the nation’s 46 million uninsured,' said MPI Senior Vice President Michael Fix, who co-authored the report.

The study also concluded that implementing verification systems to ensure that 12 million undocumented immigrants living and working in the United States do not receive benefits could prove expensive and may also discriminate against Americans.

'Document checks would be especially costly, and would have the biggest impact on U.S. citizens who cannot produce birth certificates or other forms of ID, leading to lost or delayed coverage,' said Marc Rosenblum, a co-author of the MPI study.

The measures denying undocumented immigrants benefits are likely to be welcomed by most Americans — one telephone survey in June found 80 percent of U.S. voters opposed providing government healthcare coverage to undocumented migrants. But activists say a bill that left many legal permanent residents in limbo would likely discourage some skilled migrants from seeking to move to the United States.

Aman Kapoor, the founder and president of advocacy group Immigration Voice said many high-skilled immigrants including engineers and software specialists were already wary about moving to the United States because of red tape and delays in processing applications for permanent residency.

'This will ring the alarm bells again around the world for the high-skilled community,' Kapoor said, adding that skilled foreign workers were 'already considering other destinations like India, China and Brazil because the hassle of settling here has increased dramatically.'

EDITOR’S NOTE: The MPI report is available online at: http://www.migrationpolicy.org/pubs/healthcare-Oct09.pdf

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Snapshot of 2 immigrant groups
Regional Brazilian, Dominican report to raise more legal, health questions
By Maria Sacchetti
The Boston Globe, October 15, 2009

A new comparison of two of the region’s largest immigrant groups suggests that Brazilians are more likely to be uninsured and to suffer high levels of stress than immigrants from the Dominican Republic.

Brazilians were also far more likely to be here illegally and less likely to file income taxes, according to the findings to be presented today at Boston City Hall.

The authors say that the study offers the first statistically credible estimates of the legal status, health, and integration of immigrants in a seven-county labor market in Eastern Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire and that the results raise major policy questions for federal, state, and local officials.

The Patrick administration is to unveil an ambitious proposal Nov. 17 to better integrate immigrants into the state, and Congress is expected to debate whether to allow the nation’s 12 million illegal immigrants to apply for legal residency.

'I think we provide the most authoritative evidence to date on things that people have only talked about anecdotally,’’ said the principal investigator, Enrico Marcelli, an associate professor at San Diego State University who launched the project in 2007, when he worked at Harvard University and the University of Massachusetts at Boston. 'I’m sure not everybody’s happy about this.’’

The most controversial finding is that an estimated 71 percent of Brazilians are living illegally in the region, compared with 8 percent of Dominicans. Children in both groups were overwhelmingly here legally.

Many Brazilians worry that the study will fuel a backlash against illegal immigrants and overshadow the study’s broader findings that Brazilians lack health insurance and work in low-wage jobs. 'Our concern was this is not the most important finding of the study,’’ said a Brazilian leader who declined to be identified because he is critical of the study.

But others said the findings cried out for creating a path to legal residency for Brazilians, a group that has become the second-largest individual group in Massachusetts, after Chinese immigrants. Dominicans are the third-largest group, according to the census.

'If these numbers are true, that speaks to the emergency need for immigration reform and getting people legalized,’’ said Eva Millona, executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition.

Those who oppose illegal immigration say the study casts doubt on the benefits of offering illegal immigrants legal residency, since Dominican immigrants are still struggling despite their legal status.

'It’s not necessarily improving their prospects or success in the United States so much,’’ said Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies.

The study - funded by the National Institutes of Health, the University of Massachusetts Boston, and the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation - examined 2007 census figures and other data for immigrants in Suffolk, Essex, Middlesex, Plymouth, and Norfolk counties in Massachusetts and Rockingham and Strafford Counties in Southern New Hampshire, a region that is a federally designated labor market.

The study is also based on home interviews with more than 600 immigrants, in which interviewers asked about everything from immigrants’ marital status to their Internet usage. The project is a joint effort of Harvard and UMass-Boston and two community groups, the Brazilian Immigrant Center and the Dominican Development Center. The interviewers were all immigrants themselves, Marcelli said.

The findings, presented in two reports, present both grim and hopeful statistics about each community.

Dominicans arrived first in the 1960s, after the assassination of dictator Rafael Trujillo, while Brazilians arrived in large numbers in the 1990s, after the 1986 amnesty for illegal immigrants in the United States, which helps explain why so many are here illegally.

Each group is estimated at 64,000 in the region, which Marcelli said is higher than census estimates.

Both groups overwhelmingly told researchers that they came here to work, and they have been credited with revitalizing cities and towns, from Brazilian shops in downtown Framingham to Dominicans who now dominate Lawrence, where an immigrant, state Representative William Lantigua, is a leading contender to be the city’s first Latino mayor.

Only 8 percent of Dominicans and 1 percent of Brazilians relied on welfare. Eighty percent of Dominicans paid income taxes, but only half of Brazilians did.

Each group also faces serious obstacles in their quest for the American dream.

They work low-wage jobs; Dominicans earned $25,500 a year on average while Brazilians earned more than $29,000.

A majority do not speak English well, and both groups suffered above-average levels of psychological stress: 7.3 percent of Brazilian adults and 4.1 percent of Dominican adults experienced 'serious psychological distress,’’ compared with 2.9 percent of adults nationally.

About 60 percent of Brazilians lacked health insurance, along with 20 percent of Dominicans.

A potential barrier to integrating immigrants, besides language, are the varying levels of trust in the government and the knowledge of existing services to help immigrants.

Brazilians tended to have more trust in the US government than in their own: 51 percent trusted the government to do the right thing, compared with 23 percent of Dominicans.

Magalis Troncoso, director of the Dominican Development Center, said the report will help them better organize and provide resources that immigrants need.

'Our goal is to use the results and reflect to start to organize the Dominican community,’’ Troncoso said. 'I don’t think you can organize if you do not really know the situation and the needs of the community.’’


Report: More Brazilian, Dominican Immigrants Than Previously Thought
By Bob Oakes
The WBUR News (Boston), October 15, 2009

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Some police agencies resist new immigration controls
By Emily Bazar
USA Today, October 15, 2009

Some state and local police are having second thoughts about working with the federal government to enforce immigration laws.

Under what's known as the 287(g) program, agencies sign a voluntary agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and are trained to check legal status of prisoners and crime suspects, and to initiate deportations. The contract can specify enforcement in jail, in the community or both.

Several police agencies have complained that new rules set by the Obama administration would cost too much time and money and, in some cases, damage their relationship with immigrants.

The Framingham Police Department in Massachusetts ended its contract Oct. 1 because the new agreement would have given officers a more active role in deporting illegal immigrants, which its budget won't allow, Lt. Paul Shastany said. The department originally joined 287(g) to have access to ICE databases for criminal investigations, he said.

Houston probably won't join the program, said Frank Michel, Mayor Bill White's spokesman.

The contract 'requires that we essentially train officers to be immigration enforcement officers on the street,' Michel said. If crime victims 'fear that we will snatch them up and deport them off the street, we find we don't have the level of trust we need.'

The city is considering a different ICE program that is mainly information-sharing, not enforcement.

The new contract urges a focus on immigrants in jail, or convicted or arrested in drug or violent crimes, not those linked to minor offenses like traffic violations, ICE spokesman Richard Rocha said.

Wednesday was the deadline for new contracts. Until then, 66 agencies participated and 11 planned to join, Rocha said.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, which runs the program in its jail, is still in discussions with ICE. Supervisor Michael Antonovich has requested a 90-day extension, said Anna Pembedjian, his justice deputy.

'They want to increase the responsibility of the sheriff's department, and we are certainly concerned about that,' said sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore. He would not elaborate.

In the case of Arizona's Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, ICE limited the contract, the sheriff said.

The department is under investigation by the Justice Department for alleged racial profiling and discrimination on the basis of national origin. Arpaio has conducted controversial street sweeps targeting illegal immigrants.

Now ICE has stripped him of immigration authority outside the jail, Arpaio said. Rocha would not comment on that except to say, 'As Sheriff Arpaio knows, no final decisions have been made.'

Arpaio said he still will conduct sweeps under state law: 'It's against my principles to let illegal aliens just go out on the streets again,' he said. 'They're criminals.'


County signs on to agreement with ICE
By Uriah A. Kiser
The News and Messenger (Woodbridge, VA), October 14, 2009

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AG certifies illegal immigration ballot proposal
By Rob Moritz
The Arkansas News Bureau (Little Rock), October 14, 2009

Little Rock -- The Arkansas attorney general today certified the name and ballot title of a proposed constitutional amendment that would make it difficult for illegal immigrants to receive public benefits in the state.

The proposal also would require government agencies to verify that all those seeking public benefits in the state are U.S. residents.

'Boy, I’ve been waiting for this one,' said Jeannie Burlsworth, spokesman for Secure Arkansas, the group pushing the proposal.

Secure Arkansas proposed a similar amendment last year but failed to gather the necessary signatures to put it on the November 2008 ballot. The group also was unsuccessful during the 2009 legislative session in getting lawmakers to support such legislation.

The attorney general’s OK clears the group to begin canvassing. It has until July 2, 2010, to gather 77,468 signatures of registered voters necessary to qualify the measure for the November 2010 general election ballot.

'This proposal limits public benefits for illegal aliens and it also causes those state agencies to track the dollars that go out,' Burlsworth said. 'People are demanding a lot more accountability.'

Under the proposal, anyone 14 or older seeking public benefits from a state agency would be required to sign an oath saying they live legally in the United States and in Arkansas. Those caught lying could face perjury charges.

Verification of citizenship would not be required for emergency medical treatment, prenatal care or public school enrollment under the proposal.


Ark. AG certifies measure aimed at denying services to illegal immigrants
By Andrew DeMillo
The Associated Press, October 14, 2009

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Colo. Democrats seek illegal immigrant college tuition
By Steven K. Paulson
The Associated Press, October 14, 2009

Denver (AP) -- Colorado Democrats plan to take another run at a bill that would provide reduced tuition to the children of illegal immigrants by creating a new class of tuition that would not require state subsidies.

Sen. Paula Sandoval, D-Denver, said the measure, billed as the 'Workforce Development and Unsubsidized Tuition Act,' is a compromise that would avoid the pitfalls of the four or five previous failed attempts at passing legislation by creating a new, third tuition rate.

'We're wasting a lot of potential from these kids, investing significant amounts of money in public education and then we just let kids slip away once they graduate from high school,' said Sandoval, who plans to sponsor the measure in the Senate.

She said children of illegal immigrants are being forced to pay out-of-state tuition because they don't qualify for the state subsidy given to the children of parents who have paid state taxes for more than a year.

The House sponsor, state Rep. Joe Miklosi, D-Denver, said in a bill summary that the bill 'would empower Colorado, undocumented high school graduates who have attended at least three years at an accredited Colorado high school, stayed out of trouble, earned a good grade point average and been active members of their community' an opportunity to attend one of 30 institutions at instate tuition rates without using state scholarship funds.

Miklosi said the act would create educational opportunities for 200 to 500 children of illegal immigrants the first year and thousands more over the next decade who cannot afford a college degree.

Miklosi said the bill would provide $3.3 million to colleges the first year that they wouldn't otherwise receive.

Sen. Greg Brophy, R-Wray, said Democrats are being disingenuous when they claim no state subsidies would be required.

'Schools tell us it costs $16,000 to $20,000 to provide a year's worth of college to a student. If they're paying instate rates, they're still being subsidized by taxpayers,' Brophy said.

Miklosi said he's working with the University of Colorado and Colorado State University to adjust their enrollment caps 'so no documented students can claim a spot is being taken by an undocumented student.'

Last April, the Colorado Senate killed a proposal that would have allowed illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition at state colleges and universities.

Five Democrats joined with Republicans to defeat the bill in a 18-16 vote after a three-hour debate.

Senate Bill 170 would have allowed students who are in the country illegally and who have graduated from Colorado high schools to pay in-state tuition plus the cost of a state stipend that other Colorado students receive.

Backers said these students shouldn't be punished for the laws their parents broke in coming to the United States. Opponents argued it would have violated a federal law that bars states from offering illegal immigrants any benefit that's not given to citizens from other states.

Lawmakers then voted to change the bill to say it would take effect only if the federal law is changed through the DREAM Act pending in Congress, but that amended version was defeated.

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Portland council endorses federal proposal to offer legal status to immigrant students
By Gosia Wozniacka
The Oregonian (Portland), October 14, 2009

Inspired by watching a film about undocumented youth, the Portland City Council passed a resolution Wednesday supporting a federal proposal to grant legal status to undocumented youth.

The proposed legislation, known as the Dream Act, would offer residency to most students who came to the United States at age 15 or younger, are of good moral character and graduate from U.S. high schools. To qualify, undocumented students would have to go to college or serve in the U.S. military.

The idea for the resolution was born after Commissioner Nick Fish and his senior policy advisor, Carmen Caballero Rubio, attended last month's screening of 'Papers,' a Portland-produced documentary about the plight of youth who turn 18 and become deportable, cannot drive or work, and are ineligible for in-state tuition or financial aid.

Fish was struck by the stories, Rubio said, and met with the film's producers, some of whom are Portland youth with no legal status. Because the issue affects students in Portland schools, Fish convinced Commissioner Amanda Fritz and Mayor Sam Adams to put forward the resolution. It passed 4-0, with Commissioner Randy Leonard absent.

Though the Dream Act — Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act — is a proposed federal law, commissioners hope the resolution will raise awareness and put a local face to the issue.

Multnomah County Commissioner Jeff Cogen plans to introduce a similar resolution at the end of October.

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Border crimes distract prosecutors from white collar fraud
By Mike Sunnucks
The Phoenix Business Journal, October 15, 2009

Unscrupulous real estate lenders, buyers and investment brokers who dot the local landscape might want to send a little thank you note to Mexican drug cartels and smuggling rings. That’s because the latter is distracting prosecutors and police resources.

Lee Stein, a white collar defense attorney with the Phoenix office of the Perkins Coie Brown & Bain law firm, said prosecutors are interested in pursuing all kinds of white collar cases — from Medicare and mortgage scams and Ponzi schemes to fraud related to the stimulus program. The rise in such crimes is a reaction to the economy, said Stein, a former federal prosecutor.

But that interest does not translate to reality for states that border Mexico. Drug trafficking, organized crime, smuggling and immigration cases take up a huge portion police and prosecutor resources in states such as Arizona.

'It’s sucking up a lot of the resources out of it,' said Stein.

John Tuchi, who served as interim U.S. Attorney for Arizona earlier this year and heads the federal prosecutor office’s criminal division, said border-related crimes the focus of prosecutions in states that border Mexico. There are 94 U.S. Attorney offices in the U.S. and the five that border Mexico account for 34 percent of all prosecutions because of drug smuggling and illegal immigration cases, he said. In Arizona the for the first half of 2009 there were 40 major federal fraud indictments compared to 1,600 felony indictments related to the border, trafficking and drugs, Tuchi said. The U.S. Attorney’s Office also is responsible for prosecuting felony cases on Indian reservations. It has a dozen white collar attorneys in Arizona and 15 dedicated to immigration and border cases.

Arizona and Phoenix are a main conduit into the U.S. for drugs and illegal immigrants from Mexico. The problem has intensified as Mexican drug cartels are embroiled in a violent turf war despite the fact that the U.S. recession may have reduced the number of undocumented workers entering Arizona.

In response, the U.S. government has increased federal police and legal manpower. At the local level, Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas and Sheriff Joe Arpaio have taken an aggressive stance on illegal immigration and smuggling.

Thomas spokesman Michael Scerbo said the County Attorney’s office does not break out numbers for white collar fraud cases that involve businesses. Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard has been going after mortgage fraud and predatory lending and is pursuing other white collar cases, but has limited resources compared to larger states such as California. It eliminated 49 positions this year because of state budget cuts.

Tuchi said drug and smuggling cases are often easier to prosecute than complex fraud and embezzlement charges. 'It just takes a lot more time to work up,' Tuchi said.

The federal attorney said juries can easily grasp cases when someone is caught with 5 kilograms of cocaine in the trunk of their car. 'The jury pretty much knows what the intent was,' Tuchi said. Joe Epps, a forensic accountant and president of Epps CPA Consulting PLLC, said the focus on border-related crimes over white collar often starts with police investigators. Frauds involving $12,000 or more ranks a Class 2 felony, the same as assaults and rapes, he said.

The key to a fraud prosecution is to find victims and build a case that resonates with investigators and the public, Epps said. 'What police will often say if there is not a victim there is no crime.'

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Candidates debate at third Waltham Town Hall forum
By Jessica Rudis
The Boston Globe, October 15, 2009

At-Large City Council candidates answered audience questions Wednesday night at the fourth Waltham Town Hall 2009 forum. The questions covered a range of topics, from immigration to an ordinance banning ownership of pet hens in the city.

Candidates Paul Brasco, Diane LeBlanc, Eugene O’Brien, and Ken Doucette answered a total of 10 questions, all submitted anonymously by audience members on note cards. Candidates David Marcou and Howard Rock did not attend; Marcou had not confirmed his attendence, and Rock was scheduled to be there but did not show up, according to event organizer Alex Green.

Although the candidates were instructed to speak about their own opinions and avoid addressing each other, there were a few slight jabs exchanged between Brasco and O’Brien.

In his responses to numerous questions, O’Brien said the town should stop talking and start working on making changes. Talking about the condition of the city's web site, he asked why it has taken so long to improve it and called for it to be upgraded immediately. 'Let’s get it done. There are no excuses,' he said.

Brasco agreed that improvements to the site are necessary, but rebuked O’Brien’s call to action.

'The problem with getting up here … to tell you, ‘we can get it done! We’ll be able to get it done!’ is that behind those words ‘get it done’ is money,' Brasco said. 'The IT department’s been drastically cut over these past few years, so therefore they’re working with minimal resources to be able to get the job done.'

An unusual question about owning hens in Waltham drew a consensus from the candidates; each said they support the right to own hens, despite an ordinance banning them.

'Hen yes, rooster no,'' Doucette said, laughing. 'This is where government and having meetings like this is so tremendous. Because you can bring forward ideas like the hen and then us as elected officials can take it back to city hall.''

On immigration, every candidate agreed that Waltham is strengthened by its diversity and noted that opportunities exist within the town for new immigrants to learn English.

LeBlanc said she has taken efforts to reach out to immigrant communities in Waltham, such as printing campaign materials in both English and Spanish.

A self-described 'breezer,' meaning a person who was not born and raised in Waltham, LeBlanc said she believes it is important to reach out to all people in Waltham, not just those born in the city.

'It is important that we actively engage this community,' she said, 'and get them interested.'

Doucette agreed that the immigrant community brings strength in diversity, but noted that it is difficult for the school system to accommodate students who don’t speak English.

'That’s one of the biggest challenges that we have, since we have all those kids that we’re trying to educate. They deserve an education just like everyone else does,' Doucette said.

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State program teaches agriculture to homeless veterans
By Jennifer Youssef
The Detroit News, October 15, 2009

A new program is preparing homeless veterans in Michigan for careers in agriculture.

Veterans to Agriculture -- which administrators say is the only program of its kind in the country -- began in September when the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth partnered with Michigan State University under the state's No Worker Left Behind initiative to train veterans for agricultural jobs.

The program graduated its first class of 14 early this month. Five participants started jobs at a Christmas tree farm near Cadillac this week and others will be placed elsewhere as positions open.

Alastair Heade, a 44-year-old Navy veteran who served in Desert Storm and became homeless after his home was foreclosed, can't wait to begin working. He said going through the program helped him emotionally and gave him the skills to pursue a well-paying career.

'Just the experience of being outside, getting back with your original self,' was a boost, Heade said.

The four-week program's curriculum, which was developed by MSU's Institute of Agricultural Technology and is taught by MSU staff and agriculture professionals, includes lessons on soil science and equipment operation. Trainees also learn conversational Spanish so they can communicate with migrant workers.

The program is targeting veterans living in homeless shelters, but may open up to all veterans, said Mike Wofford, operations manager at the veterans' division of the state's Bureau of Workforce Transformation. Graduates also can get jobs with different types of agricultural employers such as golf courses and landscaping companies.

Veterans were considered for the program because they have leadership skills, can follow and give orders, have mechanical skills and are physically fit, Wofford said. And, many farms have temporary housing for their migrant work force where the homeless veterans can stay.

'It was a natural fit for us,' Wofford said.
New career prospects

Veterans often have difficulty finding work and the program is a way to reincorporate them into the workforce, said recent graduate Antonio Smith, 47, who spent three years in the Army. Financial hardship forced him to move into an emergency housing shelter in Detroit.

He will earn $8 to $10 an hour at the job at Dutchman Farms LLC he started this week.

'To be honest with you, the money attracted me at first, but as I found out about the program, it became more important to me,' Smith said. 'This is an opportunity for us to make the program a success for other veterans.'

Army veteran Clinton Boyd, 45, became homeless after losing his job as a welder at an auto parts company in April 2008. He'd been living at the Michigan Veterans Foundation in Detroit for six months when he was chosen for the new program.

He said it opened his eyes to career opportunities he'd never considered before.

'I thought agriculture only had to do with dirt,' Boyd said. 'But it's so much more.'
Employers positive

The program is getting support from growers and industry leaders.

'We think it's nice to hire local people and give back to those who served the country,' said Marsha Gray, executive director of the Michigan Christmas Tree Association in Howell. Growers who know about the program are responding positively, she said.

Jerry Peterson, owner of Peterson's Riverview Nursery in Allegan, said he was impressed by the vets' interest in the industry and the work when they visited his business.

'They were eager to learn (and) they asked lots of questions,' he said. 'We don't need help now, but, boy, if we did, we would hire them in a heartbeat.'

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County's proof-of-citizenship policy even gives disabled vets a hard time
Forced to prove legal status under state law some term 'ridiculous'.
By Jeremiah Stettler
The Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City), October 15, 2009

They slogged through the rice paddies of Vietnam. They rumbled amid roadside bombs in Iraq. They took bullets in Afghanistan.

Now these disabled military veterans, thousands of them, are being asked to prove they are Americans -- if they want to remain -- on Salt Lake County's tax-relief rolls.

That's the head-scratching side effect of a stricter immigration law, known as SB81, passed by the Utah Legislature in 2008 that requires governments to verify that those receiving a 'public benefit' are living in the country legally.

Disabled military veterans aren't exempt from that law, according to Salt Lake County.

So the Treasurer's Office sent notices early this year to more than 3,500 wounded or ill veterans requiring them to attest to their U.S. citizenship or provide paperwork proving their legal status to qualify for a property-tax break.

'These guys have gone through enough in their lives,' said Terry Schow, executive director of the Utah Department of Veteran Affairs. 'Don't place an extra burden on disabled veterans by requiring them to jump through these hoops.'

Schow knows of no other Utah counties taking this tack with SB81.

But County Treasurer Larry Richardson argues he simply followed the law. The Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office advised him that property-tax relief -- even for disabled vets -- is a public benefit.

'If there is something I'm supposed to do to comply with the law, I'm going to do it,' he said. 'That is what I call integrity.'

Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, calls it a gross misinterpretation of SB81, which he co-sponsored almost two years ago. The intent, he says, was to ensure that undocumented immigrants aren't accessing public benefits such as food stamps, not to pile paperwork on veterans.

'That is absolutely appalling,' Noel said. 'What in the world were they thinking?'

The trouble is, the law leaves room for interpretation.

'It was clear that those receiving benefits needed to prove residency,' District Attorney Lohra Miller told the County Council this week. 'As ridiculous as the result might be, that was the intent. It was not ambiguous.'

So veterans such as Johnnie Janes, who battles cancer because of his exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam, has to verify under threat of perjury that, yes, he's an American.

Janes refused to fill out the paperwork.

'I immediately took offense to it,' said Janes, who heads the state's Veterans Advisory Council. 'Having volunteered to serve in the armed forces, I felt there was no reason to verify that I was a legal alien.'

Although Janes worries that the county will withhold his tax break, Richardson said Wednesday he has no plans -- at least this time around -- to revoke benefits from those who didn't verify their legal status.

Salt Lake County Council Chairman Joe Hatch characterized the $3,300 mass mailing as an 'enormous waste of government dollars' that placed an undue burden on veterans.

But what's done is done. Richardson said the only disabled vets who will have to respond to the question about living in the United States in the future are those applying for benefits for the first time.

So far, officials have found no disabled vets in Salt Lake County who are in the United States unlawfully. It's hardly a surprising outcome, given that the military doesn't recruit people who aren't citizens or legal residents.

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Exonerated Cuban immigrant seeks US residency
The Associated Press, October 15, 2009

Miami (AP) -- Former Attorney General Janet Reno is backing the U.S. residency bid of a Cuban immigrant imprisoned for a sexual assault he didn't commit.

Orlando Boquete was one of thousands of Cubans who fled the island to South Florida during the 1980 Mariel boatlift. He was wrongfully convicted three years later.

Boquete escaped from prison after 13 years, and DNA testing exonerated him in 2006. But he admitted that while on the lam he committed several felonies, including burglary, making him ineligible for residency and citizenship.

In a letter to immigration officials, Reno urged discretion in Boquete's case given his years of wrongful incarceration.

Officials agreed not to deport him, but he could be sent back if the U.S. and Cuba renew relations.

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Federal Trial Starts for Ex-Manager of Kosher Plant
Rubashkin Faces 91 Counts; Lawyer Says 'Sloppy' Business Practices Weren't Crimes
By Lauren Etter
The Wall Street Journal, October 15, 2009

Sioux Falls, SD -- Federal prosecutors Wednesday accused a former manager of defunct meatpacker Agriprocessors Inc. of cheating a bank, laundering money and destroying evidence during opening arguments here.

Sholom Rubashkin, 49 years old, was a vice president at the largest kosher meatpacking plant in the U.S. before the company sought bankruptcy protection last year. He is facing 91 criminal counts, including bank fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering, making false statements to a bank and willful violations of an order by the secretary of agriculture.
[Rubashkin] Associated Press

Sholom Rubashkin, former manager of the Agriprocessors plant in Postville, Iowa, is taken into federal court in Cedar Rapids in 2008.

Mr. Rubashkin's lead defense attorney, Guy Cook, called Mr. Rubashkin an 'honest family man' who was in over his head in a complex business. Mr. Rubashkin, a Hasidic Jew, was trained as a rabbi, not a businessman, he said, and any 'sloppy' business practices that might have occurred don't amount to crimes.

Troubles at the company started in May 2008, when federal immigration officers raided the plant and arrested nearly 400 undocumented workers. In October 2008, Mr. Rubashkin was arrested and charged with conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens, document fraud and aggravated identity theft. The government later added charges, including bank fraud.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles J. Williams said in court that Mr. Rubashkin 'repeatedly lied' to his lender about his company's financial health and 'reassured the bank that Agriprocessors was in full compliance with the law.'

At the same time, the prosecutor alleged, Mr. Rubashkin was violating federal laws, including harboring undocumented workers and ripping off cattle suppliers.

In his opening argument, Mr. Cook told the 12-member jury that 'the story you heard [from the government] is not fully accurate.' They 'used charged words...for a purpose: to shock and awe you, to divert you from the truth,' Mr. Cook said

Mr. Rubashkin, wearing the traditional long beard and black trousers of the Hasidic, sat stoically through about 90 minutes of arguments. His wife and nearly 20 other family members and supporters -- some of whom had traveled 22 hours by bus from Brooklyn, N.Y. -- crammed into the seats behind him. 'The big hats will need to come off,' a court guard told the group several times in reference to their Hasidic attire.

Agriprocessors was based in Postville, Iowa, and the trial was originally scheduled to be held in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. A federal judge moved it to Sioux Falls after Mr. Rubashkin's attorneys argued that pretrial publicity would prevent a fair trial in Iowa.

Agriprocessors was opened in rural Postville in the late 1980s by Mr. Rubashkin's father, Aaron Rubashkin. The elder Rubashkin, a kosher butcher who had emigrated from Russia, saw opportunity in restarting a shuttered plant near a plentiful supply of cattle.

But Agriprocessors filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November 2008, leaving the U.S. with a temporary shortage of kosher meat. The company recently was sold to SHF Industries.

Specifically, the government says Mr. Rubashkin engineered a scheme that illegally diverted millions of dollars in customer payments away from First Bank Business Capital Inc., a subsidiary of St. Louis-based First Bank, which had issued him a $35 million revolving line of credit. A First Bank spokeswoman declined to comment, citing the bank's policy of not commenting on pending litigation.

Rather than depositing payments into a depository account, as a loan agreement required, the government claims Mr. Rubashkin put funds in a separate account used for his business. He then allegedly used third parties, including a kosher grocer and a Torah education program, to 'launder' the funds to make it appear as if Agriprocessors had more funds coming in than were actually available.

The government also alleges that Mr. Rubashkin made false statements to the bank by assuring officials he was in compliance with federal law. Rather, Mr. Williams said, Mr. Rubashkin was violating the federal Packers and Stockyards Act by failing to promptly pay cattle suppliers.

Mr. Rubashkin's lawyer characterized Agriprocessors as a 'true American success story' that contributed to charity and helped boost Postville's economy. He argued that Mr. Rubashkin's bank 'turned a blind eye' to any disorganized business practices and 'was happy to lend money' because the Rubashkins always made their loan payments.

The trial is expected to last four to six weeks. Mr. Rubashkin is then expected to be tried on an additional 72 charges involving his alleged hiring of illegal immigrants.

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Couple with hemophiliac son get deportation delay
The Associated Press, October 14, 2009

Detroit (AP) -- The government has granted a one-week reprieve to a Detroit-area couple who have been fighting deportation to Bangladesh because of their son's hemophilia.

Lawyer Cari Pastor Cardinale (CAR'-dee-nahl) will use the time to ask a federal appeals court to stop the proceedings while the Board of Immigration Appeals looks at the case.
. . .

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US marshals take Texas bomb plot suspect's brother
By Anabelle Garay
The Associated Press, October 14, 2009

Dallas (AP) -- The teenage brother of a Jordanian man accused of trying to bomb a Dallas skyscraper is being held in California as a material witness in the case, officials said Wednesday.
. . .

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8 arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking and human smuggling
The ring, with ties to the Drew Street clique of the Avenues gang, is alleged to have smuggled more than 200 illegal immigrants into the United States a year.
By Andrew Blankstein
The Los Angeles Times, October 15, 2009

Federal authorities have arrested eight people, and were seeking a ninth, with ties to the Drew Street clique of the Avenues gang on suspicion of drug trafficking and human smuggling.

Agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement served warrants Wednesday morning and Tuesday night at locations in the Imperial Valley and Los Angeles.

One of the sites in the 2800 block of Avenue 34 in northeast Los Angeles was the base for the smuggling ring and served as a 'drop house' before illegal immigrants were taken to their final locations, ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice said in a statement.
. . .

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Mexican Illegal Immigrant Badly Beaten In Brooklyn
Devastated Wife Asks For Witnesses To Come Forward; Woodhull Hospital Under Fire Over Initial Treatment
By Pablo Guzman
The WCBS News (NYC), October 14, 2009

NYC -- An illegal immigrant was fighting for his life Wednesday night.

Mario Vera was taking home a bag of groceries from a church food pantry when he was attacked by two or three men saying, 'wetback, go home.'

On Wednesday his wife made an emotional plea for witnesses to come forward.
. . .

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African Immigrant Found Guilty of Human Trafficking
The Associated Press, October 14, 2009

Newark, NJ (AP) -- A Togolese woman accused of forcing girls from Africa to work in New Jersey hair braiding salons for no pay has been convicted of human trafficking and visa fraud in a case her lawyer says highlighted African cultural norms that failed to translate in America.
. . .

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Overseas News

Support the Center for Immigration Studies by donating on line here: http://cis.org/donate

ATTN Federal employees: The Center's Combined Federal Campaign number is 10298.

[For CISNEWS subscribers --

1. Canada: Gov’t taking steps to protect foreign workers
2. Canada: Local pols accused of exploiting immigration program
3. Canada: Taser manufacturer denies responsibility for Pole's '07 death (link)
4. Canada: Mexican cop loses asylum appeal (link)
5. Mexico: Illegal immigration poses problems similar to those faced by U.S.
6. U.K.: Nationalists to open party to minorities
7. Germany: Berlin elementary school guarantees classes in German language
8. Israel: Interior minister defends expulsion of minors
9. Sri Lanka: Gov't unable to stem flow of illegals to Australia (2 stories)
10. S. Korea: New police unit to combat crime by foreigners
11. S. Korea: Group blasts pol for comments on foreign instructors
12. Indonesia: 2,000 Australia-bound illegals nabbed over two years (story, link)
13. Indonesia: Boat crew duped into smuggling illegals to Australia
14. Indonesia: Detained Australia-bound illegals begin hunger strike
15. Australia: PM stands behind 'hardline' stance (story, 4 links)
16. N.Z.: Licensing requirement shutting down immigrant support centers

Subscribe to CIS e-mail services here: http://cis.org/immigrationnews.html

-- Mark Krikorian]

Bad-employer blacklist to protect nannies
Harper government proposes tough new rules aimed at publicly shaming employers of foreign workers and ending bogus jobs
The Toronto Star (Canada), October 15, 2009

Employers who abuse foreign workers will be blacklisted and denied permission to hire another foreigner for two years, according to tough new regulations proposed by the Harper government.

Under the rules proposed by Ottawa, any employer shown to have violated the Temporary Foreign Workers Program and the Live-In Caregivers Program will have their names and addresses posted on a government website so foreign workers will know these employers are ineligible to hire them.

The government is also working on a 'robust package of measures to crack down on bogus immigration consultants,' said an aide to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.

The proposed federal changes come in the wake of Star investigations showing widespread abuse in both programs, chief among them being recruiters bringing foreign workers to Canada with bogus job offers, then shifting them into unauthorized work where employers pay them a fraction of what they were promised. The province has already announced its own action, saying in April it would crack down on recruiters who exploit nannies and other foreign workers.

The first proposal from Kenney's department deals with employers who hire workers under false pretenses. Breaches would include employers paying less than promised, inadequate accommodation and working conditions, and third parties charging fees that contravene provincial laws.

'Employers that abuse their foreign workers can and will be prevented from sponsoring new ones. This is an important punishment,' said Alykhan Velshi, an aide to the immigration minister.

The proposed regulations come as a result of consultations among the immigration department, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency, and all will likely play a role in any decision to deny employers foreign workers.

The proposed blacklist, or 'roll of shame' as some are calling it, would include information on anyone deemed to have made a bogus job offer in the preceding two years.

'It's a warning to companies and individuals that depend on foreign workers – treat them with respect, otherwise you will lose the ability to sponsor new foreign workers,' Velshi noted.

'Enforcing this will be a priority for immigration officials.'

The proposed changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act by the immigration department are posted online in the Canada Gazette and on the Immigration Canada website. Stakeholders across Canada have 60 days to comment before the government moves to implement the new rules.

Current regulations provide for a fine of up to $50,000 or imprisonment for up to two years for anyone who 'employs a foreign national in a capacity in which the foreign national is not authorized ... to be employed.' But a discussion paper accompanying the proposed amendments said those penalties are 'administratively burdensome and resource-intensive to apply. Imposing a denial of service on employers is a low-cost and effective response.'

Those penalties would remain in the act, said immigration spokesperson Nicolas Fortier.

The next step will involve the companies – called recruiters – who bring workers into the country. The Star found bogus recruiters bring in workers for fake jobs, collecting up to $10,000 in placement fees, then leave the workers without a job when they arrive.

While temporary-worker and caregiver programs are federally run, it is up to provinces to enforce their own labour laws once the foreign worker is in Canada.

The Ontario government plans to introduce legislation shortly that will ban placement fees for all foreign workers and regulate the nanny recruitment industry.

Last fall, the Star detailed the plight of 11 Filipino workers brought to Canada as welders and plumbers and told upon arrival their employer no longer wanted them. They were then spirited to a dilapidated farmhouse in Elmvale and put to work in a water bottling plant or made to clean stables and dig ditches. Instead of the $23 an hour they were promised, the workers were paid between $200 and $900 for six weeks' work. They were rescued after the Filipino consulate raided the farmhouse.

The RCMP investigated but did not lay any charges against either the recruiters who brought the men to Canada with the phony job offers, or the labour boss who exploited them. Most of the men had paid about $12,000 in placement fees to work in Canada.

The Star's investigation into the caregiver program revealed some nanny recruiters were charging between $5,000 and $10,000 for jobs that did not exist. Nanny advocates have long complained that the government chooses the easier route of deporting hapless workers caught working illegally rather than charging the recruiters or the employers.

Since 1999, the total number of temporary foreign workers entering Canada has nearly doubled, increasing from 107,217 in 1999 to 193,061 in 2008, with more than 40 per cent destined for Alberta and British Columbia. Service Canada also approved more than 30,000 applications for nannies in 2008.

The new regulations will put the onus on immigration officers overseas and Human Resources and Skills Development offices across the country to assess the validity of a job offer and determine whether a prospective employer has the means to pay the worker.

The Star investigation uncovered numerous examples of Service Canada officials approving nannies for 'phantom employers,' people on welfare, and in one case, giving permission to a 4-year-old girl to hire her own nanny.

'If you go to buy a fridge or a stove, the store will do a credit check on you,' said a Filipino consulate source. 'We've seen job contracts approved for caregivers where no one has checked on whether the employer even exists.'

The new regulations would also limit to four years in total the time temporary foreign workers can stay in Canada and prevents them from reapplying for at least six years.

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Ministers benefited from government program, Tories charge
The CBC News (Canada), October 15, 2009

The P.E.I. government is hiding the involvement of cabinet ministers in a controversial immigrant investor program, the

On Tuesday, Liberals on the public accounts committee blocked an opposition motion to have Auditor General Colin Younker reveal the names of all MLAs, past and present, who received money from potential immigrants from the provincial nominee program.

Tory MLA Jim Bagnall believes the order to block the motion came directly from Premier Robert Ghiz.

'It was obvious that they had their direction from the fifth floor [premier's office],' Bagnall told CBC News Wednesday.

'Robert Ghiz directed this committee to not allow this information to come forward.'

Younker has said there are 15 past and present MLAs who received investment money for businesses they owned from potential immigrants. Most of those names are known. Bagnall is after those last few, and believes there are cabinet ministers on the list whose business interests are held in blind trust.

'They can hide behind their blind trust all they want,' said Bagnall.

'To me it's a major conflict of interest.'

Government house leader Rob Vessey led the Liberal arguments in the public accounts committee not to release the list of names.

'I'm not going to sit here and put forward names for political aspirations for the opposition,' said Vessey.

He said there is a formal process for conflict of interest charges, and if the opposition has a problem it should go to the conflict of interest commissioner.

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Taser Maker Claim That Stun Gun Was Not The Cause Of Polish Migrant's Death Challenged By Victim's Mother
The All Headline News, October 15, 2009

Vancouver, British Columbia -- Taser International, the maker of electronic stun guns, told on Wednesday the Braidwood Commission probing the death of a Polish migrant medical and scientific research indicate the weapon was not the cause of Robert Dziekanski's death two years ago.

However, the victim's mother Zofia Cisowski challenged Taser International's claim and insisted the five hits with a total of 250,000 volts was the cause of her son's death at the Vancouver International Airport.

Taser International lawyer David Neave theorized the migrant's death was due to cardiac arrest triggered probably by stress and alcohol abuse. It took place while police restrained Dziekanski, who just arrived from Poland and was confused. Ironically, the manufacturer of the stun gun issued new recommendations this week for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to avoid hitting the chest and heart area of a person they are restraining to cut the risk of an adverse cardiac event.
. . .

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Canada rejects Mexican police officer's claim for asylum
By Michael Valpy
The Globe and Mail (Canada), October 14, 2009

His portrait was displayed on billboards in Ciudad Juarez as the new face of authority: trustworthy, respectful of human rights.

He had been honoured by the state governor of Chihuahua for solving cold-case murders of women and girls in a region notorious throughout the world for its feminicidios - more than 400 femicides in the past 10 years alone linked to sex crimes.

He could boast that everyone in the female-homicide unit of the state police that he commanded was incorruptible.

Yet none of those testaments to his uprightness was enough to make Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board believe him when he said in his claim for asylum that his life was at risk and Mexican authorities could not guarantee his safety.

The board ruled that Mexico wasn't dangerous enough for Mr. Gutierrez to have to leave.
. . .

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Mexico town split over Central American drifters
Migrants fall prey to kidnappers and worse while the Mexican government does little to protect them, rights groups say. But others say the migrants are forming criminal bands and should be deported.
By Tracy Wilkinson
The Los Angeles Times, October 15, 2009

Tultitlan, Mexico -- Gathered below an overpass on Independence Avenue, dressed in the multiple layers typical of homeless travelers, the migrants watched for the next northbound freight train through Tultitlan.

Many of them, mostly young men and boys, prepared to hop aboard, hobo-style, on an ever-more-precarious trip that might get them as far as the United States.

But fewer migrants are achieving that goal. Central Americans who for years have passed through Mexico en route to the U.S. are increasingly cutting their trips short as they run out of cash or become discouraged by fewer opportunities farther away from home.

The lingering presence of the migrants in this town, about an hour's drive outside Mexico City, is tearing the small community apart, with some residents providing migrants with food, clothes and aid and others complaining of their alleged crimes, plus a new local government maneuvering to get rid of them.

The treatment of immigrants has become a divisive and embarrassing issue for Mexico. A country that has historically sent millions of its own people to the U.S. and elsewhere in search of work, Mexico has proved itself less than hospitable to Central Americans following the same calling.

Church and human rights groups say the migrants passing through are falling prey to kidnappers, extortionists and killers while the Mexican government does little to protect them. The national Human Rights Commission says it has recorded, in the last three years, 10,000 kidnappings of migrants, who are most frequently seized by predatory gangs who demand money from the victims' families in their home countries.

In Tultitlan, migrants also complain of being beaten, rousted and robbed, often by police officers.

Jose Juan Hernandez, a state human rights officer, said he is investigating 30 formal complaints from the first half of this year. Hernandez, who regularly visits the migrants in their squalid, temporary encampments, provides water and tips on how not to fall into the hands of kidnappers and thieves.

'Very few want to stay in Mexico,' he said, adding that he sometimes sees women or entire families with children as young as 5 trying to make their way north. 'They suffer a lot and risk everything. They see the economic situation is bad here and they don't like the way they are treated.'

But many migrants stay because they fear that life would be worse in the U.S., where they could be arrested if caught after entering illegally and where job opportunities have withered. Money often is tight and many relatives in Central America or in the U.S. who might have helped are themselves strapped.

Hernandez has seen the number of arriving migrants increase by about 30% in the last year, with a huge uptick in Hondurans after the coup d'etat on June 28 that ousted their president and threw their country into political turmoil.

Among some residents of Tultitlan, there is sympathy. Nearly every day, bread distributor Jose Manzano drives by the knots of men sheltering under the overpass. When he can, he stops and hands out pallets of surplus bread from the trunk of his car.

'I see hunger, I see need, and I see gratitude in their eyes,' said Manzano, 55. 'If I can help a little, why not?'

Patricia Camarena, an activist who works with the advocacy group Apoyo al Migrante, or Migrant Support, also brings help and basic first aid. She scolded authorities for what she sees as historical inaction.

'I feel angry because how can Mexico ask for immigration reform [of the United States], as well as talk about human rights?' she said as she washed the feet of a young migrant and gave him a pair of fresh socks. 'I cannot stay quiet about what's happening.'

A new city administration that took office in August, however, feels differently. Mayor Marco Calzada said he wants the federal government to deport the migrants. When they were just passing through, it was a manageable problem, he said, but now large numbers are staying and forming criminal bands.

Officials say the Tultitlan municipality, with a population of more than 432,000, sees hundreds of immigrants arriving each week.

'The numbers are over the top,' Calzada said. 'They have invaded neighborhoods. They steal, they kidnap, they rape.'

City Hall is fielding complaints, the mayor added, but neither he nor his public security director, Jose Luis Medina, could provide statistics. Asked about complaints from migrants about police harassment and robbery, Medina would say only that about 10% of the previous municipal administration's police department was fired for abuse, corruption or other infractions.

Advocacy groups counter that the Central Americans are being made scapegoats for all local crime.

By the overpass, the migrants sit in small groups or around rudimentary campfires. Some beg, some use drugs and some pick up legitimate day labor.

'I don't want to go to the U.S. They arrest you there,' said Edil Alberto Perdomo, 24, of Honduras, who gets by on handouts. 'We aren't bothering anyone. We only want respect, we don't want problems. I want to remain here but be left in peace.'

Douglas Martinez, a 29-year-old Salvadoran with a green bandanna on his head, has stuck around to earn a bit of money working in a junkyard. He seemed to be something of a leader in the group, directing others to stand in line to receive donated water.

Martinez said he's been deported from the U.S. twice but still wants to try to reach Los Angeles to see his wife and children, who live there. 'You know the need to see your family,' he said.

Like Martinez, Kevin Eduardo, a 13-year-old Honduran, and many others said they were trying to reach the U.S. Whether they will make it is anyone's guess.

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U.K.'s BNP to Allow Nonwhite Members
The Associated Press, October 15, 2009

London (AP) -- The far-right British National Party agreed Thursday to change its constitution to let nonwhite people become members.

A government-backed rights body had taken the anti-immigration party to court, claiming the BNP's constitution is discriminatory.

At a court hearing Thursday, a lawyer for the party said leader Nick Griffin would ask members next month to change the constitution so it didn't discriminate on the grounds of race or religion.

In an order issued at the Central London County Court, the BNP agreed to use 'all reasonable endeavors' to revise its constitution to comply with the Equality Bill, which bans discrimination on the grounds of race, gender or religious belief.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission, which brought the case, said it would be watching to see whether the BNP complied. 'Political parties, like any other organization, are obliged to respect the law and not discriminate against people,' said the commission's John Wadham.

The BNP has recently sought to shed its extreme image and enter the political mainstream. The party in June won two seats in the European Parliament -- its first electoral success. With recession in full swing, the BNP was able to tap into fears of unemployment and unease about years of large-scale immigration.

Richard Barnbrook, the party's representative on the London Assembly, said he believed members would vote to change the constitution, because 'trying to fight this court case would bankrupt the party and we have more important issues to deal with, including elections.'

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Berlin school offers German-language guarantee in immigrant heavy district
The Local (German), October 15, 2009

An elementary school in Berlin’s multicultural Wedding district has announced it will offer a class with a 'German guarantee' to keep the overwhelmingly immigrant student body from deterring enrollment.

During an open-house introduction on Thursday, organisers at the Gustav-Falke elementary school explained that the model class with top-level facilities will only be open to children who pass a German proficiency test.

School director Karin Müller is actively recruiting students from Berlin’s posh Mitte district – just a few blocks away from the school, but miles away from Wedding's struggles with integration. At first parents resisted the idea for fear of alienating other students with an 'elite class,' but she says interest is growing.

'We asked the parents exactly what they wanted from their schools,' Müller said. 'And that’s exactly what we’re offering.'

Wedding parents agree that the more German-speaking students who attend the school, the better, she said.

The class will have between 24 and 28 students – half of whom must have a German-language background.

'It won’t be an elite class,' Müller said, adding that the other classes will also soon take part in group projects with the 'German guarantee' kids.

The city’s education administration has welcomed the idea, and Mayor Klaus Wowereit called it a 'trendsetting initiative.' Nearby schools are also said to be considering similar programmes after the state parents’ committee recommended the concept in multicultural neighbourhoods labouring to help children successfully integrate.

But 'German guarantee' programme at Gustav-Falke will only launch if enough students enroll in November.

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Yishai: Migrant workers using their children to stay in Israel
The Jerusalem Post, October 15, 2009

Interior Minister Eli Yishai on Thursday defended his decision to deport some 1,200 children of illegal foreign workers from the country, saying that the migrant workers were 'using their children in order to stay in Israel.'

'Let's not have naive, bleeding hearts,' Yishai told Army Radio. 'The parents of the foreign children are using their kids and turning them into a talisman to secure their continued stay in the country. The workers tell their children what to say in order to stay in Israel, and do not want to return to their real homes,' he said.

'If the migrant workers' children will not be deported, labor immigrants will continue to exploit the state's kindness and will go on laundering their visas. Every country in the world must know we are not asylum state,' he added.

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Sri Lanka 'unable to stop migrant outflow'
Agence France Presse, October 16, 2009

SRI Lanka said it was unable to prevent migrants leaving the country, as Indonesia intercepted a boatload of asylum seekers from the island heading for Australia.

Media minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said the Government could not 'stop people from getting into a boat and seeking greener pastures in another country'.

But he told reporters officials were trying to discourage such trips.

A boat carrying about 250 ethnic Tamil refugees was stopped on Sunday on its way to Australia.

The refugees were still on the vessel overnight and said they had started a hunger strike.


Aid given to Sri Lanka to stem people smuggling
By Yuko Narushima and Jonathan Pearlman
The Sydney Morning Herald, October 16, 2009

Australia is preparing to provide police assistance to Sri Lanka to help combat people smuggling, including training for local officers. The Government is also paying Indonesia to hold more asylum seekers in Indonesia.

The Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O'Connor, said yesterday that he had discussed measures with the Sri Lankan Defence Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, at an Interpol meeting in Singapore this week. Thousands of refugees have fled Sri Lanka since a military campaign against Tamil separatists this year, and many remain in refugee camps.

Mr O'Connor said the Australian Federal Police could support training for Sri Lankan police officers and provide logistical aid, such as computers, cameras and evidence collection kits.

A spokesman for Mr O'Connor said: ''This was an especially productive meeting … Australia will provide the Sri Lankan Government much needed resources to assist Sri Lankan authorities to combat people smuggling.''

The AFP is setting up a liaison post in Sri Lanka as part of a $48 million people-smuggling program announced this year.

Over the next four years Australia will pay Indonesia more than $14 million to help stop asylum seekers coming here, including $1 million to ''enhance capacity'' at its two detention centres and $5 million for community housing.

The funding adds to at least $70 million poured into the partnership over the past 10 years.

In the past, Australia has refurbished two detention centres in Jakarta and Tanjung Pinang at a cost of $7.7 million. That was in 2007. It has also funded a range of border staff to study English and take post-graduate courses in Australia, an upgrade of the nation's border alert system and training for officials to identify false documents.

Another $1 million over the next two years would help Indonesia ''enhance its detention capacity'', a spokesman for the Immigration Department said.

A further $5 million would provide community housing for intercepted irregular migrants in Indonesia, he said. Another $8 million, announced earlier, would support outreach offices around Indonesia, near the main people smuggling routes.

Yesterday the Immigration Minister, Chris Evans, said he was confident Indonesia would treat asylum seekers humanely. He acknowledged Australia could not meet the demand of people seeking safe haven worldwide. ''The numbers are huge. They come in around 11 million people, and the reality is we've got to find durable solutions in home countries or in transit countries.''

The Opposition Leader, Malcolm Turnbull, said the Government's policies had filled Christmas Island to overflowing.

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Anti-Foreign Crime Unit to Be Launched
By Kim Hyun-cheol
The Korea Times, October 15, 2009

According to an MBC report Thursday, a special investigation team will be formed to fight crimes committed by foreigners here, led by the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office.

MBC said the decision was made at a meeting of law and order-related officials at Cheong Wa Dae. Police officers will be part of the team which will be led by a senior prosecutor.

The establishment of the team was pushed following reports that the number of crimes by foreigners is rising.

The team will focus on foreign gangsters and drug traffickers as well as those involved in other serious crimes.

An unnamed official from the Seoul Immigration Office confirmed that the team's launch followed an instruction from the presidential office.

The special team, however, is expected to face strong opposition from civic groups, concerned that it may undermine foreigners' human rights.

The number of crimes committed by foreigners jumped to 34,000 last year, from 12,000 in 2004. The Korean Institute of Criminology (KIC), however, argues that the increase is a natural consequence as foreign communities in Korea expand, and, proportionally, expats are still committing fewer crimes than Koreans.

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Are Foreign Teachers' Crimes Serious?
ATEK Refutes Lawmaker’s Survey on the Rate of Crimes by Foreign Instructors
By Kang Shin-who
The Korea Times, October 15, 2009

A group of native English teachers is criticizing a lawmaker over his statement that crimes committed by foreign teachers are 'at a serious level.'

Rep. Lee Gun-hyeon of the Grand National Party recently published statistics from the National Police Agency involving crimes by foreign English teachers.

Lee stressed that these crimes have emerged as a social issue, escalating the anxiety of students and parents, who are calling for a stricter verification system to root out unqualified teaching candidates.

Lee also suggested criminal information should be made public to ensure students are not exposed to additional crimes.

The Association for Teachers of English in Korea (ATEK) countered the lawmaker's claim. Dann Gaymer, communications director of the association, told The Korea Times Thursday that Lee's comments don't make sense and that they are making foreign English teachers look like the 'enemy.'

According to Rep. Lee, the number of crimes committed by E-2 or foreign language teaching visa holders stood at 274 over the past three years with 114 arrests in 2007, 99 in 2008, and 61 in the first eight months of 2009.

In a press release, ATEK maintained that the statistics do not justify the claim that teacher crime is at a serious level, given that in 2008 there were 19,771 foreigners registered on E-2 visas.

'We find Rep. Lee's accusation very troubling. As we are an association of foreign teachers in Korea, any accusation against the foreign teacher community is an attack against our members by default,' said ATEK president Greg Dolezal, adding the foreign English teacher crime rate of 0.64 percent was more than five times less than the 3.5 percent among Koreans in 2007 and half the rate of other foreigners.

Regarding the complaints by the native English speakers, Hong Seok-in, chief staff of Rep. Lee's office said the lawmaker focused on the kinds of crimes rather the frequency when he used the word 'serious.' 'There are various sorts of crimes. Especially, using drugs and committing sexual violations at schools are very serious compared to other simple crimes,' Hong said.

A director from the Seoul Immigration Office said there are also many criminal cases that are not recorded in the data. He said one foreign English teacher was caught having sex with a minor but was not prosecuted as the minor did not want to press the case.

The ATEK communication director made it clear they will firmly deal with any vilification of them. 'We cannot apologize or make excuses for foreign teachers who do commit crimes. There are 19,000 who have not committed crimes and we are speaking up in their defense,' Gaymer said.

ATEK filed a complaint early this year with the Korean Press Ethics Commission, protesting negative articles in the Korean media about foreign English teachers.

ATEK was officially established in March to promote the interests of the some 25,000 English instructors here. ATEK is the only organization of its kind in Korea. Teachers can join by visiting its Web site.

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2,000 asylum seekers stopped by Indonesia
The ABC News (Australia), October 15, 2009

The Federal Government says the Indonesian government has helped to stop up to 2,000 asylum seekers who had planned to reach Australian waters.

Earlier this week it was revealed Indonesian authorities had intercepted a ship carrying 260 Sri Lankan asylum seekers at the request of the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

Immigration Minister Chris Evans says over the last two years up to 2,000 asylum seekers have been prevented from reaching Australia.

'They are effectively planned departures that were disrupted as a result of police and other activity,' he said.

But Opposition Immigration spokeswoman Sharman Stone says she is concerned that Australia is funding sub-standard detention facilities for asylum seekers captured in Indonesia.

Dr Stone says it is further evidence that huge numbers of asylum seekers are making for Australia because the Government has softened immigration laws.

She says asylum seekers in Indonesia are being held in terrible conditions in camps set up using border protection grants from Australia.

'There is very little good food, recreational space, or access to the outside world,' she said.


Indonesia has stopped 2000 boatpeople from reaching Australia
By Samantha Maiden
The Australian, October 15, 2009

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'I'll tell all on smugglers': crewmen
By Stephen Fitzpatrick
The Australian, October 16, 2009

Merak, Indonesia -- The crew of an Indonesian cargo boat used in a failed attempt to ship 255 Sri Lankan asylum-seekers to Christmas Island were told they would be transporting only local cargo, and promised monthly wages of hundreds of Singaporean dollars for the job.

The crew members say they were horrified when, in the dead of night in the Malacca Strait separating Malaysia and Indonesia, boats began arriving with frightened women and children to be loaded on.

The details came as one of the Sri Lankans offered to give Kevin Rudd details of the people-smuggling network behind the trip if the Prime Minister phoned him directly.

The six Indonesians, at least one of whom has told investigators he is from Ambon in the country's east, and another from Manado on Sulawesi island, claimed they were duped into crewing the ship by a Tamil man calling himself Ruben.

'And from what they've said, we're confident they themselves are not part of any organised people-trafficking syndicate,' a senior Indonesian official familiar with the men's interviews told The Australian.

'Who this Ruben is, however, remains the big question. We believe he had been already living in Malaysia for a long time, and it seems he tricked these men.'

One of the Sri Lankans has told The Australian he dealt with four men when arranging his place on the journey from Kuala Lumpur, with all four using the name Kowsalian.

The Indonesian crew members remained on board the 30m cargo boat with the Sri Lankans yesterday after their capture on Sunday, awaiting investigation and likely prosecution under maritime law.

The Sri Lankans are refusing to leave the boat and the standoff continued at Merak harbour, west of Jakarta, despite the navy handing over responsibility for the asylum-seekers' plight to the Immigration Department.

Their boat has been tied up alongside a navy ship at Merak since Tuesday. A senior naval officer predicted it would take 'not more than a week' to convince the Sri Lankans to go ashore to be processed by immigration officials and the UN.

However, a spokesman for the group, identified only as Alex, said they were 'not interested in leaving the boat'. Late yesterday they also hung banners declaring they were on hunger strike.

Alex also offered to communicate directly to Mr Rudd details of the people-smugglers with whom he had dealt.

'You must understand I cannot talk about that directly ... but if Kevin Rudd would like to call me personally, perhaps I can discuss it with him,' he said.

International Organisation for Migration staff have been attending to the men, women and children, arranging food, water and medical care. The group is expected eventually to be transferred to one of 13 immigration detention centres in Indonesia.

The Indonesian crew told investigators they were frightened and shocked when, at night off the Malaysian city of Johor Bahru in international waters two weeks ago, their promised cargo arrived and turned out to be human.

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Asylum seekers declare hunger strike
By Adam Gartrell
The Australian Associated Press, October 15, 2009

The Sri Lankan asylum seekers caught by Indonesian authorities en route to Australia have gone on a hunger strike.

The group's spokesman, Alex, said all 222 men and women on board the rickety cargo boat would refuse food until a Western country, such as Australia, promised to resettle them.

'We want a resolution from any foreign country that says they are willing to take us,' Alex told AAP.

The 31 children on board would not take part in the hunger strike, Alex said.

The Indonesian navy apprehended the Tamil asylum seekers, who were trying to reach Christmas Island, on Sunday after an intelligence tip-off from Australia and a personal plea from Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

The navy took the asylum seekers to the port city of Merak, in western Java.

But the asylum seekers have since refused to leave the ship, fearing they will be deported back to Sri Lanka or forced to spend years in limbo in Indonesia while they wait for a third country to resettle them.

The Sri Lankans declared the hunger strike late on Thursday after a disagreement with Indonesian authorities, who want to move them off their boat and into a nearby house.

Authorities asked to take 10 of the asylum seekers to see the house but the Sri Lankans feared it was a ploy to get them off the boat and then deport them.

'We know if those 10 people came off the boat, they would be deported,' Alex said.

'Nobody wants to come off the boat.'

But authorities dismissed the deportation fears.

Authorities simply wanted to move them to the house to make processing easier, Navy Colonel Hutabarat said.

But the asylum seekers were using mobile phones to talk to relatives in countries like Canada who were telling them not to leave the boat under any circumstances, Hutabarat said.

'They are afraid if they are taken into Indonesian custody they will not be transferred to a third country,' he said.

'There are some refugees distributed to third countries from Indonesia, but it takes time.'

But Alex said the group did not want to live in limbo in Indonesia.

'We don't want to be stuck in a situation like that,' he said.

'We are staying on this boat until the international community comes together and makes a decision on finding a way to get us out of this country.'

Earlier on Thursday, immigration officials said they would not forcibly remove the Sri Lankans from the boat.

'There shall be no forcing, we are trying to be persuasive,' said Harry Burwanto, head of the provincial immigration office.

Burwanto said he could not say how long the standoff would drag on. But the Sri Lankans said they would stay on the boat for months, if necessary.

'If you come see the situation in Sri Lanka, where most Tamils live ... you can see it's a lot worse than living on this ship,' Alex said.

'So most of these people are used to a life like this.

'We're comfortable in a life like this.

'So I can guarantee you, we can go on months.'

The Australian government on Thursday said it would not send any officials to meet with the asylum seekers.

'This is a matter for the Indonesian authorities, who are managing the group,' a spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said.

Nine-year-old Brindah, one of 31 children aboard the boat, made an impassioned plea for international help.

'We are Sri Lankan refugees, please take us to your country, we can't live in Sri Lanka.

'Please help us and save our lives.

'We are your children, please think of us, please, please.'

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Rudd takes a hard line
By Tom Allard and Phillip Coorey
The Sydney Morning Herald, October 16, 2009

Merak, Indonesia -- Indonesia has demanded more money from Australia and other nations to help stem the flow of asylum seekers reaching Australian shores.

The move came as the Federal Government rejected the appeals of a Tamil girl who begged for a boatload of asylum seekers being held in Indonesia to be allowed into Australia.

The Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, said he was unaware of the appeal and he made no apology for taking a hardline stance.

The Deputy Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, said the Sri Lankans were the responsibility of the Indonesians, while the Immigration Minister, Chris Evans, said Australia could not be expected to resettle everybody in South-East Asia seeking asylum.

Mr Rudd said Australia had to balance the humane and the hardline, but the Opposition Leader, Malcolm Turnbull, called this ''humbug''. He said none of the Sri Lankans should be allowed in and Mr Rudd was too soft.

''He's laid out the welcome mat and he's held the door right open,'' he said of Labor's abolition of temporary protection visas and the Pacific Solution.

The demands from the Indonesian Foreign Ministry's official spokesman, Teuku Faizasyah, came as Indonesian officials scrambled to find accommodation for 253 Sri Lankan asylum seekers who remain on their boat in Merak in the western Java province of Banten in defiance of pleas to come ashore.

With some of the asylum seekers late yesterday accompanying navy personnel to look at accommodation options, it appears they are resigned to ending their five-day stand-off.

''We don't have enough capacity in terms of detention facilities and we have to face this issue very quickly,'' Mr Faizasyah said. ''Already, we are at over-capacity. With this surge, and more to come in the future, we will have an even bigger problem.''

Australia relies heavily on Indonesia to repel asylum seekers, an issue of increasing political sensitivity to the Rudd Government.

While Australia's facility on Christmas Island is close to bursting, Indonesia is already facing even bigger problems housing asylum seekers.

But according to Mr Faizasyah, Indonesia needs ''the help of the international community'' to build new facilities, expand existing ones and train personnel to staff them.

While about 1700 irregular migrants have arrived by boat in Australia this year, twice as many have landed in Indonesia, often thwarted by authorities funded and assisted by Australia.

The embattled Coalition has leapt on the boat people issue, but there is a belief internally that the Opposition spokeswoman on immigration, Sharman Stone, is not tough enough and should be replaced by either Tony Abbott or Kevin Andrews. Mr Andrews, a former immigration minister, is in charge of the Coalition's policy review process.

He told the Herald yesterday some sort of temporary visa should be restored such as those the Howard government issued to the Kosovar refugees. They stayed for three months and were sent home after the war in their homeland ended.

There have been repeated breakouts by Afghan asylum-seekers from makeshift and poorly guarded detention facilities in Indonesia.


Migrant influx strains resources
By Greg Ansley
The New Zealand Herald, October 16, 2009

Rudd talking humbug on asylum seekers: Turnbull
By Emma Rodgers
The ABC News, October 15, 2009

Opposition flags 'unlawful entrant visa'
By Samantha Hawley
The ABC News (Australia), October 15, 2009

Fraser slams opposition asylum rhetoric
By Karlis Salna
The Australian Associated Press, October 15, 2009

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Official warning forces migrants centre to shut
By Lincoln Tan
The New Zealand Herald, October 15, 2009

The Immigration Advisers Authority has issued 18 warning letters to people it says are breaching the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act since it became law on May 4.

But a director of a defunct migrant workers support centre which received a warning says the authority is using the act to 'attack migrant support services' rather than police dodgy immigration advisers.

He has filed a request under the Official Information Act seeking answers as to why his centre was targeted.

Mike Bell said he was forced to close the Skilled Migrant Resource Centre, a registered charity which operated as a drop-in support centre for skilled migrants, after being served a letter from the authority's solicitor in July.

'I was told the reason I was sent the warning letter was because of my appearance on a TV3 news report where I apparently presented myself as an immigration adviser,' he said.

'Being served a notice like this, with up to seven years' jail as a penalty, I took it very seriously.

'As a result, New Zealand's only dedicated facility for skilled migrants was closed down.

'The act is being used to attack support services at great expense to the taxpayer.'

In his television interview on July 4, Mr Bell asked the Government to give skilled migrants who had lost jobs in the recession more time to look for work rather than just kicking them out of the country.

Blogger Helen Winterbottom is another who was warned by the authority for allegedly breaching the act, after she wrote about immigration matters on her blogsite.

Registrar Barry Smedts denied that the legislation was being used to target non-advisers, but would not say how many of the warning letters had been issued to unlicensed fee-charging advisers.

'The act is in place to protect migrants from poor advice from would-be experts. Forewarning letters have been sent to individuals whose activities appear to breach the act,' Mr Smedts said.

'Someone who is commenting on immigration matters is not giving immigration advice, and these activities would be of no interest to the authority.'

Mr Smedts said he would be happy to discuss the matter directly, and not through the media, with Mr Bell.

Allan Hughes of Kiwi Immigration Watch said the case again showed the 'stupidity' of the act and why it needed reviewing.

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Center for Immigration Studies
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