IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL
For SELECTIVE immigration..
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16 October, 2010
"Community release" -- Australia's new euphemism for allowing illegal immigration
HUNDREDS of asylum seekers will be released from high security detention and allowed to live in the community under a plan being drafted by the Gillard government.
Immigration Minister Chris Bowen is believed to be preparing to announce the community release to relieve overflowing detention centres on the mainland and on Christmas Island.
Asylum seekers who are not considered a security risk would be eligible for community detention, including family groups, children and unaccompanied minors. The government has been in discussion with charities, church groups and refugee welfare organisations to find accommodation. This would include hostels and houses owned by the groups.
Welfare groups contacted by The Age yesterday said discussions with the government about community detention for asylum seekers predated the August 21 election.
It is understood priority would be given to families with school-age children and that release from detention centres would be staggered as housing becomes available.
According to the Immigration officials, 742 children are detained by authorities, as well as 382 unaccompanied minors. Of the children, 281 are on Christmas Island and 461 are in mainland centres.
All up, 5056 asylum seekers are now in detention, of whom 2769 are on Christmas Island. A record 106 asylum-seeker boats have arrived this year, already 20 more than the previous record of 86 in 1999.
Canada's Immigration Minister praises Chinese community's contribution to the country
The Chinese are a very positive influence in Australia too. Australia is now about 5% Han Chinese and they figure prominently in the professions and in the hospitality industry. Africans, by contrast, figure prominently in crime and welfare dependency. Some migrant groups tend to be more desirable than others and that should be recognized
Jason Kenney, Canada's Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister, Thursday praised the contribution of Canada's Chinese community in helping to build the country over the past 150 years.
Speaking to media Thursday in Vancouver following a roundtable with Chinese community leaders to discuss his recent trip to China, Jason Kenney described Chinese community's contribution as "enormous."
"It's an enormous contribution. The Chinese community is the largest immigrant community in Canada, over 1.2 million strong, but it's not a new community. There's been an important Chinese presence in Canada going back well over a century," he said.
"The most important thing the Chinese community has brought to Canada is a very serious work ethic and a sense of entrepreneurship and personal and family responsibility, because these are the virtues that build and maintain a strong country," he said.
15 October, 2010
Decade-long immigration boom means Britain needs 550,000 extra school places by 2016
Britain will need 550,000 more school places by 2016 to educate the children of immigrants, a study claimed last night. And over the next decade this will rise to one million extra places – at a total cost of about £100billion.
The Migrationwatch report blames the aftermath of Labour’s ‘open door’ immigration policy. Last year, providing schooling to the children of people born overseas cost £4.5billion – the equivalent of almost £13million every day – according to the pressure group. Its analysis is based on figures from the Office for National Statistics, and includes children who have arrived in the UK from overseas, and those born in Britain to migrant parents.
It comes at a time when primary school places are in huge demand, and the Government is attempting to slash between £7 billion and £14 billion from the education budget.
Migrationwatch said that between 1998 and 2009 – the years in which critics say Labour’s open door immigration policy operated – the number of school places required by the children of immigrants was almost 630,000.
By analysing ONS population projections, Migrationwatch also concluded that over the next ten years one million more school places will be needed because of immigration. This is primarily due to children being born to immigrants.
Between now and 2016, 550,000 more places will be required. Based on the cost of providing each school place, the total cost will be £40billion. Educating children of immigrants in state schools would cost around £195billion over a 25-year period, the report adds.
Migrationwatch said the quadrupling in net migration – the difference between the number of people arriving in the UK, and those leaving – was responsible. Many of those coming here were young people, who decided to have children, contributing to a ‘baby boom’. Between 1998 and 2009, total births increased by 11 per cent, Migrationwatch says.
Sir Andrew Green, Migrationwatch chairman, said: ‘Almost every family in England is being affected by the growing crisis over school places but no one will talk about its causes. ‘These are some of the consequences of one of the most reckless and unpopular policies of any government in generations and they are now coming home to roost.’
Last month, the Mail revealed how hundreds of children had been left with no primary school place at the start of term. Thousands of other children are having to be taught in makeshift classrooms.
The problems were blamed on the surge in the number of young children and recession-fuelled departures from private schools.
The Coalition has acknowledged that the shortage of primary places is ‘critical’. Last night a Government spokesman said: ‘Ministers are clear that dealing with the demand for school places is an immediate priority – that is why we are transforming the school building programme to meet demand where it is most needed. ‘We are fully committed to reducing net migration back down to the tens of thousands [a year] rather than the hundreds of thousands.’
UK resumes Zimbabwe deportations
BRITAIN announced Thursday that it is resuming deportations to Zimbabwe after ministers decided that “the political situation is relatively stable and the humanitarian situation has greatly improved” since President Robert Mugabe agreed to share power with his opposition rivals in February last year.
Immigration lawyers said the announcement came as a surprise given that a tribunal is sitting later this month to set a new country guidance case for Zimbabwe.
The move also came just under a month after a minister told parliament Britain was “not starting enforced returns yet by any means” to Zimbabwe.
“It’s difficult to understand the logic of the ministers in putting the cart before the horse by amending the policy now and putting unnecessary political pressure on the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal judges,” immigration solicitor Yvonne Gwashawanhu said in London.
She added: “The Upper Tier Tribunal has listed before it the Zimbabwean country guidance case for hearing shortly and it is difficult to see how the judges can be expected to ignore this latest development. “Needless to say, there will now be a flurry of activity within the Zimbabwean community in the UK.”
Matthew Coats, the UK Border Agency’s head of immigration said enforced removals would resume after the country guidance case judgement is handed down, which lawyers expect to happen before Christmas.
Coats said: “When we do recommence enforced removals, they will be taken forward in a carefully planned and phased way. “We take our international responsibilities seriously and we will continue to grant protection to those Zimbabweans that need it. However, it is essential that we maintain the principle that each application for protection is considered on its individual merits and that returns are taken forward on a similar basis. “The courts have found that not all Zimbabweans are in need of international protection.”
The UK Border Agency sent a research team to Zimbabwe in August to track down asylum seekers who returned voluntarily and also conduct interviews with human rights groups about potential safety risks for returnees.
The fact finding team released its report two weeks ago, and lawyer Gwashawanhu described its findings as “one-sided” and accused the team of “asking leading questions calculated to produce a desired response.” Human rights groups say an election planned for next year could see a new flare-up of political violence.
Britain suspended forced removals to Zimbabwe in 2005 due to a political crisis engulfing the country at the time.
In 2008, Home Office figures showed there were 7,500 failed asylum seekers living in Britain.
14 October, 2010
Britain has crazy immigration priorities too
Why would ANY country try to keep out highly skilled workers while consciously letting untold numbers of illegals live there?
The government's interim immigration cap has left one of the UK's major research universities able to recruit or keep only 78 "skilled" overseas academics this year - and the permanent cap could bring further reductions.
The UK Border Agency has given each university a quota on recruitment from non-European Union countries under Tier 2 of the points-based immigration system, which covers "skilled workers". The quotas cover new visas - and renewals for existing staff - between 19 July 2010 and 31 March 2011, when the permanent cap will be imposed.
University College London, which has more than 4,000 staff, said it had been allowed just 78 places under the interim cap.
Universities are trying to bridge the gap by recruiting under Tier 1, which covers "highly skilled workers". In this category, however, the skills threshold is higher and the number of visas allocated is subject to a monthly national cap.
The UKBA's consultation on the permanent cap, which closed last month, has caused concern among universities by suggesting that Tier 2 visas could be closed to them.
The consultation document notes that there is a "strong case" for granting Tier 2 visas only to migrants with skills that are in "national shortage". This could have disastrous implications for universities because academics are not currently on the National Shortage Occupation List.
Universities UK voiced the sector's concerns in the consultation.
Many institutions believe that the UKBA has failed to appreciate that academic careers are inherently international and that the lengthy training period for new entrants means universities cannot rapidly switch to a "British-only" policy.
The universities of Oxford and Cambridge would not comment on their exact allocations.
But a Cambridge spokeswoman said: "The government's current visa-quota proposals threaten our ability to recruit both the academic leaders of today and the exceptional young talent from which will grow the Nobel prizewinners of tomorrow."
How to make immigration work in Britain's interests
Irwin Stelzer talks economic sense below. His recipe would apply to other Western countries too
From France (deport Romas), to Germany (preserve national identity), to Sweden (xenophobes win seats), to the Netherlands (no more burqas), an anti-immigration tide is sweeping across Europe. Britain is no exception; permanent restrictions on immigration are inevitable. But it would be a pity if they deny companies the skilled workers they need to remain competitive in a globalised world.
Britain can do little to reduce the flow of immigrants from the other 26 EU member states. In future it will be able to do even less if Bulgaria goes through with its plan to issue 500,000 passports to citizens of non-member countries; and if the new EU rule that guarantees immigrants the right to all welfare benefits accorded to native populations proves a magnet for immigrants.
Work visas for non-EU immigrants are now subject to a temporary cap that has left affected firms threatening to move where the skilled workers are. Employers are right. Restrictions on the numbers of would-be workers cut into their bottom lines, put pressure on them to train British citizens to do these jobs – often costly – and probably reduces national wealth.
Native workers are also right. In many cases immigrants take "their jobs" or, at minimum, place downward pressure on wages.
And residents of towns in which immigrants cluster are also right. Their culture is threatened as strange sounds and smells dominate once-familiar streets, and the burdens on the social services are increased.
The Government is desperate to satisfy all parties. So it has called in the bureaucrats to decide which immigrants should be admitted. It should instead concentrate on how to get the winners to share some of their increased profits with the losers who bear the costs.
Immigrants possess skills that are in short supply here, and add billions of pounds to national output. But a system that calls on bureaucrats to award points to workers with skills the bureaucrats decide are most needed is bound to get things wrong. There is a more efficient and fairer way.
Employers and immigrants strike wage deals that leave out of the equation the costs to society. Schools are more crowded, demands on the NHS increase, in some cases policing costs rise, incentives to train native workers fall. Economists call these "externalities" – costs created but not borne by the parties to a transaction.
The government can put these costs where they belong – on the firms and workers who benefit – and make sure that each visa adds to national wealth. How so? By requiring employers to bid for the limited number of entry permits, the proceeds to be remitted to the communities on which the immigrant imposes costs, or to HM Treasury. The employer will pay the full cost of the immigration, perhaps making up some of that cost by offering the immigrant a lower wage – which will reduce the demand for entry.
Like other market-based solutions, this is adjustable: if bidding for permits gets outrageously high, the government can increase their number.
Of course, other things need doing. Britain could refuse entry to anyone with a passport from Bulgaria, and fight it out before Europe's courts. After all, the EU has merely wrinkled its nose at France flaunting its treaty obligations. Britain can also really, really defend its borders. The government can put any applicant for entry at Heathrow with no papers back on a plane to wherever he had embarked on his journey. It can immediately deport any illegals it rounds up, and if the country of origin refuses to take them back, send them to a willing country, perhaps for a fee. Such a policy would reduce the number of illegals trying to sneak into Britain.
So, a limit on immigrants, border control, auctioning of permits. All are ingredients of a sensible policy that would add to national wealth. Innocent bystanders in communities now bearing the social and economic costs would be compensated, rather than forced to subsidise the large companies that are the major importers of labour.
Imperfect solution? Sure. But before dismissing it, consider this. Economists Pia Orrenius and Madeline Zavodny, in their new book Beside the Golden Door, suggest an initial minimum price, which would fluctuate according to demand, of $10,000 for a high-skill permit to work in the US. If British companies really need those foreign workers, a price anything like that would net the Treasury £350 million for 50,000 permits. And the nation the workers it most needs.
13 October, 2010
For the blog, see here. The CIS main page is here.
1. Denying License Plates to Illegals, Too (Memorandum)
2. Police must share information on criminal immigrants (Op-ed)
3. Why Can't Immigration Statistics Be More Like Baseball Statistics? (Blog)
4. Another Reverse Nixon: Obama's Heath-Care-Benefits-for-Illegal-Immigrants-Maneuver (Blog)
5. The Rest of the Story … JPMorgan Gets $90 Million a Year from USCIS (Blog)
6. The Washington Post Publishes an Astounding Immigration Admission (Blog)
7. They Love Us in Ghana, or the Visa Lottery, Yet Again (Blog)
8. The Social Security/Migration Fraud That, Perhaps, Never Was (Blog)
9. Blood on the Tracks (Blog)
10. Univision Embraces Hispanic Victim Psychology (Blog)
11. Bloggingheads.tv Debate on the DREAM Act (Blog)
12. The Political Context of Enforcement (Blog)
13. What If? Some Unasked Questions about Immigration Reform (Blog)
14. The Naturalization Process and College Reunions: A Metaphor (Blog)
15. Obama's Immigration Dilemma (Blog)
16. Immigration Audits and the Politics of Appearance (Blog)
17. But We Like Our Criminals! Or, It Depends What the Meaning of 'Patchwork' Is (Blog)
18. ICE Denies Data to University Clearinghouse (Blog)
19. Department of Unhelpful Immigration Metaphors (4): 'Pathway to Citizenship' (Blog)
20. Restrictionists Meet with Population and Environmental Activists in D.C. (Blog)
21. Author Cites Migrant Abuse as Symptom of a Failing State (Blog)
12 October, 2010
A Visa for Job Creators
Spurning immigrant entrepreneurs makes no economic sense
The immigration debate has devolved into a shouting match over allegations of "amnesty" and anti-Hispanic bias, but cooler heads need to keep in mind the economic benefits of attracting human capital to America. Consider the barriers we now put on immigrant entrepreneurs.
Start-ups are responsible for most net new jobs in the U.S., and immigrants are almost 30% more likely than non-immigrants to start a business. None of this is news to economists, writes Stuart Anderson of the National Foundation for America Policy in a new paper, but a focus on start-ups "is largely non-existent in the current policy debate over jobs and the economy, most of which centers on how to encourage existing firms to hire more employees."
The U.S. created an immigrant investor visa category (EB-5) in 1990, but steep minimum capital requirements put it out of reach for most potential recipients. The average start-up company in the U.S. begins with about $31,000. Yet to become eligible for an EB-5 visa, an individual must invest at least $500,000. It's no wonder that fewer than 3,700 people received EB-5 visas last year—including spouses and children—and most of them went to immigrant investors looking to expand existing U.S. ventures, not create new businesses.
Senators John Kerry of Massachusetts and Richard Lugar of Indiana have introduced legislation that would award a conditional green card to immigrant entrepreneurs who receive at least $250,000 from a U.S. venture capitalist. The immigrant would receive permanent residence status if the enterprise employed at least five workers or reached $1 million in revenue within a year. This would improve the status quo, but the capital requirements would still remain needlessly high. In retail and manufacturing, for example, start-up costs average $98,000 and $175,000, respectively.
Mr. Anderson, a former Immigration and Naturalization Service official, says the U.S. would do better to discard capital requirements and welcome any foreign national who can present a business plan that passes muster with the Small Business Administration. As with the EB-5 visa, the individual would receive a green card only if the business created a certain number of jobs for U.S. workers within a set period of time.
"There's already a pool of individuals inside the country who could stay and start companies but are blocked either because they are international students who cannot get an H-1B visa, or scientists and engineers forced to wait 12 years or more if they want a green card," said Mr. Anderson in an interview. "Isn't it better to have the next generation of products and businesses created in the United States?"
Lowering U.S. barriers for foreign-born entrepreneurs can only help the economy. It would also help President Obama begin to fulfill his campaign pledge to address immigration reform. Republicans who claim to know something about job creation should welcome an opportunity to support a pro-growth immigration fix that doesn't involve "amnesty." A visa for job creators is a political and economic winner all around.
135,000 ILLEGALS in Britain TOLD 'YOU CAN STAY'
THOUSANDS of failed asylum seekers will be allowed to stay in Britain to help clear Labour’s massive backlog. More than 135,000 will be told they can remain, with 100,000 cases still ongoing.
Coalition ministers were horrified when they realised the true scale of the problem.
Officials have dealt with two thirds of the 450,000 cases by granting permanent residency to around 2,000 failed applicants each week. Only 35,000 were sent home after assessment, with critics claiming officials have been granting amnesty through the backdoor.
There are fears many cases are being rubber-stamped without proper checks, despite inspectors originally saying the individuals should have been deported. But the Home Office is worried it could face legal challenges under the human rights acts because so many of the cases date back years.
Once applicants have been given indefinite leave to remain, they are one step away from British citizenship which then allows them to claim benefits.
Migrationwatch chairman Sir Andrew Green, 69, said: “This is an appalling legacy from the previous Government and its impact will be to encourage more bogus asylum seekers.”
A spokesman for UK Border Agency said: “All ‘legacy’ cases are considered on their individual merits and we are confident that we will conclude the backlog by summer 2011. “The majority of asylum applications are now being concluded within six months.”
... AS 'BRIT' GETS THE BOOT
A businessman who was raised, schooled, married and got his first job in the UK has been told he can’t live here as he’s not “British”, writes Bill Martin. US-born Stephen Hewitt, 50, can trace his Brit ancestry back to 1410.
His first wife is English and eldest daughter Pamela was born here. Now he wants full residency – but an immigration tribunal turned him down because his UK ties are “not strong enough”.
He said: “I’m bitter. I’m not asking for any special circumstances. My family has a long history in England.”
The Borders Agency declined to comment.
11 October, 2010
New York Times goes to bat for criminal illegal aliens
The New York Times recently editorialized that Secure Communities, a federal program instituted under the Bush administration and being pushed by the Obama administration, “snares innocent immigrants.” The program checks names and fingerprints of anyone arrested against immigration records to determine if the arrestee is an illegal alien. The police then turn the person over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for deportation proceedings. So what’s wrong with that? How does it snare innocent immigrants if they are arrested and here illegally?
The New York Times claims that this program is a “source of anxiety and anger for cities, counties and police departments that want to preserve a bright line between local policing and federal immigration enforcement. Their valid concern is that local officers should never be seen by immigrant communities as arms of immigration enforcement.” Then the editor wrote: “Fighting and preventing crime are unrelated to detaining and deporting immigrants and should stay that way” (emphasis added).
How can anyone concerned with “preventing crime” not see that deporting criminal aliens and depriving them of the opportunity to commit other crimes, is directly doing just that? The Times claims that “tens of thousands” of illegal aliens with no criminal record have been deported under the program, and that these people “pose no conceivable danger to their communities.” That’s completely absurd. These people came into the program because they did something to cause their arrest. The police didn’t round them up because they looked like they might be here illegally. They did something criminal to bring themselves to the attention of local law enforcement.
How can a person deserving arrest not pose a conceivable danger to the community? If an illegal alien, without an arrest record, drives drunk and kills someone, is he not a conceivable danger to the community? Of course he is. Because illegal aliens have no ties to this country, they can run amok and then flee back to old Mexico when they feel the heat is on. They often return later when the heat is off to commit another crime. But the Times would like you to believe he’s merely a harmless member of the “immigrant” community.
Secure Communities could be the best crime prevention program ever developed if all cities participate. The only way to improve it is to pass a federal law that mimics Arizona’s SB 1070 illegal immigration law. Police officers who can question the immigration status of individuals they lawfully encounter during normal police business will potentially prevent and reduce future crimes. At a minimum, it will serve aliens with notice that there are consequences to entering this country illegally. The program works so well that the mayor of Juarez, Mexico is complaining that the city’s murder rate is so high because the U.S. is deporting Mexican murderers back to Mexico.
Why are cities such as San Francisco and the District of Columbia attempting to opt out of the Secure Communities program? Mexican and other illegal aliens have formed a powerful political base that has jeopardized the safety and security of these sanctuary cities by blocking any attempts to enforce U.S. immigration laws. This political base wants to continue unsustainable social programs that others pay for. They want the wealth spread to them by the gringos they feel stole their land.
The real reason the New York Times editorial staff hates Secure Communities is because it painlessly and accurately identifies illegal aliens and properly puts them into the immigration system for immediate deportation. It rids American communities of undesirable people, whose mere presence is a crime and an affront to law abiding citizens and worthy permanent resident aliens who had to endure years of paperwork and frustration to get the opportunity to live here. The program maintains the integrity of law, and saves billions of dollars of taxpayer services for undeserving people. There is so much to hate from the newspaper’s perspective.
The program makes perfect sense. Elite liberal New York Times readers who hibernate in Manhattan don’t understand the frustration people across the country have with the illegal alien invasion. I applaud the Obama administration for not caving into newspaper editorial boards and other illegal alien sympathizers who want to remove this effective program and open our borders to anybody with the means to get here.
Four boats in 48 hours!
Arrival of four more "asylum-seeker" boats shows the utter policy failure of Australia's Leftist government. At that rate Australia's sea borders are looking more porous than the U.S./Mexico border. Is Australia ready for 12 million illegals too? At least the Mexicans come to work. The Afghans come only to be supported by the Australian taxpayer
THE arrival of four asylum boats in 48 hours has pushed numbers in the Christmas Island detention centre to an apparent record. The centre has been forced to operate well beyond its carrying capacity.
With Immigration Minister Chris Bowen flying to East Timor today to begin talks on a regional processing centre, his department has revealed 350 asylum-seekers are being housed in tents.
According to the department, there were 2697 detainees on Christmas Island yesterday, with more on the way following the interception of four asylum boats, at least one of which has yet to unload its passengers.
The centre, which was designed to accommodate 400 people, has undergone successive reconfigurations to house the growing number of detainees.
Falling refugee success rates and the Rudd government's freeze on new Sri Lankan and Afghan asylum claims resulted in a blowout in detention numbers. But even at its capacity of about 2500, the centre is over its limit.
A departmental spokeswoman could not say yesterday if Christmas Island was at record capacity.
But in the period leading up to the Rudd government's decision in April to move detainees to the mainland, numbers on Christmas Island were about 2300, suggesting the facility had hit a new high.
Mr Bowen acknowledged yesterday there were "significant strains" on detention centres. "I've announced some short-term measures to deal with that. I'll be announcing some longer-term measures in the not-too-distant future to deal with those pressures," he added.
Mr Bowen will fly to Dili today to discuss the regional proposal with East Timor's President, Jose Ramos-Horta, and senior officials. From there he will fly to Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur for talks aimed at bolstering arrangements for managing the asylum flow.
Despite vocal rejection of the idea by East Timor's opposition parties, Mr Bowen said Canberra had received "encouraging feedback" from Dili about the proposal, announced by Julia Gillard in the lead-up to the federal election. "It's a big issue for East Timor -- it would be a significant development for them, and they obviously have issues they want to work through," Mr Bowen told the Nine Network yesterday. "But, certainly, President Ramos-Horta and Prime Minister (Xanana) Gusmao have indicated they are very interested in talking it through."
Since Friday, authorities have intercepted four boats, two of which were lashed together. Their arrival has edged Australia closer to another record -- the highest number of unauthorised boatpeople in a calendar year. A spokeswoman for Border Protection Command said 4924 passengers and 270 crew had arrived this year, bringing the number of unauthorised arrivals to 5194.
According to the Parliamentary Library, the highest number of illegal boat arrivals on record occurred in 2001, when 43 boats carried 5516 people to Australia, not including the crews.
10 October, 2010
Asylum seekers last in the housing queue: Britain's biggest council decides to put its locals first
The largest council in the country is to stop providing homes for asylum seekers – so it can offer the properties to locals. Birmingham City Council said last night that it had seen a surge in the number of existing residents who found themselves homeless in the aftermath of the economic slump.
Currently, nearly 200 homes are handed to asylum seekers who have been sent to the city while their applications are being processed by the UK Border Agency. But the council is to cancel its contract with UKBA so the homes can instead be given to those who hail from the city.
Councillor John Lines, Birmingham’s cabinet member for housing, said the decision was ‘in the interests of local people’. He explained that the council expects nearly 8,000 applications for homes this year alone.
‘Over the last year, we have seen a sharp increase in the number of homeless people in Birmingham and we must help the citizens of this city first and foremost,’ he said. ‘With a long waiting list for homes, we really need all our properties for our people in these difficult economic times. I believe the UK Border Agency should find somewhere else to carry out their duties.’
Mr Lines said delays within UKBA meant hundreds of asylum seekers were obtaining British citizenship while they waited for their cases to be decided. ‘When they have been given citizenship the city of Birmingham has to treat them as citizens and give them one of our rare homes,’ he added. ‘I’m putting hundreds of Brummies in bed and breakfast, local people who possibly through no fault of their own are homeless.
‘I couldn’t sit here and allow the situation where Birmingham people have had to tolerate that whilst the border agency has got up to 200 of my homes for people who have come here for political asylum.’
Under the five-year contract, the council provided 190 properties to asylum seekers, but with turnover it meant up to 1,000 staying in the city every year. The contract - which also involved Wolverhampton, Dudley and Coventry councils - comes to an end in June next year and will not be renewed, Mr Lines said.
Wolverhampton council is also expected to follow suit and stop housing asylum applicants, he added. Birmingham is run by a joint Liberal Democrat and Tory coalition, and is seen as indicating possible policy directions for the Government.
The UK Border Agency’s Regional Director for the Midlands and East of England, Gail Adams, said: ‘We’re disappointed by Birmingham City Council’s decision to withdraw from the West Midlands Consortium. ‘The Consortium’s existing contract will continue until June next year. UKBA will manage the transition to new accommodation in accordance with the terms of the contract.’
Sarrazin has company: Senior German politician calls to stop Muslim immigration
A German official on Saturday called to stop Muslim immigration into the country, stirring public controversy. Horst Seehofer, leader of the Christian Democratic Union Party (CSU), which is a member of the coalition government in Germany, said in an interview to Focus magazine, "It is obvious that immigrants from Turkey and Arab countries face more difficulty integrating into German society than other immigrants."
"In any case," Seehofer added," the conclusion is that we don’t need additional immigrants from 'foreign cultures'."
The German politician's remarks rekindled an already heated public discussion over the question of the Muslim minority's integration in Germany.
During the interview, Seehofer also argued that unemployment benefits should be revoked from immigrants who do not seek employment, arguing that immigrants should be forced to share the basic values of Germany, and have command of the language.
Seehofer's remarks come after German President Christian Wulff's speech on the 20th anniversary to the unification of Germany. Wulff, whose speech carried a particularly reconciliatory tone, said that Islam constituted a part of Germany's nature, just as Judaism and Christianity have in the past, and will continue to be a part of the nation in the future.
The speech triggered mixed reactions, as Muslim community leaders lauded it, while Christian-rightist elements, including Seehofer, issued fierce criticism. "I do not understand how the role Christianity has played in Germany can be compared to that of Islam," Seehofer noted during the interview. According to the conservative politician, tolerance and openness to other religions, as cemented in the German constitution, do not grant these religions direct influence over the country's core values.
Seehofer's remarks angered politicians from across Germany's political spectrum, leading some politicians to dub him a "radical-rightist populist."
The heated debate in German society centers on the integration of nearly three million Muslim immigrants living in the country today – a majority of them of Turkish descent.
The public debate was set in motion by Thilo Sarrazin, a former banker who published a book in which he slammed the Muslim immigration in the country, claiming it led to a drop in Germany's intellectual capacity and has diminished it's cultural assets.
Sarrazin was dismissed from his post at the Bundesbank following the publication of his book, which sold hundreds of thousands of copies and is expected to become Germany's largest best-seller since the end of the Second World War.
9 October, 2010
The Canadian funnel in action
Funnelling human garbage into the USA
A Somali-born Canadian citizen who admitted he attended Al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan and lectures by Osama bin Laden is out of U.S. federal prison and has been deported to Canada.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says 37-year-old Mohammed Abdullah Warsame was released from a federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., Friday morning. He was immediately turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Customs enforcement officials released him to the Canadian Border Service Agency at about 11:30 a.m.
Canadian officials refused to even confirm whether Warsame was turned over to them or whether or not he was detained or freed.
Warsame pleaded guilty in May 2009 to conspiracy to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization. As part of a plea deal in federal court in Minnesota, he agreed to be deported to Canada after his sentence.
On Friday, ICE director John Morton said there is no place in the United States for anyone who advocates violence by associating with terrorists.
ICE: No opt-out for program checking legal status
Local governments cannot opt out of a federal program that checks the fingerprints of people who are arrested against a database to determine if they are illegal immigrants, the head of the U.S. immigration agency said Friday. That's because the agreement is between the federal and state governments — not the local governments.
Officials in Virginia's Arlington County, Washington, D.C., and Santa Clara County, Calif., have voted recently to opt out of the program, saying it could lead to racial profiling. San Francisco officials have attempted to get out of the program with no luck, and several other communities are debating whether they want to participate.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement website says jurisdictions that do not wish to participate in the Secure Communities program can ask federal immigration officials to remove them from the program.
On Friday, ICE Director John Morton said that the agency would meet with the localities to discuss the issue, but in the end the agreement is with the state.
Suspects who are arrested for anything from a traffic violation to a violent crime have long been fingerprinted, and those fingerprints are run through a federal criminal background database maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. With Secure Communities, those fingerprints are automatically checked against immigration records maintained by the Department of Homeland Security to identify those who may be in the country illegally.
Since 2008, the program has been expanded to more than 650 jurisdictions in 32 states, with plans to incorporate every jurisdiction by 2013.
Morton stressed that even though the fingerprints are taken by local authorities, it's up to federal officials to detain or deport suspects. "No one in the Department of Corrections, no one in Arlington County, no one in the other jurisdictions of Virginia is being asked to enforce federal immigration law," Morton said.
One quarter of Arlington County's residents was born in another country and one-third is multiracial, which adds to fears of racial profiling, said J. Walter Trejada, a member of the county's Board of Supervisors. The board voted unanimously last month to opt out of Secure Communities. "The potential for racial profiling and for unscrupulous law enforcement people to utilize the Secure Communities as a way to intimidate people and cause fear is real," Trejada said.
San Francisco Sheriff Michael Hennessey has challenged his city's participation in the program for months, and he likely will meet with ICE officials in November, sheriff's department spokeswoman Eileen Hirst said.
Other officials, such as Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, have welcomed the program. In Virginia, jurisdictions are required by state law to send fingerprints to state police to be run through the FBI database. Because the exchange happens at the federal level, that means localities can't opt out, Cuccinelli said. "It is not a situation where Arlington's fingerprints can be treated differently," Cuccinelli said.
ICE credits the program for the removal of more than 40,000 criminal illegal immigrants, including more than 12,000 convicted of violent crimes such as murder, rape and kidnapping.
8 October, 2010
MA: US pushes state to join security plan
There is no doubt that the Obama administration is correct in giving the removal of criminal illegals high priority but the refusal to remove other illegals that have come to attention is a plain dereliction of duty
Federal officials say they are compelling Massachusetts law enforcement agencies, including the State Police, to join a national program that checks the immigration status of everyone arrested and fingerprinted by 2013, officials said yesterday.
The planned rollout of the federal Secure Communities program has state officials, nonprofits, and local police chiefs scrambling to determine the program’s impact in Massachusetts and whether it conflicts with a policy barring the State Police from enforcing immigration law.
Meanwhile, organizations that work with immigrants launched a series of community meetings last night to alert them to the the new initiative.
The immigration checks would mark a dramatic shift for Massachusetts, where Boston is the only community to participate in the program. Police in other communities have largely avoided helping to enforce federal immigration laws over fears that it would discourage immigrants from coming forward to report crime. In 2007, Governor Deval Patrick reversed a plan by Governor Mitt Romney to have the State Police enforce immigration law, preferring to have the prisons do it instead.
Federal immigration officials have been trying to expand in the state for at least a year and hoped to be in half the state’s counties by now, officials said. In 2009, the US Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement sent a letter urging state officials to sign a memorandum to “establish a solid foundation’’ for “bringing counties and police departments online.’’
The document was never signed, a fact that has drawn criticism from Patrick’s rivals in the governor’s race. Republican Charles D. Baker and independent Timothy P. Cahill have accused the administration of delaying expansion of the Secure Communities program.
John Grossman, an undersecretary at the state’s Executive Office of Public Safety, denied that the Patrick administration had delayed the program’s expansion. He said he had viewed ICE’s request to sign an agreement as an unnecessary formality.
“It was our understanding that they didn’t need us to do anything in order to go forward and deploy this program,’’ he said. “They didn’t have us sign anything before they deployed in Boston,’’ which served as a pilot for the program in 2006, two years before it officially became Secure Communities.
Grossman said the state is still waiting for clearer signals from the federal government about the program’s schedule for expansion here.
Brian P. Hale, spokesman for ICE, would not comment on the reasons for the delay in Massachusetts but said they were working with the Patrick administration to take Secure Communities statewide.
“It’s all about . . . making sure the deployment is done in the right way,’’ Hale said. “A lot of that requires some negotiations. We want to make sure the deployment in Massachusetts meets the common goal that we have, which is to take criminals off the streets and protect our communities.’’
Grossman said the administration still has not said whether it supports the Secure Communities program in principle. “We have not taken a position yet because we are defining with ICE what that means,’’ said Grossman. “We do have a position that serious criminals who are in this country illegally ought to be deported. But we also need to understand the parameters of this program.’’
The goal of Secure Communities is to ensure that dangerous criminals are detained and deported, but it is raising concern nationwide that it is also netting minor offenders.
Under the Secure Communities program, in which FBI and immigration databases are linked, the process of booking people who are arrested would automatically determine if they have criminal histories and alert federal immigration officials if they are in the country illegally, Hale said.
Federal officials say that Secure Communities does not require local and state police to enforce immigration law. Only federal immigration officials will decide whether to hold a person for deportation.
But the new program still made some officials uncomfortable. Many police agencies in Massachusetts work with ICE to arrest criminals, but they avoid targeting immigrants without legal papers, typically a civil violation, because they fear it could deter them from reporting crime.
In Chelsea, Police Chief Brian Kyes worried that Secure Communities could erode trust in his city, where nearly 38 percent of the city’s residents are immigrants.
“It would be a huge change from what we’re doing now,’’ said Kyes. “This is something the Chelsea police would not want to be a part of. It’s my belief that it would be counterproductive to the relationships we’ve formed and the trust and confidence between the police and the community in the past few years.’’
But in neighboring Everett, Chief Steven Mazzie praised the program. He said ICE would probably only have the staff to target major criminals.
“We have a large immigrant population over here, but at that point if someone’s under arrest for a criminal matter, I see it only as a tool that we can use to get criminals off the street,’’ Mazzie said. “I see it doing nothing but helping us keep our communities safer by removing people that don’t belong here, people that are committing criminal activity.’’
A concern among immigrant advocates is that the program could be used to identify illegal immigrants whether or not they had committed major crimes.
In Boston, where 27.5 percent of residents are foreign born, Boston police have turned over 526 people to federal immigration officials since 2008; of those, 246, or slightly less than half, were picked up on noncriminal immigration violations, according to federal records. The rest were criminals.
Police Commissioner Edward Davis has said that he was confident that all were involved in criminal activity, though some had records from other states, which he said would not have registered in those statistics.
His assertion could not be independently verified because ICE and police declined to release their names, citing privacy laws or policies.
Last night, Centro Presente, a statewide nonprofit that advocates for immigrants, held a meeting in Somerville to inform immigrants about the program, and another is planned for next week in Boston, said Patricia Montes, executive director of the center. The ACLU of Massachusetts also opposes the program’s expansion. “It really goes back on Massachusetts’ promise not to enforce immigration law locally,’’ said Laura Rótolo, an ACLU attorney.
Other groups praised the program, saying it is wise for local and state and federal police to share information. “It seems it should be a no-controversy item,’’ said Steve Kropper, cochairman of Massachusetts Citizens for Immigration Reform, a group favoring tougher limits on immigration. “We’re very supportive of these kind of checks.’’
That fabled ‘Big Australia’
By Oliver Marc Hartwich and Jessica Brown
(Dr Hartwich is a German economist with a sense of humour. What next? A German philosopher with a sense of humour? Maybe not. But since Dr Hartwich now lives in Australia, maybe I should refer to him as "Ollie")
Your Most Gracious Majesty,
It is our duty to inform You that the prospects for population growth in Australia are not good. The Royal Commission tasked with planning Australia’s demographic and economic future hath come to the unfortunate conclusion that the obstacles are simply too great. The optimistic vision of a ‘Big Australia’ will never come true.
The noble commissioners have consulted widely and extensively. But, for growth proponents, our conclusion maketh uncomfortable reading.
The challenges are so numerous that it is hard to know where to start. Housing is undeniably a most serious concern. The lack of capacity in the building industry is quite obvious.
The planning profession doth not have the necessary skills and personnel to cope with rapid growth. Uncertain planning guidelines and objectives further complicate the task. It will take years to design and implement a planning system that can deal with the expected population increases.
The acute housing shortage is not the only difficulty. There are severe infrastructure bottlenecks. Port facilities are already overstretched. Developing appropriate mass transport for goods and people will also require minor engineering miracles, given the country’s challenging geography. Just think of Sydney harbour!
Worst of all, the water supply is under threat. It hath become clear that Australia’s climate is unsuited to hosting a larger population. The limits to population growth are well within sight.
The resident population hath been able to cope with these environmental challenges by employing a number of sophisticated water-saving solutions. But simply adding more people to the equation will just not work. If population growth goes on in the fashion that the crazy ‘Big Australia’ advocates suggest, there will simply not be enough food.
The problems of housing, water and transport should be impetus enough to stop the ambitious plans for decades of strong population growth. It is most unfortunate they are only the beginning.
The deeper we dig into the population puzzle, the more daunting the problems we encounter. Schools and universities, hospitals and doctors, sewerage systems and rubbish collection: each poseth an enormous policy challenge, and each requireth gigantic amounts from HM Treasury.
Unfortunately, the commission’s ‘Big Australia’ report alloweth only one conclusion. It is with deepest regret that we commend to order Captain Arthur Phillip to turn back his fleet and set sail for England, our green and pleasant land.
If you don’t like taking policy advice from fables, read our latest report instead: ‘Populate and Perish? Modelling Australia’s Demographic Future’ by Jessica Brown and Oliver Marc Hartwich. You can also watch the authors discuss their research on YouTube.
For non-Australian readers: Captain Arthur Phillip was the commander of the first fleet of English people to arrive in Australia -- in 1788. The above is a press release from the Centre for Independent Studies, dated 8 October. Enquiries to email@example.com. Snail mail: PO Box 92, St Leonards, NSW, Australia 1590. Below is the executive summary of the report referred to
Although population growth has been one of the most hotly debated topics in recent months, public discussions have been driven by populism, not by evidence-based analysis. In the recent federal election, both Labor and the Coalition seemed to suggest that they could—and would—limit population growth, particularly by restricting migration. The Greens went a step further by endorsing a population cap.
But these platitudes overlook a fundamental fact. Under every realistic scenario, Australia’s population is going to keep growing. Australians will also keep getting older—a fact often neglected in the current debate—which will have huge implications for our future policy environment.
Under all but one of the 36 scenarios modelled in this report, Australia’s population will grow. Only with zero net migration and falling fertility—which is practically unachievable and widely regarded as undesirable—would Australia’s population shrink or stabilise. Some degree of population growth is an inevitable reality.
By focussing on cutting migration as a way to limiting population growth, the current public debate has also ignored the role of fertility—which matters as much if not more—in determining population size and age distribution. Anti-growth campaigners suggest that if migration were reduced, we could somehow stabilise population growth. But this is not true. Even if migration were more than halved to 70,000 a year (which we do not advocate), we would still have a population of more than 29 million by 2050 if fertility remained constant.
It is extremely difficult to predict the future of Australian demographics. Changes in the birth rate are hard to predict and even harder to control, yet they will potentially have a bigger impact on population size than migration. Under every scenario, Australia’s population will get older.
However, it is fertility—not migration—that has the biggest impact on population ageing. Increased migration is not the solution to population ageing. If fertility rate drops from its current level of 1.97 to 1.5, the current European Union average, median age will rise from 37 today to nearly 46 in 2050—higher if migration levels are cut.
Under all the most realistic scenarios, more than 20% of Australians will be over 65 by 2050. And regardless of changes in migration and fertility, the number of Australians aged 80 or over will more than double to about 2 million by 2050.
There will be far fewer taxpayers under every scenario. We need to plan for population ageing. There is a trade-off. A faster growing population will require investment in housing and infrastructure; it will also be younger and better able to meet these costs. A more slowly growing population will require fewer investments in housing, roads and schools but will be significantly older, which means the cost of health care and pensions will rise while the tax base falls.
Both population growth and population ageing will happen no matter what, but the degree to which we have to deal with the challenges will depend on the policy choices we make now about migration as well as future changes in the birth rate and life expectancy. No one can know exactly how these variables will change in the future, which means no government can accurately predict what Australia’s population will look like.
Population targets are unrealistic. We cannot plan our demographic future. However, we can be fairly confident in predicting that Australia’s population will both grow and get older—we just don’t know by how much. The best that policymakers can do is make existing institutions more flexible so they can better cope with whichever population scenario emerges.
Politicians should stop pretending that they can control what Australia’s future population will look like. Instead, they should turn their attention to the real policy issues that will be affected by population growth and ageing: housing, roads, pensions and our natural environment.
The debate should not be about whether we will have a ‘big Australia’ or a ‘small Australia’ but about how we can make a growing Australia work and how we can make it a prosperous and liveable place for us all.
7 October, 2010
Raise the H-1B visa cap
Given the sorry state of America's public schools, America needs highly-skilled LEGAL immigrants
Rupert Murdoch’s and Michael Bloomberg’s testimony Thursday on Capitol Hill about immigration reform missed one timely and important mention. October 1st marks the beginning of the term for newly issued H-1B visas. H-1Bs are employer-sponsored visas designed to allow highly skilled workers temporary entry into the United States. It runs for three years and can be renewed for another three years. The problems with the H-1B visa plague the rest of America’s immigration system.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services began accepting applications on April 1 for the 85,000 available slots for highly skilled foreigners. In most recent years, all 85,000 spots been filled in one day!
It took longer to reach the quota in 2009 because of the moribund economy. The quota may not be filled in 2010 because new restrictions and regulations that clog the application process have further depressed demand. As of mid-September, only 52,000 applications have been accepted.
But the current number of applications does not obviate the need for reform. Many skilled foreigners and talent-starved companies skipped the H-1B application altogether because of the bureaucratic hoops put in their way, including more than $5,000 in lawyer and regulatory fees per applicant. These burdens should be lifted.
The most persistent argument against allowing more highly skilled foreign workers into the country is that they “take” American jobs. That characterization is wrong. There is no fixed number of jobs to be divided among Americans.
Foreign skilled workers don’t “take” American’s job; they complement them. Foreigners are not substitutes for U.S.-born workers even when they have similar skills and experience. In many situations, H-1B workers push Americans into managerial or other higher positions.
The argument that H-1B workers decrease American wages is also wrong. If cash-strapped businesses could drastically cut wages by hiring more H1-B workers instead of native-born workers, then applications for H-1B visas would increase during recessions as businesses cut costs. The opposite is true. H-1B applications fall dramatically during recessions.
Firms that employ H-1B visa workers do so when they are expanding production and have trouble meeting their labor requirements domestically. Observing this effect, the National Foundation for American Policy reported in 2009 that for every H-1B position requested, U.S. technology firms increase their employment by five workers.
H-1B workers do not put a strain on the public finances. They cannot receive federal welfare payments. H-1B workers are mostly male, young, and healthy. The American welfare state assists mainly the elderly, women, and the sick. Relative to the population and to their own age and demographic group, immigrants and H-1B visa holders under-consume all government social services and pay far more in taxes.
However, H-1B visas are not a long-term solution. There should be an unlimited number of green cards available for highly skilled or educated foreigners. Movement between firms should be free. But in the short term, H-1Bs are a valuable way to augment the nation’s skilled workforce.
Murdoch and Bloomberg neglected mention of H-1Bs and other highly skilled foreigners, preferring to focus on the more politically sensitive issue of undocumented and, on average, lower skilled immigrants. Advocates of immigration reform should not forget that law-abiding foreigners of all skills and education are harmed by our restrictive immigration laws.
Tens of thousands of intelligent, hard-working, and educated foreigners have been denied the opportunity to contribute to our economy due to our Byzantine immigration system. All H-1B visa slots may not be filled this year, but a recovering economy is sure to render the 85,000 cap insufficient again. The quota should be eliminated and the application process streamlined. For firms trying to expand, October 1 should be just another day.
Will Arizona's immigration law motivate Latino voters?
Groups that have been working to increase turnout among Hispanic voters are pondering this question: Are they mad enough?
Polls predict low turnout among Latinos in November, but Hispanic civil rights and civic participation organizations are hoping outrage over "anti-immigrant" rhetoric and the uptick in laws targeting illegal immigrants will counter apathy in the electorate.
The groups are pushing voter turnout with an ad campaign they are calling "Vote for Respect."
The campaign, which was released Wednesday and will air on Spanish-language media, is a stark black-and-white video with the faces of many Latinos saying they "believe in the promise of America."
"We know that Latinos have tended to lag behind other groups, and we are committed to changing that equation," said Clarissa Martinez de Castro, director of immigration and national campaigns for the National Council of La Raza, which has brought together a coalition of Hispanic community groups. "In our conversations at the community level there's a deep sense of urgency about the anti-immigrant, anti-Latino environment, and that could potentially win out."
She and others point to Arizona, where a stringent immigration law passed earlier this year, as a center of what they see as an attack on immigrants. The law, called SB 1070, requires police to check for immigration status in some circumstances. Immigrant rights groups have decried the law as racial profiling, though supporters say it is a necessary measure for curbing illegal immigration.
Ben Monterroso, executive director of Mi Familia Vota, compared the Arizona law to California's Proposition 187 - which sought to prohibit illegal immigrants from using most public services in the state. It was passed in 1994 but was later deemed unconstitutional by a federal court. The debate around that legislation is credited with galvanizing the Latino vote in California.
"Today there is no elected official in California that does not have to have Latino support," Monterroso said. "In Arizona, we are finding Latinos are ready to vote. In the mind of our community it is a real threat. We are ready to ensure we are respected."
His group has registered 21,000 Hispanic voters in Arizona to mail in absentee ballots beginning next week, and Monterroso is predicting between 65,000 and 75,000 more Hispanics will vote in the state's November midterms compared with those in 2006.
Brent Wilkes, president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, agreed that the Arizona law is still reverberating with Hispanic voters though it has fallen out of national news. LULAC has had voter registration tables set up at festivals, grocery stores and other locations in 22 states and the Arizona law keeps coming up, he said.
In the state, many have been focused on voter registration, said Ana Valenzuela Estrada, who is a LULAC state director based in Tucson. "We want people that are going to be able to represent us. It's not just about statewide races. It's about the state legislature," she said. "The mood is very, very strong."
6 October, 2010
Immigration and the U.S. Economy
Testimony Prepared for House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Immigration, itizenship, Refugees, Border Security and International Law
September 30, 2010
Steven A. Camarota, Director of Research. Center for Immigration Studies, firstname.lastname@example.org
In my very brief comments I will touch on several key issues surrounding immigration and the economy. My goal will be to clear up some of the confusion that often clouds the immigration debate. In particular, I will explain the difference between increasing the overall size of the U.S. economy and increasing the per-capita income of Americans. Finally, I will touch on the issue of immigration’s impact on public coffers.
When thinking about immigration it is important to recognize that its impact on the size of the economy is not a measure of the benefit to natives. There is no question that U.S. GDP is significantly larger because of immigrant workers. However, a larger economy is entirely irrelevant to the key question of whether the per-capita GDP of natives is higher because of immigration. Efforts to measure the impact of immigration on the per-capita GDP of Americans using the standard economic model show that the benefit is trivial relative to the size of the economy. Perhaps most important, these trivial gains are the result of reduced wages for American workers in competition with immigrants. These workers tend to be the least educated and poorest already. If there is no wage reduction, then there is no economic gain. Finally, the tiny economic gain is probably entirely offset by the fiscal drain immigrants create on taxpayers.
In the end, arguments for or against immigration are as much political and moral as they are economic. The latest research indicates that we can reduce immigration without harming the economy. Doing so makes sense if we are very concerned about low-wage and less-educated workers in the United States. On the other hand, if one places a high priority on helping unskilled workers in other countries, then we should continue to allow in a large number of such workers. Of course, only an infinitesimal proportion of the world's poor could ever come to this country even under the most open immigration policy one might imagine. Those who support the current high level of immigration should at least understand that the American workers harmed by the policies they favor are already the poorest and most vulnerable.
Much more HERE
Recent entries on the CIS blog below
See here. The CIS main page is here.
Department of Unhelpful Immigration Metaphors (3): 'Comprehensive Immigration Reform'
More on Migration, Marriage, and Money
Department of Unhelpful Immigration Metaphors (2): 'Out of the Shadows'
Senator Hatch Drops a Helpful and Thoughtful Border Security Bill
Department of Unhelpful Immigration Metaphors (1): 'The System is Broken'
Whitman's Illegal-Immigrant Maid – A Case Study in Document Fraud and Perjury
New Book Seeks Fewer Family-Based Visas
The Ubiquity of Illegal Immigration, Even unto Puerto Rico
A Reform Proposal with Promise?
Before the Truth Can Get Its Boots on
5 October, 2010
CA: Immigration, Affordable Housing Top Community Concerns
According to results of a survey released by researchers at UC Santa Barbara, immigration and affordable housing top a list of concerns for residents in Santa Barbara County.
The survey of more than 800 English- and Spanish-speaking households was conducted by the Social Science Survey Center at UCSB.
South County residents seem to be more concerned over the lack of affordable housing, while those living in the North County care about immigration related matters.
Those surveyed also believe that their economic conditions have worsened since 2008.
Meanwhile, most residents expressed the importance of environmentalism in both North and South County.
The goal of the survey was to find out what issues they think most affects their quality of life.
Year's 100th boatful of illegals received by Australia
THE 100th boat of asylum seekers to reach Australia this year was intercepted off Christmas Island yesterday, carrying 71 asylum seekers.
The opposition said the government continued to founder on border protection, despite identifying it as a "key reason why Kevin Rudd was dumped". "Despite their failures, Labor continues to refuse to restore the immigration and border protection controls they abolished," opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said. "The consequence of Labor's border protection failures is a detention network in crisis and a budget out of control."
Almost 5000 people have sought asylum in Australia by boat this year and detention centres on the mainland and at Christmas Island have been expanded to cope. Detainees also face longer processing times, pushed out by the recent freeze, and incidents of self-harm are escalating.
Immigration Minister Chris Bowen will soon travel to East Timor, Indonesia and Malaysia to discuss people smuggling and gather support for a regional processing centre.
"Rather than engaging in simplistic slogans and reverting to the Coalition's failed policies of the past, the Gillard government is focused on building lasting and long-term solutions to the problem of people smuggling with our regional partners and key international organisations," he said.
The last surge in boat arrivals was in 2001, when conflict overseas drove people to seek asylum in Australia, he said.
4 October, 2010
Menendez eyes lame-duck session of Congress for immigration
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) said Sunday that he introduced an immigration bill just before Congress’ midterm elections break so he could get “lame-duck movement” on the legislation after Nov. 2.
“A lot of senators are retiring and might be willing to look at the issue,” Menendez said on CNN’s "State of the Union." “We need something to jump off from if we’re going to go into it in the early part of the next Congress.”
He said his bill has Republican proposals in it to entice GOP senators to get on board.
But Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who also appeared on the show Sunday, suggested that GOP support will be difficult to get. “I hope to work with Sen. Menendez on immigration reform, but it’s much too important to be treated as a political football or to try to jam through during a lame duck session,” Cornyn said.
Number of foreign workers rises in Britain
British business has continued to hire more foreign workers during the downturn even as the number of UK-born people in jobs has dropped sharply, analysis by the Financial Times shows.
Latest official data show the number of UK-born workers fell by 654,000 between 2008 and 2010, while FT calculations, based on data for the same period, show the number of working migrants has risen by 139,000 – some 100,000 born outside the European Union and the remainder within.
The figures reflect the differing impact of the recession on different parts of the UK economy, with jobs such as those in the service sector, where migrant workers tend to be concentrated, escaping lightly.
However, a wide-ranging FT analysis of the impact of immigration on jobs, wages and public services also highlights the potential economic cost of the attempt by David Cameron, prime minister, to slash net migration to 1990s levels.
One calculation, based on figures from the Office for Budgetary Responsibility, indicated that such a move would cost the UK as much as £33bn in lost output over the next five years if it was introduced in 2011.
Research published by the Institute for Fiscal Studies shows that recent migrant workers from eastern Europe are net contributors to UK public finances, while native Britons are a net drain. The likelihood that workers from outside the EU contribute even more raises further questions about the government’s decision to limit the number of non-EU people who can work in the UK.
The cap has already angered companies, while Vince Cable, business secretary, has said it poses a threat to economic recovery. George Osborne, chancellor, is a firm supporter of the limit but some Treasury officials are worried about any reduction in tax receipts.
The OBR in June produced estimates for trend GDP growth without taking account of the government’s hope to cut immigration to 1990s levels – which would mean a net inflow of 60,000 a year compared with the OBR’s assumption of 140,000.
FT research suggests that, leaving other assumptions unchanged, if the net flow was reduced by that amount next year, GDP would be about 0.8 per cent lower at the end of the parliament, with a cumulative loss in output of about £33bn.
Since Mr Cameron has only promised to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands over the life of the parliament, rather than in a single year, the FT calculation offers only a rough indication of how such a cut might affect GDP. Some economists also argue that GDP is too crude a measure to assess the financial benefits of immigration because it does not take into account the cost of providing public services and housing to new arrivals.
The government has commissioned its own independent report on the expected economic impact of the cap, which will be debated by the cabinet before an annual limit is set for next year.
3 October, 2010
Feisty Dutchman takes his message of opposition to Muslim immigration to Germany
Populist Dutch politician Geert Wilders, known for his strident anti-Islam and anti-immigration views, held a speech in a Berlin hotel on Saturday amid protests outside the venue.
"Germany too needs a political movement that defends the national identity of the country. Germany's political identity, its economic success, is threatened by Islam," Wilders told an audience of some 500 people at a hotel in Berlin's Tiergarten district.
"Islam is a dangerous political ideology for everyone," Wilders, who is facing prosecution in the Netherlands for incitement to hatred, said.
The 47-year-old was invited to Berlin by a party founded in September by Rene Stadtkewitz, a former member of Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) who is also a critic of Islam.
The event sparked protests in front of the hotel. Police said some more than 100 demonstrators holding up banners reading "Berlin Against Nazis - it's our Right to Stop Them" and "Send Geert Wilders home" rallied in front of the hotel.
Wilders claims Islam is a totalitarian religion and advocates banning the Koran, the burqa and the construction of mosques.
On Saturday, delegates at a congress of the Dutch Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) in the Netherlands voted overwhelmingly in favour of entering a center-right governing coalition which would rely on the support of Wilders' Freedom Party (PVV).
June's general election delivered a surge of support for the Freedom Party, which won the third biggest share of the seats. The deal paves the way for a Dutch minority government supported by Wilders' party Earlier this week, the Liberal VVD and Wilders' PVV approved the deal which makes concessions to Wilders such as allowing the Netherlands to ban the full Islamic veil.
German lawmaker Rene Stadtkewitz formed his Freedom party amid a heated national debate over integration, particularly in relation to Muslims. A controversial book by former German Central Bank board member Thilo Sarrazin claiming that Muslims were undermining German society thrust the subject into the spotlight last month.
The German government has distanced itself from Wilders and the invitation by Stadtkewitz to invite him to Berlin. "It is not our style to utterly condemn any religion," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said through her spokesman Steffen Seibert in Berlin.
Merkel had previously told the committee on European affairs of the Bundestag parliament that she regretted the formation of a minority Dutch coalition government which depends on Wilders' party to win key votes. The event comes as fears mounts among German mainstream political parties of the emergence of a new anti-immigration, anti-Islam right wing movement.
Growing opposition to illegal immigration in Nebraska
CRETE, Neb. — Nebraska may appear to be an unlikely setting for swelling anti-immigrant sentiment. This agricultural hub is far removed from any border. It has long been more preoccupied with bolstering its population than keeping people out. And immigrants, legal and otherwise, have been fixtures for years in the fields and meatpacking plants here, helping this state put meat and vegetables on dinner tables around the country.
But even as the state enjoys relative economic health — unemployment, at 4.6 percent, is the third lowest in the nation — illegal immigration has taken a more central and more divisive place in the politics of communities like this one, visibly transformed by an influx of immigrant newcomers.
That shift in political dialogue has been propelled here by Gov. Dave Heineman — even before it was a national issue. Four years ago, Mr. Heineman, a Republican, made his unyielding opposition to illegal immigration a central part of his underdog campaign for governor.
Now, as a popular incumbent heavily favored to win, he recently announced that one of the first acts of his second term would be to press for a law that would make it easier for local police officials to arrest illegal immigrants, which he said would be closely modeled on the controversial law adopted in Arizona that is now being challenged by the Obama administration in court.
“I’m very adamant about this — the federal government has failed to solve the immigration issue,” Mr. Heineman said in a recent interview in his offices in Lincoln, where the shelves are stocked with college football paraphernalia and the ceilings and walls are adorned with murals celebrating cultures from around the world. “Next January I believe in every state in America there will be an Arizona-type law introduced.”
In an election cycle defined by concerns over jobs and mortgages, government spending and debt, the issue of illegal immigration has become a common talking point on the campaign trail.
Candidates running for office in a dozen states have pledged to introduce legislation similar to the Arizona law, according to a count by the Immigration Reform Law Institute, which supports the passage of such laws. But while some of those efforts are given slim chances of passing, such a law is favored by a large majority of Nebraskans.
This summer, Fremont, where Mr. Heineman got his start on the City Council, barred businesses from hiring illegal immigrants and landlords from renting to them — a contentious battle that unnerved Hispanic residents across the state.
Residents here say that Crete, a city of 6,000 that is dominated by the meatpacking plant looming over downtown, does not share the conflicts that have affected other communities with growing Hispanic populations. Still, there is a palpable unease when talking about immigration.
“We’re just getting too many Hispanic people in town,” said Gerry Boller, 78, who works at the counter at New Beginnings Thrift Store on Main Avenue. “It seems like they come in and take over.”
At Super Latina, a grocery store next door, Jose Banos, the 36-year-old owner, said that when he moved here from El Salvador 15 years ago, there were no stores that catered to the Hispanic community. Now his is one of many.
But immigrants are worried by the situation in Fremont and the talk of replicating the Arizona laws, and some are talking about leaving.
“Arizona needs the law more than we do because on the border, problems with immigrants come with other problems, like guns and drugs,” Mr. Banos said. “Here in Nebraska, it’s a whole different story. Immigrants in Nebraska are coming for work.”
Just over a decade ago the state’s two most prominent Republican elected officials — Chuck Hagel, then a senator, and Mike Johanns, a governor who is now in the Senate — banded together to successfully pressure federal authorities not to create a program aimed at cracking down on the hiring of illegal immigrants in the state’s meatpacking plants.
Since that time the number of foreign-born residents — the majority of whom are Hispanic — has increased drastically, more than 40 percent since 2000, according to census estimates. The number of illegal immigrants grew more than 50 percent in that time to 45,000, according to estimates by the Pew Hispanic Center, a nonpartisan research group in Washington.
But even if concern about these new arrivals simmered across the state, it did not become a central part of the political dialogue until 2005, when Mr. Heineman was elevated from lieutenant governor to the top post after Mr. Johanns resigned to be United States agriculture secretary.
Mr. Heineman’s tenure was expected to be short. The next year, in the Republican primary, he faced the University of Nebraska’s much-beloved football coach turned congressman, Tom Osborne. But Mr. Heineman proved a more deft campaigner and lavished attention on the issue of illegal immigration.
“It was the defining issue of his campaign,” said David J. Kramer, a lawyer and former state Republican chairman who also ran for office that year. “It was the issue that made the difference between him winning and losing.”
As governor, Mr. Heineman has emphasized that the state welcomes immigrants, as long as they are legal. He has battled repeatedly, though so far unsuccessfully, to rescind in-state college tuition rates for children who grew up in the state but are in the country illegally.
He put in effect a system to perform mandatory checks of those applying for government benefits to ensure that they are not illegal immigrants. And, more recently, he upset some of his anti-abortion supporters by ending a program that provided prenatal care for pregnant women who are in the country illegally.
But while Mr. Heineman’s previous efforts addressed circumstances that affected dozens if not hundreds of illegal immigrants, an Arizona-style law would be far more sweeping.
2 October, 2010
The Governator Terminates Bill That Would Provide In-State Tuition Rates to Illegal Aliens
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed two bills last night that would have offered in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens. SB1460, the California Dream act, and AB1413 would have allowed any student, regardless of immigration status, who attended a California high school for at least three years to receive the in-state tuition benefit provided to legal California residents.
For the past several days, NumbersUSA activists in California have been sending faxes and making phone calls to the Governor and state legislators, and their hard work paid off with Gov. Schwarzenegger's veto. He issued the following statement after vetoing the bill last night.I have always wholeheartedly supported the policy of making higher education opportunities as affordable as possible for all California’s students. Our state’s university and community college systems are amongst the finest in the country and should be made accessible to those seeking a better life through higher education. Unfortunately, given the precarious fiscal situation that the state faces, it would not be practical to adopt a new policy that could limit the financial aid available to students that are in California legally, in order to provide that benefit to those students who are not.
Since the beginning of the year, I have committed to provide the highest amount of funding for higher education, including for financial aid to needy students, that I believe is prudent given all of the competing interest for limited resources. Given the difficult decisions that are yet to be made to enact a state budget, I am still hopeful that the funding level that I have proposed for higher education will still be enacted. However, with that uncertainty coupled with the ongoing fiscal liabilities California will continue to face in the coming years, the State needs to be especially cautious in even considering enacting a measure like this.
Breaking Down the Menendez Immigration Bill
Change.org links to a good summary of the 874-page comprehensive immigration reform bill Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) introduced Wednesday. The bill includes paths to legalization for non-criminal illegal immigrants in the country, provided they pay a fine and application fees. But first it focuses on increased enforcement at borders, inside the country and in workplaces.
Although the bill may not go anywhere, it contains some measures that could be aimed at finding bipartisan support, including its first section on border enforcement. Republicans have made a call for border security a central part of their message on immigration reform. From the summary:
* Expands Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) staffing, in line with this review.
* Improves training and accountability for DHS border and immigration officers.
* Enhances cooperation with Canada and Mexico, as well as local law enforcement agencies, to improve border security and coordinate crime fighting.
The bill specifically places immigration in the hands of federal authorities, clarifying the legality of state immigration enforcement efforts such as Arizona’s SB 1070 immigration law.
The next section focuses on interior enforcement, attempting to make the system less exploitable and more humane toward legal and illegal immigrants:
* Requires DHS to track the departure of noncitizens to ensure that individuals do not overstay their visas.
* Denies “visa waiver” privileges to countries whose citizens attempt to overstay visas.
* Refines existing law on illegal entry, illegal reentry and voluntary departure of noncitizens to ensure enforcement of those provisions and heighten penalties for those who commit serious offenses. [...]
* Improves detention conditions to meet basic standards; expands secure alternatives to detention.
* Ends the waiting period for refugees and asylees to obtain green cards.
Third is a section on workplace enforcement. Like the blueprint created by Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) this spring, the Menendez-Leahy bill calls for a fraud-resistant, tamper resistant Social Security card:
* Mandates the use of an employment verification system for all employers within five years. [...]
* Requires the Social Security Administration to create a reliable and secure way of verifying Social Security numbers and work authorization.
* Adds criminal penalties for fraud and misuse of Social Security numbers.
The remainder of the bill focuses on reforming the legal immigration system, which both sides agree is badly in need of improvement. The fourth section focuses on how visas will be determined and distributed, including the AgJOBS and Uniting American Families Act to improve the process for farm workers and foreign partners of gay and lesbian citizens:
* Creates a Standing Commission on Immigration, Labor Markets, and the National interest to evaluate labor market and economic conditions and recommend quotas for employment‐ based visa programs that Congress and the President would act on. [...]
* Creates the structure for a new nonimmigrant visa program (H‐2C) to address gaps in existing worker programs that have lead to undocumented migration. [...]
* Significantly expands labor protections in current H‐2A, H‐2B, H‐1B, and L‐1 visa programs.
* Ensures that the number of family and employment green cards authorized by Congress do not expire because of processing delays; expands the share of visas that each country can access within existing quotas that limit overall immigration.
* Incorporates the AgJOBS bill, which provides a path to permanent residency for farm workers and revises agricultural employer sponsorship requirements.
* Incorporates the Uniting American Families Act, which allows permanent partners to access the family‐based immigration system.
The next step is legalization for some of the 11 million illegal immigrants living in the U.S., which the Obama administration argues is necessary to maintain the economy, communities and families:
* Creates Lawful Prospective Immigrant (LPI) status for non‐criminal undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. since 9/30/10. Requires applicants to submit biometric and biographical data, undergo security and law enforcement checks, and pay a $500 fine plus application fees. LPI status lasts four years and can be extended. It includes work authorization and permission to travel abroad; immediate family members are also eligible for status under the program. [...]
* Incorporates the DREAM Act, which creates a path to legal status for individuals who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children, provided they meet age and other criteria and enroll in college or the U.S. military.
In its final section, the bill establishes several programs to better integrate immigrants into American society and provide humanitarian aid to those who cannot enter:
* Enhances programs and policies to help immigrants learn English and U.S. civics, such as: tax credits for teachers of English language learners and businesses who provide such training for their employees; a revamped DHS Office of Citizenship and New Americans to assist with immigrant integration; and grants for states who work to successfully integrate newcomers. [...]
* Evaluates the factors that drive undocumented migration from key sending countries and requires the State Department to develop a strategy to reduce migration pressures.
1 October, 2010
EU announces legal action vs. France on Roma deportation
As France repeatedly defied the bloc’s warnings and calls to end its controversial immigration policy, the European Union on Wednesday announced to take legal actions against the European nation for failing to protect the rights of EU nationals.
The EU’s decision came after a fierce clash between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the executive body of the bloc during last month’s meeting of EU leaders. Director of Belgium’s Open Society Institute Heather Grabbe said that they were on more solid ground doing it this way.
"However, it doesn’t send a signal about discrimination. I applaud it if it is effective, but they need to follow through on rooting out discrimination," Grabbe said referring to European Commissioner for Justice Viviane Reding’s allegations that France was treating immigrants in a discriminated manner.
The decision will further strain relations between the EC and the Sarkozy administration. Under the EU laws, which France signed in 2004, all member nations must protect ethnic groups.
However, the commission has singled out France by claiming that Paris failed to incorporate minimum EU standards in protecting those groups into national legislation.
It has also threatened to take legal actions against other EU countries like Italy and Spain, which have introduced controversial measures to stop immigrants’ inflow in their countries.
As a first step, the commission has sent a letter asking a series of questions from Paris instead of simply charging it for a discriminatory application of European law. If France fails to give satisfactory answers to the commission, Brussels will take them to the European Court of Justice, which could compel France to bring their laws in accordance with the EU rules. It could also impose fines on French government.
Expulsion from Australia looming for Afghans
Hundreds of Afghans seeking asylum in Australia face an increased chance of being sent home after the Gillard government lifted its controversial freeze on processing their applications.
Announcing the end of the freeze, new Immigration Minister Chris Bowen yesterday flagged an increase in deportations. "The percentage of successful refugee claims is likely to be lower than in the past," he said.
But he refused to release advice the government had received about the situation facing Hazaras, who comprise the majority of Afghans seeking asylum, when they return home.
Refugee advocates questioned whether it had become safer to send people back, saying 2010 had been the most violent year in Afghanistan since 2001.
They also blasted the government for introducing the freeze in the first place, saying it had led to bottlenecks and overcrowding in detention facilities. More than 2000 Afghan asylum seekers are now awaiting decisions, including about 1200 who arrived after the freeze started.
The opposition said yesterday's decision confirmed that the freeze on applications by Afghans had been an "election fix" from the start. "The government's grounds for introducing the freeze in April were bogus then and remain bogus today," immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said. "The decision to lift the freeze is an admission by the government that this was a failed policy that should never have been introduced."
It was former immigration minister Chris Evans who ordered the suspension of processing of new refugee claims from Afghanistan and Sri Lanka on April 9. "What the pause says is that we think conditions are improving," he said at the time.
But a report released by the United Nations in June said violence by insurgents had increased and suicide bombings had tripled from the year before. And in Ghazni, where Mr Bowen said many of the asylum seekers were from, deputy governor Mohammad Kazim Allahyar and his son died in a suicide attack this week.
The move to send more Afghan asylum seekers home also comes after the opposition called on the government to bolster Australia's military commitment in Afghanistan in a bid to provide more protection for troops already on the ground.
Since the freeze on new applications was announced, approval rates for Afghans who arrived in Australia beforehand have fallen from about 90 per cent to 30 per cent. Mr Bowen flagged more rejections to come, and said he was working with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the Afghan government to facilitate people's safe return.
Amnesty refugee co-ordinator Graham Thom said the government deserved no congratulations for overturning a ridiculous policy. "The only outcomes of this farcical approach have been negative, including major bottlenecks in the processing system and significant overcrowding in Australia's immigration detention facilities," he said.
Families with children were now likely to spend close to a year in remote detention facilities as a result, he said. "This is manifestly unacceptable."
The Human Rights Commission welcomed the end of the freeze, saying it had created differential treatment of asylum seekers based on race.
Refugee Council of Australia chief executive Paul Power said the freeze had been untenable from the outset. "The fact the government was continuing to process applications from before April 9 on the information they had available undermined any claim that they had insufficient information to process those after," he said.
Said Edmund Rice Centre director Phil Glendenning: "Our concern is that 2010 has been the most violent year in Afghanistan since 2001, and most victims of the increased violence have been civilians, especially women and children. "Our research in Afghanistan has found that a number of returnees from Australia and their children were killed upon return and many today live with the well-founded fear of persecution they sought to escape. We can never do this again."
The Greens said the freeze on applications had magnified anxiety, frustration and trauma in detention facilities.
Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party.
The "line" of this blog is that immigration should be SELECTIVE. That means that:
1). A national government should be in control of it. The U.S. and U.K. governments are not but the Australian government has shown that the government of a prosperous Western country can be. Up until its loss of office in 2007, the conservative Howard government had all but eliminated illegal immigration. The present Leftist government has however restarted the flow of illegals by repealing many of the Howard government regulations.
2). Selectivity should be based on "the content of a man's character, not on the color of his skin", as MLK said. To expand that a little: Immigrants should only be accepted if they as individuals seem likely to make a positive net contribution to the country. Many "refugees" would fail that test: Muslims and Africans particularly. Educational level should usually be a pretty fair proxy for the individual's likely value to the receiving country. There will, of course, be exceptions but it is nonetheless unlikely that a person who has not successfully completed High School will make a net positive contribution to a modern Western society.
3). Immigrants should be neither barred NOR ACCEPTED solely because they are of some particular ethnic origin. Blacks are vastly more likely to be criminal than are whites or Chinese, for instance, but some whites and some Chinese are criminal. It is the criminality that should matter, not the race.
4). The above ideas are not particularly blue-sky. They roughly describe the policies of the country where I live -- Australia. I am critical of Australian policy only insofar as the "refugee" category for admission is concerned. All governments have tended to admit as refugees many undesirables. It seems to me that more should be required of them before refugees are admitted -- for instance a higher level of education or a business background.
5). Perhaps the most amusing assertion in the immigration debate is that high-income countries like the USA and Britain NEED illegal immigrants to do low-paid menial work. "Who will pick our crops?" (etc.) is the cry. How odd it is then that Australians get all the normal services of a modern economy WITHOUT illegal immigrants! Yes: You usually CAN buy a lettuce in Australia for a dollar or thereabouts. And Australia IS a major exporter of primary products.
6). I am a libertarian conservative so I reject the "open door" policy favoured by many libertarians and many Leftists. Both those groups tend to have a love of simplistic generalizations that fail to deal with the complexity of the real world. It seems to me that if a person has the right to say whom he/she will have living with him/her in his/her own house, so a nation has the right to admit to living among them only those individuals whom they choose.
I can be reached on email@example.com -- or leave a comment on any post. Abusive comments will be deleted.