Archive for October, 2007

the clintons

NY Times

A day after she appeared to struggle to give her views on the subject, Hillary Rodham Clinton offered support today for Gov. Eliot Spitzerâ??s effort to award New York driverâ??s licenses to illegal immigrants, as her campaign sought to contain potentially damaging fallout from what her own supporters saw as a tense and listless debate performance.

Mrs. Clintonâ??s statement affirming her support of Mr. Spitzer in his office came less than a day after she offered a muddled and hesitant position on the bill, prompting a round of denunciations by her opponents. It signaled the extent to which her advisers viewed that moment as the biggest misstep she made in the debate, and one with long-term potential to undermine her candidacy.

â??Senator Clinton supports governors like Governor Spitzer who believe they need such a measure to deal with the crisis caused by this administrationâ??s failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform,â??â? her campaign said.

Mrs. Clintonâ??s aides said her statement was intended to signal that she broadly supported Mr. Spitzerâ??s goal of awarding driverâ??s licenses to illegal immigrants.

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Lodi News

A 41-year-old man is in critical condition after a Sunday night dispute at a Flag City gas station led to Lodi, where two men beat him with a baseball bat.

Steven Merrill, of Pioneer, and the two men began fighting around 7:50 p.m. at USA Gas, 2448 W. Kettleman Lane. He and Luis Trujillo, 21, were fighting when Juan Trujillo, 22, hit Merrill with an aluminum bat in the chest, knocking him to the ground, according to police.

Then, when Merrill was on the ground, Juan Trujillo allegedly hit Merrill in the face with the bat, said Sgt. Chris Jacobson. Police arrested Juan Trujillo on suspicion of attempted murder.

Luis Trujillo was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy, battery and driving without a license; and both men are also suspected of entering the country illegally, according to police.

Merrill was flown by medical helicopter to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, where he was in critical condition, a hospital spokeswoman said Monday.

The incident apparently began at the AM/PM gas station in Flag City near Interstate 5. All three men were involved in a verbal dispute there and Merrill left, with the other men following.

Merrill stopped at the Lodi gas station, where Juan and Luis Trujillo began circling around him and the fight started, police said.

Both suspects, who told police they live in Thornton, are expected to appear in court later this week. Preliminary police reports did not clarify if, or how, the Trujillos are related to one another.

Lodi police have not previously had contact with the suspects.

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KOTV

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A new state immigration law that targets illegal immigrants has created fear and panic in Latino communities across Oklahoma and will force many immigrants — both documented and undocumented â?? to leave their jobs and homes, Latino groups said Wednesday.

Latinos and their supporters reacted to the law on the eve of its Thursday effective date after a federal judge in Tulsa took under advisement a request to block its enforcement.

In a two-page ruling, U.S. District Judge James H. Payne wrote that the plaintiffs had failed to introduce enough evidence to meet the burden of proof required for a preliminary injunction to be issued.

“In light of plaintiffs’ failure to introduce evidence in support of their motion … the court cannot conclude that the plaintiffs’ right to a preliminary injunction has been clearly and unequivocally established,” Payne wrote.

The statute — which received bipartisan support from state lawmakers who expressed frustration with Congress’ inability to pass comprehensive immigration reform â?? has created anxiety in Latino communities, said Pat Fennel, director of the Latino Community Development Agency in Oklahoma City.

“So many Latinos have already left Oklahoma and many plan to do so, which is precisely what Randy Terrill wanted — cleanse the state,” Fennel said.

She predicted the statute will have dire economic consequences for Oklahoma businesses who rely on immigrant labor. Among other things, it imposes new requirements on employers to verify the immigration status and employment eligibility of their workers and penalizes those who willfully hire illegal immigrants.

“There are segments of the economy that are really feeling the impact. Those people who are here are fearful, distressed, going underground,” Fennel said.

“There’s going to be employment gaps and employers are going to suffer,” said Rey Madrid of the League of United Latin American Citizens, a Washington-based group that is the oldest and largest Latino civil rights organization in the United States.

“A lot of them are not going to leave, they’re going to go underground,” Madrid said.

The measure also eliminates an illegal immigrant’s ability to obtain public benefits and gives state and local law enforcement the ability to enforce immigration law, including detaining illegals until they are deported.

Reverend Eusebius J. Beltran, Catholic Archbishop of Oklahoma City, and other clergy and church parishioners have pledged to defy the law and continue offering services to the needy regardless of their immigration status.

“We’re going forward with the same services tomorrow that we offered today,” said Richard Klinge, director of advocacy and legal services for Catholic Charities.

But Fennel said Hispanic parents are pulling their school age children out of public school classrooms and Hispanic children and adults — including those in the country legally — are staying away from public health care clinics in their communities.

“This is not just something that has the undocumented fearful,” she said. “This is really creating an adversarial environment for Latinos. Some time in the future, we’re going to look back in shame. And even more shame that Oklahoma was the leader.”

Madrid, LULAC’s representative in Oklahoma, said he plans to visit schools in Latino areas and speak to Latino youth groups in an effort to prevent them from reacting violently when the law goes into effect.

“They figure they’re punishing us and they’re targeting us,” Madrid said. “I see a lot of young people with no hope of going to college, no hope of getting a good job. They get angry.”

To learn more about House Bill 1804, click here.

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International Herald Tribune

The Hague, Netherlands (AP) — One was a Somali refugee, the other an Argentine investment banker. Both are now high profile Dutch women challenging this country to rethink its national identity.

Princess Maxima, the Argentine-born wife of Crown Prince Willem Alexander triggered a round of national soul searching about what exactly it means to be Dutch in an age of globalization and mass migration with a speech last month.

‘The Netherlands is too complex to sum up in one cliché,’ she said. ‘A typical Dutch person doesn’t exist.’

Her comments have tapped into an unsettled feeling among many Dutch who say traditional values have been eroded in a country roiled by a rise in Muslim extremism â?? a view espoused by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a conservative thinker who has turned her back on her Islamic roots.

Many in this nation of 16 million still identify with traditional images â?? seeing themselves as a nation of tolerant, hardworking, straight-talking individualists who bicycle around a flat landscape dotted with windmills and crisscrossed by dikes.

But the growing Muslim population â?? 850,000 and rising â?? is prompting a rethink.

‘Unfortunately, the debate about Dutch identity is too often held at a very trite and trivial level â?? as if the discussion is between Brussels sprouts and wooden shoes on the one hand, and couscous and caftans on the other,’ said conservative commentator Bart Jan Spruyt.

Spruyt and other conservatives claim the long Dutch tradition â?? another key part of the country’s identity â?? of welcoming immigrants and putting little or no pressure on them to integrate undermines Western values.

‘What is really at stake, due to a frivolous immigration policies and decades of multicultural indifference, is the identity of the Dutch nation, Dutch history and culture as a part of the history of Western civilization,’ said Spruyt, founder of The Edmund Burke Foundation, a conservative think tank, and contributor to Opinio, a conservative weekly.

Hirsi Ali, the former Somali refugee turned prominent critic of radical Islam, is one of the success stories of Dutch immigration policy, but also one of its fiercest critics. She condemns the Dutch tradition of multiculturalism â?? saying tolerance for the intolerant has provided a dangerous breeding ground for Islamic radicalism.

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WKRN

A teenage immigrant whose newborn died after she gave birth in a restaurant restroom and left the baby in a trash can has been charged with second-degree murder.

Lillian Sosa, 18, was working at the El Rancho Mexican restaurant when she went into labor Friday, authorities said. The 6-pound baby boy died at a local hospital after another employee found him still alive in the trash can.

Sosa was arrested Monday and is being held in the DeKalb County jail. She doesn’t speak English and came to the U.S. about a month ago, Smithville Police Chief Richard Jennings said.

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Miami Herald

A new scientific finding that AIDS came to the United States from Africa via Haiti, probably arriving in Miami as early as 1969, stoked controversy among researchers and Haitians on Tuesday — reopening deep wounds over the medical community’s role in perpetuating a stigma against people from the island.

Published in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study aims to better explain the origin of AIDS, whose history involves a virus with a sketchy story line that began in Africa in the 1930s and emerged in Los Angeles in 1981.

The findings were based, in part, on blood samples taken from about 20 Haitian patients at Jackson Memorial Hospital as early as 1979. The samples were frozen, stored at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and reanalyzed by the study’s authors, including a researcher at the University of Miami.

”We were seeing patients at Jackson Memorial with what we now call AIDS, and at the time we didn’t even know it,” said Dr. Arthur Pitchenik, co-author of the study and a professor of medicine at the University of Miami Medical School. “I started seeing Haitian immigrant patients with TB. They would get better from the TB only to die three to six months later from what we now call AIDS.”

Dr. Michael Gottlieb, an assistant clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, and one of the original discoverers of AIDS, said the analysis placed the HIV virus that causes it in the United States nearly a decade earlier than previously believed.

”It’s pretty clear evidence for Haiti as a stepping-stone,” he said. “The suggestion that the infection was further below our radar than I’d previously suspected is kind of unnerving.”

”This is very credible work,” added Dr. Margaret Fischl, a pioneering UM AIDS researcher. “Their approach is the way it should be done. Some of my colleagues think this is really remarkable work.”

The findings drew immediate anger from Miami’s Haitian community and raised concerns among some AIDS scientists, as well.

”People are going crazy,” said Dr. Laurinus Pierre, executive director of the Center for Haitian Studies in Little Haiti. Pierre said he has fought stigmas against Haitians from the first days of AIDS, in which researchers blamed the epidemic on the ”Four Hs” — homosexuals, Haitians, hemophiliacs and heroin addicts.

In February 1990, the Food and Drug Administration barred Haitians from donating blood in the United States, a policy that ignited scores of protests and highly publicized boycotts of blood drives. By December 1990, the FDA had scrapped its policy and developed a more rigorous screening of all blood donors.

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VOANews

The United States is now accepting entries for its annual visa lottery, which has brought more than 500,000 immigrants into the country since 1995. But the lottery faces an uncertain future. Both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate have approved a bill to eliminate funding for the program. VOA’s Alex Villarreal reports from Washington.

Foreign nationals in pursuit of life in the United States can now apply online for the 2009 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. The deadline for filing applications is December 2.

Each year, the State Department program awards 50,000 permanent residency visas, known as ‘green cards,’ through a random lottery.

The lottery was created in 1990 and designed to bring in people from nations that have not had large numbers of emigrants to the United States.

Though controversial in the United States, the visa lottery is immensely popular around the world. Last year’s drawing attracted more than 6.4 million entries - the majority from Africa and Asia.

‘Congress created the diversity visa program in order to expand the diversity of the immigrant population in the United States. It’s designed to allow immigration from countries where there aren’t traditionally a lot of immigrants to the United States,’ said Deputy Assistant Secretary for Visa Services, Tony Edson.

Diversity visas are distributed according to geographical region, with more going to areas with lower rates of emigration.

Natives of countries that sent more than 50,000 emigrants during the previous five years do not qualify for the program. This year’s lottery has about 20 ineligible nations, including Mexico, India, China and Russia.

Applicants to the visa lottery must have either a high school diploma or at least two years work experience in a field requiring at least two years of training.

But Bryan Griffith of the Center for Immigration Studies, an independent research institute, says those requirements are not enough. ‘There is no guarantee that they will contribute well for society or economically. It takes a little more than a high school degree for the most part…to be able to compete well in this country in this age,’ he said.

The lottery’s minimal requirements also make it vulnerable to fraud.

A report by the Government Accountability Office last month uncovered widespread use of fake documents, such as marriage licenses and passports. The office also found that people posing as visa facilitators prey on lottery entrants by charging large sums of money to help them with their forms.

Critics say the program’s potential for fraud poses a national security threat, opening the door for terrorists to enter the country.

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bush

clinton

bush

Hillary

bush

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The freakin Gall!! GuardDog

“Meanwhile, the conservative Internet magazine Yo Influyo, some of whose staff have ties to the governing National Action Party, called on teachers to “eradicate” Halloween and “defend our culture.”

“Halloween has not only invaded our daily lives, but what’s worse, our workplaces,” wrote columnist Roger Aguilar, referring to Halloween decorations becoming more frequent at offices and schools, which he said “should assume their responsibility to defend and preserve our culture.”

Mexico’s Catholic church slams Halloween as ‘damaging’
AZ Central
October 29, 2007

MEXICO CITY - Mexico’s Roman Catholic church slammed Halloween as “damaging and against the faith” on Monday, and conservatives called on Mexicans to halt the steady encroachment of the gouls-and-goblins holiday and return to the country’s traditional Day of the Dead ceremonies.

The fast-encroaching U.S.-style holiday has made inroads in Mexico, with monster costumes almost as widely sold as the marigold flowers traditionally used to decorate relatives’ gravesides during the Nov. 1-2 Day of the Dead celebrations, when families erect altars and leave offerings of food, drink and flowers for the dearly departed.

“Those who celebrate Halloween are worshipping a culture of death that is the product of a mix of pagan customs,” the Archdiocese of Mexico published in an article Monday on its Web site. “But the worst thing is that this celebration has been identified with neo-pagans, satanism and occult worship.”

The archdiocese urged parents not to let their children wear Halloween costumes or engage in trick-or-treating.

It suggested instead giving Sunday school classes “teaching them the negative things about Halloween,” holding costume parties where children would dress up as a character from the Bible - with prizes for the best costume - and giving children a bag of candy and instructions to give away one piece to each of their friends with the words “God loves you.”

The church suggested holding these activities on Nov. 1 - All Saints’ Day - but didn’t endorse the Day of the Dead, a traditional Mexican holiday that also appears to have “pagan” roots.

Pre-Hispanic cultures celebrated a similar holiday in August, but after the Spanish conquest, historians say the date was changed to Nov. 1 to coincide with the Catholic holiday.

Meanwhile, the conservative Internet magazine Yo Influyo, some of whose staff have ties to the governing National Action Party, called on teachers to “eradicate” Halloween and “defend our culture.”

“Halloween has not only invaded our daily lives, but what’s worse, our workplaces,” wrote columnist Roger Aguilar, referring to Halloween decorations becoming more frequent at offices and schools, which he said “should assume their responsibility to defend and preserve our culture.”

In another “Yo Influyo” article, Onesimo Herrera-Flores complained that “Halloween, for a variety of reasons, has imposed itself in other nations, displacing native customs.”

Herrera-Flores cited a church authority as saying celebrating Halloween was “like inviting Satan into your home.”

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Hillary Clinton, pressured by Tim Russert to give an answer on her support or opposition to driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants.

Debate - Hillary Clinton on illegal immigrants/licenses
10-30-07

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What she said in the debate

I think itâ??s important to bring everybody out of the shadows. To do the background checks. To deport those who have outstanding warrants or have committed crimes in the United States, and then to say to those who wish to stay here, you have to pay back taxes, you have to pay a fine, you have to learn English, and you have to wait in line. And I hate to see any state being pushed to try to take this into their own hands, because the federal government has failed.

So I know exactly what Governor Spitzerâ??s trying to do and it makes a lot of sense, because heâ??s trying to get people out of the shadows. Heâ??s trying to say, â??O.K., come forward and we will give you this license.â?

But without a federal policy in effect, people will come forward and they could get picked up by I.C.E. tomorrow. I mean, this canâ??t work state-by-state. It has to be looked at comprehensively. I agreed with President Bush and his efforts to try to approach this. He just didnâ??t have the political capital left by the time he actually got serious about it.

And itâ??s unfortunate that too many people are using this to demagogue the issue, instead of trying to solve it: you know, people in politics, people in the press, and thereâ??s a kind of unholy alliance.

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Hillary And The Driver’s Licenses
CBS News Blog
October 30, 2007

I was in and out of the room during Tuesday night’s debate, and one of the times I left the room was just as Tim Russert started asking a question about Elliot Spitzer. Turned out he was asking Hillary Clinton about Spitzer’s plan to provide driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants, and if blogo-buzz is anything to go by it was the question of the night. Here’s the nickel summary: Hillary gave a rambling response explaining what Spitzer was trying to do but without really taking a position. Dodd disagreed with the Spitzer plan (”I think it’s troublesome”) and Hillary then stepped in to muddy the waters some more: “I did not say that it should be done,” she said, “but I certainly recognize why Governor Spitzer is trying to do it.” That was followed by some crosstalk between Dodd and Clinton, and then by Russert pressing her to give a firm answer (”Do you support his plan?”). Hillary hedged, and never really answered. Video here. Kit Seelye of the New York Times provides the play-by-play:

Both Mr. Edwards and Mr. Obama called her on what seemed to be a shift in her statement. Mr Edwards said, “Unless I missed something, Senator Clinton said two different things in the course of about two minutes just a few minutes ago.” And Mr. Obama uttered a devastating phrase for anyone who remembers the 2004 campaign: he said he couldn’t tell if she is “for it or against it.”

On the license issue, Mr. Obama said that he thinks Governor Spitzer’s plan is “the right idea.”

There’s no question that Hillary’s answer was unusually spineless, especially since she had had plenty of time to think about this. Maybe two solid hours of being a punching bag had gotten to her by that point.

Still, is this really a killer moment? If it is, the bar has really gotten pretty low. I doubt very much that Hillary is going to win or lose the election based on a wavering answer to a question about driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants. In a Republican debate maybe, but not a Democratic one.

But I could be wrong! Consider this an open thread to chat about the debate.

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Visa Data to Be Included on Driverâ??s Licenses Again
New York Times
October 31, 2007

ALBANY, Oct. 30 â?? The state will revive the practice of putting visa expiration dates on foreign visitorsâ?? driverâ??s licenses as part of a deal between the Spitzer administration and the Department of Homeland Security, an official said on Tuesday.

The official, David J. Swarts, the commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles, discussed the change when he was asked about licenses for immigrants after a demonstration of new facial-recognition and document-scanning technology that his agency will adopt in the coming months to root out fraud in and duplication of driverâ??s licenses.

The change follows Gov. Eliot Spitzerâ??s announcement last weekend that he was revising his much-criticized plan that would have allowed illegal immigrants to obtain the same licenses as citizens. The state will now move to a new three-tier driverâ??s license system that complies with forthcoming federal security rules.

Immigrantsâ?? supporters and some lawmakers were already critical of Mr. Spitzerâ??s deal with federal officials, saying that New York should offer only one kind of license to all residents, legal or not. Though the reinstatement of the temporary-visitor stamp will only last through the end of next year, Mr. Spitzerâ??s latest decision drew further anger.

â??This is like giving away the store,â? said Chung-Wha Hong, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition.

The expiration dates were originally noted on driversâ?? licenses under a policy instituted under former governor George E. Pataki in 2004, when the Department of Motor Vehicles began putting â??temporary visitorâ? marks on licenses issued to individuals with temporary visas, along with the date that those visas expired. Immigrantsâ?? advocates criticized the policy, saying that it encouraged discrimination even against legal immigrants and led to confusion about whether the licenses themselves were valid.

Mr. Spitzer ended the Pataki-era practice after his initial announcement on Sept. 21 that illegal immigrants would be allowed to obtain licenses beginning as early as December. At the time, the administration seemed to agree with the advocates, saying that the marking was pejorative and, in any case, would become superfluous when the new licensing policy went into effect later this year.

But under the deal struck last week with federal officials, New York will offer three types of licenses, including one that will meet new federal security standards, available only to citizens and legal immigrants.

Illegal immigrants will be able to get a different license, which would not be valid for air travel or for entering federal buildings. But such licenses will not be issued until the broader licensing plan goes into effect at the end of 2008. A third type of license will be available to only United States citizens who are New York State residents, which will be valid for crossing the Canadian border.

Because the whole program had been delayed, said Jennifer Givner, a spokeswoman for the governor, the administration had decided to delay the cancellation of the â??temporary visitorâ? stamps.

â??Given the announcement this weekend, and the idea to move toward three types of licenses, and delaying the implementation for one year, itâ??s in the best interest of safety to maintain the label,â? she said.

Ms. Hong said the change would seriously inconvenience immigrants. She also said the stamps wrongly linked driving privileges with immigration status, something that Mr. Spitzer has rejected.

The stamps will not appear on standard licenses issued after 2008. Instead, those licenses, which will be available to citizens and illegal immigrants, will be marked â??not valid for federal purposes.â?

The temporary visitor stamp will still be used on licenses good for federal identification purposes that are issued to legal immigrants.

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Rasmussen Reports

A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that only 22% of voters support the proposal introduced by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL). The Dream Act would have given legal status to children of illegal aliens who complete two years of college or military service. That low level of support is very similar to support for the â??comprehensiveâ? reform measure that failed in June.

Fifty-nine percent (59%) of all voters oppose the Dream Act concept. Republicans oppose it by a 5-to-1 margin and unaffiliateds are opposed by a 3-to-1 margin. Democrats are a bit more evenly dividedâ??49% opposed and 31% in favorâ??but Nancy Pelosiâ??s party certainly doesnâ??t provide a base of support for the Dream Act.

Fueling opposition is a concern that passage of the bill would encourage more illegal immigration in the future. The view is held by 68% of the nationâ??s voters. The Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that just 15% disagree and 17% are not sure. Seventy-six percent (76%) of Republicans, 76% of unaffiliated voters, and 55% of Democrats believe that passage of the Dream Act would encourage more illegal immigration in the future.

The Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey also found that just 16% of voters believe that the children of illegal immigrants should qualify for in-state tuition rates at colleges and universities. Seventy-one percent (71%) disagree.

Throughout 2007, one of the biggest gaps between official Washington and the general public has been found on the issue of immigration. That gap was on full display in discussion of the Dream Act. Advocates of the legislationâ??like advocates of â??comprehensiveâ? reform in Juneâ??focused primarily on concerns of the illegal immigrants and finding ways to legalize their status.

However, surveys have repeatedly shown that when voters think of immigration reform, they think first and foremost about gaining control of the nationâ??s borders. Seventy-two percent (72%) say it is Very Important for â??the government to improve its enforcement of the borders and reduce illegal immigration.â? Only 29% of voters take Durbinâ??s perspective and say it is Very Important for â??the government to legalize the status of illegal aliens already in the United States.â?

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Joe Gimse
Sen. Joe Gimse, R-Wilmar

Stillwater Courier

Sen. Joe Gimse, R-Wilmar, said heâ??d like to see Minnesota offer worker ID cards to illegal immigrants.

Doing so would allow â??hard-workingâ? undocumented immigrants who are already living here to get â??out of the shadowsâ? and work at businesses that need, and want, them.

The Willmar Republican said employer-sponsored identification cards would remove the â??criminal aspectâ? of being here to work.

It would also reduce identity theft because illegal immigrants could use their own identity to get a job legitimately while they work toward becoming legal citizens.

â??Theyâ??re working hard in our state and we need them here,â? Gimse said. â??My hope is that this eliminates a lot of the need for illegal activity.â?

Gimse, who met privately with community leaders last month in Willmar to discuss immigration issues, said he was shocked with the amount of identity theft that happens when illegal immigrants try to get jobs here.

Making worker IDs available would â??stop the aggravated forgery, the ID theft and the related problems that go along with it because these people just want to come here work,â? Gimse said.

He said businesses are â??doing everything they can to make good hiring decisionsâ? but forged documents are â??so sophisticatedâ? that itâ??s difficult to tell the fake ones from the real ones.

Gimse said if employers question documents, or donâ??t hire someone because they question the legitimacy of documents, they can be scrutinized for racial profiling. â??Theyâ??re between a rock and a hard spot.â?

Under his plan, undocumented workers could use the IDs to get a job, obtain a driverâ??s license and be given two years to become legal citizens. If the state had worker IDs, Gimse said he would support the Dream Act that would allow illegal immigrants to pay in-state rates to attend state colleges and universities.

In response to critics who say illegal immigrants should be deported, Gimse said there is â??no practical method of rounding them up and sending them back.â? And besides, said Gimse, immigrants are a â??valuable asset and a valuable part of our community.â?

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I would love to see the evidence that legal immigrants are being intimidated at the voting polls. It seems to me that these Hispanic officials have mastered the politics of hate and phony allegations.

Washington Post

Hispanic elected officials in the Washington area yesterday urged immigrant voters to vote next Tuesday to demonstrate their political power and counter what they called a troubling surge of anti-immigrant sentiment in parts of the region.

Speaking in Spanish at a news conference in Arlington attended by several Spanish-language news organizations, the officials urged immigrant voters who are U.S. citizens not to worry about being intimidated at the polls. They unveiled a telephone hotline –

1-888-VE-Y-VOTA — that they said would be staffed by lawyers who could advise voters on how to protect their rights.

Several of the speakers specifically criticized some officials in Northern Virginia for engaging in what they called ‘the politics of hate.’ They said they are coming forward now because Tuesday is a significant election in which the entire Virginia General Assembly will be selected and key local government posts will be filled in Fairfax, Prince William, Loudoun and Arlington counties and in Gaithersburg.

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Washington Times

Rep. Tom Tancredo said yesterday that the immigration issue has now gained other champions and that he won’t seek re-election to his House seat next year, even if he doesn’t win his long-shot bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

With voters’ outraged calls helping sink the Senate’s immigration-reform bill, and with the other Republican presidential candidates making immigration a top priority, the Colorado Republican said his work is complete.

‘I just figure, how many more signs do I need that I’ve done what I set out to do,’ he said in a telephone interview from Iowa, where he is campaigning for his party’s presidential nomination.

He has compiled a conservative voting record, including opposing the prescription-drug program as part of Medicare and supporting school vouchers. But he made his mark by pressing for action on immigration long before the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks brought the issue front-and-center.

Mr. Tancredo, 61, said he realized several weeks ago how much the issue has changed when he offered an amendment on the House floor to take away federal funds from sanctuary cities that protect illegal aliens’ identity.

Democrats accepted the amendment without objection. ‘I remember the first time I did it, I got 82 votes. That is what has changed in the Congress,’ Mr. Tancredo said.

He said he hasn’t figured out what he will do when his term ends in January 2009, but one option would be to challenge Sen. Ken Salazar, Colorado Democrat, who is up for re-election in 2010.

He won election to the U.S. House in 1998, promising to limit himself to three terms, but four years ago announced he would break his pledge and run again to continue fighting illegal immigration, saying there was nobody to whom he could turn over the issue.

‘Now there’s Steve King and Ted Poe and [John] Culberson; man, there’s a slug of guys and gals out there who are dynamite on this issue,’ Mr. Tancredo said, referring to his House colleagues who have taken up the fight.

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