Archive for November, 2007

AZ StarNet

Economic retaliation from Mexico is a real threat if U.S. lawmakers repeal a provision that allows Mexican truckers access to the U.S. interior, according to former U.S. Rep. Jim Kolbe.

“If Congress succeeds in blocking (the program) I believe Mexico could retaliate, as they are entitled to do,” the Arizona Republican told members of the Southern Arizona Logistics Education Organization in Tucson on Thursday.

Kolbe, who retired at the beginning of the year after 11 terms in Congress, is the new chairman of the Canamex Corridor Task Force and part of a three-member committee appointed to monitor the cross-border truck program, which has faced strong opposition from some trucking union members and politicians.

He warned that if our southern neighbors “lose patience,” U.S. companies could face higher tariffs on trade entering Mexico.

“It’s not an idle threat,” Kolbe said. “And it sends a bad message to Mexico and Latin America about how seriously we take our obligations.”

The trucking program, a provision of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, began in September. Before that, Mexican trucks were restricted to driving within a commercial border zone.
Attempts by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters to block the entry of Mexican trucks into the U.S. failed. The Senate then approved a proposal prohibiting the Transportation Department from spending money on the program, but it continues while Congress debates a larger transportation bill that contains the provision.

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Islam: The religion of death and intolerance.

Associated Press

KHARTOUM, Sudan - Thousands of Sudanese, many armed with clubs and swords and beating drums, burned pictures of a British teacher Friday and demanded her execution for insulting Islam by letting her students name a teddy bear Muhammad.

Sudan’s Islamic government, which has long whipped up anti-Western, Muslim hard-line sentiment at home, was balancing between fueling outrage over the case of Gillian Gibbons and containing it.

The government does not want to seriously damage ties with Britain, but the show of anger underlines its stance that Sudanese oppose Western interference, lawyers and political foes said. The uproar comes as the U.N. is accusing Sudan of dragging its feet on the deployment of peacekeepers in the war-torn Darfur region.

Many in the protesting crowd shouted “Kill her! Kill her by firing squad!”

In response to the rally in central Khartoum, Gibbons was moved from the women’s prison across the Nile in Oumdurman to a secret location, her chief lawyer Kamal al-Gizouli told the Associated Press. He said he visited her there to discuss her conviction Thursday on charges of insulting Islam.

The 54-year-old Gibbons, who was sentenced to 15 days in jail, spoke Friday with her son John and daughter Jessica in Britain by telephone.

“One of the things my mum said today was that I don’t want any resentment towards Muslims,” the son told AP. “She’s holding up quite well.”

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LA Slimes

WASHINGTON — The man from Arlington, Texas, could barely contain his smirk as he looked into a computer video camera to pose a question of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul.

Paul’s followers talk about such conspiracy theories as “merging the United States with Canada and Mexico . . .,” the questioner said in a YouTube video shown during the Wednesday debate. “Do you really believe in all this?”

Paul did not miss a beat. The Texas congressman coolly raised the specter of a dire new national threat — an as-yet unbuilt superhighway.

A border-spanning “NAFTA highway” now on the drawing board, Paul said, would link the U.S., Mexico and Canada, worsening illegal immigration and threatening American independence. “Our national sovereignty is under threat,” Paul warned.

Federal and state highway and trade officials and transportation consultants reacted Thursday with befuddlement and amusement. The fearsome secret international highway project Paul described does not exist, they said.

“There is no such superhighway like the one he’s talking about,” said Ian Grossman, a spokesman with the Federal Highway Administration. “It doesn’t exist, in plans or anywhere else.”

“It’s complete fiction,” said Tiffany Melvin, executive director of NASCO, a consortium of transportation agencies and business interests caught in the cross hairs of anti-highway activists. “This is the work of fringe groups that have wrapped a couple of separate projects together into one big paranoid fantasy.”

A loose confederation of conservative Internet bloggers and some right-wing groups, among them the John Birch Society, has seized on a burst of activity in federal highway projects in recent years as evidence that the Bush administration is pushing toward a European Union-style government for North America.

The problem, public officials said Thursday, is that the new emphasis on highway construction reflects a growing concern about renewing the crumbling U.S. road system, not a secret extension of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“These whispers have been around in some form or another ever since NAFTA was signed,” said Grossman, who pointed out that numerous U.S. highways already are connected to Mexican and Canadian thoroughfares.

Paul took up the issue in recent years, sounding alarms in the Congressional Record after activists rallied against a $1- billion Texas project that aimed to build a privately financed highway corridor from the border with Mexico to the Oklahoma state line.

“The ultimate goal is not simply a superhighway,” Paul wrote to his constituents in October 2006, “but an integrated North American Union — complete with a currency, a cross-national bureaucracy, and virtually borderless travel within the Union.”

During the Wednesday debate, Paul also linked the purported NAFTA highway to his concerns about the Trilateral Commission — an enduring bugaboo of conspiracy theorists — and the World Trade Organization’s “control [of ] our drug industry, our nutritional products.” Paul added: “I don’t like big government in Washington, so I don’t like this trend toward international government.”

Jesse Benton, Paul’s campaign spokesman, said Thursday that Paul believed that the threat of a NAFTA highway was real. “Dr. Paul is not alone in thinking this is a substantial compromise of federal sovereignty,” Benton said. “There’s a strong belief by a lot of people that [the highway] would run clear up through Canada.”

Benton noted that Rep. Virgil H. Goode Jr. (R-Va.) had introduced a resolution expressing opposition to a NAFTA superhighway. It is signed by 42 congressmen, including Paul and two of his Republican presidential rivals, Reps. Duncan Hunter of California and Tom Tancredo of Colorado.

In Texas, Benton added, legislators voted to withhold funding from the project linking Mexico to Oklahoma, known as the Trans-Texas Corridor, despite Gov. Rick Perry’s support. But with much of the $1-billion project expected to be defrayed by private developers, the effort is moving forward, said Coby Chase of the Texas Department of Transportation.

The anti-highway movement has surged from a Texas-based group, CorridorWatch.org, to old-line groups like the Birch Society and to Jerome Corsi, a conservative author who aided the Swift boat targeting of Sen. John F. Kerry during the 2004 campaign.

As alarms about NAFTA’s illusory highway have spread across the Web, the issue’s whiff of paranoia has ignited sparks of humor. Comedy Central mock commentator Stephen Colbert took up the issue earlier this year, saying the highway plan was real “because I got it from the Internet.” He added that “it’s a plan to make Canada, the U.S. and Mexico one country and force us to eat moose tacos.”

stephen.braun@latimes.com

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Washington Times

Both immigrants and illegal aliens are more likely to be poor and to use welfare programs than native-born Americans because they come to the country with lower levels of education, according to a new study looking at U.S. Census Bureau data.

“The problem here is not work, or a lack of willingness to work; it’s not legal status; it’s educational level at arrival,” said Steven A. Camarota, research director for the Center for Immigration Studies, which is releasing the report today.

The public burden is a major issue, and it was one of the disputes, along with border security and increased enforcement, that helped kill the Senate immigration bill earlier this year.

“Allowing in legal immigrants mainly based on family relationships, and tolerating widespread illegal immigration, certainly has very significant implications for social services, public schools and taxpayer services,” he said.

He said that makes sense ? native-born Americans without a high-school education also are more likely to use welfare or to live in poverty. But he said that means that the burdens illegal aliens places on taxpayers can’t be solved through amnesty because it would not raise education levels.

“You’re not going to fix the problem of high rates of welfare use just by legalizing them ? at least for the 57 percent of high school dropouts,” Mr. Camarota said.

Nearly one in three immigrant households nationwide uses a major welfare program, compared with 19.4 percent of native-born American families.

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Associated Press

The Bush administration has set a goal of admitting 12,000 Iraqi refugees in the current budget year that ends next October.

That would be a more than sevenfold increase in the 1,608 admitted in fiscal year 2007.

Last month ? the first of the new budget year ? only 450 Iraqis were allowed in, less than half the monthly average of 1,000 needed to reach the target.

Scialabba and Foley briefed reporters Thursday on the administration’s broader effort to boost the slow pace of Iraqi admissions, which has been heavily criticized by some in Congress and refugee advocacy groups.

More than 2 million Iraqis have fled their country since the war began, most of them to neighboring countries and of those about 13,000 have been referred to the United States for resettlement through the U.N. process.

About 1.4 million of the refugees are in Syria, 750,000 in Jordan, 100,000 in Egypt, 54,000 in Iran, 40,000 in Lebanon, 10,000 in Turkey and 200,000 in various Persian Gulf countries, according to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. Some who fled to Syria have recently begun to return to Iraq but the numbers are unclear.

The U.S. admissions process had been badly hampered by the refusal since May of Syria to grant visas to U.S. interviewers to screen potential refugees. But on a visit to Damascus last month, Foley and Scialabba won approval for the process to restart, and Homeland Security officials are currently in Syria interviewing U.N. refugee referrals.

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I guess, they’ll spend as much of the tax payers money for that illegal alien day care center as they feel like. The city is also planning on buying that little patch of land from Cal Trans for a steep price too.

OC Register

Now that the lawsuit over Laguna Beach?s day labor site has come to an end, the city is tallying up how much money it owes in attorney?s fees for the year-long suit.

So far, the tally is $75,000 in fees to Costa Mesa-based lawfirm Rutan & Tucker, said Laguna Beach City Manager Ken Frank.

That?s nearly three times the $20,000 a year the city contributes to a non-profit that runs the day labor site, Frank said. The funding was at the heart of the lawsuit filed last year by anti-illegal immigration activist Eileen Garcia, who says the city should not be able to give money to a center that doesn?t check workers? immigration status.

Frank said he?s going to ask the City Council in January to expand the City Attorney?s budget ? partly to cover these legal fees and partly to handle some code enforcement issues ? but he doesn?t know how much he needs just yet.

Garcia, who is represented by conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, plans to appeal. Frank said that could cost the city another $75,000, or maybe a little less.

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WorldNetDaily

Last week, in an article titled “Walking a Tightrope on Immigration,” the New York Times made the fact-defying claim that the illegal immigration issue poses a risk for Republicans who appeal to voters “angry” about illegal immigration. (This is as opposed to voters “angry” that they spent good money buying a copy of the New York Times.)

In support of this assertion, the Times was required not only to ignore the stunning defeat of this year’s amnesty bill, but also to proffer provably absurd evidence. I dearly hope Democratic politicians continue to look to the Times as an accurate barometer of voter sentiment.

In addition to secret polls showing that “the majority of Americans” support “a path to citizenship for immigrants here illegally,” the Times cited election results from 1994 and 2006 that directly contradict this thesis.

First, the Times raised former California Gov. Pete Wilson’s “precipitous slide” in the polls after he supported Proposition 187 in 1994, which denied most taxpayer-supported services to illegal immigrants.

The problem with this example is that Proposition 187 was wildly popular with California voters.

Times reporter Michael Luo seems to be referring to the Times’ own prediction of catastrophe for Proposition 187 ? not actual election results.

One week before Californians voted on Proposition 187 in 1994, B. Drummond Ayres Jr. reported in the Times that there had been “a sharp falloff in support for the proposition.”

He said Hispanic-Americans, Asian-Americans and African-American ministers were coming out strongly against Proposition 187 and that “this outcry, along with the increasing opposition being voiced by liberals, civil libertarians and assorted national political figures,” was having an effect.

And then Californians voted.

Proposition 187 passed in a landslide with a nearly 20-point margin ? a larger margin than Wilson got, incidentally. It was supported by two-thirds of white voters, half of black and Asian voters, and even one-third of Hispanic voters. It passed in every area of California, except San Francisco, a city where intoxicated gay men dressed as nuns performing sex acts on city streets is not considered unusual. In heavily Latino Los Angeles County, Proposition 187 passed with a 12-point margin.

I’m no campaign consultant, but I think Wilson’s support for an off-the-charts popular initiative probably didn’t hurt him.

In fact, here on planet Earth, about the safest thing a California politician could do would be wildly, vocally support Proposition 187. But in New York Times-speak, politicians are walking a dangerous “tightrope” if they dare to defy a slight majority of San Francisco voters!

Read more.

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AZ StarNet

Burlington, VT (AP) — A human smuggling operation based in Toronto and another in Montreal moved hundreds of immigrants into the U.S., with some paying $10,000 apiece, American prosecutors said Wednesday in announcing indictments against the groups.

Most of the illegal border crossings took place on foot in a stretch the U.S. Border Patrol considers a prime area for smuggling because of its proximity to interstate highways that make it easy to move people once they’re in the country, said Thomas Anderson, U.S. attorney for Vermont.

One of the groups, apparently working with recruiters in South Korea, would meet immigrants at the Toronto airport and take them to safe houses, then send them with guides or drop them near the border with instructions to meet drivers on the U.S. side, according to one of the indictments.

Anderson estimated the groups had brought hundreds of people into the U.S. from South Korea, Pakistan, India and Central America since 2004, though he did not have a specific figure. Some of those people paid as much as $10,000 for the smugglers’ services, he said.

Officials said that some of the people brought into the United States had previous criminal records in this country, and that others were vulnerable to being preyed upon by the smugglers.

‘Oftentimes, these people who are smuggled into the United States are indebted to these people for a very long time,’ said Bruce Foucart, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent.

A federal grand jury in Vermont indicted the Toronto group in September and the Montreal group in October; the Toronto charges were sealed until Wednesday. Alien smuggling, the most serious charge, carries a sentence of as many as 15 years in prison upon conviction.

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Star Telegram

Washington, DC — Half of the nearly 3.5 million immigrants living in Texas are in the country illegally, according to a report scheduled for release today by the Center for Immigration Studies.

Using the latest Census Bureau data, the center found that Texas has one of the fastest-growing immigrant populations of any state and that 50 percent of the state’s foreign-born population — slightly more than 1.7 million people — are illegal immigrants.

Only Arizona at 65 percent, North Carolina at 58 percent and Georgia at 53 percent had a higher proportion of illegal immigrants in their immigrant populations.

NJ.com

Historians call it the Golden Age of Immigration: the early 1900s, when thousands arrived each day at Ellis Island, pushing New Jersey’s foreign-born population to more than one-fourth of all residents.

But a massive new wave of immigrants that began in the 1980s, already far larger in sheer numbers than the heyday of Ellis Island, may soon eclipse that percentage, according to a report released today.

New Jersey’s foreign-born population is 21.6 percent, according to the study by the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington think tank that lobbies for lower immigration levels. And as growing numbers of U.S.-born New Jerseyans move away, the share of immigrants in the state is rapidly approaching the all-time high of 26 percent, reached in 1910.

In New Jersey and nationwide, the report found, the past seven years have been the historic pinnacle of immigration, with 1.5 million people arriving in the United States legally or illegally each year. New Jersey’s foreign-born population now stands at 1.87 million.

‘Some people argue there’s been a crackdown on illegal immigration and legal immigration is harder,’ said Steve Camarota, the center’s research director and author of the study. ‘The anecdotes may be true on their own, but they belie what we’ve seen in the data.’

USA Today

The study, an analysis of 2007 Census data, concludes that there are 37.9 million foreign-born residents in the USA. It estimates that at least 11.3 million of those immigrants are in the country illegally.

One of the key findings is that 31% of immigrant adults don’t have a high school diploma, compared with 8% of U.S.-born residents.

That is important, Camarota says, because it correlates with high rates of welfare and poverty: 33% of households headed by immigrants use at least one major welfare program such as the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program, compared with 19% of U.S.-born households. “It costs a lot of money,” he says. “Does it make sense to bring in lots of people who don’t have lots of education?”

WASHINGTON (November 29, 2007) ? A new report by the Center for Immigration Studies examines the size, growth, and characteristics of the nation?s immigrant, or foreign-born, population as of March 2007. The reported provides a detailed picture of overall immigrant population, and of the illegal immigrant population specifically.

The report, ?Immigrants in the United States, 2007: A Profile of America?s Foreign-Born Population,? is online at CIS.

Among the report?s findings:

# The immigrant population (legal and illegal) reached a record of 37.9 million in 2007.

# Immigrants account for one in eight U.S. residents, the highest level in 80 years.

# Overall, nearly one in three immigrants is an illegal alien. Half of Mexican and Central American immigrants and one-third of South American immigrants are illegal.

# Since 2000, 10.3 million immigrants have arrived ? the highest seven-year period of immigration in U.S. history. More than half of post-2000 arrivals (5.6 million) are estimated to be illegal aliens.

# Of adult immigrants, 31 percent have not completed high school, compared to 8 percent of natives. The share of immigrants and natives with a college degree is about the same.

# 33 percent of immigrant-headed households use at least one welfare program, compared to 19 percent for native households. Among households headed by immigrants from Mexico, the largest single group, 51 percent use at least one welfare program.

# The poverty rate for immigrants and their U.S.-born children (under 18) is 17 percent, nearly 50 percent higher than the rate for natives and their children.

# 34 percent of immigrants lack health insurance, compared to 13 percent of natives. Immigrants and their U.S.-born children account for 71 percent of the increase in the uninsured since 1989.

# The primary reason for the high rates of immigrant poverty, lack of health insurance, and welfare use is their low education levels, not their legal status or an unwillingness to work.

# Of immigrant households, 82 percent have at least one worker, compared to 73 percent of native households.

# Immigrants make significant progress over time. But even those who have been here for 20 years are more likely to be in poverty, lack insurance, or use welfare than are natives.

# There is a worker present in 78 percent of immigrant households using at least one welfare program.

# Immigration accounts for virtually all of the national increase in public school enrollment over the last two decades. In 2007, there were 10.8 million school-age children from immigrant families in the United States.

# Immigrants and natives have similar rates of entrepreneurship ? 13 percent of natives and 11 percent of immigrants are self-employed.

# Recent immigration has had no significant impact on the nation?s age structure. Without the 10.3 million post-2000 immigrants, the average age in America would be virtually unchanged at 36.5 years.

# Detailed information is provided for Texas, California, Arizona, Massachusetts, Colorado, Georgia, North Carolina, Washington, Florida, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, Virginia, and Maryland.

Data Source: The Current Population Survey provides the data for the study. It was collected by the Census Bureau in March 2007 and has not been fully analyzed until now. There is agreement among policy experts, including the Department of Homeland Security, that roughly 90 percent of illegal immigrants respond to Census Bureau surveys of this kind. This allows for separate estimates of the size and characteristics of the illegal immigrant population.

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Bloomberg.com

U.K. lawmakers said a proposed European Union governance treaty would put national sovereignty at risk, increasing pressure on Prime Minister Gordon Brown to hold a referendum on whether to adopt the document.

The European Scrutiny Committee of lawmakers in the House of Commons said the treaty may transfer authority over crime and civil justice matters to the EU from national parliaments.

“There is still ambiguity in the draft treaty on whether a legal obligation is being imposed on Parliament,” Michael Connarty, a lawmaker with Brown’s ruling Labour Party who heads the committee, said in a statement in London today. “This is not an area in which any ambiguity is tolerable.”

Brown has said there’s no need for a national vote on the treaty, which was agreed in Lisbon last month. He argues that Britain’s interests are protected by a series of “red lines” that keep U.K. powers over foreign, security and immigration policies.

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Gosh, it seems the EU common security perimeter isn’t working.

Int. Herald Tribune

Brussels, Belgium — Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero called for stronger European Union border defenses to control the influx of illegal immigrants to the continent ? the brunt of which is borne by Spain.

Zapatero told the European Parliament on Wednesday that the EU border agency, Frontex, must be strengthened and EU cooperation enhanced to fight illegal immigration.

Thousands of Sub-Saharan migrants try to reach Spain by sailing in rickety wooden boats from West Africa to Spain’s Canary Islands, just off the coast of Morocco.

The dangerous trip can take more than a week and is often deadly.

About 24,000 migrants were caught trying to reach Spain last year, compared to less than 10,000 so far this year.

‘Let us neutralize the mafias that profit from the vital urgency of these men and women to leave their lives of misery and frustration,’ Zapatero said.

Spain has repeatedly called for more resources for Frontex, an agency that guards the EU’s external border and deploys ships and aircraft off the coast of Africa to deter illegal immigration.

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Dan Sheehy is the author of Fighting Immigration Anarchy: Patriots Battle To Save The Nation.


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UK ‘teddy’ teacher in Sudan court
CNN
November 29, 2007

* Story Highlights
* British teacher in Sudan, charged with insulting religion, arrives at court
* Gillian Gibbons, 54, arrested after her class named teddy bear “Mohammed”
* UK consular staff, Gibbons’ defense team initially refused access to the court
* Blasphemy punishable in Sudan by 40 lashes, prison or fine

Watch latest developments in the case.

KHARTOUM, Sudan (CNN) — A British female teacher has arrived at a court in Sudan after she was charged with offending religion by allowing a teddy bear to be named “Mohammed.”

Gillian Gibbons, 54, arrived at court looking dejected and dazed after she was detained earlier this week when she asked her class of seven-year-olds to come up with a name for the toy as part of a school project, Robert Boulos, the head of Unity High School told CNN.

British consular staff and Gibbons’ defense team were at first refused access to the court by Sudanese police.

But Gibbons’ defense lawyer argued with authorities and was later allowed in to see his client. He came out after 30 minutes and told reporters the hearing had been adjourned while judges waited for the prosecution team to arrive. Video Watch latest developments in the case. »

Dressed in a black blazer and light blue skirt, Gibbons was ushered into court through a crowd of reporters by Sudanese police.

The spokeswoman said Gibbons had been charged under Article 125 of Sudan’s constitution, the law relating to insulting religion and inciting hatred. Under country’s law, the offense is punishable with 40 lashes, a jail term of up to a year or a fine.

“We understand no offense was intended and trust the court decision will reflect that,” the spokeswoman said.

On the first floor of the courthouse, around 25 police linked arms and forced journalists and British officials away from the entrance to the court.

Police detained journalists, including a free-lance CNN cameraman, who had his camera confiscated.

Staff from Gibbons’ school, including the head teacher Boulos, were among those present. They refused to comment on their colleague’s predicament.

Four vans filled with riot police were waiting outside the courthouse, but there were no signs of street disturbances or protests outside the courthouse.

The spokeswoman said the Sudanese ambassador had been summoned to the offices of the British Foreign Secretary David Miliband to discuss the case. Gibbons was arrested under the country’s Islamic Sharia law after parents of some of her students complained to police……

To read entire article click here.

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