Archive for February 8th, 2008

Head of U.S. Office of Citizenship concerned about assimilation
Austin American Statesman
February 8, 2008

Alfonso Aguilar, head of the U.S. Office of Citizenship, said this week he is concerned about social and political cohesion in the future as the country becomes more diverse and does not have one dominant racial or ethnic category.

?We need to strengthen assimilation efforts, we need to look at citizenship from that perspective, because if not, I believe that 20 or 30 years down the road we may have serious challenges,? he said. ?We may have social tension. We may have groups that do not feel part of the larger community.?

Aguilar made the comments at a forum at the Migration Policy Institute, a non-partisan think tank in Washington.

Aguilar said that the United States is seeking more ways to promote citizenship.

He said the government might consider copying a program in Great Britain that pairs recent immigrants with citizens in a mentoring program. This could be a part of the Americorps volunteer program, he added.

Great Britain?s mentoring program is currently aimed at refugees, but officials are considering expanding it to all recent immigrants in a widespread effort to promote citizenship.

The volunteers teach the immigrants ?things you can?t read in a book? such as how to apply for job, when to put the garbage out, and how to engage with your neighbors, said Lord Peter Goldsmith, a former British attorney general who is leading a task force on the issue.

The assimilation of immigrants has become a hot political topic in Europe where concerns about Muslim newcomers living in separate enclaves are leading to a wave of new, more strict immigration laws.

In Germany, immigrants must pass a 600-hour language course and another 30 hours on the country?s legal system, culture and history.

The ?integration courses? are designed to help foreigners adapt to German culture and understand Democratic principles of equal rights, tolerance and religious freedom.

Some believe the United States should do the same.

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John Clark founded the MCDC Napa Valley Chapter. His wife Lili was from Chile. There is a fund set up Donations may be made at Washington Mutual Bank, 699 Trancas St., Napa, 94558. The account is under the name Lilian Clark and Children. Contact Steve Giraud, MCDC NorCal Chapter Director for more details 707-769-8633.

Napa Valley Register

The Napa woman whose legs were crushed when she was hit by a drunk driver Sunday night has a long, tough road to recovery.

Doctors at Queen of the Valley Medical Center operated on Lilian Clark the night of the crash, amputating both of her legs just above the knee, according to her husband, John Clark.
Clark, 38, is the mother of two boys, 4 and 6. She was pinned between the rear bumper of her car and a 1990 Plymouth driven by Francisco Pacheco, 24, of Napa.

The crash happened around 6:30 p.m. Sunday on South Terrace Drive, north of Shetler Avenue.

After the crash, Pacheco put his car in reverse and sped away from the scene. Neighbors followed him to his house about a block away, where they held him until police arrived and arrested Pacheco on felony DUI, hit and run and driving without a valid license. Pacheco has a prior misdemeanor DUI conviction from January 2007. He is on probation.

He is being held in the county jail on $100,000 bail.

Pacheco does not have auto insurance.

?I have no idea at this time what will be involved in Lili?s recovery. I know there will be months, maybe years of rehab, and she will have to be fitted for prosthesis,? her husband said.

A fund has been set up to help the family with medical expenses and to bring Lilian Clark?s family from Chile, where they live, so they can help out with the children and their family member?s recovery.

Donations may be made at Washington Mutual Bank, 699 Trancas St., Napa, 94558. The account is under the name Lilian Clark and Children.

Clark said that on the night of the accident, his wife had double-parked her car and was putting their sons, Jake and Sam, in their child safety seats.

?She went around to the back of the car to get to the driver?s door. I was right there. I said ?see you later,? and within a split second I heard tires screeching and saw this car come roaring down the street about 50 miles an hour and just slam into the back of Lili?s car, pinning her between the two bumpers,? Clark said.

With the impact of Pacheco?s car, John Clark said, ?The trunk popped open, and she flew inside. Then, the guy threw his car in reverse and left. Lili just fell to the ground in a heap. The neighbors ran out of the house. I was yelling ?Call 911.? They said they already had and asked me which way the guy went. They followed him in their car and found his car parked in front of his house down the street.

?I was holding Lili. She was conscious. All she kept saying was ?Check the kids.? Her legs were crushed, and she was just worried about the kids,? he said. ?The kids were crying and saying ?What happened to Mommy?? The neighbors helped me and we kept the kids from seeing what happened. Just horrific, horrific is the only way I can describe it.?

Doctors amputated her legs that night. ?There was no way they could save her legs.? She had over 60 breaks in her bones, Clark said.

Clark said his wife had undergone her third operation on Tuesday. ?She knows what has happened. She?s such a strong woman, I just can?t believe it. Like I said, her main concern is the kids.

?They took the tubes out Tuesday and she got to see the kids. They need to know that mom is going to make it. Lili is in good spirits. She feels very fortunate to be alive. That woman is just remarkable,? Clark said.

Lilian Clark is from Chile.

?I met her when I was visiting friends in Chile in 1996. We struck up a friendship which blossomed. I tried everything to get her a visa to live in America. Nothing worked. I was finally successful in getting a fiancé visa. She came to Napa in 1999, and we got married,? Clark said.

Lilian Clark had worked as temporary office employee. More recently, she has been a stay-at-home mom.

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WorldNetDaily

Teamsters are launching a nationwide campaign to fire U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters for what they say is her “unlawful decision” to keep the American border open to Mexican trucks.

As WND reported, the Bush administration has decided to ignore a provision passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush as part of the 2008 omnibus spending bill that was intended to remove funding from the 2008 DOT appropriations bill for the Mexican truck demonstration project.

“It’s a disgrace that Mary Peters is still in office,” said Teamsters General President James Hoffa in a news release today. “She has broken the law and defied the will of the American people by exposing them to dangerous trucks from Mexico.”

The Teamsters have created FireMaryPeters.com, a website complete with downloadable “Fire Mary Peters” windshield signs, recommended actions and an e-mail component urging citizens to ask their elected representatives to find Mary Peters in contempt of Congress.

Read more.

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Times Leader

Mayor Lou Barletta, whose local crackdown on illegal immigration made him a national hero among those seeking tighter borders, said Thursday he will try to parlay that celebrity into a seat in Congress.

Barletta announced that he will seek the Republican nomination to challenge 12-term Democratic Rep. Paul Kanjorski. He lost to Kanjorski by more than 13 percentage points in 2002, but the mayor’s illegal-immigration stance has raised his profile significantly since then.

“I’ve done as much as I can fighting illegal immigration as the mayor of a city,” he told The Associated Press. “I need to take this fight to Washington, because that’s where the problem needs to be fixed.”

Read more.

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KPHO

PHOENIX — A federal judge on Thursday upheld an Arizona law that prohibits businesses from knowingly hiring illegal immigrants and yanks the business licenses of those that do.

U.S. District Judge Neil Wake dismissed a lawsuit filed by business groups that argued that federal immigration law severely restricts Arizona’s ability to punish people who knowingly employ illegal immigrants.

The law won approval last year from the Republican-majority Legislature and Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano amid frustration over what they said were inadequate federal efforts to confront illegal immigration. Many cities across the country have passed similar measures, though some have been rejected in court.

Business groups including the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry argue the Arizona law unconstitutionally infringes on federal immigration powers. Wake, however, concluded that there is no conflict with federal immigration law, which he said specifically lets states regulate business licensing.

Read more.

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Star Telegram

Grapevine — While the rest of her fifth-grade class was taking Spanish classes mandated by the Grapevine-Colleyville school district curriculum, Ashleigh Allison sat in the Timberline Elementary School library writing a report about France.

Ashleigh and her mother, Leigh Allison, say teaching elementary school Spanish only makes life easier for Hispanic immigrants in the community who do not learn or speak English. And Ashleigh shouldn’t be forced to conform, they say.

‘She wants to be that one voice that forces them to learn English,’ Allison said. ‘We’re not going to turn America into a bilingual country to accommodate you.’

Ashleigh said she knew the day that she enrolled at Timberline that she didn’t want to take the required Spanish classes.

“There was a lot of Spanish kids and not a lot of other kinds of kids,” she said.

Her mother said: “We were very much the minority. She couldn’t understand anybody and really felt isolated.”

The percentage of Hispanic students at Timberline has increased from 13 percent in 1996 to 54 percent of the school’s 706 students last school year.

At the beginning of November, Allison e-mailed the counselor saying she was “not interested” in Ashleigh’s taking Spanish. Timberline Principal Cody Spielmann replied that Spanish is required by the curriculum and that there were no other options.

“Ashleigh feels the course would be a waste of her time since she has no aspirations in the future to have a career requiring bilingual talents,” Allison wrote to the principal, “nor does she feel compelled to accommodate those who live in our country who refuse to learn the primary and current native tongue of English.”

Allison wanted her daughter to be allowed to study in the library or to take a different foreign language. Allison then appealed to district administrators but got the same response: Ashleigh had to go to class.

Allison kept her daughter out of Spanish class for three weeks, sending her to school an hour late twice a week with a note stating that she was absent because of a “moral objection” to the class.

At the end of December, Allison filed a grievance with the Grapevine-Colleyville school board. But in a pre-hearing meeting, she and Deputy Superintendent Jim Chadwell reached a compromise to allow Ashleigh to study in the library and write a report on a country of her choice.

She learned about the government and food of France and tried to teach herself some common French phrases, but without a teacher, the language is difficult to master. “I was kind of bored because there wasn’t anybody else there,” she said.

Read more.

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NY Times

DANBURY, Conn. ? On Wednesday night, Jose Contreras gazed toward City Hall here, his face wrinkled with pain as he wondered aloud about what the future might hold for his restaurant ? not to mention for his neighbors. Thousands of them were standing nearby in the crisp darkness, waving signs, whistling and chanting in Spanish and English at a volume that could be heard blocks away.

At the time, the Common Council of this city was moving through its agenda en route to voting on a contentious plan for its police force to partner with federal officials to enforce immigration laws, an arrangement many in the large immigrant community fear could have a devastating effect. Officials were expecting so many residents to turn out for the vote that they set up a simulcast at a local school.

Despite the night?s raucous protest and solemn predictions by many that the partnership would drive people away from this diverse city, the Common Council approved the plan, 19 to 2.

?Most of these people are going to leave,? said Mr. Contreras, 39, who added that he immigrated here illegally two decades ago from El Salvador but now is a legal resident. ?Danbury is going to be lonely.?

Read more.

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AZ Star Net

Oklahoma City (AP) — During a visit to Oklahoma, the former president of Mexico has urged lawmakers to develop sensible immigration reform.

Vicente Fox, who served as Mexico’s president from 2000 to 2006, spoke in Oklahoma City and Tulsa on Tuesday at events hosted by Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business.

Last year, Oklahoma lawmakers passed what has been called the nation’s toughest law against illegal immigration, and this year, other state legislatures have examined Oklahoma’s law while developing their own proposals.

Such state action wouldn’t be necessary if Congress had not failed to act, Fox said.

‘At the very end, it’s a federal issue so in the end it should be satisfied by the federal government, by the U.S. Congress,’ Fox said. ‘Immigration is an asset to every nation. It’s an asset to the United States, no doubt. What we need to do is take advantage of that asset by bringing order to it and by bringing legality to it.’

Fox’s favored plan is similar to one proposed in 2005 by Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, and Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Massachusetts. The McCain-Kennedy proposal would have allowed illegal immigrants currently in the U.S. to become legal citizens and provided funding for border security, but it ever came to a floor vote.

Fox said most illegal immigrants from Mexico don’t want to become U.S. citizens and plan to return to their homeland someday because ‘they like better tacos, tortillas and chilies than hot dogs or hamburgers.’ He thinks a temporary guest worker program would solve many problems.

He said he is opposed to the building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

‘That’s the worst of the answers to a problem that has to be dealt with among different nations,’ Fox said. ‘The threat to the United States is not immigration … The threat to the United States is isolation by building a wall.’

About a dozen protesters from a group that calls itself Oklahomans for Sovereignty and Free Enterprise demonstrated outside the Civic Center Music Hall before Fox’s Oklahoma City speech. The group is opposed to a closer economic relationship between the U.S. and Mexico.

‘I don’t want a North American union established,’ protester Robert Forrester said. ‘That’s why I’m here.’

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Mens News Daily

Duncan Hunter, R-Calif, author of the fencing provisions of the Secure Fence Act of 2006, has introduced new legislation in the House of Representatives to require the construction of double-layered fencing along the U.S. border with Mexico within six months, according to a memo sent to the National Association of Chiefs of Police.

As previously reported, the language of an amendment submitted by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, into the Fiscal Year 2008 Department of Homeland Security funding bill, H.R. 2638, specifically exempts DHS from having to build any fence at all.

The Hutchison amendment reads, in part, ‘ ? nothing in this paragraph shall require the Secretary of Homeland Security to install fencing, physical barriers, roads, lighting, cameras, and sensors in a particular location along an international border of the United States, if the Secretary determines that the use or placement of such resources is not the most appropriate means to achieve and maintain operational control over the international border at such location.’

‘While these lawmakers living in their Ivory Towers in Washington continue to play political games with one another and collude with the Mexican government in repeated incidents of violation of US sovereignty by armed Mexicans, the American people are being victimized by illegal aliens some of whom are using fully-automatic assault rifles and other state-of-the-art weaponry, ‘claims Lieutenant Steven Rogers, a police commander in New Jersey.

Lt. Rogers heads the board of directors of a police-counterterrorism organization called AmeriCop.com.

According to a recent report by the Government Accountability Office ? an entity that reports to the legislative branch of government rather than the executive and judicial branhes.? the increase in the number of incursions is staggering’

17 documented, illegal border crossings into America by armed Mexican soldiers in 2006

29 documented, illegal border incursions of all kinds by Mexican forces in 2006

253 documented, illegal border crossings by Mexican soldiers and policemen to assist drug and weapons traffickers in the past decade

1000 attacks against US Border Patrol agents in 2007

‘And who knows what dangerous contraband and materials may have crossed our borders in the absence of a secure southern border?’ asks New York police officer Edna Aguayo.

‘These politicians must restore the $3 billion dollars to the Department of Homeland Security budget and build the fence demanded by the American people, RIGHT NOW!’ she added.

Violence on the border increased 31% from 2006 to 2007, and attacks on agents jumped 44% over the same period, according to the recent GAO report.

The result of the Hutchison amendment was to give DHS total discretion to build a fence or not to build a fence in any particular location, removing from the Secure Fence Act the requirement that 700 miles of double-layer fence be built on the border with Mexico.

‘When the Secure Fence Act was enacted more than one year ago, the American people were pleased to see the necessary steps were finally being taken to secure the dangerous and problematic smuggling corridors that exist along our border with Mexico,’ Congressman Hunter said.

Read more.

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The Swamp

After the smoke cleared at the Conservative Political Action Conference ? the public withdrawal of Mitt Romney from the Republican presidential race, and the attempt of John McCain to make friends with the party?s staunchest conservatives ? a conservative crowd-pleaser stepped forward .

Ron Paul, the Republican representative from Texas.

Paul was playing on the frustrations in this hall, with many voicing worries about McCain, the all-but annointed nominee.

Now the party has an apparent candidate who is a friend of Sen. Russ Feingold ? on campaign finance reform ? Paul said. And now the party has an apparent candidate who is a friend of Ted Kennedy ? on immigration ? Paul said.

He raised cheers in the hall ? perhaps the first genuine cheers of the day.

?If you think we can lead this country back to conservative principles? you have another thing coming, because it?s not going to happen,?? Paul said.

?The answer is found in fiscal conservatism ? live within our means,?? he said to cheers in the hall.

?As long as a government can stir up fear, sometimes real and sometimes not real, the people are expected to do one thing, sacrifice their liberty,?? he said to cheers.

And then there is the war in Iraq, with Paul the only one of several Republican candidates for president this year who took a stance against the war.
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?McCain says we should stay there for 100 years if necessary ? I say there is no need,?? Paul said to more cheers in the hall.

?We campaigned in 2000 for a humble foreign policy, no policing of the world ? and now we are doing the very same thing,?? Paul said.

But this is where he started to lose his audience: ?Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.??

The Paulites in the hall were happy, but the rest of the crowd was starting to part ways with a Republican who has sharply parted ways with most of the candidates.

Yet, while the Romney folds his tent, the Paul campaign carries on.

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