Archive for March 10th, 2008

Going home

“People who are going home to Latin American countries and have children who are U.S. citizens concern Christina Leddin, a counselor with the Amigos Center, which helps Hispanics with such issues as immigration. She tells parents to make sure their children’s citizenship documentation is updated while they are away so that they can resume their life seamlessly when they come back.

“I have these kids who were born in the ’80s and the parents left when they were young, now when the kids come back at the age of 20, they have a lot of issues. Even though he has a birth certificate, he can’t get a valid ID because he doesn’t have a Social Security number.

“So I tell parents to be sure to get their U. S.-citizen children a birth certificate, a Social Security number and a U.S. passport, then go to the American consulate every five years and renew it. “Then, he can come back as (an) adult with full rights.”

Hispanic exodus is under way
Workers leave Lee as jobs disappear
The News Press
March 9, 2008

In this case, cold, hard statistics don’t tell the story.

“I am not aware of anyone who would track that locally,” said Glen Solier, business development specialist for the Lee County Department of Economic Development.

“Those people are off the grid. Undocumented,” said Susanna Patterson, economic analyst for the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation.

But the oh-so-human snapshots of everyday living are revealing.

Like a weekend soccer league down from 32 teams to 25 because more than 100 players have had to leave.

Or a church that has cut two Sunday services to one because about 200 former members have returned to their homeland.

Or the western-wear clothier who gave up one of his three shopping center units and said business is off by 40 percent because customers are gone.

Put these and other pictures together and the collage tells the story of Hispanics who are leaving Southwest Florida to find work or to return to the support of their families back home.

“There is a loss in the number of Hispanics in our communities,” said Robert Selle, director of the Amigos Center, which aids Hispanics with immigration issues and offers other services in Lee County. “The underlying reason is economic; the same reason they came here in the first place.”

Population drain

The loss comes from a good portion of Lee County’s population. The U.S. Census Bureau listed the county’s Hispanic population at more than 90,000 - about 16 percent of Lee’s 571,000 population - in 2006.

What the statistics further show is that work is gone. Unemployment in the Fort Myers-Cape Coral region has risen this past year, from 2.7 percent to 6.3 percent.

Many of the lost jobs are in construction, which has been put on hold as the sluggish market struggles with a glut of unsold houses.

Because many Hispanic construction workers are believed to be illegal immigrants, because construction and agricultural workers are a mobile population anyway, because many are single with families back in their native lands, and because their leaving was often spur-of-the-moment, no governmental or social service agency is keeping accurate records of this exodus.

Lee County School District reported a loss of Hispanics in all grades totaling 388 pupils through January of this school year - this after growing by almost 3,000 Hispanic students a year earlier.

But the white student population dropped as well. The big difference was while dropout rates tend to increase as the year goes on in the upper grades, the Hispanic population was the only one also to lose ground in the kindergarten through fifth-grade range. It fell by 87 pupils - an indication their families moved from the district, according to Michael Smith, director of planning, growth and school capacity.

“Many workers in the construction industry and related industry are leaving the area and following the money,” said Barbara Hartman, spokeswoman for the state’s Career and Service Center in Fort Myers. “It seems to be an increasing number of people who are temporarily relocating. I wish we did track that.”

Hartman said she knows people are leaving because they tell counselors when they come in seeking work, saying they need the higher construction industry wages, which begin at $10 to $11 an hour for the most unskilled, to maintain their standard of living……..

To read entire article click here.

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A month ago he ruled out a 3rd party run, now he’s not so sure. Make up your mind. Just do it!

RAW Story

In an interview on CNN Monday morning, long-shot presidential candidate Ron Paul, whose campaign is winding to a close, says he is unlikely to support presumptive Republican nominee John McCain and he left open the possibility of mounting a third-party bid for the White House.

Recognizing the mathematical impossibility of overtaking presumed GOP nominee John McCain, Paul says his campaign for the White House is down-shifting as he focuses on building his “revolution” in other ways.

The Texas congressman dismissed talk of a third-party presidential campaign as impractical, but he did not completely rule out the idea.

“I don’t think it’s very practical, and I think Republicans deserve to have at least a conservative to vote for,” Paul said. “The conservative base does not the support John McCain because he’s identified more with the liberal Democrats. So why should they be disenfranchised? Although the odds are slim, but they have a right to vote for someone that stands for traditional Republican principles: limited government, personal liberties. I mean, this is something the Republicans used to brag about and preach, so they deserve a chance to vote for that.”

Paul said he likely would not support McCain for the sake of unifying the party.

“If you can unify a party and reject your principles, what is unity worth? … I’m not likely to support John McCain unless he changes his views,” Paul told CNN’s John King Monday morning. “He doesn’t represent anything I’ve talked about for 30 years. … How could I reject everything I’ve talked about for 30 years and say, now it’s all over, unity is the most important thing?”

Read more.

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This AP article reads like it was written by the SPLC.

Associated Press

Hispanic immigrant workers who toil on red-clay construction sites and cut flesh from bone on poultry plant lines in northwest Arkansas, helping to fuel the region’s economic growth, say they’ve become targets for local police who are conducting raids once left to a few federal agents stationed here.

After changes in state and federal law, local police, sheriff’s deputies and state troopers throughout Arkansas can help enforce federal immigration laws. Recent raids in northwestern Arkansas rounded up a handful of illegal immigrants but even those with a legal right to be in the United States face questions.

“It feels like it is dangerous to be Hispanic,” activist Jim Miranda said.

And police acknowledge that some legal residents will wind up temporarily detained.

“Through these investigations, there’s going to be collateral damage,” said Washington County Sheriff Tim Helder. “If there’s 19 people in there who could or could not be here illegally, they are going to be checked. Although those people who might not be conducting criminal activity, they are going to get slammed up in the middle of the investigation.”

Miranda, an immigration activist who lives in Bella Vista, said the advertised goal of the task force changed once the officers began making arrests.

“This program was sold to us as targeting serious crime,” Miranda said. However, he said, police seem to be intent on “crippling” Hispanic business owners, noting immigration raids on Mexican restaurants in December. ICE agents said they arrested 23 people during the raids, fueled by criminal complaints signed by the head of the immigration task force.

Miranda said restaurants and groceries stores aimed at Hispanic customers suffered a drop in sales after the raids.

“It’s really throwing this community into turmoil,” he said.

But the concerns don’t stop with the task force. In December, police say a man beat and kicked a Hispanic man to death in Lowell after his nephew spoke Spanish to his girlfriend. The nephew said he had only cooed at the woman’s infant.

In Bentonville, officers say another man burned down a hotel under construction in November after he saw Hispanic workers there. Police say the man told detectives he decided to burn down the hotel after seeing a Hispanic man pull $20 out of a coin-pusher arcade game the Hispanic man had just played.

As far south as Little Rock, radio announcers on Spanish-language stations caution listeners against driving at night. Police stress they will not racially profile Hispanic drivers, noting how the city of Rogers settled a lawsuit by Hispanic motorists who claimed racial profiling by police in 2003.

On New Year’s Eve, Benton County sheriff’s deputies arrested 14 illegal immigrants at a sobriety checkpoint on New Year’s Eve. Deputies said only four had been drinking while the rest didn’t have driver’s licenses.

Read the entire article here.

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Sun Herald

PASCAGOULA, MS — About 100 Indian workers have walked off their jobs at Pascagoula’s Signal International.

The workers are alleging they have been the victims of human trafficking. They want the U.S. Justice Department to investigate.

The workers said they paid recruiters $20,000 in India to come to the United States and work for Signal. In exchange, they said they were promised green cards, but were given only temporary H2B guest worker visas.

The Sun Herald follows this story in tomorrow’s edition.

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Omaha.com

WASHINGTON (AP) - A senator wants Congress’ investigative arm to determine whether the Transportation Department has broken the law by spending federal money on a program allowing Mexican trucks on U.S. roads.

Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., called for the investigation by the Government Accountability Office a few hours after Transportation Secretary Mary Peters warned of economic losses if Mexican trucks are prohibited from driving deep into the U.S.

Peters has been fighting in court to prevent the program’s end. But Dorgan and others say Congress prohibited spending money on the program last year.

“When Congress passes a law that says no funds can be used for this program, we mean no funds can be used for this program,” Dorgan said in a news release. “The Department of Transportation cannot simply pick and choose which laws they want to follow and which laws they want to break.”

Dorgan said the agency is violating the Antideficiency Act, which prohibits spending federal money that has not been authorized or appropriated.

The North American Free Trade Agreement gave Mexican trucks greater access to U.S. roads beginning in 1995. But the U.S. only opened the roads to a few trucks when the pilot program began last September.

Long-standing opposition from labor and safety groups had kept the trucks off most U.S. roads. Without the program, Mexican trucks are confined to about 25 miles beyond the border, where goods they bring are picked up by U.S. truck drivers.

Peters said Monday the agency is not violating the law. The law prohibits using funds to establish the program, she said, but the money is being used on the existing program. The agency has made similar arguments in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is considering an appeal by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters to stop the program.

The action was a prelude to a potentially bitter Senate committee hearing on the program planned for Tuesday, with Peters scheduled to testify.

Earlier Monday, Peters said U.S. business would suffer if the trucking program is stopped.

Read more.

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Dallas News

Protesters against the Texas-Mexico border fence will launch a nine-day march at the Rio Grande today, starting at Roma, Texas, and ending in Brownsville.

The 115-mile march is organized in part by schoolteachers at U.S. border schools who say they don’t want to see a fence cleave through entwined communities.

“The wall represents the militarization of the border, and the border is my home,” said John Moore, an 8th-grade English teacher in Brownsville. “The border is a region, rather than a line and, culturally, there are more similarities between Brownsville and Matamoros, than Brownsville and Dallas.”

Read more.

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Associated Press

WASHINGTON - House Republicans are trying to force action on a Democratic-written immigration enforcement measure, the latest GOP attempt to elevate the volatile issue into an election-year wedge.

Republican leaders hope that by pushing the bill ? endorsed by 48 centrist Democrats and 94 Republicans ? they can drive Democrats into a politically painful choice: Backing a tough immigration measure that could alienate their base, including Hispanic voters, or being painted as soft on border security in conservative-leaning districts.

The plan is fraught with political risks for both parties. A full-blown immigration debate could call attention to Republicans’ divisions at a time when their expected presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain, is fighting to gain the trust of the GOP base.

McCain, R-Ariz., played a prominent role in failed legislative efforts to grant some of the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants already here a path to legal status, which conservatives deride as “amnesty.” He now says he would consider such a plan only after the borders have been fortified.

House Republicans are eyeing a bill by Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C., that would do just that, as well as mandate that employers verify that their workers are in the U.S. legally.

Leaders are expected as early as Tuesday to use a parliamentary tactic that would eventually force a vote on the measure if 218 lawmakers ? a majority of the House ? demand it. Republicans are pressuring Democratic backers of the measure ? including several first-termers and dozens from swing districts, all facing tough re-election fights ? to defy their leaders and sign the petition.

Read more.

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The SPLC profiled me in their latest “Intelligence Report” as one of 20 Anti-Immigrant Leaders. The SPLC lies, takes things out of context, falsifies quotes and uses the old guilt by association routine when they write these pieces on the pro-enforcement movement.

They label everyone that opposes illegal immigration a racist and every organization as a hate group. I have more than a few words to say about this but I think I’ll put together a video exposing the SPLC and post it as soon as I have the time. Here is what they have to say about me.

FAIR

March 10, 2008

(Washington DC) Today the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) issued a misleading release announcing a significant increase in the number of hate groups and hate crimes over the last few years. The release then suggests that our national debate over immigration reform has fueled the increase in both. Offering no criteria as to what constitutes a hate group, manipulating the data for self-serving purposes, and then making broad, unsubstantiated conclusions, this latest release from the SPLC constitutes one of its most reckless charges to date. It is calculated to be inflammatory, tarnish the reputation of leading immigration reform groups, and shut down meaningful public policy debate about immigration reform.

When examined responsibly, the FBI hate crime data show a dramatically different story than the one the SPLC portrays. First, in order to suggest an artificially large increase in the raw number of hate crimes, the SPLC selects 2003 as its base year, one of lowest years on record for hate crimes against Hispanics. If one compares the number of hate crimes between 1995 (the earliest report available on the FBI’s website) and 2006 (the most recent statistical year available), one would see that the number of hate crimes has increased only 17 percent.

But even this is not the whole story. The SPLC conveniently forgets to index the raw hate crime data with the population, a step always taken by the FBI to more accurately depict an increase or decrease in crime. Thus, when one indexes a 17 percent increase in hate crimes against Hispanics with a 67 percent increase in the Hispanic population between 1995 and 2006, it becomes clear that the rate of hate crimes against Hispanics has in fact dropped dramatically - by about 40 percent.

(more…)

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If his approval ratings aren’t low enough, this should bottom it out.


* Story Highlights

* NEW: Gov. Eliot Spitzer apologizes for violating obligation to his family
* Spitzer met with aides over report, paper reports
* Spitzer known for efforts to crack down on crime, corruption

Gov. Spitzer apologizes to family, public
CNN
March 10, 2008

Gov. Eliot Spitzer said he “acted in way that violates his obligation to his family,” speaking hours after the New York Times reported he told senior administration officials he had been involved in a prostitution ring.

A source with knowledge of the investigation tells CNN that Spitzer is “under investigation” for allegedly meeting with a prostitute in a Washington hotel.

“I apologize first and most importantly to my family. I apologize to the public, to whom I promised better,” he said.

Spitzer did not elaborate on the claims and did not take any questions after making his statement.

“I am disappointed that I failed to live up to the standard I expected of myself,” he said. Listen to Spitzer’s apology »

The Times’ Web site cited an anonymous administration official and said the New York governor met with his top aides before making his statement.

“The governor called his senior staff together and told them he wanted to inform them first about a major announcement of a personal nature,” a prominent New York Democrat told CNN.

“To say this is a shock is an understatement,” said CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, who went to law school with Spitzer.

The Republican Governors Association has called on Spitzer to resign to “allow the people of New York to pursue honest leadership.”

“The American people are tired of corrupt and hypocritical politicians. The governor of New York is just another in the long list of politicians that have failed their constituents,” Nick Ayers, RGA executive Director, said in a statement.

Spitzer’s office, the U.S. Attorney’s office in New York and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg all declined to comment on Spitzer.

Spitzer, 48, served as New York’s attorney general for eight years before being elected governor.

Time magazine named him “Crusader of the Year” during his two terms as New York attorney general.

Tabloids labeled him “Eliot Ness,” after the hero in the crime drama “The Untouchables,” because of his reputation for rooting out corruption, busting white-collar criminals and tackling organized crime.

He was also known for prosecuting several prostitution rings.

He also worked as an assistant district attorney in Manhattan and worked for three New York law firms after receiving his law degree from Harvard.

The first-term Democrat had been considered a rising star among his party.

Spitzer is married and has three daughters.

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These two videos are from a Latino punk on YouTube that calls himself MRDEEMONEY. When he’s not harassing Border Agents, he’s making videos mocking the homeless and a person with down syndrome. A real class act.

He calls this “The two faget Migras”

“The Fat Dum Migra”

This next video is related in that it shows the violence our Border Patrol Agents face. I’ve posted it before, but in case you missed it, here it is again.

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March 6, 2008 on approach to Mt Vernon exit Freeway 215 Southbound - Loma Linda, CA

This photo report is from Robin Hvidston and Raymond Herrera.

After Minutemen met with San Bernardino Mexican Consul Giralt Cabrales, while traveling south on Freeway 215, there was a mattress, covering the two middle lanes of the freeway - putting the freeway in peril. A truck with Mexican license plates, was at the side of the freeway about half a block beyond the fallen mattress, near the Mt Vernon exit. Minutemen contacted the California Highway Patrol.


Mexican license plates.

There were three mattresses fallen beside the truck

Via the telephone, CHP stated an officer would be on site immediately. The two individuals, above photo, were quickly piling the mattresses back onto the top of the truck - preparing to return to the freeway. In the above photo, I am standing by my vehicle - waiting for the CHP to arrive.

They loaded up the third and final mattress - they worked rapidly and appeared intent on fleeing the scene.

They expressed no concern, no regard for the mattress in the middle lanes of the freeway - creating a potentially fatal scenario for motorists dodging their mattress. We left at this juncture - still waiting for the CHP to arrive.

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SignOnSanDiego

WASHINGTON ? The next time a San Diego sheriff’s deputy arrests a man who tries to steal a car, hauls him to a county detention center, starts asking questions and discovers he’s in the country illegally, here’s what will happen:

The tax-supported district attorney’s and public defender’s offices will handle his case, a tax-supported judge will preside if it goes to trial, he’ll spend an average three weeks in the local jail at $100 each day, a state prison could house him for years at $121 a day, and tax-funded probation officers will follow his progress.

Only after that will he be deported.

For years, the White House and border communities such as San Diego have argued over who should pay for all this. As a group of border states yesterday unveiled a report on the costs of incarcerating illegal immigrants linked to crimes, President Bush is again trying to eliminate all federal reimbursement for the task.

The recurring battle over this reimbursement ? known in Washington parlance as the ?State Criminal Alien Assistance Program,? or SCAAP ? has a predictable rhythm: For six years, the Republican president has axed the money from his budget plan, lawmakers from border states have howled, and budget writers have held press conferences, hearings and behind-door talks to put some money back in.

Still, those reimbursements have declined steadily during the 14 years the program has been in place.

Read more.

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