Archive for March 18th, 2008

WCBS

PORT CHESTER, NY (AP) — Two toddlers slipped out of their apartment and wandered alone in a suburban downtown, and no adult called to report them missing for at least an hour and a half, police said.

LISTEN: Mom Was Afraid to Call Cops Because of Immigration Status

The 3-year-old girl and 4-year-old boy apparently got out of their Midland Avenue apartment through a back door while their 23-year-old mother was giving their newborn sibling a bath Tuesday afternoon, police said. Another tenant had apparently left the door open.

Police found the children about a block away from their home around 2:30 p.m. Monday. Officers were unable to elicit the children’s address from them.

Offering the toddlers coloring books and pretzels, officers looked after them until one of the mother’s neighbors called police for her around 4 p.m.

The mother was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of endangering the welfare of a child. Child welfare workers are expected to examine the living conditions at the apartment, Port Chester Police Lt. James Ladeairous said.

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John Clark, husband of legal immigrant Lilian Clark, founded the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps Napa Valley Chapter.

Napa Valley Register

The unlicensed Napa driver who was drunk when he plowed into the rear bumper of another car, seriously injuring a Napa mother of two, pleaded guilty to all charges against him Thursday.

Francisco Pacheco, 24, is looking at eight years in state prison.

On Thursday, Pacheco pleaded guilty to two counts of felony drunk driving causing great bodily injury, leaving the scene of a accident, driving with a blood alcohol level greater than .08 percent and not having a valid driver?s license.

The accident happened on Feb. 3 on South Terrace Drive.

Lilian Clark, 38, had just secured her two sons, 4 and 6, in their car seats. She was walking around the back of her car to get into the driver?s seat when Pacheco drove his 1990 Plymouth over the slight hill on Terrace Drive and crashed into the back of Clark?s car.

Clark suffered injuries that resulted in the amputation of both of her legs above her knees.

After striking Clark, Pacheco put his car in reverse and sped away. Neighbors who had gathered around the accident scene took off after him and found him parked in front of his house about a block away from where the crash happened. They held him until police arrived and took him into custody.

His blood-alcohol level was recorded as .24 percent, according to Napa County Chief Deputy District Attorney John Goold, three times the legal limit in California.

Clark, who is from Chile, was taken to Queen of the Valley Medical Center and then transferred to Kaiser Hospital in Vallejo.

After undergoing several operations, she was released and is recovering at home, according to her husband John Clark. Her parents traveled from Chile to be with their daughter during her recovery, John Clark said.

?She will be home recovering from the skin grafts and waiting for the swelling to go down in her legs. When that happens she will enter rehab and be fitted for her prothesis,? Clark said.

?I guess it will be easier for us that (Pacheco) pleaded guilty. We won?t have to go through a trial. But that fact that he is facing a maximum of eight years in prison is a joke,? John Clark said. ?He should have to go through what my wife has been through.?

Pacheco, who is facing deportation, will serve his prison term before he is sent back to his native Mexico, Goold said.

He was convicted in 2005 on a misdemeanor DUI charge. He had been employed as a field worker at a Yountville vineyard.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 11.

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KTAR

Federal money set aside to reimburse hospitals for the care of illegal immigrants is going to run out at the end of this year.

For the past four years the federal government has set aside $250 million a year to reimburse border hospitals for the care of illegal immigrants.

An Arizona Republic article this morning told of an illegal immigrant involved in a motorcycle accident who had three surgeries for her injuries and then was sent back to Mexico to recover.

“Indeed we spend millions upon millions each year, for care for these patients,” said Dr. Michael Christopher, chief of staff at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

Christopher would like to see the federal program continued past this year.

“We understand that the realities of the current fiscal situation in this country and we’re not terribly hopeful,” Christopher said.

Christopher said in reality hospitals weren’t getting much money from the feds to help cover those care costs.

“What it amounted to was literally pennies on the dollar,” Christopher said.

But every little bit helps.

“There’s hospitals throughout the country that have closed as a result of being fiscally insolvent from the outflow of care that’s been demanded upon them,” Christopher said.

Christopher said this is a federal problem that is unfortunately being forced on the backs of states and hospitals to figure out.

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La Opinion

A new law proposal that is taking force in the House of Representatives in Washington D.C. would worsen the situation of the undocumented community, alerted activists that already plan a massive mobilization for the next May 1st..

It is a matter of the initiative HR4088, called the “Secure America through Verification and Enforcement (SAVE Act)”, promoted by the republican congressman of California, Brian Bilbray, and supported by the democrat of North Carolina, Heath Shuler.

“The SAVE Act is a proposal that moves quickly inside the House, it needs 218 signatures so that they can take it to a vote and already it has 140, including those of various democrats”, said Angelica Salas, director of the Coalition for the Human Rights of the Immigrants in Los Angeles (CHIRLA).

Salas explained that the legislative proposal hardens the laws against the undocumented and increases the detaining operations or raids.

“It is more of the same”, commented the director of CHIRLA. “If the law passes, we are going to have a bigger problem than now, because it would extend the program for verification of employment, it would give more money for raids, they would arrest more people whose data does not coincide with their social security and it would offer funds so that police officers do the work of Immigration”.

Recently the organization Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), launched alerts due to the strength of the SAVE Act.

The alerts indicates that the motion would make it easier for the government to imprison humane and religious activists by helping the undocumented, somewhat similar to the proposed bill HR4437 of James Sensenbrenner, that never prospered.

“It is a horrible proposal”, insisted Salas, “it is equal to that of Sensenbrenner bill and it is advancing and prompted by the anti-immigrant wing “.

She indicated that already they have mobilized to assure that no elected representative in Los Angeles, whether a republican or a democrat, will be signing in favor of that proposal.

Juan José Gutiérrez, of the Latin American Movement USA, said that in the beginning of March activist of 23 states had a meeting in Washington D.C., in which they agreed to have massive mobilizations in all the country.

On the new proposal he commented: “In a moment in which Congress and the Bush Administration want to do something dramatic to sort out the immigration law system, the only ideas that they have come up with are the worst, the ones that signify more obstacles to the workers who want to achieve legalization”.

Gloria Saucedo, leader of Hermandad Mexicana, said that the mobilization in Los Angeles has been called the “March of Unity”, and will have two starting point, both at 2:00 in the afternoon, one at MacArthur park and another of the corner of Olympic and Broadway, to be joined at Temper and Broadway.

“When they attack us our community stands up and fights”, said Saucedo, “because of that we are preparing for the May 1 March of Unity, in which the main organizations that participated in the massive marches two years ago, will participate”.

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OneNewsNow

An official with the immigration reduction group Numbers USA believes an attempt in Congress to import more foreign labor into the country would further endanger middle-class jobs held by Americans.

Microsoft chairman and billionaire Bill Gates urged lawmakers on Capitol Hill last week to make it easier for Microsoft and other large tech companies like Google, Intel, and Hewlett Packard to hire foreign workers. Gates called on Congress to increase the number of the most common type of skilled guest-worker visa, called an H-1B.

Rosemary Jenks, director of government relations for Numbers USA, says it is unfortunate that there is not enough resistance in Congress to the idea of raising the current cap on H1-B visas.

“It’s sort of incredible to me that as the United States heads into recession that Congress would seriously consider importing more foreign labor to take the declining number of American jobs. But that is, in fact, what is happening,” says Jenks. It is an “amazing thing,” she adds, that both the Democratic leadership and certain parts of the Republican Party are in favor of increasing foreign worker importation.

“Now of course they don’t want to tell their constituents that they’re in favor of this,” she continues, “but they are listening to the Chamber of Commerce and Bill Gates and groups like that that are … clamoring for more workers.”

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-California) is co-sponsoring a bill that would make it tougher for foreign workers to qualify for an H-1B.

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Stateline

Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell (R) last month announced that his office and state police had teamed up to help the federal government identify and deport the foreign-born sex offenders. Hundreds of others still are being evaluated and also could be removed from the country as a result of the state-led initiative, believed to be the first of its kind.

The sex offenders to be deported include illegal immigrants already incarcerated in Virginia prisons and jails ? where they first will complete criminal sentences ? as well as others who entered the country lawfully and served time here years ago. The group is made up of offenders from diverse countries, ranging from Cuba and Honduras in Latin America to Scotland and Germany in Europe.

McDonnell now is lobbying officials from other states to copy Virginia?s initiative. At an annual conference of state attorneys general last week in Washington, D.C., he urged his counterparts from across the nation to do more to help federal authorities find and deport all immigrants convicted of sex crimes.

?People who commit crimes who are aliens, whether legal or illegal ? need to go back to their home countries,? McDonnell said in an interview with Stateline.org. ?They have no business being in America.?

He said Virginia?s crackdown on immigrant sex offenders is part of a broader strategy on the part of his office to help the federal government deport all immigrant criminals who come into contact with the state. Targeting sex offenders, he said, was a logical first step because sex-offender registries make deportable immigrants easy for law-enforcement officials to identify.

?Sex offenders are required to register and re-register, which means you?ve got their most current home address and work address, unlike most other criminals who might be out on the street,? McDonnell said.

But including legal immigrants in Virginia?s crackdown has angered some pro-immigrant activists, who claim the state is going too far.

Critics say deportation is an ?additional penalty? on some offenders who may have green cards to live in the United States lawfully and who already have paid for their crimes. Moreover, they say, Virginia is infringing on the role of the federal government by enforcing U.S. immigration laws.

?We have to have a set policy in this country of who does what,? said Nancy Lyall, legal coordinator for the Virginia-based advocacy group Mexicans Without Borders. ?When you have local and state jurisdictions deciding for themselves, it creates chaos and it creates injustices because the law is being applied differently in different jurisdictions.?

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NY Times

Los Angeles — Three Mexican men were charged Friday with smuggling people into the United States after an ill-fated effort to ferry a dozen people to San Diego by boat from an island off Tijuana, Mexico, ended with the vessel adrift for nearly two days.

For years, smugglers have sought to bring people into the United States on boats in the Pacific Ocean, usually hiding among the bountiful pleasure craft off San Diego in the summer. People have also been caught trying to surf, use jet skis and swim in.

But the arrests this week, the authorities said, point to a troubling turn to the prospect of year-round smuggling; some 20 boats have been intercepted or found washed ashore on the San Diego County coast since August. Twenty-six people have been apprehended in those cases, but several more probably made it to their destinations: some have been observed by homeowners coming ashore and leaving their boats behind.

”We have never seen an increase like this in the off- or winter season,” said Michael Unzueta, the agent in charge of the San Diego office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Mr. Unzueta said that more elaborate security on the land border, rife with cameras, sensors and steel fences, was pushing smugglers east into remote terrain and west into the ocean. But it is also possible, he said, that the spike is the result of a newer organization long on ambition but short on marine skills.

Many of the boats, including the one found Wednesday 12 miles off the Point Loma area of San Diego, are old and barely seaworthy, Mr. Unzueta said. Unlike in previous maritime smuggling cases, he said, these latest boats have been left behind, probably bought cheaply and meant to be used only once with maintenance a low priority.

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