Archive for April 5th, 2008

FOX News

MEXICO CITY ? The Absolut vodka company apologized Saturday for an ad campaign depicting the southwestern U.S. as part of Mexico amid angry calls for a boycott by U.S. consumers.

The campaign, which promotes ideal scenarios under the slogan “In an Absolut World,” showed a 1830s-era map when Mexico included California, Texas and other southwestern states. Mexico still resents losing that territory in the 1848 Mexican-American War and the fight for Texas independence.

But the ads, which ran only in Mexico and have since ended, came as the United States builds up its border security amid an emotional debate over illegal immigration from their southern neighbor.

More than a dozen calls to boycott Absolut were posted on, a Web site operated by conservative columnist Michelle Malkin. The ads sparked heated comment on a half-dozen other Internet sites and blogs.

“In no way was it meant to offend or disparage, nor does it advocate an altering of borders, nor does it lend support to any anti-American sentiment, nor does it reflect immigration issues,” Absolut said in a statement left on its consumer inquiry phone line.

Some fringe U.S. groups also claim the land is rightfully part of Mexico, while extreme immigration foes argue parts of the U.S. already are being overtaken by Mexico.

“In an Absolut world, a company that produces vodka fires its entire marketing department in a desperate attempt to win back enraged North American customers after a disastrous ad campaign backfires,” a person using the moniker “SalsaNChips” wrote on Malkin’s Web site.

A plan for comprehensive immigration reform designed to deal with an estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States ? the vast majority from Mexico ? collapsed last summer under the emotional weight of the debate.

Absolut said the ad was designed for a Mexican audience and intended to recall “a time which the population of Mexico might feel was more ideal.”

“As a global company, we recognize that people in different parts of the world may lend different perspectives or interpret our ads in a different way than was intended in that market, and for that we apologize.”

Vin & Sprit, Absolut’s Sweden-based parent company, will be acquired by French spirit maker Pernod Ricard SA under a deal reached last week.

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The Washington Post

The argument for granting Haitian immigrants temporary protected status, or TPS, outlined in an April 2 editorial is fair and correct. However, the United States should also be concerned with such status for Iraqi immigrants.

As an immigration attorney, I have witnessed the government’s ongoing efforts to deport Iraqi citizens. Last year, the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees requested a halt to all forcible repatriations of Iraqi asylum seekers; last month, Amnesty International issued a similar request.

In January, the U.S. government enacted a measure allowing Iraqis whose asylum applications were denied on or after March 1, 2003, to file motions to reopen their cases; they must be filed by June. This move aims to provide relief to people who were denied asylum after the war began, based at least in part on the notion that, with Saddam Hussein no longer in power, Iraq should be safe for them.

While this measure provides an avenue of relief for some Iraqis, it does not go far enough. The United States should heed the requests of the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner and Amnesty International. No Iraqis should be returned to their country at this time. Iraqis in the United States should be granted temporary protected status until conditions in their country have stabilized.

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The Washington Post

Prince William County Police Chief Charlie T. Deane said most of the people arrested during the first month of the county’s illegal-immigration crackdown would have gone to jail anyway.

Of the 89 people questioned about their citizenship status, 41 were taken to the county’s adult detention center. Although officers have reason to think the 41 people arrested are in the country illegally, all but two were charged with a series of misdemeanors and felonies unrelated to their immigration status.

“Most of them would have been made anyway,” Deane said during a news conference to provide details about the county’s first month of increased illegal immigration enforcement.

Seven people were charged with felonies, including attempted murder, cocaine possession and shoplifting. Thirty-two people were charged with misdemeanors, which included public drunkenness, domestic assault and lack of a driver’s license. Two others were detained on immigration-related charges.

The Board of County Supervisors voted last fall to direct officers to check the citizenship or immigration status of suspects they think might be in the country illegally. The measure took effect March 3.

Of the 89 people questioned about their residency status, two were found to be in the country legally, Deane said.

Among those thought to be in the country illegally, 21 were released without charges and 25 were given citations for minor offenses. Police are referring the 87 cases to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“Our job is to communicate that” to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Deane said. “What happens after that is out of our hands.”

To put the numbers into perspective, Prince William police officers generally make 1,100 arrests a month, Deane said.

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