Archive for June 12th, 2008

Mission Accomplished! Again!

The last National Guard soldiers assigned to protect the U.S.-Mexican border will arrive in Arizona from Guam at the end of next week. They will leave by July 15 in the final act of a two-year mission that has been widely credited with making the border more secure.

The mission, Operation Jump Start, which began in June 2006, was designed to give the Border Patrol some breathing room until it could hire thousands of additional agents and build hundreds of miles of border fence.

That has happened. Since the program began, about 4,500 border agents have been hired and 182 miles of fencing or vehicle barriers have been built. National Guard units put in about two thirds of the border barricades.
By the end of the year, the Border Patrol expects to hire 1,500 additional agents and build 340 more miles of fencing.

National Guard troops watched the border from observation posts, flew aircraft and built roads, fences and vehicle barriers. They also helped with paperwork to free up more agents for patrols.



U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has teamed up with the Mexican government to open an office in Mexico City to share information and cooperate on investigations.

The office ? known as a Trade Transparency Unit ? will help ?identify and eliminate trade-based money laundering systems, which facilitate the illegal movement of criminal proceeds across international borders,? said ICE, in a press release Thursday.

The money often fuels drug smuggling, human trafficking and terrorism, ICE said.

The announcement was made by Julie Myers (pictured), who heads ICE, and her Mexican counterpart, Juan Jose Bravo Moises, administrator general for Mexico Customs.

ICE said that Mexico Customs provided ?an incredible volume of trade data - three full years worth of transactions.?

?Mexico?s cooperation has proven unprecedented and is the largest such initiative ICE has undertaken in our efforts to combat the rise in complex and sophisticated financial and trade crimes around the world,? Myers said.


Hispanic Dems warn Obama he risks losing Latinos
The Hill

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) must commit to helping illegal immigrants achieve citizenship or else risk losing the vital Latino vote in the general election, Hispanic Democratic lawmakers are warning.

If he does not promise so-called comprehensive immigration reform, the lawmakers say, the only other way to win over Hispanic supporters of his erstwhile rival, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), may be to pick her as his running mate.

Obama?s National Latino Vote Director, Cuauhtemoc ?Temo? Figueroa, will have his first meeting in Washington Thursday with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC).

They carefully avoided calling explicitly for Clinton?s selection as the party?s vice presidential nominee, but some indicated that her bond with Latino voters will get them to the polls in November, just as it drew them into the primaries.

?Hillary holds the entire Latino community in the palm of her hand,? said. Rep. José Serrano (D-N.Y.), whose district went heavily for Clinton.

But Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), Obama?s Republican opponent, is also liked by Latinos. He co-sponsored with Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) the immigration bill that the CHC is demanding, which would put the country?s 12 million illegal immigrants on a path to citizenship. And he did not buckle under pressure to abandon that position during the GOP primary.

Cecilia Munoz, the senior vice president of research, advocacy and legislation with the National Council of La Raza, said whether McCain can win over large enough numbers of Latino voters is ?still an open question.?

?But Latinos are brand-loyal, and after the Clinton brand, the McCain brand is the second-strongest among Latinos because of his military service and his immigration record,? Munoz said.

CHC Chairman Rep. Joe Baca (D-Calif.) said that if Obama chooses someone other than Clinton, it will not be a deal-breaker for Latinos.

To read entire article click here.


The Washington Post

A United Nations human rights official has postponed a planned visit to inspect the treatment of immigrant workers in Prince William County, according to the activist group Mexicans Without Borders. The group had welcomed the outside scrutiny, saying the county’s illegal-immigration policies have “created a climate where suspicion and terror thrive.”

Jorge A. Bustamante, a U.N. special rapporteur for human rights of migrants, called off a visit planned for yesterday and today. In a letter to Mexicans Without Borders, Bustamante cited “something unexpected of extreme gravity” that was “totally outside of my control” as a reason and did not indicate when he would reschedule the trip.

Opponents of illegal immigrants in the county had planned to protest Bustamante’s trip, during which he intended to meet with county officials as well as immigrant residents.

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The Washington Post

Vijay Kumar was working as a contract welder in the sweltering United Arab Emirates two years ago, far from his wife and family in southern India, when he spotted an advertisement offering welders and pipe fitters “permanent lifetime settlement in the USA for self and family.”

Kumar answered the ad to find that workers were being recruited to rebuild oil rigs in Mississippi and Texas destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. He returned to India, signed a contract and paid a recruiter $20,000 to travel to the United States. He told his wife, who had just given birth to a son, that he would send for them as soon as he could.

“I sell my house, my wife sell her jewels, we borrow money from friends. We dream of living in America together,” Kumar, 34, said yesterday. He stood outside the U.S. Justice Department during a protest with several dozen other Indian workers, all of whom have been staging a hunger strike in Washington for weeks.

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Last April, Carol Plato, director of services from Martin Memorial Medical Hospital, told members of Florida?s House Committee on State Affairs about the extreme financial burdens illegal immigrants have imposed on her hospital.

In the video, Plato testifies: ?In 2001, we had a Guatemalan, an illegal patient in our hospital. He was there from 2001 and until 2003. He had over $1.5 million in health care services. We forcibly returned him to his home county of Guatemala at our own cost of $30,000. You ask why am I telling you about a case that happened in 2003? Because today that case is not over. We have spent and are spending up to a quarter of a million dollars in legal fees because his family here in the United States is suing us because they think it as inappropriate for us to return this illegal patient to his home country.?

She also reminds Florida lawmakers of the $100 million providing healthcare for illegal aliens in 2007. [Read full transcript at].

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Deported Felon Arrested Again In Rutherford Co.
News Channel 5
June 11, 2008

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A Midstate sheriff said police have a problem with undocumented felons who are deported, but return to the area where they commit more crimes.

Rutherford County Sheriff Truman Jones is frustrated. He said a twice-deported undocumented immigrant returned to the county and behind bars.

Jones said he wants to know when it will end.”It’s just a negative effect all the way down the line. The person is not offering anything substantial to the community at all. He’s a taker,” he said.

Luis Martinez is a convicted drug dealer who has been deported twice to Mexico. But he’s back in the Rutherford County jail. “You know they’re going to come back,” Jones said.

Jones said Martinez told the arresting officer he sold heroin. Jones said he was detained in the United States during a routine traffic stop. It turns out many deported felons don’t stay away. They return to the country and help is waiting when they do.

“And they know who to go to. The ones who can make the IDs for them and the ones who can set them up with a job,” Jones said. Police said Martinez was caught with a stolen ID he used to find work.

Rutherford County certainly isn’t alone with this problem. Maury County has arrested dozens of illegal immigrants in recent months. Many had been deported, but came back……

To read entire article click here.