Huge immigration protests all over the country

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RE: Huge immigration protests all over the country 2006/04/04 19:24:36 (permalink)
I'm curious where you envision this wall going?  Would it sorround the USA? or simply be along the borders of mexico and canada? 

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RE: Huge immigration protests all over the country 2006/04/04 21:28:34 (permalink)
Including Alaska & Hawaii?
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RE: Huge immigration protests all over the country 2006/04/04 21:28:53 (permalink)
The reason the Great Wall of China was not able to stop the Mongols was because it didn't cover the whole border, hence the Mongols were able to simply run around it. I am willing to try both the stiff fines and the wall (which could be built using local and state funds, as certain border cities have built walls) and I agree with you that Congress should not simply bullshit the problem out of public attention.


The thing is, if you put the wall up at the border, they will come through our ports anyway. They go around it easily. Adding to that, the possibility of a wall spanning the entire border is just not feasible and will cost billions and billions of dollars to maintain. Especially when you haven't busted the companies that allowed illegal immigration to surge.

Remember, this didn't suddenly become a problem because we let our guard down at the border. It became a problem when we cowed to business, which uses illegal immigration to keep costs low. As of right now, they can bring in illegal immigrats for jobs, take their miniscule fine from the government and then the government has to send them back. They profit off of breaking the law, and as long as that happens illegal immigration will continue to be a problem.

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RE: Huge immigration protests all over the country 2006/04/12 11:03:32 (permalink)
Due the large turnout for immigrant support here in Denver, 8 Republicans in the Colorado state House have written a letter to President Bush asking him to declare a national state of emergency!  Apparently, the governors of New Mexico and Arizona (who both happen to be Democrats) have requested the same thing!
http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/government/article/0,2777,DRMN_23906_4615104,00.html

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RE: Huge immigration protests all over the country 2006/04/12 11:23:42 (permalink)
Due the large turnout for immigrant support here in Denver, 8 Republicans in the Colorado state House have written a letter to President Bush asking him to declare a national state of emergency! 


What the fuck?! Suddenly activism is now an emergency? It has been TOO LONG.

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RE: Huge immigration protests all over the country 2006/09/19 11:14:25 (permalink)
Pat Buchanan shared some "interesting" views on immigration last week on "Real Time With Bill Maher"....here is what he had to say.....do you think he has a legitimate point?


MAHER: No, I – I do want to thank you for coming. Because, first of all, I know that you know that this is a very liberal audience, so I think that’s – that’s a big deal for a conservative to show up in such a state. But tell the skeptics here, the people who are going to roll your eyes when they hear the title of your book, State of Emergency, tell your case why you are not overstating the case for illegal immigration.
BUCHANAN: All right. There are 12 million illegal aliens in the United States. That is more than all the Irish and English and Jewish folks who ever came to America. One in 12, according to the president, has a criminal record. That means there are one million criminal aliens in this country raping, robbing and preying upon American citizens. The equivalent of 20 – excuse me, 50 Army divisions. That tells me that the government of the United States is not doing its first duty, Bill, and that is to defend the borders of the United States. [applause]
This is not an issue of Pat Buchanan only. Eighty percent of Pennsylvanians now want a wall on the border. Forty-seven percent of Mexicans – Mexican Americans in Arizona – voted to cut off welfare for people who do not belong here. I think that the first job of George W. Bush is to defend not the border of Kuwait or Kosovo, but the borders of the United States of America. [applause]

MAHER: But, you know what? I have to tell you, reading from your book, I was made aware of things I didn’t know. I did not realize that the immigration situation is unprecedented, and I think that’s the point you’re trying to make, is that we never really had this amount of immigration. And that America is truly becoming much more of a Latino country. I guess where we disagree is, I don’t understand why that’s so bad, because I like Latin chicks. [laughter] [applause]
BUCHANAN: Well, let me tell you – well, look, what is happening, though – let me explain, what is happening to us, I think, is what happened to the Mexicans, and it’s exactly how they lost Texas. We’re going to have 100 million Hispanics heavily concentrated in the Southwest by 2050, and 58% of all Mexicans believe that land belongs to them by right. And the Mexican government is deliberately exporting its poverty and its people to seek leverage over the government of the United States. Not militarily, Bill, but I do believe linguistically, ethnically, culturally, socially. That is increasingly going to become a part of Mexico – as much a part of Mexico as it is in the United States.
I think with the erasures of the border, what could happen to this country – and it is what I fear – is what happened in Kosovo, where the Serbs lost that because people moved in and eventually they took it over. And when you see what’s happening all over the world, countries breaking up over ethnicity, language, religion, history, I think we’re taking a risk that we don’t need to take, if we will simply defend the borders of this country. [applause]


MAHER: That’s – that’s just a fact. And I think, to some people, it looks like people who are around – especially white, heterosexual men in the 1950s – they’re kind of like the Sunnis in Iraq. They’re losing their monopoly on power and they’re pissed off about it.
BUCHANAN: Well, let me ask you, Bill. Look, you know what’s happening between the Sunnis and the Shia over history, over religion, over ethnicity. I don’t want that to happen to this country. The problem with America now is not that – nobody – it’s not going to be the fifties again, but the melting pot to which All Americans belong, the melting pot is cracked and broken. People no longer believe in teaching little kids English. They’re teaching them in 200 languages in Chicago. In Los Angeles, five million of the nine million people do not speak English as the first language in their own home. How can we be one nation and one people again when we can’t even understand one another? [applause]

MAHER: But – but wouldn’t racism disappear if we started to inter-date and inter-marry, as is going on right now? I’m sure you realize that – I was talking in the monologue a minute ago about Condoleezza Rice – apparently there’s speculation that she’s with – in some romantic way – the very white, Canadian foreign minister. And I noticed in this story, nobody mentioned that she’s black and he’s white. I think ten years ago, five years ago even, people would have mentioned that. Nobody said, “Oh, he’s got jungle fever.” [laughter] “Oh, she’s a…” No, seriously. Nobody said, “Oh, she’s a cracker lover.” [laughter]
BUCHANAN: All right, Bill, let me just say this. Look – let me say, the immigration that’s coming now is different than what used to come. When you got 500,000 people in Los Angeles marching under Mexican flags, saying, “This is our land. The Europeans are the occupier,” I see these issues of race and ethnicity rising.
Arthur Schlesinger, who is a friend of mine, and very much a prominent national liberal, said, “The wars of ethnicity and race, I believe, are going to replace the wars of ideology in the 21st century.” He said that 15 years ago, in his book, The Disuniting of America. Now, this is what I’m afraid of. Look, we all – look, anybody of any color, culture, creed, can be a good American. We know that. But you cannot import parts of entire nations which come in where the people still hold allegiance and loyalty to those nations. That’s what I’m afraid of. All I’m asking for is a time out on immigration, secure the borders, make these folks Americans. [applause]

MAHER: But if they were so – if – but if they had such allegiance to another country, they wouldn’t leave it and come to this one. [applause]
BUCHANAN: They come to work, Bill.
MAHER: Okay.
BUCHANAN: They don’t come to become Americans. If they came to become Americans, that’s who we want, people who want to be part of our family. These folks come to work here, but they walk under Mexican flags because they remain loyal to Mexico. If you and I, during the Depression, say, were driven into Mexico because that’s the only place you could get jobs, we would remain Americans, Americans in exile. And we have now millions of Mexicans in exile in the United States of America, which the Mexican government is deliberately using for its own ends. [applause]

MAHER: But – but – okay. But, you’re famously – I mean, you were a conservative before it was cool. [laughter] And you talked about old-school values, family values, Christian values, before a lot of people did. Don’t the Mexican people who are coming here more represent those values? They’re mostly Catholic; they’re very religious; they have big families. [applause]
BUCHANAN: [overlapping] Right.
MAHER: Maybe you’re – you’re looking at the white people in America through rose-colored glasses, which would, ironically, make them look Mexican. [laughter] [applause]
BUCHANAN: Well, look, there’s no question that many of those coming here – most, almost all of those coming here – they are brave and desperate people. Three thousand died in the desert in the last eight years. However, it is unfortunate that the young people who – who come here, are assimilating to a rap culture, a drug culture. Bill, it is a fact that by something like 19-1, Hispanic youth are joining these criminal gangs. And in Los Angeles itself, the phrase “Crips and Bloods together,” that means the black gangs are now joining to fight the Mexican gangs, because they threaten them with annihilation.
What you’ve got is a black-brown war going on in your state. You know, in the Rodney King riot in—
MAHER: [overlapping] They’re not in Beverly Hills, Pat. [laughter]
BUCHANAN: Well, let me tell you, the 1992 riots almost got to Beverly Hills, and one-third of those arrested, burning our second city, looting, ravaging the Korean neighborhoods, turned out to be illegal aliens. They had to be deported. When you’ve got that in your own country, isn’t the president obligated to defend our country against that as much as he is to defend South Korea?
post edited by David Seabrook - 2007/05/11 10:12:21

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From an Iowan to His Senator About Illegal Aliens 2006/12/03 18:24:27 (permalink)
The Honorable Tom Harkin  
731 Hart Senate Office Building

Phone (202) 224 3254
Washington DC,  20510


Dear  Senator Harkin,

  
As a native Iowan and excellent customer of the Internal Revenue Service, I am writing to ask for your assistance. I have contacted the Department of Homeland Security in an effort to determine the process for becoming an illegal alien and they referred me to you.  

My primary reason  for wishing to change my status from U.S. Citizen to illegal alien stems from the bill which was recently passed by the Senate and for which you voted.
 
If my understanding! of this bill's provisions is accurate, as an illegal alien who has been in the United States for five years, all I need to do to become a citizen is to pay a $2,000 fine and income taxes for three of the last five  years. I know a good deal when I see one, and I am anxious to get the process started before everyone figures it out.

Simply put, those of us who have been here legally have had to pay taxes every year so I'm excited  about the prospect of avoiding two years of taxes in return for paying a $2,000 fine. Is there any way that I can apply to be illegal retroactively? This would yield an excellent result for me and my family because we paid heavy taxes in 2004 and 2005.

Additionally, as  an illegal alien I could begin using the local emergency room as my primary health care provider. Once I have stopped paying premiums for medical insurance, my accountant figures I could save almost $10,000 a year. Another benefit in gaining illegal status would be that my daughter would receive preferential  treatment relative to her law school applications as well as "in-state" tuition  rates for many colleges throughout the United States for my son.

Lastly, I understand that illegal status would relieve me of the burden of renewing my driver's license and making those burdensome car insurance premiums. This is very important to me, given that I still have college age children driving my  car.  


If you would provide me with an outline of the process to become illegal (retroactively if  possible) and copies of the necessary forms, I would be most appreciative. Thank  you for your assistance.


Your Loyal  Constituent,  
Donald Simonson


Get your Forms (NOW)!
Call your  Internal Revenue Service 1-800-289-1040.
Please pass this on to your friends  so they can take advantage of this great deal!

post edited by Scar Tactics - 2006/12/03 18:27:16
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RE: From an Iowan to His Senator About Illegal Aliens 2006/12/03 20:01:49 (permalink)
Ah yes. I never get tired of reading these "fuck the spics" letters circulating the web!

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RE: From an Iowan to His Senator About Illegal Aliens 2006/12/04 17:37:50 (permalink)
I'M HORNEY FOR THE CONSTITUTHSUN
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RE: Illegal Immigrants & ID Theft 2006/12/15 12:43:33 (permalink)
A problem I never even considered with illegal immigration: identity theft.  Some illegal immigrants steal the identities of American citizens in order to secure jobs in the US.  To me, that seems rather immoral, and the department of Homeland Security just conducted a huge raid at some Swift meat packing plants to arrest illegal immigrants who they suspect used identity theft to land their jobs.

http://www.denverpost.com/ci_4825289

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RE: Illegal Immigrants & ID Theft 2006/12/15 16:06:49 (permalink)
I am for massive evictions of the illegal immigrants in this country. No price is too high to achieve this goal - but you don't just single out the hispanic as the sole cause of this problem, you include corporate America for their shameless violation of our labor laws.

Had we spent the money we spent in Iraq to get rid of those violating the laws in this country, we might not be in such awful shape right now. I think America is on the beginning of its great decline. Once those in power unanimously decide to tolerate a violation of their own laws, they have proven to have no higher goal of public service but their own power. And a hopelessly nihilistic government cannot last long in the face of more disciplined and self-reliant enemies.

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Bush Returns to Work on Immigration Plan 2007/04/09 20:14:40 (permalink)
Bush Returns to Work on Immigration Plan
 
YUMA, Ariz. - President Bush visited the U.S.-Mexico border Monday to tout a guest worker program for immigrants, pursuing a key domestic policy goal despite chilly relations with Congress.
 

 
The trip, a bookend to the visit that Bush made to the same southwest desert city last May, comes as tension rises over a new immigration proposal tied to the White House. Bush's team is privately working hard to rally votes for what Bush calls comprehensive reform _ a mix of get-tough security with promises of fair treatment for undocumented residents.
 
Upon arriving in Yuma, Bush met Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. The two took a quick look at the "Predator," an unmanned plane that border officials use to monitor the region.
 
Bush pointed to two new layers of fencing that have been erected at the border since he visited the same spot a year ago.
 
"It's amazing the progress that's been made," Bush told border officials. "I was most impressed by your strategy, but more impressed by the fact that it's now being implemented."
 
Both Bush and the Democratic-run Congress are eager to show some accomplishment on a core issue like immigration. Yet, it's a sticky subject, and the fault lines don't necessarily fall along party lines. For Bush, opportunities to see through his domestic agenda are shrinking.
 
With up to 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S., lawmakers haven't agreed on how to uphold the law without disrupting lives, eroding the work force and risking political upheaval.
 
Bush is hopeful for a legislative compromise by August. He was making his case at a point along the Yuma Sector Border, a 125-mile stretch overlapping Arizona and California. Bush hoped to send a message _ particularly to conservative critics from his own party _ that the stepped-up border enforcement is working.
 
So far this budget year, apprehensions of people crossing illegally in the Yuma Sector is down 68 percent, according to the White House. Bush credits that to the power of deterrence.
 
The president's relations with Congress these days have been soured by the war in Iraq. He is at odds with Democratic lawmakers over a bill to extend war funding in Iraq and Afghanistan.
 
Presidential spokesman Gordon Johndroe said that although war dominates the headlines, "there's a lot of quiet work that goes on underneath the surface, so that we can get some legislation done on issues like immigration."
 
Administration officials led by Chertoff and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez have been meeting privately for weeks with Republican senators. That expanded to a meeting in late March with key senators from both parties.
 
Out of that session, a work-in-progress plan emerged _ one described as a draft White House plan by officials in both parties and advocacy groups who got copies of the detailed blueprint.
 
The White House disputes that characterization. Spokesman Scott Stanzel said it was only a starting point, an emerging consensus of Republican senators and the White House.
 
Regardless, the floated proposal has already met opposition. Thousands of people marched through Los Angeles on Saturday, spurred in part by what they called a betrayal by Bush.
 
The plan would grant work visas to undocumented immigrants but require them to return home and pay hefty fines to become legal U.S. residents. They could apply for three-year work visas, dubbed "Z" visas, which would be renewable indefinitely but cost $3,500 each time.
 
Briefing reporters on Bush's flight to Arizona, Johndroe would not offer the president's position on the "Z" visas.
 
"There are a lot of proposals floating around out there," Johndroe said. "I don't want to negotiate from here. I'm going to let secretaries Chertoff and Gutierrez do that with members."
 
The undocumented workers would have legal status with the visas, but to become legal permanent residents with a green card, they'd have to return to their home country, apply at a U.S. embassy or consulate to re-enter legally and pay a $10,000 fine.
 
That's far more restrictive than the bipartisan bill the Senate approved last year.
 
So far, Bush has only gotten part of what he wants _ border legislation. He signed a bill last October authorizing 700 additional miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border.
 
The president has spent much of the last four days on vacation at his Texas ranch. He returns to Washington Monday after the Arizona visit.
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Authorities Probe L.A.P.D. Response 2007/05/03 15:55:19 (permalink)
Authorities Probe L.A.P.D. Response

LOS ANGELES - Investigators will review hundreds of hours of video of an immigration rally where police clashed with the crowd, wielding batons and firing rubber bullets to break up the demonstration, the police chief said Thursday.



Chief William J. Bratton said in an appearance on CBS's "Early Show" that he was "not happy" when he watched videotape of the events at MacArthur Park late Tuesday, when officers fired 240 nonlethal rounds to clear demonstrators.

He said police and news media video would aid investigations into whether the officers' tactics were appropriate.

"We have to really try to determine exactly what happened. We're fortunate in this instance that we have a lot of video to look at," Bratton said. "We have literally hundreds of hours of video to review to make our decisions."

News images showed police hitting a television cameraman to the ground, shoving people who were walking away from officers and injuries from the rubber bullets.

Rally organizers denounced the police action as brutal.

"They were pushing children, elderly, mothers with their babies and beating up on the media" said Angela Sanbrano, an organizer.

The clashes started around 6 p.m. Tuesday, when police tried to disperse demonstrators who moved into a street, according to rally organizers and reporters. Authorities said several people threw rocks and bottles at officers, who used batons to push the crowd back to the sidewalk and then cleared the park.

A police order to disperse was in English and from a police helicopter, a likely ineffective tactic because of the noise and because many at the protest were Spanish-speakers, Bratton said at a news conference Wednesday.
Bratton said police were initially trying to deal with 50 to 100 "agitators."

"The individuals were there to provoke police," Bratton said. "Unfortunately, they got what they came for."
Police union leaders urged against a "rush to judgment."

"Our officers gave a legal dispersal order and were met with violence. In the coming days it will become clear what transpired," said Los Angeles Police Protective League President Bob Baker in a statement.

Seven officers suffered minor injuries, and another was pushed off his motorcycle, Bratton said. About 10 other people were treated for minor injuries, though authorities expected the number to rise.

The investigations already under way include an overall departmental review of tactics, an internal affairs investigation into the behavior of the officers and commanders on the scene, and an independent review by the Inspector General, the investigative arm of the Police Commission, which sets policy for the Police Department.

John Mack, president of the five-member Police Commission, said he was "deeply disturbed and very disappointed" by the news images.

"This was not a pretty picture. This incident raises serious concern regarding the use of force by some individual officers," said Mack, who is one of Bratton's bosses.

Democratic Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, who represents the park district, also asked Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley to launch an independent investigation into the officers' actions.

He said police deliberately led troublemakers back to the peaceful marchers before beginning their assault.

"The only logical conclusion I can come to is that somebody wanted it to bleed into the march so that they can do some target practice on some of the immigrants that were marching," Nunez said.

News organizations also condemned the Police Department for its use of batons and riot guns against members of the media.

"We are sorry for what happened to our employees and find it unacceptable that they would be abused in that way when they were doing their job," said Alfredo Richard, spokesman for the Spanish-language network Telemundo, whose anchor and reporter were hurt.

Bratton promised to investigate the treatment of reporters.

"I'm not seeking to defend it at all," he told the "Early Show." "That's why we're having investigations."
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FBI to Investigate Immigration Rally 2007/05/03 22:49:48 (permalink)
FBI to Investigate Immigration Rally

LOS ANGELES - The FBI will open a civil rights inquiry into the Los Angeles Police Department's actions at an immigration rally where officers cleared a city park by wielding batons and firing rubber bullets, the bureau said Thursday.

The preliminary inquiry seeks to determine "whether the civil rights of protesters taking part in the May 1st immigration rally were violated," according to an FBI news release.

Police Chief William J. Bratton said earlier Thursday that he planned to meet next week with the head of the FBI's Los Angeles office, Assistant Director in Charge J. Stephen Tidwell, to see if Tuesday's clashes at MacArthur Park were "something the bureau would become involved with."

"We'll share information and make a decision at that time," Bratton said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I have no issues with the FBI coming in ... and taking a look at it."

The FBI probe is the fourth official investigation of the violence. The U.S. Department of Justice will review the bureau's results and decide whether to initiate a full-fledge investigation.

Police investigators plan to review extensive video of Tuesday's rally, where police clashed with a crowd in MacArthur Park, wielding batons and firing 240 rubber bullets.

Bratton said in an appearance on CBS's "Early Show" that he was "not happy" when he watched videotape of the events.

The chief said he hoped a federal review would show the department has nothing to hide while dispelling any claims that police had targeted immigrants or immigrant rights activists. Rally organizers decried the police behavior as brutal.

The clashes started around 6 p.m. Tuesday, when police tried to disperse demonstrators who moved into a street, according to rally organizers and reporters. Officers used batons to push the crowd back to the sidewalk after several people threw rocks and bottles at them, then cleared the park, authorities said.

News images showed police hitting a TV cameraman to the ground, shoving people who were walking away from officers and injuries from the rubber bullets. Bratton has said the use of force occurred while officers were trying to deal with 50 to 100 "agitators" who were trying to provoke police.

A police order to disperse probably wasn't effective because it was in English and given from a helicopter, Bratton said Wednesday. Many at the protest were Spanish speakers, he said.

Seven officers suffered minor injuries, and another was pushed off his motorcycle. About 10 other people were treated for minor injuries, though authorities expected the number to rise.

The Police Department has opened two investigations, one to create an "after-action report" that evaluates planning and operations, and another by internal affairs to probe complaints against officers.

Bratton said department investigators were still in the process of identifying all officers involved in the clashes, but that no decision about placing any on administrative leave would be made until the probe is finished.

An independent review also has been undertaken by the investigative arm of the city's civilian Police Commission, a five-member board of mayoral appointees that sets policy for the Police Department.

Police union leaders urged against a "rush to judgment."

"Our officers gave a legal dispersal order and were met with violence. In the coming days it will become clear what transpired," Los Angeles Police Protective League President Bob Baker said in a news release.

News organizations condemned the department for its use of batons and riot guns against members of the media.

"We are sorry for what happened to our employees and find it unacceptable that they would be abused in that way when they were doing their job," said Alfredo Richard, spokesman for the Spanish-language network Telemundo, whose anchor and reporter were hurt.
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Deal May Legalize Millions of Immigrants 2007/05/18 13:03:25 (permalink)
Deal May Legalize Millions of Immigrants

WASHINGTON - In a striking reach across party lines, the White House and key lawmakers agreed Thursday to reshape the nation's immigration laws and give millions of illegal immigrants legal status. At the same time, borders would be tightened.

The compromise brought liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans together with top members of President Bush's team on an issue that carries heavy potential risks and rewards for all involved.

The Senate will wade into an emotional and wide-ranging debate on the issue next week that promises to test the unlikely coalition that produced the deal. Almost instantly, the plan brought vehement criticism from both sides of the immigration issue, including liberals who called it unfair and unworkable and conservatives who branded it an overly permissive "amnesty."

The proposal constitutes a far-reaching change in the immigration system that would admit future arrivals seeking to put down roots in the U.S. based on their skills, education levels and job experience, limiting the importance of family ties. A new class of guest workers would be allowed in temporarily, but only after borders were fortified and measures were in place to ensure the rules were followed.

Bush said the proposal would "help enforce our borders but equally importantly, it'll treat people with respect."

"This is a bill where people who live here in our country will be treated without amnesty but without animosity," Bush said.

The formula was enough to satisfy liberal Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass. _ viewed as his party's decisive voice on immigration _ and Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., a conservative who has been adamantly opposed to past overhauls.

Kennedy hailed it as "the best possible chance we will have in years to secure our borders and bring millions of people out of the shadows and into the sunshine of America."

Kyl said the measure wasn't perfect, "but it represents the best opportunity that we have in a bipartisan way to do something about this problem."

It was clear, however, that many Republicans and Democrats were deeply skeptical. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., called the proposal a "starting point" for next week's debate and said it needed improvement.

"I have serious concerns about some aspects of this proposal, including the structure of the temporary worker program and undue limitations on family immigration," Reid said.

In a reminder of the delicate nature of the alliance, some lawmakers on both ends of the political spectrum who attended the weeks of closed-door talks that yielded the agreement deserted it at the last moment.

Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said the proposal "tears families apart" because a new point system used to evaluate future legal immigrants would value family connections well below employment-related criteria.

"When you anchor yourself to the far right and you give, I think, relatively little, it's hard to meet the challenge" of producing a workable bill, Menendez said in an interview.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said he had "very serious concerns with the principles outlined" in the agreement.
And conservatives on both sides of the Capitol derided the deal as "amnesty" for illegal immigrants, using a politically charged word that figured prominently in campaigns across the country last year.

"I don't care how you try to spin it, this is amnesty," said Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C.

The proposed agreement would allow illegal immigrants to come forward and obtain a "Z visa" and _ after paying fees and a $5,000 fine _ ultimately get on track for permanent residency, which could take between eight and 13 years. Heads of households would have to return to their home countries first.

They could come forward right away to claim a probationary card that would let them live and work legally in the U.S., but could not begin the path to permanent residency or citizenship until border security improvements and the high-tech worker identification program were completed.

A new crop of low-skilled guest workers would have to return home after stints of two years. They could renew their visas twice, but would be required to leave for a year in between each time. If they wanted to stay in the U.S. permanently, they would have to apply under the point system for a limited pool of green cards.

The program drew fire from liberal groups that said it was unworkable. They had joined Democrats in pressing instead for guest workers to be permitted to stay and work indefinitely in the U.S., and ultimately earn the chance to stay.

"Without a clear path to permanent residence for a healthy share of the future temporary workers, we run the risk of reproducing the widespread illegality that this bill is designed to address," said Frank Sharry, the executive director of the National Immigration Forum.

Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., said he would try to kill the temporary worker program because it would bring in a potentially unlimited stream of immigrants to compete with Americans for jobs and depress wages.

In perhaps the most hotly debated change, the proposed plan would shift from an immigration system primarily weighted toward family ties toward one with preferences for people with advanced degrees and sophisticated skills. Republicans have long sought such revisions, which they say are needed to end "chain migration" that harms the economy.

Family connections alone would no longer be enough to qualify for a green card _ except for spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens. Strict new limits would apply to U.S. citizens seeking to bring foreign-born parents into the country.
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Mexicans Fear U.S. Immigration Plan 2007/05/18 15:58:23 (permalink)
Mexicans Fear U.S. Immigration Plan

MONTERREY, Mexico - Congress' new immigration plan was bad news for tens of thousands of poor Mexicans who depend on a U.S. guestworker program for temporary jobs in agriculture and other seasonal work, such as landscaping and construction.



Millions of would-be migrants have been holding tight to President Bush's promise that they could one day apply for temporary visas to get a glimpse of the American dream.

At the U.S. Consulate in Monterrey, which hands out more temporary visas than any other consulate or embassy in the world, Edmundo Bermudez, a 36-year-old from the northern city of Durango, said the plan rewards those who have already entered the United States illegally, while shutting out those who stayed home hoping to gain legal passage.

He was especially offended by the plan to give preference to migrants with degrees and skills.

"The United States already has enough people with college degrees. Who is going to cut their tobacco?" asked Bermudez, who has been working intermittently in the U.S. for the past eight years. In Mexico, he makes about $10 a day, while in the U.S. he earns almost that _ $8 _ in an hour.

The proposal, unveiled Thursday in Washington, is devoid of Bush's original plan to grant three-year visas to migrants living in their native countries. Instead, it focuses on securing the border and giving illegal residents a path toward legal residency, while gradually giving preference for new visas to those with advanced degrees and highly specialized skills.

Many in Mexico _ and U.S. employers who say they need workers for low-skilled jobs _ had hoped Congress would expand the guestworker program and allow more to cross legally, work a few months and then return home with their savings to build homes and businesses.

Gilberto Escalante, a 41-year-old fisherman from Topolobampo in Sinaloa state, said the current temporary visa program is better than the congressional plan because it gives Mexicans the option to freely enter and leave the U.S. while maintaining their lives in Mexico _ instead of forcing them to choose between the two countries.

"We don't want the house or the latest car in the U.S. We want to go and work so that our families can have a good life in Mexico," said Escalante, who came to the industrial hub of Monterrey to apply for a visa to work on fish and shrimp boats off the coast of Mississippi.

Yet the congressional plan came as welcome news to the millions of Mexicans who depend on the $23 billion sent home each year by Mexicans living in the U.S., many illegally.

The proposal would allow illegal immigrants to obtain a "Z visa" and, after paying fees and a $5,000 fine, ultimately get on track for permanent residency, which could take between eight and 13 years. Heads of households would have to return to their home countries first.

It is also good news for the Mexican government, which has spent years lobbying the U.S. for a comprehensive immigration reform that allows more people to work legally in the U.S. Many had feared the U.S. would only approve more border security measures, such as adding to National Guard troops at the border and other high-tech security measures.

Victor Aviles, a spokesman for Mexico's Foreign Relations Department, cautiously welcomed the initiative.
"The Mexican government hopes that the different actors involved in the debate and eventual approval of this initiative take advantage of the opportunity it presents," he said in a statement.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said debate would begin on Monday, but he cautioned, "I don't know if the immigration legislation is going to bear fruit and we're going to be able to pass it."

Miguel Garcia, 35, of Maravatio in the western Mexican state of Michoacan, said he was glad that the U.S. was giving illegal migrants a chance at fixing their status.

"They shouldn't punish people who are just trying to get ahead," he said.

In the small, northern desert town of Huachichil, migrant recruiter Rene Urbano encouraged Mexicans who work in potato fields and apple orchards to continue signing up for possible visas, arguing that he would work to find them jobs with U.S. employers.

"They are rewarding those who are doing things wrong and abandoning my boys who need work," he said, adding that there are millions of migrants waiting for U.S. jobs.

One of his clients, Gustavo Ruiz, a 31-year-old father of two small children, is normally working in U.S. fields by now. But today he is still waiting for an offer at the one-bedroom concrete home he built on the edge of the Mexican desert, with money he earned picking tobacco, cucumber and sweet potatoes.

He said he would not mind moving his family to the U.S. and trying to become legal residents, but his wife refuses.

"My roots are here," Elidia Moncada said. "My family is here. They say it's nice there, but I don't want to leave."
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U.S. Seeks to Curb Illegal Immigration 2007/08/10 13:52:45 (permalink)
U.S. Seeks to Curb Illegal Immigration
 
WASHINGTON - A crackdown on illegal immigration will have to go forward without help from Congress, the Bush administration said Friday, asserting that an executive-branch-only approach is better than doing nothing.
 

 
Two Cabinet secretaries _ Homeland Security's Michael Chertoff and Commerce's Carlos Gutierrez _ said they hoped to have new tools to combat illegal immigration before moving further to cope with the problem. But Congress could not agree on comprehensive legislation to attack the problem.
 
The officials said they'll rely instead on tools already in their arsenal, some of which are already under way, including a plan to administratively sanction employers who hire illegal immigrants.
 
At a joint news conference, Chertoff and Gutierrez put the onus on Congress for any consequences that may be suffered by employers as result of the stepped-up enforcement effort.
 
"Our hope is that key elements of the Senate bill will see the light of day someday, but until Congress chooses to act we are going to be taking some energetic steps of our own," Chertoff said. The steps will "significantly strengthen our hand with respect to immigration enforcement."
 
The White House emphasized that its package of enforcement changes was all it could do under "existing law" _ the same law that President Bush has repeatedly called unacceptable.
 
"Although the Congress has not addressed our broken immigration system by passing comprehensive reform legislation, my administration will continue to take every possible step to build upon the progress already made," Bush said as the changes were announced.
 
Presidential spokeswoman Dana Perino said Bush has used his executive authority in the past to improve immigration enforcement, such as by strengthening border enforcement. She was pressed on why _ if the new changes were such a good idea _ Bush hadn't done them already.
 
Perino, talking to reporters at the Kennebunkport, Maine, seaside home of his father, George H.W. Bush, said the president held off on sweeping administrative action while pushing Congress to pass better legislation to address the matter. With that effort now sidelined, she said "We're going as far as we possibly can without Congress acting." enforcement.
 
The administration rolled out a proposed rule that will mandate employers to fire employees unable to clear up problems with their Social Security numbers 90 days after they've been notified of such discrepancies in so-called "no match letters." Employers who fail to comply will face possible criminal fines and sanctions.
 
"This regulation lays out a clear pattern for doing the right thing which will afford protection for employers," Chertoff said. The new rule will be effective in 30 days.
 
Recognizing that the crackdown could hurt some industries, particularly agriculture where more than half of workers are believed to be undocumented, Gutierrez said the Labor Department will try to make existing temporary seasonal agriculture worker and non-agriculture worker programs easier to use and more efficient.
 
In addition, Chertoff said he will try to use the department's regulatory authority to raise fines on employers by about 25 percent. Current fines are so modest that some companies consider them a cost of doing business, the agency said in a summary of the new enforcement effort.
 
The administration also wants to expand the list of international gangs whose members are automatically denied admission to the U.S., reduce processing times for immigrant background checks, and install by the end of the year an exit system so the departure of foreigners from the country can be recorded at airports and seaports.
 
The Homeland Security Department will ask states to voluntarily share their driver's license photos and records with the agency for use in an employment verification system. The sharing is meant to help employers detect fraudulent licenses.
 
Some of the initiatives are similar to proposals contained in the recent immigration measure which failed to pass in the Senate, though they are not nearly as sweeping.
 
Bush suffered a major political defeat when Senate immigration legislation that he had backed and Chertoff and Gutierrez helped draft failed to pass this year.
 
Senate Republican Mitch McConnell offered a different view of Congress' work on immigration, saying the White House and the Capitol heard the call of "countless, well-informed Americans" who wanted improved enforcement of border security and immigration laws.
 
He said the billions of dollars that Congress added for immigration enforcement and the administration's "enhanced commitment" on immigration enforcement will secure borders.
 
But Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said the administration "can talk until they're blue in the face" but "I won't be happy until I see action that's more than just a press conference and words on a piece of paper."
 
The Senate legislation was opposed by many conservatives who complained that people don't trust their government to start new immigration programs since existing immigration laws are not enforced.
 
The Senate bill would have allowed millions of illegal immigrants to obtain legal status and eventually apply for legal residency. It also would have created a guest worker program and stepped up border security.
 
Some lawmakers have kept up efforts to tighten the border. Last month, the Senate added $3 billion to a homeland security bill and devoted the money to U.S.-Mexico border security.
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