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Saturday, July 17, 2004

ABCNEWS.com : Acquitted Saudi Man Remains in Idaho Jail

ABCNEWS.com : Acquitted Saudi Man Remains in Idaho Jail
Acquitted Saudi Man Remains in Idaho Jail
Weeks After Being Acquitted, Saudi Man Still in Idaho Jail As Immigration Wheels Slowly Grind

The Associated Press



BOISE, Idaho July 16, 2004 — Five weeks after his acquittal on terrorism support charges, and more than two weeks after his deportation was supposedly set, a Saudi graduate student remains in county jail.
"That's dismaying," Sami Omar Al-Hussayen's defense attorney, David Nevin, said Friday. "From Sami's standpoint, you're sitting in a little cell without any windows, you get out for a brief period once a day, and you've been acquitted. ... He just wants to go home."





Lori Haley, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Southern California, said the government has run into some delays in arranging the deportation to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, but Al-Hussayen should be out of the United States by the end of July.

When the government announced June 30 it would drop immigration violation charges against Al-Hussayen, 34, if the University of Idaho graduate student dropped his appeal of a deportation order, Nevin said he was told Al-Hussayen would be on a plane back home in two weeks.

Al-Hussayen, who was arrested in February 2003, was months from completing his doctorate in computer science when he was indicted on 11 immigration violation charges that federal prosecutors claimed were linked to terrorism.

The government later filed three charges accusing Al-Hussayen of using his computer skills to set up an Internet network of Web sites to finance and recruit terrorists.

But on June 10, a federal jury acquitted Al-Hussayen of all terrorism support charges and three of the 11 immigration violations. It deadlocked on the others, which prosecutors agreed to drop in return for Al-Hussaeyn's deportation.

Al-Hussayen's wife and three sons returned to Saudi Arabia in late January instead of fighting deportation. He is a member of a prominent Riyadh family and the son of the nation's retired education minister.

Illegal alien advocates meet with Corona Police Chief and demand they not enforce laws

PE.com | Inland Southern California | Local News
CORONA: The department defends its handling of an immigrant. The group urges a policy change.
10:20 PM PDT on Friday, July 16, 2004
By DOUGLAS QUAN / The Press-Enterprise

Corona police officials said Friday that they did nothing wrong when they released an undocumented Honduran immigrant into the custody of Border Patrol authorities earlier this month. The man later died in a Temecula Border Patrol cell in an apparent suicide.

Officials made the comments after a 45-minute meeting with about a dozen Latino immigration activists who were seeking answers in the case of 28-year-old Ecar Paz Moradel. The activists said it's not the job of Corona police - or any police department - to enforce immigration laws and suggested that Moradel might still be alive if he hadn't been turned over to Border Patrol authorities.

"The lines (between law enforcement and immigration) are clear," said Armando Navarro, coordinator of the National Alliance for Human Rights. "We don't want this situation repeated."


David Bauman / The Press-Enterprise
Angela Sanbrano, an official with the Central American Resource Center, speaks with Sgt. Jerry Rodriguez, left, a public information officer with the Corona Police Department, and Capt. Raymond Cota after she and other immigration activists met with the Corona police chief to discuss the police department's policy concerning its relationship with the U.S. Border Patrol.



But Corona police Sgt. Jerry Rodriguez said department policy allows officers to call the Border Patrol if the undocumented immigrant they've detained is suspected of committing a felony. Police officials have said that Moradel was arrested July 1 on suspicion of vandalism and being under the influence of methamphetamine.

Rodriguez said Friday that it is rare for officers to call in immigration authorities. But, in this case, officers thought the call was warranted because Moradel had had multiple run-ins with police in a short period of time.

Police have said they first encountered Moradel on the night of June 30, when officers suspected he was under the influence of methamphetamine and arrested him. Within a few hours of his release the following morning, police were called to a Corona veterinary hospital with a report that a man was trying to break in. Police escorted Moradel from the business.

Later that morning, police were called back to the clinic. They arrested Moradel on suspicion of breaking a window.

While he was being detained at the station, he was given the opportunity to call the Honduran consulate, but he refused that offer, Rodriguez said. The decision was then made by the on-duty watch commander to call Border Patrol officials.

According to the Corona Police Department's policy on arresting or detaining foreign nationals, "If an officer believes that an individual taken into custody for a felony is also an undocumented alien, after he or she is formally booked and there is no intention to transport to the County Jail, the BICE (Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement) may be informed by the arresting officer so that they may consider placing an 'immigration hold' on the individual."

Later that evening, Border Patrol authorities found Moradel dead. Consular officials have said a 90-minute video shows that Moradel apparently hanged himself with a metal chain linked to his handcuffs and a bench.

Navarro and other activists who met with Corona Police Chief Richard Gonzales on Friday said they want the department to reword its policy to make it "crystal clear" that the department is not an arm of immigration.

Meth dealer sentenced to 10 years, then ordered deported - billingsgazette.com

Meth dealer sentenced to 10 years, then ordered deported - billingsgazette.com


July 17, 2004

Last modified July 17, 2004 - 1:59 am



Meth dealer sentenced to 10 years, then ordered deported
By CLAIR JOHNSON
Of The Gazette Staff

A drug dealer who helped bring nearly pure methamphetamine from Utah to the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation for distribution from federal housing will serve 10 years in federal prison.

U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull was unmoved by defense arguments that Jose Arturo Tenorio, an illegal alien from Mexico, was only 20, had a sixth-grade education and no criminal history. Or that, while Tenorio was aware of the drugs, he didn't know the quantity and had a minor role in the alleged conspiracy.

On Friday, Cebull sentenced Tenorio to almost the top of the guideline range and ordered him deported when he completes his sentence. The judge dismissed three other counts.


Cebull this week also sentenced two other Lame Deer co-defendants who were convicted in the multicount conspiracy in which suppliers brought meth and marijuana to the reservation from Utah.

Speaking through an interpreter, Tenorio asked the judge to be fair with him and said he would not return to the United States.

"I think you will return,'' Cebull said.

And, the judge continued, he didn't think Tenorio was fair to the people on the reservation. "You were helping to bring poison in the form of methamphetamine ice'' to the reservation, Cebull said.

He said he was "acutely aware'' of the meth problems on Montana's reservations and that it was people like Tenorio who contribute greatly to the problem.

After a hearing to determine drug quantity, Cebull held Tenorio responsible for 127 grams of meth as well as a quantity of marijuana found in a vehicle during a traffic stop by a Billings police officer in April 2003.

Tenorio and three other co-defendants, also illegal aliens from Mexico, were in the vehicle.

The four admitted they were headed with the drugs to Lame Deer on the Northern Cheyenne reservation.

FBI Special Agent Wolfgang Hochholdinger said tests showed that one package of meth from the vehicle was 88 percent pure and a second package was 95 percent pure. Meth, a highly addictive drug, that is more than 80 percent pure is called ice.

Tenorio pleaded guilty in April to a charge of conspiring to distribute drugs.

The government alleged in a multiple-count indictment that the conspiracy involved distributing 210 grams of meth and more than five pounds of marijuana on the reservation and within 1,000 feet of a federal housing project. The drug trafficking occurred from November 2002 to May 2003. The indictment charged 13 people, and all pleaded guilty to various charges.

Cebull also sentenced two co-defendants on Thursday. He sentenced Amber Littlesun, 25, of Lame Deer, to two years' probation for her guilty pleas on two counts of money laundering. Littlesun admitted using Western Union to send $3,000 in drug money to suppliers in Utah.

Cebull sentenced Jennifer Gleason, 38, of Lame Deer, to 18 months in prison and to six years of supervised release. She pleaded guilty to the conspiracy count and said she bought 2 grams of meth from co-defendant Clifford Russell Jr. of Lame Deer and 1 gram of meth from co-defendant Mildred Eaglefeathers of Lame Deer.

Gleason said she also sold the drug to others.

THE Cyprus Marine Police boats launched with anti-immigrant exercise


THE Cyprus Marine Police have been equipped with two modern coastguard vessels in their effort to combat international crime, Justice and Public Order Minister Doros Theodorou said yesterday at a launching ceremony at Limassol.

During the ceremony at the old port, Theodorou unveiled the names of the two Italian-made launches, Thiseas and Onisilos, in the presence of the Police Chief, deputies, local and Italian officials, who recently took part with their Cypriot colleagues in a control operation in the eastern Mediterranean codenamed ‘Nettuno’.

The capabilities of the two launches were displayed during a display in the old port area, with the participation of the police air wing. It included a simulation of an operation to locate and arrest illegal immigrants on board a vessel that was approaching the Cyprus coast.

“The new vessels complete the range of coastguards that the police maintain. From today, we can safely say that all our operational needs are being met,” the minister said.

He said a well-equipped Cyprus Marine Police “sends the signal that Cyprus is an active member of the common front to combat illegality in the European region”.

Police Chief Tasos Panayiotou said the two new coastguards “make the Cyprus police stronger and ready to offer even better services to the people and our country”.


Town is asked to OK Mexican ID

Town is asked to OK Mexican ID
Gilbert's Human Relations Commission wants the Town Council to start recognizing the controversial matricula consular card for Mexican nationals as legal identification.

The commission will recommend the council accept the cards' use within the town limits when the two government bodies meet Thursday, commission chairwoman Tami Smull said.

The Mexican government issues matricula cards to its citizens living in the United States.

The cards are accepted as valid identification for Mexican nationals by many Valley cities, police departments and banks, but do not entitle bearers to public benefits or allow them to obtain a driver's license.

Smull disputes claims by critics that the cards would give undocumented immigrants living in the United States freedoms they shouldn't be entitled to.

"This isn't about immigration." Smull said. "It's about identifying people."

Gilbert Mayor Steven Berman, an outspoken opponent of the concept, believes the matricula card "validates illegal immigration."

The cards also represent a threat to national security because they are susceptible to counterfeiting and their information can be easily faked, he said.

"We've found Iranians carrying them and 18-year-olds with cards saying they were 21. How can you believe that they're accurate?" Berman said. "It shouldn't be up to the town of Gilbert or other cities to find a way for illegal aliens to circumvent federal law."

Berman said the cards aren't even necessary in Gilbert because customers don't need photo ID for town services, such as water and trash pickup.

In March, the commission voted, 7-2, to recommend the council adopt the card as a valid form of ID.

The vote came despite warnings from several East Valley legislators and Protect Arizona Now, an anti-immigration group, who said the cards would enable undocumented immigrants to commit crimes and threaten U.S. security.

Other Arizona cities and towns accepting the cards include Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale, Chandler and Mesa.

The meeting is at 7 p.m. Thursday at Gilbert Municipal Center.

AlterNet: WireTap: Get on the Bus!

AlterNet: WireTap: Get on the Bus!
The Freedom Rides -- surely we remember reading and learning about them in history class: buses filled with earnest students back in 1961, black and white riding together to draw attention to the brutality and discrimination committed against African Americans.

Unfortunately, racism never ended. There was no final resolution, no cure-all to racism and injustice implemented after the infamous decade of peace and violence was over. If anything, civil rights abuses have become deeply entrenched in American society, and are manifest in different colors (brown), different language ("terrorist"), and different legislation (The Patriot Act).

Having been subtler and sometimes invisible in the last few decades, the civil rights movement is once again becoming vociferous, invoking the passion, courage and outrage that marked the 1960s. Perhaps this is the sleeping lion that awoke after 9/11.

Four decades later, people are back on the buses to continue the struggle for economic and social justice and civil rights for America's most marginalized population -- immigrants. Surprise, America, it's a never-ending tour until we get it right.

This time, it's called the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride (IWFR), and this time, it's nationwide. Kicked-off last Saturday, buses from ten different cities--Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Chicago, Boston, Miami, Las Vegas, Portland and Minneapolis--will travel 20,000 miles of highway, drawing a "new map toward citizenship."

"We chose this because it was bold, risky, and audacious," says David Koff, senior research analyst for the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union (HERE). "We took it from the Freedom Rides in '61 because of how effective they were in demonstrating to the United States that segregation was intolerable and had no legitimization. So it's the inspiration of the demonstration of a similar build-up of dissent around the status quo of institutionalized racism."

It's not just those living in the shadows -- there are 16 million undocumented workers in the United States -- that will be joining the road trip. The IWFR has a strong, broad coalition of organizers and supporters, including HERE, the AFL-CIO, civil rights groups, students, activists, churches and businesses.

Beyond creating visibility for immigrants' rights, the IWFR is hoping to draw attention to five main goals:

1) granting legalization status to working, taxpaying immigrants

2) clearing the path toward citizenship

3) restoring rights on the job

4) reunifying families torn apart by immigration laws

5) respecting and upholding civil rights and liberties for all

Along the route, these "travelling freedom schools" will stop in 100 cities and towns to educate people about the plight of immigrants, before converging on Washington DC for a hearing with members of Congress on October 1 and 2, and then ending in Flushing Meadows Park, Queens, NY, with a mass rally on October 4.

"The most important thing is immigrants telling their stories," says Steve Williamson, executive secretary of the King County Labor Council, AFL-CIO. "That's what this is a vehicle for. We're going to be doing that in big cities, little towns, all across America, with buses, with megaphones, on street corners."

And they've got stories to tell -- stories of heartbreak, of oppression, of violence and of stark and unabashed racism.

"When I started Hate Free Zone after September 11, one of my first clients was a man from Burundi that came in here and said he wanted to go home," says Pramila Jayapal, executive director of Hate Free Zone. "He had literally walked a year and a half across deserts to get away from an incredibly repressive government. And he wanted to go back. He was 66 and he had tears in his eyes, and he said, 'I want to go back.' And I said, 'Back where? To whom and to what? How can you go?' And he said, 'How can I stay?'"

Since 9/11, immigrants have faced heightened degrees of discrimination, harassment, illegal detentions, deportation and selective enforcement polices. The accounts from immigrants have been so grievous and so widespread that even a Justice Department report found the civil rights of hundreds of immigrants arrested after 9/11 were violated.

That's not to mention, however, the civil rights of immigrants violated on a daily basis before the fear campaign that followed 9/11.

"Look at the contributions that immigrant workers make -- the food that we're eating, the schools they're cleaning, all the different ways in which we know that they're undocumented, and take advantage of that as a society," Williamson says. "They pay taxes and don't get services. It's this whole notion of an imbalance between their contributions and what they get back from society. But the most basic thing is our worth as human beings. That's what's being denied immigrants."

It's easy to evoke Gandhi when asked why Americans should care about what is being denied immigrants: An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere.

But to Americans, who have been asked to spy on their neighbors, particularly those with origins anywhere near the "Axis of Evil" countries, this notion doesn't always resonate.

The more appropriate answer, then, is that immigrants' rights, or the lack thereof, affect all of us.

"If people think, if native Americans think, that the attacks on immigrants, particularly with regards to civil rights, are not going to affect them, they're walking around with blindfolds," Williamson says. "All that's going on is the Bush Administration continually and very effectively pushes to see how far they can go to take away and erode rights. There hasn't been enough outcry at every step so they just keep going a step further, and they're going to continue to do that."

As the issues that impact the people at the bottom creep upward, the Freedom Rides look increasingly like a platform for Americans to unite around. Just the sheer number of people involved with the Freedom Rides sends a message to the Bush Administration, as well as the 2004 presidential candidates.

"A lot of votes will be affected by the way an individual candidate stands on the question of immigration," Koff says. "By the time this thing is over, it'll be hard for anyone to pretend this isn't a constituent concern out there."

Beyond the elections, the Freedom Rides are ultimately about breaking down the barriers to a more just society and uniting Americans around the conviction, that no, we don't tolerate injustice anywhere.

"There's a huge possibility for building this progressive majority voice that is about human rights, and a more equitable system for everybody, and it can't be ignored," Jayapal says. "It's the power of numbers."

Read Megan's bus journals!

Friday, July 16, 2004

KGBT 4 - TV Harlingen, TX: NAFTA officials back generic AIDS drugs for poor nations

KGBT 4 - TV Harlingen, TX: NAFTA officials back generic AIDS drugs for poor nations
San Antonio-AP -- U-S and Canadian trade officials today agreed not to use NAFTA to block Canadian drug exports to fight HIV-AIDS or other disease in the developing world.

In May, Canada passed a law allowing the export of generic versions of a number of patented medicines to poor nations.

More than 50 drugs to fight HIV-AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other diseases are on the export list.

U-S trade representative Robert Zoellick and his NAFTA counterparts _ James Peterson from Canada and Mexico's Fernando Canales -- were in San Antonio this week.

They took part in the tenth annual meeting of the Free Trade Commission of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Zoellick and Peterson urged Mexico to also sign onto the generic medicine agreement, which lines up with recent decisions by the World Trade Organization.

PolitInfo.com - Bush Announces New Spending to Combat Human Trafficking - Jul 16, 2004 White House

PolitInfo.com - Bush Announces New Spending to Combat Human Trafficking - Jul 16, 2004 White House
Bush Announces New Spending to Combat Human Trafficking

Jul 16, 2004 White House
President Bush has announced an increase in the budget to fight the trade in human beings. Officials estimate that each year between 600,000 and 800,000 people are forced across international borders against their will.

President Bush said it take a special kind of depravity to exploit the most vulnerable members of society. "Human traffickers rob children of their innocence," he said. "They expose them to the worst of life before they have seen much of life. Traffickers tear families apart. They treat their victims as nothing more than goods and commodities for sale to the highest bidder."

Mr. Bush spoke to a conference of law enforcement officials involved in breaking up the trade in human beings, which is now the third largest source of money for organized crime behind arms and drugs.

Officials say nearly 20,000 people are brought into the United States each year. Eighty percent are females, and 70 percent of those victims are forced into the commercial sex industry.

President Bush said human trafficking brings suffering to the innocent and shame to the country. "The American government has a particular duty, because human trafficking is an affront to the defining promise of our country," he said. "People come to America hoping for a better life. It is a terrible tragedy when anyone comes here only to be forced into a sweatshop, domestic servitude, pornography, or prostitution."

The president announced $ 14 million worth of new spending for local law enforcement agencies and service providers in 25 communities as well as nearly $ 5 million for nine local organizations running shelters for victims of trafficking.

Since 2001, the Bush Administration has provided more than $ 295 million to support anti-trafficking programs in more than 120 countries.

Last year, he launched a $ 50 million program currently funding efforts in Brazil, Cambodia, Indonesia, India, Mexico, Moldova, Sierra Leone, and Tanzania.

PolitInfo.com - Bush Announces New Spending to Combat Human Trafficking - Jul 16, 2004 White House

PolitInfo.com - Bush Announces New Spending to Combat Human Trafficking - Jul 16, 2004 White House

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Bush Announces New Spending to Combat Human Trafficking

Jul 16, 2004 White House
President Bush has announced an increase in the budget to fight the trade in human beings. Officials estimate that each year between 600,000 and 800,000 people are forced across international borders against their will.

President Bush said it take a special kind of depravity to exploit the most vulnerable members of society. "Human traffickers rob children of their innocence," he said. "They expose them to the worst of life before they have seen much of life. Traffickers tear families apart. They treat their victims as nothing more than goods and commodities for sale to the highest bidder."

Mr. Bush spoke to a conference of law enforcement officials involved in breaking up the trade in human beings, which is now the third largest source of money for organized crime behind arms and drugs.

Officials say nearly 20,000 people are brought into the United States each year. Eighty percent are females, and 70 percent of those victims are forced into the commercial sex industry.

President Bush said human trafficking brings suffering to the innocent and shame to the country. "The American government has a particular duty, because human trafficking is an affront to the defining promise of our country," he said. "People come to America hoping for a better life. It is a terrible tragedy when anyone comes here only to be forced into a sweatshop, domestic servitude, pornography, or prostitution."

The president announced $ 14 million worth of new spending for local law enforcement agencies and service providers in 25 communities as well as nearly $ 5 million for nine local organizations running shelters for victims of trafficking.

Since 2001, the Bush Administration has provided more than $ 295 million to support anti-trafficking programs in more than 120 countries.

Last year, he launched a $ 50 million program currently funding efforts in Brazil, Cambodia, Indonesia, India, Mexico, Moldova, Sierra Leone, and Tanzania.

AP Wire | 07/16/2004 | Visa broker pleads guilty in immigration bribery scheme

AP Wire | 07/16/2004 | Visa broker pleads guilty in immigration bribery scheme
Posted on Fri, Jul. 16, 2004





Visa broker pleads guilty in immigration bribery scheme

Associated Press


SACRAMENTO - A visa broker pleaded guilty Friday in federal court to bribery and visa fraud in a scheme that involved paying kickbacks to a married couple who worked at the U.S. Embassy in Sri Lanka, prosecutors said.

Kim Chi Lam, 53, of Gardena pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to conspiring to defraud the United States, bribing State Department officials and committing visa fraud. Lam faces up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 when she is sentenced Oct. 15.

Prosecutors said Lam admitted that she was paid by foreign nationals from 2000 to 2003 to refer them to the embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where Long N. Lee and her husband, Acey Johnson, worked for the State Department. Most of the foreign nationals were from Vietnam and India.

Lee, 52, a State Department foreign service officer, and Johnson, 33, a consular associate, pleaded guilty to charges that they sold American visas for hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes. They are scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 27.

Lam and her daughter, Phuong-Hien Lam Trinh, said they gave money to Lee and Johnson for the visas.

Trinh, 35, of Gardena, pleaded guilty July 7 to a misdemeanor charge of supplementing the salary of a government official.

Lam is the 10th defendant to plead guilty in the case that stemmed from investigations in Sri Lanka, California and Virginia. One other defendant remains on the lam.

Lee previously worked at embassies in Fiji, Vietnam and Cape Verde. Johnson also worked in Fiji.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Arizona Daily Sun Stream of immigrants likely to shift to Texas

Arizona Daily Sun
Stream of immigrants likely to shift to Texas

By JACQUES BILLEAUD
Associated Press Writer
07/13/2004
PHOENIX -- A young woman is forced to leave her 7-month-old daughter behind as collateral while she tries to come up with money to pay migrant smugglers holding the baby's grandmother.
A Mexican man watches helplessly as relatives and friends succumb to triple-digit heat after being led into an isolated stretch of desert by smugglers; 14 migrants die.

Dozens of illegal immigrants are jammed into homes where they are often assaulted and extorted by the people they paid to bring them here.

These examples of violence and misery highlight the consequences of the illegal immigrant trade that drives so much crime in Arizona, the busiest illegal crossing point along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Now that the federal government has launched a massive immigration crackdown in the state, smugglers are expected to find other spots along the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border to focus their efforts, adding to those areas' immigration problems as a result.

"If you squeeze a balloon in the middle, it will expand in some other place," said Dennis Smith, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Del Rio, Texas.

The heavy flow of illegal immigrants that has dogged Arizona in recent years has already shifted somewhat to New Mexico and is expected to move to Texas, targeting a central corridor along the Rio Grande, experts and some local officials said.

It's not clear whether the clampdown will push more illegal crossings into California.

Experts said the crackdown may deter some would-be crossers, but illegal workers will continue to come here as long as they can make more in an hour in the United States than they could in a whole day at home.

Smugglers who earn $1,500 to $5,000 for each customer will also continue to find remote and dangerous migration routes where enforcement is weaker, a tactic that contributes to hundreds of deaths each year, experts said.

This isn't the first time migration patterns have shifted. Immigrants funneled into Arizona when the government tightened enforcement in El Paso, Texas, and San Diego during the mid-1990s, leading to a mass of problems for Phoenix and the state.

A new shift has already begun into southwestern New Mexico. Police in the Lordsburg area, where immigrant apprehensions have doubled over the last year, attribute the influx largely to stronger enforcement in Arizona.

"We have always had (illegal immigration), but they know that Arizona is closed, so they are coming here," said Lordsburg police Chief John McDonald.

The Arizona crackdown also will likely push more illegal crossings into the stretch of Texas border between Del Rio and Laredo, said Texas Democratic Congressman Silvestre Reyes, a former Border Patrol chief credited with dramatically reducing illegal crossings in the El Paso metro area in the 1990s.

The likelihood of a shift into California is less clear.

Border Patrol officials said it's premature to say whether the Arizona crackdown is fueling a rise in immigrant apprehensions in San Diego and at other points in the Southwest.


The increases began late last year and are probably caused by economics and other factors, they said.

The Arizona buildup isn't affecting immigrant traffic in southeastern California, where arrests are down, said David Kim, spokesman for the Border Patrol's El Centro office.

But Christian Ramirez, who oversees immigrant programs for the American Friends Service Committee in San Diego, said the crackdown caused some immigrants who crossed into far southwestern Arizona to later sneak into California as they head north.

Mario Villarreal, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Washington, D.C., said the Southwest will experience a shift, but he wouldn't pinpoint future hot spots.

The shift's full extent and effects on border communities and nearby interior cities aren't yet clear. Villarreal said the government has the flexibility to move resources to where they are needed.

More federal agents and monitoring equipment were brought to Arizona in response to problems the state has faced since becoming the favored crossing point for illegal immigrants in recent years.

More than 40 percent of the 340 migrant deaths along the Southwest border last year were in Arizona. Ranchers complain that immigrants damage their fences and litter land with water bottles and other debris.

Police said kidnappings and killings tied to smuggling rose last year in Phoenix, a hub for transporting illegal immigrants to different spots across the country.

The high profits and low overhead of the illicit business were so attractive that smugglers started kidnapping rival smugglers' customers so their families in Mexico, Central America or elsewhere could be extorted.

Last year's most violent turf dispute, a shooting involving two moving vehicles on Interstate 10 south of Phoenix, left four people dead and several more wounded.

The perils sometimes extended to people who had no ties to smuggling. A small number of families were victims of unsuccessful roadway abduction attempts because, police said, they were Hispanics driving in the types of vehicles favored by smugglers, such as vans.

As smuggling violence soared, the federal government launched a crackdown on smugglers late last year similar to ones used against organized crime. Officials said it lowered crime rates in Phoenix and forced smugglers to move parts of their operations to other cities, such as Los Angeles.

Still, people continued crossing illegally into Arizona, so the border offensive that's bringing in more manpower and technology was launched in March.

It will likely cause migrant deaths to decline in Arizona and rise elsewhere if the crackdown remains strong, said Nestor Rodriguez, co-director of the University of Houston's Center for Immigration Research.

It's not known if the total number will drop across the Southwest, said Rodriguez, whose center has studied border deaths since the mid-1990s. An average of 340 immigrants died in each of the last four years, according to government figures.

The types of deaths could shift. More people could drown in rivers and suffer heat exposure while crossing dense brush in south Texas, Rodriguez said.

"It's a very unfriendly area for people who don't know the terrain," said Rodriguez. He wasn't sure how the shift will affect deaths in New Mexico and California.

Advocates on both ends of the debate said tighter security alone won't solve the country's immigration problems.

The economy needs to improve in Mexico, where the minimum wage is about $4 a day. Even though there's no strong political will for it now, the United States also must change in its policies, they said.

Advocates for limiting immigration said the government must remove incentives for illicit crossings by going after businesses that hire illegal immigrants.

Immigrant supporters said the United States should make it legal for would-be crossers to work here temporarily and let their families visit.

"The pull of those who work here and live here is strong, and it will trump whatever we do otherwise," said Angela Kelley, deputy director of the pro-immigrant National Immigration Forum. "It's just basic human nature to build a better life and to be with the people you love."

TNS: U.S. plans tougher citizenship tests to slow immigration

TNS: U.S. plans tougher citizenship tests to slow immigration
U.S. plans tougher citizenship tests to slow immigration
by Amanda Luker (bio)

Jul 14 - According to naturalization officials, the US government is planning increasingly rigorous testing for immigrants to the United States starting in 2006, reports Reuters. Gerri Ratliff, director for the naturalization redesign project at US Citizen and Immigration Services, said her office, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security, is planning a pilot program in several cities next year. She said the new requirements are an effort to make the citizenship test more uniform from place to place.

Since 1950, immigrants have had to demonstrate a minimum of English language proficiency as well as knowledge of American history and government. The new standards, however, would include having applicants give simple directions, participate in a conversation, respond to warnings, express needs and preferences, read and comprehend simple material, describe things in writing and fill out common forms or applications in English.

Some, however, want testing to include specifically patriotic information. John Fonte of the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank, said at the same news briefing, "It should foster patriotism. The P word should be right up front with no blinking."

Advocacy groups for immigrants have yet to comment in the press about the new proposal, but in the past they have expressed concern that teaching democratic principles to people who come from disparate backgrounds could prove daunting.

Responding to an earlier announcement of changes to the test in the Miami Herald in January, Elizabeth Fitzgerald, who coordinates the citizenship classes held at Hialeah Senior High in Miami, said, "Most of our students are blue collar, with a similar level of education and 98 percent Hispanic. We really have our work cut out for us. As always, the burden falls on schools.''

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Hate groups show surge in activity, membership | The San Diego Union-Tribune

Hate groups show surge in activity, membership | The San Diego Union-Tribune
By Chuck McCutcheon
NEWHOUSE NEWS SERVICE

July 13, 2004

Skinheads, neo-Nazis, white separatists and other extremist right-wing groups are stepping up grass-roots organizing from the rural West to suburban New Jersey, say experts who track such groups.

Radical right-wing activity slowed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, as internal disagreements erupted over the merits of the attacks and leaders of several organizations died or went to jail, several authorities said. But the groups are becoming more active – distributing leaflets in neighborhoods, holding public rallies, starting Web sites and reaching out to like-minded activists overseas.

"We have to understand that these groups are not passe and are starting to re-emerge," David Carter, a criminal justice professor at Michigan State University, told law enforcement officials at a recent Justice Department conference in Washington.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama civil rights watchdog that monitors the groups, counted 751 active U.S. chapters in 2003, up from 708 the year before. The number of hate-related Web sites rose from 443 in 2002 to 497 last year, the center said in a report.

Don Black, a former Alabama Ku Klux Klan leader, said white separatists are seeing more Internet activity turn into "real-world activism."

"The criticism we've always heard is that people don't do anything but sit behind their computer and post on message boards," said Black, who runs a string of Web sites called Stormfront out of his West Palm Beach, Fla., home. "We're actually turning people out to meetings and getting people involved in activism."

The Southern Poverty Law Center said the Klan has built up membership in Florida, North Carolina and Georgia, and that racist skinheads have been active in New Jersey, where one-third of the nation's 39 active skinhead chapters are located. It also said the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations, based in northern Idaho, showed a "surprising resurgence," doubling from 11 to 22 chapters in 2003.

Michigan State's Carter, who works with Justice and the FBI to train local police on extremist groups on both the far right and far left, said he also has seen interest rising among far-right activists in Washington state, Tennessee and Mississippi.

The groups are motivated by long-held grievances, including racial and ethnic diversification and Israel's influence on U.S. policy. Some are angry at President Bush for sending troops overseas.

"They see Bush as a traitor for sending working-class Americans to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq," said Chip Berlet, senior policy analyst for Political Research Associates, a Somerville, Mass., organization that studies authoritarian movements.

The activity has come despite the loss of several of the movements' most visible figures:

William Pierce, leader of the National Alliance, a West Virginia-based neo-Nazi group, died in 2002.

Matthew Hale of Illinois, head of the racist and anti-Semitic Creativity Movement, was convicted in May of plotting to kill a federal judge and faces up to 50 years in prison.

Former Klan leader David Duke, who drew national attention in his unsuccessful bid for Louisiana governor in 1991, was released in May after a year in prison for tax and mail fraud. Experts are interested in seeing how active Duke becomes.

"He's the only guy out there with the same stature as William Pierce," said Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

For now, one figure trying to take a prominent role is Billy Roper of Arkansas, a former National Alliance official who in September 2002 founded the separatist group White Revolution. Roper said he wants to build a broad coalition among fractious Klan, skinhead and other groups.

"The most difficult thing of all, more so than the bad blood between organizations, is getting people to focus on the big picture," Roper said in a telephone interview. "It doesn't matter to me whether White Revolution still exists 100 years from now; it matters to me that the white race exists 100 years from now. There are some people who are more concerned about what kind of uniform they're going to wear."

Roper's group – which he said has "about 100 hard-core activist members" and 10,000 supporters – is using the Internet to spread its message. Its site contains videos, downloadable fliers, "racialist fiction" and reports of events.

Roper said he plans to speak at upcoming Klan rallies and other public events in Kentucky, Alabama and Michigan. He is also talking with separatist groups in Europe in advance of next month's Olympic Games, which he opposes because it brings together athletes of different races.

Some communities are seeking to counter such efforts.

After finding recruiting fliers from White Revolution on his lawn in May, Lester Gesteland of Metuchen, N.J., posted notices in bookstores and cafes asking people to report such activities to police. He hasn't seen any White Revolution fliers since.

"I was very upset when I saw those – it was such a shock to me," said Gesteland, 38, who is white and married to a Japanese woman. "Maybe our street was targeted because we have more and more non-whites moving in. There's a mixed couple, a black family, Jewish people, Chinese, Japanese. Which is why we moved here, because we loved it."

'HOW TO REPORT ILLEGAL ALIENS

The following editorial, 'HOW TO REPORT ILLEGAL ALIENS
WORKING ILLEGALLY' published in Michnews.com
by Frosty Wooldridge will allow
average citizens to report employers and aliens easily,
quickly and anonymously. You will find this commentary
a new sledge hammer in your arsenal.

http://michnews.com/artman/publish/article_4324.shtml

===================================================
HOW TO REPORT ILLEGAL ALIENS WORKING ILLEGALLY
By Frosty Wooldridge


Victor Borgas, Harvard professor stated, "Americans lose $133 billion in
wages annually to illegal aliens taking U.S. citizens' jobs."


In America, an estimated 13 million illegal aliens now work and reside in
our country. Illegal in this sense means, "They broke over our borders
contrary to established laws of entry." They are criminals. They may be
deported at any time when caught.


They formerly worked in menial jobs like farm labor, hotels cleaning
rooms and janitors. They worked under the table. No more! They've
branched out into jobs formerly worked by Americans including paving,
construction, retail, fast food, landscape, factories and hotel work.
They've destroyed summer jobs for high school and college students.


In a recent Denver Post article, "Jobs Become Scarce For Teens," June 28,
2004, Tiffany Winston, a high school student visited 50 locations for
employment. No luck! "I'm tired of rejection," she said. She's one of
millions of kid who can't find a job. Why? Illegal aliens work in every
sector of our economy. They work the jobs that "Americans won't do." They
serve you those 'smiling meals' or whatever the latest jingle rings in
our ears.


Unfortunately, illegal aliens work many jobs that Americans will work.
What is happening stems from employers illegally hiring at substandard
wages. A few employers make huge amounts of money at the expense of
American taxpayers. With 2.3 million legal and illegal immigrants
marching into our country annually, employers can depress wages at will.
That's why the Third World pays $3.00 a day for labor because there is no
end to the employment line.


If you extrapolate a bit of this 2.3 million people entering our country
annually, you may be able to see what's headed our way as to depression
of our wages. As I wrote in a previous editorial, a Mr. Singh of Madrass,
India said, "You Americans live an artificially high standard of
living.it's about time you dropped your standard of living to the poverty
levels of the rest of the world." Yeah, right! Go fly a kite on a
windless day!


Will you watch your wages drop to the Third World or will you take
action?


When Dave Caulkett became upset with the prevalent use of the politically
correct term 'undocumented worker' he launched www.IllegalAliens.us to
highlight the term as 'politically correct nonsense.' As site traffic
increased, requests to report illegal aliens and their employers to
federal agencies were submitted, mainly due to the cumbersome reporting
procedures in place. As a result of this demand, www.ReportIllegals.com
launched in fall of 2003 with growing interest and traffic.


"The typical prediction is that most of the clients should be right-wing
immigrant bashers, but such is not the case," Caulkett said. "However,
over 50 percent of the clients are immigrants (who by definition are
legal) of Hispanic ancestry reporting illegal aliens and their employers.
Although initially perplexing it really makes sense because most polls
show that immigrants are not far behind Republicans and Democrats in
their desire for immigration reduction and enforcement. The real
disconnect on the immigration issue is between elites (politicians and
media) and individuals. Just like Caesar Chavez, the agricultural union
organizer, immigrants realize that a new wave of cheap foreign labor will
undercut their wages. Immigrant clients are incensed that they spent the
money and effort to become legal but illegal aliens are not expected by
elites to obey the law."


"Anonymity is very important to the site," Caulkett said. "Without
anonymity most people would not report due to the fear of retaliation. I
have not observed any contrived data. In fact, reports are quite detailed
including false social security numbers and visa numbers."


The site receives numerous complaints about baby-sitters and landscape
workers, but most of the complaints are reporting the presence of illegal
aliens who are allegedly involved in additional criminal activity.
Complaints involve social security card theft, fraudulent marriage for
the purpose of achieving legal status, income tax avoidance, drug
trafficking, prostitution, human smuggling, counterfeiting, sexual
misconduct including statutory rape, wage cheating, and serious
exploitation including confinement. A number of clients are abandoned
overseas spouses reporting bigamy. 'Green Card Heartaches' are the sad
situations when a relationship is terminated when the illegal alien
obtains a green card.


"A striking observation from the complaints is the preponderance of
fraudulent documentation," Caulkett said. "A citizen can only be amazed
at the double standard that our government has promulgated. For example,
citizens are incessantly tax audited and cited by zoning departments for
minor violations. Yet upwards of 13 million foreigners are running around
the country with fraudulent documents committing crimes and the
government inadequately enforces the immigration law. It is an outrage
that citizens are enforced to obey the law but illegal aliens are not."


Therefore, take action. Griping, complaining, crying, shuffling your
feet, making excuses or getting depressed won't help you or fellow
Americans. Your actions are the only thing that counts!


You now have two sites where you can report illegal alien employment. You
can send this article to dozens of friends. The key is, you are using
Yankee Ingenuity. It's what birthed this nation; it's what will save this
nation from this invasion. Go to www.ReportIllegals.com and
www.IllegalAliens.us.


1. The site www.IllegalAliens.us could be described as "This site,
besides mocking the term undocumented worker, is an illegal immigration
primer whose goal is to provide information on illegal immigration
prevention, enforcement, and attrition."


2. The site www.ReportIllegals.com allows you to anonymously report
illegal aliens working for an employer as well as the employer to federal
authorities.


Report Illegals will show you how easily you can report illegal alien
workers and their employers. It forces the Bureau of Immigration and
Customs Enforcement to take action. Tom Ridge might actually have to do
his job for once. What a concept! Since there are 13 million illegal
aliens in our country and millions of them illegally working our jobs,
you will join a formidable army of American citizens.


Calling an illegal alien an 'undocumented worker' is like calling a home
burglar an 'uninvited house guest.' Bank robbers are not making
'unauthorized withdrawals.' A car-jacker is not an 'under-rated driver.'
Teddy Kennedy is not 'an overloaded eating machine.' He's fat! Illegal
means illegal. Start reporting all 13 million of them.


One by one, we WILL take back our country. In the meantime, we might term
our Congress 'unauthorized perpetrators of baloney sandwiches on rye.'
###


Frosty Wooldridge is a teacher and author who has bicycled 100,000 miles
on six continents to see overpopulation up close and ugly. Latest book,
"IMMIGRATION'S UNARMED INVASION: DEADLY CONSEQUENCES," due out in late
July. www.frostywooldridge.com Also, go to www.numbersusa.com and
www.securedbordersusa.com and www.theamericanresistance.com

Israel News : Uzbekistan, singled out by Immigration Police last month for hindering the deportation of prostitutes, lashed out at Israeli authorities

Israel News : Jerusalem Post Internet Edition
The embassy of Uzbekistan, singled out by Immigration Police last month for hindering the deportation of prostitutes, lashed out at Israeli authorities and blamed them for the delays in repatriating Uzbek victims of women trafficking.

Immigration Police can take over a week to report the arrest of women to the embassy and then wait to hand over embassy-issued traveling papers, keeping many women needlessly in jail for four to six weeks instead of the week or two it should take to identify the women and process their papers, according to Sirojiddin Yahshilikov, head of the embassy's consular section.

"Usually they give us the papers late," he said, explaining that his office cannot begin issuing proper traveling papers for the women – who usually arrive in Israel on fake passports – until it has all the details from police in order to verify their citizenship.

He pointed to two women currently being held by Israel who were arrested on July 6, but whose records were only passed onto the embassy on Monday. In another recent case, a women was issued a traveling certificate on June 4, but deported only on June 24.

"Why was she waiting three weeks for deportment with the paper that allows her to travel back to Uzbekistan?" Yahshilikov asked.

The police defended their record. "We transfer the documents as soon as we can," said Immigration Police spokeswoman Supt. Orit Friedman, who explained that there can be delays in returning women to Uzbekistan due to the flight schedule.

"If there is only one flight a week, sometimes they have to wait a week," she said.

But Rita Chakin, who coordinates the anti-trafficking project at Isha L'Isha, the Haifa Feminist Center, agreed that the police drag their feet.

"We have problems with the immigration police because of their bureaucracy," she said. "Instead of a couple of days, it can take a week."

Isha L'Isha is just one of several NGOs, government officials, and police representatives to have participated in seminars that the embassy now holds once every six weeks in order to discuss and better manage the process.

Chakin praised the unique seminars and recommended that other embassies follow Uzbekistan's example.

The embassy also recently met individually with the immigration police and received a positive response, according to Yahshilikov.

Yahshilikov said the proactive stance is a reflection of his government's increased attention women trafficking after the US State Department's report on the issue gave the country low marks. Additionally, a new program in Uzbekistan sends envoys to high schools to deter girls from running away in the first place.

In January, the Uzbek government established a special unit for identifying women arrested abroad and issuing travel documents, cutting down the wait from one or even two months, to closer to a week.

"There's been a very big improvement at the embassy in processing documents," Friedman noted. "The relationship between the embassy and immigration administration is now good."

Progress on immigration reform at hand - Opinion - thecalifornian.com

Progress on immigration reform at hand - Opinion - thecalifornian.com
Finally, an immigration sweep worth supporting. That is, the sweeping endorsement -- with a few key exceptions -- of "The AgJOBS Act" now before the U.S. Senate.

The bill, which we endorsed last fall, also has the support of several major daily newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal. It has the votes to pass in the Senate. It just needs to be brought to a vote. The bill has broad bipartisan support, minus a few Republicans. A few diehards are slowing the bill's progress on philosophical rather than practical grounds. This is the time for those who say they support immigration reform to walk their talk.

In the Salinas Valley, the bill appeals to both farmers and farm workers because of its promise to fix what is broken with at least a portion of our national immigration policy -- the guest worker program. The AgJOBS Act is important to Salinas employers, workers and the local economy. It would create a system for foreign workers to legally work in agriculture during the peak season and then return home. It represents an opportunity to legalize a pool of workers who've been loyal to employers for several years, but illegal in status. Many in this valley would qualify. Their illegal status leaves them uncovered by minimum-wage laws and other labor protections and prone to exploitation by labor contractors, slumlords and criminals.

Of course, legalization for the illegal is the most controversial part of the bill. It would allow a half million undocumented workers to apply for temporary legal status. After meeting certain work requirements, they would become eligible to apply for permanent residency.

We like the fact that both the agriculture industry and farm labor unions are backing the bill. Let the experts, not the xenophobes, lead the way on this breakthrough in immigration reform. We need a better guest-worker program, one that treats fairly those whom we have deemed essential to our economy. Here's a chance to move immigration reform forward.

KZTV10 - News - Border Patrol Stops Tons of Drugs

KZTV10 - News - Headlines

Border Patrol Stops Tons of Drugs
Area Border Patrol agents had a busy weekend, seizing more than five tons of drugs worth $7.5 million.

The first two of three seizures took place at the Sarita checkpoint. A tanker carrying tar was found to have more than a ton of marijuana hidden inside.


Also at Sarita, a ton of pot was found in tractor trailer hauling a load of lime oil.


And in Falfurrias agents seized two and a half tons of pot hidden in a load of pottery.

allAfrica.com: Nigeria: Nwizu Family Petitions Obasanjo - Wants Death of Immigration CG Probed

allAfrica.com: Nigeria: Nwizu Family Petitions Obasanjo - Wants Death of Immigration CG Probed

Nwizu Family Petitions Obasanjo - Wants Death of Immigration CG Probed

Daily Champion (Lagos)
NEWS
July 13, 2004
Posted to the web July 13, 2004

By Adiodun Adelaja
Abuja

AS the nation continues to mourn the former Comptroller General (CG) of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), the late Lady Uzoamaka Nwizu, the Federal Government has been called upon to institute a judicial enquiry to unravel the circumstances that led to her death.

Kinsmen of her widower, under the aegis of Nnewi Community Meeting, Abuja, in a petition written to President Olusegun Obasanjo on the death of Nwizu, attributed her demise to "unending threat" that trailed her appointment as CG since 2000.

"The judicial inquiry, we suggest should amongst others, unmask the persons behind the unending threat to the life of Lady Nwizu and other evil deeds.

"We are of strong belief that these threats eventually led to the death of Lady Nwizu," the group stated in its letter signed by its chairman Mr.Nnamdi Asomugha

The group charged that a former governor had openly confronted the now late Lady Nwizu with a charge that she was usurping the position due to his state at the time

In its submission, that posturing had emboldened the late lady's antagonists to persist in their evil machinations against her.

Said they: "From then on, she knew no peace. The deceased Comptroller General became a target of abuse, intimidation and even outright threat of elimination. Her office was not spared.

"It was a well-known public fact that Lady Nwizu, an otherwise healthy and energetic woman, developed strange sickness each time she stepped into her office.

"She relocated the position of her office, assiduously worked hard to placate her critics, took her job seriously and initiated and implemented strategic reforms, which transformed the NIS to the acknowledgment of all Nigerians."

"The judicial inquiry, we suggest should amongst others, unmask the persons behind the unending threat to the life of Lady Nwizu and their evil deeds.

"We are of strong belief that these threats eventually led to the death of Lady Nwizu," the group stated.

News of Lady Nwizu's death was broken last week. She died in a hospital in the United States (U.S.).

Barely days after news of her demise was made public, some Immigration top brass began scrambling for her seat even as they were then yet to fashion a burial programme for the first female to head the service.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Proposition 200: Cutting Through the Rhetoric and Getting to the Facts About the Protect Arizona Now Initiative

Proposition 200: Cutting Through the Rhetoric and Getting to the Facts About the Protect Arizona Now Initiative

Proposition 200: Cutting Through the Rhetoric and Getting to the Facts About the Protect Arizona Now Initiative
Monday July 12, 4:23 pm ET

WASHINGTON, July 12 /PRNewswire/ -- With more than 190,000 signatures, it seems likely that the Protect Arizona Now initiative, Proposition 200, will appear on the November ballot in Arizona. Since the petitions were turned into the Arizona Secretary of State on July 1, opponents of the ballot measure have launched a campaign of disinformation, aimed at distorting the language and objectives of Proposition 200, and impugning the motives of the people behind the initiative.
Large-scale illegal immigration is an important issue in Arizona and much of the rest of the nation, and it is crucial that the facts about Proposition 200 be reported accurately to the voters. What Proposition 200 says and does not say, what it would do and would not do, must be presented accurately so that voters can make an informed choice when they go to the polls on November 2.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the leading immigration policy organization in country, has prepared an analysis of what is contained in Proposition 200, and answers to key questions about the initiative and those who are behind it.

"We fully expect that opponents of the initiative will attempt to distort and mislead Arizona voters about Proposition 200," said Dan Stein, executive director of FAIR. "Therefore, it is important for the media and the public to have access to the facts about an initiative that has local and national implications."

FAIR staff attorney, Michael Hethmon, is available to discuss and provide additional information about Proposition 200. He can be reached at (202) 328-7004 or at attorney@fairus.org.

PROPOSITION 200: WHAT IT REALLY SAYS

The Proposition 200 (Protect Arizona Now) voter initiative was conceived and directed by Arizona residents. The diverse sponsors include local officials, civic leaders, businessmen, and conservationists. FAIR and other immigration reform organizations supported signature-gathering efforts to help put Proposition 200 on the 2004 ballot.
Arizona's illegal alien population is now estimated to be about 500,000. The annual cost of providing public benefits to illegal aliens living in Arizona now exceeds $1 billion, or $700 a year per household. Section 2 of the initiative states that illegal immigration is causing economic hardship, contradicts federal policy, undermines border security, and demeans the value of citizenship.
Proposition 200 Sections 3 and 4 require new voters to document their U.S. citizenship when they register to vote. Section 5 requires voters to present a photo ID at the polling place. These measures will protect the integrity of the voter rolls against corruption and fraud. Section 6.A.3 prohibits public agencies from accepting insecure identification cards to show eligibility for public benefits, unless the issuing agency has verified the immigration status of the cardholder.
Section 6.A.4 requires state and local government employees who discover a violation of federal immigration law to make a written report to federal immigration authorities.
Proposition 200 will not change the types of benefits that are denied to illegal aliens. Federal law already defines the types of state or local benefits for which lawful immigration status is required. These include grants, contracts, loans and licenses and any retirement, welfare, health, disability, public or assisted housing, postsecondary education, food assistance, unemployment benefit, or similar benefit for which assistance is provided by appropriated funds of a State or local government.
The procedures for verification of eligibility that will be required under Proposition 200 comply with federal regulations known as the SAVE (Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlement) system. Arizona has used the SAVE system to verify eligibility for federally-funded benefit programs since 1999.
Illegal aliens cannot be denied access to benefits that are exempted from verification by federal law. These programs include K-12 education, emergency health care, immunization programs, in-kind disaster relief, emergency food assistance, federal school lunch programs, and public services that are necessary to protect life or safety.
Eligibility for state benefits and services will be determined solely by verification of an applicant's identity or immigration and nationality documents. Proposition 200 Section 6.C creates additional protections against discrimination not found in other federal or state law. Advocates for illegal aliens gain a new right to sue any government agency that discriminates in the verification process in state court.
SOME BASIC QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT PROPOSITION 200

Q1. Who is behind Proposition 200 (the Protect Arizona Now initiative)?


A1. Proposition 200 is a ballot initiative conceived and directed by residents of Arizona in 2003. The diverse sponsors include Arizona elected officials, grassroots civic leaders, concerned businessmen, and environmental activists. Because the issue is of national significance, FAIR and other immigration reform organizations independently supported signature-gathering efforts to ensure that the initiative appears on the 2004 ballot. Opponents of Proposition 200 similarly receive support from groups and individuals who advocate on behalf of illegal immigrants.

Q2. Why is Proposition 200 necessary?

A2. No one can deny that Arizona is experiencing a mass influx of illegal aliens seeking to unlawfully settle in Arizona. The net costs of providing benefits and services to the estimated 500,000 illegal aliens living in Arizona now exceeds $1 billion annually, or an average of $700 a year per household. Moreover, the numbers of illegal aliens and the cost of providing benefits and services are increasing rapidly.

Government agencies in Arizona currently have no uniform laws controlling when or how to verify the identity of an applicant for benefits, or whether that person is an ineligible illegal alien. Section 6.A.3 prohibits Arizona government agencies from accepting insecure identification cards for verification of public benefits eligibility. To protect the public against fraud and corruption in public services, the issuing agency must have verified the immigration status of the cardholder.

Q3. Why is it necessary to create new voter registration laws and require presentation of identification at polling places?

A3. The Arizona voter registration and election system was not designed to screen out non-citizens seeking to unlawfully register or vote. With hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens in Arizona, even a small incidence of alien voting corrupts the democratic process. Sections 3 and 4 of the initiative require new voters to document their U.S. citizenship when they register to vote. Section 5 requires voters to present a photo ID at the polling place on Election Day. These are simple but fair measures to protect the integrity of the voter rolls and the ballot box.

Q4. Isn't illegal immigration a federal matter?

A4. Immigration is a federal matter and should be enforced by the federal government. Under federal law, illegal aliens are prohibited from receiving many state and local public benefits. It is the responsibility of state and local governments to ensure that these laws are complied with.

Congress has given states the authority to enact uniform verification procedures under state law. Proposition 200 sets verification procedures for state and local public benefits that are consistent with the procedures that Arizona already follows for federally-funded benefits. Section 6.A.4 of the initiative requires state and local government employees who discover a violation of federal immigration law to make a written report to federal immigration authorities. The right of civil servants to report violations is already protected by federal law.

Proposition 200 does not regulate legal immigration or restrict the rights of lawful immigrants and foreign visitors in any way.

Q5. When voters in California tried to limit benefits for illegal aliens in 1994, a federal judge struck down Proposition 187. Why is Arizona Proposition 200 any different?

A5. California's Proposition 187 was never really tested in the courts. After a single federal district judge blocked Proposition 187, state officials did not vigorously defend the decision of the electorate. Ultimately, former California Governor Gray Davis refused to appeal that ruling, ignoring his duty to the 59 percent of the electorate that voted in favor of the measure.

Proposition 200 has been carefully worded to conform to existing federal laws and policies. Proposition 200 applies provisions of immigration and welfare reform legislation enacted by Congress and signed by President Clinton in 1996, and respects the different but complementary duties and powers of our state and federal governments.

Q6. What benefits or services will Proposition 200 deny to illegal aliens?

A6. Proposition 200 will not change the number or kinds of benefits that are already denied to illegal aliens. Section 6.A of the initiative requires Arizona government agencies to "verify the identity" and "verify that each applicant is eligible" for "state and local benefits that are not federally mandated," and to provide all state and local government employees with "information to verify the immigration status of any applicant for those benefits and assist the employee in obtaining that information from federal immigration authorities." The procedures for verification of eligibility must comply with federal regulations, commonly known as the SAVE (Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlement) system. See 8 U.S.C. 1642(a)(3). Arizona has used the SAVE system to verify eligibility for federally-funded benefit programs since 1999.

Q7. Proposition 200 will help identify illegal aliens who are unlawfully receiving public benefits. Exactly what benefits and services are currently denied to illegal aliens?

A7. Federal law already defines the types of state or local benefits for which verification of lawful immigration status is required: "(A) any grant, contract, loan, professional license, or commercial license provided by an agency of a State or local government or by appropriated funds of a State or local government; and (B) any retirement, welfare, health, disability, public or assisted housing, postsecondary education, food assistance, unemployment benefit, or any other similar benefit for which payments or assistance are provided to an individual, household, or family eligibility unit by an agency of a State or local government or by appropriated funds of a State or local government." See 8 U.S.C. 1621(c).

In order to comply with federal law, Proposition 200 requires that an applicant for such benefits provide documents showing that he or she is a bona fide U.S. citizen or legally admitted alien.

Q8. Will illegal aliens receive any public benefits if the voters approve Proposition 200?

A8. By federal law, illegal aliens in Arizona cannot be denied access to benefits and programs that are specifically exempted from verification. These programs include, but are not limited to, K-12 education, emergency health care, immunization programs, in-kind disaster relief, soup kitchens and other emergency food assistance, federal school lunch and breakfast programs, and those public services that are necessary to protect life or safety.

Q9. Won't Proposition 200 lead to discrimination based on appearance, ethnicity or national origin?

A9. Proposition 200 actually adds to federal and state civil rights policies that prohibit against discrimination or disparate treatment of individuals based on factors of race, religion, gender, or national origin. Eligibility for state benefits and services will be determined solely by verification of an applicant's identity or immigration and nationality documents.

Proposition 200 creates additional protections against discrimination not found in other federal or state law. Section 6.C of the initiative gives Arizona residents, including advocates for illegal aliens, the right to sue any government agency that discriminates in the verification process in state court. Section 6.C. requires that the Arizona state courts give these suits preference over other pending cases.

Corpus Christi Coastal Bend South Texas news, information, events calendar

Corpus Christi Coastal Bend South Texas news, information, events calendar
Police make largest pot bust in recent memory
822 pounds valued at $500K found under skateboard boxes in truck on I-37
By Mike Baird, Caller-Times / Posted: 3:48 PM
July 12, 2004

Corpus Christi police made their largest marijuana bust in the last few years Thursday, confiscating 822 pounds of the drug stashed behind Wal-Mart boxes filled with thousands of skateboards inside a semi-truck trailer traveling on Interstate 37.

The 52 bundles evaded police dogs at border patrol check stations before reaching the Interstate 37 and U.S. Highway 77 interchange on the outskirts of city limits, police said. The compressed pot was slathered with grease and talcum powder before being tightly wrapped in plastic, officials said.

Officers arrested the 46-year-old truck driver, William Harold Jordan Jr., on charges of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. But the case is being turned over to Drug Enforcement Administration officials for federal charges to be filed, said Chief Pete Alvarez.

Federal authorities can pursue international drug trafficking charges, which carry stiffer penalties, Alvarez said.
"Although this is a significant seizure worth about half a million dollars, it’s a small fraction of the drugs continuously coming into this country from Mexico," Alvarez said. "For us it’s quite an accomplishment."

Officers pulled over the truck at about 1:15 p.m. while northbound on Interstate 37 for having no license plate, Alvarez said. The driver gave them a Houston address, he said.

Officers got permission to search the trailer because Jordan was "acting suspicious," Alvarez said.

The 18-wheeler doesn’t belong to Wal-Mart, and investigators haven’t identified the owner, officials said.

The semi-truck, marijuana, and boxes of skateboards were confiscated under state and federal seizure laws, Alvarez said. DEA officials will take the marijuana as evidence, Alvarez said.

"We’ll probably auction the truck," he said. "And we’ll give the skateboards to local children for Christmas."

Contact Mike Baird at 886-3774 or bairdm@caller.com

INTHEFRAY.COM | seeing the world through different I�s

INTHEFRAY.COM | seeing the world through different I�s

I flicked my driver's license casually.

“Citizenship?” asked the border patrol agent.

“American,” I said.

My best friend Cecilia and I were coming back from a fun weekend in Mexico and had just driven up to the U.S. entry gate at the Tijuana/San Diego border. I asked the uniformed man for the best route to northern San Diego, where I lived. He teased me about having to ask for directions. We both laughed.

Cecilia was not so at ease. She paused and was jittery when she answered the agent’s questions, leading him to briefly inspect our trunk before telling me the best way home. I quickly left Mexico without another thought. But next to me, my friend Cecilia started to cry.

“What's wrong?” I asked.

“I can't believe it was that easy,” she said.

This was one of Cecilia's first trips back to Mexico, her homeland. She had spent more than 15 years living as an illegal alien in the United States before finally becoming a legal resident. The first time she had crossed the Mexican border wasn't so easy. She had climbed into a tire, floated, and then waded across the cold waters of the Rio Grande into Texas. She’d walked overnight before landing in a safe house. Another time she’d hidden for hours inside the tiny secret compartment of a couple’s truck, holding her breath while a border patrol dog sniffed the outside, its damp nose searching for illegal cargo.

Five years ago Cecilia married a U.S. citizen and became a legal resident. Now she can travel to Mexico freely. But she knows she will cry when she crosses the border. She can't help but think of the hundreds of thousands of people who did as she once did — risk their lives to live in this country.

“I didn't really think about that just now,” I said. I then hugged her, an embrace for all the immigrants in this country, including my parents.

As a first-generation Mexican, born and raised in Dallas, Texas, I basically grew up Mexican. My parents are often more traditional than families in Mexico — trapped in time, they are unaware that the country has moved beyond the 1950s and 1960s. While kids my age danced to Michael Jackson, I fell in love with romantic boleros from Mexican idols like Javier Solis. I became an expert on black-and-white film stars like Pedro Infante and Cantinflas.

Some parts of my culture I rejected. I was not allowed to go to sleepovers. I couldn't talk to boys. English was banned at home, and I ate tacos for lunch while classmates ate sandwiches. Most of all I hated the work. I had to help my parents clean offices at night, falling asleep in the van while they worked until morning. On the weekends, while my friends got to see movies or visit the park, my parents and I sold food out of our home, collected cans, cleaned houses, mass produced paper flowers, packaged gift tissue, sold toys at swap meets, painted apartments, and mowed lawns or buffed floors.

“I don't belong here,” I’d thought. Only when I visited Mexico did I get the childhood I yearned for. I could hang out on the streets without my parents beckoning me inside. I was free to flirt with boys and walk around the plaza arm-and-arm with my cousins.

Something magical happened to my parents in Mexico. They laughed louder, told funny stories, hugged relatives, enjoyed leisurely meals, and even danced.

“Why don't we stay here?” I wondered. When we came back stateside, I missed Mexico, with its big mountains and wide beaches, its loud cities and colorful fruit stands. But it always came to an end, and we dutifully headed home to work and to school. At the border, my mother and I would cross by car. My father would always disappear and take another route.

“He has something to buy, “ my mother would say. “He'll meet us on the other side.”

We prayed while we waited for him to cross. I would absorb my mother's nervousness. We always felt relieved, and happy when my father walked up to us in Laredo, Texas — safe on the other side.

Today, my mother is a U.S. citizen and my father is a U.S. resident. They make few trips to Mexico now, ensconced by a lively Dallas lifestyle where they tend three small businesses. Mexico lives in my heart, but as I matured I began to embrace being American more.

Some of my relatives are very poor in Mexico, with little hope of getting ahead. Some of them are middle-class and believe keeping up appearances is the most important thing there is. I like it here where I can work hard to get ahead, and where it's okay to be me — 31 and unmarried, living on my own, working on a career, experiencing other cultures, traveling alone, going without makeup, speaking up when I want to, being unfashionable, hosting martini parties. My family in Mexico would forgive me for my small indiscretions too, I'm sure, though I do get a lot of lectures when I talk to relatives there.

No, I am lucky to live here. As a reporter in San Diego, I often cover stories about undocumented immigrants. I read mail from readers who accuse me of not telling the story of how illegal aliens are crippling California, not to mention the country. I am often told to go back to my country too. I laugh off the most offensive comments because I can.

I am American.

I look at the immigrants here — who stand on the corner looking for work, who live in makeshift shacks in canyons because they lack affordable housing, who pile into cars to go buy groceries, who work 12-hour days for little pay, somehow managing to save thousands to pay back the coyote who brought them — and I'm not afraid of them. They are here illegally, I know. But they are here. There are an estimated 8 to 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States. They are part of our society, and I am honored to tell their stories. Somebody has to. I approach them respectfully and I am glad when they talk to me.

Recently, U.S. border patrol agents began arresting immigrants in San Diego at bus stops, on corners and in grocery stores. I wonder if they will snatch me up if I somehow forget my I.D. — after all, I look so ethnic. It angers me that my civil rights as a U.S. citizen could be so easily violated. But then I return to my comfortable stateside apartment and do not think about immigration issues. I have that luxury.

Back in the car, my friend Cecilia cried. And when I hugged her, I began to cry too. I remembered the struggles my mother and father had gone through for me, the countless times they had risked their lives to cross the border, the dozens of jobs they held, the new language they studied, the hamburgers they learned to cook, the way they encouraged me to go to college, the soft words of love my father murmured when I told him I was moving away. They are proud of me, but I can only aspire to be as courageous.

My parents became American for me, just as millions of immigrants have done for decades and will continue to do so for their families. When Cecilia cried I could almost hear them panting, out of breath in the nearby deserts, walking through the night to reach a safe house somewhere in this country.

And I prayed for them.

Latino immigrants face challenges, bring hope

Boston.com / News / Boston Globe / Opinion / Op-ed / Latino immigrants face challenges, bring hope

Latino immigrants face challenges, bring hope
By Micho Fernandez Spring and Frieda Garcia | July 12, 2004

THE UPCOMING Democratic National Convention marks a historic moment for our city. As the first convention of a major political party to be chaired by a Latino - New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson - it is also a historic event for the nation. It's fitting that those two moments are converging here in Boston, a city whose economy and social fabric have been tremendously strengthened by the influx of Latinos and other immigrants over the past several decades.

This week, which Boston has set aside to celebrate diversity as the convention approaches, offers an opportunity to contemplate how we can harness the growing economic, political, and cultural potential not only of Latino immigrants, but also of Puerto Rican citizens who live here.

It's been nearly 40 years since Congress passed the Immigration Act of 1965, dramatically lifting barriers to foreigners seeking to settle in our country. The wave of immigration that ensued had a welcome, if unforeseen, result: Immigrants have driven urban renewal, cultural enrichment, and economic growth.

Here in Massachusetts, our economy hinges on immigration. A study by MassINC showed that immigrants contributed 200,000 workers to our labor force in the 1990s alone. The political clout of Latinos is also increasingly evident, with more and more Latinos voting, running for office, and being elected.

Immigrants also offer another commodity, one rarer than economic or political power and even more important to Boston's future: They offer hope. Immigrants - who have uprooted themselves and traveled great distances against long odds and amid enormous uncertainty in search of a better life, as our families did - are quintessentially hopeful people. They are survivors who have, by the time of their arrival in our country, already overcome a great deal.

If what Latino immigrants offer - economic growth, social and cultural enrichment, and an influx of hope and optimism - are important to Boston's future, it isn't enough simply to welcome them. Our city must aggressively compete for them.

For Boston, that requires creative and forward thinking. For the most part, we aren't a port of entry for Latino immigrants, and our weather doesn't exactly evoke warm memories of home.

In order to compete effectively, we have to celebrate our assets, but we must also confront real challenges. Immigrant income still lags considerably behind that of natives. The percentage of Latino young people going to college is both tragically low and disconcertingly stagnant. And the disbanding last year of the Hispanic-American Chamber of Commerce suggests that our Latino community's social and business infrastructure must be enhanced.

We must address those challenges. Boston should aggressively support Latino institutions and nurture Latino leadership. Fortunately, positive developments are occurring. The Mayor's Office for New Bostonians has worked hard to increase voter registration rates in newcomer immigrant communities in Boston. The Boston Foundation is facilitating greater dialogue between Latino leaders across sectors. And cultural institutions like the Jorge Hernandez Cultural Center underscore the positive role the arts can have in bridging cultural differences.

Moreover, our immigration laws must enable those who are already here to contribute productively to our community. Laws that prevent undocumented young people from attending public universities at in-state tuition rates are understandable attempts to encourage compliance with immigration rules, but they have the unintended and unwelcome consequence of fueling a higher drop-out rate among Latinos.

To be sure, not everyone agrees that Latino immigration should be encouraged. In his recent book ''Who Are We?'' Harvard professor Samuel Huntington suggests that immigration - especially of Spanish-speaking immigrants - threatens to fracture America's cultural identity.

We disagree. America's cultural identity is rooted in hope and opportunity, not race or language, and it is those commodities that immigrants offer in greatest supply. No one, after all, knows that better than Red Sox Nation, whose hopes and dreams lie with four Latinos named Pedro, Manny, Nomar, and David Ortiz.

The reality is that Latino immigrants will create enormous economic opportunities for the communities in which they decide to locate. As they have for the last several decades, they will continue to strengthen the cultural and social fabric of urban areas and American culture as a whole. And as they were in Boston's municipal elections last fall, they will be a powerful political force.

These trends are indisputable fact. For Boston, the only question is whether we will benefit from them. If we hope to, we must take a much more proactive approach to attract and retain Latino talent, and nurture institutions that will support them. The upcoming Democratic National Convention - a seminal moment for both Boston and Latino history - is a perfect time to start.

DenverPost.com - Middle schoolers' award-winning film offers shot of introspection

DenverPost.com - LOCAL NEWS

Middle schoolers' award-winning film offers shot of introspection
By Michael Riley
Denver Post Staff Writer


Monday, July 12, 2004 - When Pablo Del Rio and two of his friends decided to create a video about immigration, the 14-year-old Noel Middle School students were really making a film about themselves.

Their rough-around-the-edges Montbello neighborhood is a landing pad for Denver's new immigrants, and each of the students comes from a family that arrived here from Mexico within the past two decades.

Along with the school's energetic technology teacher, Robert Carter, the students journeyed from Denver's immigrant neighborhoods to congressional offices, into the knotty realm of immigration policy - and ultimately back to an examination of their own lives and experiences.

The lessons they learned?

"This is a hard thing," Del Rio said. "We're only 14. The politicians are, like, 40-something."

His partner Antonio Tinoco concurred: "I wouldn't like to be a politician. It'd be a pretty hard job."

In June, the students' film, called "The New Braceros," was awarded second place out of more than 700 entries in a national competition sponsored by C-SPAN, the political cable channel. Entries could be on any important policy topic that might be addressed in the 2004 presidential election.

Along with classmate Cristian Gonzalez, the students wrote their own script and acted as interviewers, cameramen and sound technicians - traversing all the frustrations of budding filmmakers.

"We actually contacted quite a few people. There were a lot of no-callbacks," Carter said.

One of those who did call was U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo. The Littleton Republican treated them to popcorn and an hour-long discussion on immigration reform.

"They all came back to the school as Republicans, and they announced it to everybody," said Carter. But only, added Del Rio, "because he gave us popcorn."

They did learn some of the concerns that fuel Tancredo and his supporters: that immigrants might take American jobs; that those who come here without visas are breaking the law; and that granting them amnesty might encourage more to come.

"That got me thinking about my own stuff" and how some of his relatives "broke all these laws," said Tinoco. The congressman "made some pretty good points."

Carter said the idea for the film came after he heard the students bantering one day, calling each other "wetbacks." He realized that though each of them had in some way lived the immigrant experience, they also carried a lot of misconceptions.

"My job is to get them to ask the harder questions. I don't necessarily provide the answers," Carter said.

Through their research, the students learned that President Bush wants to convert the country's 8 million to 12 million undocumented immigrants into temporary guest workers. Under the White House plan, most new immigrants could stay for at least three years, then return home.

They also studied an alternative proposal by Sens. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., and Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., that would put most of those undocumented immigrants on a path toward citizenship.

Carter, who transferred to Noel from Martin Luther King Middle School, where his students also won several national technology awards, said he wanted the students to do something that would be relevant to their lives. He also pushed them to be fair.

They learned that if immigrants came here legally, they would be able to get better jobs and treatment.

They also learned that Mexico's failure to create enough jobs for its own people was partly to blame.

"I think that Mexicans would probably want to stay in Mexico if they had a middle class," said Del Rio.

Not all their lessons came out of research.

After interviewing Tancredo, Carter and the students walked into a McDonald's for lunch, only to find that the Centennial restaurant didn't look much like the ones in Montbello.

"It was kind of awkward because we were the only Mexicans there except for the ones that were working there," said Del Rio. "We were sitting at the corner table and people were looking at us, how we eat or something like that."

Del Rio said it made them empathize with the way immigrants are often viewed by the rest of society.

"It was a weird experience," he said.

The students said that in the end, they liked the reform proposal by Daschle and Hagel the best.

They thought it seemed more fair because it wouldn't force families to separate.

Under Bush's plan, children born to immigrants working temporarily in the United States would have U.S. citizenship.

That might divide families when workers returned home, they said.

"I had a friend that happened to," Tinoco said. "They were all separated. It is a pretty big deal for a family to have to think about that."

WorldNetDaily: D.C. hamstrings border officers

WorldNetDaily: D.C. hamstrings border officers
© 2004 WorldNetDaily.com
WASHINGTON – Despite increased anti-terror demands, immigration inspectors guarding the nation's borders are laboring under an internal budget crisis that has forced freezes on overtime pay and new hiring – as well as the release of hundreds of illegal immigrants from detention centers.

The funding crisis, which some lawmakers blame on possible financial mismanagement at the Department of Homeland Security, is expected to last at least through the fall, even as DHS warns that al-Qaida is planning another large-scale attack here before the November elections and has ordered airport inspectors to increase scrutiny of Pakistanis and other foreign nationals entering the U.S.


What's more, detention facilities in some regions have been asked to cut their populations of detained illegal immigrants by as much as 50 percent to save money, according to internal DHS memos obtained by WorldNetDaily. More than 1,600 detainees are in the process of being released inside the U.S. Hundreds more are expected to follow before the election.

DHS officials insist operating funds are available but have been tied up in a messy bureaucratic process to reconcile the budgets of the INS and U.S. Customs, which in 2002 merged along with 20 other agencies into DHS.

"The process wasn't as smooth as anticipated," said DHS spokesman Bill Strassberger in a WND interview.

Until last October, the two agencies continued to operate under separate budgets appropriated for fiscal year 2003. But since then, they've been operating under the new budget structure, which is still in development, he explains.

"The money's there, but who owns the money and where it should be is more the issue. And that's just something that has to be worked out," Strassberger said.

"It's getting worked out," he added, "but it may take until the end of the fiscal year, quite honestly." The 2004 fiscal year ends Sept. 30.

Some alarmed members of Congress aren't fully buying the explanation, however.

For example, U.S. Rep. Jim Turner, ranking member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, last month asked the DHS inspector general to conduct an audit of the financial management of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, or CBP. The Texas Democrat says the committee has received "numerous reports" of financial problems at the new DHS bureau, possibly resulting from mismanagement.

In a June 15 committee hearing, Turner cited one report from an unidentified source that drew attention to "a $1.2 billion shortfall which led to a hiring freeze in the bureau," although the huge sum was later explained to be an accounting error. Still, he says reports indicate the bureau may have violated federal law that prevents an agency from "over-obligating" appropriated funds.

As a result of budget woes, officials say DHS decided to freeze hiring at two of its bureaus: CBP and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, which is responsible for detaining and deporting illegal immigrants.

Strassberger confirmed the department recently froze hiring, but he stopped short of blaming a budget shortfall.

"There was at one point a freeze," he said. "But I think that was more a result of just trying to sort out the budget."

Union officials representing federal immigration officers say the move is hurting efforts to fight terrorism.

"How are you going to catch these terror connections if you are under a hiring freeze?" asked Sergio Ugazaio, an American Federation of Government Employees official. "If the U.S. faces the threats it does, why are we not hiring more personnel?"

U.S. immigration officers are the first line of defense against foreign terrorists, something CBP Commissioner Robert C. Bonner himself pointed out earlier this year in a memo to all CBP employees. He praised the vigilance of an Orlando airport inspector who denied a Saudi national, now suspected of being the original 20th hijacker, entry into the U.S. The inspector, Jose Melendez-Perez, determined the terrorist's story didn't add up after questioning him in the secondary inspections area.

"CBP's priority mission is preventing terrorists from entering the United States," Bonner said in the Feb. 5 memo.

At the same time, however, inspections supervisors at major airports say they are under pressure to cut back on overtime staffing, especially for secondary inspections.

"The goal is no OT if possible. Even if we go to orange (on the terror alert system), D.C. says do with what you've got – no OT," one CBP supervisor told WND. "If Osama bin Laden was in secondary, they'd say, 'Let him go. We don't have the budget.'"

Headquarters has also asked supervisors to refer fewer passengers to cargo inspections, says the supervisor, who works at a major international airport and asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals.

"What they're doing is endangering people," he said.

At the same time, airport inspectors are being asked to do more. Starting Sept. 30, they'll start fingerprinting and photographing the millions of visitors from the 27 Visa Waiver Program countries. Currently they're processing through US-VISIT only about a quarter of the foreign visitors they'll have to process this fall. And starting Dec. 31, US-VISIT goes into effect at the 50 busiest land border crossings, as well.

Before the merger, overtime pay for INS inspectors was paid out of a fund set aside from airline user fees collected from arriving international passengers.

But now it's not clear where that money is going.

CBP spokeswoman Danielle Sheahan could not say how the funds are allocated.

But, she said, "They don't necessarily go for the overtime."

Strassberger insists the money has not been siphoned off by Customs or ICE, as some legacy INS managers contend.

"There's no split-out of money for Customs or for immigration," he said. "It is one face at the border now."

Even so, veteran immigration inspectors say morale has sunk to new lows since the merger, which they describe more as a "hostile takeover" by U.S. Customs management.

'Shoot the stragglers'

Bonner is from the Customs side. So was his deputy, Doug Browning, who resigned after warning inspectors last year at a town hall meeting in Chicago that dissent over the merger would not be tolerated.

"My intention is to shoot the stragglers," he said at the Sept. 9 gathering.

Many INS managers have left the agency since the merger. Those who remain say they are being marginalized.

"Washington views the inspector in the field as the enemy," said a supervisor at another major airport, "and is trying hard to get rid of as many older inspectors as possible."

Veteran immigration inspectors complain they've been muscled out of secondary inspections shifts by Customs agents, who they say don't have the experience required to screen foreign visitors for visa violations and terrorist ties. Previously, Customs officers focused on inspecting baggage and cargo for illegal contraband.

And even though immigration inspectors carry firearms and have the same search and arrest authority as Customs agents – and both wear the same uniforms now – they are still not considered law enforcement officers, which means they miss out on the higher pay and benefits.

"They still look at us as stamping monkeys," one veteran immigration officer said, "even though we're on the front line in the war on terrorism."

Strassberger allows that, for the most part, INS is now operating in the shadow of Customs.

"INS seems to have been absorbed and dismantled," he said. "But that's what the law (creating DHS) called for."

He says headquarters is aware of immigration inspectors' pique.

"We know that any time there's change, it can be upsetting," Strassberger said.

But he says headquarters is taking steps to "regularize the different pay structures and different promotion potential of the different inspections."

"I mean, in general, your Customs inspectors were a (pay) grade higher than the immigration inspectors for relatively the same type of work," he said.

"And there were different requirements," he added. "For instance, immigration inspectors are expected to speak Spanish, whereas a Customs inspector, if they did speak Spanish, had a (pay) differential because of that.

"It's a lot of little things like that that have to be worked out and made cohesive as far as one organization," Strassberger acknowledged. "People just have to be patient."

He also recognized that, "obviously, immigration inspectors would be able to focus better on the people side" of inspections than Customs inspectors.

But he says inspectors are undergoing rigorous cross-training so both sides can be proficient in both immigration and cargo inspections.

However, some Customs inspectors say they train less than one week a month at INS primary inspections booths.

"The inspectors on both sides of the house have really not been trained to accomplish the one-man inspection yet," said a veteran airport inspector.

And the budget crunch has dried up funding for training, officials say.

"The budget is so bad they have stopped Border Patrol and CBP officer training," union official T.J. Bonner said.

"Customs side doesn't even have the funding to train the new CBP inspectors when they get back from the academy," said a CBP official.

Money is so tight, in fact, that some major airports have even begun cutting back on supplies used at inspections booths, such as copying paper, pens and latex gloves, officials say.

'Compassionate alternative'

Worse, DHS is planning to release thousands of jailed illegal immigrants to save money. It spends about $550 million a year to hold the estimated 24,000 detainees around the country.

And headquarters is discouraging border patrol officers from taking new aliens into custody, according to both officials and internal documents.

"They don't want to capture anybody because they're running out of [jail] space and they don't have the money to hold them," a CBP official said.

An internal CBP memo circulated in the Midwest region reveals that the Detention and Removal division, or D&R, of ICE has been told to cut jail populations in half.

"D&R is feeling the budget crunch, too," said CBP official Richard J. Roster in a recent staff memo. "D&R has been told to cut back lock-up numbers by 50 percent."

"For example, down Kansas City way, they raided a chicken feeding farm and picked up 24 aliens. This will have to stop!" he said in his June 21 memo obtained by WND.

Strassberger says the plan does not include mandatory custody cases at airports and will mainly affect land ports along the Mexican border, where overcrowding has become an issue since 9-11.

"It's not so much a funding issue as much as it is a bed-space issue at certain ports such as Laredo," Texas, he said.

President Bush, who has been courting Hispanic voters, has proposed amnesty for illegal aliens, even after 9-11, and waived US-VISIT fingerprinting for Mexican laborers and shoppers crossing the border on day passes.

Victor Cerda, acting director of detention and removal operations at ICE, called the administration's new plan to release thousands of jailed illegal immigrants to home confinement "a compassionate alternative."

However, others note that part of the congressional mandate of DHS was to ramp up the number of deportations of illegal immigrants in the wake of 9-11. Now many are being released from custody.