IA Slaughterhouse Exec On Trial In Sioux Falls

Nearly 70 supporters of an Iowa slaughterhouse executive crowded the federal courthouse in Sioux Falls Tuesday. Forty-nine-year-old Shalom Rubashkin is facing 72 counts of employing illegal aliens, as well as 91 counts of fraud. Rubashkin was Vice President of the Agriprocessors plant in Postville, Iowa, the site of what is believed to be the largest immigration raid in U.S. history.The trial was moved to Sioux Falls from Iowa because of pre-trial publicity. The first of two trials deals with millions of dollars in bank fraud and money laundering charges. In the second trial, Rubashkin faces dozens of counts of employing illegal aliens. Rubashkin will be spending the next two months at the federal courthouse in Sioux Falls as he and his attorneys navigate the legal proceedings that lie ahead. But plenty of supporters have followed the former Iowa slaughterhouse executive to Sioux Falls; dozens of Rubashkins friends and family sat in the courtroom and in an overflow room as jurors were questioned for his bank fraud trial Tuesday.In that case, Rubashkin allegedly gave false statements to his bank about the $35 million line of credit he had with them. Rubashkin was also not paying livestock producers on time, which is against federal laws. He is also standing trial in Sioux Falls for one of the largest immigration raids in the United States. On May 12, 2008, federal authorities arrested 389 illegal aliens at the Agriprocessors plant in Iowa. Rubashkin is charged with paying the illegal workers in cash so they wouldn’t show up on the company’s books, placing the employees on the payroll of another business and encouraging the workers to get fake I.D.s. Attorneys questioned 58 potential jurors Tuesday and have seated 16 jurors. Opening statements in the federal fraud case are scheduled to start Wednesday.The fraud case is expected to last up to six weeks; the immigration case will follow and is also expected to last up to six weeks.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio

On Thursday, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his deputies raided the Alpine Valley Bread bakery outlet in Mesa and arrested 24 suspected illegal aliens who used stolen Social Security numbers and fake driver’s licenses to obtain their jobs.

According to Sheriff Arpaio, his department was investigating additional employees for similar violations.

Arpaio told reporters gathered in front of the bakery: “People accuse me of arresting just dishwashers. These people are committing crimes to get their jobs. Stealing someone’s identity is a felony.”

To date, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has conducted 48 worksite enforcement raids, resulting in hundreds of arrests.

via Sheriff Joe Arpaio arrests dozens of illegal workers and answers his critics – National Immigration Reform | Examiner.com.

Illegal Alien Sentenced to 51 Months in Prison

Tucson, Arizona – A Mexican national apprehended by Nogales Border Patrol agents late last year for attempting to illegally enter the U.S. was sentenced to 51 months in prison on June 30.

The U.S. Attorney’s office prosecuted Tomas Avila-Martinez after he was apprehended on November 23, 2010. During processing at the Nogales Station, the Integrated Automated Fingerprint System revealed that Avila was convicted in Los Angeles, Calif., on December 17, 1997 for possession of narcotics for sale of rohypnol in which he was sentenced to two years in prison. Rohypnol, also known as “roofies” is a controlled substance that can cause extreme drowsiness and amnesia and is commonly referred to as the date rape drug.

Records checks also indicated that Avila was previously deported from the U.S. Following initial processing, the Tucson Sector’s prosecution unit submitted the case to the U.S. Attorney’s office for re-entry of an aggravated felon. Following his incarceration for 51 months, Avila will be formally removed from the country.

All illegal aliens apprehended by the Border Patrol undergo criminal history checks using IAFIS. This vital tool accesses criminal records throughout the U.S., thereby assisting agents in quickly identifying violent criminals and wanted persons.

In January, the Tucson Sector Border Patrol implemented the Consequence Delivery System as an integral component of its enforcement strategy. The CDS centers on delivery a targeting consequence to illegal aliens and simultaneously seeks to disrupt the smuggling cycle and reduce recidivism rates by ensuring consequences are upheld to the full extent of the law. The CDS includes several different “impact” programs. Criminal prosecution is one of the impact programs which individuals with criminal records are criminally prosecuted and subject to jail time.

via Imperial Valley News – Illegal Alien Sentenced to 51 Months in Prison.

Illegal alien charged with sexual assault in Maryland – National Immigration Reform | Examiner.com

On Sunday, detectives with the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation arrested Felix N. Perez, 25, after he allegedly sexually assaulted a 15-year-old girl at the Frontier Town Campground, near Berlin, MD.

According to police, the teenage victim was sleeping when Perez entered her camper around 4:00 a.m. and began touching her. The girl pleaded with him to stop, but the Mexican national refused and continued touching her genital area.

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When detectives questioned Perez, he said that he was drunk at the time of the incident and only remembered grabbing her buttocks.

Perez readily admitted to being in the country illegally.

Perez has been charged with third- and fourth-degree sex offense and second-degree assault and is currently being held in the Worcester County Jail on an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer.

via Illegal alien charged with sexual assault in Maryland – National Immigration Reform | Examiner.com.

They should have cut his nuts off

A former city bakery owner pleaded guilty to employing illegal immigrants during an appearance in federal court on Thursday.

Anthony DiBenedetto, 64, of North Branford, is an Italian immigrant who owned and operated Rocco’s Pastry Shop, which had locations in both New Haven and on South Meriden’s Main Street. According to a press release from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, he knowingly employed at least 10 Ecuadorian illegal im-migrants at either location between 2000 and 2008.

The charge was filed after an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Se-curity Investigations. DiBenedetto waived his right to indictment before pleading guilty Thursday.

Lawyers for the Ecuadorians say DiBenedetto did not pay them fairly, threatened them with eviction if they complained, and physically, sexually and verbally abused female employees.

He is scheduled to be sentenced for one count of unlawful employment of illegal aliens on April 14, and will face a maximum of five years in prison or a $250,000 fine. He could also be ordered to forfeit money as resti-tution to the immigrants.

Good news for Illegal Aliens

Georgia Colleges Close Doors On Illegal Immigrants

Five public colleges in Georgia have announced a new ban that will prevent illegal immigrants from being admitted into their schools. The state’s 30 other public institutions will adopt a policy that doesn’t allow undocumented students to be accepted into colleges or universities ahead of legal residents.

According to media reports, illegal immigrants will no longer be accepted to the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, Georgia State University in Atlanta and Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville. The list of schools may change over time.

The State Board of Regents states that only 501 of the 310,000 students within the university system are undocumented, and they currently pay out-of-state tuition. The new policies, which go into effect in the fall of 2011, will benefit academically qualified students with legal status who may have been rejected due to space constraints under old rules.

“Not enough Georgians graduate from high school and pursue post-secondary education,” said regents spokesman John Millsaps, quoted by CNN. “We need more [state residents] to pursue higher education.”

Last month, the U.S. Senate halted legislation that would have helped undocumented students gain citizenship. The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act would have allowed certain immigrants to become citizens if they met specific requirements, which included attending college or enrolling in the military.

Bye bye spiks

WASHINGTON – The U.S. government deported a record number of undocumented immigrants in the 2010 fiscal year, officials said Wednesday.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and the assistant secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, John Morton, cited the figure during a press conference here to tout progress made over the past 20 months under President Barack Obama.

Of the 392,000 people deported by ICE agents during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, more than half – 195,000 – had been convicted of criminal offenses, the officials said.

Those numbers represent increases of more than 23,000 and 81,000, respectively, over the totals for the 2008 fiscal year, meaning that deportations of convicted criminals have risen by more than 70% from levels during the Bush administration, Napolitano said.

Georgia’s gitting its act togather

Lawmakers plan to introduce a bill to bar these students from all public colleges — the 35 institutions in the University System of Georgia and the 26 in the Technical College System of Georgia. Both Democratic and Republican gubernatorial candidates have said they support such a measure.

“The regents were heading in the right direction, but I just wish they had taken it one step further,” Sen. Don Balfour, R-Snellville, said. “A bill will be introduced this session that says no illegals in any public college. I have a hard time believing it won’t pass.”

The regents approved prohibiting illegal immigrants from attending any college that has rejected academically qualified applicants for the past two academic years because of space or other issues. The affected campuses are: University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia State University, Medical College of Georgia and Georgia College & State University. Officials could not say immediately how many qualified applicants had been turned away at those schools.

The ban means Georgia is following South Carolina, which prohibits illegal immigrants from all public colleges.

Debate over illegal immigration and higher education resurfaced last spring after Jessica Colotl, an illegal immigrant attending Kennesaw State University, was arrested on campus for a traffic violation. College officials disclosed they had charged her in-state tuition.  State rules require illegal immigrants pay the more expensive out-of-state rates.

Charles Kuck, Colotl’s immigration attorney, said his client may have brought the issue to the forefront, but she didn’t cause the new rules.

“This was bound to come up again,” Kuck said. “The sad thing is they don’t know this won’t make a difference. They’re robbing children of hope and an education, that’s what they did. They won’t make people leave this country because it’s still better for them here than it is back at home.”

Regent Jim Jolly, who chaired the committee that recommended the new policies, said they are not “equipped to serve as immigration authorities” but the new rules will make sure students are classified properly for tuition purposes.

Of the 310,361 students enrolled, 501 are classified as “undocumented” and are paying out-of-state tuition, Jolly said. These students did not provide documentation to determine their tuition status. They may be in this country illegally.

“Clearly our institutions are not being inundated but undocumented students and Georgia taxpayers are not subsidizing the small number enrolled,” Jolly said.

Still, he said, the ban should alleviate concerns that these students take seats away from U.S. citizens. The five campuses enroll 29 undocumented students.

Regent Richard Tucker voted against the ban and a new verification rule, saying it would burden colleges.

The new rules require campuses to verify the “lawful presence” of students seeking in-state tuition. Colleges can use several methods, such as the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlement (SAVE) program, a federal database that typically charges 50 cents for each background check.

College officials said they need to figure out how to implement the new policy and make applicants aware of the changes.

“Georgia State admitted over 13,000 students this past fall, so it will be a large undertaking,” said Tim Renick, the college’s chief enrollment officer. “We plan to work with the other impacted universities to see if we can develop some common practices. This should help to reduce applicant confusion about the new rules.”

Eric Cuevas, a recruiter at Georgia Perimeter College, said some students already are confused about which campuses they can attend and wary that completing an applications could lead to deportation.

“We’re not purposely recruiting these students, it just happens,” Cuevas said. “Do you know how hard it is to get a Hispanic student to even consider college? This just made it a lot harder.”

Before the meeting, about 20 people protested the ban. They carried signs that read: “Education not deportation!” and “Board of Regents, do the right thing, please don’t ban me!”

“They are not taking seats away from American students,” said Eva Cardenas, a sophomore at Clayton State University. “They earned their seats.”

Other students said illegal immigrants are breaking the law and should not be rewarded with college.

“For every illegal person who is attending a public university, that’s another U.S. citizen turned away,” said David Bachman, a student at Middle Georgia College. “What is most astonishing is that our elected officials in Washington should be enforcing these laws instead of the State Board of Regents.”

Regents Vice Chairman Felton Jenkins voted against the ban, saying it was against the board’s mission, which is to promote education.

“I just think people who are qualified ought to get in,” Jenkins said. “They worked hard and earned their spot. They could help make the state a better place.”

Regents voting for the ban were: Jolly, Kenneth R. Bernard Jr., James Bishop, Frederick Cooper, C. Thomas Hopkins Jr., W. Mansfield Jennings Jr., Donald M. Leebern Jr., William “Dink” H. NeSmith Jr., Doreen Stiles Poitevint, Willis J. Potts Jr., Wanda Yancey Rodwell, Kessel Stelling Jr., Benjamin Tarbutton III and Larry Walker. Larry Ellis and Bob Hatcher were not present.

New rules

The State Board of Regents Wednesday approved four actions to help ensure that no illegal immigrants are charged taxpayer supported in-state tuition rates. The rules also seek to calm public concerns that illegal immigrants are taking seats away from U.S. citizens.  Here are the rules:

  • Add a section to all applications explaining the legal ramifications for knowingly providing false information.
  • Require applicants to state on the applications whether they are eligible and seeking in-state tuition.
  • Order all 35 campuses to verify the “lawful presence” of any admitted student seeking in-state tuition.
  • Deny illegal immigrants admission to any college that has turned away academically qualified applicants because of a lack of space or other issues. Next fall this will apply to: University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia State University, Medical College of Georgia and Georgia College & State University.

Source: University System of Georgia

Bakery Busted

The owner of a wholesale bakery in San Diego has been charged with hiring illegal workers. Immigration authorities say half of the employees were not authorized to work in the U.S.

The bakery’s president, Jesse Fadick, and three employees are charged with harboring illegal aliens. Immigration authorities said they arrested a total of 44 employees.

The federal court complaint says S&S bakery made deliveries to San Diego’s federal courthouse, military bases and prisons.

Court papers say a former employee tipped off federal authorities to the bakery’s illegal hiring practices.

The informant told authorities his boss directed him to get fake work papers. The informant is a legal resident and allowed to work in the U.S., but his boss didn’t know that.

This is the second bakery immigration officials have targeted in San Diego recently. The owners of the French Gourmet have been accused of knowingly employing undocumented workers and face millions of dollars in fines.

Longer Sentence For Illegals

In a much-needed legal victory for the often defeated immigration enforcement movement, a federal appellate court has ruled that a criminal’s sentence can be increased if he or she is in the United States illegally.

The case involves a pair of illegal aliens (Hector Loaiza-Sanchez and Jose Luis Juarez-Gonzalez) who pleaded guilty in an Iowa federal court to drug felonies, conspiring to distribute and possessing with intent to distribute a substantial quantity of methamphetamine.

Federal sentencing guidelines for such crimes range from 168 to 210 months for each defendant. A northern Iowa district court judge, Mark Bennett, said that he would have sentenced the illegal immigrant drug dealers near the bottom of the guidelines if they were in the country legally. Due to their unauthorized status, Judge Bennett instead slapped one defendant with a 188-month punishment and the other with 200 months.

The illegal aliens appealed, claiming that their sentence was improperly based on their immigration status and that it’s illegal to use alienage as a reason to increase a sentence. Upholding Judge Bennett’s decision, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that unauthorized immigrant status is separate from alienage because not all Hispanics are in the country illegally.

The appellate court dismissed the defendants’ suggestion that taking immigration status into account is national origin discrimination because the majority of illegal aliens are Hispanic. “A person’s legal status as a deportable alien is not synonymous with national origin,” the court points out in its 7-page ruling.

Furthermore, the ruling says, judges are allowed to consider all information concerning the background, character and conduct of an individual when sentencing them. Guidelines specifically point out that a sentence can be lengthened when the defendant’s criminal history does not completely characterize his illegal acts and entering the country without papers is an illegal act, the judges write.

Tell that to the open borders movement, which includes President Obama and the cabinet official he appointed to protect the nation from foreign threats.

40 Illegal Aliens Arrested

Maricopa County, AZ. – Maricopa County Sheriff’s deputies arrested 40 illegal aliens during several traffic stops and the investigation of a Mesa drop house which was being used to harbor people who were recently smuggled across the border.

Sheriff’s deputies have arrested over 2,000 illegal alien smugglers and co-conspirators since the state human smuggling law went into effect. The law has produced a 94% conviction rate of the cases that have made it through the judicial process.

Sheriff’s deputies have arrested over 2,000 illegal alien smugglers and co-conspirators since the state human smuggling law went into effect. The law has produced a 94% conviction rate of the cases that have made it through the judicial process.

As a result of the recent arrests, deputies turned over 31 illegal aliens to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE because they were unable to gather enough evidence to arrest them under the state human smuggling law. The remaining nine were booked into the county jail on state human smuggling charges as either smugglers or co- conspirators.

Sheriff Arpaio says, “When the new state law goes into affect, my deputies will no longer have to turn illegal aliens over to the federal government when they suspect they are in the country illegally. They will be taking them straight to jail once they confirm their immigration status.”

Sheriff Arpaio recently voiced concerns that he believes the federal government may soon be changing their policies on the usage of local law enforcement agencies to enforce illegal immigration laws in a measure to trump Arizona’s controversial new state law.

“I was upset last year when Washington stripped 100 of my deputies’ authority to act as federal immigration agents. If recent public comments made by assistant secretary of homeland security John Morton are any indication of what’s to come with illegal immigration enforcement, I am deeply concerned,” stated Arpaio.

Morton recently made public statements to the media indicating that the federal government may not necessarily accept illegal aliens referred to them by local law enforcement authorities in Arizona. He also indicated that he believes Arizona’s new law is not the answer to the current immigration problem.

Since the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office began cracking down on illegal immigration in 2006, his deputies and detention officers have been responsible for arresting, detaining, or investigating in the jail over 38,000 illegal aliens, many of which were under the authority of the federal government that the Sheriff believes may soon go away.

Source: Maricopa County Sheriff

Get out while you can, spikos

Ever since Governor Jan Brewer signed into law a tough new immigration bill, illegal aliens fleeing Arizona are a common sight. The undocumented, as the media likes to call them, are trying to get ahead of the tough new law before it’s implemented. The media is lamenting the fact that so many families who were having such a wonderful life are now being forced to move.

One such media report can be seen in the video below. CBS, one of the usual suspects in journalistic ineptitude, reports that illegal aliens fleeing Arizona in droves simply because of the misguided bill that was signed into law.

Sob stories of families being displaced, forced to leave jobs, kids being uprooted and leaving their friends only to seek those things in another less draconian state are now the weapon of choice by the mainstream media. In this particular video, the illegal alien that is being interviewed, Manuela, cites the governor’s new law as the reason for their move. Are they going back to Mexico? No. They’re on their way to Colorado. Heck, legal citizens have to uproot and move their families all the time, where are those stories? Why no documentaries about how unfair it is for someone to have to move to find work or the multitude of other reasons one might have to move their family.

A USA Today story says that illegal aliens fleeing Arizona can be seen in the drop in enrollments in schools. Businesses that serve Hispanics are seeing business down a bit as well as other indicators. Other sob stories include a man who has to move to New York City because his air conditioning business relies mostly on Hispanics. The real travesty there for him is that he’s going to New York. Or what about the guy in the video that rented to illegal aliens but now they’re all gone? Should have picked your tenants a little more carefully I suppose.

Illegal aliens fleeing Arizona does prove one thing beyond a reasonable doubt, there are a lot of them there; which speaks to the very reason that Governor Brewer signed the bill in the first place. It will take a lot more than an empty park (see the video) or the image of a little girl crying because she had to leave her friends to make me change my mind about illegal immigration. I’m guessing most people feel the same way.

They’er comming to take you spiks away

BOISE — The Ada and Canyon County sheriff’s offices will soon join a federal effort to crack down on criminal illegal aliens.

As it stands now, everyone who is booked into the jails is fingerprinted.  Those prints are then sent to the state and FBI for processing.

In just a couple weeks, the prints will begin going to ICE — the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

ICE agents are at the Ada County Jail almost daily speaking with inmates who have a questionable immigration status.

“If we’re able to take a suspected criminal alien off the streets immediately instead of them going back out to the community to possibly commit more crime, that’s how it really makes it a safer community for all of us,” said Chief Deputy Ron Freeman of the Ada County Sheriff’s Office.

Right now, ICE agents scroll the sheriff’s website for inmates on their watch list.

Soon, the same fingerprints that Ada County already gets from inmates, will automatically link up to the ICE database.  Agents could be tipped off right away.

“If there’s someone that ICE is looking for we will immediately know that, where right now there is a delay and often times that delay meant those people would be getting out of jail before that information would be received by ICE,” said Freeman.

Last year, ICE took more than 100 inmates from the Ada County Jail into their custody.  The sheriff’s office predicts once the new system goes online in a couple of weeks; that number will be even higher.

“We had over 20,000 bookings last year. That’s a lot of people. Not only locals but people from outside our area are brought into our jail,” said Freeman.

Fewer of those inmates could free up bed space in the local jails and save taxpayers money.  It costs taxpayers an estimated $60 a day to house one inmate.

“If someone does not need to be in this community because they’re a foreign national illegally in this area, when ICE takes them back they’re not in our community to possibly commit crimes. It adds to the safety of this community,” said Freeman.

The sheriff’s office says 20 other states are linked up with the ICE database, and Ada and Canyon Counties are the first in Idaho to participate.

ICE plans to spend more than $1 billion this year on criminal alien enforcement efforts.

Pa. House OKs cracks down on illegal workers

HARRISBURG — The state House today overwhelmingly approved two bills aimed at cracking down on construction companies that employ undocumented immigrants who have entered the country illegally.

House Bill 1502, which bars companies that hire illegal aliens from entering into state construction contracts, was passed 188 to 6. A companion bill, House Bill 1503, which could cost a company its state license and bar it from entering into construction contracts with other private firms, was passed 188 to 7.

Rep. John Galloway, D-Bucks, said some contractors, apparently in an effort to lower costs, are hiring illegal immigrants for construction jobs and paying them less than legal wages and not providing health benefits. The illegal aliens also aren’t paying state and federal taxes, he said. This situation is hurting unemployed Pennsylvanians who are seeking work, he said.

Some business groups, including chambers of commerce, oppose the bills, which may cause them to face a difficult time in the Republican-controlled Senate. Under the measures, which Mr. Galloway said 14 other states have already enacted, companies would have to use a system called E-Verify, which includes millions of Social Security numbers in a federal, online database, to ensure that each of its workers has a legal Social Security number or the proper papers showing he or she has entered the U.S. legally.

Illegal alien charged with raping 6-year-old girl in Williamsburg

Police in Williamsburg, Va., have arrested two men, Tito Guirao-Aguilar, 39, and Samuel Eli Jacobo-Guirao, 20, for the rape of a 6-year-old girl. The arrest of a third suspect, a juvenile, is likely imminent.

Guirao-Aguilar has been charged with three counts of aggravated sexual battery of a person under the age of 13. Jacobo-Guirao was charged with one count of rape of a person under the age of 13 and two counts of aggravated sexual battery of a person under 13.

Both men are being held in the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail without bond. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has also placed a hold on Guirao-Aguilar, who is in the country illegally.

The most popular tourist destination in the state, Williamsburg has a growing crime problem attributable to its illegal alien population, who are largely employed by the hotel and restaurant industry.

On June 10, Williamsburg police arrested illegal alien Raul Vasquez-Garcia, 33, in front of the same apartment complex where he allegedly shot a man, a week earlier.

On the night of June 4, police arrived at the Village of Woodshire apartments on Merrimac Trail, they found a man suffering from two gunshot wounds. According to police, the man and Vasquez-Garcia had been arguing over a woman.

The victim was taken to a local hospital, where he recovered from his wounds and has since been released.

Vasquez-Garcia is charged with attempted murder, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and assault.

Florida says go home spiks

TALLAHASSEE — Florida Republican leaders have begun crafting anti-illegal-immigrant legislation modeled after an Arizona law that has incited widespread protests and fueled national and international debate over U.S. immigration policies.

Under the proposed bill, police would have broad power under state law to ask suspects for proof of legal residency, said Rep. William Snyder, a Republican from Stuart who plans to introduce the legislation in November.

“We have significant components from the Arizona bill that I plan to incorporate,” he said. “We have the beginnings of it.”

The effort, which would be filed for consideration during the March legislative session, is already drawing broad support within the GOP.

Majority leaders in the Florida Senate and House said a new approach is needed to address the federal government’s failure to temper illegal immigration.

It has the backing of both leading Republican gubernatorial candidates — businessman Rick Scott and Attorney General Bill McCollum, whose office is helping to draft the bill.

Snyder, a former police officer, said the proposed legislation is needed to protect undocumented immigrants, who are vulnerable to abusive employers and violent criminals.

“This is a human right issue,” he said. “They don’t enjoy the same rights and privileges that you and I do. The solution is to enforce the laws that currently exist and to discourage people from coming here to `find a better life’ when in fact they just come here and are victimized.

via - MiamiHerald.com.

US town votes on plan to ban foreigners renting homes or having jobs | World news | The Guardian

A Nebraska town, angry over a surge in the number of Hispanic residents, is voting today in a referendum on a new law that would require foreign nationals to get a licence to live in the town.

The referendum in Fremont has been prompted by a sharp rise in Hispanic people drawn by work at local meatpacking plants combined with fears over job losses and demand placed on the town’s social services because of the economic downturn.

If approved, tenants who are not US-citizens would be required to get an “occupancy licence” from the city council. Even residents of nursing homes would be required to obtain such a licence.

Federal law requires employers to verify the immigration status of workers but the proposed Fremont law would also open violators to local sanctions. Supporters insist it is not racist and is essential to protect jobs, healthcare and education for local people because the town’s Hispanic population has surged from 165 to more than 2,000 in the past 20 years.

It is unclear what proportion of those are in the US illegally but the big meatpacking plants where many work say they only employ people whose immigrant status has been verified. The Fremont Tribune has reported cases of Hispanic people, who are legal residents, being verbally abused and told to return to Mexico.

Jerry Hart, one of the three sponsors of the legislation, told the Fremont Tribune that the proposed law is in part a security measure. “The federal law was put into place for a reason – to control how many people come into this country and to regulate the people, so they don’t have communicable diseases and are not bringing in drugs or having criminal records and these people who are sneaking in – you don’t know what you’re getting. We could have terrorists and gang members and people involved in drugs,” he said.

John Wiegert, another of the sponsors of the referendum, said: “A lot of them are coming here for the American dream and they’re causing nothing but an American nightmare to me.”

via The Guardian.

Spiks flee Arizona

Arizona’s tough new immigration enforcement law is fueling an exodus of Hispanics from the state seven weeks before it goes into effect, according to officials and residents in the state.

Though no one has precise figures, reports from school officials, businesses and individuals indicate worried Hispanics — both legal and illegal — are leaving the state in anticipation of the law, which will go into effect July 29.

Schools in Hispanic areas report unusual drops in enrollment. The Balsz Elementary School District is 75% Hispanic, and within a month of the law’s passage, the parents of 70 students pulled them out of school, said District Superintendent Jeffrey Smith. The district lost seven students over the same one-month period last year, and parents tell Smith the Arizona law is the reason for leaving.

“They’re leaving to another state where they feel more welcome,” he said.

The measure, signed into law April 23 by Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, requires a police officer to determine a person’s immigration status if they are stopped, detained or arrested and there is “reasonable suspicion” they are in the country illegally.

About 100,000 illegal immigrants left Arizona after the state passed a law in 2007 that enhanced penalties on businesses that hired them, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Some early signs suggest another exodus.

Businesses serving the Hispanic community say business is down, signaling that illegal immigrants are holding on to cash in anticipation of a move from the state, said David Castillo, co-founder of the Latin Association of Arizona, a chamber of commerce for nearly 400 first-generation Hispanic business owners.

“(Brewer) signed the law, and everything fell apart,” Castillo said. “It’s devastating.”

Jorge Vargas plans to move to New York City because his air-conditioning business relies mostly on Hispanics. “My business is completely dead,” he said.

Juan Carlos Cruz, an illegal immigrant who has worked in plant nurseries for 20 years, huddled with dozens of relatives over the Memorial Day Weekend in the backyard of his brother’s Phoenix-area home to plot out the family’s next move to avoid what they say will be harassment by police. Virginia and California are the front-runners.

“If I were alone, I’d try to stay. But I have a family, and I have to find a place where we can live with more freedom,” said Cruz, who hopes to move July 4 to blend in with holiday weekend traffic. “This is getting too hard.”

Paul Senseman, a spokesman for Brewer, said it’s difficult to gauge how many people are leaving because of the law, but he said he hears similar reports of people leaving the state.

“If that means that fewer people are breaking the law, that is absolutely an accomplishment,” he said.

KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona 1,200 National Guard troops to be deployed to border

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Tuesday announced the White House has agreed to her requests to deploy National Guard troops to the U.S. border with Mexico.

Giffords called for the Guard's deployment immediately after the March 27, 2010, murder of Cochise County rancher Rob Krentz.

Giffords also says in a statement Tuesday that President Barack Obama will request $500 million in funding for border security.

In 2006, President George W. Bush sent thousands of troops to the border to perform support duties that tie up immigration agents. The troops wouldn't perform significant law enforcement duties.

That program has since ended, and politicians in border states have called for troops to be sent there to curb human and drug smuggling and prevent Mexico's drug violence from spilling over into the United States.

via KVOA.com