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Thread: immigration articles thread

  1. #1
    By JULIA PRESTON | NY Times, Jan 15 2008

    Federal authorities expect to identify and deport more than 200,000 immigrants this year who are convicted criminals serving time in prisons and jails across the country, the country's top federal immigration enforcement official said Monday.

    The effort to speed the deportation of foreign-born criminals is part of a campaign by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to help federal and state prisons reduce the costs of housing immigrants, the official, Julie L. Myers, assistant secretary of homeland security and head of the agency, said in an interview.

    In 2007, Ms. Myers said, the agency, known as ICE, brought formal immigration charges against 164,000 immigrants who are behind bars nationwide for crimes committed in this country. Many of those immigrants are still in the United States and are also slated for deportation this year, she said. By comparison, in 2006, the agency identified 64,000 immigrants behind bars, most of whom were deported.

    The big increase in deportations will place "a significant burden," on ICE's detention centers, she said, and on the airplanes, mostly from the Justice Department, used by the agency to fly immigrants back to their home countries. Last year, Congress authorized $200 million for programs to deport immigrant criminals.

    Under current law, immigrants convicted of crimes are deported only after serving their sentences in this country. Foreigners behind bars, Ms. Myers said, include large numbers of immigrants who were legal residents, but lost their legal status as a result of being convicted of crimes.

    Ms. Myers said the agency would work with states to devise parole programs allowing immigrants imprisoned for nonviolent crimes to reduce their prison time if they agreed to be deported immediately upon release.

    The issue of immigrants in county jails and state prisons has been a sore point in many states. At city council meetings and in local elections, taxpayers vented frustration at having to pay for the imprisonment of illegal immigrants convicted of crimes committed in this country.

    The Bush administration, after failing to win legislation last year to give legal status to illegal immigrants, has rapidly ramped up enforcement, placing a "huge priority" on deporting criminal immigrants, Ms. Myers said.

    In general, immigrants end up in prison at significantly lower rates than people born in this country, said RubΓ©n G. Rumbaut, a sociology professor at the University of California, Irvine, who studies immigrants and crime. Among men between the ages of 18 and 39, Mr. Rumbaut has found, Americans are five times more likely to land in prison than immigrants.

    In 2007, ICE sent 276,912 immigrants to their home countries, including many who were had never been arrested for crimes, but were deported for civil immigration violations.

    In the past year, Ms. Myers said, agents have stepped up efforts to find immigrants behind bars and complete immigration proceedings so they could be deported directly from prison without being released into the streets.

    Ms. Myers, who was confirmed in late December after serving a year in the post, said the agency would intensify the crackdown this year with increased criminal prosecutions of employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.

    "There should be more of those," she said of such prosecutions. Last year, the agency totaled $30 million in fines and forfeitures against employers, but fewer than 100 executives or hiring managers were arrested, compared with 4,100 unauthorized workers.

    Ms. Myers said ICE agents were frustrated that employment cases had moved slowly in the courts and had not been treated as serious crimes by federal prosecutors and judges.

    "This can't be that we are the only ones who want to have these laws enforced," she said.

    Some employers, Ms. Myers said, were moving on their own to fire immigrant workers who lacked proper authorization and to tighten their hiring practices. She cited an Electrolux factory in Springfield, Tenn., that fired more than 150 immigrants in December after ICE arrested a handful of its workers.

    "Do I think we have solved this problem? No," Ms. Myers said of the hiring of illegal immigrants. "Do I think we are starting to make an impact? I think we're starting to."

    On a separate issue, Ms. Myers confirmed that the agency adopted a new policy last week requiring a court order for medical staff members to give sedation drugs to immigrants being deported. The decision, in a Jan. 9 memorandum, responded to a lawsuit in California by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of two immigrants who were forcibly drugged during attempts by ICE to deport them.

  2. #2
    By COREY KILGANNON | NY Times, Jan 15 2008

    WESTHAMPTON, N.Y. "” The officers showed up at 6 a.m. at the four connected apartments on Old Country Road.

    They went from bedroom to bedroom, waking children and photographing the premises and the residents, who all were Latino immigrants, of varying legal status.

    "They asked everyone for their papers and we did not know why," said Marco Yat, 40, a Guatemalan who lives in one of the apartments with his wife and three young children. "The children were scared."

    Thirteen Guatemalan passports were confiscated. But while the Oct. 30 raid may have seemed like an immigration raid to the residents, it turned out to be a building inspection, conducted by code enforcement officers and police officers from the Town of Southampton, which includes Westhampton.

    And within hours, the occupants of three of the units "” more than a dozen people "” had packed up and moved out, because they suspected that the inspectors were more interested in their immigration status than in broken smoke detectors and certificates of occupancy, said Mr. Yat, a construction worker who remained, he said, because he and his family are United States citizens.

    Several notices of violations were issued to the landlord. The citations and other details of the inspection were posted on the town's Web site, along with those of other inspections carried out "to identify and crack down on unsafe and overcrowded living conditions within Southampton Town."

    As part of the same crackdown, last August the town board approved a comprehensive rental law intended to stop the crowding of multiple families into single units. The law, which went into effect on Jan. 1, requires landlords to obtain rental permits from the town, for which they must pay a fee, to provide details on each unit and to identify each tenant. Violations carry stiff penalties, including fines of $1,500 to $15,000 and six-month jail sentences for three convictions within 18 months.

    The town has long had seasonal rental laws, largely to regulate "party houses" "” homes, typically jammed with young renters from Manhattan, that can become noisy public nuisances. But with an ever-increasing influx of Hispanic immigrants, many of whom live in large numbers in one- and two-family houses, the town's concerns about overcrowding, especially in the off-season have shifted.

    The new policy has become the latest controversy involving illegal immigrants in Suffolk County, where the county executive, Steve Levy, has won broad public approval and national attention for his aggressive campaign against illegal immigration. In Southampton, gatherings of day laborers near the village are regularly picketed by some local residents, and a proposal to have the workers assemble at hiring spots, to diminish loitering along roadways, was blocked by opponents who charged that it amounted to condoning the hiring of illegal immigrants.

    The predawn building inspections were criticized by Dianne Rulnick, co-chairwoman of the town's Anti-Bias Task Force, a coalition of community leaders that advises the town board.

    "These inspections are being conducted as raids, with the strong-arm tactics of border control agents, and they've polarized the town and put terrible fear into this community," Ms. Rulnick said.

    "Of eight houses that have been inspected, seven of them were occupied by Latinos," she said.

    She added that many of the inspections badly frightened children in the houses. "They are undergoing psychological counseling," Ms. Rulnick said. "They don't want to go out of the house, don't want to go to school."

    Donald MacPherson, a local landlord who filed a federal lawsuit against town officials over the rent laws, called the new one "an immigration policy in sheep's clothing" and a "law to threaten landlords for renting to ˜illegals.' "

    Mr. MacPherson rents to Hispanic tenants and recently received notices of violations from the town. He claimed that the inspections that were their basis violated his constitutional protections against unlawful search and seizure of private property. He argued that the town's building codes provide adequate protections against overcrowding and that the new law "forces landlords to ask tenants intrusive questions."

    Town officials consider the suit groundless and are seeking to have it dismissed, said Michael S. Cohen, a lawyer representing the town in the case. "The law's intent was to create safe housing conditions in the municipality," he said. "The regulations are lawful, appropriate and necessary. They are designed to crack down on illegal rentals and unscrupulous landlords."

    Mr. Cohen added: "There has to be a balancing of concerns for landlords and tenants and neighbors, on issues like parking, noise, garbage removal "” all that stuff."

    Ms. Rulnick said that it was in an effort to get an accurate tenant count that officials conducting the surprise inspections generally arrived around 6 a.m., before many residents leave for the day.

    To many Hispanic immigrants, the inspections resemble the sweeps by federal immigration officers that have been conducted on the East End of Long Island in recent months, said Sister Margaret Smyth, an advocate for Hispanic immigrants on the East End.

    "The town seems to be using code enforcement to do immigration inspections," she said. "Are they running the IDs for immigration status and forwarding the information? Some tenants don't even realize later that the officers were just code enforcement "” they think their passports are being handed over to immigration officials."

    The Guatemalan tenants from Westhampton were afraid to reclaim their passports at Town Hall, she said, but eventually agreed to go with a lawyer provided by an advocacy group.

    A supporter of the new laws, Ronald Lewandowski of Hampton Bays, said the law was not aimed at Hispanics.

    Mr. Lewandowski of the Patriot Border Alliance, a national group that calls for stricter immigration laws, said the rental laws, while not created to discriminate against any ethnic group, do help control what he called "an illegal immigration invasion on the East End."

    "If you're here illegally and getting hired illegally, you're often going to have to live somewhere illegally," said Mr. Lewandowski, who photographs houses with signs of overcrowding "” multiple satellite dishes, buzzers at the door or cars and bicycles out front "” and notifies town officials.

    "If you got nothing to hide, you got nothing to be afraid of," he said of the inspections.

    "If those tenants don't know they're living in illegal conditions," Mr. Lewandowski added, "they better start reading and speaking English to find out."

  3. #3
    By NEELA BANERJEE | NY Times, Jan 11 2008

    A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Thursday blocked the government's efforts to deport a Coptic Christian who said he would be tortured if he were returned to Egypt. The ruling was a rebuff to the Bush administration's practice of relying on confidential assurances to send people to countries that have been known to practice torture.

    The judge ruled that the government's unwillingness to allow an independent review of Egypt's assurances denied him due process.

    The man, Sameh Khouzam, 38, of Lancaster, Pa., was convicted of murder in absentia in Egypt. He denies the murder accusation, however, and contends that he was repeatedly detained and tortured in Egypt because he refused to convert to Islam. Philip G. Schrag, a professor of law at Georgetown University and an expert on asylum issues, said the ruling was significant.

    "The importance of this case," he said, "lies in its rejection of the Bush administration's claim that secret diplomatic assurances by a foreign government that it will not torture a person preclude judicial review."

    The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented Mr. Khouzam, echoed that view. And Marc D. Falkoff, assistant professor of law at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb and counsel for 16 Yemenis held at GuantΓ‘namo Bay, Cuba, said the ruling could have sweeping implications for those detained at GuantΓ‘namo.

    "It's tremendously important," Mr. Falkoff said. "It's not a binding precedent outside the jurisdiction of the Third Circuit but the ruling has persuasive authority in any federal court and, without a doubt, it will be brought to the attention of any federal judge who has a case pending where a detainee or prisoner is challenging the government's right to transfer him to a country where he might be tortured."

    Egypt's government gave diplomatic assurances that Mr. Khouzam, who fled to the United States almost 10 years ago, would not be tortured upon his return. The office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement decided last June to deport him.

    In June, a spokesman for the immigration and customs agency said the assurances made by Egypt were confidential.

    In his ruling on Thursday, the judge, Thomas I. Vanaskie of the Middle District of Pennsylvania, said that without an impartial and binding review of those assurances, the procedures established to give protection under the Convention Against Torture "would be a farce."

    Groups like Human Rights Watch and the A.C.L.U. have argued that the use of torture in Egypt is so routine and well-documented that deporting Mr. Khouzam would expose him to harsh treatment and would amount to a violation of the Convention Against Torture.

    Kelly Nantel, a spokeswoman for the immigration and customs agency, said that it was reviewing its appeals options and that it had won a five-day stay on Mr. Khouzam's release from detention in York, Pa.

    The Egyptian government denies that Mr. Khouzam faced persecution for his Christian faith, and a government spokesman said in June that Mr. Khouzam would serve a prison term upon his return, based on the murder conviction.

    Mr. Khouzam first heard of the murder accusation when he arrived in the United States in February 1998. He was detained for the next eight years by immigration authorities. In 2004, a federal appeals court denied Mr. Khouzam asylum, but allowed him to stay in the United States because he risked being tortured in Egypt.

    In early 2006, Mr. Khouzam was released and has recently worked as the controller for a real estate developer in Lancaster. He was detained when he went to immigration authorities for a routine visit on May 29.

  4. #4
    NY Times, Jan 11 2008

    A former supervisor with the federal Citizenship and Immigration Services office in New York was sentenced in Federal District Court on Thursday to 42 months in prison for taking bribes in exchange for granting citizenship to ineligible applicants, prosecutors said. The defendant, Jimmie Ortega, 59, of Lindenhurst, N.Y., admitted that from 2004 to 2006, he used his position as an adjudications officer to obtain citizenship for at least 20 immigrants in exchange for payments of $1,500 to $4,000, said Michael J. Garcia, the United States attorney in Manhattan. Mr. Ortega, who retired in April 2006, pleaded guilty last July to conspiracy and soliciting bribes, prosecutors said.

  5. #5
    Originally posted by mike_2007:
    NY Times, Jan 11 2008

    A former supervisor with the federal Citizenship and Immigration Services office in New York was sentenced in Federal District Court on Thursday to 42 months in prison for taking bribes in exchange for granting citizenship to ineligible applicants, prosecutors said. The defendant, Jimmie Ortega, 59, of Lindenhurst, N.Y., admitted that from 2004 to 2006, he used his position as an adjudications officer to obtain citizenship for at least 20 immigrants in exchange for payments of $1,500 to $4,000, said Michael J. Garcia, the United States attorney in Manhattan. Mr. Ortega, who retired in April 2006, pleaded guilty last July to conspiracy and soliciting bribes, prosecutors said.

    Now I wonder if they are going to dig up those 20 that received citizenship and review the applications. I hope so. these people are not off to a good start by bribing to get citizenship. Not the kind of moral character we are looking for in this country.

    And this sleeze adjudicator right inside the uscis. so imagine with the outside contractors that cover up fraud to make nice package for I/o to approve.

    These numbers cant be real.. this guy worked 4cheap

  6. #6
    lol yea i know ,,and i wonder how did they find out anyway? iam sure those ppl are not stupid to mention it ... and he wont say it either .. someone inside maybe digged on it and got him in trouble

  7. #7
    Associated Press, Jan 14 2008

    LONDON -- All visitors to Britain requiring visas will have to be fingerprinted starting Monday, the government said.

    Immigration Minister Liam Byrne said those applying for a British visa from any of 133 countries would now have their fingerprints checked against a database.

    Byrne said the system, which the government has gradually been introducing around the world since September 2006, had already captured biometric information from more than 1 million people. He said the system had flagged nearly 500 cases of identity fraud.

    Logging and checking visitors' biometric information is one of the central planks of the government's new immigration strategy, which includes the introduction of an Australian-style points system intended to encourage skilled immigrants, the creation of police-like border force and fines for bosses who do not ensure their employees are legally entitled to work in Britain.

    Tourists from the United States and the European Union, which do not require visas for short visits to Britain, will not be fingerprinted.

  8. #8
    Mike did they list the 133 countries by chance?
    "Until the color of a man's skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes everywhere will be war"...................BOB MARLEY

  9. #9
    Associated Press, Jan 14 2008

    LONDON -- Britain has committed an act of "atrocious barbarism" by deporting a Ghanaian woman who is dying of cancer, a leading British medical journal said Tuesday.

    In an editorial, The Lancet criticized the British government for removing Ama Sumani, 39, from the country last week, thereby denying her access to life-prolonging dialysis treatment. Sumani had applied for asylum, but was rejected.

    In the same issue, 275 doctors signed a letter urging the government to abandon plans to abolish failed asylum seekers' rights to basic health care.

    The editorial criticizes doctors' leaders for not speaking out on the issue.

    "Sumani is not the only migrant who has fallen seriously ill in the U.K., begun treatment, and then been removed or deported to a country where treatment is unaffordable or inaccessible," the editorial said.

    "To stop treating patients in the knowledge that they are being sent home to die is an unacceptable breach of the duties of any health professional. The U.K. has committed an atrocious barbarism," it concludes. "It is time for doctors leaders to say so _ forcefully and uncompromisingly."

    The doctors who signed the letter vowed to continue to give asylum seekers medical advice, regardless of their immigration status, and to campaign against the government proposal.

  10. #10
    i haven't seen the list yet caribbeanman , sorry, i thought i have , but if i find it i will post it for u

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