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  • Fines for hiring illegal workers

    New legislation which will punish businesses caught employing illegal foreign workers has come into force.


    If employers are found to have knowingly hired illegal workers they could incur an unlimited fine and be sent to prison for up to two years.

    The fines are part of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act.

    Small businesses have criticised the new legislation, because they fear it will require employers to act as "immigration officers".

    Bosses caught employing illegal workers could face a £10,000 on the spot fine. Previously the maximum was £5,000.

    The Home Office said the new civil penalties for employers who unknowingly hire illegal workers would allow it to save criminal prosecution for more serious cases.

    'Totally unfair'

    The measures sit along side other changes being made as part of the biggest immigration shake-up for 40 years.


    It is totally unfair to expect small business owners to act as immigration officers
    Alan Tyrrell, Federation of Small Businesses

    The UK will introduce an Australian-style points system that will allow the government to pinpoint immigrants with skills that will benefit the UK economy.

    It will also make ID cards compulsory for foreign nationals.

    The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said the new rules imposed unrealistic expectations and draconian fines on employers.

    "It is totally unfair to expect small business owners to act as immigration officers," said Alan Tyrrell, FSB employment chairman.

    The FSB said the act requires small businesses to understand and verify up to 13 different forms of identification when employing foreign workers.

    When the new measures were announced in November, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said the penalties were "a more effective way of dealing with employers who use slipshod or exploitative recruitment methods".

    Check documents

    Families could also be affected by the changes to the law if they, for example, employ a nanny who turns out to be an illegal worker, said Kerry Garcia, an employment and immigration specialist at law firm Stevens and Bolton.

    "There is a move toward making employers bear some of the burden on immigration and some employers resent this," said Ms Garcia.

    She encouraged employers to check the documents of all new workers and make sure they have the right to work in the UK.

    The UK's latest official annual immigration statistics showed record levels of people arriving in the UK and record numbers leaving.

    Figures from the Office for National Statistics said 591,000 people migrated to the UK in 2006 while some 400,000 people moved overseas.



    Story from BBC NEWS:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/h...ss/7268807.stm

    Published: 2008/02/29 00:41:24 GMT
    Wolves Travel In Packs
    ____________________

    Comment


    • Moscow offers 'migrant amnesty'
      By Steven Eke
      BBC News



      Moscow authorities have announced what they have called a "spring amnesty" for the hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants working in the city.
      From 1 March, illegal migrants will be able to apply to Russia's Federal Migration Service for registration.

      On paying the equivalent of around $80 (£40), they will be given permission to search for work or a place to study.

      If after a month they are still unemployed or not studying, they will be required to leave Moscow.

      Officials say the amnesty is aimed at curbing the rise in xenophobic sentiment among the young.

      It comes at a time when the Russian government is trying to bring order to economic migration by making it easier for workers to obtain the correct permissions, and by introducing tough sanctions for employers who take on illegal workers.

      Permission to work

      Many illegal migrants are likely to suspect the scheme is aimed more at detecting and then expelling them, rather than giving them full, legal status.

      Moscow's authorities say that more than 1.7 million foreigners are registered in the city, and the numbers of new arrivals are increasing rapidly.

      While no precise statistics are available, officials say that there may be another million or more illegal migrants working in the capital.

      As unregistered inhabitants, they have no right to medical or social services, and are extremely vulnerable to both unscrupulous employers and far-right, racist groups.

      Migrant workers "necessary"

      Earlier this week, the head of the Federal Migration Service said migrant workers were as "necessary as air" to Russia's booming economy.


      Last year 2,136,000 migrants obtained work permits, compared to only 500,000 in 2006
      Konstantin Romodanovsky
      Federal Migration Service

      However, he warned, across Russia, there may be between five and seven million illegal migrants, whose position would need to be regularised.

      The authorities, he pledged, would make it easier for migrants to gain the necessary permits.

      But he warned employers of punitively large fines, if they take on illegal workers.

      The largest numbers of foreign workers in Russia currently come from Uzbekistan, in Central Asia, and China.

      Story from BBC NEWS:
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/h...pe/7271445.stm
      Wolves Travel In Packs
      ____________________

      Comment


      • <span class="ev_code_RED">What is ironic is they still don't have the proper funding to support this initiative.</span>

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...l?hpid=moreheadlines

        Latinos Looking Over Shoulder

        Pr. William Begins Checking Suspects' Immigration Status


        By Pamela Constable and Nick Miroff
        Washington Post Staff Writers

        Tuesday, March 4, 2008; Page A01

        Work-van drivers signaled long before their turns to avoid being pulled over for a traffic violation. Day laborers skipped their early morning coffee at 7-Eleven, and merengue tunes played to empty tables at Latino lunch counters across Prince William County yesterday.

        It was the first day of a county ordinance that allows police to check people's immigration status for even minor legal infractions.

        Police officials pledged to enforce the law fairly and to not stop and question individuals based on their racial or ethnic appearance, but many Hispanic residents said they feared they would be stopped without reason and deported for such violations as driving without a valid license or having a broken taillight.

        "Already the rumors are starting," said Rene Cabrera, a legal resident from El Salvador who works at a market in Manassas. "My friend saw four patrol cars outside a shopping mall and thought it was a raid. Instead of going to the store, he stayed in his car and drove away. I really worry this can create chaos."

        Immigrant advocate groups, speaking at a community meeting Sunday in Woodbridge and on local Spanish-language radio stations, have been advising immigrants without legal papers to keep a low profile and obey all traffic rules. If stopped by police, the groups said, they should be polite and show some identification but otherwise remain silent until they can see a lawyer.

        "We are telling people to drive perfectly, not to spit or jaywalk, and not to carry anything in a brown paper bag," said Nancy Lyhall, a volunteer with the local pro-immigrant group Mexicans Without Borders. "They should be the model of model citizens."

        County Police Chief Charlie T. Deane, speaking to reporters yesterday, said that his officers would "continue to enforce the law in a fair, lawful and reasonable manner" and that they have been trained "very carefully" to conduct immigration checks. The new measures are expected to cost $26 million over five years, and Deane has asked county officials for an additional $3 million to install video cameras in every patrol car and monitor them to ensure proper procedures are followed.

        "Those who are suspected of breaking the law -- even traffic violations -- will be screened if the officer has probable cause to believe the suspect is in the country illegally," Deane said. If the driver lacks a valid U.S. license, it's much more likely now that police will notify federal immigration officials. "The officer will have to make the determination on a case-by-case basis," he said.

        Legal and illegal immigrants yesterday expressed the belief -- some with sadness, others with indignation -- that the law is part of a larger effort to drive Hispanics out of the county. Santos Perdomo, 38, a legal resident who owns a business and two houses in Prince William, said he had always donated to the county police charity fund. Now, he said, he no longer feels like giving.

        "Even though I am legal, I feel rejected," he said. "This law has ruined all the good feelings. When I came here 12 years ago, my neighbors sent me pies. Now they look at me differently."

        Perdomo said that many Hispanics are leaving the county but that he plans to stay. "I don't want to teach my children to be bitter," he said.

        Juan Hernandez, 32, an illegal immigrant from Guatemala who works as a carpenter in Manassas, said he has stopped driving and now only walks, as fast as he can, between his apartment and his job site.

        "I have three kids back home, so I have to keep working," he said, munching on an enchilada at an otherwise empty Central American cafe. "I was afraid walking to this place today, but I thought, I am a good person, I don't steal or drink, so God will watch over me."

        Despite police assurances that they will not use the new law to target Hispanics, immigrant advocates said they believe this is already happening. Ricardo Juarez, a Woodbridge resident who is coordinator of Mexicans Without Borders, said he was stopped by a police officer last week who said he had failed to signal a turn and then asked to see his license.

        "I had been very careful to signal because I saw he was following me," Juarez said yesterday. "They say this will not be a witch hunt, but we think it will be a silent and gradual witch hunt.

        "After all this money and training, they are not going to want the officers to come back empty-handed."

        Comment


        • http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,334702,00.html

          Homeland Security Warn States of Airport Hassles if They Don't Adopt ID Rules

          Monday, March 03, 2008

          WASHINGTON "” Homeland Security officials are pushing recalcitrant states to adopt stricter driver's license standards to end a standoff that could disrupt domestic air travel.

          States have less than a month to send a letter to the Homeland Security Department seeking an extension to comply with the Real ID law passed following the 2001 terror attacks. Some states have resisted, saying it is costly, impractical and an invasion of privacy.

          Four states "” Maine, Montana, New Hampshire and South Carolina "” have yet to seek an extension.

          Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff argues that the law fixes a critical gap in security identified by the commission that investigated the 9/11 attacks: the ease of obtaining government-issued ID. It will also hinder would-be con artists and illegal immigrants, he said.

          Real ID-compliant driver's licenses would have several layers of new security features to prevent forgery. They would also be issued after a number of ID checks, including verification of birth certificates, Social Security numbers and immigration status. Officials acknowledge it will take years to phase in all the different security measures.

          To bring the states in line, Chertoff warned that any state that does not seek an extension by the end of March will find that, come May, their residents will not be able to use their licenses to board domestic flights.

          Chertoff's assistant secretary, Stewart Baker, sent letters to several governors Monday reminding them of the looming deadline, and urging the holdouts to seek an extension.

          In recent years, 17 states passed legislation or resolutions opposing Real ID, but now only a handful appear willing to challenge the government publicly.

          Officials in Maine and Montana insisted Monday they would not seek an extension. A spokesman for South Carolina's governor said he was still considering it. New Hampshire passed a law last year prohibiting the state from participating in the Real ID program, and Gov. John Lynch wrote Chertoff last week asking him not to impose the requirements on New Hampshire citizens.

          A fifth state, Delaware, has sent a letter asking for an extension, but DHS officials are still weighing whether the wording of the letter legally adds up to an extension request.

          If the states do not seek an extention by March 31, their residents will be subjected to secondary screening by security workers before boarding any domestic flight beginning May 11.

          "We're not going to buckle under here," said Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer. "My guess is the people of Montana would be proud to walk through that line."

          Schweitzer called the Real ID proposal a bureaucratic boondoggle that will cost his state a fortune and give a false sense of security without actually making ID more reliable. He has sought to rally opposition to Real ID, but the vast majority of states have decided not to test whether Washington is bluffing.

          As the high-stakes game of chicken continues, federal authorities are not publicly saying whether seeking an extension actually counts as complying with the law. In his recent letters, Baker said only that the 45 states that have sought extensions are "on track toward improved security."

          Comment


          • Confidential Study Suggests Tougher Words For Dems On Immigration

            --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/0...s_n_89077.html

            Democrats may soon be taking a tougher public position on immigration, according to a confidential study put together by key think tanks close to the party leadership.
            The study urges Democrats to adopt more rigid rhetoric when discussing immigration by encouraging office-holders to emphasize "requiring immigrants to become legal" rather than stressing border enforcement and the opening of a path to legalization for the undocumented already here.
            Implicit in the report is the notion that Democrats can win wider public support for immigration reform by framing the issue in harsher-sound verbiage and, perhaps, policy.
            This message places the focus where voters want it, on what's best for the United States, not what we can/should do for illegal immigrants.
            Titled "Winning The Immigration Debate," the study was put together by the Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform and the Center for American Progress. Its findings, which have been sent to Capitol Hill and have been part of briefing sessions in both the House and the Senate, are based off of polling conducted by Peter Hart Research Associates.
            Taken as a whole, the report presents a new prism through which the Democrats should approach the immigration debate. "It is unacceptable to have 12 million people in our country who are outside the system," it reads. "We must require illegal immigrants to become legal, and reform the laws so this can happen."
            Polling for the study revealed that a larger swath of the public was supportive of "requiring" undocumented immigrants already in the country to normalize their status than there was for only offering them legalization as an option. In addition, the report pushes Democrats to argue that immigrants should be required to pay taxes, learn English, and pass criminal background checks to remain in the country. Those who have a criminal record should be deported. All of these policies were included in last year's immigration reform compromise legislation, which ultimately failed.
            "Our view is that this argument threads the needle in favor of comprehensive reform in the most effective way," Jen Palmieri, communications chief for the Center for American Progress, told the Huffington Post.
            Added Cecilia Muñoz, senior vice president of policy at the National Council of La Raza and chair of the board at CCIR: "We are not asking people to be for legalization out of altruism. It is perfectly okay for them to be for legalization because that is what fixes the problem... Rather than educate [the public], you can convince them to do the right thing if you call it a requirement as opposed to an effort."
            And yet, for some, the new frame represents exactly the wrong direction that the Democrats should be taking, reinforcing the notion that immigrants were problematic and "the offenders."
            "There has been no consensus around the Democratic rhetoric in regard to immigration," said one party official who had knowledge of the report. "But it has usually been framed around opportunity, and it was less framed around this punishment rhetoric. We are going to require these people to become legal or we are going to deport [them]? It doesn't challenge the immigrant scapegoating direction of the conversation. It plays right into it."
            In support of their new message, the study notes that 88 percent of all voters as well as 84 percent of Hispanic voters had a favorable response to "requiring illegal immigrants to become legal, obey U.S. laws, pay taxes or face deportation." Those numbers changed to 66 percent and 87 percent, respectively, when it was merely "allowing" illegal immigrants to receive earned legal status.
            "My sense is that the public is in a fairly tough mood about immigration though not as tough as Lou Dobbs is every night," said Guy Molyneux, who conducted research for the report.
            On the campaign trail neither Democratic candidate has deployed the argument that immigrants should be "required" to obtain legal status. Both, in fact, have discussed immigration policy in a frame that the CCIR/CAP report discourages.
            Sen. Hillary Clinton, her website reads, "believes comprehensive reform must have as essential ingredients a strengthening of our borders, greater cross-cooperation with our neighbors, strict but fair enforcement of our laws, federal assistance to our state and local governments, strict penalties for those who exploit undocumented workers, and a path to earned legal status for those who are here, working hard, paying taxes, respecting the law, and willing to meet a high bar."
            And in the Democratic debate at Saint Anselm College on June 3, 2007, Sen. Barack Obama argued, "We want to have a situation in which those who are already here, are playing by the rules, are willing to pay a fine and go through a rigorous process should have a pathway to legalization. Most Americans will support that if they have some sense that the border is also being secured."

            Comment


            • By DEVLIN BARRETT | Associated Press, Mar 3

              WASHINGTON -- Homeland Security officials are pushing recalcitrant states to adopt stricter driver's license standards to end a standoff that could disrupt domestic air travel.

              States have less than a month to send a letter to the Homeland Security Department seeking an extension to comply with the Real ID law passed following the 2001 terror attacks. Some states have resisted, saying it is costly, impractical and an invasion of privacy.

              Four states _ Maine, Montana, New Hampshire and South Carolina _ have yet to seek an extension.

              Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff argues that the law fixes a critical gap in security identified by the commission that investigated the 9/11 attacks: the ease of obtaining government-issued ID. It will also hinder would-be con artists and illegal immigrants, he said.

              Real ID-compliant driver's licenses would have several layers of new security features to prevent forgery. They would also be issued after a number of ID checks, including verification of birth certificates, Social Security numbers and immigration status. Officials acknowledge it will take years to phase in all the different security measures.

              To bring the states in line, Chertoff warned that any state that does not seek an extension by the end of March will find that, come May, their residents will not be able to use their licenses to board domestic flights.

              Chertoff's assistant secretary, Stewart Baker, sent letters to several governors Monday reminding them of the looming deadline, and urging the holdouts to seek an extension.

              In recent years, 17 states passed legislation or resolutions opposing Real ID, but now only a handful appear willing to challenge the government publicly.

              Officials in Maine and Montana insisted Monday they would not seek an extension. A spokesman for South Carolina's governor said he was still considering it. New Hampshire passed a law last year prohibiting the state from participating in the Real ID program, and Gov. John Lynch wrote Chertoff last week asking him not to impose the requirements on New Hampshire citizens.

              A fifth state, Delaware, has sent a letter asking for an extension, but DHS officials are still weighing whether the wording of the letter legally adds up to an extension request.

              If the states do not seek an extention by March 31, their residents will be subjected to secondary screening by security workers before boarding any domestic flight beginning May 11.

              "We're not going to buckle under here," said Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer. "My guess is the people of Montana would be proud to walk through that line."

              Schweitzer called the Real ID proposal a bureaucratic boondoggle that will cost his state a fortune and give a false sense of security without actually making ID more reliable. He has sought to rally opposition to Real ID, but the vast majority of states have decided not to test whether Washington is bluffing.

              As the high-stakes game of chicken continues, federal authorities are not publicly saying whether seeking an extension actually counts as complying with the law. In his recent letters, Baker said only that the 45 states that have sought extensions are "on track toward improved security."

              Comment


              • Pr. William Begins Checking Suspects' Immigration Status By Pamela Constable and Nick Miroff | Washington Post, Mar 4

                Work-van drivers signaled long before their turns to avoid being pulled over for a traffic violation. Day laborers skipped their early morning coffee at 7-Eleven, and merengue tunes played to empty tables at Latino lunch counters across Prince William County yesterday.

                It was the first day of a county ordinance that allows police to check people's immigration status for even minor legal infractions.

                Police officials pledged to enforce the law fairly and to not stop and question individuals based on their racial or ethnic appearance, but many Hispanic residents said they feared they would be stopped without reason and deported for such violations as driving without a valid license or having a broken taillight.

                "Already the rumors are starting," said Rene Cabrera, a legal resident from El Salvador who works at a market in Manassas. "My friend saw four patrol cars outside a shopping mall and thought it was a raid. Instead of going to the store, he stayed in his car and drove away. I really worry this can create chaos."

                Immigrant advocate groups, speaking at a community meeting Sunday in Woodbridge and on local Spanish-language radio stations, have been advising immigrants without legal papers to keep a low profile and obey all traffic rules. If stopped by police, the groups said, they should be polite and show some identification but otherwise remain silent until they can see a lawyer.

                "We are telling people to drive perfectly, not to spit or jaywalk, and not to carry anything in a brown paper bag," said Nancy Lyhall, a volunteer with the local pro-immigrant group Mexicans Without Borders. "They should be the model of model citizens."

                County Police Chief Charlie T. Deane, speaking to reporters yesterday, said that his officers would "continue to enforce the law in a fair, lawful and reasonable manner" and that they have been trained "very carefully" to conduct immigration checks. The new measures are expected to cost $26 million over five years, and Deane has asked county officials for an additional $3 million to install video cameras in every patrol car and monitor them to ensure proper procedures are followed.

                "Those who are suspected of breaking the law -- even traffic violations -- will be screened if the officer has probable cause to believe the suspect is in the country illegally," Deane said. If the driver lacks a valid U.S. license, it's much more likely now that police will notify federal immigration officials. "The officer will have to make the determination on a case-by-case basis," he said.

                Legal and illegal immigrants yesterday expressed the belief -- some with sadness, others with indignation -- that the law is part of a larger effort to drive Hispanics out of the county. Santos Perdomo, 38, a legal resident who owns a business and two houses in Prince William, said he had always donated to the county police charity fund. Now, he said, he no longer feels like giving.

                "Even though I am legal, I feel rejected," he said. "This law has ruined all the good feelings. When I came here 12 years ago, my neighbors sent me pies. Now they look at me differently."

                Perdomo said that many Hispanics are leaving the county but that he plans to stay. "I don't want to teach my children to be bitter," he said.

                Juan Hernandez, 32, an illegal immigrant from Guatemala who works as a carpenter in Manassas, said he has stopped driving and now only walks, as fast as he can, between his apartment and his job site.

                "I have three kids back home, so I have to keep working," he said, munching on an enchilada at an otherwise empty Central American cafe. "I was afraid walking to this place today, but I thought, I am a good person, I don't steal or drink, so God will watch over me."

                Despite police assurances that they will not use the new law to target Hispanics, immigrant advocates said they believe this is already happening. Ricardo Juarez, a Woodbridge resident who is coordinator of Mexicans Without Borders, said he was stopped by a police officer last week who said he had failed to signal a turn and then asked to see his license.

                "I had been very careful to signal because I saw he was following me," Juarez said yesterday. "They say this will not be a witch hunt, but we think it will be a silent and gradual witch hunt.

                "After all this money and training, they are not going to want the officers to come back empty-handed."

                Comment


                • http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/ope...migration_and_crime/

                  Immigration and crime

                  Op-ed Jeff Jacoby

                  March 5, 2008

                  WARMING to one of his favorite themes the other night, CNN's Lou Dobbs repeatedly invoked the phrase "criminal illegal aliens," as he did his best to feed the stereotype that illegal immigrants drive up crime. Dobbs's relentless spleen on this subject, of course, has won him a following. Seal-the-borders nativism won't get anyone elected president - just ask ex-GOP candidates Tom Tancredo, Mitt Romney, and Rudy Giuliani - but there is no denying it's good for TV ratings.

                  Fortunately, politicians and television personalities aren't the only people interested in immigration and crime. A new study from the Public Policy Institute of California offers significantly more substance on the topic than anything you're likely to encounter on cable TV or in the presidential campaign.

                  The paper, by economists Kristin F. Butcher and Anne Morrison Piehl, assesses the impact of immigration on crime by analyzing data from California, which has by far the nation's largest population of prison inmates: One-eighth of all state prisoners in the United States are incarcerated in California, as are 30 percent of all inmates who are not American citizens. What Butcher and Piehl demonstrate is that immigrants, far from being more likely to end up behind bars, are dramatically less likely to do so.

                  The numbers are striking: While immigrants (legal and illegal) account for 35 percent of California adults, they represent just 17 percent of the state's prisoners. Men born in the United States are incarcerated in California prisons at more than two times the rate of foreign-born men. Within the age group most often involved in crime (ages 18 to 40), US natives - astonishingly - are 10 times more likely to be in prison or jail than immigrants (4.2 percent of the former are in correctional institutions, and just 0.42 percent of the latter). Even when the focus is narrowed to inmates who were born in Mexico and are not citizens - the demographic group most likely to include illegal immigrants - the rate of incarceration is only one-eighth that of men born in the United States.

                  Butcher and Piehl also compared crime rates among California cities. They found that the cities with greater numbers of recently arrived immigrants have lower crime rates, while cities with fewer immigrants experience higher levels of crime.

                  "Altogether, this evidence suggests that immigrants have very low rates of criminal activity in California," the researchers write - a finding "consistent with national studies on immigration and crime, which also find low rates of criminal activity for the foreign-born." Butcher and Piehl address the seemingly irreconcilable statistic that nearly one-fifth of federal prison inmates are illegal immigrants. In truth, they explain, there is no contradiction: Since persons arrested for immigration violations are automatically transferred to federal facilities, noncitizens are disproportionately represented among federal inmates. In any case, the federal prison population comprises only 8 percent of the total number of prisoners nationwide.

                  But you don't have to pore through think-tank studies to recognize that immigration, illegal or otherwise, doesn't drive the US crime rate.

                  Over the last dozen or so years, the number of illegal immigrants in the United States has doubled to an estimated 12 million. Those same years saw a dramatic nationwide fall in violent crime and property crime. Similarly, the surge in illegal immigration didn't prevent welfare caseloads from falling or millions of new jobs from being created.

                  Americans may not have the statistics at their fingertips, but most of them understand that immigrants, even those who enter the country without permission, are not here to make trouble but to make a better life for themselves and their families. Yes, Dobbs has his loyalists; in a nation of 300 million people, you can find an audience to whoop it up for just about any cause. But far more recognize that demonizing illegal immigrants is as bootless as it is mean. In opinion polls, only a minority of respondents say illegals should be forced to leave; the consistent majority preference is that illegal immigrants be given a way to earn American citizenship.

                  The most distressing spectacle of the 2008 presidential race so far was the attempt by Tancredo, Romney, and Giuliani to win their party's nomination through a Dobbsian attack on illegal immigrants. And the most encouraging development? The Republican Party's rejection of that appeal and its elevation of Senator John McCain, who had refused to take part in the immigrant-bashing.

                  So chalk one up for American common sense. The anti-immigration rabble-rousers haven't disappeared - but none of them will be the next president of the United States.

                  Comment


                  • http://www.miamiherald.com/news/miam...ry/444450.html

                    Immigration targeted family, activist says

                    An immigrant student activist claimed U.S. immigration agents targeted her family for deportation to silence her.
                    Posted on Wed, Mar. 05, 2008

                    BY ANDRES VIGLUCCI


                    ROBERTO KOLTUN/EL NUEVO HERALD STAFF
                    Gaby Pacheco's family faces deportation. She has a student visa to attend Miami Dade College.

                    In July 2006, U.S. immigration agents rousted Miami Dade College student-activist Gaby Pacheco's parents and two sisters from sleep, briefly detained them, and put them into deportation proceedings.

                    Now, on the eve of an immigration court hearing that could decide their fate, the Pachecos and their attorneys are making a touchy allegation: They contend Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents targeted the family to silence Gaby, a leader in efforts to legalize immigrant students who, like herself, were brought to the United States by their parents without permanent legal status.

                    In an e-mailed response to a request for comment, ICE spokeswoman Barbara Gonza*** declined to address the allegations, citing the pending court case, but added: ``What I can tell you is that ICE officers are sworn to uphold our nation's immigration laws. Those who are in violation of U.S. law should not be surprised if they are arrested.''

                    Gaby Pacheco, 23, who is from Ecuador, is not directly affected by the deportation effort because she has a student visa to attend MDC, where she is studying for a degree in special education.

                    She calls ICE's effort to deport her family members ''punishment'' for her advocacy. She contends ICE officials told her sister while the family was detained that they had Pacheco's activism to thank for their detention.

                    ''It was heartbreaking for me,'' Pacheco said Tuesday during a news conference at the office of the family's attorney, Ira Kurzban. ``I never imagined something like this would happen just because I have been outspoken in saying that every human being has a right to an education.''

                    TOURIST VISAS

                    Pacheco and her two sisters were brought to Miami by her parents in 1993 with tourist visas. The family remained after the visas expired. While overstaying a visa is not a crime, it means the family can be ordered deported by an immigration judge.

                    The four Pacheco family members now facing deportation are scheduled for a court hearing Thursday.

                    Pacheco, who has lobbied Congress and state legislators and organized student rallies on behalf of undocumented students, has often been featured in media reports over the past few years.

                    Students Working for Equal Rights, the organization in which Pacheco has been active, will hold a demonstration at 1 p.m. Thursday at MDC's Wolfson Campus in downtown Miami to rally support for the family.

                    Pacheco, a former president of MDC's student association, has continued her activism since the detentions. She was prominent last year in supporting a bill in Congress known as the DREAM Act. It would allow the children of illegal immigrants a shot at legal U.S. residency after attending college or serving in the military for two years.

                    The long-stalled bill was revived after the highly publicized case of brothers Alex and Juan Gomez, who were detained by ICE along with their parents, who had brought them from Colombia as young boys.

                    The bill died when the U.S. Senate refused to take it up for debate.

                    After graduating high school in Miami, Gaby Pacheco obtained an international student visa that allows her to attend MDC while working 20 hours a week to help pay tuition.

                    WHAT HAPPENED

                    Family members say three ICE agents, accompanied by Miami-Dade police officers, woke them around dawn on July 26, 2006.

                    The family gave this account: The agents said they were looking for a Maria Pacheco Chavez, who might be involved in document fraud. Two of the Pacheco sisters are named Maria -- including Gaby, whose full name is Maria Gabriela -- but neither one has the Chavez surname.

                    Told there was no one at the house by that name, the agents then focused on the family. Eventually, all five wound up at ICE offices at Biscayne Boulevard and 79th Street, where they were questioned. Initially, they contend, agents confused one of Gaby's sisters, Erica, with the student activist.

                    'They asked her, `Why are you coming out on TV and saying those things?' '' Gaby Pacheco said.

                    While the Pachecos say the agents told them they came to their house in error, that comment and others they describe convinced the family that ICE knew who Gaby was.

                    Their attorney, Kurzban, said it's a case of selective prosecution and a First Amendment violation.

                    Comment


                    • http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/mar/04/usa.mexico?...ss&feed=networkfront

                      Death at US-Mexico border reflects immigration tensions

                      Tuesday March 4 2008

                      Javier Domínguez Rivera had worked at the New York cereal factory before. Now he was hoping to return, bringing his two brothers and a girlfriend with him.

                      But first the group had to negotiate the difficult journey from their home in Puebla, 60 miles south of Mexico City, across the US-Mexico border and on to New York.

                      They crossed on foot in the barren desert of Arizona, near the town of Naco, where anti-illegal immigration groups have erected their own fence to keep out unwelcome visitors.

                      But the crossing didn't go to plan. After spending hours hiking through the scrub and brush of the Sonora desert, the four had got just a mile and a half from the border. When they realised that the Border Patrol, the federal agency charged with policing the border, was close by, they decided to turn around and go back to Mexico to prepare to cross another day.

                      When they were just 150 yards north of Mexico, the distinctive markings of a green and white Border Patrol vehicle appeared.

                      What happened next is disputed, but the result is not: Domínguez Rivera lay dead on the ground, killed by a shot fired by Border Patrol agent Nicholas Corbett.

                      Last week, just over a year since the January 2007 shooting, Corbett went on trial in downtown Tucson, charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and negligent homicide.

                      Border Patrol agents have killed 12 people in the last two years; Corbett is the first to be tried for murder since 1994. Agent Corbett may take the stand for the defence today, probably the last day of testimony in his trial.

                      If convicted of second-degree murder, he faces a sentence of 10-22 years; the lesser charge of negligent homicide carries a sentence of four-eight years.

                      The trial comes at a time when tensions at the US-Mexico border are heightening.

                      With immigration reform stalled, the federal government has worked to increase border security, beefing up Border Patrol numbers, building a fence along parts of the border and spending more than $85m trying - with little success - to build a "virtual" fence.

                      In opening statements, Corbett's defence team portrayed the death of the 22-year-old as a case of self-defence by the 40-year-old agent.

                      "Nick Corbett had to defend himself, and he had to defend himself against Mr Domínguez, who was trying to crush his skull with a rock," said defence attorney Sean Chapman. "Nick Corbett did not want to shoot this man, but if he hadn't done it, he might be dead today."

                      The prosecution, led by former Arizona attorney general Grant Woods, told a different story.

                      "This young man - while surrendering, going down on his knees, putting his hands in the air - from behind was hit, yanked and shot through the heart," Woods told the jury.

                      "We all respect the Border Patrol and law enforcement, but you don't kill somebody who is trying to surrender," he said.

                      The three eye witnesses to the death took the stand for the prosecution, while Woods also called two Border Patrol agents who arrived at the scene shortly after the shooting, the lead detective on the case, and a forensics expert.

                      In testimony to the court, the victim's brother, Jorge Domínguez Rivera, said that when they saw Corbett's vehicle they decided to surrender, putting their hands in the air.

                      As Corbett approached, pointing his gun at them, he said, they dropped to their knees. Corbett skidded to a halt, he said, and ran towards them.

                      The agent put his gun in his left hand and it fired as he tried to push Javier to the ground with his right hand.

                      "The officer released him and took a step forward and my brother just held himself, said 'Ah' and just moaned", before falling onto his back and going into convulsions, Jorge Domínguez Rivera said.

                      Using a hand-held radio, Corbett called for help. Another agent, Steve Berg, arrived on the scene within 90 seconds, to find Corbett trying to remove the clothing from around Domínguez Rivera's wound.

                      Corbett appeared to be in shock, he said. When a supervisor subsequently arrived, Berg said that he heard Corbett explain that the man had tried to attack him with a rock.

                      The supervisor, Murray Adams, took the stand on Friday. He said that Corbett told him that he was holding his gun in both hands, came around his vehicle, saw a person moving to throw a rock at him, and shot him.

                      Another Border Patrol officer, called to the stand by the defence yesterday, said that agents are taught that a rock is considered a deadly weapon, and that therefore the killing was justified.

                      Forensic evidence from the scene shows that the gun that killed Domínguez Rivera was fired three inches to one foot away from the him, and that he was shot from slightly behind at a downward angle.

                      Defence attorneys argued that three Mexican witnesses had colluded in their account of the incident and had received guidance from the Mexican consulate.

                      Another Border Patrol agent called by the defence testified that she had seen an official from the local Mexican consulate coaching the three Mexican witnesses through hand signals during an earlier court hearing. The prosecution disputed the account.

                      In an earlier interview, Renato Domínguez, the father of the dead man, denied that his son had been a "delinquent" or that the family was looking for a cash payout.

                      "The idea that a person can be a federal agent and behave like a psychopath is really incredible," he told Wick News Service.

                      "They have the power in their hands, and they abuse their authority. In my point of view, this man was either demented or an abuser of authority, or a racist.

                      Comment


                      • http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0308/8840.html

                        Immigration: New bills, old borders

                        By: David Rogers and Patrick O'Connor
                        Mar 5, 2008 05:40 AM EST



                        For seasonal employers, whether crabbers in Maryland or grand hotels in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the real calendar "” not politics "” makes the pressure very real and immediate.
                        Photo: AP

                        Immigration reform is raising its head again in Congress, stirring old hopes and fears among Democrats and forcing Republicans to re-evaluate their tactics given the re-emergence of John McCain.

                        Nothing is anticipated on the scale of the comprehensive immigration bill that collapsed in the Senate last year. But seasonal employers, such as the restaurant and tourism industries, are pressing hard for more H-2B visas for lower-skilled workers this summer, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has promised Hispanic lawmakers an opportunity to add provisions addressing concerns in their community.

                        A third potential piece is a bipartisan bill introduced by Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) "” with the support of fellow "Blue Dog" Democratic moderates "” that takes a more conservative approach: beefing up border security and requiring employers to use a government database to verify that their workers are in the U.S. legally.

                        Mindful of the splits among Democrats, House Republican leaders met Tuesday night to discuss a potential discharge petition aimed at forcing Pelosi to allow a floor vote on the Shuler measure, first introduced last November. A final leadership go-ahead could come as early as Wednesday, with the goal of beginning to collect signatures next week and thereby elevating the issue prior to the spring recess beginning March 14.

                        The strategy is designed to force Pelosi's hand on immigration, assuming whatever option the speaker chooses will pose problems in the fall. "That's going to be a problem for us, because it is such a volatile issue," said House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.). "I don't think the Republicans are interested in good policy. They're interested in good politics right now, and they think the discharge is good politics."

                        To a point, that is. Privately, some in the Republican leadership are skeptical of ever succeeding in getting the 218 signatures needed for the petition to be effective. And much as conservatives have pressed for the strategy, it could reopen old wounds with Hispanic voters at a time when the party's likely presidential nominee, Arizona Sen. John McCain, an immigration reformer, has sought to smooth over the bitter debate of last year.

                        The run-up to Tuesday's Texas presidential primary only punctuates these concerns. The two Democratic contenders, Sens. Barack Obama (Ill.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), actively competed for the votes of the state's large Hispanic population, even as McCain was hoping that a victory there would seal his claim to the Republican nomination.

                        Exit polls in Texas suggested Hispanic voters represented about 32 percent of the Democratic vote, up from 24 percent in 2004. The same surveys showed more sympathy for immigration reform, with only one in five Democratic voters saying illegal workers should be deported.

                        Caught most in the middle of the House maneuvering is the 21-member Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which is torn between taking a tough stand for immigration overhaul and calibrating its demands to at least allow some progress.

                        Rep. Joe Baca (D-Calif.), who chairs the CHC, said drafters of the more comprehensive bill are meeting Wednesday to discuss their final package, but he would not divulge details of that legislation.

                        "We're working on it," Baca said. "Something will happen, and it will have bipartisan support."

                        Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), who has taken the lead for employers seeking H-2B visas, said: "If it came to the floor today, it would squeak by. But we need more Republican support." Portions of Shuler's bill could be added to gain moderate support, but the essential trade-off for the Hispanic Caucus will be some protection for undocumented workers deemed "essential" employees.

                        Critics argue that the CHC has been too ideological thus far to allow a deal, and without more movement it risks being run over as pressure mounts for some relief on the H-2B visa issue.

                        "It is big enough to carry something decent or it is big enough to run over us," said Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), who has been a strong ally of the caucus on immigration issues. "If we don't scale back our demands to be commensurate with what H-2B can carry, we'll get H-2B without anything."

                        Clyburn, who has strong ties to the caucus as well, said he has urged members to accept an incremental approach, just as Southern blacks like himself pursued a step-by-step process toward civil rights legislation in the 1950s and '60s.

                        "We can continue to just do nothing, but at some point in time a price is going to be paid for that," Clyburn said in an interview. "Right now, we're sort of operating at the mercy of the bureaucracy. I'm a great believer that we ought to do something. What can we do that is in fact an improvement over what we currently have?"

                        Citing a five-year period in the '60s when the civil rights movement advanced with a succession of laws running from manpower training to voting rights and fair housing, Clyburn said: "Over that five-year period, you got the whole hog; you just didn't get it all at one time. When I talk to my brothers and sisters in the Hispanic Caucus, I say, ˜If this is what we want, what can we carve out of this right now and come back?'"

                        Watching from the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said any progress will depend on the House going first. "I think anything dealing with immigration is going to be extremely difficult," Reid said in an interview this week. "The House is the one where it has to come, and when it comes over here, we'll deal with it."

                        Clyburn agrees the immediate chances are "slim," but if the seeds are planted now, more could come depending on the presidential campaign. "When we settle down and get two candidates, and if you have the right kind of rhetoric from them, the chances improve," Clyburn said.

                        For seasonal employers, whether crabbers in Maryland or grand hotels in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the real calendar "” not politics "” makes the pressure very real and immediate.

                        The current caps on H-2B visas have been a recurring problem for several years. In March 2004, employers hit the ceiling of 66,000 H-2B visas for the first time under the current program. The number ran out even faster the next year, at the beginning of January, only three months into the fiscal year.

                        Congress responded by tweaking the rules to create an exemption for employees who had worked under the program in the three previous years. As part of that same fix, lawmakers also divided the allotment in half, giving summer employers the same chance to compete for these visas as businesses that operate in the winter.

                        But competition remained tight, and last year the annual extension became ensnared in the immigration debate and Congress failed to include the provision in a final year-end spending deal with the White House.

                        Outside groups, such as the National Restaurant Association, are pressing for relief and say they need a solution by April so summer employers have enough time to complete the necessary paperwork and recruit foreign workers to fill these positions. Absent some deal soon, pressure will mount to add an amendment to a must-pass spending bill in April to include funding for the Iraq war.

                        "It's critical that Congress reauthorizes this temporary worker provision," said Mike Shutley, who chairs the National Restaurant Association's H-2B coalition. "Waiting till the next fiscal year is not acceptable."

                        Every year, Bill Zammer, a restaurant owner on Cape Cod, recruits about a quarter of his more than 400 employees from Jamaica on temporary-worker visas. This year, fearing Congress will fail to extend the current program, he has traveled to Florida and Pennsylvania looking for cooks and waitstaff to work his large dining rooms. He even made a recent trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands with Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-Mass.) in a fruitless effort to find workers with the necessary paperwork for his six-month summer season.

                        But he may need to cut that season short this summer if he can't find the workers he needs to fill these positions. He recently traveled to Washington to make that point to a number of lawmakers on Capitol Hill as part of a broad coalition effort to extend the temporary visa program.

                        "These are not people coming to steal our jobs," Zammer said. "These are jobs that are not being filled."

                        Comment


                        • Cockfighting Ring Found During Drug Bust
                          Animals, Numerous Drugs, $4,730 In Cash Seized
                          POSTED: 12:39 pm EST March 4, 2008
                          UPDATED: 3:16 pm EST March 4, 2008


                          MANCHESTER, Conn. -- Authorities discovered a cockfighting ring during a drug bust in Manchester on Monday inside a house along a quiet country road that winds its way through farmland.

                          Manchester police said the animals were part of a cockfighting ring, an illegal sport in which the birds fight to the death and people bet on which rooster will win. Channel 3 Eyewitness News reporter Len Besthoff reported one of the animals has to be put down because of its ailing health.

                          "It's kind of a first for around here," Manchester police Sgt. Chris Davis said.

                          Officers seized $46,600 worth of heroin from Efrain Bracero on Monday. Authorities had arranged to meet with Bracero in a parking lot on Buckland Hills Drive at 5 p.m., and said he has in his possession 116 grams of raw heroin.

                          "That's a substantial quantity of heroin," Davis said. "It was a very good bust."

                          Bracero, 27, of West Hartford, remains held on $500,000 bond on heroin possession and intent to sell charges. He does not face any charges related to the cockfighting allegations.

                          Upon executing a search warrant of a house on Woodside Street in Manchester, from which authorities observed Bracero leaving shortly before his arrest, authorities discovered what they deemed to be a cockfighting ring.

                          Six months ago, police in Bloomfield arrested a person who they said raised 17 fighting roosters and 15 breeding hens in an unrelated case (Full Story). Investigators said it's hard to tell how widespread the illegal sport is in the state.

                          "I don't think they let a lot of outsiders in. So, it's kind of difficult to infiltrate this type of activity and to find out about it," Davis said.

                          Investigators said they seized suspected blood splatters, eight live gamecocks, hypodermic needles, bird supplements, fighting spurs, a scale to weigh the birds and two slot machines. Officers said they saw suspected blood splatters on the basement floor outside the ring.

                          Authorities seized the animals and suspected drugs and drug paraphernalia, including 4 ounces of suspected cocaine, 2 ounces of suspected marijuana, a scale, suspected drug balance sheets and $4,730 in cash.

                          Officers arrested the residents of the house, identified as Felix Martinez, 63, and Carmen Gomez, 46. Police charged both with numerous drug charges, eight counts of cruelty to animals and possession of a gambling device.

                          Martinez remains held on $750,00 bond and Gomez remains held on $500,000 bond. All three men are scheduled to appear in court on March 17.

                          If you have information regarding this or any other drug investigation in this area, you can confidentially contact the East Central Narcotics Task Force by dialing 860-645-5548.

                          In October, the state established a hot line for citizens to report illegal animal fighting (Full Story). The attorney general's office announced a national effort of state attorneys general to crack down on animal abuse and illegal animal fighting.

                          As part of this national effort, The Humane Society of the United States also announced the launch of a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in illegal animal fighting.

                          Animal fighting -- including dogfighting and cockfighting -- is a pervasive problem in Connecticut and throughout the country, state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said.

                          The Connecticut illegal animal fighting hot line number is 860-808-5180, and callers can remain anonymous.

                          http://www.wfsb.com/news/15487278/detail.html?taf=hart
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                          Comment


                          • Child rapist sentenced to life
                            Click-2-Listen
                            Staff Reports

                            Tuesday, March 04, 2008

                            DAYTON "” A judge on Monday sentenced a Dayton man to life in prison for raping a 10-year-old girl.

                            Adrian Garcia-Garcia, 23, pleaded guilty Feb. 11 to rape and one count of importuning a child under 13.


                            Authorities deported Garcia-Garcia to Mexico in August 2007 because he was in this country illegally.

                            He returned to Dayton about a month later and moved in with his girlfriend, according to county Prosecutor Mathias **** Jr.

                            On Oct. 22, Dayton police were called to Childrens Medical Center on a report of a child rape. The investigation led to Garcia-Garcia's arrest and conviction.



                            http://www.daytondailynews.com/n/content/oh/story/news/...headlinesrapist.html
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                            • http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/nat...0,408198.story

                              GOP to present immigration bills
                              Package is to place emphasis on tougher enforcement steps

                              By Nicole Gaouette
                              March 5, 2008

                              WASHINGTON - Senate Republicans are set to announce today the most hard-hitting package of immigration enforcement measures seen yet, one that would require jail time for illegal immigrants caught crossing the border, make it harder for them to open bank accounts and compel them to communicate in English when dealing with federal agencies.

                              Most of the bills stand little chance of being debated in the Democrat-controlled Congress, but the move by some of the Senate's leading Republicans underscores how potent the issue of immigration remains, particularly during a presidential election year.

                              The bills give Republicans a way to put pressure on the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates to take a tougher stance on immigration. They also reflect a shift toward harsher immigration rhetoric and legislative proposals from both parties since Congress failed to pass a comprehensive overhaul last year.

                              The package, an enforcement smorgasbord assembled by at least eight lawmakers, consists of 11 bills but could expand to include as many as 14. Some elements echo House bills, but others go beyond House proposals.

                              One would discourage states from issuing driver's licenses to illegal immigrants by docking 10 percent of highway funding from states that continue to do so. Another would extend the presence of the National Guard on the border, and a third would end language assistance at federal agencies and the voting booth for people with limited English ability.

                              A bill by Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, who is leading the effort, would impose a maximum two-year sentence on someone caught crossing the border a second time.

                              "The point is to reinforce the idea that most of us here feel that we need to make enforcement and border security a first step to solving the overall problem," said Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana, one of the sponsors.

                              Although Congress usually avoids tough legislation during an election year, Vitter insisted that he and his colleagues could still get something done.

                              "There are concrete steps we can take," he said. "None of us see any reason to waste this time."

                              Other bills in the package would:


                              "¢ Block federal funding from cities that bar their police from asking about immigration status.


                              "¢ Give the Department of Homeland Security authority to use information from the Social Security Administration to target illegal immigrants.


                              "¢ Require construction of 700 miles of fencing along the southern border, not including vehicle barriers.


                              "¢ Impose sanctions on countries that refuse to repatriate citizens.


                              "¢ Deport any immigrant, legal or illegal, for one drunken-driving conviction.


                              "¢ Enable local and state police to enforce federal immigration laws.

                              Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, said the GOP proposal "falls far short of what is needed."

                              Democrats want to combine enforcement with a guest-worker program and a way to deal with an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants. Reid "continues to support legislation that is tough on people who break the law, fair to taxpayers and practical to implement," Manley said.

                              But Democrats have begun embracing a tougher stance on immigration. A confidential study assembled for Democratic leaders this year urged them to use tougher language.

                              Democrats have focused on offering opportunity to immigrants, but the study by two think tanks urged them to begin speaking in terms of "requiring" illegal immigrants to become legal and about what's best for the United States.

                              Many House Democrats have gone a step further, endorsing an enforcement-only bill by freshman Democratic Rep. Heath Shuler of North Carolina that would bolster border security and require employers to verify their workers' legal status with an electronic verification system.

                              The SAVE Act has drawn 140 co-sponsors, 48 of whom are Democrats, many vulnerable freshman who won seats from Republicans.

                              The Democratic leadership dislikes Shuler's bill and refuses to schedule a debate. Republican leaders are considering collecting signatures for a petition that requires House leaders to bring a bill up for debate if 218 members sign. There are 198 Republicans.

                              Comment


                              • 7 of 10 Migrant Women Are Abused By Mexican Police

                                Cimacnoticias:

                                Mexico - In the southern border of our country, 7 of each ten migrant youth women originating from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, they are attacked in their human rights by officials of customs, agents of the Preventive Federal Police, state and federal courts, municipal police officers and elements of the armed forces.

                                Thus the president of the Commission of Equity and Gender of the Chamber of Representatives, Maricela Contreras Julián, assured through a document to be given out to the mass media, in which it adds that these central american youths are sold for 200 dollars each one for the purpose of being utilized for sexual exploitation, in bricklaying, walking commerce and pickers of trash in the interior of the Mexican territory.

                                The legislator, who also belongs to the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), indicated that the report elaborated by the non-governmental organization (NGO) End of Childlike Prostitution, ****ography and the Traffic of Children with Sexual End and well-proportioned data by the Economic Commission of Latin America (CEPAL).

                                Contreras Julián indicated, "on the one hand the abuses received in the neighboring north country by our people are condemned and, on the other, the same practices are reproduced by some Mexican authorities with the people that cross the southern border of Mexico, conducts that are declared in *** abuses, labor abuses, violence in all their forms and a lack of respect to their rights.

                                Data of CEPAL registered that in that southern border region of our country "70 percent of the migrants are victims of violence, that 60 percent suffers some type of *** abuse including rape". But if the migrants manage to arrive at the border with the United States of America, that can become more dangerous since, besides being abused sexually and be forced to be prostituted, they can be murdered.

                                http://www.immigrationwatchdog.com/?p=5962
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