My colleague, Matt O’Brien, has written a great story about how a private relief bill introduced today by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., effectively halted the pending deportation of City College of San Francisco student Steve Li.
Li, 20, has been held at a detention center in Arizona awaiting deportation to Peru. He was born there but came to the U.S. as a child with his parents, who stayed on after their tourist visas expired. Li said he didn’t know his family’s legal situation while he was growing up, and knows no one in Peru.
Bills such as the one Feinstein introduced are extremely rare, Li’s attorney said today. Read Feinstein’s full statement, after the jump… Read the rest of this entry »
The Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, among the most conservative groups calling for the strictest crackdowns on undocumented immigrants, says both Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman and her former housekeeper of nine years should be arrested and charged with immigration and employment violations.
“We need equal justice for both the illegal alien and the employer,” said ALIPAC President William Gheen said in a news release. “Nicky Diaz should be charged and deported and Meg Whitman should face the existing penalties under current US law as well. No Amnesty for Whitman or Diaz, the Rule of Law must be restored in America.”
Diaz, accompanied by celebrity attorney Gloria Allred, claimed yesterday that Whitman – who employed her as a housekeeper and nanny from 2000 to 2009 – knew she most likely was an undocumented immigrant but kept her on until June 2009, when she was preparing to launch her run for governor. Whitman said she’d hired Diaz through an employment agency – an agency her campaign refused to name yesterday – upon which she relied to verify the Social Security number and other bogus information Diaz provided; she said she didn’t know Diaz was here illegally until Diaz confessed it to her, at which time she was fired.
“Best illegal alien actor award of 2010 should go to Nicki Diaz for her role as the tearful victimized invader,” Gheen said in his release. “Meg Whitman’s financial gain from the movie rights should be seized by the courts to compensate the American taxpayers who have paid the price for her illegal laborer over the years.”
The ALIPAC release claims, without providing supporting data, that “the American public has indicated in numerous scientific polls that well over 80 percent of Americans want employers like Meg Whitman heavily fined. Over 50 percent want the employers of illegals, like Whitman, jailed. Americans have also shown overwhelming support for the arrest, detention, and deportation of illegal immigrants like Nicki Diaz. Both the US Constitution and the existing laws of Congress mandate that both Whitman and Diaz should be charged and treated equally under those laws.”
“We stand with the majority of American citizens who want our existing border and immigration laws enforced!” Gheen said. “Therefore we call on all appropriate authorities to arrest and charge both Meg Whitman and Nicki Diaz.”
Rep. Pete Stark’s sharp tone with critics once again has earned him national attention, as a video clip of Stark’s caustic repartee with a Minuteman anti-illegal-immigration activist earns major media coverage.
The video, shot by Steve Kemp of the Golden Gate Minutemen at Stark’s town-hall meeting last Saturday in Fremont, shows the Congressman needling a critic who asked about border security:
“This guy has been at every one of my town meetings and immediately gone to the Web sites, so he’s a regular. I do recognize him,” Stark said this afternoon. “I didn’t mind needling him a bit.”
“It’s an absolute outrage that a United States Congressman cares so little for his constituents and so little about the security and sovereignty of the United States that he had the gumption to ridicule and belittle his own constituents. But that’s exactly what happened!” Minutemen PAC development director Brett Anthony wrote in an e-mail blast today. “Americans are fed up with being shunned, lied to, tricked, and jeered at simply for fighting to uphold the freedom and liberty for which forefathers paid the ultimate price to guarantee.”
The phones are ringing off the hook on Capitol Hill. “We’re getting hundreds of calls, none of them from the district I might add, from all over the country saying, ‘What do you have against the Minutemen?’ or whatever,” Stark said.
So… what does he have against them?
“They see themselves as an independent militia, which may have been alright in George Washington’s time but today the government operates under rules and laws that control everybody,” he said, noting there are 20,000 border patrol agents – twice the number of a decade ago – deployed along 2,000 miles of border. “It seems to me just that number alone ought to convince them that the fed government is doing a pretty good job controlling the influx of people coming in from Mexico.”
Stark said the whole debate is “a xenophobic issue, it doesn’t differ much in Florida where they’re fearful of people from Haiti or Cuba, or New York where there’s a huge Puerto Rican population – and they’re citizens!” What it comes down to, he said, is fear of “people who speak with an accent.”
“I’m sad that that’s where our district is, but they’re not alone – it’s one of the premiere political issues of today,” he said.
As for his sarcasm, he said… well, he’s not really going into the ladder business. “That’s been a bad joke for a thousand years.”
“As I tried to explain in a more serious way, people who come across, particularly the Arizona border, they pay an awful fee to these coyotes to get them there and then they’re just dumped there on the border and they’ve got a couple hundred miles of the worst desert in our country to get across on foot,” Stark said. “They’re coming here to try to earn money to send home to their families and its hard to disrespect that, that’s an instinct that people with families have.”
This is the one thing on which he agreed with former President George W. Bush, he said – that the United States needs a comprehensive immigration reform bill including a path illegal immigrants can follow to attain legal, permanent residency. “I think we’re the only industrialized nation in the world that doesn’t have at least a system for allowing that to happen, and I think that causes us a lot of problems.”
UPDATE @ 4:14 P.M. WEDNESDAY 7/7: Steve Kemp just posted this to the comments, and I thought it should be appended to the post itself:
I posted this video to enlighten people who continually vote people like Stark in without a second thought of the consequences. I was born in Oakland & have watched as city after city passed laws that leave a sane person’s mouth hanging in disbelief.
With SF, Oakland, Richmond & SJ declaring themselves “sanctuary cities” for illegal aliens, our cities are looking more like third world countries than the USA!
Is it the American dream to break laws to enter a country, work under the table as the norm or steal identities to get a job, pack 2 or 3 families into a single family dwelling, drive without a license or insurance, & ignore the language spoken in America?
CA & its cities have broken under the stress of supporting illegal aliens. This is because liberal politicians such as Stark, Boxer, Pelosi, Newsom, Lee, De La Fuente & countless others have trashed our ‘American Dream’ in favor of illegal aliens.
We need leaders who place America & Americans FIRST. Anything else is treason.
The Castro Valley Minutemen’s current home page says members “don’t want our country, our culture, or our language – the very foundation that was handed down to us by our forefathers who toiled and died for our freedom, to be diluted by gate crashing illegal aliens aided by bleeding heart liberals, cheap and greedy business owners, and worse yet, self-serving elected government officials!”
Yet LaTour today sent me an invitation to join a Facebook group called “Against SB 1070,” in opposition to Arizona’s new anti-illegal-immigration law which many people say institutionalizes racial profiling. That page’s administrator’s latest post says:
Although SB 1070 has passed, we must continue to stand against this new and despicable law, the fight is still not over Arizonans! “The true test of the American ideal is whether we’re able to recognize our failings and then rise together to meet the challenges of our time. Whether we allow ourselves to be shaped by events and history, or whether we act to shape them.” – Barack Obama
Now, I know LaTour is no fan of President Obama, but I found it interesting that a former Minuteman leader would be inviting Facebookers to stand up in opposition to Arizona’s new law. I e-mailed him, and here’s what he said:
“I am opposed to SB 1070, Real ID, and any other “show me your papers” law that violates natural rights. Specifically, SB 1070 allows law enforcement officers to stop any individual that is ‘suspicious’ and arrest if they fail to provide proof of citizenship. This is clearly unreasonable search and seizure. Rather than resorting to police state tactics, we could address the issue by removing the incentives that encourage workers to ignore the legal immigration process and come here illegally. Laws like SB 1070 are a direct attack on the American tradition of liberty and represent reactionary politics at its worst. Unfortunately, it seems the immigration issue is being used much like the War on Terror and the War on Drugs, as an excuse to erode civil liberties and turn America into a police state.”
He also recommended that I watch this video:
So it seems there’s a bloc of conservatives out there who are much more afraid of expanded police powers than of illegal immigrants. Yet despite what the guy in the video said, it appears U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and the Obama Administration are not on board with Arizona’s law. From Reuters this morning:
A new Arizona law aimed at cracking down on illegal immigrants could divert resources from pursuing those in the country illegally who have committed more serious crimes, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said on Tuesday.
The new law, set to take effect later this year in the state bordering Mexico, requires police there to determine if people are in the country illegally, but critics have said it enables racial profiling and may be unconstitutional.
The Obama administration is reviewing its options for possible challenges to the new state law and Napolitano told U.S. senators that its resources for pursuing more dangerous criminals committing felonies could be sapped.
“We have some deep concerns with the law from the law enforcement perspective because we believe it will detract from and siphon resources that we need to focus on those in the country illegally who are those committing the most serious crimes,” she told the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The Arizona law requires police officers to arrest those unable to provide documentation proving they are in the country legally. It also makes it a crime to transport someone who is an illegal immigrant, and to hire day laborers off the street.
“We have concerns that at some point we’ll be responsible to enforce or use our immigration resources against anyone that would get picked up in Arizona,” Napolitano said.
President Barack Obama has proclaimed tomorrow, Thursday, Jan. 21, to be “National Angel Island Day,” commemorating the 100th anniversary of the former immigration station in the middle of the San Francisco Bay.
ALIPAC chief William Gheen said his group is suspending its Facebook page and Web site calling on Dobbs to run for President due to an interview Dobbs gave last week to Telemundo, in which he said he favors finding a path to legalization for many of the people who’ve come to the United States in violation of existing laws.
“While Mr. Dobbs claims his positions have not changed, however, that is not the perception of many of our mutual supporters,” Gheen said in a news release. “His recent comments on Telemundo and his national radio show supporting some kind of path to citizenship for illegal immigrants is inconsistent with positions of ALIPAC and the views of most American citizens.”
“Our internal polling shows that over 70% of our supporters are upset with Mr. Dobbs’s comments on Telemundo in support of legalizing illegal aliens. ALIPAC opposes any path to citizenship form of Amnesty for illegal aliens currently in the US,” he said. “Therefore we are dropping our support for Lou Dobbs and suspending the fan sites we have created.”
ALIPAC was the first national organization to call on Dobbs to consider a run for President of the United States.
“We’ve received so many demands from prior Dobbs supporters to remove their pledges of support that we have to suspend all operations on the Dobbs fan sites,” Gheen said. “Lou Dobbs has deeply offended his base of supporters and ALIPAC is going to remain loyal to those Americans who support our existing immigration laws instead of Amnesty disguised as reform.”
So I guess it’ll have to be Limbaugh/Beck 2012 instead of Dobbs/Beck 2012. Unless, of course, most people disagree with ALIPAC, a group many believe regularly crosses the line from touting tough immigration enforcement into racial bigotry.
Alan Bersin – the former federal prosecutor turned education administrator who did a stint as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Secretary of Education – will be nominated to serve as U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said today.
Bersin, 63, already has been serving in the Obama Administration as Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for International Affairs and Special Representative for Border Affairs — what some have called the “Border Czar.”
“Under Alan’s leadership over the past several months, we have forged new international and domestic partnerships along our borders to strengthen security,” Napolitano said in a news release. “I look forward to continuing to work with Alan in his new position, where he will lead the Department’s efforts to implement practical, innovative solutions to protect our country from threats to our national and economic security and facilitate legitimate travel and trade.”
As CBP Commissioner, Bersin will lead the Department of Homeland Security’s efforts to secure America’s borders while overseeing enforcement of immigration, customs and drug laws. CBP has more than 57,000 employees working to secure U.S. land and maritime borders.
Before joining the Obama Administration in April, Bersin — a Democrat and a Brooklyn native — was chairman of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, appointed in December 2006. Earlier, he was Schwarzenegger’s Secretary of Education in 2005-06; superintendent of the nation’s eighth largest urban school district, in San Diego, from 1998 through 2005; and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California from 1993 to 1998. While U.S. Attorney, he was appointed as Special Representative for the Southwest Border in 1995 by former Attorney General Janet Reno, overseeing coordination of border law enforcement along the U.S.-Mexico border for three years.
Schwarzenegger back in April said President Obama “could not have selected a more qualified, more experienced person to join his administration – especially when it comes to issues along our southwest border. Alan was a tremendous asset to my Administration, I’m grateful for his service to California, and I look forward to working with him on border issues that, as he knows well, significantly affect California.”
Stark co-authors mental-health bill: Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, was joined by Rep. Mary Bono Mack, R-Palm Springs, and Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., today in introducing the Healthy Transitions Act of 2009, which he says will help millions of young adults with mental illness who fall through the cracks when moving from youth into adulthood. This bill is a response to last year’s Government Accountability Office report (requested by Stark and then-Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore.) which found that the nation’s estimated 2.4 million young adults with serious mental illness have a hard time finding services to aid them during their transition to adulthood because services that are available for mental health, housing and employment are not always suited for and directed to their age group. The bill would offer planning grants to states to develop coordination plans and implementation grants to execute those plans, as well as create a committee to coordinate federal programs helping mentally ill adolescents and young adults; to provide technical aid to states; and to report back to Congress.
Your voices in Congress helped introduce a slew of legislation this week.
For example, Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee chairwoman Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo, yesterday was an original co-sponsor of H.R. 1463 by Homeland Security Intelligence and Terrorism Risk Assessment Subcommittee chairwoman Jane Harman, D-Venice, which would condition U.S. military aid to Pakistan on whether U.S. officials have access to Pakistani nuclear arms expert A.Q. Khan and have assurances he’s being monitored.
“A.Q. Kahn is one of the most dangerous men in the world because he has done more to increase the threat of nuclear terror than anyone in history,” Tauscher said. “Now that a Pakistani court has all but freed him from house arrest, it is just common sense that our government, as well as the Pakistani government, does everything in its power to fully assess the damage he has caused to the international arms control regime.”
“We thank Dean for his support and his zero tolerance against Sanctuary Cities and Illegal Invasion,” the e-mail says. “He will meet with us and discuss our mutual interests and plans for Restoring the Republic. Please come & greet Dean. Dean has arranged a special meeting for us to answer any and all questions. Minutemen and Patriots in Alameda County can’t miss this!”
They’re convening the Q&A at the Bagel Street Cafe, 4101 Dublin Blvd. in Dublin, at 11 a.m., and afterward intend to do some precinct-walking for the candidate. Andal, a former Assemblyman and former Board of Equalization member from Stockton, is challenging freshman incumbent Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton.