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Hard-line immigration group shuns Lou Dobbs

Lou DobbsAmericans for Legal Immigration PAC – one of the nation’s most strident voices against illegal immigration, so much so that it has drawn fire from the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center – said today it’s parting ways with its former hero, former CNN pundit Lou Dobbs.

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.”

William GheenALIPAC 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.

Watch the Telemundo interview with Lou Dobbs in its entirety (in three parts) after the jump…
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Posted on Thursday, December 3rd, 2009
Under: Immigration | 4 Comments »

Ex state ed official to run U.S. border security

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.”

Posted on Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009
Under: Arnold Schwarzenegger, General, Immigration, national security, Obama presidency | Comments Off

Today’s Congressional odds and ends

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.

Woolsey to testify on oil spills: Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, will be among those testifying Thursday at a House Science and Technology Subcommittee on Energy and Environment hearing entitled “A New Direction for Federal Oil Spill Research and Development,” examining current federal efforts to prevent, detect and mitigate spills. Woolsey will speak on behalf of her new Federal Oil Spill Research Program Act of 2009, which aims to strength spill-response efforts and streamline development of new equipment and cleanup/containment methods. Also testifying will be officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the California Department of Fish and Game.

Honda, Lofgren and Lee tidbits, after the jump…
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Posted on Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009
Under: Barbara Lee, Environment, Immigration, Lynn Woolsey, Mike Honda, Pete Stark, U.S. House, Zoe Lofgren | 10 Comments »

Bay Area Congress members busy as bees

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.”

More on what some of your lawmakers were doing on Capitol Hill this week, after the jump…
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Posted on Friday, March 13th, 2009
Under: Barbara Lee, Dianne Feinstein, Edward Kennedy, Ellen Tauscher, George Miller, Global warming, Immigration, Transportation, U.S. House, U.S. Senate | No Comments »

Dean Andal to meet with Minutemen in Dublin

The Golden Gate Minutemen and Castro Valley Minutemen — grassroots anti-illegal-immigration activists who take their name from the Minuteman Project, sometimes-armed citizens’ patrols which began monitoring the U.S.-Mexico border in 2005, earning praise as patriots from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and a panning as vigilantes from President George W. Bush — are meeting tomorrow (Saturday, Sept. 20) morning with 11th Congressional District Republican nominee Dean Andal, who they say has been “sympathetic and supportive,” according to their e-mail.

“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.

Posted on Friday, September 19th, 2008
Under: Dean Andal, Elections, General, Immigration, Jerry McNerney, U.S. House | No Comments »

House members plan local meetings this weekend

Lotsa opportunities to get with your member of Congress this weekend…

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, will host a town-hall meeting from 5 to 6 p.m. this Friday, June 13, in St. Columba Church, 6401 San Pablo Ave. in Oakland, to hear reports from community members on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids conducted in her 9th Congressional District. A panel of community leaders including Arnold Garcia of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, David Kakishiba of the Oakland Unified School Board, and American Civil Liberties Union attorney Julie Harumimass will give statements about recent raids, and community members are encouraged to bring written statements about their own ICE-raid experiences; Lee intends to use this testimony in addressing the issue with federal immigration officials. The event is free and open to the public. To RSVP, call Lee’s district office at 510-763-0379.

Representatives George Miller, D-Martinez; Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo; and Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, will co-host a foreclosure prevention workshop from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday, June 14, in the union hall at 835 Detroit Ave. in Concord. The program includes presenations from the Contra Costa County District Attorney‘s office; Bay Area Legal Aid; Richmond Neighborhood Housing Services; the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; the Internal Revnue Service; Consumer Credit Counseling Service of San Francisco; a bankruptcy attorney; and the Community Housing Development Corp. of North Richmond. These and other agencies will have resource tables there as well.

And McNerney’s going from there to one of his “Congress At Your Corner” constituent meet-and-greet sessions, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Richert Lumber Co., 5505 Sunol Blvd. in Pleasanton.

Posted on Wednesday, June 11th, 2008
Under: Barbara Lee, Ellen Tauscher, General, George Miller, Immigration, Jerry McNerney, U.S. House | No Comments »

Barbara Boxer, Zoe Lofgren battle ‘brain drain’

U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer, D-CA, and Judd Gregg, R-NH, today introduced a bipartisan bill aimed at keeping America competitive in the global high-tech economy by making it easier for foreigners graduating from U.S. universities with advanced degrees to get green cards if they have jobs waiting for them here in the U.S.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose — who chairs the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law – introduced a bipartisan companion bill in the House last month, with initial co-sponsors including Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo; Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto; and Mike Honda, D-San Jose.

boxer.jpg“Ensuring that the U.S. is competitive in technology means making sure that future innovators are putting their knowledge to work here, not competing against us abroad,” Boxer said in her news release. “The best way to do that is to offer greencards to those foreign graduates with career opportunities in the U.S. I am proud to work with Senator Gregg to help keep America’s economy at the forefront of technological innovation.”

According to the American Society of Engineering Education, more than 1 out 3 master’s degrees and more than half of all PhDs in engineering awarded in the U.S. go to foreign national students. U.S.-educated scientists and engineers often end up seeking work in their home countries, or places such as India and China, not due to a lack of job opportunities in the United States but rather because of the limited number of work visas available to foreign nationals.

The Boxer-Gregg legislation would let graduates from U.S. universities with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and math get green cards without waiting in long lines, provided they have job offers from U.S. employers.

This “brain drain” was a topic of conversation at presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain’s campaign event with Silicon Valley executives a few weeks ago in Union City. There, MetricStream CEO Shellye Archambeau had noted the number of H1B visas available each year has fallen by two-thirds following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and more and more foreign students are being forced to return to their home countries as soon as they earn U.S. university degrees; these skilled workers should get visas with their diplomas, she said.

“Senator (Ted) Kennedy and I tried very hard to get immigration reform, a comprehensive plan, through Congress,” McCain replied that day, accepting partial responsibility for the federal government’s failure to meet its responsibilities.

Posted on Thursday, June 5th, 2008
Under: Anna Eshoo, Barbara Boxer, Elections, Ellen Tauscher, Immigration, John McCain, Mike Honda, U.S. House, U.S. Senate, Zoe Lofgren | 9 Comments »

More immigration raids in San Rafael

Two days after Rep. Lynn Woolsey — as chairwoman of the House Education and Labor Workforce Protections Committee — held a hearing on how U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids affect children and families, including those affected by March 2007 raids in San Rafael’s Canal District, ICE conducted raids again today in that very same district.

Said Woolsey, D-Petaluma, in today’s news release:

woolsey.jpg“Today’s ICE raids conducted in the Canal District sent shock waves throughout our streets, schools, and neighborhoods, both because of how the raids were conducted and the chilling effect they had on our community. These raids have resulted in widespread anxiety and fear, particularly among children.

“Some children reportedly witnessed parents being taken away, and local schools reported extraordinarily high rates of absenteeism. Three of the Canal District schools canceled their Open Houses planned for tonight out of fear for the safety of parents and students in the community.

“Members of our community have a right to know what has happened in their homes and neighborhoods. On the federal level, I continue to be in close contact with senior ICE officials to find out how members of our community can get more information; how the agency worked with the school, child service agencies, and other members of the community before and during the raids; and whether detainees have received the medical care they need.

“It’s clear that ICE humanitarian voluntary guidelines for conducting workplace raids must apply to all ICE raids, because, without them, the raids will continue to have a devastating and traumatic impact on our communities and our children. Perhaps these guidelines need to be mandatory.”

Posted on Thursday, May 22nd, 2008
Under: Immigration, Lynn Woolsey, U.S. House | No Comments »

Woolsey holds hearing on immigration raids, kids

Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, who chairs the House Education and Labor Workforce Protections Subcommittee, gaveled a hearing today on the impact of Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) raids on children and local communities.

Among those testifying was Kathryn Gibney, principal of San Pedro Elementary School in San Rafael, who spoke about immigration raids in the San Rafael’s Canal District in March 2007.

“Traumatized by the vicious nature of the intrusions and terrified to take their children to the bus stop, many families held their children at home, in hiding,” Gibney said, describing the raids. “Other parents, recognizing that school might be the safest place, enabled their children to go to school. One child whose father had just been taken away was told by her mother to pack some essentials in her backpack and leave it by the door so that if, when she returned home she found no one there, she could go to her aunt’s home just in case her mother was seized and deported. Imagine this child’s frame of mind as she left for school that day.”

“The impact of these raids has been devastating. Absentee rates have soared. Test scores have dropped. Students who do make it to school remain distracted as they worry about whether their families will be at home when they return. Families lose sleep at night as they worry about possible home interrogations. Families whose breadwinners have been seized are struggling to survive.”

Woolsey during the hearing blasted ICE for not enforcing voluntary guidelines calling for its officials to coordinate with local social service groups when raids are conducted of more than 150 immigrants. “Even though ICE put into place guidelines to ensure the humane treatment of people being detained when conducting raids, they are not being followed in a consistent fashion,” Woolsey said. “As a result, we are still hearing heartbreaking stories of the impact on children. Unless ICE follows humanitarian procedures in conducting these raids, we are still left with traumatized children and communities.”

“The testimony that we heard today, and the stories that many of us have heard from our constituents who have been affected by these raids, was heartbreaking, and often times difficult to hear,” Woolsey said at a press conference afterward. “We all recognize the need for a broader immigration policy. All that we’re asking for is that these enforcement activities are handled with care and that the needs of the most vulnerable among us, our children, be taken into account.”

Posted on Tuesday, May 20th, 2008
Under: General, Immigration, Lynn Woolsey, U.S. House | No Comments »

Perata, Lee peeved by immigration enforcement

Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents were on the move in the East Bay earlier today. From our story:

OAKLAND — Ongoing enforcement tactics by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel caused panic to erupt at several East Bay school districts Tuesday, although ICE officials said that many of the rumors that swirled among parents and school staff were false or overblown.

“This whole experience is so terrifying that it really brought out the greatest fear in everybody,” said Mark Coplan, a spokesman for the Berkeley Unified School District, where the schools superintendent issued a recorded phone message to parents Tuesday promising that he “will not allow any child to be taken away from the school.”

Some of the rumors — for example, that Berkeley middle school students were being carted off in vans — turned out to be false. But others — for example, that ICE agents were conducting surveillance near an East Oakland elementary school — were true and prompted Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums and others to rally outside the school in protest.

“We were not at a school,” ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice said. “We were at residences. There may be a situation where a residence is near to a school.”

Local elected officials are seriously peeved.

“I find today’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement presence at our schools reprehensible. The Bush Administration espouses the virtues of No Child Left Behind and yet they provide no funding. If the President wants to help our nation’s children he should send funding — not federal agents to our schools,” said state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland. “It is clear that ICE raids jeopardize the stability of our communities and families. There should be an immediate freeze on ICE raids directed at school children while legislation aiming to fix immigration is considered.”

And Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, said she’s “deeply troubled and concerned about the tactics employed by ICE. Conducting an operation of this nature in Oakland is a direct violation of the spirit of the city’s sanctuary resolution.”

“Although ICE officials assured my district office that they did not physically enter public school property, the presence of the ICE van near or parked in front of the Esperanza Academy and Fred T. Korematsu Discovery Academy is of grave concern to me,” Lee said. “In an effort to address the controversial tactics that have been used by ICE, my district office has been in contact with them to convey my concerns. I will be working with my colleagues to oppose the use of this troubling approach, and I am personally committed to reviewing any ICE policies that may create a culture of fear and intimidation, especially near a school or place of worship.

“To conduct such an operation near or around a public school campus is a violation of the sanctity of the education process, and is intentionally meant to intimidate those who live in the community,” Lee continued. “I do not support these intimidation policies and I am planning a district outreach event in the future to hear directly from my constituents about their experiences with agency officials.”

Posted on Tuesday, May 6th, 2008
Under: Barbara Lee, Berkeley, California State Senate, Don Perata, Immigration, Oakland, Ron Dellums, U.S. House | No Comments »