Scathing Report on Border Security Is Issued – NY Times

“LOS ANGELES — Government auditors reported Thursday that the effort to secure the Mexican border with technology and fences has fallen years behind schedule, will cost billions of dollars extra in maintenance costsand has no clear means of gauging whether illegal crossings have been curtailed.

Mark Borkowski, who directs the Secure Border Initiative for the Department of Homeland Security, stood by the program as “transformational,” but did not challenge the findings. “We are as frustrated as anybody is” with the setbacks, Mr. Borkowski said in an interview.

The report, by the Government Accountability Office, Congress’s watchdog, said the department had fallen about seven years behind its goal of putting in place the technology the Bush administration had heavily promoted when it announced the Secure Border Initiative in 2005…”

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/18/us/18fence.html?_r=1&emc=tnt&tntemail1=y

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New Study Finds ICE Enforcement Led to Racial Profiling – ImmigrationProf Blog

“New Study Finds Local Enforcement of Immigration Laws Led to Racial Profiling
Berkeley, CA—September 16, 2009… A Hispanic community in a small southern city that lived in fear of police after a spike in arrests now has evidence that it was unjustly targeted to enforce federal immigration laws. A new analysis of arrest data shows that police in Irving, Texas arrested Hispanics in far greater numbers for petty offenses as part of a federal Criminal Alien Program (CAP) to deport serious offenders. During the most aggressive period, when police had round-the-clock access to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, the number of Hispanic arrests for minor crimes increased by nearly 150 percent.
The new report, “The CAP Effect: Racial Profiling in the ICE Criminal Alien Program,” was released today by the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity and Diversity (Warren Institute) at UC Berkeley School of Law (Berkeley Law)…”

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/immigration/2009/09/new-study-finds-ice-enforcement-led-to-racial-profiling.html

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Officers should reject move toward secrecy – The Tennessean

“When it comes to immigration law, the Obama administration may be well-meaning, but it risks becoming guilty of the same mistakes that plagued the system under his predecessor.

Davidson County will experience this firsthand, as its sheriff is rightly concerned over Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s move to close detainee records.

The Bush administration-created 287(g) program was launched 3½ years ago as a way for local law enforcement agencies to help identify illegal immigrants and hand over their cases to federal authorities. Davidson Sheriff Daron Hall was one of the first local authorities to sign up for the program. He says fewer crimes committed in Nashville are attributable to illegal immigrants than before the program took effect. He also says his department has identified more than 5,300 illegal immigrants who have been processed for deportation.

Still, many people have taken exception to the 287(g) program here and in other states, and for good reason. The vast majority of people detained under the program have not turned out to be the dangerous criminals the program was supposedly intended to identify. Also, advocates say the program encourages racial profiling, a charge that law enforcement officials have denied…”

http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090916/OPINION01/909160371

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Obama takes heat from other side of immigrant healthcare debate – LA Times

“Reporting from Washington – Trying to quell a conservative uproar over his healthcare agenda, President Obama has proposed barring illegal immigrants from a possible government-arranged health insurance marketplace — even if the immigrants pay with their own money.

The move has surprised some of Obama’s fellow Democrats and infuriated immigrant advocates, who on Tuesday attacked the position as political pandering and bad policy.

The White House revealed its stance Friday, after a renewed debate over illegal immigration that was triggered when Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) heckled Obama on the issue during the president’s televised address to Congress.

Wilson yelled out, “You lie!” when Obama said that illegal immigrants would receive no benefit from his healthcare proposals.

But some on the political left say that the White House — wary of more damaging battles with the right — has given in to Wilson and other conservatives…”

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/healthcare/la-na-health-illegal-immigrants.ar0-2009sep16,0,5047765,full.story

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E-Verify Seems Here to Stay: Obama’s Immigration Chief Vouches For Status Verification System – Feet in Two Worlds Blog

“E-Verify, the often-criticized electronic system for checking workers’ immigration status, is apparently here to stay. President Obama’s chief of Citizenship and Immigration Services defended the system this week as the government continues to expand its use.

Alejandro Mayorkas, the director of USCIS, “defended the accuracy” of E-Verify during a talk with reporters who cover immigration, The Washington Times reported. This goes against what many business organizations and pro-immigrant advocates have said: that the system makes many mistakes that can leave legal residents jobless.

Mayorkas also said “the agency is continuing to improve the system and get it ready in case Congress mandates it for all U.S. businesses as part of an eventual immigration overhaul,” the Times Stephen Dinan wrote.

Just last week, the administration made it mandatory for federal contractors to use the system to check their workers’ status.

Mayorkas’ statement comes as the Obama administration apparently is attempting to advance immigration reform without alienating those who favor tougher restrictions on unauthorized immigration. E-Verify is a key piece of this strategy, along with other Bush-era enforcement measures that the Obama White House has embraced. This tougher-than-expected approach has irked many in the pro-immigration camp, who don’t see an equal zeal for advancing a reform bill or in making the immigrant detention system more humane…”

http://feetin2worlds.wordpress.com/2009/09/16/e-verify-seems-here-to-stay-obamas-immigration-chief-vouches-for-status-verification-system/

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Military offers a path to citizenship – LA Times

“Looking more like a student than a soldier, the young Indian in jeans and a T-shirt snapped his heels together and stood at attention in front of an American flag. He raised his right hand and pledged to defend the United States against all enemies.

The enlistment ceremony earlier this month at a military center near Los Angeles International Airport took less than five minutes. With that, he became the 101st person in Los Angeles to join the Army under a program that significantly increases the number of immigrants eligible to serve.

“I think I’m in seventh heaven,” he said, grinning.

Until recently, the 25-year-old with a master’s degree from Purdue University in Indiana would not have been permitted to sign up. He had come to the U.S. on a student visa, and only citizens or permanent residents who carry green cards were eligible to join the armed forces. That changed in February when the Army started taking applications from foreigners with specific language and medical skills who are here on temporary visas or as refugees or asylum seekers.

Although all military branches are meeting or exceeding their recruitment goals, they have struggled to find individuals with critical skills needed in Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond, officials said. In exchange for their service, the foreign recruits — who offer skills it would take years to teach — get an expedited path to citizenship…”

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-recruit16-2009sep16,0,2130477.story

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Mexican American astronaut isn’t changing course on immigration stand – LA Times

“Reporting from Mexico City – He may have soared a gazillion miles in outer space, but back here on Earth, U.S. astronaut Jose Hernandez has stepped knee-deep in controversy.

Hernandez, the California-born son of Mexican immigrants, is a full-fledged media star in Mexico. Fans here followed his every floating, gravity-free move during two weeks recently as he Twittered from the Discovery space shuttle mission and gave live interviews to local TV programs.

After the shuttle returned to this planet last week, Hernandez told Mexican television that he thought the United States should legalize the millions of undocumented immigrants living there so that they can work openly in the U.S. because they are important to the economy.

Officials at NASA flipped. They hastened to announce that Hernandez was speaking for himself and only for himself…”

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-mexico-astronaut16-2009sep16,0,7117107.story

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