American Citizens and Same-Sex Partners
In the not-too-distant past, same-sex foreign couples often faced lengthy periods of separation when one partner traveled to the U.S. for studies or for work assignments. And then, in 2001, Secretary Powell issued policy guidelines facilitating use of the B-2 visa classification by the cohabiting partners of longterm nonimmigrants. In practice, these guidelines led to a dramatic liberalization in the ability of a same-sex partner to accompany a foreign student or temporary worker to the U.S. for the duration of the principal nonimmigrant's authorized stay.
The immigration situation for the same-sex partners of U.S. citizens remains frozen in time due to the Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA"), which defines the word "marriage" as "only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife." That said, Secretary Clinton may now have affected a thaw of sorts. A new addition to 9 FAM 41.31 N14.4 (the same FAM provision that Secretary Powell liberalized nine years ago) provides that the B-2 classification "is also an appropriate classification for aliens who are members of the household of a U.S. citizen who normally lives and works overseas, but is returning to the United States for a temporary period." http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/87206.pdf
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
(Moreover, the percentage of voters who are Hispanic has been increasing in each election, so Republicans will need to do better with each election if they are to retain that share of the general electorate.) ...As Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell pointed out to me a few years ago, if the Republicans want to continue to make progress among Hispanic voters, they need to object to the “illegal” part, not the “immigration” part, of the equation.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Oakland is poised to join a handful of cities in creating a municipal identification card that is touted primarily as a way for illegal immigrants to prove their identity.
But unlike programs in other locales, Oakland's plan will be the first in the nation to create an alternative banking system for the poor, with the ID doubling as a full-service debit card.
Card holders will be able to load money onto their cards, freeing them from the vulnerability of walking around with cash or relying on costly check-cashing outlets.
"This will probably be the most advanced municipal ID in the country," said Councilwoman and Mayor-elect Jean Quan, who has driven the effort alongside Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente.
While the debit card function is intended to help illegal immigrants, others see the card's varied uses as a way to broaden interest. That, they say, will prevent a municipal ID card from being a scarlet letter.
"We want to make sure that it's not just another way of identifying people who don't have documentation," said Councilwoman Nancy Nadel.
Oakland is not the first city to try to make municipal ID cards part of the fabric of nonimmigrants' lives.
An ID offered by San Francisco doubles as a library card and provides discounts at certain businesses. The Washington, D.C., card has a slew of functions and can be used to pay for public transit. New Haven, Conn., which implemented the first municipal ID in 2007, allows residents to use the card at parking meters.
Claudia Burgos, an aide to De La Fuente, said Oakland hopes to start issuing cards by March, after the council earlier this month awarded a contract to SF Global Group, a Los Angeles company that operates prepaid banking systems. The card would cost $15, or $10 for seniors and students.
Unlike a typical debit card, the Oakland ID can be loaded with up to $1,000 at a time at participating stores. Unlimited amounts can be added via payroll direct deposit.
In addition, SF Global Group and the council hope to expand the card's uses to include city libraries, Children's Fairyland and the Oakland Museum of California, and may offer them to schoolchildren. In Washington, D.C., every public school student has one, said Elias Enciso, director of business development for SF Global Group.
"It's a card that can serve all Oakland residents," Enciso said. "Because it's a debit card, it would serve many U.S. citizens who have been kicked out of the banking system."
Similar ID cards have prompted fierce opposition elsewhere. But when the City Council chose SF Global to distribute the cards, not one person spoke in opposition.
Oakland police officials have voiced support, while requesting that the cards feature strong protections against fraud and insisting that it not be allowed as a substitute for a driver's license. The proposed Oakland cards will have several security features, like watermarks and ultraviolet ink.
As currently proposed, however, the cards will not include physical characteristics like height, weight, hair color and eye color. Enciso says there's time to change that.
"Ultimately, the city will determine what they want the card to look like," Enciso said.
Only Councilman Larry Reid, who worried that the cards would worsen the city's budget crisis, spoke in opposition when the ordinance authorizing the cards came before the council last year. However, because the program is being outsourced, Oakland's ID cards aren't expected to cost the city a penny.
Among those looking forward to the cards is Margarida Villegas, 47, who has lived in the United States for 20 years.
Her husband and children are legal residents, but she's not. Part of the reason, she said, is that she lost critical legal paperwork in Mexico. As a result, she can't open a bank account.
Earlier this year, she was stopped by police for a traffic violation, prompting officers to say they needed to impound her car. Luckily for her, she was able to call her husband, who identified her.
"I want to be able to identify myself," she said.
Federal law enforcement officers from different agencies soon will be able to talk to each other on their own radios in the Washington area - but the Department of Homeland Security will not be a part of the new system.The Justice Department this month is rolling out a new state-of-the-art interoperable tactical communications system in the national capital region. Called IWN, for Integrated Wireless Network, the new system addresses long-standing problems with existing legacy radio systems highlighted by communications failures on Sept. 11 and during Hurricane Katrina.The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which includes some of the federal government's largest law enforcement agencies - and which is responsible for leading national efforts on interoperable communications - will not be a part of it, however. Officials said DHS may participate in the system in other parts of the country, but not in the capital area, a decision made in 2007.DHS was lacking two things that are essential in the federal government for big projects like IWN to succeed, according to a former federal official with close knowledge of the issue, who asked for anonymity because of the sensitivities of his current employer.
"You need someone to be in charge and you need a place to put the money," said the former official, "DHS had neither."The component agencies within DHS, like the Secret Service, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), each have their own legacy communications systems, and there was no power center in the department that could force them to work together on modernization."The components all had their own equities, their own agenda ... and the components were where the budget power was," the former official concluded.
Swiss voters have approved a plan to automatically deport foreigners found guilty of committing serious crimes or benefit fraud.Swiss national broadcaster SF1 says 52.9 percent of voters backed the proposal put forward by the nationalist Swiss People's Party, or SVP.SF1 reports that 47.1 percent voted against the plan.The deportation proposal drew fire ahead of Sunday vote from legal experts who said it could breach offenders' human rights.Anti-racism groups also bemoaned that the SVP's posters showing white sheep kicking black sheep off a Swiss flag played on stereotypical images of foreigners as criminals.A government-backed counterproposal would have required case-by-case review by a judge before an individual is deported.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
PORTLAND, Ore. – Federal agents in a sting operation arrested a Somali-born teenager just as he tried blowing up a van he believed was loaded with explosives at a crowded Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland, authorities said.The bomb was an elaborate fake supplied by the agents and the public was never in danger, authorities said.Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, was arrested at 5:40 p.m. Friday just after he dialed a cell phone that he thought would set off the blast but instead brought federal agents and police swooping down on him.Yelling "Allahu Akbar!" — Arabic for "God is great!" — Mohamud tried to kick agents and police after he was taken into custody, according to prosecutors."The threat was very real," said Arthur Balizan, special agent in charge of the FBI in Oregon. "Our investigation shows that Mohamud was absolutely committed to carrying out an attack on a very grand scale."White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said Saturday that President Barack Obama was aware of the FBI operation before Friday's arrest. Shapiro said Obama was assured that the FBI was in full control of the operation and that the public was not in danger."The events of the past 24 hours underscore the necessity of remaining vigilant against terrorism here and abroad," Shapiro said. "The president thanks the FBI, the Department of Justice and the rest of our law enforcement, intelligence and Homeland Security professionals who have once again served with extraordinary skill and resolve and with the commitment that their enormous responsibilities demand."A law enforcement official, who was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press that federal agents began investigating the suspect after receiving a tip from someone who was concerned about the teenager. The official declined to provide more detail about the relationship between Mohamud and that source.The FBI affidavit that outlined the investigation alleges that Mohamud planned the attack for months, at one point mailing bomb components to FBI operatives, whom he believed were assembling the device.According to the official, Mohamud hatched the plan on his own and without any instruction from a foreign terrorist organization, and he planned the details, including where to park the van for the maximum number of casualties.The affidavit said Mohamud was warned several times about the seriousness of his plan, that women and children could be killed, and that he could back out, but he told agents: "Since I was 15 I thought about all this;" and "It's gonna be a fireworks show ... a spectacular show."
Mohamud, a naturalized U.S. citizen living in Corvallis, was charged with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. A court appearance was set for Monday.
Authorities allowed the plot to proceed in order to build up enough evidence to charge the suspect with attempt.The alleged plot in Portland follows a string of terrorist attack planning by U.S. citizens or residents, including a Times Square plot in which Faisal Shahzad pleaded guilty to trying to set off a car bomb at a bustling street corner. U.S. authorities had no intelligence about Shahzad's plot until the smoking car turned up in Manhattan.Late last month, Farooque Ahmed, 34, of Virginia was arrested and accused of casing Washington-area subway stations in what he thought was an al-Qaida plot to bomb and kill commuters. Similar to the Portland sting, the bombing plot was a ruse conducted over the past six months by federal officials.U.S. Attorney Dwight Holton released federal court documents to The Associated Press and the Oregonian newspaper that show the sting operation began in June after an undercover agent learned that Mohamud had been in regular e-mail contact with an "unindicted associate" in Pakistan's northwest, a frontier region where al-Qaida and Afghanistan's Taliban insurgents are strong. The person Mohamud had been in e-mail contact with was a friend living in Pakistan who had been a student in Oregon in 2007-2008, the official told the AP.The two used coded language in which the FBI believes Mohamud discussed traveling to Pakistan to prepare for "violent jihad," the documents said.In June an FBI agent contacted Mohamud "under the guise of being affiliated with" the suspected terrorist.An undercover agent met with him a month later in Portland, where they "discussed violent jihad," according to the court documents.As a trial run, Mohamud and agents detonated a bomb in Oregon's backcounry earlier this month."This defendant's chilling determination is a stark reminder that there are people — even here in Oregon — who are determined to kill Americans," Holton said.Friday, an agent and Mohamud drove to downtown Portland in a white van that carried six 55-gallon drums with detonation cords and plastic caps, but all of them were inert, the complaint states.They left the van near the downtown ceremony site and went to a train station where Mohamud was given a cell phone that he thought would blow up the vehicle, according to the complaint. There was no detonation when he dialed, and when he tried again federal agents and police made their move.Omar Jamal, first secretary to the Somali mission to the United Nations, condemned the plot and urged Somalis to cooperate with police and the FBI."Talk to them and tell them what you know so we can all be safe," Jamal said.Somalia Foreign Minister Mohamed Abullahi Omaar said his government is "ready and willing" to offer the U.S. any assistance it may need to prevent similar attempts. He said the attempt in Portland was a tragedy for Mohamud's family and the "people he tried to harm."
"Mohamud's attempt is neither representative nor an example of Somalis. Somalis are peace loving people," said Omaar, whose government is holed up in a few blocks of the capital, Mogadishu, while much of the country's southern and central regions are ruled by Islamist insurgents.
Tens of thousands of Somalis have resettled in the United States since their country plunged into lawlessness in 1991, and the U.S. has boosted aid to the country.In August, the U.S. Justice Department unsealed an indictment naming 14 people accused of being a deadly pipeline routing money and fighters from the U.S. to al-Shabab, an al-Qaida affiliated group in Mohamud's native Somalia.At the time, Attorney General Eric Holder said the indictments reflect a disturbing trend of recruitment efforts targeting U.S. residents to become terrorists.Officials have been working with Muslim community leaders across the United States, particularly in Somali diasporas in Minnesota, trying to combat the radicalization.
WASHINGTON – The teenager accused of attempting to bomb a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland, Ore., was acting on his own initiative and not at the direction of any foreign terrorist organization, a law enforcement official said Saturday.
Mohamed Osman Mohamud hatched the plan on his own to use a cell phone to detonate what he believed was an explosive-filled van at a crowded Christmas tree lighting ceremony Friday, according to the official, who wasn't authorized to discuss the case publicly and spoke on a condition of anonymity.
The official said Mohamud was very committed to the plot and alone planned the details, including where to park the van for the maximum number of casualties. Authorities say Mohamud sent bomb components to undercover FBI agents who he believed were assembling the explosive device, but the agents supplied a fake that Mohamud tried to detonate twice via his phone.
The official said agents began investigating Mohamud after receiving a tip from someone who was concerned about the teenager. The official declined to provide any more detail about the relationship between Mohamud and that source.
The FBI monitored Mohamud's e-mail. They found that he was in e-mail contact with people overseas and was asking how he could travel to Pakistan and join the fight for jihad, according to an FBI affidavit.Mohamud, a student at Oregon State University, e-mailed a friend living in Pakistan who had been a student in Oregon in 2007-2008, according to the official. The FBI's affidavit says the friend in Pakistan referred him to another associate, but gave him an invalid e-mail address that Mohamud tried repeatedly to use unsuccessfully. The official said FBI agents saw that as an opportunity and e-mailed Mohamud in response, claiming to be associates of his friend, the former student.
The friend Mohamud was e-mailing was in Pakistan's northwest frontier province, an area known to harbor terrorists, but the law enforcement official said there is no indication that any foreign terrorist group was behind the plot.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Shortly before 7:00 p.m. on September 12, police in Teaneck, New Jersey, pulled over a woman on Queen Anne Road, who was driving erratically.
The woman, Sofia Bautista-Aparicio, 24, was taken into custody after failing several field sobriety tests. Sitting in the police cruiser, the Mexican national urinated on the seat, vomited and passed out. Because of her condition, police transported her to Holy Name Medical Center.
According to police, Bautista-Aparicio spoke no English and required an interpreter throughout the booking process. While in custody, Bautista-Aparicio, who had no valid driver’s license, admitted to police that she had entered the country illegally.
Police contacted Immigration and Customs Enforcement to report the illegal alien. However, ICE refused to respond, as they do not consider her to be a serious threat.
Bautista-Aparicio was charged with DUI and simply released on a summons.
Nineteen-year-old José Salcedo took a stand Wednesday that may turn out to be a milestone in his life and in the struggle for legalization by undocumented immigrants.
A keynote speaker at a student rally at Miami Dade College's InterAmerican campus in Little Havana, Salcedo surprised many of his listeners when he revealed he was undocumented.The Colombia-born Salcedo is no ordinary student. He is Student Government Association president at the InterAmerican campus, student representative on the Board of Trustees for Miami Dade College and a member of the school's Honors College, one of 550 elite students.
“ICE will continue to target, arrest and remove those who come to this country to pursue a life of crime rather than the American dream,” he went on.
My suggestion: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside, if they are born of a parent who is a legal American citizen."
By birth, the babies are American citizens who will have the ability to travel freely to and from the United States, with easy access to a U-S education and the chance to start a life here. The citizen child could later sponsor the legal immigration of his or her entire family permanently to this country. The 14th Amendment makes this all perfectly legal.
The 14th Amendment's language has never been tested directly by the Supreme Court. It's not unlike the Second Amendment. It was 2008 before the court finally answered a 217-year old constitutional question about an individual right to own a gun.
Friday, November 19, 2010
Low levels of vitamin D, the essential nutrient obtained from milk, fortified cereals and exposure to sunlight, doubles the risk of stroke in whites, but not in blacks, according to a new report by researchers at Johns Hopkins.
Stroke is the nation's third leading cause of death, killing more than 140,000 Americans annually and temporarily or permanently disabling over half a million when there is a loss of blood flow to the brain.
Researchers say their findings, to be presented Nov. 15 at the American Heart Association's (AHA) annual Scientific Sessions in Chicago, back up evidence from earlier work at Johns Hopkins linking vitamin D deficiency to higher rates of death, heart disease and peripheral artery disease in adults.
The Hopkins team says its results fail to explain why African Americans, who are more likely to be vitamin D deficient due to their darker skin pigmentation's ability to block the sun's rays, also suffer from higher rates of stroke. Of the 176 study participants known to have died from stroke within a 14-year period, 116 were white and 60 were black. Still, African Americans had a 65 percent greater likelihood of suffering such a severe bleeding in or interruption of blood flow to the brain than whites, when age, other risk factors for stroke, and vitamin D deficiency were factored into their analysis.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
The California Supreme Court ruled on Monday to preserve Assembly Bill 540, California’s state law that allows undocumented students to pay in-state tuition.
This ruling will affect Associated Students, Inc. Pedro Ramirez, also undocumented, who is serving as the Fresno State ASI president without pay.
The Collegian recently received an anonymous e-mail questioning the legal status of Pedro Ramirez. Ramirez confirmed this information.
Ramirez will not be the only one to benefit from the ruling. According to the Los Angeles Times and KMPH Fox 26, AB 540 will benefit 231 Fresno Sate students and 25,000 students in California.
These students will continue to pay $2,115 per semester. If the law was repealed, undocumented students would pay out-of-state tuition, which is almost doubled.
As an AB 540 student, Ramirez cannot receive federal or state aid. Because of his legal status he cannot be employed in the United States.
Ramirez said that ASI administrators were aware that he would not be paid for the ASI position, but he willfully accepted it as a volunteer position.
There has been speculation that the university is paying Ramirez through ASI scholarships. Ramirez denied such speculation as being false. He affirmed that he signed a legal waiver stating that he would not receive payment for his position. However, he said that he received a $50 cell phone stipend two weeks ago.
Ramirez decided to take the position because he wanted to make a positive difference for students at Fresno State.
“I thought I could make a possible impact to clean up the organization and use whatever resources and power that we have to benefit the student,” Ramirez said.
“I’m going to graduate soon,” he said. “What am I going to use my degree for? And in the next few weeks they will be voting on the only hope that I have,” Ramirez said, referring to the DREAM Act.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
The CSP comes closest, recently publishing the Team B II Report and a supplement to that report, 10 Failures Of The U.S. Government On The Domestic Islamist Threat. Both, however, miss the most important issue of Muslim terrorism; Muslims. The supplement does enumerate a number of failings of the U.S. government regarding 10 infamous Muslims who worked at the highest political and administrative levels to help Muslim terrorism directed against the U.S.
Albert Einstein once defined insanity as "doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results." At the heart of the Team B II project is the belief that the Team A approach of our government to the Islamist threat, i.e. the received wisdom of the political, law enforcement, military and intelligence establishment, has proved to be a serial failure. In fact, we would be hard-pressed to find many instances in which the government Team A actually got it right. Rather than attempt to get it right, the establishment seems content to double-down on failure.
What follows are the most egregious and glaring failures of our national security agencies' approach. This whitepaper compiles a representative sample of ten cases, but easily a hundred or more cases could be presented. These examples range chronologically from incidents that occurred in the late 1980s and early 1990s, to events that have happened within the past few weeks prior to the publication of this paper. From the first Bush 41 Administration to the current Obama Administration, the degree of failure is non-partisan. These cases also cover the gamut of federal agencies and departments, along with a few examples on the state and local level, showing that no segment of our government holds a monopoly on failure on this issue. The problem is universal.
Each of these cases is rooted in a fundamental failure by those government officials responsible to identify the nature of the threat. At their root these examples demonstrate what Team B II author and former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy has called "willful blindness." For government officials who have sworn an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, however, their "willful blindness" is a breach of their professional duty to know, to understand and to respond.
It should also be noted that each of these cases has been brought to the public and elected officials' attention before. In most cases, no action was taken despite public outcry. We hope that the winners of last week's election will finally take responsibility for the nation's security and take action against this threat of Shariah and Islamic terrorism. Sources are provided so anyone-- media, public, and policymaker-- can understand the extent of the problem and investigate how our political, civic and religious leadership have allowed this threat to advance so far.
Admirably, the Obama administration's May national security strategy explicitly lists as one of its goals "empowering communities to counter radicalisation." But without identifying the ideology driving radicalisation, it will be difficult to build community resilience against radicalisers.
No standardised explanation can account for every case of radicalisation. Yet it is clear that improved integration of immigrant communities and a greater sense of national social cohesion are essential to redressing local grievances and can lower the susceptibility of these communities.
At the same time, it is necessary to challenge and defeat the extremist ideology being peddled by radicalisers: our ultimate adversaries are not those already radicalised but their extremist ideology that propels individuals to wage violent jihad.
The ideology being espoused -- radical Islamism -- is an extremist sociopolitical ideology separate from the religion of Islam. Failure to recognise its influence as a key driver that seeks to frame, motivate and justify violent extremism hampers efforts to intervene early in the radicalisation process.
Since 9/11, US efforts to counter radical Islamism have included varied community engagement, counter-radicalisation and tactical counter-terrorism initiatives. Programs have been expanded to advance global engagement and strategic communication abroad, and community engagement and town hall meetings with immigrant communities at home.
At the other end of the spectrum, counter-terrorism officials have concentrated not only on preventing plots from being hatched but on developing fissures among al-Qa'ida, affiliated terror groups and their supporters.
However, the CSP and the Counterterrorism both miss the easiest and most effective tactic to counter Muslim terrorism: controling Muslims through immigration controls. All of the problem Muslims that CSP identified and the radicalization of Muslims that CTB is deeply concerned about is worthless as a counterterrorism strategy as both do not address the influx of Muslims into the United States. No counter radicalization program or more thorough screening of Muslims in the government will be sucessful as neither strategy counters the growing numbers of radicalized Muslims in the U.S. and the community that, as Mao Tse-tung pointed out, they swim in. The success of the radicalized Muslim is not just those Muslims radicalized and working for jihad, but the extended coummunity they operate out of that offers them concealment and protection.
And now between the community they hid in and the general influence of that community to protect them, any effort to counter radicalization or identify the radicals themselves is doomed to failure. Only controlling, then reducing the Muslim population, that is growing exponentially due to immigration, has any hope of success. Counter radicalization is doomed because the Muslim community and leadership are firmly in the hands of those already radicalized or, as was said about Spain or Sweden during WWII, neural in favor of the radicals. There are few if any moderate Muslims and the few have no influence. The most committed to Islam are the most radical and the most moderate are the least committed to Islam. Those who are committed to Islam lead it here and throughout the world. Therefore only a program of ending Muslim immigration and aggressive immigration law enforcement can end the problem. The goal should be to reduce the Muslim population to that it was in the late 50s when they had no power or influence, and feared and cowered before the forces of America: the FBI, the INS, and Christian American culture. This should be little problem as large numbers of Muslims are here illegally or participate in terrorism financing and are easy targets for deportation. Islam is only expanding because of immigration and Muslims also tend to loose significant numbers due to American culture. Their fecundity is a problem, but welfare cuts would also help there, as most radicals are incapable of holding any employment. Once they radicalize then tend to leave employment, much like the Times Square Bomber and Farooque Ahmed. They just can't stand such close proximity to non-Muslims.
So, our counterterrorism community needs to get with the program. Immigration is the key to security. End Muslim immigration and you end the Muslim terrorism problem.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
As most of you are aware, we’ve had a school issue that has risen to the level of national news coverage. This incident occurred on Monday, November 8th when a campus supervisor askedone of our middle school students to remove an American flag from his bicycle while he was on school grounds. This request was based on concerns for the student’s immediate safety, and to give school staff time to investigate a potentially dangerous situation, involving threats to this student.
While it is our responsibility to ensure that all students are safe at school, we also support every students’ First Amendment rights. We are dealing with the students who threatened to disruptthe school environment. And, the student involved in this incident is now again proudly displaying his flag.
We recognize that we live in the greatest country in the world and that we should all be proud todisplay the American flag. It’s unfortunate that the entire story of this issue has not been fullyportrayed in the media. Denair is a wonderful community, filled with hard working committed citizens who support our schools and our democracy.
I’m proud to lead the schools in this community and sincerely hope we can return the focus to our children and their education. We will be addressing the issue with our Board at our regularmeeting Thursday, November 18 in the District Leadership room located at 3460 Lester Road, Denair.
PHOENIX (AP) -- Authorities have dismantled a major cell of a human smuggling ring that may be responsible for the transportation of thousands of illegal immigrants from the U.S.-Mexico border to Phoenix and other parts of the country, investigators said Wednesday.
Nine people were arrested Wednesday after a yearlong investigation. They have not yet been charged but are accused of picking up illegal immigrants after they crossed the border by foot, and taking them to what are known as drop houses in Phoenix before they were distributed to other parts of the country.
Authorities say the group was led by a 29-year-old Mexican man who told them his name is Mark Rodriguez-Banks. They say he also is known as Ricardo Morales-Mejia.
At least seven of the people in custody are Mexican men who are believed to be in the country illegally, authorities said.
Rodriguez-Banks provided vehicles for the immigrants' transportation from the border to Phoenix, and from there to other parts of the country, said Arizona Department of Public Safety Capt. Fred Zumbo.
Authorities seized 62 vans from the group Wednesday, some of which were disguised as belonging to flower or carpet cleaning companies.None of the vehicles had been reported stolen but were registered to people with
addresses that don't exist.
Zumbo said the group specialized in smuggling people from Central America, and that many of their customers - who paid to be taken to various U.S. cities - came from Guatemala.
The group has been connected to a June 2009 vehicle rollover near the southern Arizona town of Sonoita in which 11 illegal immigrants from Central America in the vehicle were killed. Twenty-seven people had been "stacked like wood" inside, and most were ejected after a tire blew and the vehicle rolled.
Members of the group also were involved in two other reports last year of transporting illegal immigrants. Charges in those cases involved resisting arrest, fleeing law enforcement, aggravated assault on an officer and endangerment.
The group displayed a "total disregard" for human life, said Zumbo, who leads the Illegal Immigration Prevention & Apprehension Co-op Team, a task force of Arizona law enforcement agencies that targets human smuggling.
"We have put a huge dent in the human smuggling arena, not only in Maricopa County but in Arizona," he said. "We are going after the mid- to upper-level players in these organizations." The seized vans surely would have been used to smuggle more people, Zumbo said.
"The biggest thing that we need to look at on this case is what we prevented possibly, because this group was very violent," he said. "These vans were potential hazards on our highways, they were possibly going to hurt and injure our citizens because of the reckless disregard of these human smugglers."
Monday, November 15, 2010
Noting that she lives near the border, Valdez said, “I see a lot of wetbacks, well, people coming across illegally, constantly every single night…it’s pitch dark and you know what? They take advantage of that.”
Police say when another driver began honking, Fajardo yelled at the driver, grabbed his arm and kicked the side of the car. After spotting a Jordanian flag on the car's dashboard, Fajardo began yelling threats and ethnic slurs at the men inside.
Apparently though, Li is lying about not having anyone in Peru to help him:Sen. Dianne Feinstein has asked immigration authorities to halt the deportation of City College of San Francisco nursing student Steve "Shing Ma" Li while she considers introducing a bill that would allow him to stay in the United States temporarily, her office said Sunday.
The California Democrat's effort came as Li's attorney said his removal flight to Peru would no longer happen today, as initially planned. The lawyer, Sin Yen Ling, said the immigration officer that told her of the change of plans did not give her any more details.
"Why? I don't know," said Ling, whose client is at a detention center in Florence, AZ. "They wouldn't provide me with additional information, but I do think it has a lot to do with the advocacy work that's been happening."
In a phone interview late Sunday, Li said, "It's a miracle. Not a big one, but it's still something, and every day that I'm here means I have a chance to not get deported and stay in San Francisco."
Li's case has attracted attention because the 20-year-old says he has no real connection to Peru, nor relatives or friends there. His parents were born in China but moved to Peru in the 1980s to escape the government's one-child policy. They brought Li to the United States at age 11.
The three were arrested in San Francisco Sept. 15 because they were only allowed to stay in the United States through the end of 2002. Li's parents were released and wear electronic ankle bracelets as they await deportation to China.
Many of Li's supporters, who include thousands of college students and visitors to his Facebook page, rallied outside Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer's office in San Francisco on Friday, trying to get her to intervene.
Supporters have also engaged in letter-writing campaigns targeting Boxer, Feinstein and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco.
Feinstein's office noted her support for the Dream Act, which if passed would grant undocumented immigrant children citizenship if they entered the United States before age 15 and were attending college. In a statement Sunday, Feinstein said it would be unjust to deport Li before the bill can be voted on.
"I have asked ICE to halt the deportation proceedings while I consider introducing a private bill that will allow Mr. Li to remain in the United States on a temporary basis," Feinstein said.
Private bills are often last resorts in immigration cases. Only a small fraction of them are successfully passed by Congress. However, merely introducing a bill could put Li's deportation on hold, Ling said.
After meeting with Li's attorney and mother Friday, Boxer's staff reiterated her support for the Dream Act. Boxer does not introduce private bills, a spokesman said.
A spokesman for Pelosi, Drew Hammill, said she believes Li's case "is a textbook example of the pressing need for comprehensive immigration reform and passage of the Dream Act," and is "working with other members (of Congress) to recommend that ICE grant deferred action."
Ling asked for a deferral of Li's deportation after his arrest, but said she received a fax from Immigration and Customs Enforcement Friday denying the request. The decision was made in Arizona and could be reversed by ICE Director John Morton.
"The reality is ICE is as bureaucratic as any other federal agency," Ling said. "So it's just a matter of getting John Morton's attention to say look, the Arizona office denied deferred action and there's something wrong with the decision, and do something about it."
Virginia Kice, an ICE spokeswoman, said in an e-mail Sunday that the agency never confirms the timing of a removal in advance but that Li "remains in ICE custody while the agency seeks to make arrangements for his removal."
But, of course, as an overseas Chinese, he has the right to a Chinese passport as well, where he does have relatives.
One of Li's friends from City College, 20-year-old Christian Hip, said he was hopeful after learning Li will not be deported today.
"It means we get to do something at least for one more day," he said.
But Hip, who is also of Chinese descent but was born in the United States, is preparing for the worst. After finding out through Facebook that Li could be deported, he contacted his parents in Lima, Peru. The country has a large population of immigrants from China.
"My parents have additional rooms and they're retired, so they have time to pick him up and take care of him," he said. "It makes me feel relieved that he may have a hand even though I'm not there with him."
The next question though is why is ICE responding to Senator Feinstein's demand that Li not be deported even though she has not bothered to file a private bill? Do Senators run the executive? This is a serious Constitutional crisis that is to be expected of a lawless regime, but frighteningly establishes precedent that will come back to haunt a future patriotic President in the future.
The other issue though is the continuing amensty for illegal alien students being conducted by John Morton. Other illegal alien students like Jessica Colotl and Eric Balderas get amnesty but Li does not. Why the distinction? Why is Morton conducting an illegal amnesty in the first place? What will the new Republican House of Representatives do about Morton's and Feinstein's Constitutional coup d'etat?
Sunday, November 14, 2010
She said he was surprised to learn that he was the reason people were being asked to exit the store.
“He carries a gun everywhere he goes. This has never happened before,” she said, referencing the evacuation.
Their plan, Sterner said, was for Scott to take his guns out to her car then come back to the store and sort out what happened.
Scott never made it that far.
Moments later, he was shot to death outside the doors of the shoppers warehouse.
Sterner says on the tape that the officer who fired first at Scott “was too aggressive” and would have shot Scott even if he had complied with all directions.
“I just think that this officer was out of line,” she tells the officer. What happened was a misunderstanding.
“He was trying to put his weapon on the ground,” she says.
Officer William Mosher, the first of three officers who fired shots at Scott and the first to pull his trigger, was again on the witness stand Friday to answer questions from interested parties...
...But he said that given the circumstances — that Scott had raised a weapon at him — he had no choice but to respond with deadly force.
Mosher, who is a Marine, said Scott, a West Point graduate, should have known how to safely surrender a weapon to an officer, but he didn’t act in an appropriate manner. “I think CCW is a great thing,” he said.Under questioning, Mosher described himself as a believer in the 2nd Amendment and a member of the National Rifle Association.
Testimony on Thursday by Mosher and Costco employees indicated that Scott hadn’t committed any crimes inside the store — Scott might have received a ticket for trespassing or destruction of property. [sic. an infraction is a crime.]
But he said it is illegal in Nevada to carry a weapon when under the influence of drugs or alcohol, [ed. note: A crime] so police had an obligation to investigate and take Scott into custody, even if it was only temporarily. There was a good chance, Mosher said, that Scott wouldn’t have been arrested for anything.
In the background of a call to 911 played for the jury, Mosher can be heard yelling, “Put your hands where I can see them now. Drop it! Get on the ground! Get on the ground!”
[Obviously Mosher saw a weapon and responded. McDaniel claims that there was no weapon. The recording proves McDaniel wrong.]
The shooting wouldn’t have happened, he said, if Scott had complied with the commands issued by police to get on the ground.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
SAN JOSE, CA (KGO) -- The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously today to opt out of the federal government's Secure Communities Program known as SCOMM.
The 5-to-0 vote came after more than an hour of public testimony that largely denounced the federal immigration initiative, which automatically sends fingerprints taken by local law enforcement agencies of arrested individuals to the Department of Homeland Security.
Supervisors however, admit Attorney General Jerry Brown will likely block the effort just as he did in San Francisco.
"There's been an agreement by the attorney general that would cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and extricate the information anyway so I'm concerned with that," Santa Clara County Supervisor George Shirakawa said.
Those opposed to the government initiative say that it forces communities to live in fear and that even victims of crimes can be deported causing immigrant families to be torn apart.
Shirakawa proposed that the county send a letter to the Department of Homeland Security formally requesting that Santa Clara County not be a part of the federal program.
"We are not here to do the job of ICE," he said.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, has been writing letters to the Department of Homeland Security to ask when and how a request to opt out would be honored.
One by one, members of the public spoke before the board calling attention to what they call the dangers of a policy that pushes illegal immigrants into hiding and makes them fearful of interacting with local police.
Laura Villalobos told the board that she knows many parents aren't even involved in their children's education or volunteer at schools because they are worried about being fingerprinted.
There were two speakers out of 18 who spoke in favor of SCOMM.
Lee Ellak of San Jose told the board that if it opted out of the Secure Communities Program, Santa Clara County would become known as a safe haven for illegal immigrants and cost the county untold millions in crime and social services that are provided to immigrants.
"ICE is trying to and Secure Communities is trying to get rid of that criminal element within the illegal immigrant community," he said.
After the board's unanimous vote to opt out of SCOMM, a large group of people at the supervisors' meeting gave the board a standing ovation for taking the position.