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August 28, 2008

Another large ICE raid

It took place on 8/25, in Mississippi. It is not yet clear if federal prosecutors will run the 350 odd arrested workers through a mass criminal conviction meat grinder as they did in Postville in June.

The complete NY Times article:

LAUREL, Miss. — In another large-scale workplace immigration crackdown, federal officials raided a factory here on Monday, detaining at least 350 workers they said were in the country illegally.

Howard Industries, one of the largest employers in the region, manufactures electrical transformers, among other products.

Numerous agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement descended on a factory belonging to Howard Industries Inc., which manufactures electrical transformers, among other products.

As of late Monday afternoon, no criminal charges had been filed, said Barbara Gonzalez, an agency spokeswoman, but she said that dozens of workers had been “identified, fingerprinted, interviewed, photographed and processed for removal from the U.S.”

The raid follows a similar large-scale immigration operation at a meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa, in May when nearly 400 workers were detained. That raid was a significant escalation of the Bush administration’s enforcement practices because those detained were not simply deported, as in previous raids, but were imprisoned for months on criminal charges of using false documents.

The mass rapid-fire hearings after the Postville raid took place in a temporary court facility on the grounds of the National Cattle Congress in Waterloo, Iowa. An interpreter was later sharply critical of the proceedings, saying the immigrants did not understand the charges against them.

An immigrant rights group in Jackson, Miss., the state capital, was critical of Monday’s raid, saying families with children were involved.

“It’s horrific what ICE is doing to these families and these communities,” said Shuya Ohno, a spokesman for the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance. “It’s just hard to imagine that this is the United States of America.”

In Laurel on Monday afternoon, several dozen family members of immigrants waited for news of their relatives at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. There were several small children. A priest at the church who identified himself only as Father Sergio refused to allow interviews with the families or answer any questions, saying only: “People are afraid. We need to calm them. There are mothers and children involved.”

Entrances to the sprawling plant, in an industrial section south of town, had been blocked off by ICE. A nearby fast-food restaurant was full of the blue-shirted agents, one of whom would say only that a “little inspection” was under way at the facility.

A woman entering the church grounds with four small children said several of the youngsters’ parents had been detained. The woman, Mary Troyer, said she was a translator for many of the families.

“I don’t like this at all,” Ms. Troyer said. “I don’t understand it. They have come here to work. It’s very sad.”

The ICE spokeswoman, Ms. Gonzalez, said the workers would be taken to an ICE detention center to “await the outcome of their cases.” She said 50 would be “released into the community” instead of being sent to the center, for “humanitarian reasons,” including medical difficulties or the need to take care of children.

She said no lawyers were present while the workers were being interrogated. “Everyone will have due process under law,” Ms. Gonzalez said.

Late Monday afternoon, the grim-faced workers, some of them handcuffed, were lined up near white and silver buses as the rain poured down.

In a statement issued after the raid, Howard Industries, one of the largest employers in the region, acknowledged that it was “visited” by immigration agents trying to determine if its employees were citizens or otherwise legally authorized to work in the country.

“Howard Industries runs every check allowed to ascertain the immigration status of all applicants for jobs,” the statement said. “It is company policy that it hires only U.S. citizens and legal immigrants.”

Bill Chandler, executive director of the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance, called the Laurel raid a violation of human rights.

“We’re very disturbed at what’s happened,” Mr. Chandler said. “It’s a real contradiction between our proclaimed values of hard work and family in Mississippi and the actions of local law enforcement, and ICE. I think it’s a real affront to our values. They’re creating their own terrorism by going after workers.”

After the Iowa raid, the federal interpreter said many of the immigrants did not understand the charges to which they pleaded guilty. But federal officials said the judges in the cases believed that the guilty pleas had been made freely and voluntarily.

August 13, 2008

Immigrants create environmental pollution ???

The Center for Immigration Studies suggests we should send immigrants back in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The anti-immigration organization arrived at this weird moment of twisted thinking this way. Immigrants are largely from low income countries (read: Mexico) where COs emission is one quarter that of the U.S. Hence, CIS says, when they come here they about quadruple their emissions. Below is CIS’s release of its “new study.” You will see towards the end that they acknowledge how their argument might be disputed.

The press release:

Study: Immigration to U.S. Increases
Global Greenhouse-Gas Emissions

WASHINGTON (August 13, 2008) — The findings of a new study indicate that future levels of immigration will have a significant impact on efforts to reduce global CO2 emissions. Immigration to the United States significantly increases world-wide CO2 emissions because it transfers population from lower-polluting parts of the world to the United States, which is a higher-polluting country.

The report, entitled “Immigration to the United States and World-Wide Greenhouse Gas Emissions,” is available at http://www.cis.org/GreenhouseGasEmissions and a video regarding the report is available at http://www.cis.org/GreenhouseGasEmissionsVideo

Among the findings:

• The estimated CO2 emissions of the average immigrant (legal or illegal) in the United States are 18 percent less than those of the average native-born American.

• However, immigrants in the United States produce an estimated four times more CO2 in the United States as they would have in their countries of origin.

• U.S. immigrants produce an estimated 637 million metric tons of CO2 emissions annually – equal to Great Britain and Sweden combined.

• The estimated 637 million tons of CO2 U.S. immigrants produce annually is 482 million tons more than they would have produced had they remained in their home countries.

• If the 482-million-ton increase in global CO2 emissions caused by immigration to the United States were a separate country, it would rank 10th in the world in emissions.

• The impact of immigration to the United States on global emissions is equal to approximately 5 percent of the increase in annual world-wide CO2 emissions since 1980.

• Of the CO2 emissions caused by immigrants, 83 percent are estimated to come from legal immigrants and 17 percent from illegal immigrants.

• Legal immigrants have a much larger impact because they are more numerous than illegal immigrants and because they have higher incomes, and thus higher emissions.

• The above figures do not include the impact of children born to immigrants in the United States. If they were included, the impact would be much higher.

• Assuming no change in U.S. immigration policy, 30 million new legal and illegal immigrants are expected to settle in the United States in the next 20 years.

• In recent years, increases in U.S. CO2 emissions have been driven entirely by population increases, as per capita emissions have stabilized.

Discussion: Some may be tempted to see this analysis as “blaming immigrants” for what are really America’s failures. It is certainly reasonable to argue that Americans could do more to reduce per capita emissions. And it is certainly not our intention to imply that immigrants are particularly responsible for global warming. As we report in this study, the average immigrant produces somewhat less CO2 than the average native-born American. But to simply dismiss the large role that continuing high levels of immigration play in increasing U.S. (and thus worldwide) CO2 emissions is not only intellectually dishonest, it is also counterproductive. One must acknowledge a problem before a solution can be found.

One can still argue for high levels of immigration for any number of other reasons. However, one cannot make the argument for high immigration without at least understanding what it means for global efforts to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. Some involved in the global-warming issue have recognized immigration’s importance. For instance, chief U.S. climate negotiator and special representative for the United States, Harlan Watson, has acknowledged that high immigration to the United States is thwarting efforts to reduce the nation’s emissions. “It’s simple arithmetic,” said Watson. “If you look at mid-century, Europe will be at 1990 levels of population while ours will be nearing 60 percent above 1990 levels. So population does matter.” This research confirms Watson’s observation.

August 2, 2008

Number of illegal residents way down?

A study by the Center for Immigration Studies says that there has been an 11% drop in the number of illegal residents in the past year. “CIS research director Steven Camarota and demographer Karen Jensenius write that the illegal population, which they now estimate at 11.2 million, dropped 1.3 million since last August from 12.5 million. If the decline continued for another five years, they write, that population would fall by one half.”

This seems to me too huge a change that could be accounted for in one year, especially without strong confirmation from other ways of estimating the illegal population.

The Center for Immigration Studies has taken a hard stand against illegal immigration.

the article in full:

A report released yesterday by a nonprofit research group estimates that the number of illegal aliens in the United States dropped significantly in the past year after a steep increase.

The D.C.-based Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) said Census Bureau data indicate the number of unlawful residents fell 11 percent by May 2008 after peaking the previous August. While the CIS report Homeward Bound: Recent Immigration Enforcement and the Decline in the Illegal Alien Population attributes some of this decline to a slowing economy, it says increased enforcement seems to have had an impact.

CIS research director Steven Camarota and demographer Karen Jensenius write that the illegal population, which they now estimate at 11.2 million, dropped 1.3 million since last August from 12.5 million. If the decline continued for another five years, they write, that population would fall by one half.

As the number of illegals drops, the number of legal immigrants is still rising, suggesting to CIS that the economy alone hasn't reduced the illegal population. The report also says the number of illegals in America began dropping before their jobless rate rose substantially in early 2008.

Unlawful residents have declined in number during past economic slowdowns, but the decline CIS recorded during the current downturn exceeds the 7-percent drop during the more severe recession from Mar. 2001 to Nov. 2001.

Enforcement efforts the researchers point to as having lowered the number of illegals include fencing more of the U.S.-Mexico border over the past 18 months, doubling the number of border patrol agents to 16,500 over the last few years and increasing worksite arrests fivefold since 2004.

The Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement reported deportation of 176,000 immigrants from the U.S. between Sept. 2007 and Jul. 2008, accounting for only a small part of the decline the illegal population during that time. Dr. Camarota said this indicates many illegals respond to stepped-up enforcement and leave on their own.

'It challenges directly the argument that we have to legalize folks because there's no other choice,' he said. 'You don't have to deport everyone.'

He and Ms. Jensenius write that Congress's failure to amnesty nearly all of the illegal aliens in America in July 2007 likely factored into the decision many immigrants made to return home. President George W. Bush and other lawmakers' clamoring for a mass legalization probably enticed many illegal immigrants to enter in the months leading up to the bill's defeat.

Dr. Camarota said that the enthusiasm presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama have shown for amnesty could compromise the headway the government has made in reducing the number of illegal aliens.

'The biggest threat is the public pronouncements of political candidates,' he said.

Many open-borders advocates argue for legalizing unlawful residents and expanding opportunities to immigrate lawfully on the logic that immigrants are not only economically and culturally beneficial to America but difficult to remove in large numbers.

Tamar Jacoby, president of ImmigrationWorks USA, said she doubts the CIS study gives enough weight to economic factors and doesn't expect sustained enforcement at the current level to reduce the illegal population dramatically.

'In the long haul, sure, with an absolutely draconian immigration policy nationwide we could squeeze these workers out of the economy,' she said. 'But why would that be good for us?'