“Cooperation between DOC and ICE cannot be supported by the Council and should not be supported by tax-payer dollars. New York City -- home to millions of immigrants -- should not be a willing participant in a program that separates thousands of immigrant families each year without a concomitant benefit to public safety.” (Int. No. 656 at § 1) With that New York City has thrown down the gauntlet. It will have no part in deporting illegal aliens and it will not help ICE in doing so.
Just two days before Thanksgiving, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg quietly signed into law an ordinance ordering all city jails to ignore certain Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers issued to deport illegal aliens from those jails. As a result, New York City jails will now release many illegal aliens back into the community instead of handing them over to ICE for removal.
The new Ordinance provides that the New York City Department of Corrections shall not honor ICE detainers placed on certain aliens by holding aliens or notifying federal immigration authorities of the alien’s release. This policy will apply to aliens who have never been convicted of a crime, have no pending criminal case, no outstanding warrants and are not subject to a final order of deportation. The ordinance also requires New York City jails to release illegal aliens without criminal histories and ignore ICE detainers issued to juveniles with criminal histories.
New York City is now one of the most immigrant friendly places in America. Earlier this year the state assembly proposed its own Dream Act similar to the failed federal law. And last month the Board of regents proposed making student loans and other benefits available to undocumented students. The mayor has signed a number of executive orders recently to make sure immigrants are able to navigate city bureaucracy without fear of running afoul of immigration authorities. Immigrants should be aware of their rights under the Mayor’s executive orders and may contact the mayor’s office of Immigrant Affairs which has attorneys on staff to assist free of charge:
Executive Orders 34 & 41
Executive Order 120
In July 2008, Mayor Bloomberg signed Executive Order (EO) 120, creating a centralized language access policy for New York City. Executive Order 120 mandates that all City agencies that provide direct public services create a language access implementation plan in order to ensure meaningful language access to their services.
Executive Order 128
Signed by Mayor Bloomberg in April 2009, Executive Order (EO) 128 officially establishes Immigrant Heritage Week, an annual Citywide program of outreach and education celebrating the histories and traditions of the City’s diverse immigrant communities. City agencies, educational institutions, and private organizations will all help ensure participation in this event to be held every April.
Local Law 31
Businesses that provide immigration services must follow the guidelines set by Local Law 31, the “Immigration Service Provider Law” signed by Mayor Bloomberg in 2004. This law introduced new protections for immigrants against fraud. If you are going to use a business to help you with your immigration matters, protect yourself.
Local Law 73
In 2003, Mayor Bloomberg signed Local Law 73, also known as the “Equal Access to Human Services Law.” This City law strengthens language access services for limited-English-proficient individuals seeking vital health and human services. The law places requirements on the Human Resources Administration (HRA), the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), and the Department of Homeless Services.
What is deferred action?
Deferred action takes place when Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) decides to not execute an alien’s order of removal or to not put that individual into removal proceedings. This is not done by the order of an Immigration Judge but through a decision made at the ICE office. Even if you already have an order of removal, you can be granted deferred action status and apply for a work permit. ICE may agree to delay deporting an individual for one of the reasons in its latest memo as explained below. During the time a person is in deferred action status, he or she can apply and receive work authorization. The length of time deferred action status can be granted varies; it generally lasts for about a year. But it is renewable and you can apply again when your status is close to expiring.
What is prosecutorial discretion?
Prosecutorial discretion is a power of ICE offices and the Immigration government attorneys that allows them to use their “best judgment” in deciding which cases to prioritize. Having this power means that every ICE office has the ability to choose which cases are most important to prosecute, and which to delay, rather than treating every case exactly the same.
On 6/17/11, a memorandum was released by the Director of ICE, John Morton, which stressed the use of prosecutorial discretion by ICE offices and reminded each office that the use of this power is encouraged. The power of prosecutorial discretion means that ICE is expected to focus first on cases they consider most serious. This typically means cases involving serious crimes, drug trafficking, and international terrorism. Government attorneys can also join in the alien’s request to reopen in case if they already have a final order. There is not a conclusive list, but there are other sympathetic factors that may help your case in being granted deferred action status. For example, if you or a dependent family member has a serious illness you may be considered. The obvious benefit is that ICE will stop actively pursuing your deportation. A second benefit, as mentioned above, is that once deferred action status is granted, you will able to apply for work authorization and have legal work status.
ICE to begin closing depotration cases
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued new policy memos last week instructing agency attorneys to begin reviewing immigration cases and administratively closing those that do not meet its "priorities." As part of phase one of the program, the memos direct attorneys at district ICE offices to immediately begin reviewing all incoming deportation cases. A pilot program for reviewing all pending deportation cases will begin in Baltimore and Denver immigration courts December 4 and will continue into January 2012.
The memos laid out detailed procedure to which the agency's attorneys must follow when reviewing not only ICE removal cases, but also all of Customs and Border Patrol and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) cases. ICE attorneys must determine whether removal cases fall into one of two categories: (1) cases that are enforcement priorities for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and (2) cases that are not enforcement priorities for DHS and thus should be considered for administrative amnesty.
According to the memos, cases that are enforcement priorities include aliens who: (1) are suspected terrorists; (2) have been convicted of a felony or multiple misdemeanors; (3) are gang members or human rights violators; or (4) entered the country illegally or violated the terms of their admission within the last three years. This appears to indicate that ICE no longer intends to deport illegal aliens who have been in the country more than three years.
Cases that are not enforcement priorities and thus are eligible for administrative amnesty include aliens who meet the criteria of the failed DREAM Act. These include aliens who came to the U.S. under the age of 16, who have been in the country for over five years, and who have completed high school or a GED program. Other deportation cases eligible for administrative amnesty include those in which aliens have a" very long-term presence" in the U.S., have an immediate family member who is a U.S. citizen, and have made" compelling" ties and contributions to the U.S. to remain in the country.
Critics have decried the policy for diverting taxpayer dollars Congress has appropriated for immigration enforcement into its backdoor amnesty program. "In both money and manpower, including the reassignment of lawyers and judges, the administration is diverting resources from enforcement priorities set by Congress to identifying illegal aliens whose cases are to be dismissed."
After the pilot program for reviewing pending deportation cases ends mid-January, DHS will review the data and consult with the Department of Justice on how to proceed. The next phase will likely include expanding the review of deportation cases in Baltimore and Denver to other major cities around the nation.
New York Steps Closer to Giving Financial Aid to undocumented Students
The New York State Board of Regents voted last Monday to propose its own version of the DREAM Act in an effort to make illegal aliens eligible for state financial aid. ( New York Daily News, Nov. 15, 2011) According to the Board, its proposal would eliminate the requirement that students be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident to receive publicly funded grants, awards or student loans, and make illegal aliens eligible for the Regents' loan forgiveness program. It would also allow non-residents, including illegal aliens, who graduate from New York State high schools to receive general awards, academic performance awards and student loans. Under the proposal state-aided programs, scholarships or other financial assistance would be available to illegal aliens who graduate from New York State high schools.
My thanks to Apsan Law Offices for their help in preparing this update
Congress this week passed a bill that would allow would allow gun owners who have a concealed-carry license in their home state to carry their firearm in another state if that state also has a carry law in place. The law, however, does not allow someone to carry a firearm in a state that does not currently allow its own citizens to have concealed-carry rights. Illinois is the only state that does not permit its residents to legally carry a concealed firearm.
I have never understood why it was ok to discriminate against a licensed owner of a firearm if he travels out of his home state to one such as New York or California which refuses to recognize concealed carry permits issued by sister states. Forty-four states have a provision in their state constitutions similar to the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Firearm owners are subject to the firearm laws of the state they are in, and not exclusively their state of residence. Reciprocity between states exists in certain situations. But some states will not recognize lawfully issued permits from sister states.
New York civil rights law contains a provision virtually identical to the Second Amendment. In spite of this, and despite the fact that the Supreme Court of the United States has held that the protections of the Second Amendment apply against state governments and their political subdivisions (McDonald v. Chicago). New York remains a virtual fortress against ownership of firearms by its citizens. If you are caught with a loaded firearm at JFK, in transit to your home in Georgia, your Georgia permit will do you little good. You will be arrested and charged with an offense which carries a minimum term of 3.5 years in prison, even if you have no criminal record.
Mayor Bloomberg of New York seems to believe that permitting civilians to carry handgun risks turning every argument between strangers into a ‘wild west shoot-em-up’ But I can think of no reason to believe that firearms should be any less useful to civilians, at least those properly trained to use them, than to police officers. Carrying a concealed if reasonably widespread, can create public security because it will not be evident to the crooks which potential victims or bystanders might be packing heat.
Over many years that states like Georgia and Texas have permitted handgun ownership, I am certain there must have been tens of thousands of instances where people carrying guns got drunk, lost their tempers, were in traffic accidents, had domestic quarrels, and in short, experienced all of the psychological pressures which life is capable of dishing out. Yet there are very few instances anywhere in the country, of someone who was legally carrying a concealed handgun using that weapon in a criminal homicide. The rarity of these incidents is reflected in Florida statistics: 221,443 licenses were issued between October 1, 1987 and April 30, 1994, but only eighteen crimes involving firearms were committed by those with licenses.
We should be concerned, not with the number of times a firearm was displayed, let alone how often one was discharged, and certainly not how often someone was wounded or killed. What we really want to know is the number of times it was not necessary to issue threats because the potential culprit was dissuaded by the belief, or even dread, that his potential victim might be in possession of a concealed firearm. The availability of a concealed firearm poses an implicit threat to predators, potent enough to make explicit threats unnecessary. It is like walking through a minefield, you don’t see the mines, but you know if you step on one it will be deadly.
Polls of American citizens by organizations like the Los Angeles Times and Gallup show that Americans defend themselves with guns between 764,000 and 3.6 million times each year, with the vast majority of cases simply involving people brandishing a gun to prevent attack. Victims (such as women or the elderly) are often weaker than the criminals who attack them. A firearm for them is the ultimate equalizer. It’s time the movement to restrict private firearms to recreational activities and de-legitimize them as a means of self-defense is put to an end.
The situation in New York City is evidence that the effectiveness of local gun control laws can be defeated by gun runners, who load up on guns in low regulation jurisdictions and sell them illegally, in high regulation jurisdictions. Several years ago there was a push to get guns off the streets in DC. Many of the guns seized from criminals by Washington, D.C. police had originally been purchased in Virginia. Public outcry led to Virginia enacting a law that allowed only one gun per month to be purchased legally by a given individual. The gun runners simply moved a few states south, to Georgia, where no such rationing was practiced.
Those who believe that reducing the supply of guns might hold the key to the reduction of gun violence are barking up the wrong tree. Among these people, none is more incorrigibly optimistic than Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York. But how do you successfully regulate the market for a commodity for which there is no satisfactory substitutes, and which is in demand by people who are not disposed to comply with the law?
After a rash of shootings last labor day, The New York Times, said “Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s efforts to stamp out gun violence in New York were challenged over the Labor Day weekend by a spate of shootings… bullets flew at house parties, along parade routes and across stoops and street corners. By Monday’s close, 13 people had been killed and 67 injured in 52 shootings since early Friday…. but the violence also illustrated that for all the mayor’s efforts, unlicensed guns remain in the hands of criminals — and that admonitions can go only so far…Nine years into Mr. Bloomberg’s tenure, and more than five years after he first labeled unlicensed guns the city’s Public Enemy No. 1, it remains difficult to discern what effect his administration’s gun control efforts have had.”
In 2007, the first full year after the mayor zeroed in on guns, there were 1,443 shootings, compared with 1,473 last year, according to police statistics. In 2010, 309 people died from bullets — 6 more than in 2007. Mr. Bloomberg has also used lawsuits and undercover gun purchases in other states to focus attention on the fact that most guns used in crimes in New York were originally purchased out of state. He also created a national coalition of 550 mayors to fight with him.
The owner of supermarket chain in Bronx New York recalled a chilling episode, when he intercepted a robber fleeing one of his stores. He reported to police… “The first guy comes out with a sawed-off shotgun, goes right by me and says, ‘Be cool, man,’ “The second guy comes out with a sawed-off shotgun, goes by me and says, ‘Be cool, man.’ The third guy comes out with a sawed-off shotgun, and I intertwine my arm into his arm, and I put my gun to his head, and I say, ‘Drop your gun, or I’ll blow your head off.’ When the police arrived, they arrested the man, and examined the owners’ weapon — a Walther PPK/S 9-millimeter pistol.
“The sergeant says to me, ‘you couldn’t have shot the guy anyway: your safety is still on,’ “The sweat started dripping off my head. “I’m not going to do anything stupid like that again.” My bet is neither would the robber.
Americans stood up and took notice last month when PETA filed a lawsuit on behalf of five whales at Sea World. Some, I am sure, found the idea that animals are entitled to the same constitutional rights as the rest of us to be preposterous. I was unable to get my mind around the idea that the 14th amendment, the same one that put an end to slavery, was intended to forbid our using animals for food or even entertainment.
With an open mind, I picked up and perused some literature on the question. Every state in the United States and the District of Columbia has a law prohibiting cruelty to animals. These laws do not give animals rights, but do afford some legal protection. The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) is the Federal Law that regulates research facilities, state and privaterun shelters and pounds, transportation of animals, and stolen animals. The AWA has been criticized by animal rights groups because it excludes birds, rats and mice bred for research, and animals raised for food or fiber, as well as all cold-blooded animals.If PETA, the ASPCA and animal rights activists have their way, pets, fur, leather and Ringling Brothers circus would be outlawed. And we would all have veganism rammed down our throats instead of red meat,because using animals for food would be against the law.
Earlier this year parts of southern Somalia was hit with famine. It threatens to spread further if nothing is done to prevent it. Kenya and Ethiopia are also severely affected by the crisis, with millions in need of food and water. Insufficient rains created drought conditions throughout the Horn of Africa — destroying crops and killing livestock. Malnutrition and disease are on the rise as families travel long distances in search of food. Record high food prices, internal conflicts, and insecurity in the region worsen the situation. The most severe drought in decades threatens the lives of more than 11 million people — especially young children.
In response to the situation, and after conducting a disaster assessment, one animal rights group went to Kenya to provide emergency nutrition to about 20,000 animals. The Group World Society for the Protection ofAnimals (WSPA) reports on its website that “Over the four day operation at five different watering holes, all of the animals seen were de-wormed and received multivitamins and mineral blocks to boost their immune systems. Medical care was also given to sick or injured animals.
The literature is brimming with heroic stories of one animal group or the other trotting the globe to save animals in distress. The upside down value system driving their misplaced priorities sacrifices human lives for those camels and goats. I learned that there are over 100 million working animals in the developing world and many of these suffer with malnutrition, exhaustion, disease or injury in the course of theirworking lives. So there is work to be done. Does it matter that right here at home there are 16 million children at risk of hunger every day? Hunger among children has become so widespread that the New York Times highlighted the problem in its November 13th edition. 3.5 million Children die each year of acute malnutrition.
Should it matter that, according to the Hunger Project, 925 million people do not have enough to eat — more than the populations of USA, Canada and the European Union combined? Should it matter that in the very region where we lavish vitamins on animals, 50 percent of pregnant women lack proper maternal care, resulting in hundreds of thousands of
maternal deaths annually from childbirth? A third of all childhood death in sub-Saharan Africa is caused by hunger. How many of those might have been spared to lead productive lives had the WSPA launched a four day rescue operation? “This is the worst food crisis of the 21st Century and we are seriously concerned that large numbers of lives could soon be lost,” said Jane Cocking, humanitarian director for Oxfam International.
According to United Nations and the World Health Organization, of the 925 million people worldwide who are considered undernourished, there are 19 million children affected by the most deadly form of hunger, severe acute malnutrition. Instead, Humane Society (HSUS) spends millions on programs that seek to cripple the meat and dairy producers; eliminate the use of animals in biomedical research labs; phase out pet breeding, zoos, and circus animal acts; and demonize hunters as blood thirsty lunatics. HSUS spends more than $5 million each year on travel expenses alone, just keeping its multi-national agenda going. It has assets of $162 million.
And while children go hungry, PETA sends companies a list of guidelines to follow, including giving rats and mice proper nesting materials and toys to keep them busy. - Chad Sandusky, director of toxicology and research at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine said recently “I used to see rats and think, 'Eue”.' Now I see rats and think, 'Those rats have probably got a family somewhere.' Animal rights activists have condemned the US military for blowing up live pigs to test body armor, USA Today reports. Military officials say the tests provided valuable information on the relationship between body armor and brain injury. But the activists say the pig-blasting program caused unnecessary animal suffering for questionable results.
Are we barbarous and inconsiderate when we use Raid to rid our homes of insect pests? When we call the exterminator are we forgetting that rodents feel pain, as well as ourselves? (Which according to PETA is the only thing of significance?) Should we feel guilt when we give of teenager a Chihuahua for his birthday because we are enslaving it or using for our own entertainment? Do the police tyrannize canines when they train them into ready obedience, and lead them about to track and apprehend criminals? Are we merely unthinking spectators when we cheer a favorite horse at the Kentucky derby?
The Humane Society of the United States has been working with legislators to change policy governing the treatment of everything from dairy cattle to sharks. Policy changes in recent years have made the California a U.S. leader in animal welfare legislation. Not long ago the state enacted a statute mandating more space for chickens. One voter, describing democracy as messy, said that the irony of "No" on gay marriage and "YES" for roomier cages for chickens reminded him that: "Several years ago there was a story of a woman jogging in southern California who was killed by a mountain lion. The fund for the slain cougar's orphaned pups received more donations than the fund for the woman's orphaned children." The HSUS says the landslide victory for Proposition 2, which gave laying chickens more room in cages, awakened lawmakers to citizens' passion for animals.
Another piece of California legislation was thrown out earlier this month by the US Supreme Court. The law in question prohibits the slaughter of non-ambulatory pigs, sheep, goats or cattle; these are animals that can't walk, because of disease, injury or other causes. Since then, the California legislature has passed or changed 30 laws to improve the lives of animals — from sharks to dairy cattle, even animals hunted for sport. Animal Rights means that humans are forbidden to hunt or eat animals, and are forbidden to use animals for ANY reason. At the same time we have no way of preventing cougars from hunting and killing people or other animals from exploiting other animals for their own needs, be it to win a mate or satisfy their hunger. When it comes to Animal Rights, George Orwell said it best in Animal Farm: "All animals are equal but some are more equal than others”.
Under fire from Hispanic groups for record-high deportations, the Obama administration announced last August that it will undertake a case-by-case review of illegal immigrants who are facing ouster from the country and will allow many who don’t have criminal records the chance to stay. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that there will be an indefinite delay in many deportations and individual case reviews of the approximately 300,000 illegal immigrants who are currently facing possible expulsion.
This may be a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. Immigration practitioners have said they have noticed no little change in the pace of deportations since August. Moses Apsan, past president of the Federal Bar Association, has represented clients in deportation proceedings before ICE in New York and New Jersey for nearly three decades. He says he has, as yet, seen no positive effects of the new policy. “ICE and DHS” he says, “should work together on policiy announcements to avoid creating confusion among the immigrant community about the relief they may be entitled to seek”
The announcement of deferred deportation by Janet Napolitano, DHS secretary last August notwithstanding, immigrants should seek advice before plunging into the thicket of confusing policies. In the face of media criticism of the policy ICE director has said that enforcement is alive and well.
Fiction: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is aggressively dismissing cases.
FACT: Media have suggested that ICE is aggressively dismissing cases based on a directive from Director Morton. This just isn’t true. ICE enforcement is alive and well. For two years in a row, ICE has removed a record number of illegal aliens from communities across the United States. The agency focuses limited resources on three high priority areas—the identification and removal of criminals and national security threats, fugitives, and recent border entrants and others who game the system. Last year, ICE removed substantially more criminal aliens than ever before.
On Aug. 20, 2010, Director Morton issued a memorandum that allows for the dismissal of a very narrow category of cases. The memorandum applies only to individuals who are about to receive an immigration benefit—namely lawful permanent residence—from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. This is not backdoor amnesty. By dismissing these cases, ICE attorneys can use limited time before immigration judges to seek removal orders against aliens who are not about to receive a green card and can be removed from the country. Pursuing removal orders for aliens who are about to become lawful permanent residents doesn’t make sense in terms of time or resources.
Fiction: ICE is pro-amnesty.
FACT: ICE does not engage in “backdoor” amnesty. For two years running, ICE has removed more aliens than it did under the prior Administration. In addition, ICE has removed more criminal convicts than ever before—rendering ICE’s enforcement profoundly relevant to public safety. The agency also celebrated record-breaking enforcement against employers who violated the law. In fiscal year 2010, ICE arrested an unprecedented number of employers for illegal hiring and audited the records of more employers than ever before. ICE is committed to tough, sensible enforcement.
Fiction: ICE issues secret memos advocating administrative amnesty.
FACT: ICE is clear and upfront about its policies and procedures. ICE is not engaged in amnesty and the removal numbers speak for themselves. ICE has proceeded openly and candidly when considering policy changes. For instance, ICE posted a draft policy related to immigration detainers and solicited views from employees, Congress, law enforcement agencies and the public at large. ICE aims to be transparent in its decisions and policies and has not circulated or entertained secret memoranda about administrative amnesty. Beyond that, the agency’s record of continued and serious enforcement speaks for itsel
Fiction: ICE is anti-enforcement.
FACT: ICE is serious about tough, sensible enforcement, and the facts speak for themselves. In a world of limited resources, ICE pursues rational priorities, namely public safety, border security, national security and maintaining the integrity of our immigration system.For two years running, ICE has removed more aliens than it did under the prior Administration. Additionally, ICE removed 70 percent more convicted criminals than it did in 2008 than under the prior Administration. ICE is serious about enforcing the nation’s immigration laws. ICE officers, attorneys and personnel report to work each day to advance the agency’s enforcement mission. ICE’s success is evident when criminal aliens are identified and removed from the United States rather than being released to our communities. Undoubtedly, ICE enforces the law—day in and day out.
The story is real. We are not all caught up in a fairy tale or one of Aesop’s fables. Last week People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in San Diego, on behalf of five whales. It claims that the whales are being held at SeaWorld parks in violation of the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery in the U.S. and prohibits involuntary servitude. ((PETA claims that the five big fish are slaves, because they were forcibly taken from their families to be put in captivity)), where they are denied their natural environment.
In 1966 Congress enacted the Animal Welfare Act to improve the treatment of certain animals. In its original form the Act protected "live dogs, cats, monkeys, guinea pigs, hamsters, and rabbits." Four years later, Congress expanded the reach of the Act, adding dead animals. The law now reads: The term "animal" means any live or dead dog, cat, monkey (nonhuman primate mammal), guinea pig, hamster, rabbit, or such other warm-blooded animal, as the Secretary may determine is being used, or is intended for use, for research, testing, experimentation, or exhibition purposes, or as a pet... Animal rights groups have used the law to attack practices we have long taken for granted.
No industry has escaped the litigation blitz. In 1972 the military was sued when it attempted to eliminate over 10 million black birds that wrecked the neighborhood with tons of droppings, including damage to crops and the outbreak of disease. The activists claimed they had an interest in being able to observe and enjoy the presence of blackbirds. Animal rights activists sued stop issuance of patents for animals created in the lab. These non-human organisms are considered patentable because they do not occur naturally in nature.
PETA is deadly serious. They are not just out to get attention. Along with the ASPCA and other animal rights groups PETA has been waging a guerrilla war to win for animals the same rights as humans. Last week the Federal circuit court in Washington D.C. dismissed a suit against Ringling Brothers that alleged cruelty to an elephant because it was made to perform in the circus. The same court last year allowed a zoo visitor to sue to get companionship for a chimpanzee. In Texas, a few years back, a court outlawed the slaughter and sale of horses for human consumption overseas. And a few years ago, the little town of Hegins, Pennsylvania faced a court challenge over its 65th annual pigeon shoot. The shoot was called off.
There has even been suit against a city pound that removed stray animals from the streets and disposed of them. San Clemente Island, California, is a military enclave under the jurisdiction of the Navy. In 1977, the Fish and Wildlife Service determined, in accordance with the Endangered Species Act, that removal of goats running wild on San Clemente was necessary to protect endangered animals and plants in a critical habitat covering approximately one third of the island. There is no public access to the island; the animal rights activists sued.
Prof. Gary Francione, who along with a colleague started an Animal right s law clinic at Rutgers Law school has become star on the animal rights circuit. He has said that gorillas should be declared “persons” with constitutional rights. He says that not eating, wearing or using animals is non- negotiable. Francione considers the fight to give animals the same rights as humans to be a liberation movement that demands change in our basic principle of equality.
Practices that we previously regarded as natural and inevitable, such as a well-done steak for dinner or a pair of leather shoes have come to be seen as the result of an unjustifiable prejudice. In order to have meat on the table at a price that people can afford, says Francione, we tolerate methods of meat production that confine animals in cramped, unsuitable conditions for their entire lives. PETA thinks rearing and killing other animals in order to eat them is a clear instance of the sacrifice of the most important interests of other beings in order to satisfy trivial interests of our own. Peta intends to put an end to this practice.
The animal right s activists know that they are not likely to win constitutional rights for the five big fish just yet, but that does not deter them. They know it won’t happen overnight, but they believe they can accomplish it in little increments, so insignificant, that they escape notice of the general public. Allowing PETA to represent animals, to most of us, does not seem far-fetched. We are accustomed to having guardians appointed to protect the rights on minors, or conservators to protect the rights of those unable to represent themselves because they are mentally incapable of doing so. So permitting PETA to speak for these dumb animals is not a stretch if they have rights that they are unable to defend.
One of our problems is that the values that put us at the top of the food chain, as master of all animals are not as appreciated as they should be. Rather than donate the money to feed starving children, Leona Helmsley, left $12 million to her dog. But the greatest threat to our standing as the master of all animals comes from a most unlikely source, our courts, which have entertained these species of lawsuit and created rights for animals that nature and common sense dictate they cannot have. PETA did not pluck the idea of suing in the name of five whales out of thin air. Decisions of our own Supreme Court were the seed. Many years ago Justice Douglas wrote:
The critical question of "standing" would be simplified and also put neatly in focus if we fashioned a federal rule that allowed environmental issues to be litigated before federal agencies or federal courts in the name of the inanimate object about to be despoiled, defaced, or invaded by roads and bulldozers….. Contemporary public concern for protecting nature's ecological equilibrium should lead to the conferral of standing upon environmental objects to sue for their own preservation…
While Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano touts the U.S. border as being more secure than ever, the Department is quietly ordering Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to scale back border inspections. In a news report out of Texas last week, current and former CBP agents are saying the standard daily presence and routine checks normally conducted by CBP officers at transportation hubs are a thing of the past. According to the Associated Press, field offices nationwide began receiving secret orders to scale back the inspections soon after Secretary Napolitano announced the administration would begin to grant administrative amnesty to illegal aliens in deportation proceedings.
The routine bus, train, and airport checks typically involve agents manning transportation hubs within 100 miles of the border and questioning individuals when warranted. Border agents now report that instead of conducting random checks, or checks based on suspicious behavior, agents have been ordered to only conduct checks based on actual intelligence indicating a threat. One agent told the Associated Press that “instead of checking buses or trains, agents have spent shifts sitting in their vehicles gazing out at Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, where few illegal immigrants cross.”
The elimination of inspections was immediately apparent to individuals at the border. One manager of a Greyhound Bus Station in New York reported that Border Patrol Agents halted inspections on September 12—the day after the 10th anniversary of September 11. Travelers arriving at a McAllen, Texas bus station last week also immediately noticed the absence of CBP officers checking persons and items entering the United States.
Despite reports coming from agents all over the country, Customs and Border Protection officials in Washington, DC, still refuse to acknowledge a shift in policy. “We are refining the way we operate by managing risk,” said CBP Spokesman Bill Brooks. Brooks insisted that local commanders still have the authority to aggressively pursue illegal aliens near the border and at transportation hubs. immigrant rights groups.” Meanwhile, the ACLU hailed Homeland Security’s order to scale back border inspections. ACLU spokesman Doug Honig said, “If the Border Patrol is indeed not boarding buses and trains and engaging in the random questioning of people, that's a step in the right direction.”
Changes in visitor visa program
Earlier this month, Sen. Chuck Schumer and Sen. Mike Lee introduced a bill that would make it easier for foreign nationals to enter and stay in the United States. Among other things, the bill proposes several changes to the B-visa (visitor visa) program as well as the visa waiver program. Visitor visas include B-1s (temporary business travelers) and B-2s (tourists). In general, foreign nationals do not need to obtain a B visa if they are from a visa waiver program country.
In addition the bill proposes creating a new non-immigrant visa for foreigners who spend at least $500,000 in cash to purchase one or more residences in the United States. While remaining in the U.S., the visa recipient must maintain ownership of residential property worth at least $500,000 and reside here for more than half the year. The visa grants authorization to visit the U.S. for a three-year period and may be renewed every three years under the same conditions. The ability to buy one’s way into the country provided for in the bill is similar in principle to the employer immigrant visa program, which grants a green card to aliens who invest a minimum of $500,000 in a new commercial enterprise that creates or preserves at least 10 jobs.
The bill has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, but no hearing has been scheduled yet. The Schumer-Lee bill has been endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Travel Association, the American Hotel & Lodging Association, and the U.S. Olympic Committee.
California County Now Accepting Mexican ID Cards
Sonoma County, California became the latest county in the nation to extend an invitation to illegal aliens last week by announcing that ID cards issued by the Mexican consulate can be used as valid identification within the county “Today is a great day,” Sonoma County Assistant Sheriff Lorenzo Dueñas said. “We're now going to accept the matricular consular ID.”
The proponents of this move argue that it keeps illegal aliens from being deported through Secure Communities and will free up time and resources that local law enforcement has spent on immigration enforcement. These proponents complain that many of the illegal aliens in the county turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) through Secure Communities were not actually convicted of the crime for which they were arrested, or that they were convicted of only “minor crimes.” In other words, they were simply illegal aliens. By making the Mexican consular ID card an acceptable form of identification in Sonoma County, immigration advocates hope to help illegal aliens who get pulled over and need ID, but do not have any other criminal history.
Although Mexican nationals will still need to apply to their consulate to obtain this ID, the Mexican government hopes to set up a satellite office in the area to instruct individuals on the application process and issue cards for them.
My Thanks to Federation for American Immigration Reform for the use of its legislative updates
I came across an article in FORBES this week titled; America's Pastime Should Be Baseball, Not Complaints about Immigrants. It seems the author is a baseball fan who, like the rest of us mortals, was impressed with the skills of some of the players. The author was particularly impressed with the exploits of Nelson Cruz of the Rangers who hit 6 homers in 6 games leading up to the World Series. He writes:
“The number of foreign-born players in the major leagues has more than doubled since 1990, Still, it is noteworthy one never hears complaints about ‘immigrants taking away jobs’ from Americans in the major leagues… Baseball players consider the competition for roster spots to be fair, a meritocracy. Increased competition from foreign-born players has not resulted in lower salaries for native ballplayers…. Since 1990 average major league player salaries more than quadrupled (in nominal dollars) from $578,930 to $2.87 million in 2006, while the proportion of foreign-born players in the league increased from 10 percent to 23 percent, according to a 2006 analysis by the National Foundation for American Policy. A sustained or increased quality of play, to which foreign-born players have contributed, may have helped increase revenues, as major league ballpark attendance rose from 55 million to 75 million between 1990 and 2005.The next time someone complains about immigrants taking jobs’ from Americans, tell them to try playing major league baseball, where, unlike the rest of the economy, the number of jobs are fixed and limited, yet no one ever complains about immigrants.”
The author’s point is that we should view foreign born workers the same way major league baseball does. But the trouble with the argument is that major league baseball, with a highly skilled and specialized labor force of only 750 players, who earn millions, is light years removed from 12 million illegal immigrants who, we generally agree, are underpaid. There is no meritocracy among the millions of unemployed, unskilled immigrants competing for low paying jobs to eke out a living. Nelson Cruz has a special skill so much in demand that there are employers salivating at the thought that he may soon be a free agent whom they can offer even more millions just to lure him away from his present employer, the Texas Rangers.
True, baseball salaries have increased at the same time the number of foreign players has more than doubled. But one does not need a degree in economics to figure out that were we to double the number of foreign workers now competing for jobs in the marketplace, the result would be disastrous. There is no oversupply of super-skilled foreign ball players. The reason no one complains is because the number of jobs is “fixed and limited” as the writer says. He misperceives the fact that 750 total workers in an economy as large as ours is truly a drop in the ocean. It cannot be compared to the millions of unskilled laborers competing for scarce jobs where there exists oversupply of labor. Unemployment stands today at over 9%. There is zero unemployment among American baseball players with comparable skills
Labor issues breed feelings of resentment because American citizens feel that jobs are being taken away from fellow Americans by immigrants who are willing to work for a lot less. It is not hard to figure out that all of the laws that have been enacted are of no serious concern to the highly paid athlete. Does anyone think that Nelson Cruz, Albert Pujols and Raphael Furcal are worried about minimum wage, the number of hours in a work week, and overtime pay?
The law makes special provision for the category of “workers with extraordinary abilities” These athletes must conform to an additional set of requirements in order to be eligible for these category designations. “Aside from the extraordinary abilities, the athlete must be a temporary worker only visiting for the sole purposes of performing. In addition, he must be uniquely qualified for the position, and he must have a foreign home that he does not intend on abandoning".
Basically, what the government wants to know is that he will return to his country once he has finished playing ball. Athletes are uniquely qualified workers in the sense that they possess a talent that is better than any American competing for ths same job. This is proven by the foreign player’s ability to make the team over all other players trying out for a position. Sports are now part of big business, but to argue that it can provide a model to solve the political and social ills of our brokrn immigration system is absurd. The question we must ask is whether there are not sufficient U.S. workers able, willing, qualified and available to accept the job in which area of intended employment. No American player has outhit Nelson Cruz in the playoffs. There is your answer. Mr. Anderson. The next time you argue that foreign workers do not take jobs from American, please leave foreign baseball players out of it.
While unemployment and the economy have dominated the front pages of the elite media, the fact is that immigration is simmering on the back burner. It is still of concern to voters who remain polarized over the issue, with 4 to 1 in favor of enforcement over Amnesty. The ongoing republican primary campaign has pushed the issue to the foreground once again. Governor Perry of Texas has been under attack because he supported the Texas DREAM which allows undocumented youth tuition breaks to attend state colleges. He is opposed to the building of a fence on the Texas-Mexico border, and has taken withering fire from immigration hawks who favor the fence and stricter enforcement.
Winning the battle but losing the war
Meanwhile battles against legislation in states like Arizona and Alabama, Georgia and now North Carolina rage on. The federal government, taking cover from election year fallout has launched a legal counter punch against every piece of hash anti-immigrant state legislation to come down the pike. It succeeded in getting parts of the Arizona law enjoined last year and has won partial victories against the Georgia and Alabama laws. The perplexing question is why an administration so much on the offense against onerous state immigration laws, is so indifferent to its own failure on the federal level, over which it has complete sway. After all, most of the defeated parts of state laws were set aside on the basis that they encroached upon areas which only the federal government can legislatively control.
The floundering US economy and the President’s preoccupation with two wars, is one reason. His polling numbers held steady until the news broke that his administration was creating Amnesty for illegal aliens by executive fiat. After word spread of this move by Obama and DHS, his approval numbers declined steadily and finally dropped below 40! While this does not mean that selective deportation of hard core criminals and administrative deferral of deportation of non- criminal immigrants is the reason for the president’s unpopularity, immigration hawks would have us believe that it is in fact, the only reason.
The truth is, that the administration by coming to the defense of immigrants at the state level is playing to its Latino base. Rep. Gutierrez, the foremost congressional defender of immigrants has already said that he would have difficulty supporting the president for reelection. A few months back, he was arrested at the White house protesting the administration’s inertia on immigration reform. The fact is, that Latinos may have no other place to turn and may opt to sit out the 2012 election. For democrats, this is a doomsday scenario. But, at the same time, amnesty now would lose them a good chunk of the independent vote.
The so- called "Amnesty by Memo" scandal and the Fast and Furious Gun walker scandal combined with federal lawsuits to try and stop states like Arizona, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama from enforcing existing immigration laws are finally getting through, even to those sympathetic to immigrants plight. As more Americans learn about the plight of the 12 million illegals now in the country, support for amnesty falters, and President Obama loses support. Americans have grave concerns about the present state of our economy, and many view immigrants as unwanted competition for scarce jobs. Why, they wonder, does the President attack every state that seeks to stem the flow of immigrants into its borders when he has the power to resolve the issue for the entire nation without the patchwork of laws state by state? A federal problem ought to have a federal solution, and it does. But the administration lacks the political will to make it happen.
Facing the facts
The polling data continues to indicate that 80% or more of Americans want existing laws enforced. But that does not mean that there is no support for a comprehensive immigration reform plan. Americans want a solution to the immigration crisis and they realize that removal of 12 million immigrants is not only impracticable, but costly, counter- productive and unfair to those who have worked hard and lived by the law and have raised their children as Americans.
Pundits and journalists reporting for the major newspapers explain the "Perry Plunge" by asserting that Perry simply offended the "conservative base." This is clearly not the case. A recent Rasmussen poll demonstrates that 81% of Americans oppose in-state tuition for illegal aliens. 81% of Americans cannot be written off as a conservative base. A solution to the immigration problem is not helped by labeling every enforcement proposal racist or anti immigrant. And it does not help immigrants when each and every attempt by states struggling with the issue, is met with heavy incoming fire from the ALCU and a federal government that can, but does nothing about the problem. It breeds resentment.
There is still time to resolve the immigration issue, but it requires political courage that the president has not demonstrated. It requires a truce on the legal battlefront so that the resources now squandered on blocking laws state by state could be amassed and focused where it really matters, on comprehensive immigration on the federal level. No amount of legal bush fires on the state level will solve the problem. .
Muammar Gadaffi was killed last week. Indications are that his end came by a bullet to the head after he had been captured. News of the end of this dictator’s reign sparked celebrations in Libya by those whom he had kept under the heel of his boots for more than four decades. Thus far I have seen no protestations in the media about the apparent execution after he had been captured and disarmed. Contrast this silence with the outcry from the ACLU, the Center for constitutional Rights and other self-appointed defenders of liberty after Anwar al-Awlaki was killed by a predator drone last month.
The New York Times said that as an American citizen, Al Awlaki was entitled to due process. Michael Ratner, of the Guardian put it this way, “Is this the world we want, where an American citizen living outside a war zone can be placed on a target list and then murdered by a drone?” Al Awlaki was an American citizen who had morphed into a fervid Al Qaeda operative waging war on western nations. Over the last few years, Al Qaeda has claimed responsibility for the London Subway bombing, the bombing of a train station in Madrid, and the bombing of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The bombing of the USS Cole was a direct attack on a US naval vessel. But 9/11 was Al Qaeda’s most spectacular attack. It was a direct attack on the US. Thousands of lives have been lost and countless billions in property destroyed as a result of these attacks. We are at war with Al Qaeda,
Our law provides that we can infer that one has renounced American citizenship by “serving in the armed forces of a foreign state if such armed forces are engaged in hostilities against the United States”. The fact that Al Qaeda is an organization and not a country waging war on us is irrelevant. Lives are lost and property destroyed by these armed attacks. In war time enemy combatants are killed not because they are guilty but because they are potentially lethal agents of an enemy out to kill and destroy us. Al Awlaki may not have worn uniform of an enemy country but by his commitment and allegiance to Al Qaeda, he became an enemy of the US and thus a legitimate military target. No advance warning is necessary, no attempt to arrest or capture and no due process in required before he was targeted.
The choice of means by the President, our commander-in- chief in order to prevent murderous, terrorist attacks before they happen, is not among the subjects in which a court should intervene. We are engaged in a war and the court should not put itself into the heart of the combat zone. In light of the armed conflict, the laws applicable to these acts are the laws of war, or the laws of armed conflict, which are part of international law. And unless those calling for due process for Awlaki are willing to say that we are not at war with terrorists, that 9/11 and the bombing of the US embassies were not acts of war, then there is no basis for calling due process.
One of the preambles of the constitution is that “Congress shall provide for the common defense…” This must mean that in any war, the US may take measures to repel and defeat the enemy. The US is permitted to defend itself against terrorism not only via means of law enforcement but by whatever military means it finds necessary. Terrorists actively participating in armed conflict are not civilians. They are party to the armed conflict, and thus they can be attacked. Our constitution is not a suicide pact, and commonsense dictates that it cannot apply when the president takes action to inflict punishment on those planning our destruction. We are fighting a war on terror; the only uncertainty is the time place and manner of the next attack.
The price we all pay for enhanced security is the loss of some of our freedoms_--- at airports train stations or other places where the danger of attack is greater. The price the terrorist pays is the forfeiture of his right to due process which is meant to secure the rights of persons charged with crimes.