Friday, August 19, 2011

New Policy On Deportations Allows Some Non-Criminal Undocumented Immigrants To Stay

New Policy On Deportations Allows Some Non-Criminal Undocumented Immigrants To Stay


Obama

                 


WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration announced on Thursday it will do a case-by-case review of deportations, allowing many undocumented immigrants without criminal records to stay in the United States indefinitely and apply for work permits.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will send a letter on Thursday to Senate members who had asked for details on how the agency would prioritize its immigration enforcement. The policy change is meant as a framework to help prevent non-priority undocumented immigrants from "clogging the system," senior administration officials said on a conference call with reporters Thursday.
First, the agency will look at its pending immigration cases and close the low-priority cases, so immigration courts can focus on the most serious ones, administration officials said. The low-priority cases can be reopened if circumstances require. Next, guidance will be given to immigration enforcement agents to help them better detect serious criminals and other high-priority undocumented immigrants.
Undocumented immigrants whose cases are closed will be allowed to apply for work permits, but will not be given them automatically, officials said.
The move was perhaps meant to combat harsh criticism from Latino groups and immigration reform advocates, who have rebuked President Obama for continuing to deport undocumented people at record rates, while at the same time insisting he supports immigration reform.
Although the Obama administration has repeatedly said its deportation policies focus on the "worst of the worst," immigrant rights groups say enforcement agents still net a large number of non-criminal undocumented people.
The administration had earlier attempted to defend its record on Tuesday, with a blog post meant to "set the record straight" on the Secure Communities enforcement program.
Cecilia Munoz, White House director of Intergovernmental Affairs, wrote that more than half of all removals are of people with criminal records. Among non-criminals, most of those removed were apprehended crossing the border, had recently arrived in the United States or had been previously deported, she wrote.
"Those statistics matter," Munoz wrote. "While we have more work to do, the statistics demonstrate that the strategy DHS put in place is working."
The administration earlier tried to clarify its immigration enforcement policies in a June memo, which specifically recommended prosecutorial discretion. That memo cited the possibility of considering whether a person under removal proceedings would otherwise be eligible for the DREAM Act, an un-passed bill that would allow some undocumented young people to gain legal status in exchange for two years of college or military service.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), one of the key supporters of the DREAM Act, applauded the administration's decision Thursday.
"The Obama Administration has made the right decision in changing the way they handle deportations of DREAM Act students," Durbin said. "These students are the future doctors, lawyers, teachers and, maybe, senators, who will make America stronger. We need to be doing all we can to keep these talented, dedicated, American students here, not wasting increasingly precious resources sending them away to countries they barely remember.
Durbin pledged to "closely monitor DHS" to ensure the new policy would be implemented.
But increased discretion on the part of administration prosecutors may not be enough to please advocacy groups, many of which argue the administration should abolish certain enforcement programs altogether.
"In order to fulfill its promises, the administration must end policies like Secure Communities that result in the criminalization of innocent immigrants who are Americans in Waiting like those who came before them," said Chris Newman, legal director of the National Day Laborers Organizing Network, in an email statement. "The administration has pursued policies that are sowing fear and devastation among immigrant communities, and it must reverse course to stop the Arizonification of the country," he added, referencing Arizona's strict immigration enforcement policies.
View this slideshow to see who could benefit from prosecutorial discretion:

source: Huffpost

Immigration reform in August: Why now?

Immigration reform in August: Why now?



Washington (CNN) -- It's late August. Would you rather hit the beach or discuss immigration reform?
The White House seems to be betting on the former, slipping out news of a major shift in the federal government's approach to illegal immigrants at a time when most Americans traditionally hit the road for summer vacation.
As President Barack Obama packed his bags for Martha's Vineyard this week, the Department of Homeland Security announced its intention to individually review roughly 300,000 pending deportation cases in federal immigration courts. Lower-priority cases -- those not involving individuals considered violent or otherwise dangerous -- will be suspended.
Administration officials call it a matter of prioritizing cases and allocating scarce resources more efficiently. Critics call it backdoor amnesty, a way to push through policy changes that conservatives in Congress would never agree to.
This much is clear: The fate of America's roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants remains a polarizing issue. Politically, the timing of the administration's announcement is as relevant as the substance.
"Both the nature and timing of the decision suggest that presidential politics is at play here," said Wendy Schiller, a Brown University political scientist. "Obama has lost ground with his liberal base ... and he absolutely needs strong support in states with large Hispanic populations to keep the White House for four more years."
But right now, she noted, "Congress is out of town so no one is in D.C. to criticize the decision." By having Cabinet and other administration officials quietly announce the change, Obama "avoids the photo and speech visual that Republicans (could otherwise) use against him in the 2012 campaign on this issue."
Administrations "do have a tendency to release controversial news in a way that may not generate as much coverage as it might otherwise," said Bill Mayer, a Northeastern University political scientist.
Analysts note that Obama won several Western states in 2008 -- including Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona -- partly on the rising power of Latino voters, a constituency that pays close attention to the immigration issue. Democratic strategists believe the Hispanic vote might also help put traditionally Republican Arizona in play next year.
"For the Latino community, this is a very important action, and people are going to be watching very closely what happens in the implementation," said Clarissa Martinez, a spokeswoman for the National Council of La Raza, a major Hispanic civil rights organization.
"It creates an opening for members of any party that want to speak on a rational approach to immigration policy," she told CNN. "We would hope that there are folks on the Republican side that don't leave (this) platform ... to the president."
Key Republicans don't see it that way. Republican leaders have used immigration in the past to fire up conservative voters opposed to any form of leniency for people in the country illegally. Some analysts believe that if Democrats push too hard, too fast on immigration, particularly in tough economic times, it could push swing voters to the GOP.
The Obama administration "has resorted to implementing its plans via executive fiat," Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said Thursday. "Those of us who truly care about the rule of law will remember the president's actions."
Brewer signed a state law last year requiring local law enforcement in Arizona to apprehend and help deport illegal immigrants, among other things. The U.S. Justice Department sued, arguing that only the federal government has that authority.
Earlier this year, a three-judge panel on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Justice officials and against Brewer.
Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, and Utah have passed similar laws, but those measures have also been put on hold, according to Martinez.
At the moment, most voters appear to be tuning out the immigration debate. A CNN/ORC International poll conducted earlier this month showed only 4% of voters consider illegal immigration the most important issue facing the country. An overwhelming majority -- 60% -- cited the economy as the top issue, followed by the deficit at 16%.
But precisely because of the shaky economy, the immigration issue could quickly flare up again.
"There are some blue collar workers and people who are less well off who think immigration is hurting them," said Mayer. If those people start to focus on the issue, he argued, revising federal policies in the dog days of August won't keep the matter on the sidelines.
"This kind of (policy rollout) may have worked 30 years ago," Mayer said. "But given the way the media has developed, people on the other side will still be able to respond via talk radio and cable television and blogs."
source: CNN


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

America's Best Places to Live

America's Best Places to Live


By CNNMoney Editors

With the current state of the economy -- and the dispiriting sight of the nation's leaders endlessly battling about how to fix it -- the phrase "small town" conjures up images of a happier time. When unemployment wasn't above 9%. When people didn't stress out about home values. When school budgets weren't under siege. Those were the days, right?

"Those days" are right now -- if you know where to go. A team of seven MONEY reporters spent months combing through reams of data provided by OnBoard Informatics and other sources and fanning out across the country to identify small towns (those with populations of less than 50,000) that stand out in the qualities American families care about most.

The goal: Find the best combination of job opportunities, fiscal strength, top-notch schools, safe streets, good healthcare, cultural and outdoor activities, even nice weather. The result: MONEY's 100 Best Places to Live. The top 20 follow.





Watch:
video
 
 
source: CNN
 
 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Illegal Immigrants: PRISONS = PROFITS How Private Detention Facilities Prosper By Locking Up Undocumented Immigrants


  

Jailing Undocumented Immigrants Is Big Business (VIDEO)

First Posted: 8/15/11 07:19 AM ET Updated: 8/15/11 07:19 AM ET
LOS ANGELES -- At dawn on July 19, nearly 40 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Immigration (HSI) agents burst into the home home of Carmen Bonilla, 44. The agents were searching for "Robert" an alleged drug dealer, but ended up terrifying Bonilla and her son Michael, 16, daughter Josefina, 23, daughter-in-law Leticia, 28, and two of her granddaughters.
According to Jessica Dominguez, the family's lawyer, and Jorge Mario Cabrera, spokesperson of the Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), the family was subjected to "different levels of physical and verbal abuse," including screaming, "kicking, beating and aggression." Their treatment was documented last week by HuffPost LatinoVoices' Jorge Luis Macías.
What happened to the Bonillas has happened to thousands of immigrant families. Immigration authorities -- both local police and federal ICE agents -- have embarked on a program to seek out "criminal illegal aliens" and, whether they find them or not, have often rounded up entire families for deportation.
Even though the Bonilla family members do not have criminal records, they face removal proceedings before an immigration judge. The family was able to find legal representation and general public support, enabling their release from ICE custody, but undocumented immigrants who are less lucky are routinely sent to prisons and detention centers where ICE will process their paperwork and decide whether they may be released.
"If they have a criminal record, particularly a drug or security-related conviction, or a felony or violent crime, or crime of moral turpitude, they will likely have to remain in custody until their trial before the [immigration judge]," explained Aggie R. Hoffman, an immigration attorney.
The Department of Homeland Security pays between $50 to $200 per day per person to local, county and state prisons to house apprehended aliens. A few years ago, a series I wrote for La Opinión showed how prisons in general, and California's prisons in particular, benefit from the largesse of the federal government and vie for a piece of this lucrative business. At that time, I visited a detention center in Lancaster, Calif., run by the Sheriff of Los Angeles, where immigrants rounded up in raids were housed until their deportation or legal proceedings. The process is supposed to take just a few days, but some of the detainees rushed to tell me that they had been kept there for more than two years.
"This happens frequently because the courts are so backlogged; not enough judges to hear the cases of those being held", explained Hoffman.
But the incarceration trend is not limited to public prisons. Thanks to a concerted lobbying push from the corrections industry, growing numbers of undocumented immigrants could end up in private detention facilities.
Over the past three years, immigration politics has seen more restrictive legislation at the state level and the unprecedented enforcement of current laws by the Obama administration. Together, the laws and the stepped up enforcement have the potential to bring tens of thousands of individuals into for-profit jails.
The recent animated video "Immigrants for Sale" by the activist group Cuéntame illustrates some facts behind the connection between the ongoing crackdown on illegal immigration and the for-profit corrections industry.
The video follows the trail of money and political power behind this piece of the national immigration debate. Its creators say it's an attempt to uncover what lies behind the positions and ideologies in a discussion in which statements and accusations made at maximum volume have long replaced the open exchange of ideas and opinions.
"Cuéntame means 'tell me your story,'" said the group's founder, producer/director Axel Woolfolk Caballero. He said the organization works to make an impact through short videos, docu-series, media campaigns and "interviews from the street or in our studio or sent to us by others." Cuéntame is part of the Brave New Foundation, which focuses on social justice media.
The video states that behind the words and laws, there is an alliance of businesses and politicians called the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC. Some of ALEC's members are both the most ardent proponents of anti-immigration laws and representatives of the industries that will benefit directly from having more people behind bars. At least 12 companies involved in the corrections industry are members of the alliance.
ALEC was created in 1978 and is headquartered in Washington, D.C. According to the group's mission statement, it is "a non-profit, private organization dedicated to principles of free markets, limited government, federalism (the proper balance of federal and state government), and individual liberty." ALEC achieves these aims through a exchange of ideas between state politicians and business leaders, facilitating the legislative process around certain causes dear to the latter. Through one of ALEC’s eight committees, lawyers and business experts actually write laws that are later enacted almost verbatim.
Each year, ALEC produces approximately 1000 legislative proposals, 20 percent of which eventually become laws, according to the group. The Center for Media and Democracy's PR Watch reports: "98% of ALEC's funding comes from corporations like Exxon Mobil, corporate 'foundations' like the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, or trade associations like the pharmaceutical industry's PhRMA."
Cuéntame focuses on ALEC members' use of political pressure to achieve more restrictive immigration laws, which require longer detentions and a larger number of detainees.
Some of ALEC's model bills include the "three Strikes" law, changes in mandatory minimum sentences and "truth-in-sentencing," which would further eliminate the possibility of parole for many inmates.
Yet ALEC rejects the idea that it promotes increased construction of private prisons. In a statement last October, the group said, "ALEC’s position on prison overcrowding ... is to reduce the non-violent prison population in order to save taxpayer costs."
One of the best known legislative members of ALEC is State Senator Russell Pearce, a proponent of Arizona's very restrictive immigration law, SB 1070. According to an investigation by NPR, Pearce took his version of the legislation to an ALEC meeting, where it was then revised and adapted by members of the corrections industry, obtaining their unqualified support.
SB 1070 has been imitated by similar laws -- some even stricter and more encompassing -- in at least five other states. These include HB 56 in Alabama, Utah's Compact / HB 497, Indiana's SB 590, Georgia's HB 87 and South Carolina's S 20.
ALEC is now working on a series of laws concerning prisons, including The Housing Out-of-State Prisoners in a Private Prison Act; The Prison Industries Act; The Inmate Labor Disclosure Act; A Resolution on Prison Expenditures; a Model State Bill Prohibiting Wireless Handsets in Prisons; the Targeted Contracting for Certain Correctional Facilities and Services Act; and the Prevention of Illegal Payments to Inmates Incentives Act, details of which are restricted to ALEC members only.
One of ALEC's members is Corrections Corporation of America, the country's largest for-profit prison company, founded in 1983. CCA designs, builds, manages and operates correctional facilities and detention centers on behalf of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the United States Marshal Service in nearly half of all states, according to the company's website.
According to Cuéntame, CCA houses about 60 percent of the almost 100,000 -- up from 14,000 in 2006 -- immigrant detainees at any given time.
In 2008, the New Yorker published an expose drawing attention businesses involved in the imprisonment of families with children in the T. Don Hutto Detention Center in Texas, a CCA facility.
CCA, together with other prison companies GEO Group and Management and Training Corporation, owns more than 200 private prisons with 150,000 beds and makes an annual profit of $5 billion, Cuéntame found.
"Private prisons profit like a hotel," the video states. "The more occupants they can throw in, the more money comes out."
source: HUffPOSt


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Liberty Island to remain open during statue's renovation. Statue Lady Liberty and Ellis Island. New York City

Liberty Island to remain open during statue's renovation


August 10, 2011 8:55 p.m. EDT
Liberty Island will remain open and the statue largely unobstructed from view as renovations take place.
Liberty Island will remain open and the statue largely unobstructed from view as renovations take place.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Yearlong upgrades to Lady Liberty and Ellis Island begin in late October
  • Liberty Island will remain open to the public
  • A gift from France, the Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886
  • It was designated as a national monument in 1924.
New York (CNN) -- The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island will undergo renovations totaling more than $27 million beginning in late October, according to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.
Liberty Island, where the iconic statue is located, will remain open during the yearlong project and views of Lady Liberty will remain largely unobstructed.
"Two years ago, when we reopened Lady Liberty's crown to visitors for the first time since the September 11 attacks, I promised that we would continue to upgrade the interior to make it safer and more accessible for all," Salazar said Wednesday. "With today's announcement, we are taking a major step in bringing a 19th century icon into the 21st century."
The National Park Service will keep the monument open to the public through the October 28 celebration of the 125th anniversary of the statue's dedication. It will be closed the following day as work commences.
The National Park Service awarded the work to Joseph A. Natoli Construction Corporation of Pine Brook, New Jersey, to install code-compliant stairways within the monument, refurbish mechanical, electrical and fire suppression systems, replace the elevators, and improve restrooms. The upgrades will also allow for increased visitor access to the monument, including the pedestal and the museum.
Similar work will take place at facilities on Ellis Island, the entry point to the United States for millions of immigrants.
The project will be funded through a combination of National Park Service appropriations and the park Concession Franchise Fee program.
National Park Rangers will remain on site to provide tours of the grounds and history of the statue to visitors, said Jane Ahern, spokeswoman of the Statue of Liberty National Monument. Approximately 3.5 million people visit Liberty Island every year.
source: CNN

Friday, August 12, 2011

Obama: Fixing the Immigration System for America’s 21st Century Economy - Video

Fixing the Immigration System for America’s 21st Century Economy - Video





"We are the first nation to be founded for the sake of an idea—the idea that each of us deserves the chance to shape our own destiny. That’s why centuries of pioneers and immigrants have risked everything to come here…The future is ours to win. But to get there, we cannot stand still."




 

Take Action




Host a Roundtable


President Obama is calling for a national conversation on immigration reform that builds a bipartisan consensus to fix our broken immigration system so it works for America’s 21st century economy, but he can’t do it alone. Help bring the debate to your community by hosting a roundtable.

Host a Roundtable
Continue the conversation in your community



Read the Blueprint


Read the Blueprint



President Obama recognizes that our current immigration system is broken and he is deeply committed to building a new 21st century immigration system that meets our nation’s important economic and security needs. In his State of the Union Address, the President laid out his vision for winning the future. To secure prosperity for all Americans, we must out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world, and fixing our immigration system plays an important part in that plan. As we work to rebuild our economy, our ability to thrive depends, in part on restoring responsibility and accountability to the immigration system.

President's Vision for Reform


The President plans to create a 21st century immigration system by: 

  • Continuing to fulfill the federal government’s responsibility to securing our borders;
  • Demanding accountability for businesses that break the law by undermining American workers and exploiting undocumented workers;
  • Strengthening our economic competiveness by creating a legal immigration system that reflects our values and diverse needs; and
  • Requiring responsibility from people who are living in the United States illegally.

Building on Progress


During the last two years, the Obama Administration has taken important steps to improve our immigration system within the boundaries of existing laws.  For example, the Administration has:

  • Dedicated unprecedented resources to secure the border;
  • Made interior and worksite enforcement smarter and more effective; and
  • Worked to improve our legal immigration system.
source: the whitehouse

    Tuesday, August 9, 2011

    Arnold SchwarzeneggerI Survived Maria!The Ultimate Dis?

    Arnold Schwarzenegger I Survived Maria! The Ultimate Dis?


    0808_arnold_ex_shirt_wm_2On the surface it's the unkindest cut of all ... Arnold Schwarzenegger out bike riding Sunday in Santa Monica, wearing a shirt that says, "I survived Maria" -- the woman whom he betrayed so badly.

    But there's more to this story.  We found out ... Arnold got the shirt last November, during a farewell party for the Governator's staff.  The shirts were actually designed by Maria's staff, as a joke.  The shirt they presented to Arnold had 2007 crossed out and 1977 scribbled above -- that's the year Arnold and Maria started dating.

    And, we're told, Arnold and Maria are not at war.  They're well along in the process of settling their divorce, and they speak frequently.

    But all of this begs the question.  Given the events of the last few months, should Arnold have worn the shirt in public?
    source: TMZ


     

    Lawsuit:I Was Punched In the FaceAt The Playboy Mansion! A famous German rapper is being sued for allegedly punching a woman in the face and breaking her nose during a party at the Playboy Mansion

    Lawsuit: I Was Punched In the Face At The Playboy Mansion!


    0808_playboy_mansion_ex
    A famous German rapper is being sued for allegedly punching a woman in the face and breaking her nose during a party at the Playboy Mansion in 2009  ... TMZ has learned.

    Alessandra Mendes claims she was minding her own business on the dance floor during a party for a beverage called Stander ... when some "drunk and unruly" dude named Giwar Hajabi -- aka Xatar -- bumped into her friend.

    In her lawsuit, filed last week in L.A. County Superior Court, Mendes claims she asked Hajabi to leave them alone ... but instead, he pushed her and pulled her hair. Mendes says Hajabi then, "stepped on [my] foot and punched [me] in the nose."

    In her suit, Mendes points out that she is 5'4" and 120 lbs ... and Xatar is 6'0" and 235 lbs.

    0808_xatar_getty
    source: TMZ


     

    Monday, August 8, 2011

    FREE COFFEE at Starbucks , use this card !!!

    Want a cup of coffee? Use Jonathan's card


    Doug Gross
    Use this card! Jonathan Stark has offered up his Starbucks Mobile app on the Web for others to use.
    Use this card! Jonathan Stark has offered up his Starbucks Mobile app on the Web for others to use.
    STORY HIGHLIGHTS
    • Jonathan's Card is a social experiment, sharing free coffee via mobile app
    • Creator started a Starbucks mobile card with $30 and shared it online
    • Now, at least 177 people have donated, and more than $3,600 has been spent
    • "Flattered" Starbucks calls project "really interesting"
    RELATED TOPICS
    (CNN) -- Need a caffeine boost? Use Jonathan's card. Want to buy a cup of joe for a pal? Or, more likely, someone you've never met? Use Jonathan's card.
    Jonathan Stark, a mobile app consultant from Providence, Rhode Island, had a crazy idea. What if he gave the entire Internet access to his Starbucks mobile-app code and invited them to have a free cup of coffee on him?
    And, of course, if they wanted to throw in a few bucks for the next guy or gal, that would be OK, too.
    Jonathan's Card is a social experiment that Stark launched in mid-July, although the project didn't really gain traction until it got the notice of several tech blogs over the weekend.
    As of Monday afternoon, he said, $3,651 had been spent on the card, which he started with a $30 balance. At least 177 people had donated money to it, he said.
    "It's been a bit emotional, actually," Stark said Monday. "People's reactions have ranged from accusing me of stealing to thanking me for renewing their faith in humanity.
    "It's been very uplifting overall, but it does hurt when the occasional pessimists -- someone games the system or sends negativity my way."
    Stark said he has no connection, professional or otherwise, with Starbucks, the Seattle-based coffee giant with more than 17,000 locations in 50 countries
    For its part, the company seems just as interested as Stark in seeing how things will work out.
    "We think Jonathan's project is really interesting and are flattered he chose Starbucks for his social experiment," said Gina Woods, director of executive communications for Starbucks, in an e-mail. "We're curious to see how his project continues to evolve."
    Stark simply posted an image of the electronic card from his Starbucks mobile app, inviting people to copy it to their own phones.
    "Jonathan's Card is an experiment in social sharing of physical goods using digital currency on mobile phones ...," he wrote on his site. "Based on the similarity to the 'take a penny, leave a penny' trays at convenience stores in the US, I've adopted a similar 'get a coffee, give a coffee' terminology for Jonathan's Card."
    He's been mostly impressed with how users have behaved. A couple of times, after big donations, a few karmically challenged users may have transferred money to their own Starbucks accounts, he said.
    But, as the balance has gone up and down -- sometimes plummeting from $100 to zero and back again in a matter of minutes -- most everyone has taken a little and given a little, he said.
    "The vast majority of people are being cool, which is the main takeaway."
    One wrinkle he didn't expect? Coupons for free coffee, which the company rewards for frequent use of the mobile app, come in the form of physical coupons and aren't applied to the e-card. Stark says he hopes to figure out a way to distribute them or, worst case, probably won't use them.
    Stark has set up a Twitter feed for the card, scraping data to give real-time updates on its balance. It was fluctuating quickly Monday afternoon, with updates coming virtually minute-by-minute as the balance bottomed out and then got replenished. (An effort to use Stark's card at Starbucks' CNN Center location in Atlanta, happened at one of those bottomed-out moments, unfortunately).
    Fellow Twitter users seemed high on the experiment.
    "Had something very good happen for me (it's been awhile). Put $10 on @jonathanscard to pay it forward. What a great social experiment!" one user wrote.
    "Dear Mr. Stark: I've had a hard time believing in human goodness. Thank you for demonstrating otherwise," another posted, along with a photo of a "cake pop" presumably bought with the card.
    source: CNN

    Sunday, August 7, 2011

    U.S. Legal Immigration Slowed Dramatically During Recession: OECD

    U.S. Legal Immigration Slowed Dramatically During Recession: OECD

    Immigration Declines
    The Huffington Post  James Sunshine  First Posted: 7/15/11 02:51 PM ET Updated: 7/15/11 02:57 PM ET
    Legal immigration to the U.S. has slowed considerably since the Great Recession began, according to a newly released report by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development.
    While previous years had seen net migration gains for the U.S. on the order of 5 percent, the 2009 fiscal year only saw a net migration increase of 2 percent, or approximately 1.13 million now permanent-resident immigrants.
    Population movements appear largely tied to immediate economic opportunity, meaning the more opportunity there is in a country, the more immigrants will come. But, as the Wall Street Journal reported at the beginning of the Great Recession, the U.S. now has fewer opportunities for immigrants. Immigrants who worked in construction, hotels and other blue-collar jobs were badly hit at the outset of the current recession, while remedial jobs such as gardening remained secure.
    This comes on the heels of another report, by Pew Hispanic Center, which showed the illegal Mexican population in the U.S. has declined since 2008 and that illegal border crossings and visa violators have declined to fewer than 100,000 in 2010, reports The New York Times. Between 2000 and 2004, illegal border crossings and visa-violators reached a rate of roughly 525,000 annually.
    The OECD has chalked up much of the decline in migration rates to the present economic struggles of the U.S, with conditions in Mexico having improved considerably over the previous decade. According to a UNICEF report, quality of education services, particularly for pre-school aged children, may have been improving in Mexico as early as 2007.
    How this will affect the U.S. economy is yet to be seen. Last year, Newsweek reported that 74 percent of Americans said immigrants hurt the economy, but most economists and many policy makers disagree.
    The U.S. immigrant population has historically lead the way in entrepreneurship and economic innovation. Firms such as Yahoo, eBay and Google were founded by immigrants, as pointed out by the Wall Street Journal.
    Some are looking to immigrants as a wave to boost a stagnating recovery. Indeed, New York City Michael Bloomberg and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder will be attending a conference advocating for increased migration of immigrants to Detroit and other depressed areas in Michigan, according to Detroit News.
    According to the OECD, foreign born men in the United States actually had a lower rate of unemployment at 10 percent in 2009 than native born men, at 11.3 percent the same year. This marks the second year during the previous decade when foreign born males had a higher rate of employment than their native born counterparts. This first happened in 2005.

    source: Huffpost
     

    Thursday, August 4, 2011

    Heidi Klum Shows Off Her Sexy Bikini Body

    Heidi Klum Shows Off Her Sexy Bikini Body

                   


    Heidi Klum has a lot to be proud of -- including a killer bikini body and loving husband!

    0802_seal_launch
    The "Project Runway" host showed both off yesterday while vacationing with Seal and their children in the Mediterranean.

    The 38-year-old mother of four looked incredible in a two-piece bikini while sitting on a boat in Ibiza, Spain. Seal is performing in the area.

    Check out the sexy shots!
    source: toofab.com

    White House Pushes Skilled Worker Visas

    White House Pushes Skilled Worker Visas


    Immigration Reform

    First Posted: 8/3/11 04:30 PM ET Updated: 8/4/11 12:09 PM ET




    In a bid to spur job creation and promote startups, the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services has announced new efforts to attract foreign talent to American shores.
    Specifically, the administration is promoting two kinds of visas -- known as the H-1B and the EB-2 visa -- by making the application process more transparent, and by releasing a set of guidelines to clarify the necessary requirements for skilled foreign nationals hoping to enter the U.S.
    In addition, the administration is "streamlining" the application process for what is known as the EB-5 "immigrant investor" program, which allows foreign nationals who have significantly invested in American companies to qualify for a green card.
    The Tuesday announcement reflects an increased push to reform legal immigration for skilled workers, though it stops short of any concrete legislative changes. Speaking to HuffPost, USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas explained that the effort was simply one to clarify -- and not amend -- current immigration policy.
    "We have laws currently in place … and we are making sure those policies are fully understood," he said. "This is independent of immigration reform."
    Business interests -- in particular those in the high tech sector -- hailed the efforts by the administration to bring and retain top tier talent. In an interview with HuffPost, Lynn Shotwell, executive director of the American Council on International Personnel, called the effort a "really welcome development. It shows the administration is trying to do what business leaders, including Mayor Bloomberg and others, have called for. Namely, to open our doors to talented foreign nationals."
    Yet while Shotwell maintained that it was "a step in the right direction," she noted that "we have to see how much it changes current adjudication."
    Others lauded the administration's efforts to untie legal immigration from the thorny and often divisive issue of illegal immigration. "We've been [working on] this issue for several years -- making it easier for high tech workers to come to the U.S.," said Emily Mendell, spokesperson for the National Venture Capital Association. "The problem has been the reluctance of Congress to separate illegal reform from legal reform. The key to having this move forward is the ability of Congress to separate the two."
    Steve Case, a member of the president's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness (and the former CEO of HuffPost parent company AOL), said, "Immigration is a sensitive, complex and emotional issue -- there's a lot of history to it. My view is that, notwithstanding that, you have to focus on the main event right now, which is the economy and jobs."
    He continued, "The data we have says the best source of job creation is high-growth entrepreneurial companies. If you want to create jobs, you have to focus on entrepreneurship and the global war for talent."
    But for some advocates, the splitting of legal from illegal immigration is cause for concern. Leading immigration reform advocate Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) acknowledged the difficulty of passing any sort of comprehensive reform in such a hyper-partisan political climate, and underscored the necessity to launch administrative efforts to ameliorate the system, rather than simply rely on broad legislative action.
    "We will not get any substantive immigration reform out of this Congress with House Republicans driving the agenda heading into an election year," said Gutierrez. "That's why the focus is on the White House and what the Obama administration can do under current law."
    But he cautioned against focusing too much on legal immigration concerns over those of illegal workers. "The one million or so undocumented immigrants who were brought here as children don't have corporate lobbyists, don't host fundraisers, or give big bundled donations, but if you think about it, their contributions to the economy over time will be tremendous," he said. "They are no less important to America's economic future than foreign workers are, and I hope the president takes action on their behalf as well."
    source: Huffpost

    Wednesday, August 3, 2011

    Alabama Immigration Law: Obama Administration Files Lawsuit To Block

    Alabama Immigration Law: Obama Administration Files Lawsuit To Block Measure


    Alabama Immigration Law

                     
         
                             WASHINGTON(Reuters) - The Obama administration Monday sued to block enforcement of Alabama's new immigration law, widely considered to be the toughest measure in the United States to try to crack down on illegal immigrants.
    The law, known as H.B. 56, was signed by Republican Governor Robert Bentley in June and is due to take effect on Sept. 1. Civil rights groups brought a separate lawsuit challenging the law about a month ago.
    ``If allowed to go into effect, H.B. 56's enforcement scheme will conflict with and undermine the federal government's careful balance of immigration enforcement priorities and objectives,'' administration lawyers said.
    ``The scheme will cause the detention and harassment of authorized visitors, immigrants, and citizens who do not have or carry identification documents specified by the statute, or who otherwise will be swept into the ambit of H.B. 56's enforcement-at-all-costs approach,'' according to the lawsuit filed in federal court in Alabama.
    The administration argued that federal law preempted the state from adopting its own immigration regime and would interfere with the federal immigration system. There are an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States.
    Conservatives have complained that the Obama administration has failed to sufficiently stop the flow of illegal immigrants into the country. Attempts to overhaul federal immigration policy have gone nowhere in the U.S. Congress.
    Besides Alabama, Georgia, Arizona, Utah and Indiana are defending new immigration laws in federal court. The Obama administration successfully sued to block Arizona's tough law last year.

    ``Today's action makes clear that setting immigration policy and enforcing immigration laws is a national responsibility that cannot be addressed through a patchwork of state immigration laws,'' Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.
    Alabama's law requires public schools to determine, by reviewing birth certificates or sworn affidavits, the legal residency status of students upon enrollment.
    Police must also detain someone they suspect of being in the United States illegally if the person cannot produce proper documentation when stopped for any reason. That is similar to the Arizona law blocked by the courts from taking effect.
    The Alabama law also would be a crime to knowingly transport or harbor someone who is in the country illegally.
    The law also imposes penalties on businesses that knowingly employ someone without legal resident status, and a company's business license could be suspended or revoked. A similar Arizona law was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in May.
    The Alabama law also requires businesses to use a database called E-Verify to confirm the immigration status of new employees. (Reporting by James Vicini and Jeremy Pelofsky; Editing by Anthony Boadle)
    source: huffpost

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