Bush Proposed Guest Worker Plan Has Spawned Wave of Scammers Eager to Exploit Immigrants

LA Times: "Bush's recent proposal to create a temporary guest worker program has created a new opening for scam artists eager to capitalize on the confusion surrounding the yet-to-be approved plan. Bush's plan would allow some number of illegal immigrants working in the country to apply for a guest worker program and remain legally in the country for three years. The workers eventually could compete with would-be immigrants outside the United States for a limited number of permanent legal residency slots. Those failing to secure a place would have to leave the country when their guest worker visa expired. The lack of any guarantee of citizenship or permanent residency has been a major point of criticism of the plan among immigrant activists, who say the guest-workers will become a second-class work force."

Democrats Offer Concrete, Workable Alternative to Bush's Disastrously Vague 'Guest Worker' Plan

Bush's proposed "guest worker" plan is so vague and difficult to enforce that it has already given rise to serious new problems, including scams and new waves of illegal immigrants across the nation's already beleaguered borders (http://www.thedesertsun.com/news/stories2003/national/20030612025046.shtml). The Democrats have now proposed a concrete alternative that "would offer green cards and permanent resident status to all immigrants who have been in the United States at least five years, can prove they have worked at least 24 months, and have passed background and medical checks." It would thus make it harder to import so-called guest workers, but would open the path to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country. Bush would allow illegal immigrants to become legal temporary workers, but without a promise of green cards or citizenship" - a scheme guaranteed to ensure migrants remain heavily exploited second class citizens.

Enough is Enough -- California Republicans Boo Schwarzenegger and Bush

From the LA Times, via Atrios: "An uproar over illegal immigration roiled the [California] Republican convention on Saturday as party leaders struggled to keep the rank and file united behind Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and President Bush. Hundreds of GOP loyalists booed the president at a rally where U.S. Senate hopeful Howard Kaloogian and his allies denounced Bush's plan to give temporary legal status to undocumented workers. 'Enough is enough!' the crowd shouted. 'Enough is enough!' [And] Schwarzenegger fared no better than Bush."

Illegals Rise 15% Since Bush Immigration Plan

"Confirming the worst fears of those who oppose Bush's plans to change immigration laws, U.S. Border Patrol officials report a 15 percent increase in the use of fraudulent documents at the world's busiest land border crossing. More than half of those caught using phony documents say the president's offer of de facto amnesty motivated them to attempt to sneak into the United States, the report added."

Border Agents Assail Bush's Plan to Bring in Guest Workers

U.S. Border Patrol agents, charged with enforcing the nation's border laws, are furious about Bush's proposal to create a guest worker program for millions of illegal immigrants, union leaders say. The agents - many of whom otherwise support the White House - savaged the Bush proposal as a grab for Latino votes and a favor to the business community, factions of which rely on cheap immigrant labor. And they say they are bracing for a rush of people trying to sneak into the United States.

Bush Immigration Policy Drives Supporters Nuts -- Literally

ScaifeNetDaily reports: "Radio talk-show hosts Michael Savage, Rush Limbaugh, and Joseph Farah have all been flooded with callers concerned about the new initiative for immigrant workers, some even raising the possibility of impeachment. The proposal is also a new, frequent topic among those in counseling, with some calling it 'the last straw' in their support for Mr. Bush as they deal with heightened fear and anxiety. 'They're taking it as a personal slap in the face from the president,' says Sally St. John, a Las Vegas-based counselor... 'They see it as a selfish, self-serving move on [Bush'] part and a personal betrayal, and it's triggering all kinds of family-of-origin issues. My clients feel betrayed, angry and scared. It's like having a father that you trusted turn on you, and you don't know what he's going to do next... '[Another] is having nightmares that [Bush] is in fact the Antichrist and that before you know it, we're gonna be in a full-fledged New World Order.'"

Federal Employees Blast Bush Amnesty Plan

The American Federation of Government Employees has condemned Bush's immigration plan, saying the scheme exploits some of the nation's poorest workers by granting amnesty to millions of people who have illegally entered the country. "The plan does nothing to strengthen protections for wages, benefits and other immigrant rights, while insuring a steady pool of low-wage, disenfranchised workers to maximize profits for American companies. The plan will unjustly reward those who illegally entered the U.S. and encourage millions of others to break our laws in the hope of yet another amnesty. Further the plan will hurt the American economy. It will allow employers to pay substandard wages to people who entered this country illegally and take jobs from American workers."

US Immigration Authorities Humiliate, Imprison, then Deport Elderly Muslim Cleric and Companion

After enduring a 17-hour flight from Johannesburg to attend a convention hosted by the Atlanta Islamic Institute, businessman Moosa Suleman and cleric Mulana Ahmad Suleman Khatani were subject to the Bush Reich's "visitors' welcome." Suleman, 66 was sent back home after "five hours of hell, uncertainty and embarrassment". Khatani, 33, spent over 24 hours in a US police cell with four criminals before being deported. Suleman said armed guards escorted them to the toilets during their detention. "They raised their voices when they talked to us and failed to inform us as to what was going on. " When Suleman refused to leave without Khatani, he was threatened with indefinite detention: Suleman said "My documentation was all in order. It was quite clear that I was discriminated against because of my beard and appearance."

Coming Soon, from the Makers of the 'War on Drugs': the War on Undocumented Immigrants

"Between 1994 and 2002, we spent $20bn militarizing our southern border and trying to keep out or send back immigrants, and it's hard to see that as anything but a complete waste of money... During [this] time, the number of undocumented immigrants living in this country increased enormously... Those who made it stayed longer, afraid that if they went back, it would be difficult and expensive for them to return.... Migrant deaths grew substantially in the past decade, as people were driven to cross through the desert. And it just gets worse and worse. Today's NYT reports on a new danger to migrants - kidnappers. And according to the LATimes, a bill is moving through Congress that would require police to participate in a 'national crusade along the lines of the war on drugs' to find and deport illegal immigrants, which will inevitably increase racial profiling and undercut law enforcement by making immigrants even more wary of reporting crimes to the police."

More Than 13,000 Arabs and Muslims May Face Deportation

NY Times reports: "More than 13,000 of the Arab and Muslim men who came forward earlier this year to register with immigration authorities -- roughly 16 percent of the total -- may now face deportation, government officials say. Only a handful have been linked to terrorism. But of the 82,000 men older than 16 who registered, more than 13,000 have been found to be living in this country illegally, officials say... Advocates for immigrants warn that such a strategy... can be abused by government officials. They note that, though it did not deal directly with the registration program, an internal Justice Department report was released this week that was deeply critical of the government's roundup of illegal immigrants after Sept. 11, 2001... many people who had no ties to terrorism were jailed unnecessarily, the report said. Advocates for immigrants have also accused officials of practicing selective enforcement by focusing on illegal immigrants from Arab and Muslim nations."

BushCroft Sends the Wrong Message to the Muslim World

Ejaz Haide writes, "On Jan. 28, two agents from the INS arrested me outside my office at the Brookings Institution. In a matter of moments I was transformed from research scholar at a venerable Washington think tank to suspect, from a person with a name and a face to a 'body,' a non-person. I was put in a car, taken to a detention center, locked in a cell, and stripped not just of my belt and shoelaces but of my pride and dignity -- all because of my nationality. As a visiting scholar from Pakistan, where I am an editor, I had visited the State Department and attended functions with senior U.S. officials. But as far as the Justice Department was concerned, I was someone to be stalked and brought in by burly federal agents. I am only one of hundreds of victims, from Pakistan and elsewhere, who have suffered such indignities under the absurd new policy that requires foreign nationals from numerous Muslim countries to register with the INS. Many have fared far worse than I."

U.S. Proposes Visitor Tracking Rules

Curt Anderson writes for the AP: "The government wants detailed information about every person who comes to or leaves the country by commercial plane or boat, and for the first time will require U.S. citizens to fill out forms detailing their comings and goings. Under rules proposed Friday, the information would be sent electronically to the government for matching against security databases... Once the information is collected, it will be transmitted to the U.S. government and matched against security databases prior to the travelers' arrival. A passenger or crew member whose information raises a red flag could be met by officials when the ship or plane arrives. The INS estimates the rules will affect 108 large commercial air carriers and ship lines, as well as more than 14,400 smaller carriers of both kinds. Initial costs to the private-sector are pegged at $166 million."

Bushcroft Rush to Deport Immigrants to Face Torture and Death

LA Times reports, "A Justice Dept. overhaul of the immigration appeals system, often the last stop for people fighting deportation, has prompted a barrage of unusually fast rulings rendered without explanation - and an outcry about noncitizens' rights to due process. The changes, pushed by Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft, direct the beleaguered Board of Immigration Appeals to clear its 56,000-case backlog by March 25. The 23-member board, which reviews the rulings of 220 immigration judges nationwide, is often the last hope for foreigners who contend they face death, torture or other travails if forced to return to their homelands. To meet the deadline, board members, who usually worked in panels of three and ruled after careful deliberation, are reviewing cases individually and ruling within minutes, often issuing just two-line decisions... And as the number of cases decided by the board has soared, so has the rate at which board members have ruled against foreigners facing deportation."

Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) Leads Fight Against Illegal Immigration - While Hiring Illegal Immigrants

Two undocumented workers say they and other illegal immigrants from Latin America helped install a home entertainment center and a bedroom in Rep. Tom Trancredo's home in Littleton Colorado. Republican Representative Trancredo, a vocal immigration critic who has pushed for tougher border controls - including deployment of troops - claims he was not aware that the workers were illegal immigrants because he was in Washington DC most of the time and they let themselves into his home. The two workers came forward when they learned that after Trancredo read a feature in the local paper about an illegal immigrant family's struggles and called for their deportation. Voters should express their outrage over Tancredo's hypocrisy at the polls in November!

Ashcroft Wants to Deport Legal Immigrants Who Overlook Change of Address Form

If you are a legal immigrant but not yet a citizen, and forget in the chaos of moving to a new home (even in the same city), to send the INS the proper change of residence form within the window of 10 days, you could well be "detained" as a common criminal. An official who understandably wanted to remain anonymous said the Justice Dept's action is intended as a warning to foreigners, who could face deportation if they fail to comply. Angela Kelley, director of the National Immigration Forum in Washington, is just as understandably outraged: "The attorney general is threatening to put people in jail and have them deported for the equivalent of having an overdue library book." Of course, under proposed new laws, Ashcroft may be monitoring that library book, too.

Bill Extends Time for Illegals to Pursue Visas, but Who'll Be Watching the INS?

It's no wonder Bush favors the bill just passed by the Senate to extend the deadline for illegal immigrants to pursue visas. With Bush appointees in the INS, this move may translate into an even more misty limbo zone for immigrants. As it is, many workers brought to the US legally to work in the tech industry are finding their paperwork mysteriously stalled or lost. Also, INS hearings are postponed and re-postponed -- as the government waits for the tech field to sink or swim (it's easier and cheaper to just deport a worker who has no rights to any benefits than lay him/her off). Unless the Senate imposes AND polices INS processing standards for immigrants, illegals may find that -- once entered into this system -- they are even worse off than before.

Illegal Immigrants Becoming Targets of Rightwing Hate Campaigns and Violence

By refusing to grant illegal immigrant workers amnesty, yet allowing - even encouraging (by dint of policy) - the use of their cheaper labor, the Bush administration is inviting violent reactionary racist episodes. For example, two men were recently convicted for attempting to murder two Mexican day laborers in Farmingville, Long Island last year. The town is just one of many where illegal immigrants gather at street corners hoping to be hired by the day by construction contractors and landscapers. The attack on the two workers occurred in the midst of a campaign by rightwingers and local politicians to deport "illegal aliens." These agitators organized regular pickets to harass immigrants on Saturdays at a corner where they gathered. Thanks to Bush's mixed message (we call it a cop-out), we may expect more of the same.

Before Swallowing 'The Federation for American Immigration Reform's Take on the Amnesty Debate, Check Out These Disturbing Facts

One poll says that 59% of Americans polled are against granting "amnesty" to ANY illegals. Another poll finds that 59% of Americans favor granting amnesty to illegals who are working and living in the U.S. What's wrong with this picture? Well, it could be that the poll that found most Americans favor reasonable amnesty was conducted by a bipartisan team of two professional polling companies and was sponsored by the Service Employees Int'l Union, which understands worker issues well. The other poll was conducted by a single company and was sponsored by FAIR (not to be confused with Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting – the excellent media watchdog org), an organization that, despite the image it carefully seeks to present, has roots that smell strongly of racism. To see the two polls go to:http://www.usnewswire.com/topnews/Current_Releases/0830-115.html and http://www.usnewswire.com/topnews/Current_Releases/0830-119.html. Then read this straight scoop on FAIR.

Immigrants Suffer as Bush Fails to Fish or Cut Bait on Legalization

While Bush delays a decision on the status of the hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrant workers in the U.S., these workers remain in a harsh limbo zone. Bush's main concern: political expediency. The main concern of those who hire these immigrants: cheap, reliable labor. Meanwhile, these immigrants are often treated unfairly, inadequately housed, and, now, as this story shows, deprived of medical treatment. Too many employers are having their cake and eating it too at these workers' expense. American should not create a new class of workers, a step above slavery, yet a step below legal workers. The least we can do is legalize those already here and benefiting our society.

Bush Flip-Flops on Mexican Immigrants

One day after he proposed legalizing undocumented Mexican workers, Bush suddenly dropped the idea in the face of right-wing Republican opposition. Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX) said that legalizing undocumented workers would pass over his "cold, dead, political body". This is just one more example of "kompassionate konservatism."