It’s a nice change to see sympathetic coverage of an American suffering in this rotten economy, instead of more boilerplate about the plight of poor illegal alien Juan who came for a better life (sniff).
The subject of the article, David Martin (pictured), has valuable accounting skills but lives in Fresno County, where the official unemployment rate is 16 percent. He lives hand to mouth, barely making ends meet, after losing his job more than a year ago.
Meanwhile, Washington continues to admit over a million legal immigrant workers annually, a number which is larger than new jobs created. How is that policy supposed to work for Americans? Obviously, it isn’t expected to work.
“In 2007 the average time to get a new job was five weeks. It’s now near six months. And that implies a whole segment of the population, the more elderly or the middle-aged who may never get employed again.”
If David Martin has 50 cents left over at the end of the month, it’s a very good month.
That’s a difficult situation to accept for someone who used to make $50,000 a year in the accounting field. But he has been out of work since March 2010, and times are hard.
“You go through days of depression — and I mean really deep depression — where you can’t even see tomorrow. And it’s like, man, this is a hopeless situation,” said Martin, 47. “[You think] that you’re useless. I mean, my God, if I was useful, people would be hiring me, right?”
Martin’s situation is not so unusual these days. The anxieties have risen for the 46.8% of unemployed Californians — just over 1 million people — who have been out of work for longer than 27 weeks, which is the threshold for long-term unemployment, according to the state Employment Development Department.
The unemployment rate in Fresno County is 16%. The EDD doesn’t track long-term unemployment by county, but in the past year, about 900 people who had been unemployed longer than six months signed up for help at Fresno County Workforce Connection, an organization that runs job resource centers for the unemployed. That’s nearly half of everyone who signed up, and it doesn’t count people who passed the six-month mark while working with the group.
Martin keeps busy applying for jobs and working at the Sanger ranch house where he lives. A friend owns it, and he helps to maintain it in order to get a reduction on his rent. But even so, every day becomes harder to get through, he said.
“The longer you’re unemployed, the more you start doubting yourself,” Martin said. “Every night, I pray that God gives me the strength and wisdom to get through this.” Continue reading this article
A construction worker admitted Monday that he beat a woman unconscious and tried to molest her in a bar bathroom, an attack she said occurred after she wouldn’t dance with him.
Mbarek Lafrem said nothing beyond brief answers to a judge’s questions as he pleaded guilty to assault and attempted sexual abuse. The March 2010 attack left the woman bloodied, half-undressed and wedged between a toilet and a bathroom stall divider in a sprawling midtown Manhattan lounge.
Manhattan State Supreme Court Justice Ronald Zweibel promised Lafrem a 16-year prison term at his sentencing, set for Sept. 1. Prosecutors had asked for 20 years.
“He felt it was the right thing to do at this juncture,” Lafrem’s lawyer, Yana A. Roy, said after court.
Born in Morocco, the 32-year-old Lafrem told police he came to the United States in 2004. He was living in Norwood, Pa., but staying at a Manhattan hotel for a metal work job when he crossed paths with the woman, a nurse who was then 29, at Social. The three-story bar is near Manhattan’s theater district and the southern edge of Central Park.
“The attack on this woman was quick and brutal,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said in a statement Monday. Continue reading this article
This just in: authorities have noticed that Washington’s permissive refugee policy regarding Iraqis has created a national security threat. The rush to rescue meant that do-gooder behavior trumped normal prudence in background checks, and dangerous persons were admitted as a result.
So now, 58,000 Iraqi refugees reside in this country and should be rescreened. There is a new list, one with 300 names who are thought to have a higher possibility of being enemies of America.
Below, refugees Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi are accused of terrorism. Alwan is now thought to have participated in roadside bomb attacks in Iraq, but was still welcomed to the United States because of sloppy vetting procedures.
Officials fear lapses in immigration security may have let insurgents and potential terrorists enter the country. More than 58,000 Iraqis are being screened again.
Reporting from Washington— In a far-reaching inquiry, authorities are rescreening more than 58,000 Iraqi refugees living in the United States amid concerns that lapses in immigration security may have allowed former insurgents and potential terrorists to enter the country, U.S. officials said.
The investigation was given added urgency after U.S. intelligence agencies warned that Al Qaeda leaders in Iraq and Yemen had tried to target the U.S. refugee stream, or exploit other immigration loopholes, in an attempt to infiltrate the country with operatives.
The rescreening began late last year after the FBI learned that an Iraqi man in Kentucky had participated in roadside bomb attacks in Iraq before he was granted U.S. political asylum in 2009. He and another Iraqi refugee were arrested in an FBI sting in May on charges of trying to send explosives and missiles to Iraq for use against Americans.
So far, immigration authorities have given the FBI about 300 names of Iraqi refugees for further investigation. The FBI won’t say whether any have been arrested or pose a potential threat. Continue reading this article
Sixty Minutes reported in 2009 that Medicare fraud was “A $60 Billion Crime”. The segment didn’t exactly mention the diversity/immigration aspect, but did observe, “If you want to find Medicare fraud, the first place you should look is South Florida.” Hint, hint.
South Florida was poisoned 30 years ago by the Mariel Boatlift, which allowed Fidel Castro to rid Cuba of thousands of criminals when President Jimmy Carter welcomed the worst of Cuban society. So the nice American city of Miami was transformed over a few months into a Spanish-speaking, foreign, more criminal place.
Does anyone in bankrupt Washington care about mega medical fraud? Or is $60 billion in theft too small-fry to get the attention of Beltway brains?
Anyway, the FBI has been trying to chase down some of the worst offenders, who can easily avoid capture by escaping to Cuba. But it’s worse than that: there are indications that the Cuban government is willing to welcome big-money Medicare fraudsters, providing they pay a nice fee to the ruling commie criminals.
Below, Cuban “expatriates” residing in Miami show their loyalty to their home country.
South Florida is known as the capital of Medicare fraud, but increasingly Cuba is where the scammers go to avoid prosecution.
As Medicare crime spreads across South Florida, accused scammers are escaping in droves to Cuba and other Latin American countries to avoid prosecution — with more than 150 fugitives now wanted for stealing hundreds of millions of dollars from the U.S. healthcare program, according to the FBI and court records.
The tally of fugitives charged with healthcare fraud here has tripled since 2008, when The Miami Herald first reported on the phenomenon of Cuban immigrants joining the Medicare rackets and fleeing to evade trial in Miami.
But during the past three years, the FBI has captured only 16 fugitives, reflecting the difficulty in catching Spanish-speaking suspects who head south to hide out. Most of the fugitives were born in Cuba, immigrated to South Florida after 1990 and can easily live under the radar in Latin America with hundreds of thousands or millions in taxpayer dollars fleeced from Medicare.
Even if fugitives can be located in Cuba, there’s no way to get them back because of the political realities at play.
“They go to Cuba so they can’t be caught,” said Rolando Betancourt, a longtime Miami bail bondsman who has tracked one Medicare fugitive to Havana. “You can find anybody in Cuba; you just can’t arrest them.”
Because so many of the Medicare defendants are Cuban, rumors have swirled for years that the Castro government has purposely trained and deployed immigrants to take over Medicare-licensed clinics in South Florida, and then harbored them after they returned home. But federal agents and prosecutors, while privately speculating about an official Cuba connection, say they’ve never uncovered evidence linking Fidel and Raul Castro’s regime to the rampant healthcare fraud on this side of the Florida Straits.
Moreover, the feds have made no official attempts to seek extradition of fugitives in Cuba, mainly because the United States has no formal relations with the government. Agents have captured some Cuban fugitives returning from the island as they travel through Miami International Airport.
Repeated calls and emails seeking comment from the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, D.C., were not returned.
Earlier this year, a University of Miami report quoted a former Cuban intelligence official who suggested there were “strong indications” his government was either facilitating the Medicare fraud or providing safe harbor for fugitives in exchange for hard U.S. currency. But the report provided no examples.
Soon afterward, U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, a Medicare watchdog for years, questioned Health and Human Services officials at a congressional hearing about the possible Cuban government link after the department’s inspector general posted a “Most Wanted” list of Medicare fugitives, and seven of the top 10 were Cuban.
CURRENCY FOR CUBA
Cuba watchers, legal experts and others who have witnessed South Florida’s ascendance as the nation’s Medicare fraud capital say the Cuban government’s involvement would not be that far fetched — though they have no proof to back it up.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if one day that is proven to be a fact,” said Miami attorney Sam Rabin. One of his clients, Eduardo Moreno, fled to Cuba after posting a $450,000 bond in 2007 on healthcare fraud charges. He had collected $2 million from Medicare on bogus claims for medical equipment and HIV services.
“I think it would be very hard for someone with millions in currency to stay under the radar in Cuba” without that government’s protection, Rabin added.
Andy Gomez, a senior fellow at the University of Miami’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies, said he has heard from sources in Miami and Cuba allegations that the Castro government extorts Medicare bounty from criminals who are allowed to go back and forth between here and the island nation. But he said he knows of no evidence directly implicating the Castro regime in the fraud.
“The Cuban government knows what’s going on,” Gomez said. “The government knows who the fugitives are, and the bigger they are, the more the government expects to be paid by them. … It’s a way to obtain hard currency and a way to discredit the Cuban-American exile community.” Continue reading this article
Silicon Valley remains a big magnet for foreigners dreaming of tech jobs. One popular ticket is admittance to a squirrelly unaccredited university. Washington curiously allows student visas for unaccredited schools, despite the obvious scam appeal, and the result is rubber-stamping visas for dollars. Lots of dollars, as more foreign students are admitted.
With his new student visa, Prasanth Goinaka was on a path toward his dream: an MBA from an American university in the heart of Silicon Valley.
That’s why his parents back in India were stunned when their 28-year-old son was killed while manning a cash register at a convenience store in Oklahoma City — 1,500 miles from campus.
A Bay Area News Group investigation has found that Goinaka — as well as thousands of other foreign students enrolled in schools here — probably should not have been in the country at all. They’re being lured by unaccredited universities that promise help getting a prized student visa. But it turns out that these universities’ legal right to assist with visas is in question.
Once here, students like Goinaka often have to go to extraordinary lengths to pay the bill.
But how he ended up losing his life halfway across the country from San Jose’s International Technological University is part of a much larger story of the U.S. government’s failure to catch up to a growing problem in America’s higher education system.
Little-known and less-watched, a group of schools — including San Jose’s ITU, Sunnyvale’s Herguan University and until recently Pleasanton’s now-shuttered Tri-Valley University — are building lucrative businesses by assembling student bodies comprised almost entirely of student-visa holders. Yet, the newspaper’s investigation found none of the schools meet the criteria necessary to assist foreign students to come here: They are neither accredited nor do their credits transfer to recognized universities.
“Universities like Tri-Valley are causing an enormous surge of international students,” said Mohan Nannapaneni, secretary of the Milpitas-based Telugu Association of North America. The Indian nonprofit group raised $5,465 to ship Goinaka’s body to his distraught parents and donated legal help to 155 traumatized Tri-Valley students, some tagged with electronic tracking devices when the federal government shut down the school on visa fraud charges.
“Why are we putting immigration authority into (these) “… universities’ hands?” Nannapaneni said.
University officials deny any wrongdoing.
But records reviewed by the newspaper tell a different story about the schools’ actions, and suggest the government and even the students themselves are to blame for the problem.
Government approved A decade after terrorists in the country on student visas carried out the Sept. 11 attacks, the Department of Homeland Security — the very agency established to oversee a tougher visa system — endorses universities that should be ineligible to issue the necessary certificate for students to gain F1 student visas, records show. It even places these schools on the list that international students consult before pursuing a degree in the U.S.
Tri-Valley University was on that list even as federal agents were raiding the school in January on widespread allegations of visa fraud and alien harboring that left 1,500 foreign students in legal limbo and sparked violent protests in India.
“It is having approval I thought it is good university,” former Tri-Valley computer science student Harsha Sri, 25, said in an email. He paid $2,700 to attend less than a month’s worth of classes and is now back in India.
Tri-Valley demonstrates the riches that can be made from turning a school into a visa mill. When federal agents finally caught on, they discovered that the unaccredited school had been paid millions of dollars by foreigners to obtain student visas that authorize them to remain in the U.S. — a scheme whose growth was fueled by a profit-sharing system that gave students who referred newcomers from abroad a 20 percent cut of the tuition, according to court records.
Something else authorities found suspicious: More than 550 students enrolled in the Alameda County university were registered as living at the same address: a two-bedroom apartment on El Camino Real in Sunnyvale. Continue reading this article
LOS FRESNOS, Texas (AP) — Police wearing berets and bulletproof vests broke down the door of a Guatemala City apartment in February hunting for illegal drugs. Instead, they found a different kind of illicit shipment: 27 immigrants from India packed into two locked rooms.
The Indians, whose hiding space was furnished only with soiled mattresses, claimed to be on vacation. But authorities quickly concluded they were waiting to be smuggled into the United States via an 11,000-mile pipeline of human cargo — the same network that has transported thousands of illegal immigrants from India, through Central America and Mexico and over the sandy banks of the Rio Grande during the past two years.
Indians have arrived in droves even as the overall number of illegal immigrants entering the U.S. has dropped dramatically, in large part because of the sluggish American economy. And with fewer Mexicans and Central Americans crossing the border, smugglers are eager for more “high-value cargo” like Indians, some of whom are willing to pay more than $20,000 for the journey.
“Being the businessmen they are, they need to start looking for ways to supplement that work,” said Rosendo Hinojosa, chief of the U.S. Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley Sector, at the southernmost tip of Texas, which is the most active nationwide for apprehending Indian nationals.
Between October 2009 and March 2011, the Border Patrol detained at least 2,600 illegal immigrants from India, a dramatic rise over the typical 150 to 300 arrests per year.
The influx has been so pronounced that in May, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told a Senate committee that at some point this year, Indians will account for about 1 in 3 non-Mexican illegal immigrants caught in South Texas.
Most of the border-jumpers are seeking jobs, even though India’s economy is growing at about 9 percent per year. Once safely inside the U.S., they fan out across the country, often relying on relatives who are already here to arrange jobs and housing.
Indians have flooded into Texas in part because U.S. authorities have cracked down on the traditional ways they used to come here, such as entering through airports with student or work visas. The tougher enforcement has made it harder for immigrants to use visas listing non-existent universities or phantom companies. Continue reading this article
Under the Obama administration we citizens have seen national security shrink in importance (not that Bush was much better, given his border permissiveness).
When an illegal alien somehow is allowed to work in a nuclear power plant, protecting the safety of the public cannot be seen as a priority. Any wanna-be Osama could easily blackmail such a person with exposure if he didn’t cooperate in a jihadist attack.
At the nation’s biggest nuke plant, all that’s necessary for a worker with no identification to be admitted is that a known worker vouch for him. Weak.
PHOENIX — An illegal immigrant used a fake ID to get past security and entered the Palo Verde Nuclear plant west of Phoenix, according to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
“We have arrested an illegal alien who has penetrated and gone into the Palo Verde nuclear plant,” Arpaio said Thursday, adding that he is outraged at another example of the lack of security along the Arizona-Mexico border.
Cruz Loya Alvares was taken into custody by Sheriff Deputies Wednesday and interrogated by the Sheriff’s Human Smuggling detectives.
Cruz admitted to deputies he has been in the U.S. for most of the past 15 years. He was detained and deported in 2000 but paid a coyote re-entry into the U.S.
Also, he was cited by Mesa Police last month for driving with a suspended license.
According to Sheriff Arpaio, Cruz tried to gain access to the Nuclear power plant on Monday but was denied entrance because his Mexican Driver’s license was expired.
“To some extent security at this nuclear power plant worked,” Arpaio said in a released statement. “But still, an illegal immigrant was permitted to gain access to this facility. This raises the question: how safe is Palo Verde really if an illegal alien can gain access to this nation’s largest nuclear power facility?
“This suggests to me that sadly, like our nation’s borders, our most critical public utilities/installations are perhaps not nearly as safely guarded as they need to be.”
Two different people working in security at the power plant also told Sheriff’s officials that drivers of contractor’s vehicles can “vouch” for the passengers if no identification documents are on hand at the time of entry. Continue reading this article
In San Jose, California, the inmates are trying to run the asylum, and authorities may agree.
Worsening gang violence prompted San Jose Police Chief Chris Moore to invite ICE in to help. But the “immigrant” community became fearful that ordinary illegal alien job thieves and other foreign grifters might be scooped up and given a free trip home.
The situation shows an upside-down relationship between police and lawbreakers, in which illegal foreigners and their allies threaten non-cooperation if the law is enforced. The new police chief sounds amenable.
In San Jose, foreigners who don’t like American immigration laws bleat their complaints in the language of civil rights, and the agency responsible for public safety appears to prefer appeasement to law enforcement.
SAN JOSE, Calif. — A coalition of San Jose community groups gathered Friday to send a loud message of disapproval to Police Chief Chris Moore on his decision to keep a pair of recently enlisted federal immigrations investigators.
“Our message is clear: we don’t want ICE here,” Stefanie Flores, a spokeswoman for Silicon Valley DeBug, said at a news conference this morning. “We want to work with the police to find real solutions.”
DeBug is part of a handful of San Jose immigrant and civil rights groups that oppose Moore’s recent decision to enlist the help of two investigators from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as part of the Department of Homeland Security’s “Operation Community Shield” program.
The groups said the program increases the community’s distrust of law enforcement, cultivates fear and undermines immigrants’ civil liberties.
“Now, more than ever, there needs to be a culture of trust between immigrant populations and the Police Department,” said Jazmin Segura, a spokeswoman for the group Services, Immigrant Rights, and Education Network, or SIREN. “This program will invariably damage that trust.”
At a community meeting hosted by Sacred Heart Community Service on Wednesday night, Moore said the agents are helping the department target escalating gang violence, which he said has contributed to more than half of the city’s homicides this year. Continue reading this article
Demography is relentless, we are reminded by a report recently published by the Pew Hispanic Center, noting that the majority of growth among latinos is now accomplished through births. There are now so many Mexicans residing in this country that they more than replenish their own numbers via their higher fertility.
Births have surpassed immigration as the main driver of the dynamic growth in the U.S. Hispanic population. This new trend is especially evident among the largest of all Hispanic groups-Mexican-Americans, according to a new analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center.
In the decade from 2000 to 2010, the Mexican-American population grew by 7.2 million as a result of births and 4.2 million as a result of new immigrant arrivals. This is a change from the previous two decades when the number of new immigrants either matched or exceeded the number of births.
The current surge in births among Mexican-Americans is largely attributable to the immigration wave that has brought more than 10 million immigrants to the United States from Mexico since 1970. Between 2006 and 2010 alone, more than half (53%) of all Mexican-American births were to Mexican immigrant parents. As a group, these immigrants are more likely than U.S.-born Americans to be in their prime child-bearing years. They also have much higher fertility. [. . .]
Of course the Mexicans had to lay down a substantial base population from which to spawn their growing numbers. And indeed, they have been arriving for several decades, since the disastrous 1965 Immigration Act flung open the doors of immigration permissiveness and extreme diversity. In 1950, for example, there were fewer than half a million Mexicans living in the United States, and now hispanics are the largest minority group.
Open borders allow legal and illegal immigration to have the effect of an invasion, where the home culture is swept away by demanding newcomers who think Americans should learn Spanish.
Interestingly, the Associated Press report begins by saying that “immigration is slowing” — in line with the administration talking point that the illegal immigration crisis is over, so a big Obama amnesty can take place before the next election.
With immigration slowing, babies born in the U.S. rather than newly arrived Mexican immigrants are now driving most of the fast growth in the Latino population.
A new analysis of census data highlights a turning point in Hispanics’ rapid U.S. growth. Demographers point to the potential for broader political impact as U.S.-born Mexican-Americans widen their numbers over non-citizen, foreign-born counterparts, who wield no voting rights.
“As these young Latinos age, they will enter public schools, participate in the nation’s economy as workers and consumers, and enter the growing pool of Hispanic eligible voters,” said Mark Hugo Lopez, associate director of the Pew Hispanic Center, who co-authored the study released Thursday.
The analysis focuses on the growth of Mexican-Americans, who make up more than 60 percent of the U.S. Hispanic population. Tracing a mass Mexican migration to the U.S. that began in 1970 and reached its height during the 1990s, it finds that young Mexicans who crossed the border many years ago are now adding to the population by having many children.
Currently, the median age of Mexican-Americans is 25, compared to 30 for other Hispanic subgroups, 32 for blacks and 41 for whites. Mexican-American women on average will have given birth to 2.5 children by their mid-40s, higher than for other groups.
Meanwhile, immigration from Mexico has fallen off in recent years, dropping by 60 percent since 2006 after a souring U.S. economy and stepped-up border enforcement made it harder and less desirable for undocumented workers to enter the country. As a result, the number of new immigrants from Mexico declined over the last decade to 4.2 million, from 4.7 million in 1990-2000.
In all, the Mexican-American population grew by 11.4 million over the last decade, of which 63 percent came as a result of births. That is a reversal from the previous two decades, when the number of new Mexican immigrants either matched or exceeded the number of Mexican births.
Among Hispanics as a whole, about 58 percent of the population increase since 2000 were a result of births.
The numbers come as Hispanic groups are seeking more political influence. States are currently redrawing their political maps based on population and racial and ethnic makeup. Now representing 16 percent of the U.S. population, Hispanics added more than 15 million people over the last decade and accounted for more than half of the nation’s total population increase.
Still, their voting power has not always matched their numbers, partly because a disproportionate share of U.S. Hispanics are either children or non-citizens. Just 42 percent of all Hispanics in the U.S. are eligible to vote, compared to 78 percent for whites and 66 percent for blacks.
Currently more than 60 percent of all Hispanics are U.S.-born, many of them children.
Lopez says that is now changing, with some 600,000 young Hispanics who were born in the U.S. turning 18 each year to enter a widening pool of more than 21 million Hispanic eligible voters.
_About 6.5 million, or more than half of all Mexican immigrants, were in the U.S. illegally last year. Many of these illegal immigrants gave birth to children in the U.S.; about 68 percent of the 350,000 U.S. births to illegal immigrants last year were to Mexican parents.
_Birth rates differ by immigration status: on average, a Mexican immigrant woman in her 40s has 2.7 children, compared to 2.1 for a U.S.-born Mexican-American.
_About 1 in 10 of all native-born Mexicans opt to migrate to the U.S., seeking jobs and a better life. Among native-born Mexicans in their prime working ages of 30 to 44, the share is even higher: about 1 in 5 men, and more than 1 in 7 women migrate to the U.S.
The Pew analysis is based on 2010 census surveys from the U.S. and Mexico. Because the U.S. Census Bureau does not ask people about their immigration status, estimates on illegal immigrants are derived largely by subtracting the estimated legal immigrant population from the total foreign-born population.
The battle to stop the hostile Ground Zero mosque (an attempt of Muslims to mark territory) continues. A recent lawsuit was dismissed on the basis that firefighter Tim Brown did not have standing to sue. However, he indicated in a recent interview that he and others against a mosque being built so close to Ground Zero were not giving up.
The backers of the controversial “Ground Zero Mosque” have won a court fight clearing the way for them to build the mosque and community center complex two blocks from the site of the 9/11 terror attack.
In a decision on Friday that was made public today, New York State Supreme Justice Paul Feinman dismissed a lawsuit by former firefighter Timothy Brown who argued that New York City was wrong to allow the destruction of a 150-year-old building to make way for the Islamic center.
The ex-firefighter who was among those who responded to the terror attack on the World Trade Center said the old building had been struck by debris during the collapse of the twin towers and was a “living representative of the heroic structures that commemorate the events of that day.”
In a 15-page decision Feinman wrote, “Mr. Brown’s claim that his ability to commemorate will be injured, is not yet recognized under the law as a concrete injury that can establish standing. Such an injury, although palpable to Brown, is immeasurable by a court.”
The American Center for Law and Justice, a conservative legal group which filed the lawsuit on Brown’s behalf, said they plan to appeal the ruling. Continue reading this article
However, we hear from Senator Jeff Sessions that the current incarnation of the bill is a worse assemblage of crap than ever, loaded up with loopholes big enough to drive a semi full of illegals through. The bill is a history of bad faith, where lies and chicanery masquerade as virtue.
Certainly if a DREAM Act stealth amnesty is passed, American students will be pushed aside for lawbreaking foreigners, who will whine in their college applications that if they are not admitted they will be deported. And admissions officers love a good whiner from diverse kiddies.
(CNSNews.com) – Passage of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act would be the “starting point” in legislating legal status for the millions of illegal aliens in the United States, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) indicated Tuesday.
At a press conference, he characterized the DREAM Act as his contribution to – and a stepping stone towards – “comprehensive immigration reform.”
The DREAM Act would grant legal status to aliens whose parents brought them into the country illegally as minors, if the individual is “of good moral character” and is pursuing a higher education or serving in the military.
Durbin has been a driving force behind the 10-year campaign to get the legislation enacted. It was re-introduced most recently last May.
CNSNews.com asked him Tuesday what passage of the law would mean for parents who had brought their young children into the U.S. illegally.
“It’s a very valid question,” he replied. “I support comprehensive immigration reform. I believe we need fairness and justice for everyone in the country – and I’m starting with the DREAM Act because that is my part of it.”
“But I have always made that part of the larger discussion,” he added.
Durbin said that his “friend and roommate,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), was working on “comprehensive immigration reform” legislation.
The DREAM Act, which Durbin first introduced in 2000, was his own contribution towards getting immigration legislation passed.
Durbin recalled that when the late Sen. Ted Kennedy was advocating for legislation that would grant amnesty to illegal aliens already in the United States, Kennedy often relegated his role to the DREAM Act and dismissed him from discussions.
“I didn’t want to leave but I knew that [the DREAM Act] was going to be the accepted starting point,” Durbin said. “And I want it to be a starting point.”
Tuesday’s press conference was held to announce the DREAM Act Sabbath, an event slated for the fall when participating “faith leaders” will discuss the legislation during or after religious services.
Among those present at the conference were Islamic Society of North America president Mohamed Magid, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, D.C., and Lisa Gruschcow, associate rabbi with Congregation Rodeph Shalom in New York City.
Durbin said there was a “moral argument” for making the DREAM Act law.
“Now I’m a politician not a pastor, so I tread carefully when I speak about religion,” he said. “But this much it is safe to say: The DREAM Act is built on a fundamental moral principal that is shared by all the faith traditions represented here today – that it is wrong to punish children for the actions of their parents.
“There’s an equally powerful moral argument for the DREAM Act,” he added. “Every faith tradition recognizes we have a special obligation to protect the innocent. And that’s what the DREAM Act would do.”
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