You Betcha I'm a Proud Army Mom

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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

My My My And So It Goes ~

Illegal Immigration is a Crime

Under Title 8 Section 1325 of the U.S. Code, "Improper Entry by Alien," any citizen of any country other than the United States who:

Enters or attempts to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers; or

Eludes examination or inspection by immigration officers; or

Attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact;
has committed a federal crime.


Violations are punishable by criminal fines and imprisonment for up to six months. Repeat offenses can bring up to two years in prison. Additional civil fines may be imposed at the discretion of immigration judges, but civil fines do not negate the criminal sanctions or nature of the offense.

Senate panel OKs immigration bill
BILL OFFERS PATH TO CITIZENSHIP
By Dave Montgomery
Knight Ridder

WASHINGTON - The Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday approved a comprehensive immigration bill that would create a foreign guest-worker program and put millions of illegal immigrants on track toward permanent residency and U.S. citizenship.

The legislation that now goes to the full Senate for debate was approved 12-6 by the Republican-controlled committee and embraces key elements of a bipartisan bill crafted by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.

While offering more hope to illegal immigrants living in the United States than a get-tough House bill passed in December, the Senate version also calls for stepped up immigration enforcement -- more than doubling the size of the U.S. Border Patrol over the next five years.

``Considering all of the hurdles and all of the pitfalls it's a good result,'' said Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., the committee chairman, who joined three other Republicans and eight Democrats in supporting the measure. Other GOP members supporting the bill were Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Mike DeWine of Ohio and Sam Brownback of Kansas.

The Senate was scheduled to begin debate on immigration today, but delayed the issue until later in the week. Nevertheless, Specter pressed committee members to finish the comprehensive measure by the end of the day Monday to meet a deadline imposed by Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn.

Although Specter expressed confidence that the measure offered bipartisan appeal that could win a majority of votes in the Senate, it differs sharply from a bill passed by the House of Representatives, which calls for toughened enforcement, including the creation of a 700-mile fence along the Southwest border.

The bill the full Senate eventually approves and the House version must be reconciled before it can be presented to President Bush for his signature.
Fanned by election-year politics, immigration is one of the nation's most volatile issues, with the public and Congress deeply divided between those calling for tougher enforcement and pro-immigrant groups who seek to protect the estimated 12 million immigrants now in the United States illegally.

The Senate committee bill would enable illegal immigrants in the country as of Jan. 7, 2004, to obtain visas and stay in the country for six years while they apply for permanent residency by paying fines and back taxes and demonstrating a proficiency in English and civics. At Specter's insistence, they would have to ``wait in line'' behind the more than 3 million applicants now seeking green cards through legal channels.

Under the guest-worker program, up to 400,000 foreign workers a year could come into the country for up to six years to hold low-skilled jobs bypassed by U.S. workers. They also could apply for permanent residency and citizenship.

The committee also agreed to a pilot program that would allow up to 1.5 million undocumented immigrants over a five-year period to hold agricultural jobs under temporary visas. They, too, could apply for green cards to become permanent residents. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said that program would ensure a source of legal workers for thousands of agricultural jobs now largely held by undocumented workers drawing low wages.

Committee members, rejecting a more hard-line approach by the House, voted against proposed criminal penalties on illegal immigrants. They approved an amendment by Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., to shield church and charitable groups from criminal prosecution for providing aid to illegal immigrants.

Continuing a chain of recent massive demonstrations across the United States, several thousand immigrants and activists gathered at the Capitol to demand greater legal protections and denounce the House bill, which threatened illegal immigrants with felony prison sentences.
Dozens of clergy, handcuffed to each other with plastic strips, hummed ``We Shall Overcome'' in the hallway of the Senate building where the Judiciary Committee deliberated -- a symbol, they said, of the effect of criminalizing illegal immigrants and the people who help them.

``We believe this is an issue of justice, that's why we need to raise our voices,'' said the Rev. Mauricio Chacon of the Mission Presbyterian Church in San Francisco, who was in Washington.

``The Bible tells us we need to treat the foreigner like one of us.''

In San Francisco, three hunger-strike protesters dropped off 12,000 postcards opposing tough new immigration laws to Feinstein's downtown San Francisco office. The senator's spokesman, Howard Gantman, had no comment on the protest, but said Feinstein has said she is opposed to House legislation that would turn illegal immigrants into felons.

Bush, calling immigration one of the most important issues of his presidency, is urging Congress to enact a three-pronged approach comprising improved border security, aggressive enforcement at the workplace and a guest-worker program to give U.S. businesses a steady supply of low-skilled workers.

Bush hasn't fully defined his plan, but administration officials have said his guest-worker plan would cover both foreigners who want to come to the United States to work and immigrants in the country illegally, provided they pay substantial fines and meet other conditions.

Mercury News Staff Writers Jesse Mangaliman and Mary Anne Ostrom contributed to this report.



Local newspaper article 3/27/06

BREAKING NEWS: Students' peaceful immigration rights rally turns ugly
Shmuel Thaler/Sentinel

"WATSONVILLE - More than 800 high school students from Watsonville and Aptos walked out of school and onto the street this morning in support of immigration rights.
The students cheered as they marched down Main Street to Green Valley to Pennsylvania and back to Main where they struck a pose in front of City Hall.

Police from Watsonville, Santa Cruz and Capitola and sheriff's deputies from Monterey County lined the streets, blocked off traffic and did their best to keep the students safe and to keep them from causing any serious trouble. Police locked down City Hall where the students whipped the Mexican flag in circles above their heads, hung the American flag upside down and cheered and chanted "Si se puede" and "Mexico". (emphasis mine)

But what started as a peaceful rally about 10:30 a.m. turned ugly at several locations as the students threw bottles and fists. (emphasis mine) Hundreds defied police and continued their march back down Main to St. Patrick's Church and the courthouse. Eventually, after more than six hours, police were able to get the kids onto school buses and took the majority back to the Pajaro Valley High School where their photos and names were taken.

A couple students were arrested for refusing to get on the bus and there were a few minor injuries.

"In this case kids were just doing whatever and were all over," said Capt. Eddie Rodriguez of the Watsonville Police Department.

"It was just an opportunity for a lot of kids to act defiantly," said Rodriguez. Had the students gone back to school after their initial march, Rodriguez said no action would be taken, but when hundreds refused, police went into crowd control mode and came out in force."


local newspaper article 3/28/06
by daniel lopez and Donna Jones
sentinel staff writerS

Quotes :

"I think it's a racist law and we shouldn't allow it because we are a Hispanic community and it will affect us all whether we are illegal or not," said Robert Castaneda, 16, a Watsonville High School junior who took part in the local protest.

"I'm not giving up," said Hernandez, who was wearing a pair of flip-flops and complained about her aching feet. "Mexicans are the ones who do the jobs in the United States."

"Capt. Eddie Rodriguez said the protest lost its focus at City Hall, becoming unorganized, and turning into an issue of public safety. One student suffered what appeared to be a broken arm, and another, who showed up at Watsonville Community Hospital, said he had been beaten during the march by a group of young men with a baseball bat, Rodriguez said."



Click here to listen to a message from Rep. Tom Tancredo and Rep. J.D. Hayworth


Here are some good articles that point out the effects of illegal immigration on the U.S.:

Journal Of American Physicians and Surgeons

Border Alert

FAIR: Illegal Immigration

FAIR: National Security

ICE: Articles and reports on immigration issues

Minuteman Project

The Immigration Blog

VDARE

NumbersUSA


The operative word here is ILLEGAL. Against The Law. A Crime.


Law: "A rule of conduct established by custom, agreement, or authority."


Crime: "An act committed or omitted in violation of the law."

Illegal: "Prohibited by Law"

Amnesty: "A general pardon, esp. for political offenses."

(all definitions from "The American Heritage Dictionary")