A state that has long awarded illegal immigrants with discounted tuition at public colleges and universities wants to take it a step further by also giving them millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded scholarships and financial aid.Under a measure that’s quickly making its way through California’s legislature, illegal immigrants will have access to state-funded financial aid as well as tens of millions of dollars in scholarship money that’s annually funneled through public foundations. Although illegal aliens have for years benefitted from heavily discounted in-state tuition at all California institutions of higher education, current law bans them from receiving additional aid and scholarships.The new bill—known as the California Dream Act—was introduced by a state lawmaker from Los Angeles and could reverse that policy by the end of the year. The measure was approved this week by a state legislative committee and has a great chance of becoming law because, unlike his predecessor who thrice vetoed it, California Governor Jerry Brown has vowed to sign it.If it passes, illegal immigrants attending California’s smallest university system—the 10-campus UC system—stand to receive between $2 million and $3 million a year in added benefits. Officials in the state’s two other systems, Cal State with 23 campuses and 112 community colleges have yet to estimate the figure but it’s sure to be a lot higher. The timing couldn’t be worst in a devastated public college system that’s suffering through a debilitating $500 million budget cut.But the assemblyman who has long pushed for the California Dream Act, Democrat Gil Cedillo, claims it will finally give students who were brought to the U.S. throughno choice of their own a true chance at the American dream. His bill will also help correct injustices against immigrants because he says “immigration policy throughout our history has been shaped by racism, fears of foreign influence, the anxiety generated from economic downturns and by political opportunism.”The president of California’s more prestigious UC system, Mark Yudof, refers to the illegal immigrants enrolled in his campuses as “leaders of tomorrow” whose “outstanding accomplishments” should not be disregarded or their future jeopardized “simply because of their legal status.”Besides California nine other states—including Texas, Utah, Kansas and New York—offer illegal immigrants discounted tuition at public colleges and several others have contemplated legislation to offer the perk. A few weeks ago Judicial Watch filed ataxpayer lawsuit against the Board of Trustees of Maryland’s Montgomery College for unlawfully granting discounted “in county” tuition rates to illegal aliens who graduate from local high schools.
The last two states to offer illegal immigrants driver’s licenses rejected measures this week to reverse the practice, even though it violates a federal identification law enacted to protect national security after the 2001 terrorist attacks.Legislators in Washington State and New Mexico defeated bills that would have done away with their longtime policy of issuing driver’s licenses without requiring proof of residency. A handful of states once offered the perk, but most have rescinded it to comply with a national identification law known as the Real ID Act.Utah found a way to accommodate illegal aliens last year by creating a special class of driver’s license for those who will be ineligible to obtain the cards when the Real ID Act finally kicks in. The state devised a two-tier system that allows illegal immigrants to get a driving privilege card valid only in Utah while legal residents or citizens receive a “regular” driver’s license that’s accepted as identification at places such as airports.As if that move wasn’t outrageous enough, Washington State and New Mexico have taken it a step further by continuing their reckless policies. Washington’s bill, designed to stop identification fraud, was narrowly defeated in the Senate. The measure would have required driver’s license applicants to provide proof of residency and a Social Security number. The Democrat who sponsored the law says there are 300,000 more driver’s licenses in her sate than there are drivers, indicating widespread fraud in the system.In New Mexico, a bill to stop giving illegal immigrants the cards passed overwhelmingly in the House, but a few days later the Senate pretty much killed it by watering it down to the point that the governor called it a “sham.” The measure also would have revoked the license of any undocumented person who failed to present proper documentation upon renewing the card within two years of the legislation taking effect.New Mexico started giving illegal aliens driver’s licenses after an influential immigrant rights group (Somos Un Pueblo Unido or We are a United Town) pushed for it in 2002. A few years ago federal agents busted a major smuggling ring in which illegal immigrants from “special interest” countries exploited New Mexico’s lax law to obtain licenses. A Brazilian man and a Kazakhstan woman were eventually charged with running the illicit operation.
A policy requiring U.S. Border Patrol agents to use nonlethal bean bags as a first line of defense evidently led to the murder of an agent who was gunned down by a heavily armed group of illegal immigrants in Arizona.The deadly gun battle took place on December 14, but the Department of Homeland Security has kept details from the public under the often-invoked premise that it’s an “ongoing investigation.” However, this week an Arizona newspaper obtained FBI files relating to the case and the details are sure to ignite rage among those who favor securing the increasingly violent southern border.The murdered agent, Brian Terry, and his colleague encountered five illegal border crossers at around 11:15 p.m. in an area known as Peck Canyon, northwest ofNogales. The illegal aliens refused commands to drop their weapons and the two federal agents proceeded to fire beanbags, as per Border Patrol policy to use nonlethal force against migrants.Turns out the illegal immigrants were heavily armed with sophisticated assault weapons known as AK-47s. They responded to the beanbags with gunfire and agent Terry was mortally shot in the back. The agents eventually returned fire but it was too late. Terry was a member of a highly trained tactical unit (Bortac) that was targeting a group that robbed and assaulted drug runners and illegal aliens.Making matters worse, a separate news report indicates that the gun used to murder Terry was actually part of a federal experiment that allowed firearms from the U.S. to be smuggled into Mexico so they could eventually be traced to drug cartels. Instead, federal law enforcement officers have lost track of hundreds of guns which have been used in numerous crimes.Among them were at least three guns found at the Peck Canyon scene of Terry’s murder. The weapons were traced through their serial numbers to a gun shop inGlendale, Arizona, which led to a Phoenix man (Jaime Avila) that the feds repeatedly allowed to smuggle firearms into Mexico. Known as Operation Fast and Furious, the disastrous project was run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
Federal authorities are being accused of “overt racial profiling” for conducting aMississippi raid that collared dozens of illegal immigrants with violent criminal records, gang affiliations and deportation orders.The four-day raid in the greater Jackson area was part of a Homeland Security plan to arrest illegal alien fugitives wanted for drug crimes, sexual assault, drunk driving and other violent offenses. Known as surge operations, the raids have effectivelyreduced street crime in communities throughout the United States, according to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) official who oversees them. Last year ICE removed more than 392,800 aliens from the United States and more than half had criminal convictions.In this particular case the operation netted 58 illegal immigrants wanted for violent and sex-related crimes as well as drug trafficking. Nearly a dozen of the fugitives had violated deportation orders from U.S. courts. Not surprisingly, the majority (40) of those arrested are from Mexico and the rest from Guatemala, Honduras, Panama,El Salvador, Peru and Costa Rica.Immigration advocates were quick to label the operation racist and the director of a group (Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance) dedicated to defending illegal aliens called a press conference to say “what’s taking place is overt racial profiling.” The nonprofit is well known in the state and has led efforts to rally against “racist, anti-Hispanic” measures to curb illegal immigration. The group calls it a “fight for social justice.”At its press conference this week residents who saw their relatives hauled away by the feds joined the race bandwagon with one woman actually comparing immigration enforcement to the institutionalized discrimination and injustices against blacks decades ago. “We just want to be treated as humans, not trash,” she said after drawing the parallels.Another woman, whose husband will be deported to Mexico, demanded sympathy because she has to raise her three children by herself. She said ICE agents should be required to live in Mexico a few months so they could see firsthand what it’s like, suggesting that it would deter them from deporting illegal immigrants.Mississippi has been on ICE’s radar since 600 illegal immigrants got arrested in the nation’s largest workplace raid a few years ago. Most were deported and some got convicted of identity theft for using fraudulent documents to work at the Laurelelectrical transformer plant where they got busted. Incidentally, the company (Howard Industries) that owns the facility pleaded guilty this week to conspiracy to violate immigration laws and will pay a $2.5 million fine.
A year after the New Jersey legislature rejected a bill to give illegal immigrants discounted tuition at public colleges and universities one school has taken matters into its own hands by offering the costly perk anyways.The move by a taxpayer-funded institution comes amid a dire financial crisis that has negatively impacted public education at every level in the Garden State. Most ofNew Jersey’s public colleges already have a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy when admitting illegal immigrants, but they require those students to pay the much higher out-of-state tuition rates.Trustees at the County College of Morris, a two-year school with an enrollment of about 9,000, overwhelmingly voted to change that. Beginning this summer, illegal immigrants who attend classes at the Randolph campus will pay discounted tuition previously reserved for New Jersey’s legal residents. The college’s president, Edward Yaw, says the change was necessary to help an “increasing number of students”who could not be educated at his school.The reason for that is twofold. For security reasons, the County College of Morris enacted a policy banning illegal immigrants all together—even if they paid full tuition—after the 2001 terrorist attacks. That means that poor illegal aliens got stuck paying “significantly more” to attend another college, Yaw said. Now that the welcome mat has been rolled out they can attend his college on the cheap if they graduate from a U.S. high school. First they must prove that they entered the country before the age of 16, though it’s not entirely clear how Yaw plans to enforce this.New Jersey has long protected illegal immigrants and experimented with ways to help them. Former Governor Jon Corzine even created a special advisory panel a few years ago to help the state’s estimated 400,000 illegal aliens blend into society by expanding public services such as education, health care and employment training and offering them “driver privilege cards.”As for discounted tuition, ten states currently extend the benefit to illegal immigrants. Among them are California, Texas, Utah, Kansas, Washington and New York. Last fall the Obama Administration ordered authorities to stop deporting illegal immigrants who are students after thousands of them participated in a string of disruptive sit-ins, rallies and marches to demand legal status simply because they were brought to the U.S. as children by no fault of their own.
In a bizarre effort to resolve Utah’s immigration crisis, state lawmakers are considering measures to grant illegal aliens work permits as well as English and civics classes.The move comes as states and municipalities nationwide craft legislation to actually reduce their illegal immigrant populations, not accommodate them. Incredibly, some of the Utah measures have bipartisan support and a good chance of becoming law by the end of the legislative session.Illegal alien advocates are calling it a rare but meaningful middle ground in the scorching immigration debate, which has transformed into a hostile clash between local governments and the feds. In one corner is a federal government that fails miserably to fulfill its duty of securing the Mexican border and enforcing immigration laws. In the other are perpetually frustrated local governments taking matters into their own hands.Usually they introduce bills to rid their communities of illegal immigrants, which is why Utah stands out. Introduced by a Republican state congressman, one of the laws allows illegal immigrants already living in the state to register for a guest worker permit. Family members of permit holders could also stay under the proposal. A House committee approved the guest worker bill this week which means it will continue debate on the House floor.A second bill, known as the Pilot Accountability Permit Program, would grant the state’s estimated 110,000 illegal immigrants a sort of de facto amnesty. Drafted by a Democratic state senator and a Republican state congressman, the measure also gives illegal aliens work permits if they pass criminal background checks, pay taxes and enroll in English and civics classes.Passing it will increase public safety and address voter frustration in a “fair and rigorous way,” according to Jeremy Peterson, the Ogden Republican behind the law. He assures that no kind of amnesty will be granted, just that undocumented aliens will be allowed to work and the state can keep track of the “responsible members” of the illegal immigrant community.Utah has long protected illegal immigrants and provided them with endless public benefits, including discounted tuition at public colleges and universities. Last year it became the first state to offer a special class of driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants who will be ineligible to obtain the cards when new federal security standards kick in.
A Homeland Security program created to deport incarcerated illegal immigrants convicted of serious crimes has failed to identify hundreds of dangerous felons—including child molesters and drug dealers—who instead have been released in theU.S. upon completing their sentence.It marks the latest of many failures on the part of the massive federal agency charged with keeping America safe. The idea behind the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Criminal Alien program is to remove violent illegal aliens before they are released from federal and state prisons nationwide. Thousands have been deported, but more than 800 were released into the general population in one year.Many of them are “recidivist criminals who pose a significant public safety risk,”according to a Homeland Security Inspector General report released this week. Investigators took a sampling from 2009 and found that federal officials failed to identify 890 illegal immigrants convicted of serious crimes, including assault, firearms possession and drug-related offenses.Most of the criminals who were released back into society were jailed in state facilities in California and Texas. Many of them are among the “most egregious criminal aliens,” according to the inspector general, which identifies their offenses as homicide, kidnapping, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault and drug dealing.Examples include a Mexican with prior battery and burglary convictions most recently freed after completing a drug-possession sentence and another Mexican who served time for burglary. He too has a lengthy criminal history and had previously been convicted of several felonies but evidently never deported.Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials claim “agent staffing challenges” and “increasing workload levels” are to blame for the oversight. The inspector general seems to attribute it to negligence, stating that federal agents failed to properly record and retain critical information and documentation used to determine the status of foreign-born inmates incarcerated in federal and state prisons.Better yet is that ICE management doesn’t have the ability to identify “performance gaps” in the crucial Criminal Alien Program. The agency’s watchdog makes an obvious recommendation to correct the serious gaffe; implement a procedure to ensure that all screenings of jailed foreigners are documented and recorded “according to agency policies and procedures.”
Sending dozens of illegal immigrants to jail for using stolen identities to work is a “travesty,” according to the Clinton-appointed federal judge who reluctantly approved the plea agreements of Mexican and Guatemalan employees arrested during a raid at an Iowa meatpacking plant.The 2008 case received national media coverage because hundreds of suspected illegal aliens were apprehended during a massive federal raid at the nation’s largest kosher meatpacking plant, Agriprocessing Co. Many used fake identities and stolen Social Security numbers to work at the facility in the northeast Iowa community of Postville and dozens were criminally charged.Now the judge who presided over the case, Mark Bennett, is publicly chastising prosecutors for pressuring the illegal immigrants into agreeing to five-month prison sentences by pleading guilty to misdemeanors. Appearing in the documentary (Abused: The Postville Raid) of a leftwing Guatemalan “filmmaker,” Bennett calls the legal proceedings a “travesty” that made him “embarrassed” to be a United States District Court judge.The film depicts the law breakers as victims who were left “humiliated” and whose families were “torn apart” by the evil U.S. government. It also asserts that, as a result of the federal immigration raid, a small Iowa community of “great diversity was left in ruin” because many of the “undocumented workers” got deported.The judge’s comments in the film were first reported by a Des Moines newspaperthat says he only sentenced 57 of the 389 arrested in the raid. Never the less, Bennett found the plea agreements to be “personally and professionally offensive” as well as a “tragedy.” He also said the illegal immigrants deserved “mercy” and “compassion” because they didn’t have criminal histories.Many Americans probably thought the illegal immigrants got off way too easy. After all, they were charged with using false identification documents to obtain employment, using fake or stolen Social Security numbers and unlawful entry into the United States. Those whose identities were stolen likely thought the five-month sentence was indeed a “travesty.”