Public News Service: Media Debate – More Newsrooms Avoid “Illegal Immigrants”

Published October 17, 2012
Peter Malof, Public News Service – TX
San Antonio, TX

Adjective or adverb? More and more newsrooms are debating how best to use the word “illegal” when referring to residents who did not move to the United States with proper documentation.

From CNN to The Huffington Post, major outlets that have been trying to expand their Latino audiences are avoiding the term “illegal immigrant.” The San Antonio Express-News, whose reach extends into Mexico, decided two years ago that the term was not consistent with how the paper described others suspected of breaking laws. Managing editor Jamie Stockwell says it’s like calling someone accused of violating traffic laws an “illegal driver.”

“So, the correct way to describe a person’s immigration status – when that information is relevant – is to say that a person is in the country illegally. And then we cite the source of our information; for example, ‘Police said the man is in the United States illegally.’ “

Read more »

Perry: No new state services for illegal immigrants

Mike Ward of the Austin American Statesman reported on 8/20/2012:

Joining a growing chorus of complaints about President Barack Obama’s new policy giving some illegal immigrants a two-year reprieve from deportation, Gov. Rick Perry has advised state agencies that the federal move will not change Texas’ policies against providing services for those who remain in the country.

In a letter distributed to state agencies on Monday, Perry calls the president’s plan “a slap in the face to the rule of law.”

“To avoid any confusion on the impact of the Obama administration’s actions, I am writing to ensure that all Texas agencies understand that (Homeland Security) Secretary (Janet) Napolitano’s guidelines confer absolutely no legal status whatsoever to any alien who qualifies for the federal ‘deferred action’ designation,” Perry said.  Read more »


Las Cruces Sun-News: 15,000 undocumented immigrants in El Paso-area can apply for deferred deportation

Published August 13, 2012:

By Alejandro Martínez-Cabrera \ El Paso Times

Hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants across the country — about 15,000 in the El Paso area — will be able to start applying this week for protection from deportation and work permits under a new initiative from the Obama administration.

The offices of the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services, or USCIS, will begin receiving applications starting Wednesday.

Read more »

NYT Opinion: Migrants’ Freedom Ride

Published July 28, 2012:

On Sunday night or early Monday, about three dozen people are planning to set out on a six-week bus voyage through the dark terrain of American immigration politics. Their journey is to begin, fittingly, in the desert in Arizona, national capital of anti-immigrant laws and oppressive policing. It will wind through other states where laws and failed policies force immigrants to toil outside the law — New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee — and end in North Carolina at the Democratic National Convention.

There the riders plan to deliver a defiant message to a president who is hoping to return to office on a wave of Latino support that they believe he has not earned.

There is something very different about this particular protest. Many of those planning to ride the bus are undocumented and — for the first time — are not afraid to say so. Immigrants who dread arrest and deportation usually seek anonymity. These riders, weary of life in the shadows and frustrated by the lack of progress toward reform, will be telling federal authorities and the local police: Here are our names. This is our plan. If you want us, come get us.

Read more »

Fox News Latino: Immigration Summit – Are Undocumented Workers Really Taking ‘American’ Jobs?

On June 12, 2012 Elizabeth Llorente (Fox News Latino) wrote:

Atlanta, Ga. – Agricultural and restaurant business leaders say Arizona-style laws aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration threaten their industry.

They’re appealing to Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform to avert what they describe as a crisis.

The leaders took part Monday in what was billed as the first immigration summit in the Southeast, where agricultural businesses are prevalent and where an increasing number of immigrants — many undocumented — have settled in the last decade.

Read more »

CNN – Citizenship for Sale: Foreign investors flock to U.S.

On June 11, 2012, James O’Toole wrote for CNN Money:

Good riddance, Eduardo.

Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin drew public ire last month following the revelation that he had renounced his U.S. citizenship, a move widely seen as a tax dodge. But thousands of wealthy foreigners are lining up to replace him, making investments here and putting themselves on a path to citizenship in the process.

The State Department expects to issue over 6,000 “investor visas” in the current fiscal year, which would be an all-time record. Other countries, meanwhile, are following the U.S.’s lead, keen to spur growth in lean economic times.

“Our goal is certainly job creation, and that’s what this program is all about,” said Bill Wright, a spokesman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. “At the same time, it’s allowing somebody from a foreign country to come and invest in our nation.” Read more »

Sacramento Bee: Woman arrested in LA, posed as ICE agent

May 31, 2012, the Sacramento Bee reported:

LOS ANGELES — Sheriff’s officials say a woman suspected of posing as an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent to shake down illegal immigrants was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport.

Sheriff’s Lt. Adam Ellison says 14 victims reported that Araceli Martinez ordered them to pay between $4,000 and $8,000 in exchange for legal resident status they were never given.

Detectives tried to find Martinez at her home Thursday only to learn she’d left less than an hour earlier to catch a flight to Mexico from LAX.

Ellison says detectives called airport police, who stopped Martinez’s departure shortly before her flight was scheduled to take off.

Martinez is being held on $335,000 bail on suspicion of theft by false pretenses.

A deputy reached by phone did not know if she has hired an attorney. Read more »

SA Express News: Rep. Larson wants Mexico to reimburse Texas for illegal immigrants

Jason Buch writes:

State Rep. Lyle Larson is asking Mexican President Felipe Calderón to pay for services that Texas provides immigrants who are here illegally.

In a March 21 letter, Larson, R-San Antonio, wrote that the state spends between $6 billion and $8 billion a year on health care and other costs for illegal immigrants, a number he attributed to the Immigration Reform Coalition of Texas.Larson, who filed a bill during the 2011 legislative session that would have required state agencies and organizations that receive state funding to track the services they provide immigrants, said he wants to “start a dialogue.”

“We need to sit down and figure this out from an economic viewpoint,” he said. “I don’t believe anybody I’m aware of has asked the people in power in Mexico for compensation.”

In August, Gov. Rick Perry sent a bill to the federal government for $349 million for the cost of incarcerating illegal immigrants. Perry’s office did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.  Read more …

International Business Times – Violence Against Women Act: Protections For Immigrants Fuel Political Fight

On March 16, 2012, Jeremy White writes:

As Senate Democrats and Republicans spar over a proposal to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, measures to shield immigrants from domestic violence have become a sticking point.

The proposed legislation would expand existing protections for battered immigrant women, making more visas available to victims of abuse and expanding the situations in which immigrants could seek relief to include stalking and dating violence.

That has contributed to a legislative impasse, with opponents of the bill saying it would present more opportunities for immigrants to exploit the system. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, presented an alternate bill that would tighten restrictions on abuse victims seeking visas.

Would Revised VAWA Increase Immigration?

“VAWA is meant to protect victims of violence,” Grassley said in a statement. “It shouldn’t be an avenue to expand immigration law or to give additional benefits to people here unlawfully.”

The Violence Against Women Act allows immigrants who are married to abusive American citizens to petition for legal status on their own behalf, without relying on a violent spouse. But the current dispute largely concerns a special type of visa, created when the bill was reauthorized in 2000, that allows undocumented immigrants to gain legal status if they cooperate with law enforcement officers on an investigation.  Read more …

Alternet: Who Is Securing the Texas Border? How Private Contractors Mislead the Public, Then Get Rich Off Taxpayer Money

Tom Barry, March 12, 2012:

Roy “Mac” Sikes wasn’t wearing a white 10-gallon like the other top Texas Rangers attending the 2010 Texas Border Sheriffs Coalition meeting in El Paso. Mac, as the Texas Rangers and sheriffs call him, was going hatless. But that may have been because it’s not entirely clear which hat Mac should have been wearing – ranger, cop or consultant?

Since 2006 many of the key figures in state-led border security operations and information campaigns have identified themselves as DPS employees or part of the Texas Rangers to the public, policy community and the media, disguising their true identities.

The business card he handed me during the sheriffs meeting identified Sikes as the director of the Border Security Operations Center (BSOC) – which is a type of fusion center for border-security operations in Texas. It’s a project of the Texas Rangers Division, which in turn is a branch of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).

However, Mac Sikes is neither a Texas Ranger nor a DPS employee. Like most of the other key figures behind the Lone Star State’s border security campaign, Sikes is a contract employee.

A “senior operational analyst” at Abrams Learning & Information Systems (ALIS), Sikes became director of BSOC as part of the firm’s $3-5 million annual contracts with DPS since 2006. The recent DPS decision — in response to a public records request — to release the ALIS contract revealed the true identity of Sikes.

The Border Security Operations Center is the nexus of the Texas’ own border security initiatives, collectively known as Operation Border Star. ALIS, a homeland-security consulting firm with offices in Arlington, Virginia, was founded in 2004 by Ret. Army Gen. John Abrams to cash in on the billions of dollars in new government contracting funds that started to flow after the creation of the Department of Homeland Security in 2003.

Since 2006 ALIS functioned as the hidden force behind virtually all non-federal border-security operations in Texas. Whether it’s strategy formulation, border crime-mapping, operations management or public relations, ALIS and its team of consultants have been closely involved in creating what Governor Rick Perry calls the “Texas model of border security.”  Read more …