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State Rep. Virgil Peck (Asshole-KS)

Kansas State Rep. Virgil Peck (R) suggested Monday that the best way to deal with the illegal immigration problem may be the same way the state might deal with the problem of "feral hogs" -- by shooting them from a helicopter.

The state's House Appropriations Committee was debating financing for controlling the feral swine problem, the Lawrence Journal World reports, when one legislator suggested the problem could be handled by shooting them from helicopters. Peck offered: "It looks like to me if shooting these immigrating feral hogs works maybe we have found a [solution] to our illegal immigration problem."

Scott Rothschild of the Journal World reports Peck as saying, when asked about the comment, that he was just joking:

Asked about his comment, Peck was unapologetic. "I was just speaking like a southeast Kansas person," he said.

He said most of his constituents are extremely upset with illegal immigration and the state and federal government response.

He said he didn't expect any further controversy over his comment. "I think it's over," he said.

audio @ source
13 February 2011 @ 11:44 pm
(X-posted to ontd_political

Humanitarian crisis feared as thousands of north African migrants, mainly from Tunisia, flood tiny island of Lampedusa.

Italy has declared a humanitarian emergency after thousands of migrants sailed across the Mediterranean Sea from Tunisia, overwhelming authorities on Lampedusa, a tiny Italian island.

The Italian government said on Sunday that it was planning to deploy security forces on Tunisian soil to stop the waves of illegal immigrants.

"I will ask Tunisia's foreign minister for authorisation for our forces to intervene in Tunisia to block the flux," Roberto Maroni, Italy's interior minister, said in a television interview.

He said that the EU had not responded to Italian calls for assistance, and that his country would have to manage the crisis.

Bernardino De Rubeis, Lampedusa's mayor, called the situation "out of control".

The remarks came a day after the Italian government said in a statement: "The cabinet today... has proclaimed a state of humanitarian emergency following the influx of the large number of citizens from North Africa."

The statement said that the decision to call an official emergency would enable civil protection officers "to take immediate action needed to control this phenomenon and assist citizens who have fled from North Africa".

In particular, the move will enable the central government to release funds for local authorities in areas which have been inundated by the wave of refugees, most of whom have fled to Lampedusa.

The majority of the people have come from nearby Tunisia, in the wake of the country's revolution four weeks ago.

Nearly 4,000 migrants have landed in Italy since Wednesday, according to Antonio Morana, harbour master on the island.

Most were packed into small fishing boats that were intercepted by coast guards and then taken to Lampedusa, where they were given blankets and received medical care after stepping off the boats.

Hundreds have had to sleep out in the open at the port because of a lack of facilities on the island, while others were taken to local hotels.

'More immigrants'
Karl Stagno Navarra, a journalist following events from Valletta, Malta's capital, told Al Jazeera that more migrants are on their way.

"The problem is not only for law and order on the island, but its also logistics, because the centre for migrants [on the island], which used to be operational up to a year ago ... has been closed," he said.

"The latest reports of the Italian authorities say they have identified at least another 10 boats that are expected on the island between midnight and 7am local time on Sunday."

Navarra said that up to 10,000 migrants were expected in the next week.

"So we have 4,000 migrants on an island with 5,000 inhabitants, and a structure that has a capacity to welcome not more than 800 migrants. So you can imagine the situation over there," he said.

"Throughout the night, thousands of migrants have been kept on the harbour keys, and also in the village squares. So we have a situation which is really out of hand at the moment."

Navarra said that many of the migrants say they are ultimately trying to reach France, where some of their family members are based.

Formal request
The Italian authorities have organised an airlift and put a ferry into service to take some of the people off Lampedusa, transporting them to identification centres in southern Sicily.

Italy made a formal request on Friday for aid from the European Union to combat what it warned was a looming humanitarian crisis, saying that the EU's justice and home affairs council should meet immediately to discuss the matter.

In a joint statement, Maroni, the Italian interior minister, and Franco Frattini, the foreign minister, also requested "the immediate deployment of a Frontex mission for patrolling and interception off the Tunisian coast", referring to the EU's border security agency based in Warsaw.

Maroni has blamed the influx on the Tunisian authorities, saying they were unable to enforce bilateral accords on curbing illegal immigration after the weeks of protests and political turmoil in the country.

TAP, the official Tunisian news agency, said a young Tunisian migrant had drowned, and another was reported missing, when a boat carrying 12 people sank on Saturday off the coast of Tunisia, en route to Europe.

from Al-Jazeera The article in the sidebar is also worth reading.

I wanted to add this, from the Guardian: 2008 photo gallery of the migrant crossing and center on Lampedusa. Just a note, from the front page of that: Since January 2008, more than 6,500 migrants have landed on the Italian island of Lampedusa on more than 100 boats and dinghies, after a journey that lasts from 2 to 4 days. So this being posted in July 2008, that's 6,500 migrants in 6 months. So yes: 4,000 arriving from Tunisia in 5 days (with more to come) would overwhelm. But note that the migrant center closed a year ago. Why? And yet the coast guard is still taking the refugees there as SOP.

And the other question: why didn't the EU and Italy anticipate this (I really don't see how they couldn't have), and have something in place for transporting and sheltering arriving refugees?

The class began with a Mayan-inspired chant and a vigorous round of coordinated hand clapping. The classroom walls featured protest signs, including one that said “United Together in La Lucha!” — the struggle. Although open to any student at Tucson High Magnet School, nearly all of those attending Curtis Acosta’s Latino literature class on a recent morning were Mexican-American.

For all of that and more, Mr. Acosta’s class and others in the Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican-American program have been declared illegal by the State of Arizona — even while similar programs for black, Asian and American Indian students have been left untouched.

“It’s propagandizing and brainwashing that’s going on there,” Tom Horne, Arizona’s newly elected attorney general, said this week as he officially declared the program in violation of a state law that went into effect on Jan. 1.

Although Shakespeare’s “Tempest” was supposed to be the topic at hand, Mr. Acosta spent most of a recent class discussing the political storm in which he, his students and the entire district have become enmeshed. Mr. Horne’s name came up more than once, and not in a flattering light.

It was Mr. Horne, as the state’s superintendent of public instruction, who wrote a law aimed at challenging Tucson’s ethnic-studies program. The Legislature passed the measure last spring, and Gov. Jan Brewer signed it into law in May amid the fierce protests raging over the state’s immigration crackdown.

For the state, the issue is not so much “The Tempest” as some of the other texts used in the classes, among them, “The Pedagogy of the Oppressed” and “Occupied America,” which Mr. Horne said inappropriately teach Latino youths that they are being mistreated.

rest @ source

Latino youths would never be mistreated, how very dare they teach that
29 December 2010 @ 02:54 am

Carmen's goals are like those of many other high school graduates who grew up in the United States. She wants to go to college. She wants to study, work hard and eventually land her dream job in nursing.

But the 20-year-old Mexican native is not a U.S. citizen. Her father brought her family to Reading when she was 2.

"He said he couldn't provide for us in Mexico," Carmen said of her father. "My parents brought us over here to give us a better life, not to be criminals."

But without a Social Security number, Carmen, whose real name is being withheld by the Reading Eagle, can't receive financial aid or use the academic scholarship she received for being an outstanding student at Reading High. And she can't become a registered nurse, because she needs a Social Security number to be licensed.

College is a distant hope as Carmen waits tables in Reading and spends time with her young son.

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What are your thoughts on the DREAM Act? For non-U.S. members who may not be familiar with this Act, here is a link to the Wikipedia page.
28 October 2010 @ 04:52 pm
Prison Lobby’s Ties to Arizona Anti-Immigration Law
Sarnata Reynolds

The [undocumented] person, without right to residence and without the right to work, had of course constantly to transgress the law. He was liable to jail sentences without ever committing a crime … Since he was the anomaly for which the general law did not provide, it was better for him to become an anomaly for which it did provide, that of the criminal. Hannah Arendt, 1951

For almost two decades, legislators and Presidents have treated immigration detention as some sort of “magic bullet” that will deter would be immigrants from crossing the U.S. border, instill terror in communities so that immigrants will voluntarily leave, and criminalize individuals through incarceration if they choose to fight deportation because they are U.S. citizens, refugees, lawful permanent residents, or breadwinners with long-time ties to their U.S. families, communities and workplaces.

Today NPR reported that Arizona’s recent draconian immigration law, SB1070, was written in collusion with the leadership of for-profit prisons and their lobbyists. The law requires Arizona police to stop and ask for papers proving legal residency if the officer has “reasonable suspicion” to believe the person is undocumented. If the person can’t immediately produce papers, she will be arrested and detained. Lawsuits arguing that the law was unconstitutional were almost immediately filed because it would be almost impossible to “identify” an undocumented person without resorting to racial profiling.

Criminalizing immigrants through detention has proven to be no magic bullet in managing migratory trends, but it has certainly proven to be a golden goose for these private prison operators. As the President of Geo Group,Wayne Calabrese, explained to its investors, according to NPR:
“I can only believe the opportunities at the federal level are going to continue apace as a result of what’s happening. Those people coming across the border and getting caught are going to have to be detained and that for me, at least I think, there’s going to be enhanced opportunities for what we do.”
The rest at Amnesty USA.
I'm just going to summarize some of the "reforms" that are soon going to make life worse for a lot of people, particularly immigrants. The data is taken from actual articles.

Big budget cuts for


- €100 in child benefit for every child of 6 to 15 years of age
- age of child benefit drawers changed from ending at 26 years to 24
- families with three or more children don't get any additional child aid
- shorter opening hours in kindergartens


- no family allowance for job seekers/unimployed between the ages of 18 to 21
-> co-insurance with parents not possible anymore
-> no more reductions for college/uni students

- students have to finish studies in the given time frame
-> optimally starting at the age of 17/18, finishing before the child aid is cut
-> if studies are not finished in time students have to start paying tuition fee

What it boils down is that you have to be a white, middle to upper class Austrian citizen with the perfect ratio of 2.5 children, who you can afford sending to college/uni, to not be affected by these cuts.

Of course this hits immigrants the worst. We are the ones who have the big families and most of the unemployed youth, who have to have our kids looked after in kindergarten for a longer time per day than Austrians. There's also talk about denying "overweight people" medicare which, again, will not hit the rich Austrian where it hurts them.

Some background info: Austria, among other European countries, toys with the idea of adopting US-type regulations for universities. Though Austria is still trying to pretend that college/uni education here is fee-free, the students already feel the changes and have been protesting the sudden reforms for a while.
Our government has also been really bad about supporting the youth, especially those scary foreign teens with dark skin and/or funny accents. Whenever there are budget cuts, the programs that are supposed to help the youth (especially those supposed to help them finding jobs) get axed first. The cuts for students hit immigrants particuarly hard since already so few of us receive higher education and get into secondary school/middle school.


diepresse.com | zurpolitik.com | ots.at | derstandard.at | austrianews.co.uk
We turn now to Europe, where many are concerned about the growing acceptability of anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies. Far from just being expressed by the extreme right wing, the anti-immigrant trend has entered the mainstream. German Chancellor Angela Merkel told a gathering of young members of her conservative Christian Democratic Union party this weekend that multiculturalism has utterly failed. A recent German poll found 13 percent of Germans would welcome the arrival of a new "Führer," and more than a third of Germans feel the country is "overrun by foreigners." We speak to the world-renowned philosopher Slavoj Zizek, who has the been called "the Elvis of cultural theory."transcript below cutCollapse )

i think there are also a lot of parallels to the sociopolitical situation in the united states as well.

edited to add link sauce: http://www.democracynow.org/2010/10/18/slavoj_zizek_far_right_and_anti

Racist asylum and immigration policies in the UK have led to the deaths of 77 asylum seekers and migrants over the past four years, according to a report for the Institute of Race Relations (IRR).

More than a third (28) of the deaths reported by the IRR are people suspected or known to have taken their own lives after their asylum claims had been turned down. Seven are said to have died after being denied health care for "preventable medical problems", seven are said to have died in prison custody, and 15 are said to have died during desperate and "highly risky" attempts to enter the country.

The report, which chronicles the often invisible lives and deaths of asylum seekers as they struggle to gain status in Britain, comes less than a week after the death of Jimmy Mubenga, 46, who died while being deported to Angola, and includes his death.

Witnesses have told the Guardian that the father of five collapsed after being restrained by security guards and complaining of breathing problems.

Not all the deaths in the report, which the IRR said was likely to be an underestimate, could be independently verified, although some have been extensively reported.

The IRR said the 77 deaths, most of which happened in the UK, were a consequence of "direct racism or indirect racism stemming from" asylum and immigration policies.

++++ trigger warning: talk about suicide ++++Collapse )

link to IRR report (.pdf)
This is a mix of original content and translated articles, most likely tl;dr.

Migrants without German test threatened by penalty

Austria-wide, fines are impeding migrants unwilling to learn the language should they not take (and pass) a German-language-exam after living five years in the country. In Carinthia such courses are offered, among others, in community colleges.

Tirol: 77 Euro fine for migrant woman

Currenty the case of a migrant woman, who is being punished for her lack of knowledge of the German language, causes a stir in Tirol: The woman is supposed to pay 77 Euros, because she could not bring forth evidence of her german skills after a five year long residence in the country.

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Language courses: ÖVP (Austrian People's Party) vs Grüne (The Greens – The Green Alternative)

Because a 40-year-old migrant woman couldn't attest to passing a German language course, a 77 Euro fine was imposed on her. The ÖVP says the penalty is justified, the Grünen, on the other hand, want to offer more language courses.

Immigrants have to learn German

By signing the Integration Agreement every immigrant has the obligation to learn the German language. Those who can't attest to passing the basic course after five years have to pay.
The Integration Agreement, which has existed since 2003 and got revised in 2006, says that immigrants who want to stay in Austria have to absolve a basic German language skills course on A2 niveau.

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Immigrant children in Austria need to be raised trilingually

If you've gotten through the (perfectly translated) articles, here's some afterthought and light reading.

When my family emigrated I didn't know how lucky I was and what an advantage I had over immigrant children who came, lived or were born in Austria. In Germany we only had to learn Hochdeutsch or Standard German. Unlike in English, the German pronunciation and spelling are almost 1:1, I found it rather easy to learn. (I must add that I also had to advantage of already having been raised bilingually prior to learning German and knowing the Latin alphabet, unlike many other Russian speaking immigrant kids.)

Despite living in Bavaria, which is geographically, language and culture-wise Germany's equivalent to the US "South", I never had to learn the Bavarian dialect which is very much like many dialects in Austria. So when we moved to Austria I had to learn another language, which was kind of familiar but not enough to understand it well. It took me about four years to fully understand it, and a couple more to speak it, basically around six times longer than I had to learn Standard German. What I'm saying is, it only took me around six years.

the not so lucky onesCollapse )
23 September 2010 @ 11:38 pm
Night and day, the heavy front door rarely stops swinging. Men and women pass one another at the entrance of a four-story building on 21st Avenue in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, on their way out to work, or back in for a few hours of sleep between shifts. They are line cooks, construction laborers, deliverymen, deli workers, housecleaners and gardeners.

A dozen of the building’s 16 apartments are occupied by Mexicans, and most of those have two families per unit, sometimes more. Except for a few women caring for small children, all the adults — about 50 — are employed. Most work long hours, six days a week, for minimum wage or less. Some have two jobs.

The building is a microcosm of Mexican industriousness in New York City. And there are hundreds of others like it, bastions of low-wage work, crowding and hope.

In a time of widespread joblessness, Mexicans in New York have proved unusually adept at finding and keeping work. Of the city’s 10 largest immigrant groups, they have the highest rate of employment and are more likely to hold a job than New York’s native-born population, according to an analysis of the most recently available census data. They are even employed at a greater rate than Mexicans nationwide.

And as they have filled the city’s restaurant kitchens and building sites, they have acquired a reputation for an extraordinary work ethic.

“They put their heads down and work,” said John Delgado, business manager of Local 79, a general building laborers’ union in New York. “They’re very, very humble. They’re dedicated, whether they work half a day or a day and a half.”

That success, though, has a flip side. One reason Mexicans have found work in such numbers, experts say, is that many are illegal immigrants, and less likely to report workplace abuses to the authorities for fear of deportation.

Illegal immigrants are very convenientCollapse )

The New York Times