Newscast Media WASHINGTON—A letter that was written by the Congressional Black
Caucus recommending Houston, Texas Representative Sheila Jackson Lee to be the
replacement of outgoing Secretary of Department of Homeland Security Janet
Napolitano, is creating ripples in Washington D.C.
“Representative Jackson Lee would serve as an effective DHS Secretary because she
understands the importance of increasing border security and maintaining homeland
safety,” the letter read. “Representative Jackson Lee has been a tenacious advocate
for national security, border security and immigration reform…We encourage you to
strongly consider Representative Jackson Lee as you seek a new DHS Secretary,” the
Napolitano leaves office at the end of August and an active search for her
replacement is underway. Barack Obama hasn’t yet decided whether to act on the
recommendation or not.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—U.S. and Canadian officials May 30 released the first joint United States–Canada Border Infrastructure Investment Plan, expected to increase trade and travel between the two countries. The plan, announced that day by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, fulfills a commitment made under the 2011 United States–Canada Beyond the Border Action Plan.
“An integrated, bilateral approach to border investment is critical to both the U.S. and Canadian economies,” said U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.
“The Border Infrastructure Investment Plan offers enhanced security along our shared U.S.-Canadian border, while reducing wait times at major border crossings — increasing the flow of traffic across the border while ensuring safe and secure trade and travel.”
Napolitano was joined in releasing the plan by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood; Denis Lebel, the Canadian minister of transport, infrastructure and communities, the minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec and the minister of intergovernmental affairs; and Canadian Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews.
LaHood said, “This first, joint U.S.-Canada binational plan shows that our collaborative approach to border planning, which includes feedback from our local partners, will serve both of our countries well and ensures that we are working together on our common interests.”
“Modern border crossings are essential to trade, which is why the Border Infrastructure Investment Plan and the collaborative relationship with our American neighbors are so important,” Lebel said. “Our government is investing in border crossings, ports and gateways to reduce wait times, increase trade and create jobs.”
The Border Infrastructure Investment Plan (BIIP) is an interagency and binational planning mechanism developed to establish a mutual understanding of recent, ongoing and potential border infrastructure investments, a Homeland Security news release said. It outlines the approach the United States and Canada will take to coordinate plans for physical infrastructure upgrades at small and remote ports of entry. It will be updated and disseminated annually, the release said.
“Our government, in collaboration with the United States, is committed to enhancing our security and economic prosperity through significant investments at key crossings,” said Toews. “These investments will reduce border delays, speed up trade across our shared border and will allow the Canada Border Services Agency to focus on facilitating the flow of low-risk people and goods while keeping the border open to legitimate trade and travel.”
The BIIP, along with other initiatives under Beyond the Border: A Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness, is designed to benefit the integrated economies of the United States and Canada, which depend on the fluid movement of commercial and noncommercial traffic across the border, Homeland Security said.
The plan’s release follows recent announcements by the government of Canada of significant investments at four initial priority land ports of entry identified by Canada in the Beyond the Border Action Plan: Lacolle, Quebec; Lansdowne, Ontario (Thousand Islands Bridge); Emerson, Manitoba; and North Portal, Saskatchewan.
Modernization of major border crossings will reduce wait times, increase reliability of just-in-time shipments, and decrease fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The United States and Canada enjoy the world’s largest trading partnership, with two-way merchandise trade totaling $570 billion in 2012.
In addition, the government of Canada announced in July 2012 the installation of technology to measure and report border wait times at the Peace and Queenston-Lewiston bridges. The $1.7 million project was completed in partnership with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Federal Highway administration and the Canada Border Services Agency.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, DC—The Securities and Exchange Commission announced charges and an asset freeze against an individual living in Illinois and two companies behind an investment scheme defrauding foreign investors seeking profitable returns and a legal path to U.S. residency through a federal visa program.
The SEC alleges that Anshoo R. Sethi created A Chicago Convention Center (ACCC) and Intercontinental Regional Center Trust of Chicago (IRCTC) and fraudulently sold more than $145 million in securities and collected $11 million in administrative fees from more than 250 investors primarily from China.
“Sethi orchestrated an elaborate scheme and exploited these investors’ dream of earning legal U.S. residence along with a positive return on their investment in a project that was not nearly the done deal that he portrayed,” said Stephen L. Cohen, Associate Director in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “The good news is that working closely with USCIS, we intervened early and stopped him from getting very
far, and the asset freeze preserves nearly all of the money invested.”
The SEC alleges that Sethi and his companies falsely boasted to investors that they had acquired all the necessary building permits and that several major hotel chains had signed onto the project. They also provided falsified documents to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) — the federal agency that administers the EB-5 program — in an attempt to secure the agency’s preliminary approval of the
project and investors’ provisional visas.
by Napp Nazworth
Newscast Media NEW YORK—In the presidential race, both candidates, President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney, believe the immigration system is broken and in need of reform. Both candidates also share some goals on how to reform the system. There are many differences as well. The immigration debate contains two main centers of emphasis. One is border security – whether and how to prevent unauthorized immigrants from entering the country. The other is what to do about the unauthorized immigrants who are already in the country – this could include creating a path to citizenship or increasing deportations.
Using his authority as president, Obama decided this year that the Justice Department would no longer deport unauthorized immigrants who were brought to the country as minors, have no criminal record, and have graduated from high school, obtained a GED or served in the military. This executive decision is based upon the DREAM Act – a law passed in some states that failed to pass in Congress. Obama says he will continue to push for passage of the DREAM Act if elected to a second term.
Obama further emphasizes that he is focusing enforcement of immigration laws on immigrants who endanger communities and de-emphasizing enforcement on “low-priority cases,” such as “students, veterans, seniors, and military families.” He also proposes allowing unauthorized immigrants who are married to, or children of, a citizen or permanent resident to stay in the country while they apply for permanent residency status.
As president, Obama has increased deportations of unauthorized immigrants. According to PolitiFact, looking at the average number of deportations per month, Obama has deported more immigrants than any other U.S. president. This fact, however, is not touted on the Obama campaign website.
Obama also says that he will make “comprehensive immigration reform” a priority if elected to a second term. “Comprehensive immigration reform” means that both sides of the immigration debate – border security and a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants – will be included in a single piece of legislation.
Romney tends to emphasize border security and an immigration system that will benefit the economy. To secure the borders, Romney wants to complete the construction of a high-tech fence along the Southern border with Mexico. He says he wants enough officers for border security, but does not specify if more, or how many, officers might be needed. Additionally, he wants to improve the “exit verification” system to make sure that immigrants do not overstay their temporary visas.
To retain skilled workers, Romney proposes offering permanent residency status to foreign students who obtain an advanced degree in math, science or engineering at a U.S. university. For industries that need and use temporary workers from outside the United States, Romney wants to reform the temporary worker visa system by removing requirements that slow the process of obtaining the visa.
To discourage immigrants from entering the country, or staying in the country, without proper documentation, Romney would like to develop an improved employment verification system for employers to ensure that they are not hiring unauthorized immigrants. During the race for the Republican nomination, Romney argued that there would be no need to increase deportations of unauthorized immigrants because implementing a functional employment verification system would make it difficult for them to find a job and they would “self deport.”
Romney also opposes “magnets,” or benefits, for unauthorized immigrants that he believes encourages immigrants to enter the country without authorization. When he was governor of Massachusetts, he vetoed a bill that would allow in-state tuition for unauthorized immigrants and opposed driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants.
Romney does not support the DREAM Act, arguing that it too would be a “magnet” for unauthorized immigrants. He does, however, support one small part of the DREAM Act – he believes that unauthorized immigrants who were brought to the country as minors and have served in the military should be given permanent residency status. Romney has also said he would not, if elected, revoke the visas of those who obtained residency through Obama’s “Dream” decision.
Categories: News Tags: department of homeland security, Dream Act, immigration and customs enforcement, Immigration and Naturalization Service, immigration lawyers, immigration reform, US citizenship test
by Napp Nazworth
Newscast Media PHOENIX, Ariz—Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has issued an executive order denying driver’s licenses and other benefits to anyone that takes advantage of President Barack Obama’s executive order allowing the children of undocumented immigrants to remain in the country without the threat of deportation. Sojourners, a politically liberal evangelical advocacy organization, delivered a petition Thursday with close to 7,000 signatures to Brewer asking her to reverse that decision.
“The action of Gov. Brewer to stop Dreamers from being able to dream is un-Christian, un-American, and it betrays the values of this nation. Governors across the country who follow down this path will be held accountable by the Christian community, starting with Gov. Brewer,” said Lisa Sharon Harper, director of mobilizing for Sojourners.
The Rev. Eve Nunez, vice president of the National Hispanic Leadership Conference, and Yvette Lopez, associate pastor of New Life Church of God in Tucson, Ariz., delivered the petition.
The petition states: “We believe every person, regardless of immigration status, is created in God’s image. Your recent executive order denying driver’s licenses and other benefits to undocumented young people who qualify for deferred action is harsh and short-sighted. As people of faith, we urge you to reconsider your position and retract this executive order so that all God’s children in Arizona can contribute to your state’s economy and strengthen its communities.”
The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, compared Brewer to governors who obstructed civil rights reforms in the 1960s and claimed she is “on the wrong side of progress.”
“Just like the governors of the old South that opposed reconciliatory and just actions that facilitated a platform of integration and justice, Governor Brewer will join Wallace, Faubus and others as political leaders that obstructed justice, hindered Christian charity and quenched the spirit of peace,” Rodriguez said.
Like Harper, Nunez and Lopez talked about how their Christian faith informed their view of Brewer’s policy.
“My Christian faith teaches me to love the least of these, not punish them, and that is precisely what this executive order does,” Nunez said.
“I’m a conservative, but this is the last straw for me. This executive order is deplorable, and it must be rescinded; my faith and my politics demand this,” Lopez added.
Obama announced his new policy in June. The Justice Department will use “prosecutorial discretion,” Obama said, to not deport undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as minors and have no criminal record. The policy effectively does the same as the DREAM Act, which failed to pass the Senate in 2010.
Some have questioned whether Obama has the authority for his decision. On Thursday, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Koback sued Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who is responsible for implementing Obama’s directive. The suit argues that the directive forces law enforcement officials to break the law by not enforcing the law.
by Napp Nazworth
Newscast Media AUSTIN, Texas—The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill last week that seeks to end the practice of illegal immigrants getting child tax credit refunds. Attention was brought to the issue after an investigative report by a local television news station went viral on the Internet.
Illegal immigrants are fraudulently taking advantage of the federal income tax’s child tax credit to the tune of $4.2 billion per year, reported Bob Segall of WTHR, an NBC affiliate in Indianapolis, Ind., on April 26. Since even those who do not pay takes can receive the credit, illegal immigrants have found that they are able to receive $1,000 per child from the federal government by filing taxes.
In some cases, though, the fraud goes even further. Segall found cases in which undocumented immigrants were taking the tax credit for nieces and nephews for whom they are not legal guardians and do not live in the United States. Some received more than $10,000 from the federal government.
Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas) sponsored the measure that would no longer allow undocumented immigrants to take the credit. It was added to a bill passed Thursday that seeks to offset planned cuts to defense spending with cuts to other parts of the federal budget. Johnson’s measure would contribute $7.6 billion to the over $300 billion bill.
Johnson credited Segall’s reporting for bringing attention to the issue in his public remarks on the House floor.
“Right now those who are here illegally can get cash from Uncle Sam by providing an IRS-provided tax payer ID number to claim this refundable credit. Illegal immigrants have gone so far as to file tax returns claiming children who do not live in America, according to a recent report by NBC Indianapolis’ WTHR,” Johnson said.
The Internal Revenue Service sent a letter to WTHR explaining that it had no authority to deny the credit to undocumented workers because they are allowed to receive the credit under current law. Johnson’s measure would require a Social Security number in order to receive the credit.
Categories: News Tags: department of homeland security, ICE, immigration and customs enforcement, Immigration and Naturalization Service, Immigration law, immigration lawyers, INS, internal revenue service, irs, us citizenship, US green card, US temporary work visa, US work visa
Newscast Media HOUSTON, Texas — In an effort to supplement their recruitment efforts, The Secret Service, whose agents protect US presidents, made its debut on Twitter the micro-blogging site, on Monday. Initially, the Secret Service was created on July 5, 1865 in Washington, D.C., to suppress counterfeit currency. In 1902 The Secret Service assumed full-time responsibility for protection of the President. Two operatives were assigned full time to the White House Detail.
“The Internet is a valuable resource for people all over the world,” said Secret Service Assistant Director Mickey Nelson.
“By using social media sites, we hope to supplement our recruitment efforts, while providing an informative, helpful tool to businesses and individuals who are interested in information from our agency.”
Presidential Threat Protection Act was passed, which in part, authorized the Secret Service to participate in the planning, coordination, and implementation of security operations at special events of national significance (“National Special Security Event”), as determined by the President.
The Patriot Act increased the Secret Service’s role in investigating fraud and related activity in connections with computers. In addition it authorized the Director of the Secret Service to establish nationwide electronic crimes task forces to assist the law enforcement, private sector and academia in detecting and suppressing computer-based crime; increased the statutory penalties for the manufacturing, possession, dealing and passing of counterfeit U.S. or foreign obligations; and allowed enforcement action to be taken to protect our financial payment systems while combating transnational financial crimes directed by terrorists or other criminals.
The network of Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Forces expanded from 15 to 24 nationwide task forces dedicated to fighting high-tech, computer-based crimes through successful public-private partnerships. Since 2003, the Secret Service made nearly 29,000 criminal arrests for counterfeiting, cyber investigations and other financial crimes, 98 percent of which resulted in convictions, and seized more than $295 million in counterfeit currency.
Nelson said the @SecretService account would highlight the service’s investigative mission and hand out information to local communities about security on presidential visits and other high-profile events.