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 Paul Stanley
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—Leading Hispanic evangelical the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez has offered his support to an immigration bill put forth in Washington on Tuesday. Republican Sens. John Kyl (Ariz.) and Kay Bailey Hutchinson (Texas) have filed legislation to address immigration reform and appeal to an ever-increasing Latino population that has steered clear of GOP candidates in recent elections.
Named the Achieve Act, the legislation appears to be a watered-down version of the Dream Act that would have helped young immigrants find a quicker path to U.S. citizenship. Many Republicans opposed earlier forms of the Dream Act because it gave too many illegal immigrants a direct path to citizenship without first taking steps to secure the borders.
The new version establishes three new visas for undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. prior to the age of 14 and have been here for a minimum of five years. These individuals could apply for student visas if they are younger than 29 years of age and currently enrolled in a college degree program. And undocumented immigrants younger than 32 years of age who hold a degree from an American university or college can also qualify for a visa.
But the first major issue with the legislation is neither senators will be around next year to push passage of the bill because both chose not to seek re-election. Another obstacle that will eventually surface is the fact that Democrats may want to take credit for any immigration bill that reaches the president’s desk so Republicans cannot use the issue to their advantage in the 2014 elections.
Rodriguez, who has been an outspoken proponent of comprehensive immigration reform for many years, sees the political reality of the situation and believes both Democrats and Republicans must come together if any such legislation is expected to pass in the near future.
“In order for immigration reform to be passed, both parties need to set aside corresponding political agendas for the purpose of doing the right thing and fulfilling the moral obligation of delivering millions of undocumented individuals from the shadows that they currently find themselves entangled in,” Rodriguez told The Christian Post.
“It doesn’t matter – it shouldn’t matter – who gets the credit. In reality, it’s going to have to look similar to the 1996 Welfare to Work bill where both President Clinton and a Republican House led by Speaker [Newt] Gingrich each took credit for getting millions of the public on payroll and back to work. But 2013 is the perfect time to pass a bill. We all know that by this time next year all the House members and a third of the Senate will go into re-elect mode and start towing their respective party’s line.”
Rodriguez, as well as other leading conservatives, say that if a reform bill isn’t passed then Latino voters will hold it against the GOP for years to come. Post-election analysis of the presidential race showed that Republican Mitt Romney received about 30 percent of the Hispanic support – far short of what he needed from the country’s fastest growing minority population to win the White House. Exit polling taken on Election Day also showed that Latino voters do not trust the Republican Party to put forth or pass immigration laws that would benefit the 12 million or so immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally.
In a Tuesday press conference, Hutchinson admitted that the strategy behind the legislation is to merely “get the ball rolling” and start the process of finding a solution for young people who were brought to the U.S. by their parents.
“We think the best thing that we can do to utilize their talents and the education they have received is to give them a legal status,” said Hutchison during a news conference in the Capitol.
The bill is similar to another one brought forward by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) earlier this year that was trumped by an Obama administration order that deferred deportation action on some young illegal immigrants.
Rodriguez thinks that Rubio and Sen.-elect Ted Cruz (R-Texas) will be key players in any proposal that passes Congress. “I believe Rubio has evolved in his stance on the issue and has pivoted to a more compassionate approach to comprehensive reform,” he said.
The California pastor also believes that conservative groups and elected leaders that have taken hard-line stances on the issue will need to rethink their opposition if they want to capture the White House or key Senate seats in the future.
“Any segment of the conservative cause that opposes immigration reform will do so at their own peril,” exclaimed Rodriguez. “Comprehensive reform is the prescription to revive the conservative movement in America.” http://newscastmedia.com/homeland-security.htm
by Paul Stanley
Newscast Media HOUSTON, Texas—Mitt Romney’s position on immigration, in particular on young illegal immigrants, may divide the GOP base because many of the party’s evangelical voters are moving left of the Republican Party on the issue.
If Romney takes a hardline approach, he risks alienating evangelical and Hispanic voters in key battleground states such as Florida. On the other hand, if he shows compassion to the children of illegal immigrants, he risks angering a large portion of the GOP base and several new members of Congress who are trying to win re-election in districts heavy with Tea Partiers.
The immigration issue as a whole, particularly President Obama’s recent order to stop deportation of young illegal immigrants, has put Romney in a challenging position. On Friday, President Obama announced his new policy to stop deporting young illegal immigrants who came to the United States before they turned 16 and now are no older than 30 years old. The young illegal immigrants can now obtain work permits and live without fear of being deported.
Also last week, a group of influential evangelicals that included the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission’s Richard Land, Focus on the Family’s Jim Daly and Sojourners’ Jim Wallis encouraged Congress and President Obama to take a more compassionate approach to dealing with some of the nation’s illegal immigrants.
“These young people – 99.9 percent of them have done nothing wrong. They didn’t bring themselves here,” Land told The Christian Post. “They were brought here as young children by their parents. Many of them have no memory – no recollection of their home country.”
Land also argues that the 800,000 to 1 million young illegal immigrants living in this country should be addressed in a sympathetic, Christian manner. “This is the right thing to do.”
As expected on such a divisive issue, Romney took a middle-of-the-road position by suggesting that Obama’s statement was motivated by politics and not policy.
“If he felt seriously about this he should have taken action when he had a Democratic House and Senate, but he didn’t,” Romney told CBS’s Bob Schieffer during a “Face The Nation” segment on Sunday. “He saves these sorts of things until four and a half months before the general election.”
But last January when Romney was campaigning in Iowa against several challengers running to the right of him, he made a stronger statement on immigration, promising to veto any legislation by Democrats that would have given undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship. Now – in a fashion that is Romney-esque in nature – he is refusing to say if he would repeal Obama’s new policy if elected.
“With regards to these kids who were brought in by their parents through no fault of their own, there needs to be a long-term solution so they know what their status is,” said Romney. “This is something Congress has been working on, and I thought we were about to see some proposals brought forward by Sen. Marco Rubio and by Democratic senators, but the president jumped in and said I’m going to take this action – he called it a stop-gap measure.”
Obama senior adviser David Plouffe commented on Romney’s response to the president’s new immigration policy by saying on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that, “It’s ironic coming from Governor Romney, who said he would veto the Dream Act, whose immigration policy during the primary seemed to consist of just sending 11 million people home, asking them to self-deport.”
Whether or not Romney will soften his stance on immigration is not yet known. However, both he and Obama are scheduled to address the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials later this week and the issue will certainly be front and center. Land says he is unsure what direction Romney will take, but he does believe that the former governor is “evolving” on this immigration platform.
“A lot will be determined by who Romney picks as his running mate,” said Land. “Rubio would certainly change the dynamics if he’s on the ticket.”
Categories: News Tags: amnesty for illegals, green card, ICE, immigration and customs enforcement, Immigration and Naturalization Service, Immigration law, immigration lawyers, permanent resident, work permit, work visa
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—Over 70 illegal immigrants were arrested in Houston by U.S. federal agents as part of a six-day nationwide sting that netted more than 3,100 arrests, according to immigration officials.
With more than 1,800 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers, along with officials from federal, state and local law enforcement organizations, participating, the six-day “Cross Check” operation, was the largest of its kind, according to ICE.
Approximately 90 percent of those arrested were with criminal records for offenses including murder, kidnapping and drug trafficking, authorities said.
In addition to the illegals arrested in the Houston area, authorities also arrested 11 in Beaumont and nine in College Station, according to the daily Houston Chronicle.
Meanwhile, CBS-Miaimi reported that of the arrests that were made in all 50 states during the anti-illegal immigrant sweep, 270 people were arrested in Florida.
“This is not somebody that we want to leave on the streets of our communities and our neighborhoods. We target those individuals and arrest those individuals and now we’ll remove them,” said ICE Field Office Director Marc Moore.
New Jersey saw 123 arrests, with 107 of those arrested being convicted felons. In California of the 206 individuals taken into custody in the Los Angeles area, 106 had prior convictions for serious or violent crimes including manslaughter, drug possession and arson.
“Our focus for this operation was public safety, that’s why we’re going after the criminals,” said John Tsoukaris, an ICE official. http://www.newscastmedia.com/houston-immigration.htm
Newscast Media — The controversial Arizona immigration bill SB-1070 that went into effect in July has caused a mass exodus of Hispanics from the state, a new study finds. Using data collected by the U.S. Current Population Survey, BBVA Bancomer Research finds that as many as 100,000 Latinos may have left the state in the time period between when the law was enacted and October of this year.
The research found there may be 100,000 fewer Latinos in Arizona than there were before the debate over the state’s tough new immigration law earlier this year.
The study also implies that the exodus could be due to a new law that would allow police to question the immigration status of those they suspect are in the country illegally, which partly took effect in July.
On Wednesday, the Mexican government released figures that state 23,380 Mexicans returned to Mexico from Arizona between June and September of 2010. http://newscastmedia.com/arizona-exodus.htm
Newscast Media — Under the Obama administration record numbers of illegal immigrants are being deported and businesses that hire undocumented workers are being audited too.
Roughly 400,000 people are expected to be deported by The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency which is nearly 10 percent more than in 2007 under George W. Bush. The pace of auditing companies has also quadrupled since Bush’s final year as president.
A June 30 memorandum from ICE director John Morton instructed officers to focus their “principal attention” on felons and repeat lawbreakers. The policy, influenced by a series of sometimes-heated White House meetings, also targets repeat border crossers and declares that parents caring for children or the infirm should be detained only in unusual cases.
Morton said, “We’re trying to put our money where our mouth is. You’ve got to have aggressive enforcement against criminal offenders. You have to have a secure border. You have to have some integrity in the system.”
According to DHS figures 240,000 illegals have been identified by The Secure Communities as having been convicted of crimes. Of those, about 30,000 have been deported, including 8,600 convicted of what the agency calls “the most egregious offenses.” http://www.newscastmedia.com/illegal-immigrants.htm