Morning News, 1/4/11

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1. States target 14th amendment
2. CO Gov. reverses course
3. New AZ AG to defend SB1070
4. FL lawmaker pushes enforcement
5. UT man sentenced for ID fraud

States seek to tackle birthright citizenship, illegal immigration
By Jeremy Redmon
The Atlanta Journal Constitution, January 3, 2011

State lawmakers from Georgia and several other states are gathering in Washington this week for the announcement of a new front opening up in the war over illegal immigration.

They are taking aim at the 14th Amendment, which grants U.S. citizenship to children born here even if their parents are in the country illegally. The lawmakers disagree with that practice, complaining illegal immigrants and their children are sapping taxpayer-funded services and attracting more illegal immigrants to the United States.

At a news conference scheduled for Wednesday morning, the group plans to unveil model state legislation to halt what they call "the misapplication of the 14th Amendment.” Daryl Metcalfe, a Republican state lawmaker from Pennsylvania who is leading the effort, declined to discuss specifics before the news conference.

But observers familiar with his group’s efforts said they could include legislation aimed at withholding state benefits and services from children born here to illegal immigrants.

State Sen. Jack Murphy, who is spearheading efforts in Georgia’s Legislature to crack down on illegal immigration, confirmed he is planning to meet Tuesday with Metcalfe and other state lawmakers in Washington and attend the news conference Wednesday. Murphy, a Republican co-chairman of a special legislative committee studying illegal immigration, has expressed concerns about birthright citizenship in the past. But he said Monday he has not seen the proposed legislation and has not decided whether he will introduce it in Georgia. He also indicated the states face legal constraints in dealing with the constitutional issue.

“I am going up there for information purposes only at this time,” he said.

Murphy is traveling to Washington at the invitation of Metcalfe, who heads a group calling itself State Legislators for Legal Immigration. Metcalfe said lawmakers from 40 states have signed on as members of the group.

“Everyone who is coming to the press conference is supportive of the concept of ending the illegal alien invasion and ending the incentives that attract illegal aliens onto our soil,” Metcalfe said.
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Breaking: Colorado Governor Ritter Breaks Promise, Will Sign Secure Communities
By Tim Paynter
Technorati, January 4, 2011

Despite assurances to the immigrant community, Governor Bill Ritter (D-Co.) reversed himself and said he will sign the Secure Communities Agreement, thereby linking state police data banks with the computer systems used by ICE. Colorado will become a dangerous place for undocumented workers and their families.

Republican Leaders Insist On Anti-Immigrant Law

The Secure Communities program has long been contested by immigrant and civil rights activists as too much information in the wrong hands. The program links local police data banks with ICE, thus alerting ICE to all potential undocumented immigrants who are in custody. This is in stark contrast to the original purpose of the program, which was to alert ICE when police had an alien with a serious criminal history. Secure Communities or SecureCom, was created after a lack of information sharing between police agencies was blamed for events which led up to the 911 attacks on the twin towers in New York City.

Opponents of the program say immigrants will be wary of approaching local police for help. An undocumented immigrant father who finds his 14 year old girl sexually molested may be reticent to approach law enforcement for fear the entire family risks deportation. The sexual predator will run loose to offend a citizen child next time.

Police claim the secure communities program will only be used once a person is in custody. Hence, the father in the above example has nothing to fear. Immigrants and those who protect our privacy rights counter, this is only a first step. Secure Communities will eventually give officers on the street the ability to link a series of police data banks together at the time of original contact, say during a traffic stop. Opponents say officers will soon be able to access information from the FBI, police agencies throughout the US as well as the massive computer complex at Homeland Security.

In the past, federal and local police agencies had different roles. The federal police, including ICE, were responsible for federal criminals plus the enforcement of immigration laws. Local police stayed out of immigration enforcement so that all persons, including undocumented immigrants, would have confidence in approaching local law enforcement in the event a crime was committed. It is presumed criminals are indiscriminate, preying upon undocumented workers one day and US citizens the next.

History is the best predictor of the future. ICE has a vicious reputation of misusing the Secure Communities system. Rather than focusing on criminal aliens with serious convictions, the program has been used to nab immigrants with minor criminal convictions as well as some immigrants that have no convictions at all. When ICE created the program, they failed to create any type of oversight on it’s use.
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New Arizona AG says he'll defend immigration law
The Associated Press, January 3, 2011

Newly sworn in Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne says he'll help defend SB1070, the controversial law targeting illegal immigration.

Horne took the oath of office during the inauguration Monday. He is a Republican who replaces Democrat Terry Goddard as attorney general.

Goddard said last year he thought the law was misguided but that he would defend it in court from legal challenges.

However, Republican Gov. Jan Brewer pulled Goddard from the case and instead hired private lawyers who are being paid with money donated to a state fund.
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Florida state legislator crafting Arizona-style immigration law
By John Lantigua
The Palm Beach Post, January 3, 2011

The debate over the adoption of an Arizona-type immigration law for Florida is going on front burners statewide, and Palm Beach County will be one of the hot spots for that discussion.

On Friday night, state Rep. Bill Snyder, R-Stuart, will host a town meeting in Palm City to discuss a bill he plans to introduce to the legislature this spring. Snyder's district includes part of northern Palm Beach County.

"I expect it to be a forum where people will give me ideas for changes that might be appropriate for the bill," Snyder said on Monday. "It will be a place to express both support and opposition."

Snyder's measure unequivocally states its aims regarding the number of undocumented immigrants in Florida.

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"The intent of this act is to make attrition through enforcement the public policy of all state and local government agencies in Florida," the bill states. "The provisions of this act are intended to work together to discourage and deter the unlawful entry and presence of aliens and economic activity by persons unlawfully present in the United States."

The bill contains many of the same controversial proposals included in Arizona Senate Bill 1070, which divided the nation last year.

It would allow state, county and local law enforcement officials to question the immigration status of anyone they stop in pursuit of their duties. It would allow those officials to detain anyone who is undocumented and hand them over to federal immigration authorities.

The bill also mandates that all Florida employers use the federal E-Verify computer system to determine the legal status of anyone they hire. It would revoke the business licenses of firms that repeat the offense of hiring illegal workers.

Such a move could have a severe impact on agriculture, one of Florida's most profitable industries. It also would affect construction, landscaping and restaurants, which traditionally have employed many undocumented workers.

Snyder's bill also makes it illegal for people not legally in the country to seek employment in any public place and for would-be employers to stop in those places to hire workers — a move that would seriously affect the numerous day labor sites around South Florida.

Undocumented immigrants arrested for criminal offenses would face enhanced penalties. For example, a person arrested for a third-degree felony would face penalties normally applied to perpetrators of second-degree felonies.
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Man ordered to prison for selling fake documents to undocumented immigrants
By Melinda Rogers
The Salt Lake Tribune, January 4, 2011

Martin Contreras-Parada says he is a humanitarian who wanted to help undocumented immigrants get the same chance to work in the U.S. that he had been afforded when arriving legally from El Salvador years ago.

The U.S. District Attorney’s Office says Contreras-Parada is a criminal who manufactured more than 1,000 fake immigration visas, permits, green cards, border crossing cards and other documents in a business venture where he profited from undocumented immigrants’ desperation to find papers allowing them to work after crossing the border illegally.

The two theories collided in federal court on Monday, where Contreras-Parada was sentenced to serve 41 months in a federal prison after pleading guilty in October to felony fraud with identification documents and selling firearms to a felon. He was indicted by a federal grand jury in January 2010.

Contreras-Parada’s case landed in court after he became one of the first arrests made by the Utah Attorney General’s Office SECURE Strike Force, established in June 2009 to target crime by undocumented immigrants. The strike force — financed by a two-year, $1.2-million grant from federal stimulus funds — includes a fraudulent documents identification unit.

Authorities found 36 hologram laminates for making fake alien registration receipt cards, 183 blank Social Security cards, 13 fake complete Social Security cards and 61 partial alien registration receipt cards. They also found cutting tools, fingerprint pads, glue, lamination papers and photographs when they served a search warrant on Contreras-Parada’s West Valley City home in August 2009.

The strike force found evidence that he had manufactured and was prepared to create more than 1,000 fake documents, said Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacob Taylor.
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