Monthly Archives: September 2010

Peace for Sudan?

Posted by Margarita Williams

A key US senator unveiled a bill Wednesday to cement Washington’s engagement with strife-torn Sudan through a January 2011 referendum that could see the South claim its independence.

“Sudan is facing a defining moment. While the Sudanese must own their future, the United States can help the parties find a peaceful path forward,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry said in a statement.

Continue reading here.

Sen. John Kerry is joining President Obama and pushing for peace in the war-torn country of Sudan. The bill calls for  US aid for security and civil aviation in Southern Sudan but requires progress on good governance and accountability in return. It will be interesting to see if the U.S. government will be able to influence a country where most problems are solved with violence. After two decades of civil war, where about two million people were killed, I think it will be hard for the Sudan to look at the U.S. for advice on how to settle their issues.

U.S. raises the crimerate in border cities of Mexico

By Josh Newkirk

Four Mexico mayors on the United States- Mexico border have asked the U.S. to stop deporting Illegal immigrants who have committed serious crimes, because they are contributing to border violence in Mexico.

Fox news reports that the four border mayors had a conference with San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, to talk about border issues.

According to the article, Ciudad Juarez Mayor Jose Reyes blamed U.S. deportation policy for contributing to his city’s violence, saying that of the 80,000 people deported to Juarez in the past three years, 28,000 had U.S. criminal records

While Reyes may be right, I’m sure if the roles were reversed it would be a different situation.

If U.S. citizens were being deported back to the states, I’m sure border communities in the U.S. would have the same results. I would suspect that Mexico would not want take back U.S. citizens who committed crimes in their country.

This is a situation where nobody is going to be happy, but American immigration has to keep their foot down on this issue. The U.S. has enough issues; they  should not have to keep illegal immigrants in this country that are convicted felons.  By being a criminal should be enough of a reason why they don’t deserve to be in the U.S.

The other crisis

Did you know there is a food shortage in Niger? Since the past months, a severe crisis is affecting this country situated in the sub-Saharan region of Africa. Moreover, the country had a coup d’état in February of this year. The army took power and created the Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy. Since then, the situation has been worst. No elections are planned yet and several regions were destroy last August after the government did not help people after important floods.

Because Niger in under a military government, the international community is giving less help. However, a journalist from Voice of America recently reported that UN will help the women to feed their Children.

According to an UNICEF official, women most affected by the shortage of food, will receive $40 per month for each children under two years old.

Since the beginning of the year, 60,000 kids in Niger died due to starvation.

Submitted by Jean-Virgile Tassé-Themens

For cities and counties, “Secure Communities” gets mixed reactions

By Sarah Ostman

“Secure Communities” —  sounds like a program we should all want in our hometowns, right?

Not exactly. The federal program — which automatically checks the immigration status of people arrested in local jurisdictions by sharing their fingerprints with federal immigration officials — is creating quite the stir this week.

Some cities are deciding they don’t want any part of the crackdown. Leaders of Santa Clara County in California and Arlington County in Virginia voted Tuesday to just say no to the optional program. (They might have opted out sooner, but the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees “Secure Communities,” just released its instructions on how to opt out.)

Meanwhile — about 1,000 miles and a million light-years away — Texas is all fired up and ready to go, with each of its 254 counties on board with the program.

“Secure Communities” is still in the early phases; the Department of Homeland Security plans to go nationwide with the program by 2013.  So stay tuned — we’ve got lots of good headbutting to look forward to in this “federal v. local” immigration showdown.

Even Canada Can’t Escape the Tot Topic of Immigration

By Wendy Wohlfeill

Recent reports say a lobby group has pointed to a country known for its “open-arm” immigration policies to change its ways

Reuters Canada reports that the Center for Immigration and Policy Reform said Canada must overhaul its immigration and refugee system or risk overwhelming social services and driving up unemployment.

The report said that one of every six Canadian residents was born outside the country and that Canada currently accepts about 250,000 immigrants and 175,000 foreign temporary workers a year.

But the lobby group said the country’s social system cannot handle so many newcomers, with the unemployment rate now at about 7 percent.

Opposition to this report said that Canada’s aging population benefits from the families and youth of immigration. The New Democrats said they would like to see an annual immigration at 1 percent of the population, or 330,000 a year, which is even more than Canada is currently taking in.

This article interested me because it seems to be a new issue to Canada. We constantly see immigration as a “hot button” issue for the U.S and Europe—yet, until now, Canada, which has a very generous immigration policy, has been overlooked.

It will be interesting to see where this goes in the future.

Three cheers for the U.S. delegation!

Last Thursday, the U.S. delegation walked out of the insane United Nations speech being given by the seemingly-insane Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, after he said some around the world speculate Americans were behind the Sept. 11 terror attacks, according to the Jerusalem Post.

So we crashed airplanes into our own buildings and killed thousands of our own citizens?  Say what?

To the delegation I say, good move! To Ahmadinejad I say, you damn Iranians are crazier than I thought.  

Apparently, Ahmadinejad didn’t explain any logic to his statement that the attacks were staged to attempt to assure Israel’s survival.  In fact, he has called for the destruction of Israel.   The delegation left after Ahmadinejad said there were three theories about the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.  They listened to two of them, and then got up and walked out.

What kind of world leader uses the United Nations as a podium for hate?  I imagine only one filled to the brim with prejudice and poison.   

Mark Kornblau, spokesman for the U.S. Mission to the U.N., issued a statement within moments of Ahmadinejad’s speech.

“Rather than representing the aspirations and goodwill of the Iranian people,” Kornblau said, “Mr. Ahmadinejad has yet again chosen to spout vile conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic slurs that are as abhorrent and delusional as they are predictable.”

If Ahmadinejad is so predictable, why not impose some sort of sanction against his vileness?  There’s enough venom being spewed in this world, and the U.N. should be a place for peace, not hatred.

Busted: Abercrombie & Fitch Fined $1M for Violating Immigration Law

By Kelsey Duckett

Detroit Free PressFeds fine Abercrombie & Fitch $1M

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Detroit said Tuesday that it had levied one of its largest fines — $1 million — against clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch for violations of federal immigration law at its Michigan stores.

One word: Stupid.

Was it worth it Abercrombie & Fitch? One tip puts you $1 million in the hole, and for what?

According to the article, the retailer, based in New Albany, Ohio, did not verify the employment eligibility of its workers and lacked the necessary documentation to ensure its workers were eligible to work.

It just doesn’t make sense because the law requires employers to verify with documents such as, birth certificates and social security numbers, to ensure its workers are eligible for hire. At what point, and who within the company thought this would be a good idea that would never surface — come on.

A fine this big was meant to send a message: employee documentation is just as important to the government as financial records.

In the article Brian M. Moskowitz, special agent in charge of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations for Ohio and Michigan, said “this settlement should serve as a warning to other companies that may not yet take the employment verification process seriously…”

Leprechaun’s Aren’t Gay

If you were to ask yourself what country in the U.K is the least gay, you might have a hard time answering that question. But if you immediately answered Northern Ireland you might be right. At least according to a new poll from the Office of National Statistics from the U.K.

Of course, what fighting Irishman (or woman) is going to admit being gay or lesbian or even a leprechaun for that matter, in a society that is extremely religious and tough. Of course, this stoic image hasn’t really lived up to its reputation lately, what with all the priests coming out (as child predators). Even PA Mag Lochlainn doesn’t believe the statistics from the report. He says, “If you were to ask this survey in secret you would get a very different picture. It is like asking people here about their political opinion, people are reluctant to say how they really feel.”

What may further ye ol’ Mags viewpoint is that Northern Ireland also had the least amount heterosexuals, leaving a large portion of people who just don’t know what’s going on in their life. But perhaps something speaks to the 10,000 people who marched in this year’s gay pride parade and the just 30 “protesters” who were probably marching (with a hitch in their giddy up) right alongside of them.

DREAM Act on hold but not forgotten

By Angelica Jimenez–

Thousands of undocumented college students waited in vain on Tuesday to see whether a bill opening a door to citizenship would be heard.  The U.S. Senate voted 56-43 to defer debate on a defense appropriations bill which included the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.

But advocates like Gaby Pecheco, a special contributor to CNN, are determined to continue their fight for young adults, brought to the United States undocumented by the family, to become U.S. citizens.  The Act, whose criteria requires applicants to be 35 or younger, have entered the U.S. before turning 16 and lived here at least five years, have no criminal record and earned a high school diploma , would allow Pecheco to realize her dream of enlisting in the Air Force.

Her family brought Pecheco to the United States from Ecuador in 1993 when she was seven-years old.  Pecheco earned her bachelor’s degree in special education, despite not being eligible for government financial aid because of her legal status.

The Act, originally introduced in 2001, has been a source of controversy especially over the past several months.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has strongly supported the Act.
Even Senator John McCain supported the bill previously but has pulled an about-face as the midterm elections approach.  There remains hope that the DREAM Act can pass if introduced stand alone bill, and not included with the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” measure.

Let’s hope legislators realize that children brought here without any choice but want to contribute deserve the DREAM Act.

Afghan Boys Are Prized, So Girls Live the Part

by Wendy Wohlfeill

A snippet of today’s news coverage of Afghanistan would most likely include death tolls,  numbers of troops employed and stories of destruction and heartache.  A recent story from the New York Times, although still filled with certain heartache, took an in-depth look at a current practice that has been taking place in Afghan families for generations.

The New York Times reported that through dozens of interviews, mostly conducted with sources that remain anonymous, they were able trace generations of families who passed off female family members as boys.

Reasons for pretending  girls are boys, included economic need, social pressure to have sons, and in some cases, a superstition that doing so can lead to the birth of a real boy. In many cases the young females returned to womanhood when they hit puberty.

As confusing as this practice would be to anyone, I imagine being in an Islamic practicing society would blur these lines even further. Image being raised as a young boy, allowed to play on the streets with others, able to roam freely….and then one day around the age of thirteen everything changes—new rules, a covered body, a marriage?

An interview with one young girl put it best when she said she never wanted to return to womanhood.

“People use bad words for girls,” she said. “They scream at them on the streets. When I see that, I don’t want to be a girl. When I am a boy, they don’t speak to me like that.”