Immigrant Rights News -- Mon, July 17, 2006
1. Los Angeles Times, "Senate Approves Border Security Bill"
2. San Jose Mercury, "Activists aim to bring Asians into debate"
3. Washington Post, "GOP Fears Fallout Of Immigration Split. Fight May
Weaken Party, Some Say"
4. Los Angeles Times, "Arrest Immigrants, Flood the Courts. Congress is
blind to what a border crackdown would do to the overworked judiciary.
5. Rocky Mountain News, "Compromise bill derails strategy. Pro-immigrant
groups' future remains unclear"
6. Rocky Mountain News, "Funding questioned. Critics say some Defend
Colorado money tainted"
7. Chicago Tribune, "Minutemen name rescued. IDOT workers keep it even
though immigration group uses moniker"
8. Washington Post, "Virginia Guard Volunteers Heed Call to Scout Border.
Worry About Immigrants, Terrorism Among Motives"
9. Austin Chronicle, "Laredo Overrun by Documented Politicos"
10. Washington Post, "On Immigration, Liberalize to Crack Down"
Los Angeles Times
Senate Approves Border Security Bill
The legislation includes money for 1,000 more law enforcement agents. The
California senators' measure cracking down on tunnels also passes.
By Nicole Gaouette
Times Staff Writer
July 14, 2006
WASHINGTON — Even as prospects for a sweeping overhaul of immigration policy
remain in doubt, Congress is moving on other fronts to bolster security
along the border with Mexico and to toughen enforcement against illegal
immigrants already in the United States.
The latest steps came Thursday with the Senate's approval, 100-0, of a
$32.8-billion funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security that
includes additional border agents and more beds in detention centers to
facilitate deportation of illegal immigrants.
The discovery in January of a tunnel nearly half a mile long connecting an
industrial building in Tijuana with a warehouse in Otay Mesa, just north of
the border, prompted another measure that would make building underground
border conduits a criminal offense. Currently, no law specifically targets
The Homeland Security bill demonstrates that even as the House and the
Senate remain at an impasse over separate legislation to rewrite immigration
laws, Congress is still likely to produce measures to tighten enforcement
along the nation's 2,000-mile southern border and inside the country.
The main challenge of border enforcement "is a question of appropriations,"
said Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.).
Kyl said that enforcement provisions in the Senate's immigration legislation
act as "a blueprint for what we are already doing, and we can continue to do
Throughout four days of debate on the bill, lawmakers raked the department
over the coals for its performance, particularly in its response to
Hurricane Katrina, and tussled over how to best allocate the bill's limited
funds, given a long roster of priorities.
Attempts by Senate Democrats to rewrite the formula for terrorism grants
failed, as lawmakers from smaller states complained that the move would
deprive them of funds. Amendments to pay for walls along the border with
Mexico and to increase the number of immigration investigators also fell
short, due to concerns about funding.
"The problem is, a big job of this bill is choosing where we're going to
protect ourselves: Is it the border, ports, transportation, airports?" said
Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), who sponsored a failed amendment to increase the
number of Border Patrol agents.
The bill provides $14.3 billion for defense of U.S. sea and land borders and
enforcement of immigration and customs laws — including $2.1 billion for
1,000 more Border Patrol agents and $1.3 billion for 1,000 new detention
An amendment sponsored by Kyl and passed by the Senate would add 1,700 bed
spaces, bringing the total number for 2007 to the 27,500 requested by
The legislation passed Thursday comes on top of an emergency bill, passed
last month in the Senate, for $1.9 billion to fund capital improvements
along the border. The money in that bill was subsequently redirected to send
up to 6,000 National Guard troops to support Border Patrol agents along the
The Senate bill will have to be reconciled with the $31-billion Homeland
Security funding measure that the House passed in June. The House measure
provides $1.7 billion more than the White House sought. Like the House, the
Senate rejected an administration effort to raise taxes on airline tickets
to generate an additional $1.3 billion for the department.
Some border security amendments did pass the Senate this week, including a
$350-million proposal approved Tuesday for the purchase of helicopters,
cars, trucks and other equipment.
Another amendment passed Tuesday allocated $648 million for port security.
And in a voice vote Thursday, lawmakers passed a border tunnel measure
sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and co-sponsored by Sen.
Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). It would impose a 20-year prison sentence for
building or financing a cross-border underground passageway and would jail
for 10 years landowners who displayed a reckless disregard for the
construction or use of a tunnel on their land.
Since Sept. 11, 2001, 43 tunnels have been discovered in the U.S., all but
one spanning the border with Mexico. Eleven tunnels have been found near San
Diego this year, ranging from short, cramped "gopher holes" right at the
border to paved half-mile mega-tunnels with electric lighting, like the one
officials discovered in January.
That tunnel started in Tijuana and "was incredible," Feinstein said.
"The danger is clear, and you can be sure there are more tunnels out there."
Other provisions added to the bill included a measure to allow Americans to
import cheaper prescription drugs from Canada as long as they were for
And by a vote of 87-11, senators agreed Tuesday to do away with the Federal
Emergency Management Agency and rebuild it with a new name — the U.S.
Emergency Management Authority — and with more control over disaster
programs, along with the ability to communicate directly with the president
during a crisis.
San Jose Mercury
Activists aim to bring Asians into debate
WIDER CONSTITUENCY IS SOUGHT ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION CHANGES
By Jessie Mangaliman
There are as many as 180,000 undocumented Asians in the Bay Area, but the
recent national debate about illegal immigration feels as if it's strictly a
Latino issue, some legal advocates said.
``Immigration reform is not just a Latino issue,'' said Christopher
Punongbayan, advocacy director for Filipinos for Affirmative Action, an
Oakland civil rights group. ``There is still work that needs to be done in
our communities, to let people know that these issues affect us and that we
have influence over public policy decisions.''
Hoping to engage more Asians in the public immigration discourse, a panel of
lawyers and community leaders today will discuss how reform proposals now
being considered by Congress and the Senate could also affect Asian
immigrants in the United States. The panel discussion, part of a local
monthly series, will be held at the United Way Building in San Jose.
``It's clearly an issue that has local and national impact,'' said Joren
Lyons, a staff attorney for the Asian Law Caucus, a legal advocacy group in
San Francisco. Lyons will also be on the panel.
``We want to dispel the myth that what's going on in Washington is all about
Latinos,'' Lyons said. ``There are undocumented Asians. They're out there.
We want people to recognize that the community has a stake in this.''
The Pew Hispanic Center in Washington, D.C., has estimated there are 1.5
million undocumented Asians in the United States. In the Bay Area, according
to some local estimates, there are between 80,000 to 180,000.
Larisa Casillas, policy director for Services, Immigrant Rights and
Education Network (SIREN), said that critical Asian perspectives on
immigration reform has been largely silent, perhaps overshadowed by the
Casillas, who is moderating the panel discussion, said she is pleased that
work to spread public awareness of the issue is now being done.
The discussion is being sponsored by Vision New America, a San Jose
non-profit that works to increase participation of Asians in civic and
community activities; and South Bay First Thursdays, a monthly dinner series
focusing on issues affecting Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders.
``There's a stereotype that all undocumented immigrants are Latinos,''
Casillas said. ``So we're taking our mandate to inform different immigrant
Casillas said she was surprised by the estimated size of the undocumented
Asian population in the United States and the Bay Area.
But as immigrant advocates have long reported, the undocumented population,
contrary to the stereotype that it's all Latino or all Mexican, is varied.
There are Filipinos with expired tourist visas, Indian and Chinese engineers
with lapsed H-1B visas and relatives with expired visitor's visas.
Among immigrant groups, Filipinos, Indians and Chinese have the longest
wait, some as long as 25 years, for a visa for relatives, Punongbayan said.
A provision in the Senate bill under consideration includes a reduction in
the visa backlog that could help re-unite many Asian families, he said.
The seeming reluctance of Asians to jump into the immigration reform debate
may stem from a lack of awareness about the impact of proposed legislation
in Congress, some advocates said.
However, a practical reason may be greater difficulties in community
outreach, Lyons said. With Latinos, he said, information is dispensed in one
language, Spanish. With Asian-Americans, advocates face a daunting task of
translating information into a dozen languages.
``It's extremely time-consuming,'' Lyons said. ``It does slow down the
IF YOU'RE INTERESTED
The panel will be held at 6:30 p.m. in room 105 of the United Way Building,
1922 The Alameda, San Jose. Additional information is online
(www.firstthursdays.org). To reserve a seat, call Tamon Norimoto at (408)
Contact Jessie Mangaliman at jmangaliman@mercury news.com or (408) 920-5794.
GOP Fears Fallout Of Immigration Split
Fight May Weaken Party, Some Say
By Charles Babington
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, July 16, 2006; A04
They monitor the same polls and national debate over immigration, yet House
Republicans are reaching dramatically different conclusions from President
Bush and Senate GOP leaders regarding which political and policy routes to
take, a disagreement that may haunt their party in years to come.
House Republicans overwhelmingly favor a get-tough approach that deals only
with tightening the U.S. border with Mexico and bolstering efforts to
capture and deport illegal immigrants. With time growing short for a
compromise, House members appear more wedded to their stand than ever and
have held hearings that ridicule the approach taken by Bush and the Senate.
The Senate bill would tighten borders but also provide an expanded
guest-worker program and opportunities for many of the nation's estimated 11
million illegal immigrants to achieve legal status, possibly including
House Republicans reject the approach as "amnesty" that rewards lawbreakers.
Both camps say they are right not only on the issue's substance but also on
its politics. Each group claims to have the Republican Party's best
interests at heart. By definition, both cannot be right, and if the party
misplays its hand on the volatile issue, the consequences could be dire,
according to a variety of politicians.
"If we lose a generation of Hispanic immigrants, the Republican Party will
be a minority party for a long time," said Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), a
chief sponsor of the Senate bill. That is what will happen if the House
approach prevails, he predicts, and things will not be much better if the
House and Senate fail to reach a compromise before the November election.
Americans "want this problem resolved," Hagel said, and if it is not, "the
Republicans, I believe, will be blamed, because we control the process."
House GOP leaders are equally convinced that they are the ones reading the
political winds correctly and saving their party from a harsh voter
"I believe that the American people are much closer to where the House is,"
Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said last week. Asked how veteran,
successful politicians from the same party could assess the situation so
differently, Boehner replied: "I wish I knew."
It is not the first time the GOP-controlled House and Senate have clashed,
but in most cases Bush has been aligned with the House. That was true during
protracted debates over renewing the USA Patriot Act, curbing interrogation
techniques allowed on military detainees, and limiting the number of pet
projects added to a spending bill for the Iraq war and Hurricane Katrina
recovery. Bush also sided with the House in seeking constitutional bans on
flag desecration and same-sex marriage, which the Senate rejected.
In all those cases, Bush and the House took more conservative stands than
did the Senate. But in the immigration debate, Bush is aligned with the more
liberal Senate position -- which most GOP Senate leaders embraced but most
rank-and-file Republicans opposed -- because of a philosophy and goal he
shares with Hagel, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and others.
Since his days as Texas governor, Bush has advocated comparatively generous
treatment of illegal immigrants who work hard and avoid trouble. He and
political advisers such as Karl Rove dream of bolstering the GOP well into
the future by attracting large numbers of Latinos, the fastest-growing
segment of the American electorate.
Many elected officials and political analysts say inherent differences
between House and Senate members also help explain their approaches to
immigration. House members must defend their seats every other year, and are
much more likely than senators to have a homogenous constituency with
clearly defined views on a matter such as immigration.
Senators have a six-year break between campaigns, and represent entire
states that typically have a broader mix of urban, rural, conservative and
liberal voters. Senators are far more likely than House members to have
presidential aspirations, which prompt a more national approach to politics.
"It's the difference between long term and short term," said Sen. John Thune
(R-S.D.), who spent six years in the House and who opposed the Senate bill.
"House members think about November, because they run every two years."
With their majority status at risk this fall, Thune said, House Republicans
are taking a hard line on immigration because "it generates a lot of
emotion," especially among conservative voters, whose turnout will be
House Republicans "are probably right in the short term," Thune said. But
for Bush and Rove, he said, "the question is, 'How can we reach out to a
group that is the fastest-growing segment?' "
Four key GOP backers of the Senate bill -- Hagel, McCain, Sam Brownback
(Kan.) and Majority Leader Bill Frist (Tenn.) -- have presidential
ambitions. "They, like Bush and Rove, think about the long-term fate of the
GOP and the importance of Latinos," said Thomas E. Mann, a Brookings
Institution scholar and co-author of a new book on Congress.
Senators say most polls support their position. A New York Times/CBS poll in
May found that 61 percent of Americans think illegal immigrants who have
lived and worked in the United States for at least two years should be given
a chance to keep their jobs and eventually apply for legal status; 35
percent agreed with the House's position that they should be deported.
In a recent Manhattan Institute poll of likely Republican voters, 72 percent
said it was extremely or very important "for Congress to solve the problem
of illegal immigration this year." Yet the two chambers appear deadlocked.
Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) says such surveys miss the point. "I think the
Senate probably is reading the polls," he said, "but I think the House
members are listening to real people in real situations. . . . People keep
saying: border security, biometric cards [to prove legal status] and no
Some lawmakers hope for a compromise in which tougher border enforcement
eventually would trigger a broader guest-worker program and legal status for
some of the undocumented workers already here. But Rep. Eric I. Cantor
(R-Va.) is dubious.
"I think the frustration level is so high," he said. "If you are talking
about triggers now -- without having proven you can control the border --
the question is, trigger what? Trigger amnesty?"
The Senate also shows little appetite for compromise. "I don't think the
Senate will go for anything that is not comprehensive in nature," Hagel
said. He fears that the debate and impasse are driving his party toward
serious trouble with Latino and non-Latino voters alike.
"We are seen by too many as an intolerant party," Hagel said. "And the
majority of Americans are not going to elect intolerant representatives."
Los Angeles Times
Arrest Immigrants, Flood the Courts
Congress is blind to what a border crackdown would do to the overworked
By Charles L. Lindner
CHARLES L. LINDNER is past president of the Los Angeles Criminal Bar Assn.
July 16, 2006
HOUSE Republicans pushing an enforcement-first approach to illegal
immigration have been silent on one key question: What happens after an
immigrant is arrested?
U.S. District Judge Robert C. Brack puts it another way: "You can add Border
Patrol agents, but if you do, you'd better think [downstream]. You'd better
think marshals; you'd better think prosecutors, probation and pretrial
services officers, defense lawyers, judges and clerk's staff — all of those
The problem is that almost no one in Congress is thinking about the effects
of tougher immigration enforcement on the federal judiciary system.
House-passed legislation does not allocate the money needed to pay for its
proposed crackdown on illegal immigrants. Nor does the Senate bill.
Make no mistake, a compromise on the two bills probably will contain
enforcement provisions tougher than those now on the books. At a minimum,
the Border Patrol will be beefed up. The House bill would add 1,000 agents,
the Senate's 2,500 as quickly as possible. How might the increase affect the
federal judiciary system?
Of the 69,000 federal criminal cases filed last year, 17,000 were
immigration-related. Many were for illegal entry into the United States;
human smuggling was the fastest-growing arrest category. In a five-month
period in Arizona in 2004, the Border Patrol reported arresting 203,460
unauthorized immigrants. It pursued the prosecution of 2,067 felony and
misdemeanor cases. In other words, the government prosecuted one criminal
case for every 100 immigrants apprehended.
Prosecuting a larger fraction of the immigrants caught during that period
would have put added pressure on the federal judiciary there. But the
purpose of adding border agents is to make more arrests and get more
convictions. Clearly, at some point, the federal judiciary system would be
unable to process the increasing caseload unless significantly buttressed.
Judges would be the first to feel the burden of tougher enforcement. About
1,100 of them sit in the nation's federal district courts, and they are
already overworked. (By way of comparison, California alone has 1,399
Superior Court judges.) Federal judges, on average, each have 87 open felony
cases before them. In Brack's district in New Mexico, a state hard-hit by
illegal immigration, the average caseload is 405. In the Laredo division of
Texas' southern federal district, which also is on the frontline of the
illegal influx, the average is 1,400.
Congress is reluctant to add to the supply of judges by appointing new ones
because more judges mean more courthouses, more offices for federal
prosecutors and public defenders, more marshals, more clerks and so on — and
that is costly.
Most expensively, more illegal immigrant arrests and convictions mean more
prisons and staff to run them. The federal Bureau of Prisons operates 106
facilities and 28 urban correction centers for pretrial detainees. It
oversees 185,000 prisoners; its 2006 budget is $4.9 billion.
Consider this worst-case scenario: The immigration legislation passed by the
House in December would make illegal presence in this country a felony. If
just 1% of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants were arrested and
convicted under the proposed law, the Bureau of Prisons would be
overwhelmed. In the last three years, it added more than 11,000 inmate beds.
Imprisoning the new felons would require 110,000 more beds. New prisons
would cost of billions of dollars.
The Department of Homeland Security, through Immigration and Customs
Enforcement, can — and would — avoid putting immigrants through the criminal
justice system by increasing its use of administrative detention for alleged
immigration violators. Just how many would be detained and for how long is
unknown, but the waiting period for a hearing can stretch into years. As of
2004, ICE operated 16 detention centers in eight states and one in Puerto
Rico. The facilities currently house about 23,000 detainees.
Under the Senate-passed legislation, the Congressional Budget Office
reports, 20 new immigration detention centers would have to be built, at a
cost of $70 million each. These facilities would collectively house 10,000
prisoners at a time, which is less than a thousandth of the lower end of the
estimated illegal immigrant population. The cost of staff and maintenance
from 2007 to 2011 would be $1.5 billion.
Tough talk on immigration is cheap. But the politicians who engage in it
risk collapsing a judiciary system already overburdened with criminal cases.
Creating more criminals hardly seems the answer
Rocky Mountain News
Compromise bill derails strategy
Pro-immigrant groups' future remains unclear
By Myung Oak Kim, Rocky Mountain News
July 15, 2006
The face of the pro-immigrant campaign is 100 percent Coloradan, with names
like Federico Peña and Gary Hart. But much of the strategy and money has
come from inside the Beltway.
Keep Colorado Safe, the group that led the fight against an effort to deny
services to illegal immigrants, received money and guidance from the
nation's fastest-growing union, a Latino advocacy group and a civil rights
coalition - all based in Washington, D.C.
The reason: To make Colorado the national model in unifying grass-roots
organizations to fight anti-illegal immigrant ballot initiatives.
But Keep Colorado Safe didn't get to launch its campaign because Initiative
55, sponsored by the anti-illegal immigration group Defend Colorado Now,
unexpectedly died. And to thwart legislative efforts to send the measure to
the ballot, Keep Colorado Safe chairman Peña agreed with opponents to push a
compromise bill, which passed Monday. Two other immigration-related measures
are on the ballot, though neither targets services for illegal immigrants.
Now, the future of Keep Colorado Safe and other pro-immigrant coalitions is
unclear. And tensions that existed for months among local immigrant
advocates are even greater now because of anger over the Peña compromise and
the new laws.
Members of Keep Colorado Safe met Thursday but have not yet decided their
next move. Partners in Washington, who have closely watched Colorado's
immigration drama, continue to keep an eye and a hand in Keep Colorado
Among them are the Service Employees International Union and the National
Council of La Raza, the country's largest Latino civil rights group. They
had planned to make Colorado the poster child of how to fight the wave of
anti-illegal immigration laws sweeping the nation. And they were prepared to
spend heavily to make that happen.
SEIU and other national groups had participated in the 2004 fight against an
anti-illegal immigrant ballot measure in Arizona. But they watched with
disappointment as immigrant advocates launched separate campaigns and voters
approved Proposition 200.
Colorado, they vowed, would be different.
The groups saw a great opportunity in the perceived flaws in Initiative 55,
which would have denied services to illegal immigrants and allowed citizens
to sue agencies that didn't comply.
Then the state Supreme Court disqualified the measure from the ballot on a
technicality. An angry Gov. Bill Owens called a special session of the
legislature. And lawmakers crafted what they call the toughest anti-illegal
immigration laws in the country.
Keep Colorado Safe leaders say the laws are much more humane than Initiative
55. But many pro-immigrant groups see them as mean-spirited.
"It sends a message that Colorado is an unwelcoming state for everyone,"
said Devin Burghart of the Center for New Community, a Chicago-based group
critical of Defend Colorado Now leaders.
That leaves Keep Colorado Safe and its partners facing the question: What
Old allies come together.
Keep Colorado Safe originally formed in 2004 to fight an Initiative 55 twin
sponsored by U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Littleton.
The group included representatives from more than a dozen local
organizations, including Colorado Progressive Coalition, Rights for All
People, American Friends Service Committee and Padres Unidos. They were old
allies, joining in 2002 to defeat the English-only measure Amendment 31.
The political consulting firm of Welchert & Britz challenged the Tancredo
initiative in the state Supreme Court on behalf of Keep Colorado Safe.
Tancredo won, but by the time the ruling was made his supporters ran out of
time to collect signatures for the ballot.
Keep Colorado Safe resurfaced last year to oppose Initiative 55. And local
leaders began asking Washington friends for help.
Catherine Han Montoya, a former local social service agency worker who
campaigned against Amendment 31, was now working at the National Council of
La Raza. She began a series of visits to Denver to work on the campaign
against Initiative 55.
She also enlisted help from the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights
Education Fund and the Center for New Community. The three groups had just
begun a collaboration to help states fight anti-illegal immigrant ballot
initiatives through a $1.1 million grant from Atlantic Philanthropies.
Atlantic Philanthropies, created in 1982 by Charles F. Feeney with his
wealth from Duty Free Shoppers Group, Ltd., has given $3.4 billion in mostly
anonymous grants across the world to civil rights and educational causes.
Rocky Mountain News
Critics say some Defend Colorado money tainted
By Kevin Flynn
Rocky Mountain News
July 15, 2006
Defend Colorado Now took in thousands of contributions, large and small,
from earnest Coloradans concerned about the negative effects of illegal
But critics of the state group are saying that its outside money came with a
Its largest contributions have come from a national group whose longstanding
campaigns for immigration cuts, border defense and official English have
brought it some fringe and sometimes unwelcome bedfellows - racists.
It's a fact of life that hasn't escaped the principal outside donor, John
Tanton, a retired ophthalmologist and longtime environmentalist regarded by
many as one of the progenitors of the immigration control movement.
One of Tanton's many organizations, U.S. Inc., in his upstate Michigan
hometown of Petoskey, gave a total of $48,000 to Defend Colorado Now. That's
30 percent of the total of more than $161,000 the group collected in just
over two years.
Frequently attacked by leftist critics as a hate organization, Tanton's
empire of immigration groups attracts a wide diversity of supporters. He
can't help it, he says, if some of them don't like minorities.
"One of the hazards of holding opinions is that there are always going to be
some confused folks who share those views," Tanton wrote in a statement
posted on the Web site of his Social Contract Press, publisher of numerous
immigration pieces including some by authors who express white nationalist
or separatist views.
"The fact that there may be some misguided people who want to cut
immigration, however, does not mean it is an inherently bad idea, any more
than Mussolini's getting Italian trains to run on schedule serves as an
argument against well-run railroads," wrote Tanton, who didn't reply to a
request from the Rocky Mountain News for an interview.
The controversy that has dogged Tanton came to Colorado last week when a
Chicago anti-racist group, Center for New Community, issued a report on
Defend Colorado Now. It laid out connections between the Colorado leaders,
Fred Elbel and former governor Dick Lamm, with Tanton - and by extension,
with Tanton's fellow travelers.
Defend Colorado Now's political mission, to get Initiative 55 onto
November's ballot, failed when the Colorado Supreme Court last month stopped
its petition drive cold. The justices ruled the initiative violated the
single-subject rule for ballot measures.
But the failure led directly to Gov. Bill Owens calling the recently ended
special session of the legislature to deal with immigration issues. In
effect, Defend Colorado Now achieved some of what it was after.
"The 50,000 petition signatures we gathered made all this happen this year,"
Elbel said. "The voice of the people was heard."
As for efforts to link his movement with white nationalist and racists,
Elbel writes it off as scare tactics.
"In my opinion, people who rely upon racial attacks demonstrate that they
don't have a solid argument against reducing immigration numbers," he said.
Interest is environmental
Lamm also defended Tanton.
"I think the racism charge is bull----," said the former governor."The other
side has cried racism so much I am so tired of that. John (Tanton) is one of
the people who is pushing the envelope on certain subjects, but over my
years with John, I have had no doubt that his primary motivation is
Tanton's history indeed shows that he came to his hard-line position on
immigration from decades of involvement in the environmental movement,
particularly the Sierra Club.
He has known Lamm for nearly 40 years, and he followed Lamm as national
president of Zero Population Growth in 1975.
Tanton, 72, has been a Sierra Club member since the late 1960s and held
several local and national positions. His unsuccessful efforts to get the
Sierra Club to see immigration and population growth as one of the leading
threats to the environment led him to form the Federation for American
Immigration Reform - FAIR - in 1979.
Starting there, he went on to form or spin off numerous related
organizations, including those that push official English policies as well
as immigration controls.
One group he helped to form is WITAN, from an Old English term, witenagemot,
or a council of wise men. Its periodic meetings have included Jared Taylor
of the New Century Foundation and its white nationalist American Renaissance
magazine. The current featured offer on American Renaissance's Web site is a
report called "The Color of Crime" highlighting higher crime rates among
blacks and discounting racial bias over inherent cultural traits as a
Lamm said he is uncomfortable with Taylor's philosophy but doesn't see a
direct connection between Tanton and Taylor aside from attendance at some of
the same events.
"I know who Jared Taylor is," said Lamm, who in the 1960s was a civil rights
attorney for Colorado's anti-discrimination commission, and who was a
founding member and first vice president of the NAACP chapter at Berkeley.
"If there's an association there with Jared Taylor, if I were John, I'd
disavow it," Lamm said.
Comments seen as racist
In a memo to WITAN meeting attendees in 1986 aimed at fostering discussion,
Tanton made a number of remarks that critics took as racist.
One example: "As Whites see their power and control over their lives
declining, will they simply go quietly into the night?"
And, "Perhaps this is the first instance in which those with their pants up
are going to get caught by those with their pants down!"
Disclosure of the private memo was embarrassing enough to convince allies
Walter Cronkite and Linda Chavez to resign from Tanton's U.S. English group.
Tanton's far-flung interests also remain strongly in the environmental camp,
as well as purely local concerns. He helps to fund an effort to lessen
artificial lighting at night; research into birds of prey in the Great Lakes
region; to promote grazing native animals on dry lands in the western U.S.
and east Africa; and to install a statue to martyred Irish patriot Robert
Emmet in Petoskey, which is in Emmet County.
But the focus of immigration control advocates inevitably settles into a
discussion of culture - primarily America's white European culture and the
threat that Third World immigration poses from the standpoints of crime, the
economy and even religion.
Anti-Catholicism is a strong strain in the immigration control movement
because of the Catholic Church's liberal position on increased immigration,
particularly from Latin America.
Brenda Walker, a Sierra Club associate of Elbel's who joined in unsuccessful
effort to elect immigration control candidates including Lamm to the club's
board of directors in 2004, had harsh words on her blog on a white
nationalist Web site, VDare. Her claim is that the church needs Latino
immigrants who are more passive and unquestioning.
"Apparently, as good authoritarians, the Catholic hierarchy prefers
passively obedient parishioners -rather than educated Americans who are
capable of critical analysis," Walker wrote. "Credulous Mexicans fresh from
the pueblo are seen as ideal fillers of pews."
VDare is named for the first white child born in North America, Virginia
Dare of the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island, North Carolina. The site is run
by immigration critic and author Peter Brimelow - himself an immigrant to
America from Great Britain. His works have been published or distributed by
Tanton's Social Contract Press.
Another of Social Contract's frequent contributors was the late Sam Francis.
In a speech that got him fired as a columnist from the Washington Times,
Francis opined that western civilization couldn't have developed except for
the genetic traits of the white race - and that western values couldn't be
passed to other races.
He said the election of Barack Obama of Illinois to the U.S. Senate would be
"the moment when America. . . is transformed into the non-white multiracial
empire symbolized and led by 'people like Obama.' "
Ties close to home
But the closest ties between Tanton and the white nationalist and
segregationist movements is in his own office complex in Petoskey.
Wayne Lutton is editor of Social Contract Press. A widely published author
and intellectual on matters of immigration and culture, Lutton co-authored
with Tanton in 1994 a widely read book on the issue titled The Immigration
In a display of the strange brew of interests attracted to the book's point
of view, the foreword was written by the late liberal senator from
Minnesota, Eugene McCarthy, and the book was favorably reviewed on the Web
site of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.
But Lutton has been directly involved with white nationalists such as
Taylor. Lutton has been a speaker at an American Renaissance meeting and is
involved with the parent organization, New Century Foundation.
Lutton has also been on the advisory board of the publication of the Council
of Conservative Citizens, the successor group to the White Citizens
Councils, which fought desegregation in the south in the 1950s and 1960s. In
1999, then Republican National Chairman Jim Nicholson, of Colorado, branded
the group as racist and called on any Republicans who belonged to it to
Lutton also has written articles for the Journal of Historical Review,
published by the Holocaust-denial group Institute for Historical Review.
Lutton's articles haven't dealt with Holocaust denial, but with other World
War II issues.
Lutton deflected questions about his racial beliefs.
"I'm not involved" in white nationalist groups, he said. "I'm on record as
just being a conservative academic. I've been described pretty accurately as
sort of a right wing green."
Another source of left-wing criticism of Tanton is that his original
organization, FAIR, accepted about $1.2 million in funding between 1985 and
1994 from the New York-based Pioneer Fund.
The purpose of the fund is to "advance the scientific study of heredity and
human differences." Critics such as the Southern Poverty Law Center call it
a hate group because it has funded some activities of white nationalists
The fund defends itself on its Web site, saying it is simply interested in
discovering any scientific bases for differences among races.
FAIR stopped accepting money from Pioneer after disclosure of the funding
provided damaging publicity during 1994 California campaign on Proposition
187, which would have cut off social services to illegal immigrants.
California voters passed 187 but it was later overturned by a federal court.
flynnk@RockyMountainNews.com or 303-892-5247
Minutemen name rescued
IDOT workers keep it even though immigration group uses moniker
By Jason George
Tribune staff reporter
July 16, 2006
When the state's tow-truck teams found their Minutemen nickname increasingly
confused with immigration enforcement advocates of the same name, some
managers decided to steer clear of controversy.
But last week, Illinois Department of Transportation officials decided to
stick with the name motorists have gotten used to during the last four
decades, regardless of who else is using it.
During the last several weeks, Minutemen managers in the Chicago area had
begun replacing "Illinois Minutemen" patches on drivers' coveralls with ones
that say "Emergency Traffic Patrol," the group's original and official name.
Graphics on the lime-yellow tow-trucks that contained the phrase "Illinois
Minutemen" also were scheduled to be removed, according to drivers.
The public relations tune-up was an attempt to distinguish the
red-jumpsuited Minutemen, who patrol Illinois highways for disabled
vehicles, from other Minutemen groups who have patrolled the U.S.-Mexican
border for illegal immigrants and are a prominent voice for stricter
IDOT spokesman Mike Claffey said the Minutemen management took action with
good intentions, but without authorization from officials at IDOT's district
headquarters in Schaumburg, who learned of the changes from the Tribune last
"There was a proposal that was floated among personnel at Emergency Traffic
Patrol. There was concern that people might mix up the IDOT Minutemen and
this other group," Claffey said. "However, this proposal had never been
signed off on by IDOT higher-ups.
"Upon consideration we are not going to go in that direction," he said,
pointing out that most people can distinguish between the two groups. "We
feel very confident that the motoring public understands that the Minutemen
are there to help them when their car breaks down--regardless of what they
look like or where they come from."
Emma Lozano, director of Centro Sin Fronteras, which advocates for legal and
illegal immigrants, said the decision from IDOT headquarters was
"I wish they would have [made the change] because it would have shown such
understanding about what the immigrant community is going through," she
Lozano said the word "minuteman" has developed a negative connotation for
many Mexicans and Mexican-Americans, especially new immigrants who know the
word only from the immigration debate. She doesn't doubt that someone,
somewhere has mistaken the tow trucks for an illegal-immigrant patrol.
Jorge Mujica, one of the organizers of the large immigration marches in
Chicago this spring, agreed that it is confusing to have state employees
operating under the Minutemen name.
"Immigrants don't know that these [IDOT workers] are good people--just the
name scares people," he said. "They will think that state authorities are
working with immigration to get them."
Such logic is laughable, said Rosanna Pulido of the Illinois Minuteman
"This ought to be in some comedy show," she said. "Any straight-thinking
American-born person knows that the Minutemen are there to fix your car--end
Because of their rapid response to wrecks, the Emergency Traffic Patrol were
given the nickname "minutemen" in the 1960s by Erv Hayden, a Chicago police
sergeant who provided "eye in the sky" traffic reports for WGN radio,
according to IDOT.
The nickname stuck, and over the years the tow-truck drivers have delivered
babies, put out fires and saved the lives of countless motorists.
Zen McHugh, who's driven a Minutemen truck for six years, spent Wednesday
evening patrolling the Dan Ryan Expressway, as usual. He already had the
"Illinois Minutemen" patch replaced with the "Emergency Traffic Patrol"
version. McHugh said he would have missed the Minuteman title if it had been
replaced, but he understood the thinking.
No matter what he's called, he said, his focus will remain on clearing the
"It's like Lake Michigan: It can be calm, and then the next minute, we're
running like we've never run before," he said. "You don't know what's around
He then started up his truck and drove off to see what was there.
Virginia Guard Volunteers Heed Call to Scout Border
Worry About Immigrants, Terrorism Among Motives
By Karin Brulliard
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 17, 2006; A06
FORT PICKETT, Va. -- Staff Sgt. Michael Roush stood in the damp southern
Virginia heat and pondered the Arizona desert where he was headed.
On one side of the tree-lined road behind him, a Virginia National Guard
soldier playing the part of a detainee lay on his stomach as a colleague
frisked him. On the other side, a camouflage-clad sergeant warned a group of
soldiers that border-crossing migrants are driven by potentially dangerous
"It's a whole new ballgame for us," said Roush, 38, a veteran of war in
Bosnia and the Hurricane Katrina cleanup on the Gulf Coast. "Normally when
we go somewhere, you know who the enemy is. This one you don't."
When the call went out late last month for Virginia Guard volunteers to help
the U.S. Border Patrol stem illegal immigration on the southwestern
frontier, Roush and more than 300 others had signed up within days. Last
week, the first 120-person contingent arrived at this base south of Richmond
for basic training that included reading maps, treating wounds and using
rifles as splints. They were to leave this weekend for a two-month stint.
For Guard soldiers and airmen accustomed to hurricanes and war zones, the
border work is unusual -- part humanitarian, part homeland security and all
swept up in a political firestorm over immigration. But the Virginia
volunteers, some recently returned from Iraq, were firm that the operation
is crucial to saving immigrants from death in the desert, keeping them out
of the United States or some of both.
"Just people trying to make a better life," Roush said. "But you've got to
President Bush pledged in May to station National Guard troops along the
southwestern U.S. border with Mexico as a stopgap measure until more Border
Patrol agents are hired and trained, a plan cheered by border-control
backers. Although Guard members, who will be armed, have been assigned such
humdrum duties as building fences, manning surveillance towers and crunching
payroll figures, criticism of the deployment has been fierce: Some critics
decried the "militarization" of the border, and others denounced the
deployment as a misuse of overtaxed Guard forces or a token offering of
toughness that would be of little help.
The administration plan called for 2,500 Guard troops to be in place by July
1 and 6,000 by Aug. 1. By early this month, there were widespread reports
that not even half were on the border. White House and Guard officials
disputed that, however, saying the promise had technically been fulfilled --
more than 2,500 soldiers were inside the four border states by June 30, they
said, but most were still training.
As of Thursday evening, more than 3,600 Guard troops had arrived in Arizona,
California, Texas and New Mexico, National Guard spokeswoman Kristine Munn
said. About 1,400 were deployed in direct support of the Border Patrol, she
said; the rest were in training or at the Guard's four in-state
The governors of 30 states, including Maryland and Virginia, had agreed by
Thursday to send Guard volunteers, if asked, Munn said. Kevin Hall, a
spokesman for Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D), said Kaine agreed to send
as many as 500 troops after state Guard officials assured him that the
remaining force could respond quickly to hurricanes or other calamities. A
Maryland National Guard spokesman said the border states had not requested
The Border Patrol has touted the operation's success. Last week, the agency
credited the National Guard with helping agents detain 518 illegal
immigrants and seize more than 4,700 pounds of marijuana and 18.5 pounds of
cocaine. Guard support has allowed nearly 170 agents -- fewer than 2 percent
of the those posted along the Southwest border -- to abandon non-law
enforcement duties and return to patrol work, agency officials said.
"They have been instrumental," Border Patrol spokesman Mario Martinez said.
But not everyone is so sure. T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border
Patrol Council, said federal dollars would be better spent on technology and
more agents. The deployment is a "political showpiece" with minimal
potential impact, he said, noting that the Border Patrol said the Guard
presence will free up at most about 500 agents for patrol duties and that
some states are sending troops for just two weeks.
"There's only so much they can learn" in a short time, Bonner said.
For Virginia Guard members, the deployment is a good occasion to take part
in a national mission, represent their state and get hot-weather training
that could come in handy, Maj. Gen. General Robert B. Newman Jr., head of
the state Guard, told reporters here. The Arizona desert, Newman said,
"bears a whole lot of resemblance to Afghanistan and Iraq."
At the edge of a grassy field on the 45,000-acre base last week, soldiers
and airmen from units across Virginia toted dummy rifles and gulped water.
Among them were police officers and electricians, an Army band clarinetist
and a father of six.
For many, political tussles over illegal immigration seemed far away and
irrelevant. Staff Sgt. Darin Black, 41, a medic, chose to miss his first
wedding anniversary to go to Arizona because he is "a professional
soldier -- no matter what the mission." And Pvt. James Allport, 21, who
hopes to serve in Iraq, is taking his camera to Arizona because "it does
look nice down there, from all the pictures."
For others, the immigration issue played a part.
At one first-aid training station, 1st Sgt. Ward Moore watched as Pvt. Aram
Christopher knelt over a soldier portraying a person in shock. A trainer
barked questions: Should Christopher move the casualty's head to the side?
What if the casualty has a neck injury?
Shock, Moore noted, is a condition not uncommon in migrants felled by heat
and exhaustion. Training, he said, had included briefings on the border
situation: the drugs smuggled across, the empty water bottles dotting the
landscape, the so-called coyotes who promise clients a one-hour walk. And
the bicycles abandoned by people who set out on quixotic rides only to be
sidelined by rocky and scorching desolation.
"A lot of them have been sold a bill of goods," said Moore, standing with
his arms akimbo. He recently bought a time share in Puerto Vallarta, he
said, and saw muddy Mexican poverty around the corner from resorts where
employees wash the trunks of palm trees. The border work, he said, is a
Across the road, Roush watched Sgt. Timothy Bayless, 28, give a session on
"operational awareness." Roush, a police officer, said thousands of troops
along the border does not equal militarization -- it won't be "martial law
or anything," he said -- but it will certainly help close the border. And
that must be done, he said.
"We have a lot of drug trade that comes across there," Roush said. "We have
people that aren't able to get jobs here. It's not necessarily supporting
In the shade by the first-aid station, Cpl. Rick Sommers had joined Moore.
Sommers said he was border-bound for a host of reasons: He is concerned
about terrorism and drugs coming into the United States and upset about
illegal immigrants already in the country and the employers who hire them.
Sommers, a former firefighter from Appomattox, Va., said he has seen
firsthand the use of public services by illegal immigrants -- who, he has
heard, hurt the economy and use false Social Security numbers. The recent
retiree had been thinking about joining the Minuteman civilian border patrol
when the Guard called.
"If I did the things that they're doing, I'd be in jail," Sommers said of
illegal immigrants. "Enough is enough."
Austin Chronicle [July 7/8, 2006]
Laredo Overrun by Documented Politicos
BY DIANA WELCH
The House of Representatives brought the second of two field hearings led by
the House Subcommittee on International Terrorism and Nonproliferation to
Laredo last Friday. House Republicans called for the hearings after the
passage of both the Senate and House immigration bills, which are directly
at odds with one another. While the Senate's bipartisan bill (S 2611)
attempts to deal with the US's undocumented population while tightening
border security, the House's (HR 4437) puts border enforcement before any
kind of real immigration policy and is backed by 236 Republicans and a lone
"The purpose of [these hearings], titled Border Vulnerabilities and
International Terrorism, is to assess the threat of international terrorism
and scrutinize our nation's response," said House Subcommittee on
International Terrorism and Nonproliferation Chairman Ed Royce, R_Calif., at
the July 5 hearing in San Diego. The timing of the hearings, however -
before the congressional compromise of the two very different bills - has
caused many to call them nothing more than an attempt to whip up public
support for HR 4437 by linking terror attacks with immigration policy. The
hearings in Laredo, led by Royce, drew Texas Democratic Reps. Rubén
Hinojosa, Silvestre Reyes, Sheila Jackson Lee, and Charlie Gonzalez, all of
whom were agreed that the hearings were nothing but an example of, as
Gonzalez stated, "politics trumping policy."
Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security seems to be rendering the
House's hullabaloo moot by progressing full_steam ahead with plans to
militarize - and privatize - the border. According to CorpWatch, DHS is
courting defense contractors for help with border security. The corporate
watchdog group quoted Deputy Director Michael Jackson as saying, in a speech
to more than 400 defense contractors and homeland_security industrialists,
"We're asking you to come back and tell us how to do our business. We're
asking you. We're inviting you to tell us how to run our organization." A
slew of private companies, including Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and, Ericsson,
are vying for a $2.5 billion contract for the Secure Border Initiative
Network, which will be awarded in September.
On Immigration, Liberalize to Crack Down
By Tamar Jacoby
Sunday, July 16, 2006; B07
The first House "field hearings" on immigration legislation have at times
seemed more like talk show free-for-alls than serious contributions to the
legislative process. Certainly this was true at the
session I attended in Laredo, Tex., where Republicans fanned voters' fears
by portraying the border as a "war zone" overrun by terrorists while equally
partisan Democrats gleefully bashed the GOP members for indulging in such
political theater -- and the audience responded in kind with alternating
bursts of cheers and boos. The Senate hearings, in contrast, have been
Even so, no one would seriously claim that the central issues in the
immigration debate -- the critical issues that divide the House and
Senate -- are being addressed, at least not yet. Most obviously lost in the
shuffle has been any real answer to the central question posed at the first
two House hearings: How do we effectively secure our borders against
terrorists and other criminals?
The House approach has been to stick to diagnosis -- mostly exaggerated
diagnosis of cross-border drug wars, gang violence and al-Qaeda
infiltration -- apparently in the hope that a remedy would suggest itself to
voters: sealing the border. The Senate, meanwhile, tried to change the
subject, focusing -- not wrongly but not quite aptly either -- on the
contributions of immigrants to the economy and the U.S.
military. If the public didn't know better, voters might think we faced a
choice: border security or economic well-being -- with no possibility of
But in fact that's not the choice at all: We can -- we must -- have both.
And the only way to get there -- the only way to gain control of the
border -- is through reform of the kind championed by President Bush and the
Senate that liberalizes our immigration law.
Liberalize to get control? No, it doesn't make sense at first blush. But
this is the paradox at the heart of immigration reform. Yes, our existing
law is inadequately enforced, both on the border and in the workplace. But
one of the main reasons for this endemic failure is that the law itself is
so unrealistically strict, so out of sync with our labor needs as to be --
like all unrealistic law -- practically unenforceable.
The best analogy is Prohibition: No matter what enforcement resources we
threw at that unrealistic ban, we couldn't make it stick. But realistic
regulation of alcohol use is another matter entirely -- easily achieved with
modest means, such as liquor licenses and import duties.
So, too, with immigration. As the law stands now, we admit only about
two-thirds of the labor we need to keep our economy growing, and the
additional third -- some 400,000 to 500,000 workers a year -- must get
here some other way, illegally. No wonder the Border Patrol is overwhelmed.
The logic behind reform is that if you create a legal way for these
now-illegal workers to come into the country you'll take the pressure off
the border. After all, once we've filled every available job -- every job
for which an employer can't find an American worker -- with an authorized
immigrant, there should be little incentive for other foreigners to risk
their lives making the trip. The bulk of those now coming illegally would
enter lawfully and be processed on the way in, while the illegal traffic
would slow to a trickle, far more easily turned back by the Border Patrol.
This isn't a new idea. The president rarely speaks about immigration without
talking about "taking the pressure off the border." But nobody at those
House hearings has seemed to remember the lesson -- or the
The person who first explained that dividend to me was a veteran border
agent in Arizona. "What if another 9/11 happens," he asked, "and it happens
on my watch? What if the bastards come across here in Arizona and I don't
catch them because I'm so busy chasing your next busboy or my next gardener
that I don't have time to do my job -- my real job -- catching terrorists? I
don't know how I'll live with myself."
The point is obvious enough: We need to take the busboys out of the equation
(by means of a temporary worker program) so that Border Patrol can focus on
the smugglers and terrorists who pose a genuine threat.
And, just as urgent, we need to find a way to bring the 12 million illegal
immigrants already in the country onto the right side of the law, creating
incentives for them to come forward, then registering, screening and, as
long as they stay here, keeping track of them.
The witnesses at the House hearings in Laredo weren't wrong: the criminal
"infrastructure" that has grown up to facilitate illegal immigration is
undermining our security, both on the border and throughout the country,
wherever these unauthorized workers and the forgers who cater to them have
settled. But the answer isn't just to crack down harder. It's to make the
law more realistic and enforceable by combining new toughness with
legalization and more visas for workers -- precisely as the Senate proposes
If only this summer's hearings would point policymakers in that direction --
if only House Republicans would go beyond exaggerated diagnoses to
solutions -- the political theater in Laredo and elsewhere might seem in
retrospect to have been worthwhile.
The writer is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute
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