Editors comments in bold.
From an A.P. story we learn that members of congress-- you know, the ones we elect to look out for our (constituents) best interests--are just getting around to realizing that allowing our rule of law to be trashed could prove to be dangerous for Americans - The arrest at a Texas airport of a woman with an altered passport and muddy clothes has led some members of Congress (why not all members of Congress, like our so-called representative Kolbe?) to demand that the Department of Homeland Security detain all non-Mexican immigrants caught entering the country illegally.
Why not detain all people who attempt to break our laws? Why do Mexicans get preferential treatment? What is this, affirmative action for criminals now? Are we not in a war on terror? Yet we discriminate between friendly illegal invaders and un-friendly illegal invaders?
The lawmakers contend terrorists could be among the thousands of non-Mexican immigrants who are arrested then released into the country on their own recognizance while they await deportation hearings.
But before releasing a detainee, officers are required to confirm the illegal alien’s identity and run a background check to ensure the illegal alien doesn’t pose a safety risk or threats to national security, immigration officials said.
You mean we have a federal law enforcement agency that actually allows people to break the law? Well, bank robbers should line up for their fair share of the loot, and demand equal protection.
Farida Goolam Mohamed Ahmed, 48, tried to board a flight in McAllen, Texas, near the U.S.-Mexico border, on July 19 with a passport missing three double-sided pages. She arrived in Mexico from London, then crossed into the United States, apparently by wading across the Rio Grande, a federal affidavit said.
She was charged with illegal entry into the United States, falsifying information and falsifying a passport. She is being held by federal authorities who are investigating whether she has any links to terror activities or groups.
A federal law enforcement official told The Associated Press that Border Patrol agents learned the FBI was interested in Ahmed after a Border Patrol supervisor called the FBI about the woman. Checks of her name in the multiple databases used by the Border Patrol did not produce any “hits.”
The FBI refused to answer questions about why the woman’s name was not in databases available to border agents.
Of course, now we accept that federal law enforecent agencies can refuse to release information, to answer questions asked by the media or citizens--they do work for us don’t they? To whom are they accountable?
“While we are thankful that law enforcement personnel prevented her from boarding that plane, the incident raises a larger issue, specifically, whether terrorists from the Middle East are using our inadequately patrolled land borders with Canada and Mexico for easy entry into the United States,” Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., said in a letter sent Tuesday to Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. Tancredo, one of Congress’ most vocal critics of U.S. immigration laws, was one of 12 lawmakers who signed the letter.
Nathan Selzer, an immigration advocate based in Harlingen, Texas, said lawmakers are exploiting fears of terrorism stirred by Ahmed’s arrest to accomplish their political or anti-immigrant agendas.
Nathan Selzer should be arrested and held as a subversive attempting to accomplish his political reconquista agenda supporting a serious pro-criminal agenda that seriously undermines national security.
Between Sept. 1, 2003, and Aug. 2, the Border Patrol arrested 57,633 migrants who were not Mexican, said Mario Villarreal, spokesman for Customs and Border Patrol, a Homeland Security agency. Of those, 23,322 were released on their own recognizance to await deportation hearings, he said.
Congress gave the Department of Homeland Security enough money this fiscal year to keep 19,444 immigrants a day in jails or prisons. The agency keeps an average of 21,000 to 22,000 people a day in custody, said Russ Knocke, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman. Keeping everyone who is captured behind bars would require more money for additional jail space, he said.
The vast majority of the detained non-Mexican immigrants, which the agency classifies as “other than Mexican,” are from countries in the Western Hemisphere, such as Canada, Guatemala, Brazil, El Salvador and Honduras, Villarreal said. He would not provide a list of the countries of origin of the non-Mexican migrants released or how many were arrested each year from each country.
There you go, another example of a public servant refusing to tell the truth.
Republican U.S. Rep. Henry Bonilla, whose South Texas district contains 800 miles of the U.S.-Mexican border, said immigration officials in the field may not have the information they need to know whether it’s safe to release a migrant.
Wait a minute! The law says it’s never O.K. to release an illegal alien, they must all be deported! None of them are to be released into the country. That’s what ICE is mandated to do--stop illegal immigration.
“You never know if one or two might be programmed to beat the system. You just don’t know,” Bonilla said.
Laredo Mayor Betty Flores said a Border Patrol chief told her Wednesday that the government would release about 80 “other than Mexican” detainees a day until they got the prison population under control.
“Here we are deporting the Mexicans who want to work, penalizing them, and having these double standards for everybody else,” Flores said. “Then there’s Tom Ridge talking about security on the border. How can we have security on the border if we’re turning back Mexicans, but we’re not sending back people from other countries?”
President Bush, Where are you?
11 more invaders were discovered in a lay-up area near Tombstone last Friday morning. You can see they were well dressed and ready to blend in. None of the 11 carried backpacks suggesting they were transported to the location and told to wait for another ride.
Between Sept. 1, 2003 and Aug. 2, the Border Patrol has arrested 57,633 people illegally entering the country who were not Mexican. Over 9,400 of those caught are convicted criminals. President Bush, Tom Ridge and Janet Napolitano feel that American citizens victimized by these criminals are expendable casualties.
The photo below shows Border Patrol rounding up a group of 20 illegals in a field just behind a seniors’ retirement community in Bisbee on Tuesday morning.
Earlier this year, an international task force dubbed Operation Crevice arrested members of a bomb-making ring in London. During the investigation, officials overheard statements that there were Jihadis in Mexico awaiting entry into the U.S. That coincided with vague warnings from European imams about attacks before the elections. As a result of this intelligence, surveillance of border traffic from Mexico has been increased.
And that’s just what CHD has observed over the past few weeks. Each time we have observed groups approaching the “line” from Mexico in what was once a virtually unguarded section of the border, we hear on the scanner they are being watched by Border Patrol.
The past two weekends CHD has observed 6 large groups attempting to enter the U.S. illegally and border patrol has held them on the other side -just what we have been asking for. Thanks to all the Border Patrol agents out of the Naco station who have been doing a superb job of keeping these criminals on the other side of the line. Now all we need is the support of President Bush and congress.
One of the Constitution Party's newest billboards is on Wade Hampton Blvd in Greenville near Bob Jones University.
By Mrs. Kris Langville For the Constitution Party
“STOP ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION!” – That is the message of the Constitution Party’s newest billboards in the South Carolina Upstate promoting their candidate Patrick Tyndall for the U.S. Senate. Tyndall is a Research & Development engineer at a large automotive manufacturer, a former pastor, and the father of five home-schooled children.
Millions of illegal aliens are already in the United States, and thousands more are teeming across our undefended borders every day. Tyndall discusses some of the grave consequences of illegal immigration:
“Of course many of them are here just looking for a better way of life, and many of them do work hard. But every illegal alien working here has a job that an American used to have, a job that an American ought to have. And those Americans who are fortunate enough to still have a job are seeing their wages driven ever downward by the vast number of illegal aliens in the job market.
Illegal immigration is costing American taxpayers billions of dollars per year in education, law enforcement, courts, prisons, health care, etc. In addition, illegal aliens send much of their earnings back to their home country — $14 billion annually to Mexico alone! Money that should have been spent in the United States, strengthening American communities.
Our undefended borders also represent a serious threat to the security of the United States. Terrorists from all over the world can easily gain entry into the U.S. by simply walking across the Mexican border into Arizona – already illegal immigrants from 26 different countries (including Middle Eastern countries) have been apprehended in southern Arizona.
For the future of America, we MUST secure our borders and deport illegal aliens now.”
Ted Adams, Constitution Party State Chairman, points out that Tyndall is the only U.S. Senate candidate in South Carolina who is actively opposing illegal immigration. “None of the other candidates will even mention it,” says Adams, “They pretend that the problem doesn’t even exist. The American people know better, and the vast majority of Americans want immigration control NOW.”
Tyndall invites interested citizens to join him in putting up more billboards across South Carolina. Contact Tyndall’s campaign staff at 864-246-1000.
The Associated Press
PHOENIX - A national group is disputing a study that claims Arizona's Structured English Immersion students learn faster than those in bilingual classes.
A study released Thursday by the Arizona Department of Education showed that Stanford 9 scores of students in immersion classes were higher than bilingual education students in every grade level between second and eighth in reading, language and math.
National Association for Bilingual Education officials called the study "irresponsible," saying it does nothing to prove either instructional model is better and is not scientific.
The state insists the study, conducted during the 2002-03 school year, is valid.
James Crawford, executive director of the national bilingual group, challenged Arizona to fund a study that accounts for such things as level of poverty and students' initial knowledge of English.
ARIZONA DAILY STAR
A U.S. Border Patrol agent opened fire on a vehicle Sunday near Douglas after the driver tried to run over him, officials said.
The incident started at about 11:20 p.m. when two vehicles crossed the border. One of them, a Ford Excursion, got stuck in a ditch just north of the border, but it was pushed free by 10 people who had been hiding nearby, officials said.
The driver turned north onto Plantation Road, where the agent got in front of the vehicle and used tire spikes to deflate two of its tires. The driver turned around, drove off the road into the brush and then tried to run over the agent.
At that point, the agent opened fire, according to the Border Patrol. The driver was able to escape back to Mexico.
The second vehicle, a Dodge pickup truck reported stolen from Phoenix, also had two tires spiked. It stopped on a border road, and its two occupants ran back into Mexico.
By David Meir-Levi
FrontPageMagazine.com | August 9, 2004
Dot # 1: A Growing Threat in the Tri-Border Area of South America. (Terrorist and Organized Crime Groups in the Tri-Border Area (TBA) of South America. A Report Prepared under an Interagency Agreement by the Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, July 2003.)
Since the early 1980's, Arab terrorists have been sending thousands of their cohorts to the almost inaccessible jungle and mountain region between Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay (known as the TBA, Tri-Border Area or La Triple Frontera). Terror training camps and arsenals have been established, virtually out of the reach of local law enforcement or defense forces; and elements from Hezbollah, al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya, Islamic Jihad, al-Qaeda, Hamas, and the Lebanese Drug mafia operate in partnership, freely and openly in conjunction with local organized crime and corrupt government officials.
The TBA has become a virtual haven for Islamic terror groups and a base for terror operations against South American targets. The large and growing Arab population of these states (in excess of 750,000 by local estimates) provides a community highly conducive to the establishment of Islamic terrorist sleeper cells throughout the area. The attacks in Buenos Aires on the Israeli embassy (3/17/1992) and the Jewish Community Center (7/18/1994) are believed to have originated from terror bases in the TBA. Since the mid-90's, government forces have foiled many more terror attacks against American, Jewish and Israeli targets, arresting some of the perpetrators.
CNN reported that an Islamic terrorist summit meeting was held in the TBA in late 2002, to plot attacks in South America and abroad. Security forces believe that future targets include USA and Israeli government offices, Jewish community buildings, hotels, tourism centers, airports and facilities of multinational corporations.
The TBA terrorist haven also operates an immense money-laundering project, reaping profits from their partnerships with the FARC and narcotics traffickers in the widespread South American drug trade. Government estimates place the total amount of money laundered since 1992 at more than 172 billion dollars.
There is currently no effective surveillance or containment of these terrorist activities.
Dot #2: Increased Terrorism in northern Venezuela (U.S. News & World Report, 10/6/03, pp. 18ff.)
Another South American hub of Arab terrorism has emerged recently in northern Venezuela near the border with Colombia. Thousands of terrorists now occupy an unknown number of camps in that region, and move about with the support and collaboration of the Venezuelan government. President Hugo Chavez plays host to a growing horde of Middle Eastern terrorists from some of the USA's most notorious enemies, including Libya, Saddam's Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Pakistan. Thousands of Venezuelan identity cards have been legally issued to these foreigners. Such cards can be used to obtain legal travel documents and passports for unimpeded entry into other South American countries and into the USA.
These terror groups are known to work in conjunction with the Colombian anti-government insurgency group, FARC. They offer FARC terrorists safe haven in mountainous and unpatrolled regions of Northeastern Venezuela. They may provide Hugo Chavez with a covert force that can be used to support FARC against the Colombian government. Venezuelan cooperation with these terrorists may buy President Chavez a guarantee that terror assaults will not be perpetrated in his country.
Currently there are no known terror attacks that can be attributed to these groups.
Dot #3: Illegal Immigration at the Southern Border. Not Just Hispanics, Anymore. ("U.S. seizes 77 Mideastern aliens in southern Arizona," World Tribune, 8/2/04; "Two groups of middle-eastern invaders caught in Cochise county in past six weeks," Tombstone Tumbleweed, 7/18/04; "Breaking silence over possible terror threat," Defense Watch, 7/23/04.)
American border patrol agents arrested 158 illegal aliens in Cochise County, Arizona, on 6/13/04. One agent, who speaks Farsi and Arabic, overheard dozens of detainees speaking Arabic in the back of the detention vehicle. He counted 53 of Middle Eastern rather than Hispanic origin. His superiors told him to keep that information to himself; but he reported it to the local newspaper, the Tombstone Tumbleweed.
Just one week later, on June 21, 2004, another group of illegals were apprehended, including 24 Arabic speaking men. But at least as many or more escaped apprehension and disappeared into the United States.
Border Patrol officials deny that there have been any Middle Eastern illegals among those arrested, but individual arresting officers attest to the accuracy of that ethnic description.
Upon deeper investigation, the Tumbleweed editor learned that since October 1, 2003, Arizona border patrol agents have arrested 5,510 illegals from countries other than Mexico, Central and South America. In addition, the arresting officers noted that all of the Middle Eastern illegals sported identical haircuts and moustaches; and while their clothes were the typical illegal immigrant jeans, baseball caps and jerseys, the Middle Easterners all wore brand new clothes, still spiffy looking and clean (quite the opposite of the usual rather frazzled appearance of illegals).
Connecting the Dots:
But not when it comes to their countrymen on death row in the United States
By IOAN GRILLO
Chronicle Foreign Service
MEXICO CITY - When some people in Mexico's crime-ridden capital were asked what should be done with kidnappers and rapists, they replied in no uncertain terms.
"Why waste money keeping the rats in prison? Just hang them up and let them die slowly," said Francisco Ramirez, 37, a stocky salesman hawking cable TV packages in a downtown shopping mall.
"Dispose of them," said taxi driver Rafael Galvan, 41, as he cruised past a bustling marketplace. "Garbage like them pollutes the environment."
Although Mexicans express opposition to the execution of their countrymen in the United States, many are supporting the notion of applying the death penalty in Mexico, which has been plagued by a decade-long crime wave.
Under current Mexican law, only military tribunals can hand out death sentences, and then only in cases of treason, premeditated murder and arson. In practice, though, no prisoner has been executed here in nearly five decades.
Mexico's influential Roman Catholic Church and politicians from all parties have long spoken out against the death penalty.
But a recent survey by the market research company Parametria suggested that attitudes among the general public have shifted. The poll found that 63 percent of Mexicans now believe that rapists should be executed, and 55 percent think convicted killers should be put to death. Several other surveys reported similar attitudes.
Some politicians and high-ranking officials have joined the chorus calling for capital punishment. Federal Attorney General Rafael Macedo de la Concha and Public Safety Secretary Alejandro Gertz Manero recently urged Congress to study the issue.
The increasing support for the death penalty follows a surge in public outrage over crime. In June, an estimated 250,000 people marched through downtown Mexico City to protest the authorities' failure to control lawlessness. Some demonstrators held banners demanding that criminals be put to death.
A crime wave has engulfed Mexico since a 1995 economic recession threw millions of people out of work.
Many now feel threatened by the seemingly high number of kidnappings, murders and rapes in urban areas. Just last week, Mexico City authorities found the body of an abducted physician who had been honored for her work in rehabilitative medicine.
Across Mexico, 3,000 people were kidnapped for ransom last year, according to Kroll Inc., a New York-based security company.
"When I was young, it was safe to walk streets. Now, I won't let my children go out alone at night," said Irma Sanchez, 42, a maid. "If the criminals won't stop, I say we have to kill them."
Many analysts and politicians, however, doubt that the Congress will overhaul the nation's capital punishment laws any time soon.
Pollster Maria de las Heras said many people are displaying knee-jerk reactions to crime when they talk about putting criminals to death.
"People are angry and desperate," she said, "so when you ask them if kidnappers should be killed, they say, 'Yes.'
"But as soon as the first convict is taken to the electric chair and the first crying mother is shown on television, they will change their minds," she said. "Mexicans do not like violence."
Other analysts say that with the country's justice system widely distrusted, any ruling that condemns a prisoner would provoke a public outcry.
"While there are still reports of torture and forced confessions, it would be crazy for Mexican judges to hand out the irrevocable death penalty," said Rep. Eliana Garcia of the center-left Democratic Revolution Party.
Garcia, like many on the Mexican left, blames economic conditions for the crime wave. More than half of Mexico's 104 million people live below the poverty line, existing on less than $10 a day, according to the World Bank.
Opposition to the death penalty here also runs strong through the ranks of conservative politicians.
President Vicente Fox, a devout Roman Catholic, has expressed fervent opposition to capital punishment. In May, he sent Congress a bill that would prevent military tribunals from sentencing defendants to death.
Fox, of the right-of-center National Action Party, has also been outspoken in championing the cause of Mexicans on death row in the United States.
In August 2002, the Mexican leader canceled a visit to President Bush's Crawford ranch after the Texas state government refused to spare the life of Mexican citizen Javier Suarez Medina. Suarez Medina was subsequently executed for the 1988 killing of a Dallas undercover police officer.
After Suarez Medina was put to death, his body was returned to Piedras Negras, Mexico, where more than 3,000 people attended his funeral.
However, pollster de las Heras said the popular opposition to the killing of Mexicans in the United States is fueled by nationalism rather than opposition to the death penalty. Some of the same people who condemn executions north of the border clamor for the death penalty here, she said.
"When the victims are brought back from the United States, they are given a national hero's welcome," de las Heras said of the condemned convicts. "Mexicans cannot stand to see the gringos execute one of their countrymen."
SAN ANTONIO (AP) - Five federal prisoners, including one identified as a high-ranking member of a Mexican gang, escaped Friday from a privately run lockup near San Antonio.
Officials said the men apparently escaped while they were outside for an hourlong recreation period at the Correctional Services Corp. facility in Pearsall, about 50 miles southwest of San Antonio. Two perimeter fences were cut, said Lionel Trevino, Frio County sheriff.
"There was a lady that was driving down the street and saw them getting out from underneath the fence," Trevino said. "They just walked down the street and kept going."
Authorities launched a search for the inmates using helicopters and dogs.
John Butler, a spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Service, said the prisoners were in the pretrial custody of the Marshal's Service office in Laredo, which uses the jail under contract.
Officials at Correctional Services Corp., headquartered in Sarasota, Fla., did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
The prisoners were identified as Reymundo Flores Alaniz, 46; Manuel de la Fuente, 33; Luis Angel Garcia Esparza, 23; Jorge Arturo Castaneda Silva, 22; and Victor Hugo Nava Franco, 28.
Flores Alaniz, who is charged with heroin possession, is a high-ranking member of the Mexican Mafia with a previous conviction for murder, according to Department of Justice officials in Houston.
Nava was arrested for allegedly entering the country illegally, and the other three men faced marijuana-related charges, according to a Marshals spokesman.
By Jeremy Michaels and Peter Fabricius
A fourth suspected South African with alleged links to international terrorist organisations has been arrested in Mexico, the South African government says.
The 29-year-old, with a Muslim name, was arrested because Mexican authorities believed his travel documents were not in order.
This is the fourth South African - or holder of a South African passport - known to be detained abroad for suspected terror links.
Two Gauteng residents were arrested in Pakistan last week after a shoot-out at a house between al-Qaeda operatives and security forces.
A South African woman was arrested in Texas on July 19.
The latest arrest, on Tuesday, was disclosed at a government media conference in Pretoria yesterday.
Commissioner Rayman Lalla, head of police crime intelligence, said that as well as those being interrogated in Pakistan, two more were being questioned "elsewhere".
South Africa was trying to gain access to them. The government did not have "substantive details to say that they are al-Qaeda or not", he said.
He was trying to establish whether they were South African nationals or carrying false South African passports.
The Cape Argus reported last week that Farida Goolam Mahomed Ahmed, 48, had been arrested on July 19 after she attempted to board a flight at McAllen International Airport in Texas near the Mexican border.
She was carrying a South African passport with several pages torn out but no visa authorising entry into the US. She reportedly told officials she had entered the US illegally from Mexico days before. She was charged with illegal entry but denied bail as a potential flight risk and is held while the FBI questions her.
US Congressman Solomon Ortiz of Texas said Ahmed was on a federal terror watchlist, but federal officials have not confirmed this.
US authorities gave her address as Fairlands, Johannesburg. At her home, her nephew then denied she was involved in terrorism.
But yesterday Daniel Ngwepe, political counsellor at the SA embassy in Washington, said the embassy was trying to confirm whether Ahmed was South African. "The FBI is not providing us with information after repeated requests."
A Pakistan police chief said yesterday that the two suspects held there were planning attacks in South Africa, and two South African police sources said possible al-Qaeda targets identified had included parliament and the V&A Waterfront.
But government spokesman Joel Netshitenzhe said yesterday there was no truth to reports about plans for South African attacks.
Q: What's the difference between Ignorance and Apathy?
A: Don't know and don't care.
Arrest stirs fears on border security
Posted on Mon, Aug. 09, 2004
By John Moritz
Star-Telegram Staff Writer
McALLEN - The U.S. Border Patrol credits the astute work of its agents at McAllen-Miller International Airport for preventing 48-year-old Farida Goolam Mohamed Ahmed from boarding a jet bound for New York last month.
But a senior South Texas congressman says the bizarre sequence of events surrounding the woman's roundabout arrival in McAllen and her subsequent detention underscores the vulnerability of the border to potential terrorists seeking undetected access to the United States.
Ahmed had flown from South Africa to the United Arab Emirates, then to London and to Mexico City before being smuggled across the Rio Grande about 10 miles south of McAllen. As she was preparing to board a plane for New York on July 19, two Border Patrol agents stopped her and asked for her passport.
"They noticed she was acting in a suspicious manner, so they detained her," said Eddie Flores, a supervisory Border Patrol agent in McAllen. "Our agents are always on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary, anything that might pose a threat."
The agents at the airport found that several pages had been torn from Ahmed's South African passport. The document was not stamped for entry to the United States, and she had no visa.
A search of her bags turned up muddy clothing and boots, along with $6,300 in U.S. currency; 550 British pounds, worth more than $1,000; a South African Krugerrand gold coin valued at $400; and a few Mexican pesos.
Although the U.S. attorney's office says that nothing in the criminal complaint filed against her links her with any terrorist organization, Ahmed remains in federal custody without bail on charges that she violated U.S. immigration laws.
Cathy Travis, a spokeswoman for U.S. Rep. Solomon Ortiz, D-Corpus Christi, said her boss had been sounding alarms for weeks before Ahmed was detained that there is more to worry about along the border than undocumented workers from Mexico.
"He is scared to death that al Qaeda is using our border with Mexico to gain entry to the United States," Travis said.
Before leaving on a two-week trade mission to China, Ortiz told The Brownsville Herald that people with possible connections to terrorists have been detained after entering the country from Mexico but were released for lack of jail space. Ortiz, a 22-year House veteran and the senior Democrat on the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness, said his information came from law enforcement officers who patrol the 1,600-mile Texas-Mexico border.
By Anita Wadhwani
The Nashville Tennessean, August 4, 2004
The state Alcoholic Beverage Commission (ABC) has begun cracking down on fake Social Security cards, confiscating more than 800 in the past six months from restaurant workers who may be illegal immigrants.
Bartenders and waiters are required to get permits to serve drinks. ABC agents have confiscated the phony Social Security cards from among 4,000 permit applications since February.
On a recent afternoon, three waitresses chatted in a south Nashville Mexican restaurant waiting for an alcohol safety class in Spanish to begin when special agent Michael Cawthon appeared. He asked for their Social Security cards and immigration paperwork. "I'll keep these," he told one waitress, pocketing ID he suspected was fraudulent. Cawthon told the woman she could get her papers back by showing a letter from the Social Security Administration verifying her identity. Then Cawthon left, returning to the commission's office, where he slid the documents into a fat file bulging with hundreds of unclaimed fake Social Security cards, immigration IDs and driver's licenses. For now, no state or federal agency is following up by prosecuting people with phony numbers.
In Nashville, more than 20% of all applicants for drink-serving permits are submitting Social Security numbers that either don't exist or belong to somebody else, said Danielle Elks, executive director of the Tennessee ABC. When an investigator spots a fake number on an application, he calls either the waiter or bartender and tells them to bring in ID, which is usually confiscated on the spot. "Only one person has returned to reclaim her documents with a letter proving her identity from Social Security," Elks said.
In Knoxville, Chattanooga and Memphis, where agents first began scrutinizing IDs two months ago, about 75 were confiscated. "There's a problem out there, and this is just a small piece of it," Elks said. "But what we are doing is very specific to our agency."
After Cawthon's visit to La Terraza restaurant on Nolensville Road, the woman whose documents were confiscated left quickly and a half-dozen other students never showed up for the class, said Veronica Torres, an instructor. Torres works for SPIRITS, one of 10 companies registered with the state to offer five-hour classes required of anyone serving drinks. Torres surmised they heard about or saw the agent in the restaurant, which had no role in the class except as its location. "Class attendees work in restaurants and bars around the city," Torres said.
SPIRITS owner Martha Marston said she has suspended the company's Spanish classes because she feels they are being singled out for enforcement efforts. "I was told I need to have Veronica tell her participants they need to have a valid Social Security number, but not my other classes," in addition to asking the Spanish language participants to note the state their Social Security numbers were issued, Marston said. "It's inconsistent."
Elks said ABC verifies the Social Security number on all permit applicants and doesn't single out anybody. Most confiscated documents belong to applicants who identified themselves as Hispanic on their applications, but Pakistani, African and other immigrants also have submitted phony papers.
Cawthon was responding to a tip about Torres' classes, Elks said. ABC staff had found that 29 of 30 students in her recent classes had submitted fake Social Security numbers. "Neither Torres nor SPIRITS is suspected of any wrongdoing," she said.
ABC's increased document scrutiny was prompted by an incident two years ago. A permit-seeker had submitted a number belonging to someone who already had a permit. The Social Security Administration confirmed that the information was a fake.
ABC requested training by Treasury officials on how to spot fake documents. They got access to a Social Security database to double-check numbers. Elks began sending the names of applicants with phony documents to immigration officials but stopped because immigration was "overworked and undermanned." Lacking a large field staff, the Bureau of Customs and Immigration Enforcement focuses on illegal immigrants with felonies, immigration officials said yesterday. Similarly, the Social Security Administration focuses on workplace fraud and provides free Social Security checks to employers but does not seek out individuals using a phony number.
"Restaurant owners don't have the ability, time or money to check for fraud in the high-turnover industry," said Ronnie Hart, president and CEO of the Tennessee Restaurant Association. Elks said ABC would begin sending letters to people whose Social Security numbers were submitted fraudulently.
August 04, 2004
The following has been issued by Michael Anthony Peroutka, Constitution Party candidate for President. His Vice-Presidential running mate is Dr. Chuck Baldwin from Pensacola, Florida:
Pasadena, Md. "All the recent talk about the need for a so-called National Intelligence Director and other additions to the already bloated federal bureaucracy amounts to nothing more than just another reorganization of the government's organizational chart without the benefit of real change," said Michael A. Peroutka, Constitution Party presidential nominee. "One of the most important things the United States can do to prevent future terrorist attacks on our soil is to secure our borders.
"Sadly, not only has the Bush administration failed to do this, it has actually made the problem worse by floating a so-called amnesty program that would legalize 8 to 10 million illegal aliens," observed Peroutka. According to a recent article from The Washington Times ("Aliens program costs Bush," 8/3/04), the Border Patrol has recently said that Bush's proposal caused a surge in illegal border crossings from Mexico.
The article also points out that Bush's permissive attitude towards illegal immigrants has angered his party's conservative base. It also states that many disenfranchised conservatives fully support Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), chairman of the House Immigration Caucus, an outspoken opponent to President Bush's proposal who has pointed out that thousands of these illegals come from countries known to harbor terrorists. "I applaud the strong, principled and constitutional stance that Congressman Tancredo has taken in this matter. He has repeatedly warned the administration of the need to secure our borders and to deport the millions of illegal immigrants currently in our country and he is absolutely right."
Peroutka concluded by offering the following thoughts on the topic, "Bush's plan rewards those who have broken the law. It does not make our homeland safer; it makes it easier for potential terrorists to sneak in. And despite claims to the contrary, this will not help our country's economy, but instead will increase unemployment and adversely effect the median pay scale.
"As president, truly securing our borders and deporting illegal aliens will one of my top priorities."
The Associated Press
PHOENIX - Radar surveillance technology used at nearly 200 Air Force bases around the country is now being tested along the Arizona border as a means to detect illegal immigrants.
The system was developed under a contract with the Air Force by Scottsdale-based Sensor Technologies and Systems Inc. It's being tested for 12 to 18 months along the Arizona-Mexico border, STS President Walker Butler said.
The company has been doing trials in southwestern Arizona for several months and plans to add a site in southeastern Arizona within the next several weeks, he said.
Arizona is the only state on the Mexican border where the company is testing the devices.
Testing the technology is another component of the Arizona Border Control Initiative - an effort to add more agents and better technology to deter illegal entries through Arizona, the busiest illegal crossing point on the Mexican border.
The initiative already utilizes remote-controlled aerial drones and forward-looking infrared thermal imaging cameras to search for migrants and smugglers.
A problem with the Border Patrol's current system is that daytime and infrared cameras are fixed on areas where agents think immigrants will cross, Butler said. Unlike infrared cameras alone, radar can scan 360 degrees.
There may also be an opportunity to place the devices farther north of the border to detect migrants that may have been dropped off by smugglers, possibly reducing the number of heat-related deaths among immigrants, Butler said.
The technology is cheap compared to other options because it can be attached to camera poles - typically five or six stories high - already installed along the border.
Each system costs about $100,000, should the Border Patrol decide to buy the technology after testing is complete. Comparatively, the cost of using two unmanned aerial vehicles just for the summer is estimated at $4 million.
The Air Force has been using the technology for years to monitor ramps at runways at bases. Andrew Air Force base, where Air Force One is housed, is also about to add radar
LOS ANGELES (Aug. 5) - A Spanish-language reality TV show is offering contestants an unusual prize: the services of immigration lawyers to guide them toward a green card for U.S. residency.
"Gana la Verde" - "Win the Green" - began airing daily last month on KRCA-TV Channel 62 in Los Angeles. Owner Liberman Broadcasting also airs the program on its San Diego, Houston and Dallas stations.
"People say that our show is like 'Fear Factor,' but it's different because the climax of the show involves working," production manager Adrian Vallarino told the Los Angeles Times.
The show's winner receives a year's worth of help from attorneys to expedite the residency process, the Times reported Wednesday. There's no guarantee of a green card.
Contestants have performed stunts including gulping down live tequila worms, trapping a butter-drenched pig and jumping between two speeding 18-wheelers.
A U.S. immigration official warned against undue optimism for contestants.
"I don't think it's appropriate for me to comment on the premise of a television show except to say that they are holding out false hope to people," said Virginia Kice, spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, adding that it "sounds very much like exploitation."
The show has consistently reached an average of 1 million Hispanic households and last week was No. 2 among 18-to-49-year-old Hispanic viewers.
"If it's true what they say, that they are helping people get their papers in order, I think that's great," said Luis Sanchez, 24, of Los Angeles. "I don't think the show can hurt anyone. ... I don't think the immigration service is going to go after anyone because they are on the show."
Attorney Richard Sherman, representing Liberman Broadcasting, said contestants are made aware of the risks.
"If you're illegal, it probably would be better not to be on anybody's radar screen," Sherman said. "It's possible there is some risk of that. But I don't think it's going to catch the attention of Homeland Security. They have other things to do now."
Many of the contestants have student or work visas or have applied to become residents.