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Archive for March 3rd, 2011

Texas Mulls Arizona-Style Illegal Immigration Law

Posted by Administrator on March 3, 2011

Authorities check vehicles for illegal immigrants and contraband at a roadside checkpoint on June 1, 2010. (credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Authorities check vehicles for illegal immigrants and contraband at a roadside checkpoint on June 1, 2010. (credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)


State and local police officers would be allowed — but not required — to help enforce federal immigration laws under a compromise plan working its way through the Texas Legislature.

The bill is a far cry from some of the harsh crackdowns some lawmakers proposed, but it still sparked often emotional testimony in a House committee Wednesday night. Dozens of supporters and detractors packed a hearing room outside the Texas Capitol, eager for a chance to air their views despite the late hour.

Supporters generally said the legislation would help police identify illegal immigrants who commit crimes in Texas. Critics said it would lead to racial profiling, detract from real police work and give license to rogue agents who want to harass immigrants.

The bill’s author, Republican Rep. Burt Solomons, said it would prohibit so-called “sanctuary cities” and law enforcement entities from adopting policies that keep police and criminal investigators from providing immigration enforcement assistance. Republican Gov. Rick Perry put the issue on the fast track at the Capitol after making it a major theme of his 2010 re-election campaign.

Unlike Arizona’s new immigration law, parts of which are being challenged in court, the legislation known as House Bill 12 does not require police officers to inquire about immigration status or enforce federal laws when people are detained. But the bill would not allow any law enforcement agency from adopting policies that prohibit them from doing so. Solomons said his proposal would establish a “uniform consistent policy” across the state.

“There’s nothing in this bill that requires a police officer to ask one question that they don’t think they need to ask,” Solomons said. “We’re not mandating anything.”

It would allow police to ask about immigration status, maintain records of it and work with federal agents on immigration matters when people are “lawfully detained for the investigation of a criminal offense or arrested.” Other legislation similar to the Arizona law was also proposed, but Perry’s office has been working with Solomons on the compromise bill. The legislation was left pending in a House committee Wednesday night, but other bills were being debated, including one that would make English the official language and create a state database of illegal immigrants arrested in Texas.

An estimated 1.6 million illegal immigrants are in Texas, according to the Pew Hispanic Center in Washington. Nationwide, their numbers declined between 2007 and 2009, from 12 million to 11.1 million, the first significant drop after two decades of growth. But their combined population in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana went up by a statistically significant 240,000, the center reported last month.

Immigration curbs have caught fire nationwide. In 2010, a record number of laws and resolutions were passed by state legislatures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which calculated that 46 states and the District of Columbia had passed 346 measures, with an additional 10 having fallen from gubernatorial vetoes.

Former Houston police officer Rick Salter, who was shot in the face by an illegal immigrant in 2009 and who now speaks through paralyzed vocal chords, was among those urging lawmakers to pass HB 12 Wednesday night. His wife, Sue Salter, broke down in tears when it was her turn to speak.

“We’re not worried about the safety of our own citizens in our wonderful state of Texas,” she said. “You won’t know that until you’re slapped in the face by something that happens to you by an illegal immigrant.”

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo, arguing against the legislation, said he sympathized with victims of crime by illegal immigrants. But he said local police already are helping federal officials prosecute and deport illegal immigrants without getting mandates from the state.

“We are leading through emotion and politics instead of good public policy,” Acevedo said.

Other critics said the bill could allow local police agencies, including those run by school districts and college campuses, to become de-facto immigration enforcement agents. Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, said the legislation would let rank-and-file police officers spend all the time they want enforcing immigration laws even if their supervisors don’t want them to.

“This officer … is given the authority to say to the police chief, to the mayor, to the City Council: I don’t care how much time it takes, you can’t stop me from doing this,” Turner said.

Source: http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2011/03/03/texas-mulls-arizona-style-illegal-immigration-law/


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How Kalonzo sought US help to edge Kibaki out

Posted by Administrator on March 3, 2011

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 3 – The latest secret US cables released by WikiLeaks show that Kalonzo Musyoka wanted former US President George W. Bush to prevail upon President Mwai Kibaki to step down in his favour on medical grounds, shortly before the 2007 General Elections.

In a candid conversation during a private lunch with US Ambassador Michael Ranneberger at the height of the campaigns, the cable shows that Mr Musyoka was increasingly concerned about the President’s health and wanted President Bush to call and urge him to step down in his favour.

Mr Musyoka was mainly concerned that should President Kibaki experience health problems, the electoral process would be plunged into a crisis.

“Musyoka expressed concerns about the health of President Kibaki and the negative impact on the electoral process should Kibaki experience a health crisis before the elections,” the unflattering dossier on WikiLeaks reveals.

“Musyoka seriously suggested that President Bush should call President Kibaki to urge him to step aside,” the cable adds.  It’s not clear if President Bush ever placed the call to President Kibaki since he went ahead to contest the poll.

Mr Ranneberger reported to his superiors in Washington through the secret diplomatic cables that if President Kibaki stepped aside, Mr Musyoka was confident that he would receive the support the President enjoyed from Central Kenya and other parts of the country.

“If President Kibaki were to pull out, Mr Musyoka contended, he would receive much of the support President Kibaki had received (based on the traditional close ties between President Kibaki’s Kikuyu community and Mr Musyoka’s much smaller Kamba community),” Mr Ranneberger wrote at the time in what is detailed in the cable headlined: Kalonzo’s campaign strategy.”

The cable says Mr Musyoka was at the time sure he could not win the election and prepared to form a coalition government with President Kibaki in order to defeat Raila Odinga’s quest for the top job.

“The bottom line is that Mr Musyoka realizes he has no chance to win the election this round and sees his campaign as a prelude to running again for President in 2012 – but at that time with support of the dominant Kikuyu community,” Mr Ranneberger wrote in the cable released on WikiLeaks on Thursday morning.

“This means that Mr Musyoka will support President Kibaki if it looks like he will win the election and be prepared to tilt the balance after the election through participation in a coalition government.

As the conversation developed, Mr Ranneberger wrote “it became clear that Mr Musyoka sees himself in the pivotal role of spoiler/kingmaker.  Having broken with Mr Odinga on bitter terms, he sees no possibility of working with him.”

“President Kibaki will need to form a coalition government if he is elected, and I am ready to participate,” Mr Musyoka declared.

Mr Musyoka eventually cut a deal with President Kibaki and was named his Vice President.

It has also emerged that Mr Ranneberger told Washington that Mr Musyoka had confided in him that he was much more comfortable with President Kibaki winning another five-year term instead of having Mr Odinga as President.

Mr Ranneberger paints a grim picture of Mr Musyoka as a Presidential candidate who “offered nothing concrete, instead focusing on a litany of complaints about President Kibaki and the other main presidential aspirant, Raila Odinga (ODM).”

The cables reveals that Mr Musyoka had told Mr Ranneberger he feared that “if elected, “Mr Odinga would become another [Venezuelan President Hugo] Chavez because he was heavily influenced by socialism during his studies as a teenager in East Germany.”

“He also argued that the election of Mr Odinga would lead to substantial instability fomented by President Kibaki’s ethnic Kikuyu supporters,” the dossier reveals.

Mr Musyoka however, appears to have been confident of Mr Odinga’s reform agenda which was also largely supported and anticipated by the majority of youth across the country, but he feared it too had far reaching repercussions.

“The youth, Musyoka said, believe that an Odinga victory would be a “revolution” (in the sense of dramatic action against corruption and improvement in social services and other areas) and will be impatient for results,” Mr Ranneberger noted.

That notwithstanding, the Mwingi North MP was however, uncomfortable with Mr Odinga’s secret deal with Muslims which was signed in Mombasa.


During the private lunch meeting held at undisclosed location, Mr Ranneberger revealed that Mr Musyoka had expressed reservations about Mr Odinga’s campaign platform of “Majimboism” terming it as “irresponsible and dangerous because it is fanning tribal sentiments.”

In its populist version, Majimboism means extreme federalism verging on local autonomy with ethnic exclusivity.

Mr Musyoka was at the time campaigning on a platform of “economic Majimbo,” emphasizing fair distribution of national resources, but not outright federalism, according to WikiLeaks.

But in Mr Ranneberger’s assessment, he concludes that: “Though Musyoka presents himself as a born-again Christian with the purest of political intentions, keen observers see Mr Musyoka as largely an opportunist interested primarily in advancing his political ambitions.”

Read more: http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/Kenyanews/How-Kalonzo-sought-US-help-to-edge-Kibaki-out-11910.html#ixzz1FXecAHVI

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