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Items filtered by date: Monday, 02 May 2016

Recent federal data, examined by the press, proves that most immigrant children who arrive alone at the U.S. border and enter the U.S. illegally are placed by the government with adults who are also illegally in the country and, according to who you listen too, they may not be doing a very good job.
For several decades, the government has maintained it places these children with family and friends without regard to immigration status. But after the well-publicized surge in minors crossing the southern border in 2014, the government has avoided telling the public how many of these illegal entrants are allowed to live with other equally illegal adult immigrants.
Now, because of information obtained in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, the Department of Health and Human Services released data establishing 80 percent of the 71,000 children - primarily from countries in Central America - were placed with sponsors illegally in the U.S. The data was limited to times between February 2014 and September 2015 when the surge was greatest.
The Associated Press found that remaining 20% were placed as follows: “Six percent were placed with adults who had temporary protected status, which has let some Central American citizens stay and work in the country legally for more than a decade. Four percent were sponsored by American citizens and 1 percent by immigrants facing deportation proceedings.”
The remaining 9% were placed with sponsors with other forms of legal status or with those who have filed immigration applications.

Honduran immigrant children with woman 2

A pipeline of children invaded the U.S. on our southern border. From 2010-2015 over 260,000 illegal unaccompanied minors crossed into the U.S. Over 35% were from Honduras. Shown here is Alba Duarte, 33, (top left) of Honduras, doing the hair of Carolina Galeas, 26, also of Honduras as Catalina's daughter, Joaquin Galeas, 16-months, (right) hangs out with Anni Martinez, 5, at center. Many illegal immigrant children were placed with relatives who were also in the U.S. illegally. Some were placed with adults who were later accused of sexually abusing their charges or forcing them into virtual slave labor.

Tens of thousands of children from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala poured over the nation’s largely unsecured Texas-Mexican border in 2014, overwhelming border authorities, overcrowding government shelters and creating huge backlogs for immigration courts.
Once they crossed the border into the U.S. most of the children just turned themselves in to border agents, who in turn placed the children into the care of Health and Human Services (HHS). Caseworkers then screened and placed them with “suitable sponsors.”
“A lot of these kids, some as young as five or six, were told to ‘turn themselves over to border agents’ because the U.S. wouldn’t deport them; that they would be allowed to stay on humanitarian conditions. Some of them had parents just over the border in Mexico who encouraged them to enter the U.S. illegally under the belief that if the kids were allowed to stay, the parents would get in later. It was a planned invasion that took advantage of our lack of border law enforcement,” said a border patrol agent who asked not to be named for fear of losing his job.
Many Americans place the blame for the illegal influx on Obama administration policies they feel encourage kids to leave their countries and come to the border. Republican lawmakers, in particular, have said “releasing unaccompanied children to sponsors who lack legal papers encourages illegal immigration.” The AP also said elected officials feel current border admission policies including the minor placements greatly reduces the chances the children will show up for deportation hearings as ordered by U.S. immigration courts.
Supporters of Obama’s policies insist the minors are fleeing violence and deserve to be granted asylum. These advocates say that the top priority for children, is to be placed with parents or close relatives to ‘stabilize their lives in the U.S.” Democrat lawmakers who have openly supported allowing the children to relocate in the country have used the argument that using the law to deport sponsors could “spook them from coming forward,” and put the children they sponsored at risk.
While it may seem incongruent, a sponsor’s immigration status is not considered a factor in determining whether someone can sponsor a child. The only requirement is that sponsors here illegally must submit a backup plan to care for the children if they are deported.
One senior lawmaker, U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman and Republican Bob Goodlatte, said he was not surprised by the data. He said current border security is largely a sham and blamed the Obama administration for failing to enforce federal immigration laws.
"Since the president refuses to enforce our immigration laws, unlawful immigrants in the United States consistently pay criminal organizations along the border thousands of dollars to smuggle their family members into the United States," he said in a statement.
On the other side of the debate was Democrat Rep. Zoe Lofgren, also a Judiciary Committee member, who told the AP that it was the government's responsibility is to find a safe home and guardian for children. Immigration status shouldn't matter, she said.
"If you were here as a legal resident or a U.S. citizen, you would petition for your child," she told the press agency. "Their only route is political asylum. It is not the visa system."
With two diametrically opposing views on the same committee in Congress it is no surprise it has been difficult to have any meaningful discussion on immigration reform must less implement any new legislation. This gridlock of attitudes is also playing out on the national stage as the presidential race heats up. Illegal immigration continues to be a focal point for the two eventual nominees and underscores the chasm of differences held by the two major U.S. political parties. While Republican frontrunner, Donald Trump, largely credited with opening up the topic of immigration and border security has repeatedly said he would “secure the border with Mexico,” and “stop immigration from Muslim nations” considered breeding grounds for terrorism until the “U.S. adopts better admission policies,” “deport those here illegally” only allowing them back in “under legal conditions.” Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, says she “would implement a pathway to citizenship for those here illegally,” would “continue to encourage immigration worldwide” and would “not order deportation for those already illegally in the U.S. except under narrow conditions.”
During the time period covered by the data and reviewed by the press, approximately half of the unaccompanied illegal minors were released to a parent while others were placed with siblings, aunts and uncles.

Illegal unaccompainied immigrant children were first taken into custody by the U.S. Border Patrol and later placed with other imm
To be considered as a sponsor, applicant must provide proof of identity and reveal any blood or legal relationship to the child and undergo screening and background checks, including fingerprinting. In some cases, the department's Office of Refugee Resettlement will inspect the placement home to determine if it’s a safe environment for children.
"The safety and well-being of every child in our care is of paramount importance at every stage," the Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement.
There are other well placed government officials who dispute this claim, saying the Department, under direction from the Obama administration have delivered children into the hands of bad people, even predators.
“Obama administration sent illegal immigrant children into “modern-day slavery” by turning them over to sponsors who forced them into child labor or subjected them to sexual abuse, members of Congress said in January of this year. The lawmakers demanded an explanation from top child protection officials about how the lapses in security designed to provide for the children’s welfare, occurred.
Congressional investigators found that “social workers didn’t verify many of the sponsors’ identities, didn’t make home visits as claimed and didn’t have any follow-up visits to see how the kids were doing.in the placements. They also ignored serious criminal records including child sex charges that should have automatically disqualified an applicant from hosting a child.”
Because of this malfeasance at the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement, the government delivered children into the hands of sexual predators, abusers or placed them into abject poverty.
Further investigations into the matter by the Washington Times provided two very specific examples of how badly the Obama directed program went.
One girl was sent to live with a man who claimed he was her cousin and who had paid to smuggle her into the U.S. It turned out he wasn’t related at all, but instead had paid to bring the girl — with her mother’s encouragement — on the understanding that she would become his wife. She became uncomfortable with their sexual relationship, came forward to report the real story and was taken into child protective services.
In another case, a boy was turned over to a man who posed as a relative, but was in fact connected to smugglers who forced the child to work almost 12 hours a day to pay off the $6,500 his mother gave to smuggle him into the U.S., congressional investigators said. That situation is so prevalent it has earned a name: debt labor. {By Stephen Dinan - The Washington Times - Thursday, January 28, 2016}
Dinan concluded that the administration couldn’t provide accurate accounts “for each of the 90,000 children it processed and released since the surge peaked in 2014.”
"Everything that could go wrong did go wrong," said Sen. Rob Portman, chairman of the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which conducted a six-month investigation into the government's handling of the tens of thousands of children who've poured across the border in the last few years.

Published in Politics
Tuesday, 03 May 2016 09:51

9th Annual Cruisers Appreciation Day

The Anchorage Advisory Committee for the Town of Fort Myers Beach and Matanzas on the Bay co-sponsored the 9th Annual Cruiser’s Appreciation Day Saturday April 2. The event showcases the Town’s 70-ball mooring field and facilities, and thanks the boaters who use it. The day was a huge success and could not have happened without the help from the following people and businesses:

Thanks to the following businesses for donations to the raffle: The Pierside Grill, Bonita Bill’s, Truly Scrumptious Café, Matanzas Inn Resort, Nervous Nellies, Skye’s Restaurant, Fish House Restaurant, Matanzas on the Bay, Local Color, Shipwreck, The Lani Kai, Castaways, South Beach Grille, Pete’s Time Out, Sunset Beach Tropical Grill, Bootlegger’s BBQ, Parrot Key Caribbean Grill, The Beached Whale, Zushi Zushi, Mom’s Café, Tiki Bar Island Bar and Oasis, Yucatan Beach Stand, Fish Tale Sales and Service, and the Key West Express.

Thanks to Awesome Sauce for their great music.

Thanks to Glen, Dave, and all the folks at Matanzas on the Bay who helped plan, set up, cook and serve food and drink.

Thanks to all the town staff, who set up and took down the tents and equipment and helped before, during and after the event.

And thank you, Sun Bay paper, for your promotion and coverage of Cruiser’s Appreciation Day.


Katherine Light, chair

The Anchorage Advisory Committee for the Town of Fort Myers Beach

Published in Letters To The Editor

In a revealing demonstration of how much illegal immigration has changed European politics, Norbert Hofer, the Freedom Party candidate who represents voters against allowing more so-called “asylum seekers into Europe came out on top in the first round of voting in Austria's presidential elections.
Hofer is expected to face Alexander Van der Bellen, an independent contender backed by the Greens, in the May 22 runoff election. The election verdict clearly shown in the graphic map above shows a wide-spread and popular dissatisfaction with the country's political establishment. The rise of populist parties has been stoked by increasing economic woes and the government's response to the refugee crisis that has polarized public opinion throughout the continent. The failure of Muslim immigrants to assimilate into Western society and the rise of deadly terrorist acts throughout Europe has given birth to this movement aimed at preserving European culture, prosperity and security.
Until now, Austria has been ruled by a coalition of two parties — the center-left Social Democrats and the center-right People's Party. But this recent was a clear referendum on their continued rule. Mirroring what is happening in other European nations and in America’s Presidential campaign the long-ruling political establishment is losing support from the people. In Austria, for example, the coalition parties only received 20 percent of the vote, compared with 80 percent six years ago.
"This is the beginning of a new political era," said Heinz-Christian Strache, leader of the Freedom Party.
In a tweet by Marine Le Pen, leader of France's far-right National Front, which is also poised for similar electoral gains in France. Le Pen went on to extol the rise of "patriotic" movements throughout Europe.
Translated the tweet essentially congratulates the choice by Austrian voters to and calls their choice of Hofer “magnificent.”
Hofer’s worldview is increasingly in line with the people of Europe who, by their vote, are sending the message that they agree with the charismatic leader’s ideas. He wants Austria to leave the European Union, just as Great Britain is considering a “Brexit.” He also supports banning headscarves worn by Muslim women and stopping all foreigners from receiving benefits through Austria's social welfare system.
Austria’s vote is seen by many as another “canary in the coalmine,” meaning it is expected that voters will continue to vote against establishment candidates they see as selling out to liberal ideology by favoring open immigration and borders.

Published in Politics

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