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This was last year (May 1, 2006) in downtown Los Angeles

 

 

Demonstrators
This year: May 1, 2007

Today here in Los Angeles traffic was unfortunately as snails paced as usual. Irritating drivers continued their ridiculously futile lane to lane dance, jostling for position in the hopes they might make it to their destination ten seconds earlier than the person they just passed, despite the fact that person will likely pass the moron who lapped them moments earlier. Semi’s blared their horns at idiots who hazardously dash in front of them. Little gardening trucks packed with Latino’s crowded their way up the carpool lane. All seemed as it should have been. There were no hints to indicate that anything out of the ordinary was happening today on this May 1, 2007.

This was a far cry from last year on this date. During the national “a day without an immigrant” (originally dubbed “a day without a Mexican” but other Latino groups balked at the self-centered label) the freeways were clear, moving at a brisk and extremely rare 70 mph and up. During the work week, speeds like this are unprecedented. May 1, 2006 even bettered most U.S. holidays for lack of traffic congestion. It was a welcome perk in the daily commute for most Los Angeles residents. Personally, I was looking forward to more boycotts and protests, if not for the better than average traffic, then at least as an alarm to the millions of American citizens around the country who were and still are sleeping through this invasion. Last year on their televisions they saw hundreds of thousands and millions of illegal’s all over the nation boldly demanding a right to be here and a right to blanket amnesty.

Since that day membership in the Minuteman Project has risen and the organizational support base of Americans for Legal Immigration has swelled considerably. U.S taxpayers interest and support for anti-illegal immigration has grown exponentially since the brouhaha of last year. The resulting increase in awareness of what is arguably the most detrimental issue facing California specifically and the nation generally, was a welcome development stemming from the legions of Mexican-flag-waving, anti-American illegal-aliens who have overrun the border.

Conversely, the unity of immigrant (presumptively the majority of which were illegal) pride in the one-day boycott made little overall impact in support of the illegal’s cause. Despite what activists would wish you believe, the economic repercussions were negligible. In fact, by shutting down for the day, by staying home from work or joining in on the festivities exactly one year ago, illegal-aliens and Latinos collectively boycotted their own neighborhoods and their own businesses, deleteriously affecting their own economy. They only hurt themselves.

But alas, it was not to be this year. In downtown Los Angeles as of this morning, no more than a couple of dozen protesters had arrived for the morning rally, and even the event organizers who were expected to attend had yet to appear (granted there might be a few thousand eventually, but it will still pale to last years turnout.) Whether illegal’s were too frightened to venture out as a result of the rising raids and deportations in 2006 (over 200,000–still a fraction of the over 12 million still here) or they simply felt the previous years demonstrations were counter-productive, hurting only themselves and their cause, one thing is clear: traffic sucked as usual today.

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From ImmigrationCounters.com

Number of Illegals in this Country – 20, 869, 818

Money Wired to Mexico Since January 2006 – $29, 249, 000, 000

Money Wired to Latin American Since 2001 – $259, 790, 000, 000

Cost of Social Services for Illegal Immigrants Since 1996 – $397, 455, 310, 700

Children of Illegals in Public Schools – 3, 992, 995

Cost of Illegals in K-12 Since 1996 – $14, 095, 672,000

Illegal Immigrants Incarcerated – 335, 392

Cost of Incarcerations Since 2001 – $1, 410, 101,000

Illegal Immigrant Fugitives – 645, 908

Anchor Babies Since 2002 – 1, 973, 786

Skilled Jobs Taken By Illegal Immigrants – 9, 927, 261

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Protesters demanding ‘rights’ for illegal aliens
‘We are indigenous! The ONLY owners of this continent’

Posted: May 1, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern

By Bob Unruh
© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com

Lining up behind slogans such as “IM A Imigrant” and the diatribe of a convicted murderer, demonstrators at hundreds of sites across the U.S. are using May Day to demand a long list of special accommodations for illegal aliens, and one group advocating for stricter immigration control actually is pleased.

William Gheen, the chief of Americans for Legal Immigration told WND that when such demonstrations happen, his list of supporters grows.

“We’re happy they’re going to march again, because our supporter base almost doubled last May [during the last May Day protests],” he told WND.

Demonstrations have been planned in Los Angeles, Phoenix, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Dallas, as well as other locales, with a slogan of: “We are indigenous! The ONLY owners of this continent!” signed by a group called stolencontinent.

“No human is illegal!” said another, and still another “Stand for immigrant rights.” There was a picture of a young girl with the words “IM A Imigrant” on her cheek.

The list of demands being distributed by the National Immigration Solidarity Network said all “anti-immigrant legislation” and “the criminalization of the immigrant communities” must go.

The list of demands also included a “no” to “militarization of the border” “immigrant detention and deportation.” Also “no” to guest worker programs and employer sanctions.

What this group, and others carrying the same message, are demanding is a “path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants,” speedy family reunification, access to all “civil rights” and “labor rights” as well as education and privileges for the “LGBT immigrant.”

“We are calling a national day of multi-ethnic unity with youth, labor, peace and justice communities in solidarity with immigrant workers and building new immigrant rights & civil rights movement! Wear White T-Shirt, organize actions to support immigrant rights! WE ARE ALL HUMANS! NO ONE IS ILLEGAL!” said the website, which offers translations into Arabic and several other languages.

But Gheen said such activities actually reveal to the population in general just what is going on, and the support builds for legal immigration then. He said for example, in just one area of southern California a year ago, those demanding all of the U.S. Constitution’s protections for citizens be granted to illegal aliens clashed three times with police.

WND also has reported that a coalition that put 100,000 marchers onto Phoenix streets for last year’s march demanding legalization for undocumented aliens is expecting to turn out only 5,000 to 10,000 participants this year.

The dozens of labor unions, church and religious groups and Hispanic groups that marched under the banner of the We Are America/Somos America coalition have fragmented this year because of differences over tactics, leadership and fundraising methods.

A bill, introduced in the House in March, would provide legalization, but only after illegals returned to their home country first. This “touch back” provision is opposed by the We Are America coalition, while others see it as a pragmatic compromise to get a bill passed in Congress.

Gheen also said the conflicts and confrontations reveal that “these illegal aliens are not our friends, and many of them resent and hate use for perceived historical transgressions.”

One of the rallying points being circulated this year is a special message from former radio journalist and Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted of drawing his .38-caliber revolver and shooting Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulker in the face.

It happened on the night of Dec. 9, 1981, when Faulker, then 12 days short of his 26th birthday and still a newlywed, spotted William Cook, Abu-Jamal’s brother, driving the wrong way down a one-way street. After Faulkner pulled Cook over, a scuffle followed and Abu-Jamal, who was sitting in the taxicab he drove at the time, ran across the street to the scene. According to prosecutors, Abu-Jamal, who was armed with a revolver, fired at Faulkner, hitting him in the back. The wounded officer turned and returned fire, hitting Abu-Jamal in the chest. Abu-Jamal then shot Faulkner in the face.

Abu-Jamal maintained his innocence and claimed he was shot by police as he ran toward the scuffle. He was convicted and sentenced to death in 1982, but he’s become a celebrity and a federal judge overturned his death sentence in 2001.

In a statement publicized by several pro-illegal alien organizations, he called for support for the immigrants.

“There are only two peoples living on the land we call America who weren’t immigrants – the Indigenous – so-called Indians – and African Americans who were dragged here in chains and terror,” the convict wrote. “Every other person immigrated here or his ancestors did from Europe, from China, from India, from Ireland and yes, from Mexico. Truth be told, America was a land of Spanish settlement long before it because English and there’s the rub.”

He said the “brouhaha over immigration” now is “mostly a fear of the browning of America.”

“Celebrate May Day by building workers’ movements. On the move! Viva May Day!” he said.

Gheen was upset over his comparison. “It is ridiculous to compare Africans sold into slavery, put into chains, murdered on ships on their way here with people who intentionally and knowingly violate our borders and break into the country every night,” he said.

A report in the Suburban Chicago News noted that the two sides cannot even agree on what to call the people involved in the dispute: immigrants or illegal aliens.

The protests and demonstrations aren’t for everyone, however. “We work. We have to continue to pay taxes so the illegals can continue to get their free benefits,” Rosanna Pulido, director of Illinois Minuteman, told the newspaper in Chicago.

Gheen also said the arguments over “civil rights” aren’t valid.

“No offense to the fine and law-abiding people of Mexico, but no Mexican should ever lecture an American about civil rights. We invented it and we are the home of civil rights. There have been no successful civil rights movements in Guatamala, Brazil, Mexico or El Salvador,” he said.

A website called Mayday Movement has compiled information about the various demonstrations and protests, and one e-mailer noted that he does look at the “human side” of immigration.

“They’ve stolen my neighborhood where I had a lovely home for 19 years, and planned to live there through retirement. … Gangs, illegitimate births, filth became the norm … Property values went to hell, crime rate went up … yep, I definitely look at the human side of it … they all cost me my life,” he wrote.

He cited a small protest in Houston that happened in the days leading up to May Day.

“About 300 to 400 participants beat drums, blew whistles and carried signs and banners along with U.S. and Mexican flags. One sign read ‘Today we march, tomorrow we vote,'” according to a report.

President Bush has lobbied for revisions to U.S. immigration policies and procedures, saying it is a “critical challenge” to respond to the needs of an estimated 12 million illegal aliens.

The demonstrations and protests are scheduled on May Day because May first is International Workers’ Day, which actually began in the United States in the 1880s with the fight for the eight-hour work day.

 

Local marchers join tens of thousands nationwide

By Times Staff Writers
2:08 PM PDT, May 1, 2007

 

Tens of thousands of advocates for immigrant rights took to the streets in Los Angeles and the rest of the nation today, hoping that passion would offset the smaller turnout from last year’s demonstrations.

As they did last year, demonstrators waved U.S. flags and declared their desire to flex economic muscles despite the sharply lower numbers at a time when immigration issues continue on the Washington agenda.

Along with marches in California, demonstrations were reported in New York, Chicago, Detroit and Phoenix as protesters demanded a path for citizenship for an estimated 12 million to 13 million undocumented workers as well as other changes being negotiated within a Democrat-controlled Congress.

In Los Angeles, a morning demonstration started on Olympic Boulevard at Broadway with a handful of protesters, but by midday at City Hall the crowd had grown to more than 10,000 people shouting “Si, Se Puede,” or “Yes, It Can Be Done,” the Latino rallying cry for political power.

“We have to show Congress that we’re good people,” said Blanca Duenas, who joined the crowd with her husband Jose. “We’re here and we’re not leaving.”

Los Angeles construction worker Andreas Meza, 41, was on his back waving an American flag earlier. A sign saying “Legalize Now,” was pasted on the banner.

“Government likes to have me like this. I don’t want to be like this,” said the illegal immigrant, who came from Mexico nearly 20 years ago. “I have necessities.”

The first of today’s two demonstrations gathered steam through the morning as it moved along Broadway, yet even at more than 10,000 strong it remained far smaller that last year’s demonstration, when about 650,000 poured through the streets of Los Angeles in the largest demonstration in the nation.

“It’s smaller than we anticipated,” Los Angeles Police Cmdr. Louis H. Gray Jr. said about 11 a.m. “Last year at this time, I’d say there were at least 300,000 to 400,000 people.”

Officials last year were caught off-guard by the size of the demonstration and were determined not to surprised again. Plans were made to close roads, the police presence was beefed up and some owners closed their stores along the march route.

The economic impact of the boycott was limited, though some stores in the area did less business than usual.

Los Angeles is crucial to any national turnout because Southern California is home to more than 1 million illegal immigrants.

Manuel Nunez, 40, a member of the Associacion Fraternidades Guatemaltecas, a network of hometown clubs that raises money for public works projects in Guatemala, said that last year all immigrants were encouraged to participate in the May 1 march.

But this year, Nunez, an illegal immigrant who works in the construction business, said people were told to participate if they could “but not to risk losing their jobs.”

Last year’s protests were emotionally fueled by Los Angeles students – united in an electronic web of cellphone text messages and e-mails. They fled their classes to march and clog roads.

This year, city, school district and church leaders urged students to stay in school, and the pleas seemed to have been heeded.

About 600 students had walked out from less than a dozen Los Angeles Unified School District campuses — far fewer than had been anticipated, the district reported.

The largest group, according to district officials, came from Garfield High School in East Los Angeles, where about 150 students left. Students from all schools were being escorted by either school district police or school administrators and there were no reports of any altercations or accidents involving students.

If needed, school buses will be sent downtown later in the afternoon to provide students rides back to their campuses, said district spokeswoman Monica Carazo.

March organizers said part of the reason for the low turnout was confusion over the starting time. Originally, the march was called for 10 a.m., with a rally two hours later at City Hall. Some people thought the march wouldn’t begin until noon.

A second march is scheduled for 2 p.m. beginning at Vermont Avenue and 3rd Street and proceeding to MacArthur Park.

In recent days, national organizers have been lowering expectations of this year’s protests, saying that nothing could match last year’s 1 million to 1.5 million demonstrators across the country.

Last year, Congress was considering a draconian law that would have punished undocumented workers and those who help them. While there is no agreement on immigration reform this year, none of the proposals are as harsh as last year’s.

Organizers also say there was a growing fear among illegal immigrants to express themselves, caused by federal raids across the country.

Immigration has divided the government and the nation for years.

At the center of the issue is an estimated 12 million undocumented workers; some sources place the number at as high as 20 million. Many U.S. conservatives oppose what they call plans for amnesty that would involve those workers getting a path to citizenship. A coalition including some unions and businesses favor some form of legalization.

Immigration reform failed last year in the Republican-controlled Congress, and the outlook is uncertain this year even with the Democrats in charge. President Bush has strongly backed immigration reform, often putting him at odds with lawmakers in his own party.

The Senate is expected to debate immigration at the end of the month with the House debate coming later. There has been no agreement on the contents of a bill, but there is agreement that immigration should be decided this year before it gets stuck in the presidential election.

The impact of today’s demonstration was unclear because the numbers were lower than last year.

In Chicago, tens of thousands of demonstrators were reported. As many as 10,000 to 15,000 turned out in Phoenix, while in southwest Detroit, which has a large Latino population, hundreds wore red and white and carried American flags to a rally.

In New York, groups planned an “American Family Tree” rally, where immigrants would pin paper leaves on a large painting of a tree to symbolize the separation of families because of strict immigration laws.

Two hours before the march in Los Angeles, one of the busiest places in Little Tokyo was the Starbucks at the corner of 2nd Street and Central Avenue. The large number of parking enforcement officers and LAPD bike patrol officers boosted the crowd, but a sizable number of downtown residents were also waiting in line for their morning caffeine fix.

David Morin, who moved to L.A. two days ago from Quebec City, Canada, was reading about the demonstration plans in the morning paper. Morin was among the lucky ones – his new job is at a downtown ad agency only a few blocks away. To beat the crowds, he said, his boss told him to come in early – before 8 a.m.

The crowd kept Gabriela Grajeda, a 25-year-old Starbucks barista, from getting an early departure to her classes at Cal State Los Angeles, where she is majoring in child development. She usually travels by bus to school but today she arranged to ride with a friend in case the demonstration disrupted mass transit.

Grajeda marched last year, but this year “I have classes and I don’t want to miss them,” she said.

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The inevitable has come to pass, and most of us who have been following this epic in the making are none too surprised to witness the imminent and much expected lawsuit arise as a result of obviously justifiable actions taken by US Airways regarding purposely inflammatory and choreographed maneuvers perpetrated by six imams on flight 300 last November, 2006.

I have covered this fairly extensively here and here and here and finally, here.

Commensurate to their modus operandi, the suit has been filed by The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the perpetually enigmatic organization whose dubious past and equivocal ties to known terrorists finds them conducting damage control on a fairly regular basis. Unfortunately, the resident climate of political correctness and all-encompassing multiculturistic acceptance fogs the minds of most western citizens preventing any sincere investigative spotlight from shining too directly and thoroughly on CAIR’s operations and business practices.

The November 30th spectacle was an effectively practiced performance designed to provoke a response by CAIR in order to concoct an Islamic civil liberties lawsuit designed to gift even more freedoms to Muslims and Muslim communities within the U.S. Due to the aforementioned state of the politically correct quagmire in which we now reside in the United States, I think it very likely the imams and CAIR will come out with a victory in this particular case, despite the cadre of undeniable evidence (and a plane full of defense witnesses who were on flight 300) as to the imam’s play-acting shenanigans before boarding the plane and during their short time on the aircraft itself.

Even in the justice-is-supposedly-blind courtrooms of the United States, no one wants to be labeled a bigot, or god-forbid, an “Islamophobe.”

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Press Release Source: Council on American-Islamic Relations

Imams File Civil Rights Suit Against US Airways
Tuesday March 13, 12:45 pm ET

 

Muslim Leaders Says Removal From Flight was Based on Race, Religion

WASHINGTON, March 13 /PRNewswire-USNewsire/ — The Council on American- Islamic Relations (CAIR) today announced that six imams, or Islamic religious leaders, removed from a US Airways flight in Minneapolis last November have filed a lawsuit against the airline and Minnesota’s Metropolitan Airports Commission alleging that their civil rights were violated.The lawsuit, filed in United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, claims US Airways’ alleged discriminatory actions were based on the imams’ “perceived race, religion, color, ethnicity, alienage, ancestry, and/or national origin.” It goes on to state: “Because of Defendants’ discriminatory acts, Plaintiffs were denied the right to make and enforce a contract, subjected to unlawful discrimination by a recipient of federal financial assistance, denied equal treatment in a place of public accommodation, and falsely arrested and detained by law enforcement officers.”

CAIR said the imams’ legal complaint, which cites federal statutes, the Minnesota Human Rights Act and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, also alleges: “Defendants, with the intent to cause harm to Plaintiffs’ reputation, maliciously, recklessly and without regard to their privacy and integrity, defamed and made false reports against Plaintiffs to justify their illegal action.”

In documents filed with the court by the Law Firm of Omar T. Mohammedi, the six imams refute many of the allegations repeated in the media about the incident.

For example, in response to claims the imams made political statements before boarding the plane, the complaint states: “At no time did Plaintiffs discuss politics or refer to Saddam Hussein or President Bush.”

According to the complaint: “This civil rights lawsuit is brought to ensure that the promise of equal treatment embodied in federal and state anti- discrimination laws does not become a meaningless guarantee for persons perceived to be Muslim and/or Arab and/or Middle Eastern.”

The imams are seeking compensatory and punitive damages, and a legal injunction to prevent future unlawful discrimination by US Airways.

    To read the full complaint, go to:
http://www.cair.com/pdf/usairwayscomplaint.pdf

“The decades-long movement to advance civil rights in this nation must not be sent into retreat because of post-9/11 fear and stereotyping,” said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. “When anyone’s rights are diminished, the rights of all Americans are threatened.”

CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: ihooper@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: rahmed@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: arubin@cair.com

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Imams sue over removal from plane

The six Muslims were barred from a flight after passengers became alarmed.

Last update: March 12, 2007 – 11:59 PM

Six Muslim imams ordered off a US Airways flight at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport last November have filed a discrimination lawsuit against the airline and the Metropolitan Airports Commission, claiming they were removed from the plane because of their race and religion.

In a 38-page document filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, the plaintiffs said they were “horrified and humiliated” after police removed them, under pilot’s orders, from the plane in front of dozens of other passengers Nov. 20 “as if they were criminals.”

Andrea Rader, a spokeswoman for US Airways, based in Tempe, Ariz., said Monday that the company hadn’t seen the suit and couldn’t comment on it. Nevertheless, she defended the actions the airline took that day after several passengers and flight attendants became alarmed by the imams’ behavior.

“This was an unfortunate incident,” Rader said. “But we do not discriminate against our customers or anyone else. The actions we took and the police took and the FBI took, they took based on behaviors that were observed. And they believed that was in the best interests of the safety of that flight. And we absolutely back those judgments.”

Patrick Hogan, a spokesman for the Airports Commission, also hadn’t seen the lawsuit, but said, “We believe airport police officers acted appropriately in responding to US Airways’ call for assistance.”

Airline officials have said the men were removed from the plane because of concerns about their loud praying, repeated use of the word “Allah,” seat switching, and several requests for seat belt extenders.

Over the next five hours the men were detained and questioned by federal law enforcement officials. The imams denied that they did or said anything that could be considered threatening, and were later released without charges.

Within days, however, the incident set off a nationwide uproar.

Bloggers and talk-radio hosts buzzed about the need to be vigilant against potential terrorists while civil-rights advocates and Muslim leaders saw the incident as racial profiling or discrimination.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) also called for a congressional hearing about ethnic and religious profiling at airports.

Omar Shahin , one of the six plaintiffs named in the suit and president of the North American Imams Federation, declined to comment Monday. Other plaintiffs identified in the suit are Ahmed Shqeirat, Mohamed Ibrahim, Didmar Faja, Mahmoud Sulaiman and Marwan Sadeddin. All but Ibrahim, who lives in California, are Arizona residents.

Omar T. Mohammedi, an attorney from New York City representing the imams, could not be reached for comment.

Ibrahim Hooper, national communications director for CAIR, said CAIR will discuss the suit at a news conference today in Washington, D.C.

Removed and handcuffed

In their suit, the imams seek unspecified compensatory damages from the airline and the MAC, claiming they incurred emotional and economic distress from the incident, which occurred after they boarded the plane the afternoon of Nov. 20.

The men were returning to Phoenix following a three-day North American Imams Federation conference in Bloomington.

The imams — prayer leaders — contend that the airline violated their civil rights by detaining them without probable cause, placing them under false arrest, and then refusing to sell them another ticket when they returned to the airport the next day.

They also contend that the airline failed to train its employees adequately to make them aware of religious practices, and unlawfully handcuffed them when no law enforcement agency requested such action.

The suit said they were told to face a wall and put their hands up so they could be searched and handcuffed. It also said the men were not told why they were removed from the plane.

When one of the imams asked a police officer what was happening, the officer said “I do not know. This is the airline’s call and not our call.”

The men allege that they were humiliated when police used dogs to help sniff out and search their belongings.

The imams were later taken to the Airport Police Precinct, where they allege they were questioned by federal agents — including members of the Secret Service — for five hours without food or drink.

They later flew back to Arizona on another airline without incident.

Passenger accounts differ

Pauline Klemmer, a passenger on the flight that day, said Monday that the imams’ account of what happened is “a total untruth.”

Klemmer said she believes the men deliberately acted out as part of a “repeated attempt” to weaken security and intimidate airline employees.

“They weren’t the victim,” Klemmer said. “If we had been afraid of them because of their race, or them loudly praying prior to them getting on the plane, we would not have gotten on the plane, and we did. They chose to make an obvious big scene.”

Rita Snelson, of Maplewood, who also was on the flight and sitting near several of the imams, agreed.

“I can’t explain it, but it was like they were definitely trying to raise suspicion,” she said. “The pilot did what he had to do, and we’re very honored by that. I told the airline afterward, ‘Thank you for watching over us.’ ”

 

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In relation to Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, the below article from The Monitor is quite telling. It appears a former border patrol agent by the name of David Sipe, who had been found guilty of excessive force against an illegal alien and sentenced to prison back in 2001, has now been acquitted of that charge due to information and documentation that was being withheld by the prosecution for years.

HmmmSound familiar?

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Border patrol agent acquitted in excessive force case
January 27,2007

Monitor Staff Writer

BROWNSVILLE — A former U.S. Border Patrol agent was acquitted Friday of using excessive force to arrest an illegal immigrant in a retrial of a 2001 case.

A federal jury said David Sipe was not guilty of using excessive force against Jose Guevarra on April 5, 2000. The case was first tried in front of Judge Ricardo Hinojosa in McAllen’s U.S. District Court in 2001. At the time, a jury found Sipe guilty after a five-day trial.

But while preparing for sentencing in the 2001 case, Sipe’s attorney, Jack Lamar Wolfe, found evidence the U.S. Attorney’s Office had withheld information requested before the trial.

Wolfe cited in a motion for a new trial that prosecutors had not revealed at least four pieces of information:

l A government witness’ criminal background

l Testimony favorable to Sipe by one of his former co-workers

l Additional benefits given to witnesses, like Social Security cards and reimbursements

l Pictures of the victim re-enacting the arrest for investigators

Hinojosa granted the request for a new trial on April 11, 2003.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office appealed the decision to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which sided with the decision for a new trial on Nov. 19, 2004.

Sipe and Wolfe started preparing for a new trial, but Sipe applied for a change of venue in November last year. The case was subsequently moved to Brownsville’s U.S. District Court.

 

Verdict Reversal for Ex-Border Patrol Agent

David Sipe is a once convicted criminal who can honestly say he “didn’t do it.”

“Relief. Relief. After 7 years, it’s gone. It’s over.”

The ex-border patrol agent gets a 2001 guilty verdict overturned in his retrial for civil rights violations against a smuggler. The incident dates back to April of 2000 in Penitas.

“He was striking me in the side… he was very close to my weapon… and I had to do what I could to control the situation as fast as I could.”

Fearing for his life, David subdues the smuggler by hitting him with his flashlight. It results in staples to the smugglers head. A border patrol investigation is launched and deems his actions inappropriate– even illegal.

“I don’t know how they’re able to do that… but I don’t think that’s fair.”

Neither did a jury who overturns his conviction from the first trial against him.

David says the government, who he faithfully worked under for nearly 4 years, turns its back on him while rolling out the red carpet, as he puts it, for the illegals turned witnesses.

“They got to stay here and work in our country.”

The smuggler even gets a government settlement.

“80 thousand dollars… he now has his own ranch in Mexico.’

As for David– he doesn’t collect a thing. In fact, his life and family gets ripped apart.

“My house foreclosed on after having to file bankruptcy, my children having to live through this… of course my wife divorcing me.”

Through it all, he says, justice is served. And while most about David is forever changed one thing returns and it’s most important thing to him of all.

“I have my freedom back. I’m a man of honor again.”

What lead to this morning’s “not guilty” verdict reversal against the former border patrol agent? Turns out his attorney says the prosecution in the first trial supressed evidence and lied about benefits given to “Alien” witnesses.

Attorney Jack Wolfe explains.

“They with-held evidence about their witnesses who had prior convictions…they didn’t tell us… they were supposed to tell us. In fact, they told us that they had no witnesses with convictions.”

A new trial was granted and David Sipe’s conviction was thrown out. As a result, Sipe is a free man and fighting to get his job back.

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I’m simply too exhausted to discuss this sad story anymore, but this somber tale refuses to offer even a spec of light at the end of a tunnel that grows darker and longer with each passing day.

Pathetic excuse for a representative of justice, Federal Judge, and cold-hearted justice-is-blind-and-obviously-obtuse Kathleen Cardone has yesterday denied bail for former border patrol agents Ignacio “Nacho” Ramos and Jose Compean, thereby eliminating the opportunity for these noble men to remain with their families during the appeals process. Ramos and Compean are beginning their decade long term in federal prison today.

How could Cardone make it any worse for the two family men? Why not send them 2000 miles away in order to make it intentionally prohibitive for their families the opportunity to visit their husbands, fathers, and sons with any sort of compassionate regularity.

But compassion did not exist in the entire case against Ramos and Compean. They were maliciously destroyed by our Government. All who were involved, even peripherally, should be forever ashamed of themselves and their conduct or lack thereof.

I’m angry. I’m sad. I never thought I would weep for people I’d never met.

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Border agents sent to prison
Angry Republican congressman calls President Bush ‘disgrace’


Posted: January 17, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern
By Art Moore
© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com


Former U.S. Border Patrol agent Ignacio Ramos embraced his wife, Monica Ramos, two days before he was sentenced to 11 years in prison (Courtesy El Paso Times)

Amid protests and a flurry of last-minute efforts by congressmen, two border patrol agents are scheduled today to begin long prison sentences for shooting and wounding a Mexican drug smuggler who was given immunity to testify against them. In an interview with WND, an angry Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., called President Bush a “disgrace” for refusing to pardon Jose Alonso Compean and Ignacio Ramos, who were sentenced to 12 years and 11 years, respectively, in October. With hopes for a presidential pardon dwindling, the lawmakers had requested that Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez assist in a motion to keep the agents free on bond during the appeals process. But late yesterday, U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone in El Paso, Texas, ruled the men must surrender to federal marshals at 2 p.m. Mountain Time today.

“This is the worst betrayal of American defenders I have ever seen,” Rohrabacher said of the president. “It’s shameful this was done by someone who is in the Republican Party. He obviously thinks more about his agreements with Mexico than the lives of American people and backing up his defenders.”

The California lawmaker, who has helped lead efforts to obtain a pardon, charged the Bush administration has been playing a “cruel game.” Initially, he said, officials insisted the agents could not be pardoned because they had not filled out the proper paperwork. But Rohrabacher told WND the White House did not explain to the public that the agents were being required – without justification, he contended – to first admit guilt.

Then, last Friday, presidential press secretary Tony Snow addressed the issue for the first time, arguing that prior to the shooting, the agents did not know if the smuggler, Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila, was an illegal, and they were unaware he had about 750 pounds of marijuana.

Compean and Ramos say the smuggler had a gun, but no weapon was found.

The agents, Snow said, “had received arms training the day before; that said, if you have an incident like this, you must preserve the evidence and you must report it promptly.”

“Instead,” Snow continued, “according to court documents, they went around and picked up the shell casings. Furthermore, they asked one of their colleagues also to help pick up shell casings. They disposed of them.”

Rohrabacher argues that if the men did anything wrong, they should have simply received a reprimand, but instead they are being placed in the general prison population among hardened criminals where their lives may be at risk.


Agent Jose Alonso Compean (Courtesy: KFOX-TV)

Ramos’ attorney, Mary Stillinger, told the El Paso Times the men, both married with young children, may have to spend several weeks at the El Paso County Jail before being transported to a federal prison.

“Why does [President Bush] have to send these men to prison in order that his policy not be disrupted?” Rohrabacher asked San Diego radio host Roger Hedgecock after speaking with WND last night. “He talks about being a Christian, but he has shown no Christian charity.”

Asked by WND for a response to Rohrabacher’s remarks, White House spokesman Alex Conant deferred to Snows comments on the case.

Rohrabacher told WND he sees a serious residual result of the administration’s handling of the agents.

“The word is out that the southern border is undefended,” he said. “Border agents won’t dare to draw their weapons, and the drug cartel will double their effort to drive a wedge in our border.”

Rohrabacher said he has been disturbed by an “arrogant” lack of response from senior Justice Department and White House officials who have “shoved over” their inquiries to lower-level staff.

“I’ve never seen an administration that does it this way,” he said. “In the past, if there is a senior member of Congress calling, it would require a call back directly from the administration official in question.”

The Justice Department did not respond to WND’s request for comment.

Bush has received a letter about the case from more than 50 Congress members, and yesterday an online petition by Grassfire.org with more than 225,000 signatures calling for a presidential pardon was delivered to the White House.

As WND has reported, a federal jury convicted Compean, 28, and Ramos, 37, in March after a two-week trial on charges of causing serious bodily injury, assault with a deadly weapon, discharge of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence and a civil rights violation.

Ramos is an eight-year veteran of the U.S. Naval Reserve and a former nominee for Border Patrol Agent of the Year.

According to the agents, Ramos responded Feb. 17, 2005, to a request for back-up from Compean, who noticed a suspicious van near the levee road along the Rio Grande River near the Texas town of Fabens, about 40 miles east of El Paso. A third agent also joined the pursuit.

Aldrete-Davila stopped the van on a levee, jumped out and started running toward the river. When he reached the other side of the levee, he was met by Compean who had anticipated the smuggler’s attempt to get back to Mexico.

“We both yelled out for him to stop, but he wouldn’t stop, and he just kept running,” Ramos told California’s Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.

“At some point during the time where I’m crossing the canal, I hear shots being fired,” Ramos said. “Later, I see Compean on the ground, but I keep running after the smuggler.”

At that point, Ramos said, Aldrete-Davila turned toward him, pointing what looked like a gun.

“I shot,” Ramos said. “But I didn’t think he was hit, because he kept running into the brush and then disappeared into it. Later, we all watched as he jumped into a van waiting for him. He seemed fine. It didn’t look like he had been hit at all.”

The U.S. government filed charges against Ramos and Compean after giving full immunity to Aldrete-Davila and paying for his medical treatment at an El Paso hospital.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas issued a statement in September arguing “the defendants were prosecuted because they had fired their weapons at a man who had attempted to surrender by holding his open hands in the air, at which time Agent Compean attempted to hit the man with the butt of Compean’s shotgun, causing the man to run in fear of what the agents would do to him next.”

The statement said, “Although both agents saw that the man was not armed, the agents fired at least 15 rounds at him while he was running away from them, hitting him once.”

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Who knows whether this will help or not, but it can’t hurt. Go here and sign the petition that will likely do nothing to help pardon former border patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean. But as I said, it doesn’t hurt.

I’ve already covered in-depth the unfortunate plight of Ramos and Compean. Needless to say the ineptitude of our government goes beyond the Iraq fiasco. It often hits home. In this case, it struck wildly and with extreme malice at Compean and Ramos and their families.

Keep these men and their wives and their fathers and mothers and children in your thoughts this holiday season. If we move beyond the holiday season and a pardon has not been granted, continue to keep them in your thoughts. This indisputable travesty of the United States judicial system should not be allowed to meet the conclusion George Bush, Michael Chertoff, Katheel Cardone, and et. al. obviously wish it to meet.

Ignacio “Nacho” Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean should not go to jail.

Border agents plead for ‘Christmas pardon’
Congressman hosts rally asking Bush to stop ‘miscarriage of justice’


Posted: December 20, 2006
1:00 a.m. Eastern
By Art Moore
© 2006 WorldNetDaily.com


Former U.S. Border Patrol agent Ignacio Ramos embraced his wife, Monica Ramos, two days before he was sentenced to 11 years in prison (Courtesy El Paso Times)

A Border Patrol agent sentenced to prison along with his partner for shooting and wounding a man smuggling drugs into the U.S. will appear with a congressman tomorrow at a rally asking President Bush to offer a pardon.

Jose Alonso Compean and Ignacio Ramos, were sentenced to 12 years and 11 years, respectively, in October by U.S. District Court Judge Kathleen Cardone in El Paso, Texas. The drug smuggler was granted immunity for his testimony.

Compean will be joined by family; Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R, Calif.; Minuteman Project founder Jim Gilchrist; and members of other border-security groups such as Friends of the Border Patrol at the courthouse in Santa Ana, Calif., at 1:30 p.m. Pacific time tomorrow.

Rohrabacher, noting the president already has received a letter about the case from more than 50 Congress members, is asking Americans to sign petitions and send e-mails and letters to the White House requesting a “Christmas pardon.”

Grassfire.org has an online petition calling on Bush to pardon the agents, with more than 130,000 signatures.

“This is the greatest miscarriage of justice that I’ve seen in my career,” Rohrabacher told WND. “Two brave Border Patrol agents trying to enforce the president’s nonsensical border policy ending up being sent to prison, while an illegal alien drug smuggler is given immunity and walks free.”

Compean’s sister, of Huntington Beach, lives in Rohrabacher’s Southern California district.

The White House has not responded to the letter, according to Rohrabacher, and did not follow up a request from WND for comment. Press secretary Tony Snow has said he cannot comment on presidential pardons.

Gilchrist said what has happened to the two agents is “atrocious,” with “their lifes being ruined, their families being put in turmoil.”

“We would expect the president to give a full and unconditional pardon to these two wrongly arrested, wrongly accused, wrongly convicted members of law enforcement,” he told WND, “and retroactive pay and benefits they’ve lost over the past two years since they were originally arrested.”

As WND has reported, a federal jury convicted Compean, 28, and Ramos, 37, in March after a two-week trial on charges of causing serious bodily injury, assault with a deadly weapon, discharge of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence and a civil rights violation.


Agent Jose Alonso Compean. Courtesy of KFOX-TV

Ramos is an eight-year veteran of the U.S. Naval Reserve and a former nominee for Border Patrol Agent of the Year.

On Feb. 17, 2005, Ramos responded to a request for back-up from Compean, who noticed a suspicious van near the levee road along the Rio Grande River near the Texas town of Fabens, about 40 miles east of El Paso. A third agent also joined the pursuit.

Fleeing was an illegal alien, Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila of Mexico. Unknown to the growing number of Border Patrol agents converging on Fabens, Aldrete-Davila’s van was carrying 800 pounds of marijuana.

Aldrete-Davila stopped the van on a levee, jumped out and started running toward the river. When he reached the other side of the levee, he was met by Compean who had anticipated the smuggler’s attempt to get back to Mexico.

“We both yelled out for him to stop, but he wouldn’t stop, and he just kept running,” Ramos told California’s Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.

“At some point during the time where I’m crossing the canal, I hear shots being fired,” Ramos said. “Later, I see Compean on the ground, but I keep running after the smuggler.”

At that point, Ramos said, Aldrete-Davila turned toward him, pointing what looked like a gun.

“I shot,” Ramos said. “But I didn’t think he was hit, because he kept running into the brush and then disappeared into it. Later, we all watched as he jumped into a van waiting for him. He seemed fine. It didn’t look like he had been hit at all.”

The U.S. government filed charges against Ramos and Compean after giving full immunity to Aldrete-Davila and paying for his medical treatment at an El Paso hospital.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas issued a statement in September arguing “the defendants were prosecuted because they had fired their weapons at a man who had attempted to surrender by holding his open hands in the air, at which time Agent Compean attempted to hit the man with the butt of Compean’s shotgun, causing the man to run in fear of what the agents would do to him next.”

The statement said, “Although both agents saw that the man was not armed, the agents fired at least 15 rounds at him while he was running away from them, hitting him once.”

Andy Ramirez of Friends of the Border Patrol said the drug smuggler has “fully contributed to the destruction of two brave agents and their families and has sent a very loud message to the other Border Patrol agents: If you confront a smuggler, this is what will happen to you.”

The letter to Bush included the signatures of Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Fla., Rep. Gary Miller, R-Calif., Rep. Sue Myrick, R-N.C., Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, Rep. Virgil Goode, R-Va. and Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., the chairman of the House Immigration Reform Caucus.

“We ask that a full investigation of this case be ordered immediately,” the letter said. “We are confident that during such an investigation you will find that these Border Patrol agents were acting within the scope of their duty and were unjustly prosecuted. Also, we ask that you use your power of presidential pardon, as granted by the United States Constitution in Article II, Section 2, to pardon these two Border Patrol agents. We understand these requests usually are for those that have already completed their sentences; however, we feel in this case it would be a miscarriage of justice to send these two Border Patrol agents to prison for protecting our nation’s borders from an illegal drug smuggler.”

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Since the Imam shenanigans on US Airways Flight 300 last week, more information has come to the fore concerning the six-member Islamic boarding party on that Phoenix-bound flight that doesn’t adhere to the heretofore politically correct explanations given by the Muslim clerics after they were handcuffed and removed from the plane.

“We were simply praying,” was the general cry given by the Imam’s, and while that was certainly true, there is obviously more to this incident than was, until now, initially reported in news stories across the country. Either these men were actually scheming to conduct a terrorist caper, or they were setting themselves up to be accused of such a despicable stunt so that they then might clearly open the way to a racial profiling and/or a religious freedom lawsuit that could conceivably eliminate any sort of racial profiling for Muslims.

Personally and intentionally or not, anyone who acts out on an airliner in such a manner that would instantly raise red flags among airline passengers and crew, especially in a post-9/11 world, should not be surprised in the least when they’re forcibly removed from said aircraft.

Were these men racially profiled? Of course not. We’re they persecuted for their religious beliefs? Most definitely, no. Religious freedom is all fine and good theoretically, but have the minimal amount of intelligence required in order to discern when it may be appropriate to practice that freedom. Praying is one thing. Praying loudly at an airport gate, then boarding a plane and organizing yourselves in seats to mimic the 9/11 hijackers (“two in the front row first-class, two in the middle of the plane on the exit aisle and two in the rear of the cabin“), then requesting seat-belt extensions despite your lack of evident girth and instead setting those belts and buckles on the floor, then repeatedly rising from your seat to move about the plane in order to converse with your fellow imams, is an entirely different matter that should be viewed with quite a bit of scrutiny.

Contrary to popular belief, being Muslim does not give you carte blanche.

How the imams terrorized an airliner

By Audrey Hudson
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
November 28, 2006

Muslim religious leaders removed from a Minneapolis flight last week exhibited behavior associated with a security probe by terrorists and were not merely engaged in prayers, according to witnesses, police reports and aviation security officials.

Witnesses said three of the imams were praying loudly in the concourse and repeatedly shouted “Allah” when passengers were called for boarding US Airways Flight 300 to Phoenix.

“I was suspicious by the way they were praying very loud,” the gate agent told the Minneapolis Police Department.

Passengers and flight attendants told law-enforcement officials the imams switched from their assigned seats to a pattern associated with the September 11 terrorist attacks and also found in probes of U.S. security since the attacks — two in the front row first-class, two in the middle of the plane on the exit aisle and two in the rear of the cabin.

“That would alarm me,” said a federal air marshal who asked to remain anonymous. “They now control all of the entry and exit routes to the plane.”

A pilot from another airline said: “That behavior has been identified as a terrorist probe in the airline industry.”

But the imams who were escorted off the flight in handcuffs say they were merely praying before the 6:30 p.m. flight on Nov. 20, and yesterday led a protest by prayer with other religious leaders at the airline’s ticket counter at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

Mahdi Bray, executive director of the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation, called removing the imams an act of Islamophobia and compared it to racism against blacks.

“It’s a shame that as an African-American and a Muslim I have the double whammy of having to worry about driving while black and flying while Muslim,” Mr. Bray said.

The protesters also called on Congress to pass legislation to outlaw passenger profiling.

Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, Texas Democrat, said the September 11 terrorist attacks “cannot be permitted to be used to justify racial profiling, harassment and discrimination of Muslim and Arab Americans.”

“Understandably, the imams felt profiled, humiliated, and discriminated against by their treatment,” she said.

According to witnesses, police reports and aviation security officials, the imams displayed other suspicious behavior.

Three of the men asked for seat-belt extenders, although two flight attendants told police the men were not oversized. One flight attendant told police she “found this unsettling, as crew knew about the six [passengers] on board and where they were sitting.” Rather than attach the extensions, the men placed the straps and buckles on the cabin floor, the flight attendant said.

The imams said they were not discussing politics and only spoke in English, but witnesses told law enforcement that the men spoke in Arabic and English, criticizing the war in Iraq and President Bush, and talking about al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.

The imams who claimed two first-class seats said their tickets were upgraded. The gate agent told police that when the imams asked to be upgraded, they were told no such seats were available. Nevertheless, the two men were seated in first class when removed.

A flight attendant said one of the men made two trips to the rear of the plane to talk to the imam during boarding, and again when the flight was delayed because of their behavior. Aviation officials, including air marshals and pilots, said these actions alone would not warrant a second look, but the combination is suspicious.

“That’s like shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded theater. You just can’t do that anymore,” said Robert MacLean, a former air marshal.

“They should have been denied boarding and been investigated,” Mr. MacLean said. “It looks like they are trying to create public sympathy or maybe setting someone up for a lawsuit.”

The pilot with another airline who talked to The Washington Times on condition of anonymity, said he would have made the same call as the US Airways pilot.

“If any group of passengers is commingling in the terminal and didn’t sit in their assigned seats or with each other, I would stop everything and investigate until they could provide me with a reason they did not sit in their assigned seats.”

One of the passengers, Omar Shahin, told Newsweek the group did everything it could to avoid suspicion by wearing Western clothes, speaking English and booking seats so they were not together. He said they conducted prayers quietly and separately to avoid attention.

The imams had attended a conference sponsored by the North American Imam Federation in Minneapolis and were returning to Phoenix. Mr. Shahin, who is president of the federation, said on his Web site that none of the passengers made pro-Saddam or anti-American statements.

The pilot said the airlines are not “secretly prejudiced against any nationality, religion or culture,” and that the only target of profiling is passenger behavior.

“There are certain behaviors that raise the bar, and not sitting in your assigned seat raises the bar substantially,” the pilot said. “Especially since we know that this behavior has been evident in suspicious probes in the past.”

“Someone at US Airways made a notably good decision,” said a second pilot, who also does not work for US Airways.

A spokeswoman for US Airways declined to discuss the incident. Aviation security officials said thousands of Muslims fly every day and conduct prayers in airports in a quiet and private manner without creating incidents.

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El Presidente Jorge W. Bush
Presidente Bush continues to do his best in order to placate the GOP and Republican voters by finally signing the U.S.-Mexican border fence bill that rubber-stamps the building of 700 miles of fencing somewhere along the southern American border. The signing ceremony was slightly meager, but ample enough to garner media, and consequently public attention in a time when the Republican leadership needs exposure the most–elections are but a scant two weeks distant.

During the signing, Bush spewed forth some drivel about how the United States has lost control of its borders. Here’s a quote from the succeeding linked story.

“Unfortunately the United States has not been in complete control of its borders for decades and therefore illegal immigration has been on the rise,” Bush said at a signing ceremony.

“We have a responsibility to enforce our laws,” he said. “We have a responsibility to secure our borders. We take this responsibility serious.”

He called the fence bill “an important step in our nation’s efforts to secure our borders.”

Of course, we all know Bush is talking out of his ass.  He doesn’t mean a single word of what he belched forth during todays signing ceremony, most evidenced by his following comments propagandizing his preposterous guest worker program that will in essence legalize at minimum 12 million illegal aliens.

For now though, Bush simply wants to avoid a crushing defeat of the GOP at the polls in a couple of weeks, which is why he also issued his timely atonement for the loss of lives in Iraq coinciding so near to the November elections.

Don’t fall prey to these obvious attempts at misdirection.  Bush does not want this fence, just as he does not want to leave Iraq.  What surprises me though is this concept of capitulation that Bush is adhering to concerning illegal aliens and the border fence.  The Republican Party has, at least in the past 60 years or so, consistently been tough on illegal immigration.  Even in the last couple of decades, whenever a candidate, Republican or not, takes a hard stand against illegal immigration, that candidate usually wins whatever post he was campaigning for.  Why then would Bush simply not follow this tried and true edict?  Why would he choose to legalize up to 20 million illegal aliens?  Why would he not want to secure our border?  Why is he so sympathetic to Mexican and Latin American people when many American citizens are in desperate need of help themselves?

My only answer to these questions–pessimism for the future of the United States.  Bush believes that protecting our borders is moot at this point to such a degree that the tide cannot be kept at bay.  Better to let it wash over us, drown us, turn us into a third world nation in order to ensure that those waves of illegals will remember that it was the GOP who allowed them to come into the country and exist legally, maintaining a hope that when future elections come, the Latino community will recognize who it was that granted them this great gift and vote Republican.

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Bush Signs U.S.-Mexico Border Fence Bill

Oct 26, 9:52 AM (ET)
By DEB RIECHMANN

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Bush signed a bill Thursday authorizing 700 miles of new fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border, hoping to give Republican candidates a pre-election platform for asserting they’re tough on illegal immigration.

“Unfortunately the United States has not been in complete control of its borders for decades and therefore illegal immigration has been on the rise,” Bush said at a signing ceremony.

“We have a responsibility to enforce our laws,” he said. “We have a responsibility to secure our borders. We take this responsibility serious.”

He called the fence bill “an important step in our nation’s efforts to secure our borders.”

The centerpiece of Bush’s immigration policy, a guest worker program, remains stalled in Congress.

And a handful of House Republican are at the brakes, blocking negotiations with the Senate for a bill that includes the president’s proposal.

Still, Bush argues that it would be easier to get his guest worker program passed if Republicans keep their majorities in the House and Senate after the Nov. 7 elections. His proposal would allow legal employment for foreigners and give some of the estimated 11 million to 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States a shot at becoming American citizens.

The measure Bush put into law Thursday before heading for campaign stops in Iowa and Michigan offers no money for the fence project covering one-third of the 2,100-mile border.

Its cost is not known, although a homeland security spending measure the president signed earlier this month makes a $1.2 billion down payment on the project. The money also can be used for access roads, vehicle barriers, lighting, high-tech equipment and other tools to secure the border.

Mexican officials have criticized the fence. Outgoing Mexican President Vicente Fox, who has spent much of his six years in office lobbying for a new guest worker program and a chance at citizenship for the millions of Mexicans working illegally in the U.S., calls the fence “shameful” and compares it to the Berlin Wall. (Hecubus note – Vicente, you ignorant person, you.  The Berlin Wall was designed to keep people in, not keep people out.  We want to keep people out.)

Others have doubts about its effectiveness.

“A fence will slow people down by a minute or two, but if you don’t have the agents to stop them it does no good. We’re not talking about some impenetrable barrier,” T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, a union representing Border Patrol agents, said Wednesday.

Customs and Border Protection statistics show that apprehensions at border crossings are down 8 percent nationally for the budget year that just ended, Bonner said. Apprehensions were up in the San Diego sector, he said, an area of the nearly 2,000-mile border that has the most fencing.

A spokesman for Customs and Border Protection would not confirm the statistics or discuss reasons for the increase in the San Diego sector.

Sens. John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison, both Texas Republicans, had wanted to amend the fence bill to give local governments more say about where fencing is erected. They lost that battle, but Republican leaders assured them the Homeland Security Department would have flexibility to choose other options instead of fencing, if needed.

Cornyn said he voted for the fence because he wanted to help demonstrate that Congress was serious about border security.

“The choice we were presented was: Are we going to vote to enhance border security, or against it?” Cornyn said. “I think that’s how the vote was viewed.”

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