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I will say this at the beginning: During the May 1st illegal alien rally held in McArthur Park two weeks ago, the Los Angeles Police Department personnel stationed in that area responded far too excessively to a situation that required a determined and disciplined counter to a few thugs who used the rally for their own anarchistic ends.

Instead, the LAPD blew it. They blew it for themselves as an organization that seems eternally steeped in community recovery efforts, and to a lesser degree, they blew it for people such as myself who remain staunch advocates opposed to illegal immigration. Everyone understands and most reasonably agree the LAPD far exceeded their use of force (but not their authority) during the McArthur Park rally. Chief Bill Bratton was the first to come forward and accept responsibility for the unnecessarily brutal actions taken by those under his command (Mayor Villaraigosa was nowhere to be found–he was dubiously conducting international diplomacy in Latin America.) Bratton condemned those actions and he immediately punished officers who took the lead in the debacle. Additionally, the chief has borne witness to countless community members (I won’t say citizens since most are probably illegals) during public meetings as he and the LAPD in general were vilified and disparaged by a myriad of angry Los Angeles residents–people whose ire, without deviation was directed squarely upon Bratton and the police department. Again, understandably so and the police chief admitted as much.

Yet those who came out in denunciation against the rock and bottle-throwing hoodlums responsible for triggering the entire mess in the first place were few and far between, if there were any at all. The police response was disproportionate, antagonistic, and irresponsible. The thugs who initiated the whole mess were and are despicable. Yet even our Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has said little to excoriate the few dirt bags who turned a relatively peaceful day into something that is now dramatically referred to as “The May Day Melee.” Instead, he has joined the mass of legal citizens and illegal aliens who simply wish to impugn the entirety of the LAPD.

Going that extra mile, as he is always want to do in situation where he’s guaranteed a high degree of media attention, Villaraigosa has decided to turn his back on the Los Angeles Police Department by attending a highly publicized rally taking place this evening in McArthur Park. The rally is being headed by Nativo Lopez, left-wing illegal alien proponent, open borders advocate, and amnesty champion for 12 to 20 million criminals living in the United States in direct violation of our laws. And Los Angeles Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, along with illegal-aliens-should-have-a-drivers-license-too Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, will be standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Lopez at this obviously anti-LAPD rah-rah.

While I’m most likely repeating myself, Villaraigosa has chosen not to represent me as a legal resident of the United States and citizen of Los Angeles. Nor does he represent any of the other millions of legal Angelinos unfortunate enough to live under his reign. Villaraigosa is squarely in league with illegal aliens and Mexican nationals who break our laws, who run down our education system, who destroy our state health care institutions, who import and sell drugs, and who murder legal citizens. Villaraigosa has declared his deplorable intentions against me and everyone else of legal status in this city–he cares not for our concerns. Yet if you’re an illegal alien, he’ll be there for you. He may even let you register to vote.

Of course, this only further brings to light the breaking news of the day concerning the immigration reform/amnesty bill agreement between several “key senators.” Any bill or law that focuses on amnesty first and border enforcement second, as does this one, will ultimately fail with disastrous results. How many times does it need to be said? Secure the border first, then look at dealing with the millions of illegals already in this country.

One important factor many of the apparently clueless political progenitors in charge of the country seem to overlook is the simple fact of repetition from absolution acutely evidenced after the illegal alien amnesty granted back in 1986. After that amnesty the U.S. saw one of the largest floods of illegals pour into this country–more illegals hoping for another amnesty–simply because they did not take border enforcement seriously prior to passing that legislation. And it will happen again if anything resembling an amnesty passes. Not only do we receive multitudes more before a proposed amnesty, without a secure border we simply repeat the process ad infinitum until this country is buried under the weight of its imported and impoverished masses. The third world latino dystopias that fester in most of our large cities will boil over with disillusionment, anger, and eventual rebellion pointed at those considered the elite–the middle-class. Don’t think it will happen? Look at the suburban Paris riots of 2005. It’s nearly the same scenario. Little to no attempt at assimilation by these groups only expands the chasm between their culture and ours, worsening the situation even further.

Perhaps this will all one day be moot anyway. With the recent discovery that ethically questionable groups such as the National Council of La Raza and MALDEF are being allowed virtual veto power over any immigration bill that does not meet with their standards and their demands (see below), one can discern where this road we’re traveling is likely guiding us.

Maybe affirmative action laws aren’t so bad. As an Anglo living in the United States of the future, I may need them.

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Mayor, Speaker To Join Rally Protesting LAPD Behavior

Police Chief Also Plans To Attend; Deputy Chief To Retire

POSTED: 6:38 am PDT May 17, 2007

UPDATED: 11:59 am PDT May 17, 2007

LOS ANGELES — Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez are among those expected to join immigrant-rights activists Thursday for a march and rally to denounce the actions of Los Angeles riot police at a May Day rally at MacArthur Park.

The event will begin with a town hall-style meeting at Immanuel Presbyterian Church, followed by a 10-block procession to MacArthur Park, where organizers will hold a candlelight vigil and a series of performances.

“The LAPD denied our community both a political and physical space to nonviolently claim our rights to legalization for all undocumented immigrants and a fair immigration reform for the country,” said the event’s organizer, Mexican American Political Association President Nativo Lopez. “Political leaders and organizations throughout the country stand solidly with us.”

Due to street closures for the event, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will reroute 14 bus lines operating on and around Wilshire Boulevard between 4 and 10 p.m.

The affected bus lines are 18, 20, 21, 26, 51, 52, 200, 201, 204, 209, 352, 603, 720 and 754, according to Metro officials. Signs will be posted at affected bus stops to inform riders when and where the buses will be detoured.

Demonstrators, journalists and police officers were injured at the end of an immigration march in MacArthur Park May 1, when police tried to disperse some people who moved off the sidewalk into Alvarado Street.

Some demonstrators responded by throwing plastic bottles and rocks at officers, according to police. Officers clad in riot gear used batons and fired 146 rounds of foam-rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.

A preliminary version of the LAPD’s after-action report will be heard by the full City Council on May 30. In a separate investigation, the department is checking into complaints filed by demonstrators and journalists injured during the fracas.

A third LAPD investigation is aimed at searching for those who allegedly started the confrontation by throwing rocks and plastic bottles at officers.

Separately, the Police Commission is investigating the matter, while the FBI launched a preliminary probe to determine whether the LAPD committed civil rights violations.

Police Chief William Bratton has blamed a leadership breakdown at the scene for police measures that he has described as inappropriate.

Bratton, who will be at the LAPD’s assembly area at today’s rally, according to his office, told KPCC-FM on Wednesday that the ranking officer who was in MacArthur Park during the May 1 melee has decided to retire rather than continue on home duty pending an investigation.

Bratton announced last week that Deputy Chief Cayler “Lee” Carter Jr. Carter was being demoted from deputy chief to commander and reassigned from his job as command officer of Operations Central Bureau to his home.

The chief said Wednesday that Carter has decided to retire effective June 6.

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Agreement Reached on Immigration Reform

May 17 01:41 PM US/Eastern
By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) – Key senators and the White House reached agreement Thursday on an immigration overhaul that would grant quick legal status to millions of illegal immigrants already in the U.S. and fortify the border. The plan would create a temporary worker program to bring new arrivals to the U.S. A separate program would cover agricultural workers. New high-tech enforcement measures also would be instituted to verify that workers are here legally.

The compromise came after weeks of painstaking closed-door negotiations that brought the most liberal Democrats and the most conservative Republicans together with President Bush’s Cabinet officers to produce a highly complex measure that carries heavy political consequences.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., said he expects Bush to endorse the agreement.

The accord sets the stage for what promises to be a bruising battle next week in the Senate on one of Bush’s top non-war priorities.

The key breakthrough came when negotiators struck a bargain on a so- called “point system” that would for the first time prioritize immigrants’ education and skill level over family connections in deciding how to award green cards.

The draft bill “gives a path out of the shadows and toward legal status for those who are currently here” illegally, said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

A spokesman for Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., one of his party’s key players in the talks, confirmed that the group had reached agreement.

The proposed agreement would allow illegal immigrants to come forward and obtain a “Z visa” and—after paying fees and a $5,000 fine—ultimately get on track for permanent residency, which could take between eight and 13 years. Heads of household would have to return to their home countries first.

They could come forward right away to claim a probationary card that would let them live and work legally in the U.S., but could not begin the path to permanent residency or citizenship until border security improvements and the high-tech worker identification program were completed.

A new temporary guest worker program would also have to wait until those so-called “triggers” had been activated.

Those workers would have to return home after work stints of two years, with little opportunity to gain permanent legal status or ever become U.S. citizens. They could renew their guest worker visas twice, but would be required to leave for a year in between each time.

Democrats had pressed instead for guest workers to be permitted to stay and work indefinitely in the U.S.

In perhaps the most hotly debated change, the proposed plan would shift from an immigration system primarily weighted toward family ties toward one with preferences for people with advanced degrees and sophisticated skills. Republicans have long sought such revisions, which they say are needed to end “chain migration” that harms the economy, while some Democrats and liberal groups say it’s an unfair system that rips families apart.

Family connections alone would no longer be enough to qualify for a green card—except for spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens.

New limits would apply to U.S. citizens seeking to bring foreign-born parents into the country.

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Latino Groups Play Key Role on Hill

Virtual Veto Power in Immigration Debate

By Krissah Williams and Jonathan Weisman

Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, May 16, 2007; Page A04

When Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) declared last week that unnamed “stakeholders” would decide whether Congress overhauls immigration law this year, Latino organizations in Washington understood exactly what he meant.

After laboring in obscurity for decades, groups such as the National Council of La Raza, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and the National Immigration Forum are virtually being granted veto power over perhaps the biggest domestic issue coming before Congress this year. Organizations that represent what is now the nation’s largest minority group are beginning to achieve power commensurate with their numbers.

“There’s a real sense that the Latino community is key to the solution in this debate, so now they are reaching out to us more than ever,” said Eric Gutierrez, lead lobbyist for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, or MALDEF. “Neither party wants to make a misstep politically.”

Such groups were practically in the room yesterday, maintaining contact as Democratic and Republican senators tried to hammer out a new immigration bill before a deadline set by Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) for today before he moved it last night to Monday. The contours began to emerge for a bill that would couple a tightening of border controls with a guest-worker program and new avenues for an estimated 12 million undocumented workers to work legally.

Negotiators agreed yesterday that illegal immigrants would be granted a new Z Visa, allowing legal residency for eight years. During that time, the head of an undocumented household would have to temporarily go back to the home country to apply for permanent U.S. legal status for his or her family. Holders of Z Visas would then have to pay a fine and back taxes, undergo a criminal background check, and begin to work toward citizenship.

But Republicans and Democrats were still trying to bridge a deep divide over two remaining issues: Whether 400,000 foreigners entering the country as temporary workers would have to leave the country after three years or be granted a chance to stay permanently, and how extended family ties should be weighed in granting visas to those seeking to enter the country.

A deal on those tough issues could depend on the assent of Kennedy’s “stakeholders,” Democratic negotiators agreed. Democratic leaders, who are fighting for the loyalty of the fast-growing Latino electorate, have no desire to embrace legislation that could end up alienating the voters they are trying to woo.

The early word from the groups is not promising.

“Some of the proposals that are coming from the negotiations in the Senate and White House are measures that the immigrant community advocates are wholly against, particularly the elimination of some aspects of family reunification,” said William Ramos, a spokesman for the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.

The groups also oppose a policy that would force immigrants to return to their home countries for an extended period and to petition for reentry.

Latino organizations know well that they have muscle to flex. A bill passed by the House last year that would have made illegal immigration a felony drove millions of Latinos into the streets in cities across the country last spring.

When the current immigration law was written 21 years ago, the League of United Latin American Citizens, or LULAC, tacitly approved the legislation, even though it provided no direct path to citizenship for most temporary workers. But the Latino community was much smaller then, and illegal immigration was a regional issue, confined mostly to California, Texas and New York.

Today, U.S. citizens of Latino descent, having eclipsed African Americans as the nation’s largest minority, are far more organized and politically active. “We’re not going to let them screw it up,” said Brent A. Wilkes, LULAC’s national executive director.

LULAC, MALDEF, La Raza and the National Immigration Forum are part of a broad network of immigrant rights groups that hold nightly conference calls and strategy sessions on the legislation. The groups speak daily with top aides in Reid’s and Kennedy’s offices.

The White House, well aware that immigration may offer President Bush his last best chance at a major domestic achievement for his second term, has worked hard to keep the groups on board, even as Bush has shifted to the right with a new plan that is tougher than the proposals he embraced last year.

The White House held a meeting 2 1/2 weeks ago with Latino advocates, labor unions and civil rights organizations in which an adviser outlined an administration’s policy based on increased border security and a temporary-worker program. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez have also met with some of the groups.

“At least they are paying attention to us,” said MALDEF President John Trasviña.

The groups have also made it clear to Republicans that they are willing to press hard this year.

“Power is not handed over. To get your place at the table, you have to fight for it,” Wilkes said.

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As the Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean fiasco gains momentum with those who support the two incarcerated agents specifically, the border patrol generally, and the probe into questionable conduct by U.S. Attorney, Johnny Sutton and company, so too does this story gain detractors–detractors who generally have no more than a broad understanding of the incident, the trial, and the recent firestorm of outrage from the public and a growing number of congressmen and senators who are understandably demanding an investigation of Sutton, his office, and the DHS among others for their dubious ethics in regards to the apparent railroading of Ramos and Compean.

First, many question if these men are actually heroes. Here’s a typical, partisan comment from Joshua Holland writing for Alternet.com

So the [right] wingnuts have taken to calling Johnny Sutton an “agent of the Mexican government,” demanded that Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez step into the case and generally made a big stink on right-wing talk radio, blogs and on their fake “news” sites like Townhall and WorldNetDaily. It’s all gotten conflated with the rank-and-file rebellion against the Republican Party over immigration. To many on the right, the two dirty cops are “illegal immigration heroes.” [bold emphasis]

And from an Anonymous poster on this piece

Whoa..everyone here needs to chill out. First, shooting someone in the back is not a “heroic” action. I don’t know who taught you right from wrong, but you need to do some serious soul searching if you thing this is alright.

First, the comment by Anonymous is indicative of those who know little about the circumstances of the case. Compean claimed the illegal alien drug runner had a shiny object in his hand and it appeared as if the fugitive was turning to use it. Making the assumption that it was a gun, you simply cannot tell agent Compean that the suspect did not have a gun. If he saw what he thought was a gun, Compean has the right to defend himself. This is basic police policy. What would normal human being do in a similar situation?

As for both comments above, I call them heroes because they do something most of us don’t have the balls to do, and they do it every day. They protect us with their own lives on the line, regardless of their imperfections–the same imperfections many of us have. The same can be said of firemen, marines, policemen, etc. I am a television producer. I am not a hero. Ramos and Compean are heroes.

Holland’s comments are rife with liberal political partisanship when this is simply a matter of justice–left and right should make no difference. Of course, I would be a hypocrite if I said I don’t include opinion in my writing (for crying out loud, this is a blog after all), but Holland even ridicules news outlets for offering information that doesn’t line up with his liberal leanings. The Onion is a “fake” news site. World Net Daily is not. Whether you are uncomfortable with the level of bias World Net Daily delivers, dubbing it fake is odd. Alternet.com takes a similar approach, but I would not pin them as “fake” because of the political bias. Their leading headline, Bush is Screwing Up the War on Terror I couldn’t agree with more. Does this make me a liberal? No (though some neo-cons would strongly disagree.) Does reading World Net Daily make me conservative? No. I never agree with every story a news outlet pushes on any website I visit or any publication I read. To do so would be mindless.

Personally I visit several news sites, conservative and liberal, and while I prefer to think of myself as a moderate, I often find myself leaning toward, what to me is, the more stable and thoughtful stance, and that generally leans to the right.

One thing I can certainly say about the liberal leaning news outlets is their trend to manipulate through emotional, straw-man arguments often devoid of logic. Take for example the cover story in latest issue of The Nation–Lockdown in Greely: How Immigration Raids Terrorized a Colorado Town (Marc Cooper.)

…December 12, the holiday celebrating the appearance of the Virgin of Guadalupe. What materialized in front of the Swift gates that morning was more like a vision of hell. Shortly after 7 am a half-dozen buses rolled up with a small fleet of government vans, which unloaded dozens of heavily armed federal agents backed by riot-clad local police. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents sealed off all entrances and exits and formed a perimeter around the factory. Then others barged inside and started rounding up the whole workforce.

Some of the frightened workers jumped into cattle pens; others hid behind machinery or in closets. Those who tried to run were wrestled to the ground. Sworn statements by some workers allege that the ICE agents used chemical sprays to subdue those who didn’t understand the orders barked at them in English. The plant’s entire workforce was herded into the cafeteria and separated into two groups: those who claimed to be US citizens or legal residents and those who didn’t.

Talk about appeals to emotion. The entire article is much like this–one big hyperbolic mess with absolutely no respect for American citizens, native born or immigrant. Vision of hell? A fleet of government vans? They barged inside? What constitutes a vision of hell? I’ve never been there (and hope I never pay a visit), so why the drama? I’m assuming that a fleet constitutes at least two vehicles, but the apparent tone conveyed here is to insinuate a large group of military vehicles filled with nasty-bad government agents, who in reality are simply doing their jobs, much like Ramos and Compean did. And they barged into a facility that was breaking the law by employing illegal immigrants, many of whom were shown to be guilty of identity theft which obviously illustrates why many of the workers initially attempted to hide and flee.

Curiously, pro-illegal immigrant activists, many of whom are liberals, simply don’t understand that they’re in the same boat with President Bush on this issue. You guys actually agree on something–Bush wants a low-paid, easily exploitable workforce and so do you. For many other reasons as well, I do not want to exploit poor illegal aliens. I desire an improved immigration system that starts with sharpened enforcement at the border.

More from The Nation article…

“By saying these raids were about identity theft, ICE and the Bush Administration suddenly changed the rules of the game,” says Mark Grey, director of the Iowa Center for Immigrant Leadership and Integration. By highlighting the identity-theft angle, DHS officials have cast into a sinister light a common practice, at worst a victimless crime.

Hyperbole is one thing. Fabrication is another. Identity theft is never victimless, and it’s a crime that’s growing as more illegals flow into the country unfettered due to our porous border. I’ve heard illegal immigration apologists attempt to explain it away as an inevitability (and that seems to excuse it for them) but I’ve never heard or read anyone be so bold as to state identity theft is victimless. Tell that Linda Trevino and Steve Millet and the many thousands more victims of illegal immigrants who stole identity information of legal residents.

Earnings in limbo

More from The Nation story…

…says an indignant Robert McCormick, a Greeley immigration attorney representing about sixteen of the workers. “This is indeed a declaration of war on the immigrant community. This is about Republicans trying to appease their core bloc of supporters. Yeah, some people got a big kick out of this. But I think most Americans were revolted by it. Here in town, a lot of people have said they want no part of it. And others, I assure you, are going to wind up being very ashamed of it.”

As someone who supports stronger borders and LEGAL immigration I find particularly infuriating how often illegal immigration activists love to leave out the word illegal when discussing the subject of illegal immigration. I am wholly against illegal immigration. I am completely in support of legal immigration. As cheesy as this sounds, I am filled with joy (yes, filled with joy) when ever I hear “The American Dream” story, particularly centered around immigrants–immigrants who came to this country with little to nothing, and managed great successes for themselves. Whether they became CEO of a corporation, or they simply bought a home in the Midwest, I am always pleased when immigrants successfully weave themselves into the fabric of our society.

Conversely, it saddens me when illegals enter the country and fail to even attempt at integration. This post from last summer clearly demonstrates this problem. As I state in that piece (accompanied with the L.A. Times article, 6+1=1 Tenuous Existence), immigrant assimilation is the best means to achieve success in a foreign society.

From the mentioned post…

[L.A. Times – Neither Magdaleno nor her husband speaks English, though she has been in the United States 22 years and he 28. Even her teenage daughters speak mostly Spanish; their English vocabulary is limited.

Jesus Christ! Twenty-two and 28 years and they still haven’t learned English? None?! What’s even more frightening is the fact that their teenage children barely speak English as well. This is very sad. To me, it speaks volumes on Mexican familial culture–how improving oneself is simply sneaking across the border and continuing a genealogy that one was trying to escape in the first place.]

As I’ve said before, I don’t blame poor Mexicans (or Chinese, or Indians, etc.) their need to come to this country for a better life. I blame this presidency and his administration for their failures to secure our border. When illegals enter the country, bypassing the proper channels to become legal residents, they will almost always fail to integrate. This often translates into large, poor illegal immigrant ghettos that do nothing to support the economy while serving as ethnocentric pools of resentment and anger towards the community, the city, and the country where in they now reside.

Also from commenter, Anonymous

 

It is also a ridiculous statement to say that immigrants are “rotting” this country. If immigrants did not “rot” America for the first 300 years, how are they doing it now? The crime, gangs, and drugs would be here whether these people came or not. Crime was an issue long before immigration.

I may have been participating in dramatic license, but it is true, the more unrestricted illegal weight bears down on this country, or any country for that matter (France anyone?), the more damaged it becomes–more rotten. Here are some interesting statistics from the L.A. Times, an infamously pro-illegal immigration, liberal publication…

– 40 percent of all workers are working for cash and not paying taxes. Why would they want to be legal and pay taxes? They would be able to start bringing the rest of their families to the USA.

– 75 percent of people on L.A.’s most-wanted list are illegal aliens.

– Over two-thirds of all births are to illegal alien Mexicans on Medi-Cal whose births were paid for by the taxpayers.

– Nearly 25 percent of all inmates in California detention centers are here illegally.

– Over 300,000 illegals are living in garages.

[Anonymous] The crime, gangs, and drugs would be here whether these people came or not. Crime was an issue long before immigration.

– The FBI reports half of all gang members in Los Angeles are most likely illegals from south of the border.
[Hecubus] Additionally, if our border was more secure, we would be dealing with fewer drug and crime problems. Would we still have crime and drugs? Of course, but it would be diminished.

– Nearly 60 percent of all occupants of HUD properties are illegal.

– 29 percent of inmates in the federal prisons are illegal aliens.

– The lifetime fiscal impact (taxes minus services used) for the average adult Mexican immigrant is a negative.

– They also send between about $15 billion back to Mexico to assist their families and prop up the corrupt Mexican government that keeps most of its citizens in poverty.

– It cost Los Angeles $276 million in welfare costs for 100,000 children of illegal aliens.

[Anonymous] And please don’t get indignant and act like you don’t reap the benefits of undocumented workers. You like your oranges cheap. All of your products that are “Made in America” have most likely gone through the hands of undocumented workers at some point. Deep down you know that these people are benefitting you.

– Less than 2 percent of illegals are picking crops but 29 percent are on welfare.

Add to that California alone spent nearly $8 billion dollars in 2004 to educate illegal alien children and children of illegals. Also, the rate at which emergency rooms in California are closing due to EMTALA and illegal aliens not paying E.R. bills is astonishing. Who ends up footing the bill for these unpaid costs? American citizens.

[Anonymous] I am Mexican, and I don’t believe I have any diseases that are foreign to this country. I don’t believe that I have ever brought any foreign diseases back to the U.S. from my travels. You need to get the facts straight.

Also, many diseases are on the rise due to illegal immigration. I’m not saying you’re disease ridden, Anonymous. I’m simply pointing out facts that many illegals who do not go through proper immigration channels are carriers of communicable diseases. Some illnesses thought to have been nearly squashed are on the rise again because of this–plague, dengue fever, and polio. Even leprosy has seen an alarming rise in regularity because of illegal immigrants.

Anyway, there is a horrible misconception in this country right now, based mostly on what people hear rather than on what they know, that illegal immigrants perform jobs that Americans won’t do (though of late, this has been altered by illegal immigrant activists to “jobs Americans are too qualified for” since the condescending catch-phrase “jobs Americans wont do” was failing miserably.) This is patently false, but it’s been regurgitated over and over so much that people simply accept it. (There was an incident recently in the post-Katrina south where African Americans looking for work at a specific job site were told to go home because “the Mexicans” were coming to work for less pay.)

For those of us living in border states, particularly southern California, keep in mind that Latino workers makes up only 5% the total workforce in the United States, and they don’t make up a majority of the workforce in any occupation in America–yes, not even car washing, gardening, or house cleaning.

Much of the problem lies with employers, such as Swift Co. from The Nation article mentioned above, who hire illegals for a lower wage than actual American citizens are willing to take (well below minimum.) It’s about a fair wage. Pay American citizens a fair wage and they will do those jobs that so many are claiming only illegals will do because we, as American citizens, are too good to get our hands dirty. In fact, if there weren’t as many illegals doing “jobs Americans won’t do” then Americans would be able to fill those jobs, probably promoting a general increase in wages for many Americans altogether.

American citizens are doing jobs throughout the country that illegal immigrant activists say they won’t do. Americans are making livings and getting paid fair wages gardening, house cleaning, building homes, and working at McDonalds. Often views are skewed by where people live (border states) and what they see in the news.

Many legal immigrants (Latino and otherwise) find great offense to the idea of illegals getting any sort of benefits, let alone amnesty, by being in the country without having gone through the proper channels. Most immigrants have waited with great patience, going through those proper channels in order to become American citizens. The general disdain and disrespect pro-illegal immigration protestors and activists have towards the country that they are trying to win favor from is galling.

What needs to happen? Mexico needs to step up to the plate and provide for its citizens, and the United States needs to stop paying their bills without any help from Mexico. Mexico relies on the fact that its citizens emigrate to the US. It even took out full page ads in American newspapers supporting Bush’s guest worker program! It’s what keeps the rich wealthy, and the poor even poorer. The corruptness of the Mexican government is abhorrent, and if it were governed with any sense of responsibility (doubtful there will be any change even with the new leadership), the situation would probably be different, especially considering Mexico is rich in natural resources. What the illegal immigrant demonstrators and activists should do is use that same determination to protest their own government in Mexico to incite change instead of alienating the American audience it’s trying to win over.

Ultimately this is not a racist issue, at least for me. This is about providing American citizens a fair shot and keeping our economy running smoothly. Simply, if you pay people more money, they put more money back into the economy. If you pay them less, they put less back in, which weakens the economy. Add to that, most illegal immigrants send much of the money they make back to their families in Mexico and you can see how much of problem this will ultimately become (and already is.)

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Senate hearings on Ramos-Compean postponed
Democrats who want ‘extreme’ sentences probed blame ‘scheduling difficulties’


Posted: February 20, 2007
7:57 p.m. Eastern
By Jerome R. Corsi
© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com
Senate Judiciary Committee hearings scheduled by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., to investigate the prosecution of border agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean and Texas Texas Sheriff’s Deputy Guillermo “Gilmer” Hernandez have been postponed, WND has learned.

Sen. Feinstein’s office told WND scheduling difficulties were responsible for the cancellation of the Feb. 27 hearing and her office anticipates that a new hearing date will be set soon. A spokesman for Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said he was disappointed to hear of the postponement, noting the senator’s staff had done extensive work in preparation. As WND reported, Feinstein received permission from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., to examine the cases.

The Bush administration has drawn strong criticism from Republican congressmen angry about its handling of a case in which two border agents were given 11- and 12-year sentences after granting a drug smuggler immunity to testify against them.

“I strongly believe that the sentences in this case are too extreme, given the criminal nature of the defendant and his possession of large quantities of drugs,” Feinstein said in a statement. “These men were given sentences that some individuals who are convicted of murder wouldn’t receive.” Leahy’s office did not return WND’s call for comment.

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This past Wednesday, the 5th of July, Congressional Republicans held public hearings on the east and west coasts concerning the illegal immigration problem this country is currently mired in. Most attendees felt the hearings were nothing more than a dog and pony show designed to generate political support towards election season. This is probably true.

Still, it’s always interesting to hear public officials spew forth their opinions, especially over such a politically divisive issue as illegal immigration.

Our very own Los Angeles County Sheriff, Lee Baca testified at the west coast meeting held in San Diego. If this man has done little to fight crime in the years he’s been sheriff, he certainly demonstrated his lack of will to deal with the illegals in LA county or to discourage employers who hire illegal aliens, despite the fact he readily admits that the Los Angeles area hosts more illegals than any other region in the United States.

At the house committee hearing, Baca made the outrageous claim that illegals provide a service to the country, and should they be deported, and those employers jailed, the economy would suffer greatly. Wow. I didn’t know Sheriff Lee Baca was an economist, but apparently he’s changed careers. He’s already kicking it off to a bad start if so.

First of all, no one is proposing that employers who knowingly hire illegals be incarcerated for that infraction. Fine them heavily, and expunge their workforce of the illegal workers. Do that to enough shady employers and I guarantee countless more will spook to the point of firing their undesirable staff.

Second, no one is saying that we will need to locate and deport all illegal aliens. Again, much like the first point, find and deport enough of them, and many more will become terrified, voluntarily smuggling themselves back across the border (I know not all illegal aliens are Mexicans. Many are from various countries who have simply overstayed their visas. Most however are from Central and South America, and particularly Mexico for the obvious reason of border proximity.)

Selective deportation is a proven tactic. It’s been done many times, and it’s worked. Many illegals do become frightened and leave the country, if only temporarily.

This of course brings up the need for more dependable border security. We need stronger borders. We need to enforce our borders. We need to maintain a border vigil electronically and physically because right now our southern border is so porous as to allow a convoy of MX missiles to cross with nary a pair of eyes in hundreds of miles to even take notice. While I am clearly exaggerating, don’t think something to this effect couldn’t happen on a smaller scale with devastating results. There are countless human traffickers who will smuggle anyone across the Mexican border as long as they get paid to do it. Not only will they transport people, but anything, any item one has the desire to move into the U.S.

Apparently New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg has forgotten 9/11 and/or he doesn’t care, as is apparent from defeatist statements concerning the tide of illegal immigration he made at the east coast hearings held in Philadelphia, PA (story below.) This is especially timely today considering the FBI made public a plot to blow up the Holland tunnel in New York.

Bloomberg’s comments were similar to those made by Baca in San Diego–economic doom and gloom. If anything, the recent “Day Without an Immigrant” demonstrated the only communities that were significantly harmed by that boycott were high Latino populated regions and businesses. Other economic damage was negligible if even noticeable–Los Angeles was not shut down, and the country is still here. The idea that our nation would be damaged and thrown into economic turmoil is preposterous. All a “Day Without an Immigrant” accomplished was to confirmed that the country would still function normally without illegal labor. But then again, I’m not an economist like Sheriff Baca.

I am all for the House enforcement bill. I am wholly against the Senate “Path to Citizenship” bill (Amnesty by any other name.) Border enforcement must come first for many reasons before we can even think to consider granting citizenship to a swath of people have no concerns for even minimal assimilation, who willingly break our laws on a daily basis, who put stress on school systems that were struggling to begin with, and who chip away at our health care system while offering nothing in return but cheap labor to unscrupulous employers who have no desire to pay a fair wage to American citizens, no matter their ethnicity.

Lawmakers hear Americans’ voices on immigration

SAN DIEGO Congressional Republicans heard lively testimony Wednesday from mayors, sheriffs and ordinary citizens in two public hearings held on both coasts to discuss illegal immigration.

The hearings in San Diego and Philadelphia marked the opening of a summer season that will take proponents of competing immigration proposals in Congress across the country. The aim is to demonstrate public support for their plans.

The House bill focuses on enforcing the border and cracking down on companies that hire illegal immigrants.

The House version does not include the proposal of the Senate bill to create a path to citizenship for most of the estimated 12 million people living here illegally.

In Washington, President Bush appeared at a donut shop in Virginia owned by an Iranian immigrant to reaffirm his call for a bill that allows some of those here illegally to qualify eventually for citizenship. Although he called for more border security, Bush said, “We’re not going to be able to deport people who’ve been here working hard and raising their families.”

On the West Coast, much of the talk was about how hard it is to handle the stream of Mexican citizens coming across the border.

Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., chairman of the subcommittee on international terrorism, said that if Congress approved the House-passed bill, it would establish “operational control of our border.”

“It is elementary: To defend ourselves, we must secure our borders,” Royce said.

Law enforcement officials testified that a large number of criminals were slipping across the border.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said 27f the inmates in his jails are illegal immigrants. Rick Flores, sheriff of Webb County, Texas, says his department duels with drug cartels and smuggling operations across the border in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.

“We need your help,” he said. “The Mexico government is in on the narco-smuggling.”

Darryl Griffen, chief of the San Diego sector of the U.S. Border Patrol, said he needs not just more officers but better technology to stop illegal entrants.

He said electronic monitoring equipment that assists officers covers 9 miles of the 60 miles of border for which he is responsible.

“They’re turning our country into their country,” said Dan Colandria, 34, of Vista, Calif.

Colandria said he is a member of the Minutemen, a volunteer group that patrols the border with Mexico and calls authorities when people are spotted trying to sneak across.

“It’s just not right,” he said.

Democrats mocked the Republicans for holding hearings they said would not lead to solutions.

“These hearings are not designed to legislate they are designed to whip up public opinion,” said Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a Republican, urged lawmakers to find a way to let illegal immigrants remain in the country. He told the panel in Philadelphia that New York City is home to more than 3 million immigrants and a half-million of them came here illegally.

“Although they broke the law by illegally crossing our borders … our city’s economy would be a shell of itself had they not, and it would collapse if they were deported,” he said. “The same holds true for the nation.”

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson and representatives of Pennsylvania’s dairy, landscaping and hospitality industries testified in favor of giving illegal immigrants a chance at citizenship.

Louis Barletta, the Republican mayor of Hazleton, a northeast Pennsylvania town of 22,000 people, said his city has been “terrorized” by illegal immigrant drug dealers and murderers.

He said he is pushing an ordinance that will impose tough penalties on employers who hire illegal immigrants.

“I have had enough,” Barletta said. “This ordinance is intended to make Hazleton one of the most difficult places in the United States for illegal immigrants.”

Kiely reported from Philadelphia

Bloomberg: U.S. can’t stem immigration tide

NYC, Hazleton mayors disagree at hearing here

By DAN GERINGER
geringd@phillynews.com 215-854-5961

IF THE government expects beefed-up border patrols to stop undocumented workers from pouring into this country, “you might as well sit on the beach and tell the tide not to come in,” New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg told the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s immigration-reform hearings here yesterday.

Testifying at the National Constitution Center, Bloomberg called the nation’s immigration laws “fundamentally broken” because “employers are required… not to do anything more than eyeball” a worker’s documents, knowing that bogus Social Security cards and “fake green cards are a dime a dozen.”

Instead of “winking at businesses that hired illegal immigrants,” Bloomberg said, the government should require all workers to carry “biometric” Social Security cards that use DNA or fingerprint ID – and require employers to check the cards against a national database.

Bloomberg and Philadelphia Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson agreed that it is not the job of city cops to enforce federal immigration laws.

Johnson told Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., who chaired the hearing, that Philadelphia police will help any immigrant crime victim without first asking that person to “show me your green card.”

The commissioner said that enforcing federal immigration laws would destroy the positive relationship between police and the immigrant community that is vital to gathering intelligence for his department’s primary mission – fighting crime.

Both Johnson and Bloomberg testified that city police departments are legally mandated to spend their budgets on public safety, not on immigration investigations, but Hazleton Mayor Louis Barletta strongly disagreed.

Barletta recently attracted national attention by championing an “illegal-immigration-relief” ordinance, effective July 13, that will effectively shut down for five years any Hazleton business caught hiring “illegal aliens” and any landlord caught renting or leasing to them.

The ordinance states “that illegal immigration leads to higher crime rates, contributes to overcrowded classrooms and failing schools, subjects our hospitals to fiscal hardship and legal residents to substandard quality of care, and destroys our neighborhoods and diminishes our overall quality of life.”

Barletta did not offer any statistical evidence to support those claims yesterday.

He told the Daily News that he did not know how many “illegal aliens” lived or worked or went to school or committed crimes in Hazleton.

Barletta repeatedly cited three recent crimes in Hazleton – a murder, a playground shooting and a crack-cocaine operation – that involved illegal immigrants.

He said that those crimes had tied up the 31 police officers who serve 31,000 residents and that “every minute spent on policing illegal immigrants is a minute not spent on serving legal residents.”

But he could not say how many Hazleton crimes had been committed by “illegal immigrants” and how many by legal residents.

He said that his small-town budget was “buckling under the strain of illegal immigrants” but that he did not know how many undocumented workers contributed to the city’s budget by paying taxes.

Bloomberg, on the other hand, said that 75 percent of New York City’s 500,000 undocumented workers paid their taxes and that the city’s tax base and its economy would be “decimated” without their contributions.

Bloomberg said that instead of talking about deporting the nation’s estimated 11 million to 12 million illegal immigrants – who have violated civil, not criminal, laws – as felons, the country should give them the chance to earn permanent residency and remain united with their families here.

Ricardo Diaz, of the Day Without an Immigrant Coalition, led a small group of protesters who demonstrated peacefully outside the National Constitution Center.

The protest was small, he said, because the hearings were a “dog-and-pony show,” rather than a congressional debate, and were not worth asking immigrants to miss a day of work for – “What was I going to do with 10,000 people here?” he asked.

“That’s not dialogue,” Diaz said of the divide between the big-city and small-city mayors. “It’s time for [anti-immigration congressmen] to put their Goliath against our David, and let’s do it.

“Let’s make a stab at a reasoned compromise and pass legislation. These hearings will not get us to a solution, and that’s sad.”

Local Hearings Provide Point, Counter-Point, in Congressional Immigration Debate
Published: 7/6/2006 12:51:46 AM

The first in a series of congressional hearings on immigration reform was held Wednesday at the Imperial Beach Border Patrol Station, where a number of officials weighed in on the divisive issue.

The packed hearing is one of several organized nationwide by Republican congressional leaders, who pledged to hold such sessions before negotiating a compromise immigration bill with the Senate.

The Senate plan would beef up border enforcement, offer a path to legalization to millions of undocumented migrants and create a guest worker program, while the House plan focuses on border and interior enforcement.

Rep. Ed Royce, R-Fullerton, who chairs the House subcommittee, said the Border Patrol’s budget has increased 64 percent since 2000, but the federal government needs to do a better job securing the border.

“More needs to be done since there is chaos in many (Border Patrol) sectors and the border is still very porous,” Royce said.

Rep. Bob Filner, D-Chula Vista, apologized to Border Patrol officials who were called as witnesses at the hearing, saying they were part of a “huge cover-up” in Washington, D.C., because the borders have gone unprotected.

Filner said no Republicans have consulted him on border issues, even though his district runs along the border from San Diego to Yuma, Ariz.

Nine Republican and six Democratic Congressional representatives attended the hearing.

Darryl Griffen, chief of the San Diego Border Patrol sector, testified that his agents have apprehended about 108,000 illegal immigrants this year.

He said the recent deployment of California National Guard troops will “very much so” help in patrolling the U.S. and Mexico border.

Griffen said his biggest needs are remote video surveillance equipment and technology that can detect border tunnels.

Corrupt agents are also a problem.

U.S. Border Patrol agents suspected of smuggling drugs and humans into the United States were in hiding today after they apparently were tipped off about the probe, it was reported.

Brothers Fidel and Raul Villarreal, who quit their Border Patrol jobs abruptly last month when they found out they were being investigated for aiding smugglers, may have fled to Mexico.

A little more than a month ago, two customs officers at San Diego border crossings were charged with waving cars loaded with illegal immigrants in exchange for cash.

In January, Oscar Antonio Ortiz, an illegal immigrant from Mexico who got a job as a Border Patrol agent, pleaded guilty to conspiring to smuggle people into the United States.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca told the panel that 26 percent of his jail population is composed of illegal immigrants.

Housing illegal immigrants in Los Angeles County jails costs about $80 million per year, he said. Last year, the county was reimbursed $11 million by the federal government, he said.

“That means radio calls, patrol cars on the street, are cut back,” the sheriff said. “The situation is severe in Los Angeles County. We have more illegal immigrants in Los Angeles County than anywhere else in the country.”

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich, a Republican, reeled off a list of taxpayer-borne costs associated with illegal immigration.

“Our health care delivery system has become the HMO for the world,” he said.

He said one of every 15 people in California was in the country illegally and suggested that the U.S. set up medical clinics in Mexico to stem the northward flow.

About 50 people against the House’s proposal for immigration reform protested at the entrance to the meeting site.

Pastor Art Cribbs, with the Christian Fellowship United Church of San Diego, called the meeting a “sham,” contending that not all the sides were heard.

“We will not be silenced,” he said. “We will not be ignored. We will not be counted out. We are here as the uninvited.”

Currently Playing:
Prey
Release date: By 11 July, 2006

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While I’m not a fan of our Los Angeles mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, I don’t really blame him for taking drastic measures in order to fix the city’s failure that is the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), despite the fact that his plan is based on New York mayor Michael Bloomberg’s flawed school takeover. At least Villaraigosa is trying to do something.

If one needs proof that LA public schools, and California education standards in general, require some major rehabilitation tactics, then one only needs look at student failure rate on the California State Exit Exam (CASEE.)

42,000 students failed the standardized test. Even the few students who had enough initiative to repeatedly take the test still could not pass either the math portion, or the English portion, or both.

Is the CASEE too difficult? Certainly not. You know why? Because it tests at an 8th grade level. I don’t want to get into the politics of the exam here, especially considering I already tread this ground back when the exit exam had been foolishly deemed unconstitutional by a moron of a judge (thankfully, that decision was then overturned and graduating seniors in California were required to pass the CASEE in order to receive a diploma.) But there’s something absolutely rotten with California schools if a student can make it through all four years of high school, maintain an A- grade average, and still fail the exit exam to the point of not graduating.

Morgan Saunders, 18, who maintained an A-minus average during her four years at Oakland’s Dewey High School… finished high school without a diploma. She passed the English section of the exit exam on her first try but failed the math portion four times, stumped by the geometry.

Awww… but she had an A- average. She’s obviously a good student, right? I say, no. Is it her fault? Probably not. Whose fault is it? I’m going to step out on a limb here [sarcasm] and say the reason Morgan couldn’t pass the CASEE, and ultimately couldn’t graduate, is because the California school system sucks so fucking hard. Her teachers let her coast through high school believing she was an exceptional student. When it came time to truly test that assessment Morgan was tossed to the wolves, confused and abandoned by those who were taxed with her success.

Now The Los Angeles Community College District and other community colleges around the state are opening their arms, ready to embrace to the failures of the California public school system. Failed the CASEE? Didn’t graduate? Who cares. Just hand over enough money and you too can get a first class… er, 2nd class… um… 3rd rate. Hmmm…. anyway… You too can get edumacated at any of a multitude of California community colleges.

Gee. That sounds like a swell idea–offering an education to those who couldn’t pass the state exit exam. But wouldn’t those students who just proved to the California public school system they couldn’t compete at an 8th grade level, simply be doing the same thing in a community college?

“Hrumph! Of course not! Our instructors are of a higher caliber at Shittown Community College. Those students who failed the CASEE will receive at least a 3rd rate education.”

But wouldn’t those teachers still have to lower their education tactics and standards in order to instruct students who can’t pass 8th grade level math and English? In essence, they would have to dumb down the course work in order to raise students to a level of minimum acceptability for college-level studies, cramming four years of high school into two years of community college, while still maintaining an obligation to guide those students towards a path that will lead to a four-year college, or god-forbid, an honest-to-god university.

Sounds like a daunting task, especially when there are students like this…

Idalia Albarran, an 18-year-old from Santa Ana, also is looking to her local community college for help.

Albarran, who immigrated to Orange County from the Mexican state of Guerrero in 2002, passed all of her courses over the last four years at Century High School and maintained a B average.

But when her school held its commencement this month, she received a certificate of completion but no diploma because she failed the English portion of the exit exam five times.

Albarran, who relies mainly on Spanish in conversation, said in Spanish that she was “really sad” about falling short on the exam. “I had done so much work and it didn’t pay off,” she said.

Yet Albarran, who hopes one day to become a dentist, said she was thrilled to learn that she could enter a program at Santa Ana College tailored to students who failed the exit exam.

Hmmm. She wants to be a dentist but she can’t pass an 8th grade English test. Riiiiight. Of course, this brings up another issue–becoming an American citizen is many parts assimilation. If you can’t take the time to learn the language, how can you hope to pass an exam designed test that fundamental concept? Simply, you can’t.

Exit Exam Not the End for High School Seniors

By Stuart Silverstein and Seema Mehta, Times Staff Writers
June 25, 2006

High school seniors who failed California’s new exit exam are being welcomed into two-year colleges for another shot at a diploma.
Community colleges have long offered a second chance to students with lofty ambitions but lousy high school grades. Now many two-year colleges are trying to attract a new group seeking a fresh start: seniors leaving high school this month without diplomas because they couldn’t pass California’s new exit exam.

The Los Angeles Community College District, the state’s largest, and others around California are welcoming many of the nearly 42,000 high school seniors tripped up by the exit exam.
By one estimate, 15,000 to 20,000 of those students will enroll in basic skills courses or other classes at the colleges.

Some state officials and education analysts question whether those efforts eventually could divert resources from other needed programs at two-year colleges and become a permanent crutch for failing high schools.

Concerns also have been raised that, in a few cases, community colleges are providing students a loophole letting them earn high school diplomas without passing the California High School Exit Examination. (Among educators, it’s known as the CAHSEE, pronounced “KAY-see.”)

For the most part, however, educators along with many students and their parents are embracing the initiatives aimed at the 9.6% of this past year’s high school seniors who have fallen short on the exit exam.

The supporters point out that one of the longtime missions for the colleges has been to serve students lacking high school diplomas and needing basic skills instruction.

“These students have always been coming to us,” said Marshall “Mark” Drummond, the state community colleges chancellor, noting that admitting students without high school diplomas is nothing new for California’s community colleges.

“We have to be sure that kids know that failing the CAHSEE is not the end of their future,” he said.

Students such as Morgan Saunders, 18, who maintained an A-minus average during her four years at Oakland’s Dewey High School, are taking that message to heart. She hopes to earn a university degree and launch a web design business.

But Saunders finished high school without a diploma. She passed the English section of the exit exam on her first try but failed the math portion four times, stumped by the geometry.

“I was very angry,” she said. Noting her high GPA, Saunders said, “For a test to say I didn’t make it, that’s wrong.”

Still, she said she was relieved to find out that she could enroll at Laney College, a two-year school in Oakland.

Saunders will participate in a partnership between Oakland public schools and community colleges. Students who enroll in an afternoon exit exam prep class can also take a morning course for college credit, free of charge. The students can continue in community college even if they don’t pass their next exit exam.

“We thought it might be practically and psychologically a really good way to help motivate kids who might be feeling kind of depressed or frustrated because they hadn’t graduated, and might just be inclined to drop out or hang their heads,” said Brian McKibben, an Oakland school district administrator.

Idalia Albarran, an 18-year-old from Santa Ana, also is looking to her local community college for help.

Albarran, who immigrated to Orange County from the Mexican state of Guerrero in 2002, passed all of her courses over the last four years at Century High School and maintained a B average.

But when her school held its commencement this month, she received a certificate of completion but no diploma because she failed the English portion of the exit exam five times.

Albarran, who relies mainly on Spanish in conversation, said in Spanish that she was “really sad” about falling short on the exam. “I had done so much work and it didn’t pay off,” she said.

Yet Albarran, who hopes one day to become a dentist, said she was thrilled to learn that she could enter a program at Santa Ana College tailored to students who failed the exit exam.

Without a second chance, she said, “I would have to work and I wouldn’t have a career.”

The Schwarzenegger administration has proposed, and legislators have supported, including $10 million in the new state budget for community college programs that serve students who fail the exit exam.

Separately, state Sen. Deborah Ortiz (D-Sacramento) has introduced legislation that would permit students who have not passed the exit exam to receive Cal Grant funds for college-related expenses.

Among the beneficiaries of the proposed spending would be students in Los Angeles’ community college district.

All nine of the system’s campuses will offer “Bridge to College,” a new summer program beginning in July, for an estimated 1,200 students overall, including an estimated 150 to 250 who failed the exit exam. (A flier for the program declares, “No CAHSEE? No Problem!” )

In addition, three of the district’s schools the City College, Trade Tech and Southwest campuses will have a related “Learn and Earn” program providing part-time campus jobs for students who failed the exam and want to continue their studies.

The Schwarzenegger administration, though generally supporting community colleges’ efforts for students who failed the exit exam, objects to one practice.

A few community colleges around the state have already offered adult high school programs and awarded diplomas to students who complete them. The Schwarzenegger administration is now pushing, so far unsuccessfully, to prevent those colleges from awarding diplomas to students who failed the exit exam.

H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for the Schwarzenegger administration, called that practice “a loophole that lets you get past or get through the requirements that the majority of other high school students in California have to meet.” The standards enforced by the exit exam, he said, are intended to help students and “prepare them for their next step in life.”

Yet officials at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, one of the two-year schools offering high school diplomas without requiring the exit exam, reject the loophole characterization.

Madelyn Arballo, the school’s director of basic skills, said its high school program imposes reading, writing and math requirements that match or exceed the exit exam standards. “We know that it’s just as rigorous and just as tough as getting a diploma” at a regular high school, she said.

Currently listening:
Jou Hou
By Discordance Axis
Release date: By 27 January, 2004

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Judge Robert Freedman is an idiot. I know this news is a week old, but this guy just exudes so much stupidity that he could give Bush a run for his money. This man struck down the statewide standardized high school exit exam, further devaluing California school systems and the students who are produced from them.

The exit exam tests graduating seniors for their aptitude of what they have learned during their school careers. It tests at an 8th grade level. Students can take it a multitude of times. Read those last two lines again.

This was the first year the exit exam was actually being put to effect (it had been postponed two years ago to 2006) but because 47,000 students were not going to graduate, Lawyers representing those students sued the state in order to get the exit exam thrown out.

The lawsuit attempted to claim that low income and english learning students were at a disadvantage; they couldn’t attend the fancier schools; they had responsibilities like work; they don’t speak english; they’re poor. Most telling was the fact that the lawyers stated the exit exam was racist, favoring wealthy caucasians, while ignoring latinos and blacks because those minorities are at an economic disadvantage. In essence, the exit exam isn’t fair to latinos and blacks, therefore it is a racist test.

Well, that’s tough. You know what? Life isn’t fair. It’s true. Students who come from a wealthier background do have it generally a little easier in school, while students who come from a poorer background often have to work a little (or a lot) harder in order to maintain good grades, and yes, pass exit exams.

And this is what’s racist–the lawyers who brought this lawsuit and the people who supported it. They’re saying that latinos and blacks are just too stupid to pass this test. Yeah, latinos and black are too damn dumb to pass an 8th grade level test that can be taken over and over and over again until it’s passed. That’s preposterous, and I don’t buy it. They’re the racists.

All this motion by the judge does is devalue California schools. It hurts students who worked hard in school. It means those students who did pass the exit exam are just as good as the ones who didn’t–that you can simply show up to school, and get a diploma.

A diploma is not a right. Though Freedman seems to think so. You don’t deserve it. You have to work to deserve it, and while some students will have to work harder in order to earn that diploma, I would hope they’ll feel a sense of accomplishment for it, and not fall back on racist arguments as to why they feel they should just get one.

And finally, let’s just go ahead and throw out ACTs, SATs, and any other standardized test while we’re at it, because that’s also what this ruling declares. No standardized testing. Hell, no tests period.

Here’s a little clip from an article about this…

Liliana Valenzuela, an 18-year-old senior from Richmond and the lead plaintiff in Valenzuela vs. California, was in an English class at Richmond High on Friday when she got a cell phone call informing her of the judge’s decision. Containing her excitement, she quietly told her teacher, then slipped from class to meet her lawyers.

“I feel very happy,” she said later in Spanish. “Now I’ll be able to have my diploma and fulfill my desire to become a nurse.”

And do you really believe you can be a nurse when you can’t even pass an 8th grade level multiple choice test? Best of luck.

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