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The Senate’s Gang of Eight has put together an 844-page monstrosity known as the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act, legislation that President Obama says he “basically approves” of. The crafters of this essentially unreadable bill were Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Robert Menendez, D-N.J., Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Michael Bennett, D-Col., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Jeff Flake and John McCain, R-Ariz. and Lindsay Graham, R-S.C.

On its surface, the bill provides much-needed relief to many of the 11 million undocumented people who live in our country. The challenge is that it disadvantages some immigrants, especially African and Caribbean immigrants, while helping others.

Further, the senators crafting the bill put goodies into it that only serve to advantage themselves or their states. Graham wants more visas for the meat-packing industry. Schumer provided special provisions for Irish people with a high school diploma (why?), Rubio, the much- touted possible presidential candidate in 2016, asked for more visas for the cruise ship industry, and Bennett wants more visas for workers in ski resorts.

Meanwhile, the legislation would eliminate the Diversity Visa Program, which allows a visa lottery for countries that have low levels (fewer than 50,000 people) of immigration to the United States. Many African immigrants come here through this program (Ghana and Nigeria each had 6,000 immigrants through this program in 2011; African immigrants are 36 percent of those receiving diversity visas). Thus, while Schumer pushes for special provisions for Irish immigrants, there is no one on the Senate side pushing for special provisions for African and Caribbean immigrants.

Instead of the Diversity Visa Program, the Senate Bill 744 creates between 120,000 and 200,000 visas on a “merit-based” system, which gives highest priority to those who have future employment opportunities. Because employers do not seek out African and Caribbean immigrants for employees (as they seek out Indian and Chinese employees), the merit-based point system is likely to provide fewer opportunities for those from Africa and the Caribbean. Schumer’s special provision for the Irish carries no stipulation that these people be employed, essentially granting them a pass from the merit-based point system.

With unemployment over 7 percent, and Black unemployment over 13 percent, surely there are unemployed people who could work effectively in technology companies. Howard University economist Bill Sprigs has written that there are proportionately more African-American students majoring in computer science than whites. Many of these graduates cannot find jobs. Meanwhile, African and Caribbean immigrants get just a small percentage of H-1B visas.

The Immigration Modernization bill will spend $4.5 billion in an attempt to secure the southern border, which will “secure” our country from Mexican immigrants, but ignores the northern border, which makes our country more open to Canadian immigration. Of course, Canadian immigrants are more likely to be white, and thus less feared, than Mexican immigrants. The Congressional Black Caucus is one of many groups that suggest that this $4.5 billion could be more effectively spent, perhaps on STEM education.

The immigration bill is by no means final. The House of Representatives still has to vote on it, and many of them will add amendments and exceptions to take care of their pet causes. Meanwhile, President Obama has been urging Democrats to accept the immigration bill as it is, because too many amendments may jeopardize it. For example, Sen, Patrick Leahy, (D-Vt.) would like to propose an amendment that would allow gay Americans to sponsor their partners for green cards. The Judiciary Committee is likely to pass this amendment, but the whole Senate might not.

President Obama has had a bad year, so far. He didn’t get his way on gun control, and he’s been kicked around by an obstructionist House of Representatives. He needs immigration reform to fulfill promises he made to the Latino community during his campaign. But the unwieldy 844-page piece of legislation contains lots of provisions that don’t pass the smell test. It makes it more difficult for African and Caribbean immigrants to become citizens of the United States.

The African-American community must take a closer look at this legislation. If Schumer can give 10,000 Irish immigrants the open door, how many Africans and Caribbeans will he make exceptions for? At the very minimum, Congress should restore the Diversity Visa program. The bill is called the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act. Exactly who will have more economic opportunity? And is immigration really being modernized when it locks foreign-born Black people out of the process?

Julianne Malveaux is a Washington, D.C.-based economist and writer. She is president emerita of Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, N.C.




AS a recent thunderstorm broke through the evening skies and tumbled showers on the burnt-out building located at Weymouth Drive in St Andrew, Pauline Grant, 50, and her daughter Debbie-Ann grew increasingly worried.

The two scrambled to find shelter under the rusty piece of zinc that hung from the top of the roofless structure, but it was no use. They got soaked anyway.

Pauline Grant and her daughter talk about life in the burnt-out building.


Police report that a fire gutted the five-bedroom dwelling in which the two lived, in November 2010. The cause of the blaze has not been ascertained, but the unfortunate incident has left Grant, a former teacher, and her daughter roaming the streets.

To avoid embarrassment, they sometimes stay at the house during the days and secretly sleep on the floor of a Kingston church in the nights. When there are late night services there, however, the mother-daughter duo are forced to spend the night under a bus stop.

“We used to stay at the house day and night, but have decided to do otherwise,” said the mother, adding that she has in the past come under attack from criminals who have threatened to rape them both.

Grant said that since the incident, she has tried to get help by highlighting her plight, but nothing has been forthcoming.

“We are desperately seeking help; we are on the point of giving up,” said the mother, desperation evident in her eyes.

While pleading for help, Grant said that it has been several days since she and her daughter had eaten a hot meal and they were not sure when next they would be able to fulfill the basic need.

“It has been several days since we eat anything,” she said, with a look of distress on her face.

“Going days without food is nothing new for us. Sometimes we are forced to go out to the nearby plaza to beg and hope that a Good Samaritan come to our assistance,” she said.

But she said that there are days like a few Fridays when the two were just too weak to go out on the road.

Grant insists that she was not seeking any handouts, but that she is willing to work in order to survive.

She reveals that she makes and sells handbags, but because she is now without a machine, business is slow.

“If anyone out there could provide some assistance to buy material to make my bags, I am convinced that I would be able to make ends meet,” said Grant.

She is also asking for someone to assist in refurbishing a section of the burnt down house so that she could rent one of the rooms to earn a living.

She also stated that her daughter is an artist and a song writer who would love to get some form of assistance to fulfill her dream of becoming a doctor.

Grant said that she has been married for 20 years, but claims her marriage had fallen apart after she had to be separated from her husband whom she described as a drug addict.

She also has two other children, one of whom ran away after the fire and the other has been staying with friends. Debbie-Ann has opted to stay by her mother’s side.

Read more:–daughter-living-in-hell_14243623#ixzz2UOxqDCkd



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A LUSAKA polygamist stunned the Lusaka Court when he narrated how he caught his pregnant wife in a sex romp with another man in their bed.

This was heard before justices Martha Tembo and Kaputo Ng’andwe in a case in which Oliver Mweemba, 33, sued Lukas Lufino, 52, for compensation for adultery. Mweemba told the attentive gallery that on April 30 this year, he went to visit one of his two wives around 18:00hrs but left around 20:00hrs for his other home.

Around 23:00hrs, he said, he heard a desperate knock on his door and it was his younger brother, Kasoka Chinyama, 25, who told him that their mother was very ill and he needed to go and attend to her.

But on the way there, Chinyama told him that their mother was not sick but that he wanted him to go back to his wife, Sarah, because he had seen a man enter the couple’s house.

With blinding rage and his heart pumping at a break-neck rate, Mweemba hurried home and when he got there, he stopped to strategise on how to catch his wife and her lover without any disturbance.

“Your honour, there’s a window almost close to the roof of my house. I climbed, peeped and to my shock, there was a man on top of my wife and on my bed for that matter,” he lamented.

Mweemba said he climbed down quietly and knocked on the door only for his wife to open with a chitenge-wrapper up to her armpits.

Shocked to see her husband, Sarah wanted to run out but Mweemba slapped her and pushed her back in the house.

Inside their bedroom, Mweemba said, he found Lufino, who is old enough to be his father. He said with shame, Lufino, wearing a boxer short, just stood mute looking at him.

“I asked him what he was doing in my bedroom and he said he had come for a funeral. I said a funeral in my bedroom and in my blankets with my wife? I then went to call the police,” he said.

Mweemba said when the police arrived on the scene, he grabbed Lufino’s clothes and the officers took the ‘lovebirds’ to the police station and detained them for a night.

At this point, Mweemba displayed before the court items he grabbed from Lufino- a pair of runners, denim trousers, T-shirt, a wrist watch and a cardigan from which a sachet of an oral powder believed to be a sexual enhancer fell off.

And in his statement, Lufino, a father of six, denied having committed adultery with Sarah.

He said on April 30 this year, he visited Mweemba’s family because he had an interest in their relative called Judy whom he had given a lift to Chibombo.

Lufino said Mweemba’s mother, who happens to live on the same premises with Sarah and her husband, told him that Judy was not available and advised him to follow her in Chibombo.

He said he left and went back to his home but around 19:30 hours went for a drink with his friend with whom he chatted about Judy.

Lufino said after the drinking spree that night, he went back to the Mweembas’ home to enquire again about Judy though Mweemba was not present at his home at the time.

“Within a short while and while seated in the living room with a bottle of castle in my hands, I heard a loud bang and the door was flung open. People started beating and undressing me. I pleaded with them to stop as I am an elderly person. I told them it was better for them to take me to the police instead.

At that point Justice Kaputo Ng’andwe warned Lufino that the court was going to call the officers who detained him that night to double-check his story.

Upon hearing that, Lufino quickly changed his story and said the gang that beat him up also pushed him into Mweemba’s bedroom.

Meanwhile, Sarah sheepishly admitted that Lufino is her lover and that they did in fact commit adultery on the material day.

She said Lufino had been pursuing her for a long time saying no woman had turned down his advances.

“On that day, he came home in the evening and I told him to go away but he refused. I told him that my husband was sure to catch us but I don’t know what medicine he used on me. I gave in and had sex with him. True to what I told him, my husband came and caught us in the act,” she said.

The case was adjourned




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