Immigration Overhaul Wins Panel’s Backing in the Senate
By ASHLEY PARKER and JULIA PRESTON
Published: May 21, 2013
WASHINGTON — The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday approved a broad overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws on a bipartisan vote, sending the most significant immigration policy changes in decades to the full Senate, where the debate is expected to begin next month.
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Drew Angerer for The New York Times
Senator Patrick J. Leahy making his closing statement during the Senate Judiciary Committee process.
U.S. Quietly Monitors Foreigners’ Departures at the Canadian Border (May 22, 2013)
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Editorial: An Imperfect Immigration Bill Survives (May 22, 2013)
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Drew Angerer for The New York Times
Senators Orrin G. Hatch and Charles E. Schumer, who were central to the deal.
The 13-to-5 vote came as the committee reached a deal on one of the final snags threatening the legislation — and agreed to hold off on a particularly politically charged amendment, which would have added protections for same-sex couples.
After intense behind-the-scenes negotiations, Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, struck an agreement with the group of eight senators who drafted the original bill to address his concerns about visas for skilled foreign workers who could fill jobs in the high-tech industry.
By late afternoon on Tuesday, Mr. Hatch had said that he would support the bill out of committee, if not necessarily on the Senate floor, after the committee agreed, via a voice vote, to pass his amendment.
“I’m going to vote this bill out of committee because I’ve committed to do that,” Mr. Hatch said.
Authors of the legislation hoped for a strong vote out of committee to help the bill as it heads to the Senate floor. Mr. Hatch’s support could help persuade other conservative Republicans to back the bill. He was joined in his “yes” vote by Senators Jeff Flake of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, both Republican members of the bipartisan group.
The most emotional part of the committee process, which stretched over five days and 301 amendments, came late Tuesday, when Senator Patrick J. Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who leads the committee, said that he would not offer an amendment allowing United States citizens to apply for permanent resident status, known as a green card, on behalf of their same-sex partners.
Mr. Leahy, according to immigration and gay rights advocates, was under pressure from the White House not to offer this amendment. Though both President Obama and Democrats in the bipartisan group support protections for same-sex couples in the bill, Republicans in the group have warned that such provisions would lead them to abandon the legislation.
Before Mr. Leahy announced his decision, Democratic senators, all of whom personally supported the provision, engaged in a lengthy and agonizing debate.
Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York and an author of the measure, said that not including the provision amounted to “rank discrimination.” But he ultimately concluded, “As much as it pains me, I cannot support this amendment if it will bring down the bill.”
Similarly, Senator Al Franken, Democrat of Minnesota, said: “This is the definition of a Hobson’s choice. In my bones, I believe in equality.”
But Mr. Graham reflected the view of his Republican colleagues when he said: “You’ve got me on immigration. You don’t have me on marriage. If you want to keep me on immigration, let’s stay on immigration.”
Ultimately, Mr. Leahy withheld his amendment “with a heavy heart,” though he can still bring it up on the Senate floor.
Mr. Hatch’s amendment, which reflects the compromise he reached after lengthy negotiations led by Mr. Schumer, raises the minimum number of visas annually for high-skilled foreign workers — known as H-1B visas — to 115,000, from 110,000 in the bill, while keeping the maximum at 180,000 a year. More important, aides to Mr. Hatch said, his provision includes a mechanism based on conditions in the labor market, intended to ensure that companies based in the United States can bring in qualified foreign workers when jobs are not filled by Americans, but decreases visas when they are.
His provision would also make it easier for employers to hire foreign workers, because it lightens the burden on them to demonstrate that they first tried to hire a qualified American worker.
Mr. Hatch’s amendment clarifies distinctions between companies in which the majority of engineers and computer technicians are Americans, and companies with mostly foreign workers. Under the measure, more stringent restrictions would apply to the companies with a foreign labor force, like many Indian outsourcing companies, raising incentives to hire more Americans.
Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, a Democratic member of the bipartisan group, had been one of the last holdouts against Mr. Hatch’s amendment. Along with Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, Mr. Durbin worried that Mr. Hatch’s provisions would harm American workers.
But on Tuesday, Mr. Durbin signaled that he would support Mr. Hatch’s plan.
“I would like to have seen a different amendment, a different bill — you would have as well,” Mr. Durbin said. “But this is a dramatic improvement.” (Mr. Grassley, meanwhile, remained unconvinced, arguing, “Let’s see how much this stinks.”)
Mr. Durbin made it clear that he expected Mr. Hatch’s support in return for his own vote in favor of the deal, saying: “A number of us have really leaned a long way in your direction to get your support for immigration reform.”
Mr. Hatch had previously said that he believed his amendment “makes this bill a much more acceptable bill,” especially in the Republican-controlled House, where it is likely to face stiff opposition.
The agreement represents a win for the high-tech industry, and comes on the heels of intense lobbying by the industry. The Association for Competitive Technology, a trade group, sent 50 executives and application developers to Washington on Monday and Tuesday to meet with lawmakers, including members of the Judiciary Committee.
Richard L. Trumka, president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., the nation’s largest federation of unions, issued a statement against what he said were Mr. Hatch’s “antiworker amendments.”
After passage, President Obama congratulated the committee and called the legislation “largely consistent with the principles of common-sense reform I have proposed and meets the challenge of fixing our broken immigration system.” He urged the Senate to improve it further on the Senate floor.
As the committee was finishing its work, a drumbeat against an immigration overhaul began to pick up. Dozens of high-profile conservative leaders and activists signed an open letter published Tuesday that denounced the bipartisan bill, saying the Senate “would do better to start over from scratch.”
The conservatives said the bill was “bloated and unwieldy,” comparing it to President Obama’s health care bill.
Still, when the committee voted to approve the legislation Tuesday evening, a cheer and applause rang out through the room, as immigration advocates leapt to their feet, shouting “Yes we can!” and “Sí, se puede!”
A Zimre Park family last week woke up to a witchcraft scare when they discovered a woman in their secured yard with six bags of meat!
Esnath Madziva of Domborembizi in Rusape was discovered moving about the Dube homestead at around 5am while holding plastic bags with fresh meat. So suspicious was the meat that people even failed to ascertain whether it was game meat or otherwise.
Esnath, who is believed to be around 35 to 40 years of age, alleged that she had come all the way from Rusape and had been left by her colleagues at the house in the dead of the night.
Her friends she operates with in the dead of the night, she alleges, were busy looking for her after she was left at the house Number 6613 Chinhoyi Street, by her friends or rather ‘partners’.
Not only did she have meat but she said she had been partying at a hotel the night before she mysteriously found herself the Zimre house. It seems as the party continued, Esnath and friends decided to retire for their Rusape homes but alas she could not reach her destination as she was found trapped in stranger’s homestead.
The Dube family said they had a horrible night as they were always switching off their alarm from 2am – presumably the time Esnath and friends were hovering around their homestead.
“We had a torrid time from around 2am as we continuously switched off our alarm which went on regularly but our investigations yielded nothing. I believe it was the time Esnath and friends were moving around our yard but we could not see them,” said Dunmore Dube – a son to the Dubes.
He said a school-going kid saw the alleged witch at the house at around 5am as he prepared to go to school and inquired what she wanted but the ‘stranger’ remained quiet.
“When we suspected that this could have something to do with witchcraft we sprinkled salt on her (Esnath) and she readily opened up saying she had come from Rusape. She said they had been partying but refused to divulge the source of the meat and its type. Beating her never yielded anything as she was in trance. It was only after we used salt that she opened up,” said Dunmore.
The young man also reportedly produced a pistol to scare the woman into talking but even at gunpoint, the woman remained mum. Dunmore said they later took her to the police station where multitudes gathered as they wanted to catch a glimpse of the ‘night rider’ and the mysterious stinking meat.
“We do not know her and we are surprised as to how she got into our homestead considering the high security wall and spikes around the wall. There are no indications whatsoever that she struggled to get into the yard,” said Dunmore.
Learning From the Nazis: Israel Admits Secretly Injecting Ethiopian Jews With Birth Control Drugs
January 29, 2013 | Filed under: Africa,Featured | Posted by: Editorial_Staff
Israel’s leaders have recently made hateful speeches against Africans
AFRICANGLOBE – The director of the Ministry of Health in Israel, Roni Gamzo, has issued a formal directive instructing that gynaecologists should stop injecting Ethiopian women with the contraceptiveDepo-Provera without their knowledge or consent.
The directive, issued last week, comes after around 30 Ethiopian Jews who had emigrated to Israel said they had been told that they would not be allowed into the country without receiving the contraceptive drug.
Within Israel, Ethiopian Jews make up the majority of those given the drug, according to a report published in 2010 by Isha le’Isha, a women’s rights organization; 57 percent of women who had received the drug in Israel are Ethiopian Jews, although they account for less than 2 percent of the overall population.
“We believe it is a method of reducing the number of births in a community that is Black,” Hedva Eyal, the author of the report, told Israeli media. “It is indeed the first time that the state actually acknowledged that this procedure of injecting immigrant women with this drug, when they do not know the side effects and are given no other choice, is wrong.”
The directive was issued less than two weeks after a group of organizations representing the Jewish Ethiopian community, along with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), sent a letter to Gamzo asking that this practice be stopped immediately and that an investigation be started into it both in Israel and in the transit camps in Ethiopia.
Israel’s Ministry of Health deputy spokesperson Smadar Shazo told reporters that while the directive was issued after the letter from the organizations, the ministry had begun investigating the matter a few months ago in an attempt to determine who was behind this policy in both Israel and the transit camps in Ethiopia.
“We started the research [for the 2010 report] after an article in one of the dailies reported a steep decline in the number of babies born in the Ethiopian community, which is a young, supposedly fertile community,” said Eyal.
Over 120,000 Jews of Ethiopian descent live in Israel today; 83,000 of them were born in Ethiopia.
Between 1985 and 1991, more than 30,000 were airlifted in three rescue operations after years of civil war and famine had driven hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians into the capital, Addis Ababa, and refugee camps in Sudan.
But their integration into Israeli society has not been easy; about 52 percent of Ethiopian-Israeli families live below the poverty line, compared to 16 percent among the general Jewish Israeli population, they are also forced to convert to Ashkenazi Jewish practices and encouraged to discontinue the Ethiopian Judaic traditions of their religion.
Depo-Provera was first used on Black populations in White apartheid South Africa, the drugs destroys a woman’s longterm ability to have children.
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