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President's immigration proposal stirs rumors
The Miami Herald ^ | Mon, Feb. 02, 2004 | DAVID OVALLE

Posted on 02/02/2004 6:18:03 PM PST by yonif

For community activist José Lagos, the phone calls came from as far away as Honduras, the day before President Bush announced his sweeping immigration proposal.

María Garza tried to discuss tax breaks on her weekly radio show in Homestead but was flooded with calls from people wanting applications to a phantom amnesty program.

And Miami attorney Tammy Fox-Isicoff, who handles thousands of immigration cases, has spent recent weeks explaining to clients that Bush's idea is just that, an idea.

Nearly a month has passed since Bush announced a plan that would grant temporary legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants working in the United States.

Yet, community groups and attorneys that specialize in immigration issues are still being flooded with queries from anxious -- and misinformed -- illegal immigrants.

''Desperation always breeds rumor and innuendo,'' Fox-Isicoff said. ``It's very sad because it's very misleading. They don't understand that the president doesn't make the law.''

Frustrated attorneys like Fox-Isicoff and other immigration advocates can offer few details to their clients because Bush's proposal is more concept than working battle plan. It must still be crafted as a bill, then approved by Congress.

And it will likely face stiff resistance from conservative Republicans who see the proposal as veiled amnesty and Democrats who say it does not go far enough. Its concepts could also be melded into several other immigration reform bills. Congress may not even take up immigration reform before it recesses for the summer.

Nevertheless in South Florida, home to many poor, undereducated people from Latin America and the Caribbean, the ambiguity of the plan has created a stir rivaled in intensity only in California and Texas.

MISINFORMED

Hispanics, particularly blue-collar workers who get their news from Spanish-language television, have been especially prone to misinformation about Bush's plan. A national poll released last week showed that opposition to Bush's plan rose sharply after respondents were told that the proposal encourages immigrants to return home.

Under Bush's proposal, undocumented workers in the United States and foreigners who could prove they had a job awaiting them here would qualify for temporary legal status for up to six years. If they fail to gain residency, however, they would have to return to their homelands.

Luis, who asked that his last name not be used, read about the proposal in a Spanish-language newspaper and immediately called his immigration attorney.

The Mexico native earned residency under the last major immigration reform measure: the 1986 amnesty program. He has three children, all born here. But his wife, who has lived here for about a decade, is illegal and he hoped that he might secure her legalization under Bush's plan. ''It's so hard,'' Luis said in Spanish. ``If she were to get deported, it would break up our family.''

South Florida attorneys and immigrant groups have responded to the misinformation by going on the offensive. At the Colombian American Service Association, in West Miami-Dade County, officials sent mass e-mails explaining Bush's proposals.

LEADERS CONVENE

Miami's Mexican Consulate General Jorge Lomonaco met with community leaders last week to discuss Bush's proposal. Haitian-American officials, such as North Miami City Councilman Jacques Despinosse, have gone on Creole-language radio to answer the desperate calls.

''A person who is an illegal alien is like a sick person,'' Despinosse said. ``And the sick person wants to be cured . . . We have to tell the people what they heard is not exactly what it is.''

For attorneys and community groups, the glut of inquiries usually comes when any shred of hope can be gleaned from the headlines.

Similar scuttlebutt surfaced in 2000 when President Clinton minted immigration law 245i, which granted residency to a limited number of undocumented people living in the United States.

In the fall of 2001, Mexican President Vicente Fox beamed when he spoke about immigration accords to a packed audience at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables. Afterward, calls from undocumented immigrants swamped the office of Cheryl Little, the director of the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center.

But days later, the Sept. 11 attacks deflated hopes that the United States might ease immigration restrictions. The gossip mill revved up again in December when Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge visited Miami and suggested some undocumented immigrants should be legalized.

''It's been an emotional roller coaster for our immigrant communities,'' Little said.

Bush's speech has created more talk among immigrants seeking residency than most such recent proposals.

In contrast, attorneys and advocates say they have received few inquiries about a bipartisan immigration bill introduced two weeks after Bush's speech. And that bill is an actual piece of legislation that would allow undocumented workers a clear path to legal residency.

FEARS OF SCAMS

The misperceptions surrounding Bush's plan have also led to fears that con artists, looking to reap a bogus fee, may promise to file residency paperwork as part of the president's plan.

New reports of people falling victim to such swindlers are sparse, and come mostly from California and Texas. But that has not stopped the rumors.

''It's making its way to Florida,'' said Lagos, whose advocacy group Honduran Unity held a press conference recently to warn against immigration fraud. ``We're very concerned and fear it might also happen here.''

Crooks, authorities warn, often refer to themselves as notarios, the Latin American equivalent of a notary. Victims rarely report their crimes for fear of deportation.

The con artists ''tell people what they want to hear,'' said Little, the attorney. ``And often times, we have to deliver the bad news -- that they're not eligible for legal residency.''

In Fort Pierce, home to a large Mexican population, the combination of intense interest in Bush's plan and the fear of swindlers culminated at a Spanish-language radio station.

HOT TOPIC

Bush's proposal has been a hot topic on Irma Cabriales' morning show at La Gigante (WJNX 1330-AM). Recently, producers were shocked to receive a fax asking them to promote a seminar discussing ``The President's New Work Permits, Green Cards.''

The show, which provided a copy of the flier to the Herald, refused to mention the flier on air, deeming it too suspicious.

The flier, it turned out, was from Eric Tinsley, an immigration attorney in Fort Pierce who told The Herald that he did not realize the flier was misleading.

''It has caught me off guard that it has been such a big deal,'' Tinsley said of Bush's proposal. ``It's an indication people are in need of some relief, for changes to the system.''


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Extended News; Government; Mexico
KEYWORDS: aliens; illegals; immigrantlist; immigration; immigrationplan; mexico; rumor

1 posted on 02/02/2004 6:18:04 PM PST by yonif
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To: yonif
Proof that amnesties just cause more illegal immigration:The Mexico native earned residency under the last major immigration reform measure: the 1986 amnesty program. He has three children, all born here. But his wife, who has lived here for about a decade, is illegal and he hoped that he might secure her legalization under Bush's plan. ''It's so hard,'' Luis said in Spanish. ``If she were to get deported, it would break up our family.'' This is also proof btw that the guest worker program wont really work at curbing illegal immigration - the woman is as likely to not be working at all as to be working. A guest worker will bring his illegal spouse and kids if the 'rules' forbid bringing families; who's to stop them?
2 posted on 02/02/2004 6:26:39 PM PST by WOSG (I don't want the GOP to become a circular firing squad and the Socialist Democrats a majority.)
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To: *immigrant_list; A Navy Vet; Lion Den Dan; Free the USA; Libertarianize the GOP; madfly; B4Ranch; ..
ping
3 posted on 02/02/2004 6:27:23 PM PST by gubamyster
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Comment #4 Removed by Moderator

To: yonif
Wonderful!!! Just tune into Spanish TV sometime and see how much of the news coverage is about immigration. Tons more than on regular old TV.
5 posted on 02/02/2004 6:40:12 PM PST by dennisw
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To: WOSG
The chaos and fraud created by the mammoth waves of illegals is spinning out of control down range....It's endless.....
6 posted on 02/02/2004 6:40:29 PM PST by Joe Hadenuf (I failed anger management class, they decided to give me a passing grade anyway)
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To: yonif
The Mexican criminals in Mexico who are involved in this fraud/scam have asked whether they will get credit for thier earnings related to the scam for their US Social Security benefits or will what they get be based on the earnings claimed ("there is no record so we'll have to take their word") that are associated with the earnings on the highest paid fake matricula card identity. And, when they say that they have been here for more than five years, will that apply to every indentity for which they have false documents or do they have to buy all new fake documents. Will their their Social Security benefits for each identity that would have been working in the US if each hadn't been working this scam be sent to the same account in El Paso or do he have to set up a different account for each fake identity?
7 posted on 02/02/2004 6:52:55 PM PST by Tacis
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To: WOSG
This is also proof btw that the guest worker program wont really work at curbing illegal immigration

And the politicos know it. They're just hoping to dupe the sheep!
8 posted on 02/02/2004 6:57:10 PM PST by ETERNAL WARMING (SHUT THE DOOR IN 2004!)
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To: yonif
"``If she were to get deported, it would break up our family.'' "

wow. staying here, in the u.s., is better than going home with his family...
kfi radio in l.a., reports that more illegals are "crossing", to apply...

9 posted on 02/02/2004 7:00:00 PM PST by hoot2
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To: Major League Rainmaker
I'd actually done the math and it appears if a $500/head bounty AND a $5000 bounty offered per felon employer/helper with those felons having to pay a $15000 minimum fine with $1000 additional for each Illegalien would place the taxpayer in the black in three years. That's an est $40 billion annual savings - enough to cover the President's Medicaid drainage.

We would also be "fixing" the school and prison overcrowding problems as an added bonus.
10 posted on 02/02/2004 7:09:12 PM PST by azhenfud ("He who is always looking up seldom finds others' lost change...")
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To: yonif
Congress may not even take up immigration reform before it recesses for the summer.

You can bet it won't be taken up until AFTER the election. I'll be reading their report cards on numbersUSA.com and voting accordingly. If they think they can hide on this issue, they've got another think coming.
11 posted on 02/02/2004 7:17:23 PM PST by ETERNAL WARMING (SHUT THE DOOR IN 2004!)
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To: WOSG
Hey, take a look at these numbers:
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1062930/posts
12 posted on 02/02/2004 7:23:06 PM PST by azhenfud ("He who is always looking up seldom finds others' lost change...")
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To: yonif
My heart bleeds!
NOT.
My insurance and taxes go up every year to pay for these poor noble people seeking freedom and the jobs that no citizen will take, because no citizen is allowed to apply for those jobs that circumvent all the labor laws on the books in a right to work state.

I guess it is a southern thing, the ability to know a slave and a slaver when we see them.
Anyone who wants to put some lipstick on this pig and call it beautifull, is welcome to kiss said pig.
Dont you dare ask me to do so.
13 posted on 02/02/2004 7:59:05 PM PST by sarasmom (No war for oil=Give France/Russia/China etc oil ,and no war-or so Saddam thought.)
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To: yonif
Have any of you read the book " The Clash of Civilization and Remaking the World Order". by Samuel Huntington?

I think it is the best explantion for letting this happen.
It tells how the Globalists plan to slowly as not to alarm the ordinary citizen, combine the countries from Canada to South America into one union with no borders somewhat like the European Union. For this to happen the wealthier countries like the US and Canada must be down graded.

What better way to reduce the standard of living than to allow massive influx of illegals from south of the border.
By the amount of sheer numbers they will dramatically change America, Canadas' economy, culture and ethics.

That is the only sane reason I can come up to explain why this is allowed to go on.
14 posted on 02/02/2004 9:00:53 PM PST by calawah98
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To: gubamyster
more headaches..
15 posted on 02/02/2004 10:38:55 PM PST by lainde (Heads up...We're coming and we've got tongue blades!!)
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To: calawah98
By the amount of sheer numbers they will dramatically change America, Canadas' economy, culture and ethics.

We'll just be one big happy third world family. I guess we should start building our huts. History will not be kind to the politicians who are allowing this to happen, but then by that time who will be reading history books?

16 posted on 02/02/2004 11:03:21 PM PST by janetgreen (WANTED: A President Who Will Enforce Immigration Laws)
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To: yonif
Can anyone estimate the size of the human wave that would cross the border if some official announced that the border was going to be sealed in 6 months or a year from now?
17 posted on 02/02/2004 11:08:14 PM PST by Consort
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To: yonif
First step should be to ensure in ANY change the "guest worker" has to apply from the home country. No inside the USA and a guest worker can't change from one status to another.

In other words can't come here as on a b1/b2 visa and then file a change status to guest worker. (no looking for work while here) Also, no change of status from guest worker to permanent resident. Guest means Guest. You stay briefly and then LEAVE.
18 posted on 02/02/2004 11:20:16 PM PST by longtermmemmory (Vote!)
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To: yonif
The Mexico native earned residency under the last major immigration reform measure: the 1986 amnesty program. He has three children, all born here.

We need to stop giving citizenship to the children born to illegal aliens. They're sucking the treasuries of the southwestern states dry. And it might provide a disincentive for illegal immigration in the future.

19 posted on 02/02/2004 11:28:40 PM PST by Penner
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To: Joe Hadenuf
What bothers me is attorneys who file petitions to stay with the allegation that children of illegals need to stay due to special needs. Needs that did not arrise until the petition was filed.

The don't want to fix their bannana republics, they just want to pillage our country.
20 posted on 02/02/2004 11:29:16 PM PST by longtermmemmory (Vote!)
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To: longtermmemmory
Which is why the US should form a PAX Americana and conquer their banana republics. In the long run, destroying their corrupt governments and forcing American values down their throats will win out.
21 posted on 02/03/2004 12:57:21 AM PST by Clock King
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To: Clock King
In the long run, destroying their corrupt governments and forcing American values down their throats will win out.

What values are you talking about? Certainly, you are not talking about out Government officials who DO NOT ENFORCE THE LAW. Like our president and congress who just wink and nod when illegals break the law are not much different from the corrupt banana republics government. The only difference is the banana republics corrupt officials demand money, while our corrupt officials want votes. We have been swamped with corruption since NAFTA, so why would you want more?

22 posted on 02/03/2004 8:05:52 AM PST by texastoo (a "has-been" Republican)
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