Tag Archives: citizens

Illegal Immigrants Birthright Citizenship: The New Immigration Scam

Illegal Immigrants Birthright Citizenship: The New Immigration Scam

BY , The Fiscal Times

Border Patrol moving illegal immigrants
Border Patrol moving illegal immigrants

Immigration policy – and in particular what to do about the 11 million people in the U.S. illegally – is the new litmus test for the GOP. The arguments over “amnesty” and border security are stale, but the passions are not.

Scott Walker is only the latest candidate to stumble over the immigration tripwire. Though previously supportive of providing a path to citizenship for undocumented residents, now the Wisconsin governor is talking up border security. Advice to candidates: maybe it’s time for some new policy ideas, like demanding an end to our so-called “birthright citizenship.”

Among developed nations, only the U.S. and Canada still offer automatic citizenship to children born on their soil. Not a single European country follows the practice. We take this right for granted, but the evidence is that this entitlement encourages a booming birth tourism business (which undermines our immigration objectives) and virtually guarantees that the number of people in the country illegally will continue to grow.

Related: Obama’s Immigration Setback Is a Gift to the GOP

Federal agents recently raided 37 sites in southern California, which appear to have provided thousands of Chinese women the chance to give birth to babies on U.S. soil in exchange for fees of up to $60,000. Enticements included not only the opportunity to acquire automatic citizenship for their children – a package of free schooling, food, health and retirement benefits potentially worth millions of dollars – but also more mundane attractions like nannies, trips to Disneyland and fancy restaurants.

The New York Times notes that affidavits filed by law enforcement authorities “quote Chinese government sources as reporting that Chinese nationals had 10,000 babies in the United States in 2012, up from 4,200 in 2008.”

For prosperous Chinese or residents of unstable countries like Russia, an American passport represents an invaluable safety net. Some estimate that as many as 40,000 children from all over the world are born under such circumstances in the U.S. each year. Over time, with family members climbing aboard, the total allowed into the country multiples.

Once those babies turn 21, and if they are in the country, they can sponsor other family members to enter the U.S. Under our law, which promotes family unification, parents, siblings and minor children of a U.S. citizen are welcome. According to a report from John Feere of the Center for Immigration Studies, admitting family members account for most of the nation’s growth in immigration levels. Of the 1,130,818 immigrants who were granted legal permanent residency in 2009, a total of 747,413 (or, 66 percent) were family-sponsored immigrants.

Related: A GOP Minority Is Holding the Party Hostage Over Immigration

The commercial exploitation of our laws is repugnant and should be targeted. But the entire notion that any baby born on U.S. soil should become a citizen should be challenged as well. The lure of U.S. citizenship is incalculable, and has long encouraged illegal immigration. In a phone interview, Feere estimates that some 300,000 to 400,000 babies are born each year to people living in the country illegally. Pew puts the figure at 340,000. This obviously causes substantial growth in the undocumented population, which most would like to limit.

Critics of the “amnesty” being offered to millions of undocumented persons by President Obama say that the offer will only encourage more illegal entrants – and entice even more families to have babies in the U.S.  Obama’s plan provides protection against deportation for three years, and singles out the undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents who have lived in the country for at least five years.

Some 4 to 5 million immigrants fall under that umbrella, people who had children once inside the country — children who automatically became U.S. citizens. Advocates of immigration reform need to convince opponents that they will reduce the number of undocumented persons entering the country. While many preach border security, it would be more powerful to make illegal residency less attractive. Revoking the birthright citizenship would be a good start.

Immigration advocates argue that automatic citizenship is protected by the 14th amendment of the Constitution, which states, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.” Others say the history of that amendment suggests otherwise; the debate hasn’t stopped legislators from attempting to limit the practice.

Related: Obama’s Action Gives Illegal Immigrants Billions in Tax Credits

The first such attempt was in 1993, at the hands of none other than immigrant advocate Harry Reid, whose bill would have restricted automatic citizenship to the children of U.S. citizens and legal resident aliens. Today, Louisiana Senator David Vitter is set to propose an amendment restricting the automatic citizenship provision to babies born to a U.S. citizen or a person who is a permanent resident or serving in the military. This would seem a reasonable change in the current law.

Like so many policy debates, the issue of birthright citizenship may eventually land in the lap of the Supreme Court. Feere says that while there have been rulings that grant citizenship to the children of permanent resident aliens, there has been no decision on the children of temporary aliens – such as people visiting legally on a student visa – or on babies born to illegal immigrants.

Astonishingly, the government, which Feere describes as being on “automatic pilot” on this issue, even gives passports to children born to foreign diplomats here – clearly people not “subject to the jurisdiction” of the U.S. When he followed up with the Social Security Administration on this question, he was told they knew the practice was inappropriate, but were not sure how to monitor it.

Sigh.

Americans Protecting Themselves Labeled ‘Extremists’ By US Gov’t

Americans Protecting Themselves Labeled ‘Extremists’ By US Gov’t

by WASHINGTON’S BLOG JULY 6, 2014  by Infowars

Department of Homeland Security

In the wake of revelations about the extent of mass surveillance by the NSA and other agencies, people are trying to protect themselves by adopting encryption and other privacy tools.

The Guardian reported in January:

The gathering crisis of trust around consumer web services and the fallout from Edward Snowden’s revelations is fuelling a significant uptake in anonymity tools, new research shows, as internet users battle censorship and assert their right to privacy online.

Globally, 56% of those surveyed by GlobalWebIndex reported that they felt the internet is eroding their personal privacy, with an estimated 415 million people or 28% of the online population using tools to disguise their identity or location.

Aggregating market research data from 170,000 internet users worldwide, GWI found that 11% of all users claim to use Tor, the most high profile for anonymising internet access.

TOR Project

Tor was created – largely with funding from the U.S. government – in order to allow people who live in repressive authoritarian regimes to communicate anonymously on the Internet.

So it is ironic that the NSA targets as “extremists” (the word the U.S. government uses for “probable terrorists”) anyone who uses Tor or any other privacy tool … or even searches for information on privacy tools on the Internet.

Jacob Appelbaum and other privacy experts explain at Das Erste:

– Merely searching the web for the privacy-enhancing software tools outlined in the XKeyscore rules causes the NSA to mark and track the IP address of the person doing the search. Not only are German privacy software users tracked, but the source code shows that privacy software users worldwide are tracked by the NSA.

– Among the NSA’s targets is the Tor network funded primarily by the US government to aid democracy advocates in authoritarian states.

The NSA program XKeyscore is a collection and analysis tool and “a computer network exploitation system”, as described in an NSA presentation. It is one of the agency’s most ambitious programs devoted to gathering “nearly everything a user does on the internet.”

The source code contains several rules that enable agents using XKeyscore to surveil privacy-conscious internet users around the world. The rules published here are specifically directed at the infrastructure and the users of the Tor Network, the Tails operating system, and other privacy-related software.

Spying

The former NSA director General Keith Alexander stated that all those communicating with encryption will be regarded as terror suspects and will be monitored and stored as a method of prevention, as quoted by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in August last year.

The top secret source code published here indicates that the NSA is making a concerted effort to combat any and all anonymous spaces that remain on the internet. Merely visiting privacy-related websites is enough for a user’s IP address to be logged into an NSA database.

The comment in the source code above describes Tails as “a comsec mechanism advocated by extremists on extremist forums”. In actuality, the software is used by journalists, human rights activists, and hundreds of thousands of ordinary people who merely wish to protect their privacy.

Tor Project’s Roger Dingledine stated the following:

We’ve been thinking of state surveillance for years because of our work in places where journalists are threatened. Tor’s anonymity is based on distributed trust, so observing traffic at one place in the Tor network, even a directory authority, isn’t enough to break it.

Tor has gone mainstream in the past few years, and its wide diversity of users – from civic-minded individuals and ordinary consumers to activists, law enforcement, and companies – is part of its security. Just learning that somebody visited the Tor or Tails website doesn’t tell you whether that person is a journalist source, someone concerned that her Internet Service Provider will learn about her health conditions, or just someone irked that cat videos are blocked in her location.

Trying to make a list of Tor’s millions of daily users certainly counts as wide scale collection. Their attack on the bridge address distribution service shows their “collect all the things” mentality – it’s worth emphasizing that we designed bridges for users in countries like China and Iran, and here we are finding out about attacks by our own country.

If you read Linux Journal – or even read extremely popular sites like Boing Boing – the NSA will target you.

Reddit and other popular websites have promoted privacy tools. 6% of all American adults – and 15% of males aged 18-29 – use Reddit. Are they targeted as well?

If you think we’re exaggerating the threat to privacy from the NSA, remember that the Department of Homeland Security called DHS’ own privacy office “terrorists”.

And the Department of Justice blacked out words in a document saying their disclosure would pose a “grave threat” to national security. The words? The Fourth Amendment.

This flies in the face of American values. After all:

– The Founding Fathers valued privacy over safety. Indeed, the Revolutionary War was largely started to stop the use of spying by the British. Background here. In other words, the Founding Fathers gave up their safe life with little freedom to strive for real freedom.

– The Founding Fathers – and later the Supreme Court – also said that Americans have the right to anonymous political speech

And it shows an authoritarian mindset of treating any attempt to resist their power as terrorism.

Indeed, it is like a cancer that treats any immune system response as a threat to be taken out.

Examples are – sadly – widespread in modern America:

– Reporters are treated as the enemy. And real journalism – that is, exposing government corruption – is treated as terrorism

– Whistleblowers who expose government wrongdoing are prosecuted … in order to hide government hypocrisy

– The Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies want to unmask everyone, so that we have no anonymity in our political speech

– Protesting against the government’s claimed power to indefinitely detain anyone without charge … could result in your getting detained

– Indeed, protesting anything is considered low-level terrorism

– The Associated Press reported in 2011 – in relation to the pepper spraying of peaceful UC Davis students participating in Occupy protests:

Charles J. Kelly, a former Baltimore Police Department lieutenant who wrote the department’s use of force guidelines, said … After reviewing the video [of the pepper spraying of UC Davis students] he observed at least two cases of “active resistance”from protesters. In one instance, a woman pulls her arm back from an officer. In the second instance, a protester curls into a ball. Each of those actions could have warranted more force, including baton strikes and pressure-point techniques.

“What I’m looking at is fairly standard police procedure,” Kelly said.

– Videotaping or photographing police beating up peaceful protesters may be considered terrorism

Of course, NSA apologists will pretend that targeting privacy tool users is necessary to stop the bad guys. This argument is demolished by the fact that for 5,000 years straight, mass surveillance has always been used by tyrants to crush dissent.

NSA blowback: Top 8 political scandals sparked by Snowden leaks

NSA blowback: Top 8 political scandals sparked by Snowden leaks

June 5th marks the 1 year anniversary since the first trove of Snowden leaks was released.

The Snowden revelations hit like a bomb, sending out shrapnel which risked severing US ties with friendly and not-so-friendly states alike. Here are the top eight bilateral debacles sparked by NSA spying, whose fallout could be felt for years to come.

8. Afghanistan and Bahamas: Wiretap paradise

One is an economically prosperous island paradise which doesn’t even have a military, the other a landlocked and war-torn nation racked by poverty and an extreme climate. So what could they have in common? Both countries have almost all of their domestic and international calls recorded and stored by the National Security Agency (NSA) for up to 30 days.

Rumblings in the Bahamas have been muted, as a nation with roughly the population of St Louis can’t make too many waves with its northern neighbors. The Bahamian minister of national security said he does intend to launch an inquiry into the NSA’s surveillance, though behind the scenes arm-twisting might keep it under wraps.

As for Afghanistan, so many literal bombshells have come their way over the past decade, a figurative one is probably the least of their worries). The biggest political fallout from all comes from already NSA-weary western allies, who are asking Washington one simple question: why do you need to record the phone calls of law-abiding citizens in a neighboring state who have about as much experience with terrorism as they do with shoveling snow?

Reuters / Omar Sobhani

7. Here’s to the Reset!

American spies operating out of the UK intercepted the top-secret communications of the then-Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, during the 2009 G20 summit in London.

Barack Obama definitely came out of the situation looking as two-faced as Harvey Dent, as Medvedev’s missives were seized just hours after his first meeting with the US president, where they struck a warm tone and promised a “fresh start” in US-Russia relations.

The leaks came just before Obama met incumbent President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of what just might be the last G8 summit in history. One only need to follow the arc of the last 12 months to realize that the US-Russia reset was not only on its last legs by that point, but a sarcophagus was being built around it.

Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.(Reuters / Dmitry Astakhov)
Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.(Reuters / Dmitry Astakhov)

6. Spying on Israel

“America’s aircraft carrier in the Middle East” was seemingly taken for a ride when it was discovered that the NSA had been spying on the country’s leadership for years.

The secret is out,” Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said. “The US is systematically spying on the defense and diplomatic leadership here in Israel. Is this how friends treat each other?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remained silent at first, and then asked for “an examination of the matter,” proving himself to be uncharacteristically taciturn in contrast with not only other politics from the Jewish state, but other state leaders targeted by US snooping. Perhaps Bibi knew something the rest of them didn’t.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.(Reuters / Abir Sultan)
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.(Reuters / Abir Sultan)

5. What was that you said about Chinese hackers?

The US has been beating the China cybercrime drum for years, so when it was revealed that the US was not only spying on the country’s top leaders, but also Chinese telecom giant Huawei, national banks,and the Chinese Trade Ministry, well, Washington had a lot of explaining to do.

The United States tried to split hairs, claiming that everyone engaged in military espionage and that intellectual property theft was the real issue. Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Colonel Yang Yujun, however, certainly didn’t see it that way, accusing the US of “double standards” and “hypocritical conduct” regarding the internet.

The fallout can still be felt today. After the US Justice Department (DOJ) accused five Chinese officers of hacking into American companies to steal trade secrets and pass them on to Chinese state-owned enterprises, the Chinese Foreign Ministry showed the spying scandal had not been put to bed.

Washington “shouldn’t be rigorous on others, while being lenient itself,” ministry spokesman Qin Gan said. When it comes to the ceaseless war of words between Washington and Beijing, Snowden certainly appears to have gifted China with a thesaurus.

Huawei headquarters in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.(Reuters / Bobby Yip )
Huawei headquarters in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.(Reuters / Bobby Yip )

4. Que diabo??? Brazil gets quite irate

Most leaders did their best to keep up appearances after finding themselves with NSA egg dripping down their faces, but Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff threw everything but the kitchen sink at her northern neighbor for spying on her, the country’s citizens, and its strategic industries.

Rousseff canceled an official trip to Washington, blasted the US on the floor of the UN for breaching international law, and called on the world body to oversee a new global legal system to govern and safeguard the internet. For Rousseff, the issue was cut and dry: “The right to safety of citizens of one country can never be guaranteed by violating fundamental human rights of citizens of another country.” Ouch.

Brazil’s Senate unanimously adopted a bill which guarantees online privacy of Brazilian users and enshrines equal access to the global network. The so-called “internet constitution” could ultimately form a cornerstone of a world wide web truly global in vision and scope.

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff.(Reuters / Ueslei Marcelino)
Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff.(Reuters / Ueslei Marcelino)

3. Ich bin ein Berliner?

For a child of the German Democratic Republic who grew up under the shield and sword, revelations that the NSA was tapping her phone were particularly hard on Chancellor Angela Merkel.

To add insult to injury, the US government has refused to grant her access to her NSA file or even answer formal questions from Germany about its widespread snooping. To this day, some in the German government are doing their best not to rock the boat, while others believe Washington has long since lost its mooring.

In April, the German government opened parliamentary investigations into NSA spying. The question on whether or not to let Snowden into the country to testify is still a political hot potato. Germany is still trying to push on a bilateral no-spy agreement with Washington, though Obama virtually said the prospect of such a pact was virtually dead in the water.

But while the rifts are yet to echo beyond the electorate, there are many voices arguing US and UK meddling risk alienating Europe’s powerhouse economy. Berlin’s already scrapped a 50-year-old surveillance pact with the transatlantic duo following the snooping revelations.

As John Kennedy once said: “All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words ‘Ich bin ein Berliner!’” Indeed.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel.(Reuters / Fabrizio Bensch )
German Chancellor Angela Merkel.(Reuters / Fabrizio Bensch )

2. You don’t know how lucky you are…

Perhaps one of the biggest political rifts inspired by the Snowden scandal had nothing to do with actual NSA spying, but rather the fate of the whistleblower himself.

After revealing his leaking while ducking out in Hong Kong, Snowden managed to flee the city state despite having an invalidated passport. While the former NSA contractor has set his sites on sunnier South American pastures, he ended up stranded in the transit zone of a Moscow airport.

At the time Putin said Snowden could stay in the US if he stopped damaging “US interests.” After nearly a month in limbo and mutual diplomatic posturing, Moscow granted Snowden temporary asylum, immediately prompting an angry reaction from US Senator John McCain, who demanded that Washington reexamine its relations with Russia. Snowden’s legal representative shot back, saying Russia was not “a US colony” and could not expect “legally groundless” extradition requests to be recognized.

Obama would later snub Putin by canceling a visit to Moscow on the eve of G20 summit in St. Petersburg last September. Russia said the move proved Washington was not yet ready to deal with Moscow on an “equal footing.

Snowden certainly didn’t start the US-Russia drift, nor did he create the massive rift that erupted this past February over Ukraine. But as things have gone from bad to worse between the two former Cold War rivals, Snowden’s definitely played a part in that drama, though it was never his choice. When asked what he was doing in Russia by those on Capitol Hill who accused him of spying for the enemy, his answer was simple: “Ask the State Department.”

US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden speaking during a dinner with US ex-intelligence workers and activists in Moscow on October 9, 2013.(AFP Photo / Wikileaks)
US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden speaking during a dinner with US ex-intelligence workers and activists in Moscow on October 9, 2013.(AFP Photo / Wikileaks)

1. City on a hill, landside on the horizon?

At the very epicenter of the NSA spying scandal has been the US public itself, which seems to have been overwhelmed by the lengths to which its leaders have flirted with being a security state at the expense of a free one.

In late January, Pew found that 70 percent of Americans did not believe they should surrender their freedom in order to be safe from terrorism. Those surveyed were virtually split, however, over whether Snowden’s disclosures helped or harmed the US. On May 22, the US House of Representatives passed the so-called NSA reform bill, which is intended to reign in the agency’s dragnet domestic surveillance programs.

Critics say the bill was gutted like a fish on the House floor, leaving the document incapable of reining in agency abuses. While Americans are still coming to grips with what it means that all of their virtual communications are fair game for NSA snooping, Glenn Greenwald, who helped Snowden leak the sensitive documents, says the game changer is on the horizon, as he prepares to reveal a list of those in the US who were targeted by the agency. As for Snowden, his goal was always to start the conversation, and whether America changes course or pushes full steam ahead, he’s got no regrets.

It’s important to remember that people don’t set their lives on fire and burn down everything they love for no reason,” Snowden said. “I’ve gained the ability to go to sleep at night, and I feel comfortable that I’ve done the right thing.

A woman wearing oversized sunglasses lettered with the words "stop spying" listens to speakers during the Stop Watching Us Rally protesting surveillance by the U.S. National Security Agency, on October 26, 2013, in front of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C.(AFP Photo / Allison Shelley)

A woman wearing oversized sunglasses lettered with the words “stop spying” listens to speakers during the Stop Watching Us Rally.