Month: November 2018

U.S Drunken Driving Deportations Way Up

Huge increases in deportations of people after they were arrested for breaking traffic or immigration laws or driving drunk helped the Obama administration set a record last year for the number of criminal immigrants forced to leave the country, documents show. The U.S. deported nearly 393,000 people in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, half of whom were considered criminals. Of those, 27,635 had been arrested for drunken driving, more than double the 10,851 deported after drunken driving arrests in 2008, the last full year of the Bush administration, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement data provided.

An additional 13,028 were deported last year after being arrested on less serious traffic law violations, nearly three times the 4,527 traffic offenders deported two years earlier, according to the data. The spike in the numbers of people deported for traffic offenses as well as a 78 percent increase in people deported for immigration-related offenses renewed skepticism about the administration’s claims that it is focusing on the most dangerous criminals.President Barack Obama regularly says his administration is enforcing immigration laws more wisely than his predecessor by focusing on arresting the “worst of the worst.” He promised in his 2008 presidential campaign to focus immigration enforcement on dangerous criminals.

As recently as May 10, Obama said in a speech in El Paso, Texas, that his administration was focused on violent offenders and not families or “folks who are looking to scrape together an income.”Most of the criminal immigrants deported last year had committed drug-related crimes. They totaled 45,003, compared with 36,053 in 2008. Drug-related crime – described as the manufacture, distribution, possession or sale of drugs – has been the No. 1 crime among immigration for years. Drunken driving had the third highest total number of immigrants deported with that crime.

An illegal immigrant from Bolivia, Carlos Montano, is awaiting trial in Virginia on charges of involuntary manslaughter in a drunken driving accident that killed Benedictine nun Denise Mosier and injured two other nuns. The case fueled national debate over deportations of criminal immigrants because Montano had two previous drunken driving arrests, in 2007 and 2008. He was not held by ICE or deported after the arrests. An ICE report concluded that new federal immigration policies would have prevented Montano’s release. But the rise in traffic offenders in the deportation statistics and in some other categories worries immigration advocates, particularly because traffic stops are largely made by police, sheriff’s deputies and state highway patrol officers. Local law enforcement has become more involved in immigration enforcement because of new programs that encourage it.Officers “are using their new authority to remove as many unauthorized people from their jurisdictions as they can, and that frequently means going after traffic violators instead of serious criminals,” said Muzaffar Chishti, director of the Migration Policy Institute’s office at New York University Law School.

The institute is a Washington-based think tank on migration.Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano noted that most people in the United States are arrested for misdemeanor offenses. But she told the AP that the percentage of felons deported will change over time.” The more serious offenders are still in prison,” she said in an interview Thursday. “We’re not going to see them reflected in the numbers until we can begin to remove them.” The issue is one Obama is trying to carefully navigate in his bid for a second term as he relies on the record deportations numbers to bolster his tough-on-enforcement stance while trying to convince immigrant and Latino voters he deserves more time to get a comprehensive immigration bill through Congress.

Marshall Fitz, immigration policy director at the liberal Center for American Progress think tank, said some of the people being counted as criminals have committed traffic violations that would usually draw a traffic ticket. But when the driver can’t produce a valid license, the officer pursues questions about immigration status.Illegal immigrants caught in traffic stops often are pressured into signing an agreement to leave the United States and to pay a fine or somehow acknowledge responsibility for the traffic offense and thereby end up in the statistics as criminals even though they never went to court, Fitz said. Kumar Kibble, Immigration and Customs Enforcement deputy of immigration, said in some cases people picked up on traffic offenses are found to have committed other crimes. But ICE attempts to categorize each deported immigrant in its statistics based on the worst crime in the person’s record. ICE says the statistics involve only people who have been convicted of a crime.Darrel Stephens, executive director of Major Cities Chiefs Association, an organization of sheriffs and police chiefs, said the data show ICE is deporting criminals.He noted that even though traffic offenses have more than doubled, they are just 7 percent of the total criminal deportations. Meanwhile, dangerous drugs and drunken driving deportations comprised 23 percent and 14 percent of the criminal deportations, respectively.

The drunken driving deportations are particularly important, he said. Fatal drunken driving accidents involving illegal immigrants often cause outrage in communities where they occur.”That’s a crime that people look at in a very serious way right now,” Stephens said.There are an estimated 11 million people in the country illegally, 7 million to 8 million of whom are believed to be adults.Kibble said the numbers show his agency’s system of giving priority for deportation to people who pose a public threat is working. Last year, 36,178 criminals were deported as a result of the Secure Communities program, now in place in more than 1,400 jurisdictions, up from 14 in 2008. It’s expected to be in more than 3,000 jurisdictions nationally by 2013.Secure Communities is the Homeland Security Department’s system of identifying immigrants for deportation through fingerprints taken by local officers when booking people on criminal charges. The local law enforcement agencies routinely send the prints to the FBI for criminal background checks. The FBI shares the fingerprints with Homeland Security to look for potentially deportable immigrants, who can be in the country illegally or legally.”The numbers are going in the right direction,” Kibble said.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement: http://www.ice.gov

Facundo Cabral UNESCO Messenger of Peace

From the most humble of beginnings he came to inspire millions around the world through his songs, poems and 66 books. He walked 3,000 km at the age of nine to look for work to support his mother and six siblings after his father abandoned them. When he left his mother told him “This is the second, and last gift I can give you. The first was to give you life, and the second one, the liberty to live it.”

He wrote music that inspired millions. He met Mother Teresa and Jorge Luis Borges. He performed in over 165 countries in 8 different languages. His wife and one year-old daughter were killed in a plane crash in 1978. He was nearly blind and crippled, and a terminal cancer survivor as well. He once said: ‘Siempre le pregunto a Dios, ¿por qué a mí tanto me diste? Me diste miseria, hambre, felicidad, lucha, luces… vi todo. Sé que hay cáncer, sífilis y primavera, y buñuelos de manzana’ (I always ask God, why did you give me so much? You gave me misery, hunger, happiness, struggle, lights… I saw everything. I know there is cancer, syphillis, and Spring, and apple fritters.)

“Forgive me Lord but sometimes I get tired of being a citizen. The city tires me, the offices, my family and the economy. Forgive me Lord, I am tired of this hell, this mediocre market where everyone has a price. Forgive me Lord but I will go with you through your mountains, your seas, and your rivers. Forgive me Lord but sometimes I think you have something better than this for me. Forgive me Lord, I don’t want to be a citizen, I want to be a man, Lord, like you created me.”

He was shot and killed  today during a tour in Guatemala City

Facundo Cabral (May 22, 1937- July 9, 2011) ”I’m not from here, nor am I from there”

Transformers 3 Review & Decepticons Hideout In Kenya

Disaster movies usual find their roots in some great social anxiety, and Transformers offers two: world domination by machines and an alien invasion that will enslave mankind. Perhaps you could add a third anxiety to the Transformers storyline. Late in the film, during the final epic showdown between Opitimus Prime and Sentinel Prime, Sentinel chides his opponent and former pupil, “On our planet we were gods!” He wants to be godlike again on earth, and we turn white in anticipation of the consequences: a metaphysical revolt, the return of Zeus and the citizens of Olympus, chided for millennia and unleashing their fury against the gnat-y ambition of humanity. Machines, aliens, and angry mythological beings: Transformers betrays the psychoses of a very uncomfortable humanity.

But don’t worry, theses sweeping allegorical readings only play lightly in the background of Michael Bay’s latest super-blow ‘em up, super shoot ‘em up, super-charged summer blockbuster. Transformers is derived from the Hasbro line of toys that became popular in the 1980s, garnering its own television cartoon. Coming off a dismal sequel to a well-loved reimagining of the Transformers story, with Transformers: Dark of the Moon director Michael Bay seems intent on getting the roller coaster ride back on track.

And as a kick-ass summer blockbuster, Transformers: Dark of the Moon is pretty kick-ass. Its chases are adrenaline-filled and inventive. Its explosions and crashes are massive and mesmerizing. And for the final epic showdown, which, truth be told, runs a good twenty minutes longer than it should, the entire city of Chicago becomes the setting of large scale urban/mechanical warfare, which sees skyscrapers toppling over skyscrapers, humans flying out of helicopters in winged suits, robots dancing through the constant rain of broken glass, and plenty of cheesy action dialogue: “Look out!” “Fire!” “Heads up!” “Aarrrgh!” It’s everything you want from a giant air conditioned movie theater in July.

The latest Transformers is not without its dozens of dramatic shortcomings, but it opens with a rather well-crafted sequence that took the air out of the crowded theater I was in during the preview. Intercutting historical archive footage and recreated scenes,Transformers: Dark of the Moon re-imagines the entire United States space program as a mission to find a mysterious extraterrestrial object that scientists observed crash landing into the dark side of the moon. We see Kennedy demanding a united effort to man a lunar landing. We see Neal Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin (who actually makes a real cameo later on) landing their lunar pod on the powdery moon surface. Then, when America is told that the spacecraft is on the far side of the moon and radio contact is lost, the real mission begins, and the historic figures inspect what turns out to be an alien spacecraft.

This would have been a great way to launch the entire Transformers movie series, but we’re dealing here with episode three, so the movie jumps forward to where the second film left off. Shia LeBeouf is Sam Witwicky, the wet behind the ears twenty something who first befriended the good Transformers – the Autobots – and helped them fend off the evil Decepticons in the prior movies. Now he is an unemployed loudmouth somehow dating and living with a woman far out of his league, Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley), whose role in this movie seems to be 90 percent eye candy and 10 percent fueling a superfluous romantic subplot. Carly is one of only three women in the film, the others being Frances McDormand’s impossibly domineering, ball-breaking military officer and Julie White’s nagging wife and mother, Judy Witwicky, reassuring us that chauvinism is alive and well in Hollywood.

Sam is miffed because the U.S. military, which is now working with the Autobots to take care of all sorts of international problems (like blowing up nuclear sites in the Middle East), has left him out of the fun. The US government partnership with the super-powered machine race is worrysome enough, but in the movie it is brushed off, naturally, as a perfectly fine evolution in global geo-political order.

Much of the early part of the movie revolves around Sam’s lackluster attempts to find work. This churns up John Malkovich, who infuses the movie with some of its only true charm as the overbearing, obsessive compulsive boss Bruce Brazos. Bruce hires Sam for some reason, and it quickly turns out that the young man finds himself at the center of Decepticon effort to use a handful of humans as pawns in their effort to resume the task of world domination. There’s a semi-hilarious scene between Sam and a co-worker Jerry Wang (Ken Jeong), who conveniently hands him some folder papers that explain the whole thing. Then Wang is wacked by his Decepticon handler and the chase heats up. Sam digs up some old friends – Simmons (John Turturro) – and takes it on himself to save the world on behalf of the U.S. government.

As an hors d’œuvre to the main course of action, this early-film goofing around is entertaining enough to keep us involved, even if Sam and Rosie’s relationship, and the addition of her nasty boss Dylan (Patrick Dempsey) to the mix is a chore to sit through (as is the copious product placement). There are some sudden and interspersed chases, and the whole thing develops in a clunky manner until we get to the great culminating video game that is the real focus of the film. There, Transformers 3 succeeds by comparison, overcoming the visual clutter and suspense-less-ness of the second installment with some quality, if not its dragged-out showdowns. It’s good versus evil, bullets verses brawn, and as a thoughtless, no nonsense, drawn-out summer ride, it is pretty darn fun to subject yourself to it.If nothing else as a Kenyan you will not surprised the Decepticons were hiding in Amboseli at some point in the movie.Spectacular pictures of wildlife and the Kilimanjaro.(P.S Megatron probably got a Kenyan passport or work permit from our yet to be reformed and ineffective immigration department.Hiding out until it was time to strike that’s my take on how they ended up hiding in Kenya)