AWCheney’s Forum On Immigration

Social Security Totalization Treaty With Mexico

[UPDATE:  This posting has continued to attract attention, with commenters providing some excellent updated information.  For this reason I have decided to move it to the top of the blog, with my thanks to those individuals who have given it continued relevancy.]

Well, better late than never. I got my computer back from the shop a bit later than I anticipated, but I finally have my act together and am ready to get this out, as promised. I’m afraid that there are no videos this time, but there is volumes of research that I had to wade through to put this post together…and I hope you will all find it at least somewhat enlightening.

Most of you have probably not heard much about the Social Security Totalization Treaty with Mexico or, if you have, most likely you are not fully aware of the nature of it…nor its consequences. In fact, Social Security Totalization Treaties have been around since 1977 and have already been signed with 21 other nations:

http://www.socialsecurity.gov/international/

The presumption in these bilateral treaties is that they are mutually beneficial to the workers of both nations, however, that particular benefit is rather questionable in the case of Totalization with Mexico:

http://www.solidaritycenter.org/files/WorkingMexicoChapter10.pdf

“The social security problems in Mexico can be listed briefly: limited coverage in terms of the working population and in relation to the total population in spite of the existence of a law and an institution close to celebrate its sixtieth anniversary. The public systems of social security currently include 50% of the total population and 30% of the economically active population. A historic deficit of health care and maternity insurance hovered over the work risk insurance and retirement funds for almost 50 years. It is on this deficit that the government based part of its argument to justify the privatization of the pension scheme.”

In addition, Mexican Visa and Immigration laws are far more strict than they are in this country, making it highly unlikely that a comparable number of American citizens would be participating in the system, and wages are, of course, considerably lower for the average worker. The alleged “savings” for the “American worker and employer” are also unclear, as I was unable to find the actual text of the Agreement. I suspect that it leans a little heavier on the side of the employer.

The Social Security Trust Fund of the United States has also been the subject of debate for many years because of the dwindling funds available, to the point that benefits have, on occasion, been cut rather than increased to address inflationary factors, much less accruing cost of living increases. Many of our retirees in this country are faced with the monthly choice of whether to buy food or their necessary medical prescriptions. As a matter of fact, estimated dates of trust fund exhaustion change often…and seldom for the better. Now we have another “fly in the ointment.”

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July 11, 2008 11:42 pm Posted by | Mexico | , , , , | 31 Comments

Recent Commenters Should Be Aware…

There was a period of time recently when I was not checking the site on a daily basis. During two or three days of that period I was hit by an enormous amount of spam…pages and pages of it. Not having experienced that before, I thought I could go through it page by page and delete as I went…that was not the case. When I hit the “delete” after reviewing the first page, it ALL got deleted and I had no way of bringing it back.

I have, on occasion, successfully rescued legitimate comments from the spam filter and am very concerned that I may have deleted some when I hit that delete button. If your comment was, indeed, deleted I sincerely apologize and invite you to come back and repeat it or, at the very least, chastise me for my carelessness…I deserve it. It shouldn’t happen again as I have resolved to check my spam content on the minimum of a daily basis. Once a comment is approved, the spam filter “learns” and you should have no further problems.

Again, my sincerest apologies.

Anke Cheney

September 10, 2008 3:21 am Posted by | Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Blackwater, Part 2: How Did This Happen?

Since its inception the United States Military forces have historically used civilian personnel to perform some support functions. While some of these personnel have been trained and equipped to defend themselves at need, the use of civilian contractors to provide combat personnel outside the control of the military and/or government is a very recent development.

As recently as last month there were as many civilian support personnel in Iraq as there were military personnel – approximately 190,000 of each for a 1 to 1 ratio. This also occurred during the Balkan missions but not on such a large scale.

During the Korean War there was 1 civilian per every 2.5 military to provide support. During the Vietnam conflict the ratio was 1 civilian per every 5 military.

Record number of US contractors in Iraq

Up until the latest Iraq war these civilians provided support services and, except for a few that were hired to guard other civilians, were not expected to face combat situations on a regular basis and even the guards would not be expected to face the types of attacks that have been seen in Iraq.

Because of the limited number of ground combat forces available in the U.S. military the government could not afford to assign military personnel to perform protective functions for all of the non military functions taking place in Iraq, whether by government agencies or private companies that were hired to assist in the rebuilding efforts. This is where Blackwater and other private protective services companies became so involved.

Continue reading

September 8, 2008 8:30 pm Posted by | National Security | , , , | 8 Comments

Illegal Aliens and Public Education

Without question, the education of our children is an absolute imperative, and federal law requires the public school education of all children from kindergarten through grade 12, regardless of residence or legal presence in this country. So, there is no question as to whether we will or will not provide education for children of illegal aliens, we will, like it or not.

However, maybe I’m odd, but I’m not “rich” and I like to know what I pay for things…whether I can do without it or not. For example, I can’t do without groceries, but when I go to the store to buy, I know how much I pay for potatoes, milk, peas, hamburger and steak. Then, if I decide to pick up a six-pack of beer on top of all that, I know how much that will cost me. I might ask myself if I can afford it or not? Then, deciding yes, after I check-out, I know the total cost, the cost of each item and I even know how much tax I had to pay on my purchases. Similarly, I am curious as to how many tax dollars are spent educating those who are in this country illegally…not that I can do anything about it, I can’t, but just as I like to know how much I pay for potatoes, I like knowing how my tax dollars are spent, and in particular, I’d like to know what I’m paying to educate those who shouldn’t be here in the first place.

It has been estimated that nationally, $12 Billion is spent each year on primary and secondary education of children who are in this country illegally, and another $17 Billion is spent educating “anchor babies,” American-born children of illegal aliens.
LOU DOBBS TONIGHT, The Debate Over Immigration & Border Security Continues, Aired April 1, 2006 – 18:00 ET.

Well, being the curious one that I am, I thought I’d go to the Prince William Schools website (Prince William County Approved School Board Budget Fiscal Year 2009 ) to see how much of OUR tax dollars support education of illegal alien children and those children born in this country of illegal aliens. Now, before you try this, let me warn you, it’s not something to be done while waiting for your wife to finish putting on her make-up.

This 426 page document doesn’t read exactly like a novel, and in addition to documenting the outstanding accomplishments of the school system and its teachers and staff, it outlines every credit and expenditure in the approved budget. Just to give you an idea of the detail, it includes the big-ticket items such as the Superintendent’s salary ($248,865) and the salary of ten associate superintendents ($1,515,600 ) — let’s see, if my math is correct, that’s an average of $151,560 per. It goes on to give a great deal of clarity into education finances, for example the Executive Administration department has budgeted $8,739 for printing services during FY2008 – FY2009. During this same time frame, the Communications Services Department has budgeted $500 for rental equipment. So, suffice it to say, if you want to know what our school system pays for something, you’ll find it there!

Well, at least that’s what I thought, but when it comes to my original question, “How much do we pay for the education of illegal alien children,” I couldn’t find it. OK, well, that’s a sizable expenditure, I’m sure, and in all those 426 pages, I must have just missed it, so I asked my school board representative. In short order, my request for information was forwarded to the Superintendent, who forwarded it to the Assistant Superintendent, who forwarded it to one of the Associate Supervisors for a response. Well, I recognize that this is a very busy time of the year for the school system, so I was patient and finally received a response concerning the question of how many illegal alien children, or children of illegal alien parents attend PWC schools.

The long and the short of it is, they don’t know. From the Director for the Office of Student Services, Prince William County Public Schools, here’s the response I received:

“School Division staff does not ask students or parents about their citizenship or visa status. The Virginia Department of Education provided specific information regarding such inquiries in Superintendent’s Memo No. 140 dated July 27, 2007. This information indicates that “Pursuant to a decision by the United States Supreme< Court, school divisions are not permitted to inquire into a prospective student’s citizenship or visa status in order to enroll the student. School divisionsare required to accept students who meet residency requirements under * 22.1-3 of the Code of Virginia and may not deny free public education to undocumented school-age children who reside within their jurisdiction because they do not hold valid United States citizenship or a student visa.” Therefore, if parents provide school staff with appropriate documentation (per Regulation 346-1, Tuition) proving residency in PWC, their students are enrolled in school.”

Well now, doesn’t that seem a bit odd — we know what the school system pays for printing services, athletics, and the music department…and we know how many children are categorized as having learning disabilities, but we’re not allowed to know how many students being educated at taxpayer expense are in this country illegally.

So, I guess that until we can get the Supreme Court “fixed” or the Virginia Department of Education “fixed” — and that’s not likely to happen soon — I’ll just have to be content with knowing what I pay for those things that they want me to know about. Oh well, what comes next, an “international flag” over our state house?

Si Senor….

September 7, 2008 8:03 pm Posted by | Op-Ed | , , , , | 8 Comments

The City of Lost Girls: Femicide In Latin America

One of the videos that I featured on my last post, The Merida Intitiative, was “The City of Lost Girls,” a shocking indictment of not only Mexican law enforcement, but a deadly culture of corruption which is re-created in many forms throughout Mexico, and runs up through the highest levels of government…and tends to prey upon the Mexican citizens, particularly the poor, with impunity. No one, however, is totally immune. Because few people have viewed that particular post, I decided to repeat it here and give the subject greater coverage:

This film was shot in November of 2003 in and around the city of Juarez, Mexico in the Mexican State of Chihuahau, formerly known as El Paso del Norte. The estimated numbers of dead girls/women, most between the ages of 16 to 23 (although an average age of 16 has been cited) has ranged from 380 to 550 since 1993…and there are still an estimated 4000 girls and young women missing in this area (Amnesty International’s estimates are far lower than those of the local citizens). A great deal of attention has focused on the problem in Juarez, given its proximity to El Paso, Texas, as well as the large number of “NAFTA” factories which have located there. As a matter of fact, the draw of these factories for young women seeking work is often attributed as a major reason that this area provides such a fertile hunting ground for the predators who are perpetrating these crimes.

http://www.amnestyusa.org/women/pdf/Juarez_Guatemala_Action_kit.pdf

Excerpt from Amnesty International report from 2006:

“Since 1993, almost 400 women and girls have been murdered and more than 70 remain missing in Ciudad Juárez and Chihuahua, Mexico. All the evidence seems to indicate that these young women are chosen by their killers because they are women who have no power within Chihuahuan society, itself characterized by high crime rates and public insecurity due to the fact that drug trafficking and organized crime operate in the area. The women are often workers from the maquilas, or export factories, set up by the multinational companies that control the economy of Ciudad Juárez as well as waitresses, workers in the informal economy, or students. Many of them live in poverty, often with children to support. They are women who have few options but to travel alone on the long bus journeys that take them from the poor suburbs surrounding Ciudad Juárez to their place of work or study.”

The greatest difficulty in attempting to determine the TRUE numbers of dead and missing girls is a direct result of the corruption of the state authorities in Juarez and Chihuahua, who are believed by most to actually be complicit in not only the cover-up, but the crimes themselves.

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August 23, 2008 10:14 pm Posted by | Latin America | , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

The Merida Initiative

The Merida Initiative, as is the case with most of the negotiations between Mexico and the United States, is again one of those deals which was struck behind closed doors between President Bush and President Calderon, so it is unlikely that a great many of you are familiar with it, or have even heard of it. Even its first year funding was tacked onto a funding bill for the war in Iraq in order to expedite, and essentially sneak through, its implementation. This lack of transparency has been the case with this Initiative from the beginning:

An excellent source for information on various aspects of the Initiative is to be found at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars website, Merida Initiative Portal:

http://www.wilsoncenter.org/index.cfm?topic_id=5949&fuseaction=topics.item&news_id=407349

For instance, according to the overview of the Initiative…

“Congress is currently considering a proposal to provide $1.4 billion in equipment, software, and technical assistance to Mexico over three years as well as a smaller but still unspecified amount to Central America over the same period. The first year of the initiative is part of the Iraq Supplemental, while the second and third years will be discussed as part of the regular FY09 and FY10 appropriations process.

The Merida Initiative is actually more than an assistance package—rather it is one element in a broader strategy of growing cooperation between the U.S. and Mexico to address a shared threat presented by organized crime involved in drug trafficking. The U.S. and Mexican governments have increased joint efforts significantly in recent years in order to protect communities on both sides of the border. Moreover, both countries recognize the need to engage Central America in broader regional efforts.”

…which confirms those “rumors” mentioned by Glenn Beck of CNN in the previous video.

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August 18, 2008 6:04 am Posted by | Mexico | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

NAFTA, Part 1: Free Trade Agreements

I had originally planned to do my first NAFTA post on the impact upon Mexico, however, one of my sources required permission for publication, to which I applied but have not yet heard back. Therefore, I thought I would start with an examination of Free Trade Agreements in general and NAFTA in particular so that we may form a foundation for what is to come.

As a long-time advocate of Free Market economics, I am not totally averse to the concept of Free Trade Agreements. On the contrary, I can see where, if properly negotiated with countries with whom we share similar economies and cultures, bilateral agreements of that sort could be highly beneficial to both trading partners. However, an examination of our growing list of Free Trade partners shows a serious lack of economic common sense…and NAFTA is the worst of them.

Probably the least informative government site to utilize for an investigation of Free Trade Agreements is the very site which would most likely be the first traversed for information on these agreements:

The International Trade Administration of the Department of Commerce

http://trade.gov/index.asp

This site is largely devoted to the promotion of FTA’s, and tends to skew the facts toward its own end. As an example, their front page actually heralds a SURPLUS in the trade balance between the U.S. and those trading partners with whom we have implemented agreements:

For this release, manufacturing products are defined as all products that fall under NAICS classifications 31-33.  This data will differ from other sources that use a manufacturing definition based on an SITC standard.
For this release, manufacturing products are defined as all products that fall under NAICS classifications 31-33. This data will differ from other sources that use a manufacturing definition based on an SITC standard.

This couldn’t be further from the truth! Let’s take a look at the reality. Continue reading

August 16, 2008 7:10 am Posted by | NAFTA | , , , , | 6 Comments

Blackwater, Part 1: An Army For Hire?

This may seem to be a strange post for a blog dedicated to illegal aliens and immigration reform, but consider this: if the governments and corporations involved in the North American Union have to depend on the official armed forces of their country to protect them, they cannot order them to protect private property or patrol borders to control entry of illegal people with complete disregard to the laws of the country in which they operate.

Officially, Blackwater International is a company that provides training, equipment and personnel to anyone, be it government or corporation, that is officially sanctioned by the U.S. State Department anywhere in the world. If you take a close look at their history and current contracts you will notice that while they started out mainly providing training they have expanded into an army for hire for anyone that can afford their price. It should be noted that Blackwater is not the only company that is operating this way, just the one with the highest profile due to several questionable incidences that have occured in Iraq. For a list of companies involved see here: PMCs

During their time in Iraq they have proven that they believe that they are above all laws as they have been hired to perform a mission of protection. They will perform this mission no matter what and do whatever they think they need to do to satisfy this mission.

Many of the personnel that Blackwater International have under contract are highly professional individuals with the best training and backgrounds. They should be – they were trained by the U.S. government either in the armed forces of the United States or in other government law enforcement agencies. Too bad these personnel cannot control the other people working with them.

Because these people are exempted from prosecution in Iraq due to Paul Bremmers decree, nothing will happen to those responsible for actions such as this. They are also under the protection of the U.S. Embassy in Iraq.

There are not enough U.S. Armed Forces personnel to meet the deployment requirements to both Iraq and Afghanistan in addition to all of its other commitments around the world. Blackwater International has been used by the U.S. State Department and other U.S. Government agencies to supplement the U.S. Armed Forces present in Iraq and Afghanistan. What a great opportunity for Blackwater!

Blackwater boasts that they have 14,000 people that they can contact to create a “protection force” at a moment’s notice. Some of these people are not U.S. nationals but personnel that were trained for other counties under contracts with Blackwater. If this isn’t an army for hire I don’t know what is.

Blackwater also appears to watch for opportunities to insert itself into activities within the United States. After hurricane Katrina hit the gulf coast, Blackwater sent one of its helicopters into New Orleans on a “rescue mission” without invitation from the U.S. or local governments.

“According to Blackwater’s government contracts, obtained by The Nation, from September 8 to September 30, 2005, Blackwater was paid $409,000 for providing fourteen guards and four vehicles to “protect the temporary morgue in Baton Rouge, LA.” That contract kicked off a hurricane boon for Blackwater. From September to the end of December 2005, the government paid Blackwater at least $33.3 million–well surpassing the amount of Blackwater’s contract to guard Ambassador Paul Bremer when he was head of the US occupation of Iraq. And the company has likely raked in much more in the hurricane zone. Exactly how much is unclear, as attempts to get information on Blackwater’s current contracts in New Orleans have been unsuccessful.”

For a more complete story on Blackwaters activity in New Orleans see: The Nation: In the Black(water)

Unfortunately it appears that some of the Blackwater employees think that they can treat U.S. citizens the same way they have become acustom to treating the citizens they encounter in Iraq where they are not accountable to the local government: Blackwater Eyes Domestic Contracts in U.S.

It is said that because we cannot maintain a large standing military force with sufficient combat forces that we need to outsource certain activities to civilians. My question is, is it actually cheaper to have civilians performing these missions rather than recruiting and training militaty personnel who are accountable to the Code of Military Conduct? With Blackwater and other civilian personnel in Iraq earning up to $1000 a day, don’t you think this money would be better spent recruiting, training, and properly equiping additional personnel for the U.S. Armed Forces?

August 10, 2008 9:44 pm Posted by | National Security | , , | 24 Comments

A REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY?

By way of introduction, I’m not a lawyer, I’m not a statesman, and I aspire to be neither; I am an average American citizen who grew up on a Kansas farm, managed to get through college and retired as an Air Force Officer. Seventeen years later, I retired again, this time from a major Defense Contractor here in the Washington DC area. So, with that, it’s clear – I have no special credentials, I’m just the typical American citizen. However, I am convinced that our government is failing us and we must act, and we must act now.

As citizens and voters in a representative democracy, we have a responsibility to become informed of issues which face our country. Rarely will we find a candidate who represents our every view, and thus we must make compromises, and when the time comes, we have the responsibility to vote for those candidates whom we believe will best represent our views in the conduct of official government business. One hundred Senators, 435 Representatives, one President and nine Supreme Court Justices. Those 545 human beings represent you and they represent me. But do they really? Do they truly represent us or do they rely upon an ego-based infusion of super-human intelligence resulting from victory on election day to represent this country?

Some of us send our Congressmen E-Mails, letters, and even call them on the phone to express our views, but when was the last time that a seated politician came to your door, called you on the phone, or sent you a survey to ascertain your view on a particular issue pending in the House or the Senate? Their campaign workers call, asking for money, but to ask for your opinion and advice on issues? Rarely. I always thought our politicians were supposed to work for us and by that, I mean, represent us, ascertain and represent the major opinion. I don’t need them to wave as convertible-chauffered celebrities during the 4th of July parade nor do I need them to show up at a community improvement work-day for a glad-hand photo-op in a business suit. No, I don’t want them to be reclusive either, but I see them as workers, not as movie star or the athlete-like celebrities. The ego trip associated with political success often leads to the conviction that by virtue of being theirs, their vote on issues is automatically the best for us commoners. If they do not know the view of their constituents, how can they represent their constituents? They don’t, they represent their own view.

There is no single issue facing our country where the failure of politicians to learn and represent is more glaring than in the area of immigration and the enforcement of our federal immigration laws. Continue reading

July 31, 2008 6:29 pm Posted by | Op-Ed | , , , , | 19 Comments

North American Union, Part 4: The Canadians

Although the vast majority of our own government and mainstream media persist in denying, and actually ridiculing, the strong evidence that a North American Union is in the future of our nation, the issue is quite openly, and seriously, being discussed, opposed, and promoted in Canada. Our neighbors to the north have been much more persistent in looking at the ramifications of the ties between NAFTA , the North American SuperCorridor Coalition (NASCO), the North American Competitiveness Council (NACC), and the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) toward the ultimate development of that North American Union.

Particularly since the Montebello (Canada) meeting of the SPP between Bush, Harper, and Calderon, large numbers of the members of the opposition parties, as well as an enormous number of Canadian citizens all across the country, have taken an active stand against the policies and the conspiratorial nature of the negotiations potentially leading to the establishment of a NAU in which they have absolutely no desire to participate. Unfortunately, it is also leading to a good bit of anti-American (U.S.) sentiment among people with whom we have gotten on exceptionally well for the greater part of our history.

http://onlinejournal.com/artman/publish/article_2284.shtml

“It won’t work. For one thing, the Canadian people will never accept that Canada become a colony of the United States, and the current minority government of Stephen Harper could pay dearly politically if it continues pushing in that direction. Canadians do not want their armed forces and their foreign policy to be de facto merged with those of imperial America. Moreover, they do not want their natural resources to be placed under U.S. control and exploited nearly completely by large American corporations, which have little regard for Canada’s sovereignty and little concern for the welfare of Canadians. Also, they do not want the Canadian dollar ditched in favor of a less and less attractive U.S. dollar, as some have suggested.”


Continue reading

July 22, 2008 1:23 am Posted by | North American Union | , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Open Discussion

I’ve put out a great deal of information over the past three weeks…and I’m having some computer difficulties again with my technical expert currently unavailable. It occurred to me that this might be a good time for readers to catch up on all this information (most of which ties together), and perhaps use it to do some of their own research, then come back here and do some brainstorming. Call it an open thread, open discussion, or whatever…it could prove interesting.

[UPDATE: I had intended to get a new post out today (actually, I should say “yesterday”), however, circumstances made that impossible. I hope to have one out, properly researched, by end of day (the 21st). This open discussion is definitely not getting a lot of interest, probably because everyone is looking for new information which takes a LOT of time to put together, so I also needed a break. By the way, if anyone has any suggestions for future posts I’m quite open to them.]

July 18, 2008 7:11 pm Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments