SAN DIEGO — The son of a Hamas founder who became a Christian and an Israeli spy will be granted U.S. asylum after he passes a routine background check, an immigration judge ruled Wednesday.
Mosab Hassan Yousef got the news during a 15-minute deportation hearing after a U.S. Department of Homeland Security attorney said the government was dropping its objections.
The agency denied Yousef’s asylum request in February 2009, arguing that he had been involved in terrorism and was a threat to the United States.
Attorney Kerri Calcador gave no explanation for the government’s change of heart.
The immigration judge, Rico Bartolomei, ruled that Yousef will be allowed to remain in the United States after he is fingerprinted and passes a routine background check.
Yousef, who has been living in San Diego, was cheered by supporters as he left the hearing.
He said he loves living in California, wants to become a U.S. citizen and hopes to pursue a master’s degree in history and geography.
“I will keep fighting the ideology that is behind terrorists because I know how they think,” he said outside the courtroom.
Yousef, 32, said he could not explain the government’s abrupt decision, but said authorities may have had second thoughts after reviewing his case more closely.
“For 10 years, he fought terrorism in secret, hiding what he was doing and who he was,” his attorney, Steven Seick, wrote in a court filing. “He deserves a safe place away from violence and fear.”
March 3, 2010 file photo, Mosab Hassan Yousef speaks during an interview in New York. Yousef says he will be killed if he is deported from the United States to the West Bank. The oldest son of one of Hamas' founders, he was an Israeli spy for a decade, and he abandoned Islam for Christianity, further marking him a traitor. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)
Hamas spy finds home in California, seeks asylum By ELLIOT SPAGAT (AP)
SAN DIEGO — Mosab Hassan Yousef says he will be killed if he is deported from the United States to the West Bank. The oldest son of one of Hamas’ founders, he was an Israeli spy for a decade, and he abandoned Islam for Christianity, further marking him a traitor.
He is scheduled to plead his case Wednesday to an immigration judge in San Diego, four months after publishing memoirs that say he was one of the Shin Bet security agency’s best assets and was dubbed The Green Prince, a reference to his Hamas pedigree and the Islamists’ signature green color.
Yousef’s case seems straightforward: Helping Israel find and kill members of the militant group would make him a marked man back home. Nearly two dozen members of Congress wrote Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano this week that Yousef would be in “grave danger” in the Middle East. Former CIA Director James Woolsey says his deportation would discourage other potential spies.
“It is not an exaggeration to say that such an action would set us back years in the war on terrorism,” Woolsey wrote in a letter released by Yousef’s attorney. “Mosab’s deportation would be such an inhumane act it would constitute a blight on American history.”
But the Department of Homeland Security isn’t convinced and wants him gone, calling him “a danger to the security of the United States” who has “engaged in terrorist activity.”
Yousef, 34, settled in Southern California after stepping off a plane in Los Angeles with a tourist visa in January 2007. He remains free while his application for asylum is considered.
“Exposing terrorist secrets and warning the world in my first book cost me everything. I am a traitor to my people, disowned by my family, a man without a country. And now the country I came to for sanctuary is turning its back,” he wrote on his blog last month.
When Sean Harrington entered his freshman year at Arlington High School, he noticed something peculiar: There were no American flags in the classrooms, and no one recited the Pledge of Allegiance.
So Harrington enlisted the aid of his fellow students, and now, three years later, they have succeeded in getting flags installed in the classrooms. But the pledge still will not be recited.
The Arlington, Mass., school committee has rejected the 17-year-old’s request to allow students to voluntarily recite the Pledge of Allegiance, because some educators are concerned that it would be hard to find teachers willing to recite it, according to a report in the Arlington Patch.
Harrington had presented school officials with a petition signed by 700 people, along with letters of support from lawmakers including Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn.
But the request to have the pledge recited failed when the committee’s vote ended in a 3-3 tie.
“I was really heartbroken,” Harrington told FOX News Radio. “It’s hard to think that something so traditional in American society was turned down.”
His fight has received quite a bit of support from the community. “When I was going to school, it was an honor and a privilege to pledge allegiance to the flag,” Francis De Guglielmo, 55, told the Patch. He called the ban an “absolute travesty” and a “disgrace.”
Harrington, who will be a senior in the fall, said he will continue to fight. “I’m not a person who quits and I don’t back down. It’s a very righteous cause and needs to be followed through until the end.”
Some committee members voiced concerns about forcing people to do something that might violate their beliefs – including religious beliefs. Among the no-votes was committee member Leba Heigham.
“Patriotism is a very personal thing for all of us, but I do not think it is in the school committee’s best interest to mandate that any of our employees recite the pledge,” she told the Patch.
Harrington said the recitation would have been strictly voluntary.
“If we can’t find one teacher who is willing to say the pledge, then the system we have is cracked,” he told FOX News Radio, noting that a number of teachers signed his petition.
He said the school’s ban on the pledge sends the wrong message. “It tells me that we’ve basically cast aside what our country is founded on,” he said. “It’s saying that we don’t really care, and it’s sad.”
Arlington’s superintendent of schools did not return a call for comment.
Full Court Press on Illegal Immigration–Karl Rove previews President Obama’s speech on illegal immigration and border security
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer wants the federal government to spend more on border security — at least more than it does on Mexico.
The Republican governor is slamming Washington
for committing more than double the amount of funding next year to Mexico than it does to National Guard along the U.S. side of the southern border.
“They’re giving more money to Mexico,” Brewer said after meeting with administration officials Monday, calling the disparity “very, very disturbing.”
There’s a bit more nuance behind the claim. According to her office, Brewer was referring to the administration’s fiscal 2011 budget projections committing $135 million to a National Guard increase along the southern border versus $310 million to Mexico via the Merida Initiative — a program started under the Bush administration that helps Mexico and other Latin American countries fight drug gangs and other organized crime.
Those figures don’t factor in the $600 million Obama is calling for in additional Border Patrol, ICE agents and other border personnel — far more money than Mexico receives through the Merida Initiative.
But Brewer spokesman Paul Senseman said the point the governor was trying to make is that the administration plans for on-the-ground border enforcement just aren’t tough enough.
While Obama is calling for 1,200 National Guard troops along the southern border, Brewer has endorsed a plan calling for 6,000.
Senseman said on this front, the governor wants the U.S. government to be spending at least as much as it does on Mexico — though the Mexico aid program is “critically important.” He said the message Brewer has gotten from the administration is that the proposals on the table are “as good as it gets.”
“It’s clear from Governor Brewer’s perspective that what has been proposed here to solve Arizona’s border security crisis is woefully inadequate,” he said.
The White House describes the commitment the president has made to securing the border as significant. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs noted Tuesday that 524 of the 1,200 National Guard troops are going to Arizona.
“There obviously is and continues to be extraordinary efforts that we’re taking to secure our border as part of the beginnings of comprehensive immigration reform,” Gibbs said. “The president has made a big commitment to securing the border and to Arizona.”
Federal Courts Want More Funds for Immigration Cases
~So let me get this straight~ they can piss off a mess of money in the courts system fighting this & have more funds for their side of Immigration but damn Jan Brewer’s request!
Judge says Obama’s border security proposal will increase the caseload in an already strained system
Why some congressmen are eager to skip town hall meetings in their districts is beyond me. They’re so informative! At a recent gathering with his constituents, Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) had the following conversation about the safety of our borders:
THE BORDERS ARE QUITE SECURE.JUST ask Congressman Pete Stark’s at the Town hall meeting in Fremont CA Here’s the video from Congressman Pete Stark’s Town Hall meeting last Saturday (June 26, 2010).
I used the border segment only (YouTube has a ten minute limit), the rest of the meeting was pretty tame anyway. He made some pretty dumb comments as he mocked me including “the borders are quite secure”, but it backfired on him. Stark seemed medicated to me, had swollen ankles and could only sit on the edge of his chair for over an hour and a half. He’s well past doing an effective job, but in my opinion, that’s probably best for America anyway.
Steve Kemp www.GoldenGateMinutemen.org & www.BayAreaPatriots.com
Wow. Just…wow. “Who are you going to kill today?” Americans who are doing the job government won’t do are essentially called murderers and then told in a lofty manner that “our borders are quite secure, thank you.” Try telling that to the family of this murdered Arizona rancher, or the former Alabama homecoming queen murdered in a Tennessee hotel, or the police officer killed during a routine traffic stop.
But like I said, town hall meetings can be very informative because the attitude witnessed in the video above is all too common in the halls of Congress and elsewhere in Washington, where elected officials and their bureaucratic and media minions don’t see illegal aliens as lawbreakers but rather as a voting bloc ripe for exploitation. They don’t say that, of course – that would be too transparent for those who have been promising “transparency” in government for years. Rather, it’s couched in terms of “human rights” and other such progressive prattle. How can it be that those we elect to do the business of the American people care more about these lawbreakers and interlopers than they do about those they purport to serve?
03/20/2009 – Congressman Stark Gets Illegal Tax Break
A ranking member of the U.S. House of Representative’s tax-writing committee claims a Maryland home—located thousands of miles from the California district he represents—as his principal residence to get an illegal tax break.
Democrat Pete Stark, who has represented northern California in the House since 1973, lies about here he lives to qualify for an annual $3,853 tax break on a home he and his wife own in Harwood Maryland.
Valued at $1.7 million, the 3,600-square-foot waterfront home sits on 6.35 acres and is located about 30 miles east of the U.S. Capitol. To qualify for the state and county homestead tax credit, Maryland homeowners must live in the house at least six months a year and use the address for the legal purpose of voting, obtaining a driver’s license and filing income tax returns.
Stark and his wife are registered to vote in the northern California district he represents and both have California driver’s licenses, according to the national news agency that broke the story this week. Easily reelected in November, Stark is considered the dean of the state’s congressional delegation and he is a senior member of the House’s tax-writing Ways and Means Committee.
The influential lawmaker is hardly the only politician who has lied to claim this kind of residential tax credit. Last week Eliot Engel, a Democrat congressman from New York, got busted for declaring a Maryland home in Montgomery County as his official residence.
Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle illegally claimed a homestead tax break on a $1.9 million Washington residence even though he officially lived in South Dakota. The accomplished tax cheat was forced to withdraw as Health Secretary nominee last month because he had failed to pay $140,000 in taxes on the millions he raked in as a health industry “consultant” after getting voted out of office in 2004.
Caught on Tape ~ This is PRICELESS TY U Tube ! September 13, 2009
One of Pete Stark’s Town Hall meetings was held in Fremont, California. Although the media reported that only one person was in opposition to Stark in San Leandro, Fremont was a different story. A senior citizen told Pete “don’t pee on my leg and then tell me it’s raining”, Pete’s reply: “I wouldn’t dignify you by peeing on your leg – I wouldn’t waste the urine”. Not exactly Congressional level behavior in my opinion…Here is a condensed version of the meeting which gives you a flavor of the questions that opponents and supporters alike asked Stark.
Resolved Question: Is Pete Stark (D-CA) an illegitimate representative or a tax cheat?
Rep. Fortney “Pete” Stark (Democrat-Californyland) has represented California’s 13th Congressional District since January 1973. In 2007 and 2008, though, he claimed Anne Arundel County, Maryland, as his home, filing for tax exemptions on a waterfront house he claims is his only residence.
A fact sheet provided by the California secretary of state’s elections division (”Summary of Qualifications and Requirements for Partisan Nomination for the Office of United States Representative in Congress“) suggests that any candidate, incumbent or not, must at very least be a resident of the state in order to run for Congress
The oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico gets worse by the day. Oil spews from the broken well, further polluting our water and shores. The clean-up efforts drag on with bureaucratic interference, making matters worse. And what is the Obama administration doing? It continues to push for unrelated responses that will have a disastrous effect on our economy, especially the economy of the Gulf states most affected.
In fact, President Obama summoned a bipartisan group of senators to the White House on Tuesday to discuss his climate change legislation. When Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander suggested that any such energy meeting should include a focus on the oil spill and BP, Obama responded: “that’s just your talking point” and refused to discuss the crisis.
Unfortunately, the American people are not hearing any of this. Day after day, blind allegiance to the president causes his supporters on the left to simply say the government is doing all that it can. The national media, prone to attention deficit disorder when a president they support is in the White House, have already moved on to a myriad of other subjects, offering only sporadic updates on the continuing crisis.
When the president answered questions following the G20 conference, not one reporter asked him about the situation in the Gulf. Not one question. When attention is paid, it is focused on BP, which is only half the story — the other half being government incompetence or an ideological rigidity that prevents commonsense solutions.
The Heritage Foundation has offered a great deal of research and analysis related to the current crisis. It can be found indexed here. Starting today, we will also highlight the top actions the federal government must take immediately to assist the citizens of the Gulf as they cope with this tragedy. As the government responds or acts on these actions, we will directly update this post online to reflect the news and add new actions as we deem appropriate.
Without further delay, here are the first ten actions President Obama can take immediately to help solve the crisis in the Gulf.
1. Waive the Jones Act: According to one Dutch newspaper, European firms could complete the oil spill cleanup by themselves in just four months, and three months if they work with the United States, which is much faster than the estimated nine months it would take the Obama administration to go at it alone. The major stumbling block is a protectionist piece of legislation called the Jones Act, which requires that all goods transported by water between U.S. ports be carried in U.S.-flagged ships, constructed in the United States, owned by U.S. citizens, and crewed by U.S. citizens. But, in an emergency, this law can be temporarily waived, as DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff did after Katrina. Each day European and Asian allies are prevented from helping us speed up the cleanup is another day that Gulf fishing and tourism jobs die
2. Accept International Assistance: At least thirty countries and international organizations have offered equipment and experts so far. According to reports this week, the White House has finally decided to accept help from twelve of these nations. The Obama administration should make clear why they are refusing the other eighteen-plus offers. In a statement, the State Department said it is still working out the particulars of the assistance it has accepted. This should be done swiftly as months have already been wasted.
3. Lift the Moratorium: The Obama administration’s over-expansive ban on offshore energy development is killing jobs when they are needed most. A panel of engineering experts told The New Orleans Times-Picayune that they only supported a six-month ban on new drilling in waters deeper than 1,000 feet. Those same experts were consulted by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar before he issued his May 27 report recommending a six-month moratorium on all ongoing drilling in waters deeper than 500 feet. A letter from these experts reads: “A blanket moratorium is not the answer. It will not measurably reduce risk further and it will have a lasting impact on the nation’s economy which may be greater than that of the oil spill. We do not believe punishing the innocent is the right thing to do.”
And just how many innocent jobs is Obama’s oil ban killing? An earlier Times-Picayune report estimated the moratorium could cost Louisiana 7,590 jobs and $2.97 billion in revenue directly related to the oil industry.
4. Release the S.S. A-Whale: The S.S. A-Whale skimmer is a converted oil tanker capable of cleaning 500,000 barrels of oil a day from the Gulf waters. Currently, the largest skimmer being used in the clean-up efforts can handle 4,000 barrels a day, and the entire fleet our government has authorized for BP has only gathered 600,000 barrels, total in the 70 days since the Deepwater Horizon explosion. The ship embarked from Norfolk, VA, this week toward the Gulf, hoping to get federal approval to begin assisting the clean-up, but is facing bureaucratic resistance.
As a foreign-flagged ship, the S.S. A-Whale needs a waiver from the Jones Act, but even outside that three-mile limitation, the U.S. Coast Guard and the EPA have to approve its operation due to the nature of its operation, which separates the oil from the water and then releases water back into the Gulf, with a minor amount of oil residue. The government should not place perfection over the need for speed, especially facing the threat of an active hurricane season.
5. Remove State and Local Roadblocks: Local governments are not getting the assistance they need to help in the cleanup. For example, nearly two months ago, officials from Escambia County, Fla., requested permission from the Mobile Unified Command Center to use a sand skimmer, a device pulled behind a tractor that removes oil and tar from the top three feet of sand, to help clean up Pensacola’s beaches. County officials still haven’t heard anything back. Santa Rosa Island Authority Buck Lee explains why: “Escambia County sends a request to the Mobile, Ala., Unified Command Center. Then, it’s reviewed by BP, the federal government, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Coast Guard. If they don’t like it, they don’t tell us anything.”
6. Allow Sand Berm Dredging: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has recently prevented the state of Louisiana from dredging to build protective sand berms. Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser immediately sent a letter to President Obama requesting that the work continue. He said, “Once again, our government resource agencies, which are intended to protect us, are now leaving us vulnerable to the destruction of our coastline and marshes by the impending oil. Furthermore, with the threat of hurricanes or tropical storms, we are being put at an increased risk for devastation to our area from the intrusion of oil.
7. Waive or Suspend EPA Regulations: Because more water than oil is collected in skimming operations (85% to 90% is water according to Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen), operators need to discharge the filtered water back into the Gulf so they can continue to collect oil. The discharged water is vastly cleaner than when it was skimmed, but not sufficiently pure according to normal EPA regulations. If the water has to be kept in the vessel and taken back to shore for purification, it vastly multiples the resources and time needed, requiring cleanup ships to make extra round trips, transporting seven times as much water as the oil they collect. We already have insufficient cleanup ships (as the Coast Guard officially determined); they need to be cleaning up oil, not transporting water.
8. Temporarily Loosen Coast Guard Inspections: In early June, sixteen barges that were vacuuming oil out of the Gulf were ordered to halt work. The Coast Guard had the clean-up vessels sit idle as they were inspected for fire extinguishers and life vests. Maritime safety is clearly a priority, but speed is of the essence in the Gulf waters. The U.S. Coast Guard should either temporarily loosen its inspection procedures or implement a process that allows inspections to occur as the ships operate.
9. Stop Coast Guard Budget Cuts: Now is not the time to be cutting Coast Guard capabilities, but that is exactly what President Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress are doing. Rather than rebuilding and modernizing the Coast Guard as is necessary, they are cutting back assets needed to respond to catastrophic disasters. In particular, the National Strike Force, specifically organized to respond to oil spills and other hazardous materials disasters, is being cut. Overall, President Obama has told the Coast Guard to shed nearly 1,000 personnel, five cutters, and several helicopters and aircraft. Congress and the Administration should double the U.S. Coast Guard’s active and reserve end strength over the next decade and significantly accelerate Coast Guard modernization, but for the time being, they should halt all budgetary cuts
10. Halt Climate Change Legislation: President Obama has placed his focus to the oil spill on oil demand rather than oil in our water. Regardless of political views, now is not the time to be taking advantage of this crisis to further an unrelated piece of legislation that will kill jobs and, in the President’s own words, cause energy prices to “skyrocket.” Less than 5% of our nation’s electricity needs are met by petroleum. Pushing solar and wind alternatives is in no way related to the disaster in the Gulf. It’s time for President Obama to focus on the direct actions he can take in the Gulf rather than the indirect harm he can cause in Congress. As Heritage expert David Kreutzer opines: “Fix the leak first, and then we’ll talk.” A crisis should not be a terrible thing to waste, as Rahm Emanuel said, but a problem to be solved.