New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 18, 2007, New Braunfels, Texas
Friday, May 18, 2007 — Herald-Zeitung — Page 5 A
FROM THE WIRE
From The Associated Press
FORT DIX ACCUSED DENIED BAIL -
CAMDEN, NJ. (AP)—A man charged with helping five others plot a terrorist attack on Fort Dix will not he freed on bail, a judge ruled Thursday.
Agron Abdullahu, 24, had asked U.S. Magistrate Joel Schneider to be released from custody into house arrest. But prosecutors successfully argued he was likely to flee and was a serious risk to the community’s safety.
“I’m not really a bad guy,” Abdullahu said. “If I could leave I would definitely go back to my old life.... I would never do anything to harm this country.”
Abdullahu, a legal U.S. resident, is charged with helping illegal immigrants obtain weapons, an offense punishable by up to IO years in prison.
“I Ie was an integral part of the plan to attack Fort Dix,” Schneider said as he explained his decision.
U.S. ECONOMY TO SLOW IN COMING MONTHS - A gauge of future economic activity showed the U.S. economy will slow in coming months, reversing recent gains and suggesting higher gas prices and a sluggish construction industry are beginning to take their toll. The Conference Board said Thursday its index of leading economic indicators dropped 0.5 percent, higher than the 0.1 decline analysts were expecting. The reading is designed to forecast economic activity over the next three to six months.
The increase almost reversed an amended 0.6 percent climb in March, which antilysis say should relieve pressure on the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates.
“The data may be pointing to slower economic conditions this summer. With the industrial core of the economy already slow, and housing mired in a continued slump, there are some signs that these weaknesses may be beginning to soften both consumer spending and hiring this summer,” said Ken Goldstein, labor economist for the Conference Board.
The negative contributors, beginning with the largest, were building permits, weekly unemployment claims, manufacturers’ new orders for nondefense capital goods, consumer expectations, vendor performance, average weekly manufacturing hours and interest rate spread.
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Millions of illegal immigrants could win legal status
By Julie Hirschfeld Davis
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON — It took an improbable alliance of senators from the hard right and far left to strike a sweeping immigration deal to fix problems that have bedeviled Republicans and Democrats for decades.
lite coalition faces a daunting test of its strength next week as the Senate begins debating the plan unveiled Thursday, one which would grant legal status to millions of people in the country unlawfully and fulfill a top domestic goal of President Bush.
Bush said the proposal would “help enforce our borders but equally importantly, it’ll treat people with respect.”
A carefully crafted hybrid of conservatives’ and liberals’ divergent philosophies on immigration, the deal also mandates bolstered border security and a high-tech employment verification system to prevent illegal workers from getting jobs.
It was sealed after months of secretive bargaining between the White I louse and lawmakers in both parties — from liberal Democrat Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts to conservative Republican Sen. Jon Kyi of Arizona — on an issue that carries heavy potential risks and rewards for all involved.
Senate Majority Leader I larry Reid, D-Nev., said debate would begin on Monday, but he cautioned, “I don’t
know if the immigration legislation is going to hear fruit and we’re going to be able to pass it.”
Almost instantly, the plan brought vehement criticism from both sides of the immigration
some aspects of this proposal, including the structure of the temporary worker program and undue limita-«T, . ,i dons on family immi-
It represents the gration,” Reid said.
best opportunity In a reminder of the that we have in a delicate nature of the issue, including liberals bipartisan Way to do coalition, some law-who called it unfair and r , . Ut makers on both ends of
unworkable and con- SOmetmng auOUl t^e political spectrum
servatives who branded it an overly permissive “amnesty.”
The proposal consti-_ tutes a far-reaching change in the immigration system that would admit future arrivals seeking to put down roots in the U.S. based on their skills, education levels and job experience, limiting the importance of family ties. A new class of guest workers would be allowed in temporarily, but only after the new security measures were in place — expected to take 18 months.
Kennedy hailed it as “the best possible chance we will have in years to secure our borders and bring millions of people out of the shadows and into the sunshine of America.”
Kyi said the measure wasn’t perfect, “but it represents the best opportunity that we have in a bipartisan way to do something about this problem.”
It was clear, however, that many Republicans and Democrats were deeply skeptical. Reid said it needed improvement.
“I have serious concerns about
— Who said it
why are they important?
who attended the weeks of closed-door talks that yielded the agreement
_deserted it at the last
Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said the proposal “tears families apart” because a new point system used to evaluate future legal immigrants would value family connections well below employment-related criteria.
“When you anchor yourself to the far right and you give, I think, relatively little, its hard to meet the challenge” of producing a workable bill, Menendez said in an interview.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said he had “very serious concerns with the principles outlined” in the agreement.
And conservatives on both sides of the Capitol derided the deal as “amnesty” for illegal immigrants, using a politically charged word that figured prominently in campaigns across the country last year.
“I don’t care how you try to spin it, this is amnesty," said Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C.
The proposed agreement would
allow illegal immigrants to come forward and obtain a “Z visa” and — after paying fees and a $5,000 fine — ultimately get on track for permanent residency, which could take between eight and 13 years. Heads of households would have to return to their home countries first.
They could come forward right away to claim a probationary card that would let them live and work indefinitely in the U.S., but they could not seek citizenship until border security improvements and the high-tech worker identification program were completed.
A new crop of low-skilled guest workers would have to return home after stints of two years. They could renew their visas twice, but would be required to leave for a year in between each time. If they wanted to stay in the U.S. pennanently, they would have to apply under the point system for a limited pool of green cards.
The program drew fire from liberal groups that said it was unworkable. They had joined Democrats in pressing instead for guest workers to be permitted to stay and work indefinitely in the U.S., and ultimately earn the chance to stay.
“Without a clear path to permanent residence for a healthy share of the future temporary workers, we run the risk of reproducing the widespread illegality that this bill is designed to address,” said Frank Sharry, the executive director of the National Immigra-
Military: soldiers will be found
BAGI I DAD (AP) — U.S. officials expressed cautious optimism Thursday that three missing American soldiers are still alive even as troops drained canals and questioned children in the search for the troopers feared captured by al-Qaida.
FBI agents and Australian forensic experts have joined the search for the soldiers, who disappeared after an attack south of Baghdad on Saturday in which four U.S. troopers and one Iraqi were killed.
Lt. Col. Randy Martin, a U.S. military spokesman, said five days of searches had produced a number of leads that “point to the fact that these
men are still alive.”
“There are also reports to the contrary. But we have an obligation to follow on every intelligence tip,” Martin said.
“There is cautious optimism that in fact these soldiers can be found alive,” Martin said. “That’s what we pray for, that’s what we hope for."
Col. Michael Kershaw, a brigade commander, said some physical evidence asso
ciated with the missing soldiers had been found, raising hopes they were alive. He refused to say more.
Martin said some of the Iraqis detained in the search may have been directly involved in the ambush, which occurred along a palm-lined rural road near Youssi-fiyah, 12 miles south of Baghdad. More than 500 people have been questioned so far,
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