Friday, July 23, 2004

all about the Mark Morford

Immigrants and Jobs

July 23, 2004OP-ED COLUMNIST
Who's Getting the New Jobs?By BOB HERBERT
A startling new study shows that all of the growth in the employed population in the United States over the past few years can be attributed to recently arrived immigrants.
The study found that from the beginning of 2001 through the first four months of 2004, the number of new immigrants who found work in the U.S. was 2.06 million, while the number of native-born and longer-term immigrant workers declined by more than 1.3 million.
The study, from the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston, is further confirmation that despite the recovery from the recession of 2001, American families are still struggling with serious issues of joblessness and underemployment.
The study does not mean that native-born workers and long-term immigrants are not finding jobs. The American workplace is a vast, dynamic, highly competitive arena, with endless ebbs and flows of employment. But as the study tallied the gains and losses since the end of 2000, it found that new immigrants acquired as many jobs as the other two groups lost, and then some.
Andrew Sum, the director of the center and lead author of the study, said he hoped his findings would spark a long-needed analysis of employment and immigration policies in the U.S. But he warned against using the statistics for immigrant-bashing.
"We need a serious, honest debate about where we are today with regard to labor markets," said Professor Sum, whose work has frequently cited the important contributions immigrants have made. The starkness of the study's findings, he said, is an indication that right now "there is something wrong."
The study found that the new immigrants entering the labor force were mostly male and "quite young," with more than one-fourth under the age of 25, and 70 percent under 35.
"Hispanics formed the dominant group of new immigrants," the study said, "with migrants from Mexico and Central America playing key roles. Slightly under 56 percent of the new immigrant workers were Hispanic, nearly another one-fifth were Asian, 18 percent were white, not-Hispanic, and 5 percent were black."
Those most affected by the influx of new immigrant workers are young, less well-educated American workers and so-called established immigrants, those who have been in the U.S. for a number of years.
Simply stated, there are not enough jobs being created to accommodate the wide variety of demographic groups in need of work. With that being the case, and with some employers actively recruiting new immigrants, the inevitable result has been the displacement of previously employed workers, especially in the less skilled and lower-income categories.
College-educated middle-class workers appear to be holding their own in the current employment environment, although significant numbers are underemployed. The situation is much bleaker for high school graduates and dropouts, especially for men, both black and white, and teenagers.
The new immigrants are not spread evenly across the U.S. The study identified 16 states that each had 50,000 or more new immigrants in the civilian labor force, ranging from slightly fewer than 55,000 in Colorado and Pennsylvania to 276,000 in Texas, and a high of 555,000 in California.
Professor Sum said he used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics household survey, as opposed to its payroll survey (which is preferred by many economists), because it includes a number of categories of employment - contract workers, farm labor and others - that attract substantial immigrant labor but are not monitored by the payroll survey.
But even in the traditional area of manufacturing, for example, the employment of new immigrants has been significant. Referring to the period from 2000 to the fall of 2003, the study said, "Nearly 320,000 new immigrants obtained employment in the nation's manufacturing industries at a time when total wage and salary employment in these industries declined by more than 2.7 million positions."
If we are going to continue to encourage immigration, it's essential that we move once again toward full employment. Let the discussions begin now on how to get there. In the absence of full employment, an ugly face-off between American workers and newly arriving immigrants will be inevitable. That is not something we want or need to see.


Grand Jury Probes Cheney's Role in
'Illegal' Iran Trade
By Rupert Cornwell
Independent U.K.

Thursday 22 July 2004

Yet another controversy has flared up around the Halliburton oil services company of which Vice-President Dick Cheney used to be chief executive - this time over whether during the 1995-2000 Cheney era it violated US law by doing business directly with Iran.

The US Treasury has been probing the affair, which centres on a Dubai-based subsidiary of Halliburton and its work at Iranian oilfields, ever since allegations first surfaced in 2001. But this week it emerged that the group is under investigation by federal prosecutors in its home town of Houston. A grand jury has also subpoenaed various documents covering its Iranian operations, a sign that some evidence has surfaced indicating the company knowingly violated the sanctions.

Halliburton claims it is the victim of an election season witch-hunt by the Democrats. It maintains it obeyed US regulations over dealings with Iran, which stipulate that subsidiaries doing business there must be registered abroad, employ no US citizens, and operate independently of the parent company.

But these protestations will count for nothing amid the new clamour over Iran's possible ties with international terrorism, and an ever more heated election campaign in which the company has turned into one of the prime issues.

Fairly or unfairly, the company has become symbol of the mismanagement of reconstruc- tion in Iraq, and more generally of corporate greed and cronyism, and the Bush Presidency's fondness for big business, at the expense of ordinary Americans.

Iran is but the latest of at least five probes into the company currently in progress into allegations of bribery, kickbacks and overcharging.

The controversy surrounding Halliburton has even had some Republicans urging Mr Bush to drop Mr Cheney from the Republican ticket. Both the White House and Mr Cheney reject all such talk, and political professionals say such a move is all but unthinkable, given the Vice-President's popularity with the conservative Republican base, his exceptionally powerful position within the administration, and Mr Bush's refusal to admit he has made a mistake.

But Halliburton's latest legal misadventures have come to light at an awkward moment for the White House. The independent commission investigating the 11 September 2001 attacks today delivers its final report, likely to contain criticism of the Bush administration's alertness to the threat before the attacks on New York and Washington.

Although there is no suggestion that the Tehran regime, any more than Iraq, was directly involved, the report will point to evidence that eight or more of the 19 hijackers transited through Iran en route to the US. Mr Bush has now promised to look further into the "Iran connection" - of which Halliburton has become another angle.


Fly, Fly AWAY

Plane Carried 13 Bin Ladens
By Dana Milbank
Washington Post

Thursday 22 July 2004

Manifest of Sept. 19, 2001, flight from U.S. is released.
At least 13 relatives of Osama bin Laden, accompanied by bodyguards and associates, were allowed to leave the United States on a chartered flight eight days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to a passenger manifest released yesterday.

One passenger, Omar Awad bin Laden, a nephew of the al Qaeda leader, had been investigated by the FBI because he had lived with Abdullah bin Laden, a leader of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth, which the FBI suspected of being a terrorist organization.

The passenger list was made public by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who obtained the manifest from officials at Boston's Logan International Airport. Lautenberg's office was given the document in recent weeks and released it before today's issuance of the final report of the commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks.

Although much was already known about the "bin Laden flight," Lautenberg provided additional details, including the information that the plane, a 727 owned by DB Air and operated by Ryan International, began its flight in Los Angeles and made stops in Orlando, Dulles International Airport and Boston before continuing to Gander, Newfoundland; Paris; Geneva; and Jiddah, Saudi Arabia. The aircraft, tail number N521DB, has been chartered frequently by the White House for the press corps traveling with President Bush.

A staff report by the Sept. 11 commission this spring said the flight was one of six chartered flights carrying 142 people, mostly Saudi nationals, from the United States between Sept. 14 and 24 after airspace was reopened. The U.S. government had allowed, before commercial airspace was reopened, at least one domestic flight for Saudis who had feared for their safety, Lautenberg's staff said.

The commission reported that there were 23 passengers and three private security guards on the bin Laden flight. However, the manifest lists 25 passengers, plus the three guards employed by CDT Training Inc. of Elmwood Park, N.J. After a request for permission to allow the bin Ladens to leave reached Richard A. Clarke at the National Security Council, the flight departed Logan Airport in Boston at 11 p.m. on Sept. 19, 2001.

Dale Watson, former FBI counterterrorism chief, said yesterday that FBI agents "scrubbed the people who were leaving, and I was informed none of them were anybody we needed to detain or not allow to leave."

Lautenberg, in a statement, said that Bush "needs to explain to the American people why his administration let this plane leave." White House spokesman Sean McCormack said the contentions that the flight should not have been allowed to leave have been "debunked by the facts."

Ron Ryan of Ryan International said yesterday that he is "quite confident" that the Saudi Embassy arranged the flight through a Ryan partner called Sport-Hawk. He said the bin Ladens "were quite concerned for their safety," which alarmed the crew. "The Saudi Embassy offered to pay more money if our crew had a concern," he said.

But he said all were reassured because "the FBI and Secret Service were heavily involved. They were in abundance every place we were."

The commission staff reported that each of the Saudi flights "was investigated by the FBI and dealt with in a professional manner prior to its departure." The staff said that 22 people on the bin Laden flight were interviewed by the FBI and that the FBI checked databases for information on the passengers. The commission said none of the passengers was on the terrorist watch list.

The flight manifest lists 13 people with the bin Laden surname and others with Brazilian, British, Indonesian and Yemeni passports. Passenger Omar Awad bin Laden had lived with Abdullah bin Laden, a nephew of Osama bin Laden who was involved in forming the U.S. branch of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth in Alexandria. Federal agents raided the office this spring in connection with a terrorism-related investigation. The FBI has described the group as a "suspected terrorist organization."

Among the other passengers was Shafig bin Laden, a half brother of Osama bin Laden who was reportedly attending the annual investor conference of the Carlyle Group, a politically connected investment company in Washington, on Sept. 11, 2001. Also on board was Akberali Moawalla, an official with the investment company run by Yeslam bin Laden, another of Osama bin Laden's half brothers. Records show that a passenger, Kholoud Kurdi, lived in Northern Virginia with a bin Laden relative.

The bin Laden flight has received fresh publicity because it was a topic in Michael Moore's anti-Bush documentary, "Fahrenheit 9/11."