- - Monday, January 31, 2011

GEORGIA

Report: Immigration law not enforced consistently

ATLANTA | Some local law enforcement agencies, particularly in the Southeast, are turning over illegal immigrants who commit even minor offenses to federal authorities for deportation, while others are focused on deporting more violent criminals, according to a report released Monday.

The report by the Migration Policy Institute, a Washington-based nonpartisan think tank, said conflicting messages from the U.S. government and local political pressure may account for the discrepancy.

The study, which examined a program that allows participating local agencies to enforce federal immigration law, found that several agencies in the Southeast were turning over every illegal immigrant taken into custody. An influx of immigrants in the generally conservative region has heightened political tension, the report said. North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina were in the top six in terms of growth rates of foreign-born populations from 1990 to 2009.

The study focused on the 287(g) program — named for the section of federal law governing it — issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The U.S. Homeland Security Department, which includes ICE, in 2009 wrote new contracts for the local-federal partnerships and issued new guidelines telling local officers to focus primarily on illegal immigrants charged with crimes like rape, murder, robbery or drug offenses.

But top U.S. government officials — who have said the program that is in place in 71 jurisdictions nationwide can also be useful for deporting illegal immigrants when resources allow — offer a conflicting message, the report said.

LOUISIANA

CDC: No link between deaths, Chinese drywall

NEW ORLEANS | The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday it has found no link between tainted Chinese drywall and the deaths of 11 people exposed to the imported drywall in Louisiana, Florida and Virginia homes.

The CDC said in a report Monday that the people died without exception due to “pre-existing chronic health conditions unrelated to imported drywall exposure.”

The findings by the Atlanta-based health agency back up previous findings by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Large quantities of defective Chinese-made drywall were imported during a past housing boom and after a string of Gulf Coast hurricanes five years ago. The drywall has been linked to corrosion in thousands of homes, mostly in Florida, Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana.

The CDC found that seven of the 11 people who died had cancer and seven had heart problems. For the review, state medical examiners and the CDC probed 10 deaths in Louisiana and Florida — five in each state — and a single death in Virginia.

The deaths were reported to regulators as possibly being linked to drywall.

NEW YORK

Lawsuit accuses Toshiba of discrimination

NEW YORK | A human resources manager at a Toshiba America Inc. subsidiary sued the company Monday for $100 million, accusing the electronics giant of discriminating against women.

Elaine Cyphers of Mecklenburg County, N.C., brought the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan against the parent company and Toshiba America Nuclear Energy Corp., a subsidiary that promotes advanced boiling water nuclear power plants. The lawsuit seeks class-action status on behalf of women who are, or have been, employed by Toshiba in the U.S.

The lawsuit says Toshiba underpays women, delays or blocks their promotion into better jobs, subjects them to stricter discipline and different rules than men and fails to respond adequately to complaints of discrimination. It says job promotions result from subjective discussions among Toshiba’s male supervisors rather than by merit or equal opportunity.

PENNSYLVANIA

Police: 6 students arrested for bullying

UPPER DARBY | Police say they have arrested six teenagers and are seeking a seventh in connection with an assault in which a 13-year-old student was kidnapped and hung from a fence post, but not seriously hurt.

Upper Darby Township Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said Monday’s arrests at Upper Darby High School are related to an assault that happened Jan. 11 in an apartment complex courtyard.

Mr. Chitwood says the suspects, ages 13 to 17, kidnapped the victim on his way home from school, dragged him through the snow, stuffed him in a tree and hung him by his jacket from a 7-foot-high fence post.

Mr. Chitwood says the student did not suffer serious physical injuries. Police have not determined a motive.

WASHINGTON

Accused Nazi facing citizenship trial dies

SEATTLE | Accused Nazi war criminal Peter Egner, who had been sought by Serbia on suspicion of war crimes committed as a transport guard on Auschwitz-bound death trains during World War II, died before he could be brought to trial next month in an attempt to revoke his U.S. citizenship.

Mr. Egner, 88, who had been living in a retirement home in Bellevue, died there last week, said a representative of the facility who declined to give her name or any details of the circumstances of his death.

Mr. Egner’s lawyer, Robert Gibbs, declined to comment, as did officials at the U.S. Justice Department.

Mr. Egner, an ethnic German born in Yugoslavia, entered the U.S. in 1960 and became a citizen in 1966. Serbia issued an international arrest warrant for Mr. Egner in April and formally requested his extradition on Nov. 28.

Mr. Egner admitted he belonged to a despised Nazi-run security unit but denied that he had committed war crimes.

The Justice Department asked a federal court to revoke his U.S. citizenship based on evidence of his role in a Nazi mobile execution unit that participated in the mass murder of more than 17,000 Serb civilians, mainly Jews, Roma and political opponents, between 1941 and 1943. The case was scheduled to start on Feb. 22.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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