Don't Think We're Getting Soft!


By the Light of Day

To be a spoiled person is not to be well-off or favoured by fortune or protected from brute realities.
It is to be well-off or favoured by fortune or protected from brute realities and not to know it.

- Christopher Hitchens

Dalziel Apologises For Immigration Action

by Patric Lane

The Immigration Minister, Lianne Dalziel, has now apologised for the actions of officials who removed a Filipino family from their Auckland home early yesterday morning and deported them to Malaysia.  Officials mistakenly put the Milla family on a plane to Kuala Lumpur after an administrative oversight failed to pick up that their case was before the Removal Review Authority.  The Milla family are now back in New Zealand.

Tough new immigration laws that came into effect this month mean overstayers can be immediately deported if their permits are more than six weeks out of date.

This morning Ms Dalziel said she would not apologise for the incident and denied it was a dawn raid.  However, the Minister told Parliament this afternoon that officials had misinformed her about the time they gone to the family’s home.  She said they had entered shortly after 6am, which was “unacceptable”.

Ms Dalziel said she had made a blanket condition that no house be entered before 7 in the morning and had also instructed that a manual check of files be made before any overstayers were removed.  She told Parliament that her officials had let the country down and the Government was not prepared to accept anything that would associate it with dawn raids.  Ms Dalziel said she would apologise for the actions of her officials acting at an earlier time than they should have.

Source: 11 October 2000 © NewsRoom

Overstayer Removals: The Facts

Immigration Minister Lianne Dalziel has reiterated that in future overstayer removals would not occur before 7am.  "My officials informed me, incorrectly, that this raid to remove these overstayers occurred between 6:30 and 6:45am.  In fact it occurred between 6:05 and 6:10am.  This practice is unacceptable and I have said so in Parliament this afternoon.  I have made it clear that, from now on, overstayer removals will not occur before 7am.  That is the government's policy.  The previous government's policy regarding the timing of overstayer removals was hazy and ill-defined.  My announcement in Parliament this afternoon has removed this uncertainty once and for all," Lianne Dalziel said.

Source: Press Release New Zealand Government 11 October 2000

What's important here?  Only the when?  (The certainty of when?)  Not the why and how?  Ms Dalziel says her officials lied to her about the time they went, but no one saw fit to apologise to the Millas for being deported.  (Later, it was reported that immigration officials accused of lying in Parliament received an out-of-court settlement to let the matter drop.  So NO ONE is to blame, see?)

I have a more-than-passing personal interest in this subject.  The following is an excerpt from my personal journals, end of January 1995:

As if we haven't enough trouble: on Wednesday we discovered that our visitor's permits have expired.  Jeff had paid no attention to the expiration date because he assumed we'd be residents within a month or two of our return.  If anything, he assumed Stephen would get our visas extended.  Not so.  We'll go to Immigration in the morning, after going by the photographer's to have more passport pictures made - our fifth time in this immigration process.

Thursday, we went to the Immigration office.  There, another unpleasant surprise awaited us.  We thought it would be a simple matter to request our visitor's permits be extended, pay the $60 fee, and be done - but no.  Instead, we'll be notified by mail on Tuesday, or maybe Wednesday, as to whether we'll even be allowed to apply for an extension.  If not, we have a maximum of two weeks to be out of the country - whether or not it's cyclone season, whether or not our boat is seaworthy, whether or not we can afford fuel or ultimately get residency.  (To quote Immigration: "Those are your problems, not ours.")

Curiously, New Zealand has recently passed a law that mandates all pleasure boats must pay $75 for a safety inspection before they'll be allowed to leave the country.  Presumably if we don't pass this inspection, one Ministry will be forcing us out while another Ministry may not allow us to leave (unless we pay up to $10,000 to bring our boat up to Category I standards).

Stephen and Margaret came by.  They came in separate cars.  He appeared to need her for support: today was the first time he's ever hinted to us that maybe we won't get to stay in New Zealand after all.  Until now, he's always said in answer to direct, pointed questions that there were no insurmountable problems in getting residency, to trust him.

And the money we've invested to qualify us as business investment immigrants?  Stephen said he had nothing to do with that anymore - he's sold his half of the business to Don Simcock and it's "out of his hands."

The official government residency guide (which we were not made aware of until after handing over our qualifying investment) advises applicants not to transfer funds to New Zealand until after their application is approved, while Stephen had told us having funds already invested might strengthen our case.  But if we don't get residency, what then?

Starving Yachties Get Permits

A Russian couple without visas and sailing a leaky yacht with no engine, no anchor, no radio and no navigational equipment, have been issued visitor permits by the Immigration Service.  The couple, known as Boris, 46, and Renata, 26, landed at Huia on Auckland's west coast on Wednesday night in their 8-metre home-built yacht.  They told an Immigration Service officer that they had sailed around the Pacific for the past few months and hoped to see the America's Cup yacht racing in Auckland.

As the woman, an exotic dancer, and the man had no visas, no money and no access to funds, the service said it had no option but to refuse them entry, service spokesman Andrew Lockhart said yesterday.  But two hours before the couple were to leave New Zealand yesterday an Auckland couple offered to sponsor them. "Katie and Craig McFadyen's kind offer has allowed the Immigration Service to issue Boris and Renata with one-month visitor permits," Mr Lockhart said.  "This will allow them time to do something about their yacht, as well as fulfil their wish of watching some America's Cup lead-up races."  The McFadyens will provide accommodation and financial support.

Inspector Mark O'Connor, of Henderson police, said the pair were almost starving.  "We gave them a meal and they wolfed it down, they practically ate the cardboard packaging." - NZPA

Source: The Dominion Friday 26 November 1999

I have much more respect for the McFadyens than I do for the whole of the Immigration Service.  Boris and Renata would otherwise have been forced to leave in a leaky boat with no engine, no anchor, no radio, no navigational equipment and no food?  New Zealand has instituted capital punishment for the crime of being poor and foreign?  It takes grit to do what Boris and Renata did.  But you don't get any points for that.

Immigration Officials Lied to Me - Dalziel

by Oskar Alley

Immigration Minister Liane Dalziel lashed out at Immigration Service officials yesterday for not telling her the truth about a bungled dawn raid on a Philippine family that was wrongly deported on Tuesday.  Ms Dalziel was forced to apologise in Parliament for the Immigration Service's decision to deport the family and their 9-year-old daughter.  The family was confronted by police and immigration staff in a raid on their Auckland home soon after 6am on Tuesday.

The husband was separated from his wife and daughter and held in a police cell before they were all put on an aircraft and deported to the Philippines through Kuala Lumpur.  But Ms Dalziel was forced to admit that the deportation had been bungled, because the family, who were overstayers who had arrived in New Zealand 3 years ago, had followed correct procedures and lodged an appeal with the Removal Review Authority.  The family was returned to New Zealand yesterday, taxpayers footing the $4,000 bill for the botched deportation attempt.

The family's supporters were outraged yesterday by the family's treatment, likening the immigration officials' actions to Nazi Gestapo tactics.  Their fury was fanned by Ms Dalziel's comments on radio yesterday morning when she refused to apologise for the raid, saying it was a good example of the crackdown on overstayers.  Ms Dalziel said she was first told by immigration officials that the raid took place between 6:30am and 6:45am.  But a fuming Ms Dalziel was forced to reveal in Parliament later that the bungled raid had taken place about 6:05am.  She refused to apologise directly to the Millas, choosing instead to heap blame on immigration officials who, she said, misled her, sparking uproar in Parliament.  "They have let the country down and I am not prepared to stand up and justify it when my own officials have not even told me the truth," she said.

She agreed to apologise for the officials conduct, but stopped short of apologising directly to the family.  She slapped a blanket ban on any future raids on overstayers before 7am.  But the family's immigration consultant, Gene Leckey, was outraged at the family's treatment, saying Ms Dalziel should sack the officials if they had lied to her.  Mr Leckey said immigration officers generally acted like Gestapo agents, as proved by the appalling handling of the case.  "It's disgraceful.  If the Immigration Service wants to act like Nazis they should issued them with brown shirts and jackboots."

The family in question had not been given time to pack their belongings before being shunted to secure custody and later put on a plane.  Mr Leckey said he immediately told officials and Ms Dalziel's office that they were making a gross mistake, but the family had been put on an aircraft before the error was acknowledged.  Auckland businessman John Howey, who had let the family live at his house for 9 months and employed the husband to renovate his garden, was also outraged at their treatment.  "They are a hard-working, honest, loving family - exactly the type of people New Zealand is looking for.  The way they have treated is absolutely appalling."

National's immigration spokeswoman, Marie Hasler, said Ms Dalziel was a "buffoon" who was not fit to be a minister and should be "deported" from the Cabinet.

Source: The Dominion Thursday 12 October 2000

All the folks involved (except the deported family) are posturing, posing as people who really care.

I would like to comment here that at least this family appears to have gotten some work during their struggle to gain residency status.  My husband and I first arrived in November 1993 and didn't get residency until June 95.  We had no income whatsoever during that period and spent what of our savings had not already been eaten up by the bogus forestry trust investment we were required to make on living expenses.  Ironically, when we first got residency, my husband was unable to find work because he had been unemployed for so long.  Instead, he had to start his own company just to be gainfully employed.

In our case, National was in power.  Today, Labour is.  It isn't the party in power that needs changing so much as New Zealand's (and New Zealanders') attitude toward immigrants.  And fraud.

Also see (if you haven't already)

bulletHow We Came to Immigrate

Overstayers Amnesty to Cost $12.4m

The Government's controversial reprieve for overstayers is estimated to cost $12.47 million in the next 4 years.  Cabinet papers, released yesterday by Immigration Minister Lianne Dalziel's office, showed the scheme would be financed by the immigration budget until the issue was addressed in a review of immigration fees later in the financial year.  The reprieve involves a 6-month amnesty for well-settled overstayers to apply for two-year work permits, at the end of which they would be allowed to apply for permanent residency.

About 8,000 of the 20,000 overstayers estimated to be living in the country are expected to qualify for the amnesty, which began on October 1.  Lianne Dalziel said the costs reflected the need to correct poor policy and unworkable decisions in the past that ignored the contribution well-settled overstayers were making to New Zealand.  "In fact, the costs are small when considering the benefits to the communities and families of well-settled people."  The $12.47 million also ignored the fact that people who claimed benefits during the first two years would not be eligible for residence, said the minister.  "This means that successful applicants will be self-supporting and not on benefits.  The people we are talking about here are making real contributions to New Zealand."

A spokeswoman for Lianne Dalziel said a review of immigration fees would not be completed until next year.  The review would look at the distribution of fees to ensure that it was fair, she said.  National immigration spokeswoman Marie Hasler said she was dubious about fees being lifted to subsidise the cost of overstayer amnesty.  "I don't think it's even working well," she said.  "They haven't been successful in explaining it or we would have had more than 500 people applying.  It's a bad policy, full stop." - NZPA

Source: Weekend Herald (Weekend News) 11-12 November 2000

Why must some politicians constantly snip at each other?  They behave like petulant children.

If overstayers can demonstrate that they're "well-settled" and have been for some time, why, exactly must they wait another two years to be legally resident?  How did overstayers qualify for benefits without tipping their hand that they were illegal aliens?  How did they get an IRD number without residency?  How did they get jobs without an IRD number?  Personally, I think that $12.4 million might be better spent on more thorough recordkeeping.  It seems to me, based on my own personal immigration experience, that the people who try the hardest to follow the rules are often the very ones who are disadvantaged the most.

Death after TV Brothel Raid

Immigration Accused of Gestapo Tactics

Fatal Jump: A man died after leaping from a top floor window in this Auckland brothel,
Salon 33, during an immigration raid filmed for a reality TV show.

A man who leapt from a brothel window during an immigration raid filmed for reality television later died, it has been revealed.  The Immigration Service and police have confirmed the incident happened at Salon 33, a Chinese massage parlour in Panmure, Auckland, on November 22.  Footage from the raid screened last month on TVNZ's Borderline series.

Former immigration minister Tuariki Delamere has accused the Immigration Service of using Gestapo tactics and conducting illegal raids for the show without proper documentation, a claim denied by officials.

Witnesses said the 38-year-old man panicked when he heard a commotion as officials and a Cream Media television crew entered the brothel.  He then leapt from a window 7 metres up.  He suffered serious injuries but was helped by a friend back to his home in Manukau, where he died the next day.  Police and immigration officers involved in the raid knew nothing of the man's injuries till friends told police of his death.


Footage of Immigration and police officers entering Salon 33 and checking the immigration status of women screened on February 18.

Source: last updated 13 March 2008 photo credit John Selkirk, The Dominion Post

Nothing to Do with Reality

by Karl Du Fresne

The death of a man who leapt 7 metres from an Auckland brothel window when immigration officers burst in to the building, accompanied by a "reality" television crew, raises interesting issues.  First there is the question of whether officials get pumped up on adrenalin in such situations and indulge in unnecessarily dramatic behaviour in their eagerness to make themselves look heroic and provide exciting visuals for the TV show.  That in turn raises, again, the matter of that misleading term "reality tv".

What we see on these shows is never reality, because the behaviour of the people involved is inevitably affected by the presence of the camera.

The other question arising from the Auckland brothel death relates to privacy.  If a man wants to patronise prostitutes, and it's legal to do so, he shouldn't have to indulge in panic-stricken coitus interruptus for fear of being caught on camera and having his face, not to mention other body parts, broadcast on network television.  To use a phrase favoured by lawyers, he has a natural expectation of privacy.  It may well be that his face would have been pixillated in the finished programme so as to be unrecognisable.  But a man embarrassed at being caught in a bordello - and bear in mind that he may have had a wife and children - doesn't have the luxury of time to think these things through.  His fatal instinct was to run for it.

Where privacy concerns clash with a legitimate public interest in knowing something, I back the public right to know every time.  But it's hard to argue that there's an overwhelming public interest in knowing that a private citizen is enjoying clandestine nooky with a hooker.  "Reality" tv has become fatality TV.  The phenomenon is out of control and needs to be reined in.

Source: 3 March 2009

Immigrants Get the Boot after Spending $1 Million on Dream

by Tony Wall

A British couple who came to New Zealand to live their dream of running a farm are being booted out of the country after a nightmare experience with an "incompetent" Immigration Service.  Roger and Alison Schenn estimate they have spent about $1 million upgrading a formerly dilapidated farm near Wellsford, north of Auckland, but immigration officials say the business is of no benefit to New Zealand and have refused to grant them permanent residency.

The couple, from Norfolk, have until Thursday to leave the country and will fly out that day.  They have exhausted all avenues, having appealed to the Residence Review Board and made 4 requests for ministerial intervention.  They contacted the Sunday Star-Times after reading of cases where residency was granted when officials pulled strings, including for the Kiribati family of former Immigration boss Mary Anne Thompson.  "We didn't know anybody who could pull some strings - that's the difference," Roger Schenn, 54, said.

The Schenns received Overseas Investment Commission approval to buy the farm in 2002 and bought it for $560,000 in 2003.  At the time, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) granted them long-term business visas.  It was an exception to policy as they did not have experience in farming, but the visas were granted on the basis they would be "rejuvenating a poorly performing New Zealand business".  The couple set about doing just that, transforming a struggling farm with only 30 cattle to a successful operation with more than 100 beef stock, plus 60 heifers.  They have had the farm valued at over $2 million.  They say they made a large capital investment, removing gorse and weed, doing pest control, installing a water supply and adding fertiliser to increase stock numbers.  They employed local contractors for haymaking, fertiliser spreading and mechanical work.

In November 2005 the couple applied for residency under the entrepreneur category, but INZ was "not satisfied that the couple's farming business met the ... policy with respect to the criteria that the business be of benefit to New Zealand.  It was also unclear whether or not Mr Schenn had actually been running the business for at least two years".  Alison Schenn, 51, said the officer who dealt with their case seemed confused about the dates they had been on the farm.  They had returned to England for a time when her mother died, but had been on the farm continuously for two years when they applied for residency.  She said the officials seemed incompetent, as they all gave different advice.  The couple did not use an immigration consultant as they did not want to have to pay thousands of dollars in fees.  "If I had my time again I'd use one.  If we had, we would have got in," Roger Schenn said.

His wife said: "We love New Zealand, everyone has been so supportive, but there is something not right, it all needs looking at."

The couple have transferred the farm to Roger's brother, who has lived in New Zealand for 25 years, and have vowed to fight on once they get back to Britain.  An INZ spokesperson said there was no guarantee of permanent residency given when the couple entered the country and this was made clear in a letter sent to them when their visas were approved.

Source: 15 June 2008 photo credit Phil Doyle / Sunday Star-Times

At least the Schenns still have their asset, their farm - presumably safe in a family member's keeping - that they can sell.  When we immigrated, we lost our asset - however, we were fortunate enough to get residency.  Which would I rather have today, $1 million or NZ residency?  That's easy.  I love this place.

And finally...

UK Overstayer Expelled from NZ after 27 Years

A British-born motor mechanic has been "kicked out" of New Zealand after living here for 27 years and has had to leave his family behind, the Daily Mirror in London reported today.  It says that 55-year-old Ian Barnard was given 24 hours to quit, leaving his wife and three children in Christchurch.  "I've been harshly treated by a country I love," he said from his mother's home in Essex.

Mr Barnard moved to New Zealand from Australia in 1969 after having left England at the age of seven.  He claimed he became an "overstayer" as a result of a new immigration law last year.  A New Zealand Immigration Services spokesman in London said he could not comment on individual cases.  But there was a misconception in Britain and New Zealand that marriage to a New Zealand citizen automatically entitled a person to permanent residence.  "In every case permanent residence has to be confirmed by application," he said.

The change in the immigration regulations last year would have no effect on people who were already in New Zealand unlawfully. - NZPA

Source: The Evening Post Thursday 22 February 1996

Grandmother Faces Deportation after 54 Years in the UK

A grandmother who has lived in Britain for 54 years has been told by the Home Office that she will be deported because she is considered American.  Mary Martin, from Trimley St Mary, in Suffolk, was born in the United States and came to live in the UK with her British-born mother in 1949.  Miss Martin, 55, has lived in this country ever since, and has never left to go abroad.

Last Friday she received a letter from the Home Office telling her to leave the country within 10 days because she could not prove she had lived here for 14 years.  She said: "I have no family in the US and I don't know anything about America.  I feel devastated.  I just can't believe that they can even send that sort of letter."

Miss Martin successfully applied for a US birth certificate and passport after the death of her mother two years ago.  But her application for a British passport has foundered, even though she says she has offered evidence - in the form of national insurance and income tax details and wage slips - proving her longstanding UK residence.  Miss Martin says the only way she can overturn the ruling is to provide a right to remain form which she has been told she should have been given when she arrived in the UK at the age of two, but does not possess.  A spokesman for the Home Office said they were unable to comment on the immigration status of individuals.

Source: Tuesday 11 February 2003

Security Laws Betray an Immigrant's Loyalty to His Country

Domenic DiGregorio, at home with his daughter, Susan Pastuzyn

by Bob Braun

Domenic DiGregorio spent his life in this country creating beautiful objects from lace, raising a family, providing jobs and health benefits for hundreds of others and studying the texts of the Roman Catholic faith he almost served as a priest.  In the odd, looking-glass world in which we live, and have lived for more than three years, it somehow makes sense that, at 67, he would now be denied the means to support himself and could even face deportation to a country of which he has little memory.  Because, nearly 60 years after he was brought here, he - and, more importantly - various government agencies discovered he is not a citizen.  Not only is he not a citizen, but he also is an "out of status" alien, living here with out a green card and not worthy of the benefits. of retirement or the privileges of driving in the United states.

"I think, perhaps, we have gone too far in our concern about national security," says DiGregorio, a thoughtful, articulate man whose lace mills, he says, were driven into bankruptcy by overseas competition created by free trade agreements.  "This is overkill and serves no one," he says.  "We panicked in the face of 9/11 and rushed to pass laws that hurt good people."

The bonds between DiGregorio and his adopted country are unusual.  His father, Nicolo, a merchant seaman from Genoa, was a crewman on an Italian freighter docked in New York four days after Pearl Harbor, 11 December 1941, the day this country declared war on Italy.  Nicolo spent the war interned in a camp in Montana.  Then, in 1945, he was given a choice: repatriation to Italy or earning US citizenship by joining the Army.  "Despite what happened, he wanted to be an American," recalls his son.  After serving two years as an American soldier, he was granted citizenship and allowed to bring over his wife, Carmella, and three sons, including Domenico, then 9.  "We all thought we were American citizens," says the Matawan resident.  "We worked, got Social Security cards, drivers' licenses.  We voted.  We did everything as Americans because we thought we were Americans."

They were wrong.  Only Nicolo was.  According to the law, Domenico and his brothers, at 18, should have applied for naturalisation.  They did not know that.  They were busy with their trades.  Domenico, after time in a seminary, learned to make lace in the small factories in Bergen and Hudson counties.  He opened his own mills in Union Beach and Keyport.  He provided good jobs with full benefits to hundreds.  "But we couldn't compete after NAFTA," he says, referring to the North American Free Trade Agreement.  "Mills in other countries were selling lace for less than we could make it.  No one could beat my quality, but they could all beat my prices."

In March 2003, he retired.  He went to a Social Security office and learned he was not an American.  He came here on his mother's passport and had none of his own.  Then, he was denied a passport because he never applied for citizenship when he was 18.  It wasn't good enough for him to believe he was an American.  He simply wasn't.

DiGregorio is not the sort who frets, or even raises his voice.  "He is the most enlightened man I know," says his daughter, Susan Pastuzyn, who is trying to help him.  With a lawyer, he applied for a change of status.  Meanwhile, his driver's license expired and New Jersey law - following federal guidelines - requires him to have either a passport or a green card.  He has neither.  He cannot renew his license.  he cannot continue his part-time consulting at textile mills because he cannot drive.  He will lose his auto insurance and, if he drives without it, he could go to jail.

"This is a man who has worked all his life and now he can't," says Pastuzyn, who lives in Westfield.  "They've taken away his ability to make a living and to retire."  DiGregorio is loathe to criticise his country's government - well, the government of the country he thought was his.  He assumed immigration officials would resolve his problem and, in August, he was invited to an interview for citizenship in October.  A few days before the interview, he received a note cancelling it "due to unforeseen circumstances."  The letter regretted any inconvenience and promised to reschedule in 14 days.  Never happened.  Now, no license, no Social Security.  "He's seen staff members of congressmen and he's been told, if he pushes, he could be deported under new federal law," says Pastuzyn.  "Can you imagine that?"

DiGregorio says he is not so much concerned for himself, but for many others he believes have been denied benefits and the ability to work.  "I'll be all right," he says, perhaps more to reassure his daughter than out of conviction.  "But many others won't be.  I hope what happens to me can be a wake-up call so we all know we've gone too far."

Bob Braun's columns appear Monday and Wednesday.

Source: The Star-Ledger Monday 3 December 2004

Unbelievable.  At least in Mr diGregorio's case, I case see why he hears nothing from the government - right now, he is costing them nothing.  They don't have to pay to deport him nor pay him unemployment nor social security.  If he squawks, they can threatened him with making him leave the country.  I feel for him, having been in a similar situation once in the past.  It saps you and makes you feel powerless at a very deep personal level.  If anyone reading this knows what happened to any of these people, please email me.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Immigrant Outcomes
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 2005
From: Susan Pastuzyn <>

Dear Ruth,

I found your web page purely by accident.  How surprised I was to find my name on your page!  I didn’t read your whole site, but I did notice the article about my father, Dominic DiGregorio, posted at your site.  I saw your request for info on what happened to these people and thought I’d send you a shore email.

My father is FINALLY a citizen!  Yay!  It wasn’t easy, mainly because of how difficult it is to get correct information from the INS.  But after 5 years of trying, it’s finally straightened out.

Believe it or not, now my uncle is going through the SAME THING.  You would think it would be easier the second time around… but no… go figure.

Well, that’s all for now.

Susan Pastuzyn

Susan -

Thanks for writing.

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