Immigration Roundup

And we are back.... It has been a while since my last post on Immigration news. A lot has happened since then, in particular the New Policy Institute has released a new report on the effects of immigration and what the passage of comprehensive immigration reform legislation could have on the economy.

It can be read in its entirety here, and there is a pretty awesome appendices which visualizes the report here, finally if you have not read Dr. Shapiro's blog post The Economics of Immigration are Not What You Think, shame on you, it is quite good and raises excellent questions about the way that the economics of immigration are currently being discussed.

Lets now turn our focus to immigration news.

There are excellent stories in both The New York Times and the Washington Post which highlight some of the more recent developments regarding immigration reform and border security.

The New York Times story focuses on the repercussions of President Obama sending the National Guard to the border. The full story, Immigration Overhaul Activists Question Troops can be read here. I have pulled some excerpts below.

On why the White House decided to deploy the troops:

The White House says it is sending the troops solely to combat drug smuggling, a problem highlighted by the recent killing of an Arizona rancher. But any move toward border security invariably raises passions in the immigration debate, and on Wednesday advocates for overhauling the system were questioning the president’s intentions.

They said that in focusing first on border security, Mr. Obama might be giving up his best leverage for winning approval of broader but more politically contentious steps to address the status of the millions of immigrants already in the United States illegally, and the needs of employers who rely on their labor.

The article also highlights the frustration of activists in reconciling the Presidents statements and actions:

“I’m trying to reconcile the stated belief of this president when he was a candidate, what he has said publicly — as recently as a naturalization ceremony last month — and what his actions are,” said Angela Kelley, vice president for immigration policy at the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning organization that is a close ally of the Obama administration. “I think there’s a big gap there."

Finally the story showed how the President's actions and the recently passed SB1070 have affected the state of play in passing comprehensive immigration reform:

The Arizona bill put immigration squarely back on the Congressional agenda, but Mr. Obama has been having trouble persuading Republicans to sign on. During a Cinco de Mayo celebration in the Rose Garden last month, Mr. Obama told an audience of Hispanic leaders that he was determined to pass legislation, but that he could not do so without Republican support.

The decision to send troops could be an attempt to get that support. At a testy meeting with Senate Republicans on Tuesday, before the White House disclosed its decision about the National Guard deployment, Mr. McCain pressed Mr. Obama on what he was doing to improve border security. Mr. Obama did not reveal his border security plan, but did ask for Republicans’ help in passing immigration legislation.

“The president told the Republican caucus yesterday that he wants to move forward; he feels that this problem has festered too long and needs a solution,” said David Axelrod, Mr. Obama’s senior adviser, adding that the decision to send troops was “not related to the meeting.”

The Washington Post story by contrast offers a much stronger view on what is happening in the Senate. In particular it shows how President Obama's move to send troops to the border may have been an attempt to preempt Senator McCain's amendment to the War Supplemental which would have requested 6,000 National Guards troops be sent to the Border. The Washington Post story Senate Defeats McCain Border Security Amendment can be read here. Excerpts are below:

There is a good overview of McCains proposed amendment:

The McCain measure, which needed 60 votes to be considered approved, fell short on a 51-46 vote as part of the Senate's broader consideration of a $59 billion spending bill that funds the troop surge into Afghanistan and other emergency measures. The border-security battle has become the most politically contentious issue surrounding what has otherwise become a routine passage of the war supplemental bill.

The article shows the political side of President Obama's actions:

Sensing the shifting ground, Obama proposed Tuesday a plan that would increase funding by $500 million and temporarily send 1,200 members of the National Guard to the border to help shore up the Border Patrol's efforts to clamp down on illegal immigrants and on security developments with Mexican drug cartels.

And finally the Political fall out:

Republicans rejected Obama's effort as insufficient to deal with something they consider a national crisis. "While it's important to have additional resources there, even on a temporary basis, even on a limited basis, there's a whole lot more that we need to do. We need permanent solutions, not temporary solutions," Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a member of GOP leadership and co-sponsor of McCain's amendment, told reporters Wednesday.

"....You've got to laugh, in the spirit of bipartisanship," McCain said.

Most Democrats rejected the GOP offer of 6,000 more troops as unnecessary given the latest Obama proposal. "It's sort of throwing an enormous amount of money at the problem that is not as carefully thought out, not as targeted and as effective, quite frankly, as President Obama's plan," Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said moments before the vote.

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), the chamber's lone Latino senator, criticized the McCain plan as "militarizing the border" and the "definition of insanity," because it continued the previous efforts at building up a troop presence even as the flow of illegal immigrants continued to flow in from Mexico. "It's a recipe for failure," Menendez said,

What both of these article highlight is the incredible willingness on Congresses part to begin work on an immigration overhaul. The fact that Senator McCains attempt to add his amendment to a War Supplemental, coupled with other enforcement amendments from Senator Cornyn and Senator Hutchison shows that there is movement on immigration reform. It just seems that lately the only movement from both parties has been on enforcement heavy legislation. One has to wonder when there will be movement in Congress on something other then enforcement only immigration measures.

More news clips below

Immigration Round Up:

Washington Post Blog - For Gods Sake: The Bibles Immigration Policy: The Post's religion blog weighs in on the immigration debate with some Biblical verses and observations about immigration.

Los Angeles Times - Justice Department Poised to Challenge Arizona Immigration Law: Rumblings continue to eminate from Justice that they may challenge SB1070.

ABC News - Sandra Day O'connor weighs in on Immigration: A transcript of George Stephanopoulos interview with retired Supreme Court Justice O'connor, her thoughts on SB1070 are actually pretty surprising.

Fox News - Police Chiefs Slam Arizona Law after Meeting with Holder: This is a huge story that I wish more news organizations picked up on. Police Chiefs from all over the country have come out to denounce SB1070. This is an important story because it is local law enforcement who are meant to enforce this law.

Washington Post - The Truth About Arizona's Immigration Law: An op-ed written by Kirk Adams the Republican Speaker of the House in Arizona. Unsurprisingly it is a passonate defense of SB1070.

MSNBC - First Thoughts: G.O.P. and Immigration - Looks like Chuck Todd finally got around to reading Hispanic Rising 2010, this is a great article that shows just how much damage the Republican party has done to its relationship with the Hispanic community.

Los Angeles Times - A Step Towards Border Security- This editorial, begrudgingly credits President Obama with stepping up border enforcement.

AP - Ballot Measure Proposed on Arizona Immigration Law - And here come the ballot measures to repeal or keep the controversial SB1070 law are in the early stages.