NDN Blog

Daily Border Bulletin- The Continued Importance of Border Security and the Mechanics of Passing IR in the House

Daily Border Bulletin is up! Today's stories include:

Napolitano to assess border security- To get a better idea of the situation on the ground, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who may give the final word on the security situation, is visiting the border region this week.

Which House Republicans would support immigration reform?- Micah Cohen’s Sunday analysis of which G.O.P. House members might support the immigration reform bill offers a good idea of how a House vote might play out, and just how good a chance of passage the Senate bill has.

Schumer stands firm on border security- Over the weekend, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer (D) was quick to deny claims that he may be getting soft on the border security proviso of the bipartisan blueprint presented last week.

Daily Border Bulletin- New Reasons to Focus on Border Checkpoints and a Pathway to Citizenship

Daily Border Bulletin is up! Today's stories include:

Cantu: Focus on legal checkpoints- The principles outlined by a group of bipartisan senators Tuesday make a pathway to citizenship for the nation’s undocumented immigrants contingent upon “securing the border.” Although the specific benchmarks of a secure border remain unknown, legislators would be wise to focus less on traditional conceptions of border enforcement–namely, border patrol agents and fences–and more on legal checkpoints and infrastructure.

Immigration reform: Economically sound- For many on the left side of today’s immigration debate, the inherent justice of offering 11 million undocumented individuals a pathway to citizenship is reason enough for comprehensive immigration reform. However, good economic sense makes another appealing argument for immigration reform that could facilitate bipartisan legislation.

Daily Border Bulletin- Obama Remains Firm on Immigration Plan and Mexico's Economic Success

Daily Border Bulletin is up! Today's stories include:

NYTimes: On immigration, Obama assumes upper hand- Officials in the West Wing are convinced that the politics of the immigration issue have firmly shifted in their direction.

FT: Mexico, new darling of investors- Mexico is becoming the latest darling of international investors, emerging from the shadow of Brazil, whose economy has lost its luster.

La Opinion: Cannot compromise on path to citizenship- The path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who benefit from an immigration law is an essential principle for comprehensive reform.

Daily Border Bulletin- Obama's Speech Belies Similarities and Differences with Senate Principles, and Border Progress

Daily Border Bulletin is up! Today's stories include:

NYTimes: Obama urges speed on immigration plan, but exposes conflicts- Seizing an opening to rewrite the nation’s immigration laws, President Obama challenged Congress on Tuesday to act swiftly to put 11 million illegal immigrants living in the United States on a clear path to citizenship.

Washington Post: Want tighter border security? You’re already getting it- Legislators have failed to pass a sweeping immigration overhaul for more than five years. But there’s one piece of the 2007 immigration reform bill that they’ve managed to accomplish: pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into border security.

Similarities and differences between Obama, Senate proposals- President Barack Obama endorsed a framework for immigration reform Tuesday that largely mirrored one unveiled a day earlier by a bipartisan group of senators — with a few important differences.

NDN Backgrounder: The Border Is Safer, Immigration System Is Better

For a history of our work and salient news from the current immigration debate check out our website, 21border.com. Below please find a collection of NDN resources on the release of the Senate and White House immigration proposals:


April - Web Briefing: Understanding Modern Mexico - To take a deeper look at how Mexico is modernizing and growing, NPI Policy Direcotor of the 21st Century Border Initiative hosted a live web video briefing, with former Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan and noted Mexican economist and author, Jorge Suarez-Velez.  Two recent articles by Tom Friedman about the growth and progress Mexico has seen over the past generation has sparked a vibrant bi-national debate, which our discussion will reference and expand upon. To watch the full video click here.

April – Web Briefing "Immigration Reform: How The Landscape Has Changed Since the House Last Voted in 2005 – Our Border Is Safer, Our Immigration System Is Better and Mexico Is Modernizing and Growing." - Simon delivers his new presentation on how the immigration debate has changed since 2005. This original work tells how immigration, the safety along the border, and the complex economic relationship between the U.S. and Mexico have improved since 2004. The fifteen to twenty minute presentation wasl followed by an extended Q&A session. To see the powerpoint please click here.

April - Kristian Publishes Op-ed on Gun Legislation and Immigration Reform - Kristian weighs in on how sensible solutions to reduce gun violence could help build on the progress in recent years in make the US-Mexican border even safer. Bottom line - more must be done to stop the illegal gun flow into Mexico. To read the full op-ed please click here.

March - Simon Speaks At Trilateral Border Issues Symposium At Arizona State University Simon Rosenberg will be speaking at the Tri Lateral Border Issues Conference at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University Tempe, Arizona. With the recent issuance by the Department of Homeland Security of the Northern Border Strategy a number of border issues have been framed that this symposium will examine in the context of Canada-United States-Mexico trade and security. To read more about his speech please click here.

March - NDN Backgrounder: How The Immigration Reform Landscape Has Changed Since 2005: Simon recently briefed the House New Democrat Coalition, a group of 51 Members of Congress, on immigration reform and border issues. I wanted to share with you the Power Point we developed for the briefing. If you are interested in learning more about some of the issues at the heart of our current immigration debate this is a great place to start. To see the powerpoint please click here.

March -Kristian's Op-Ed Published in the Huffington Post: Kristian Ramos, Policy Director of the 21st Century Border Initiative wrote an op-ed titled: The Reality of Our Safer Border Makes Immigration Reform Possible, in which he describes how the progress made at our southwest border coupled with Mexicos remarkable transformation makes the prospects of immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship much brighter. Kristian's full op-ed can be read here.

February - NDN Statement on House Border Caucus Letter to White House: NDN and the New Policy Institute released the following statement applauding a letter from the House Border Caucus Chairmen Reps. Grijalva and Vela letter to the President. The letter outlines three critical priorities for the US-Mexico border region: more customs agents to increase legal trade and tourism while aiding in critical enforcement needs; more investment in border infrastructure to modernize our aging port system in particular; and better Federal management of the complex economic and security opportunities and challenges of the region. To read the Mayor of Las Cruces letter to the White House please click here.

February - Simon's Op-Ed Published in the Huffington Post: NDN President Simon Rosenberg wrote an op-ed titled "The Immigration System is Better, the Border is Safer, But More To Do," in which he describes today's novel immigration landscape and the steps that we must take as a nation to institute effective, lasting immigration reform. Simon's full piece can be found here.

January - Simon Talks Immigration Reform on PBS NewsHour: In an extended interview with Christina Bellantoni of PBS NewsHour, Simon offered his thoughts on immigration reform. Simon discusses our improved border security apparatus and advances in interior enforcement, and emphasizes the need to account for our changing economic dynamic in crafting new immigration legislation. A recording of Simon's interview can be found here.

January - NDN Event “Perspectives from the US-Mexico Border Region,” NDN/New Policy Institute hosted another salient event,  which focused on opportunities and challenges unique to our shared border. Simon moderated the discussion between Mayors Greg Stanton of Phoenix, Raul Salinas of Laredo, Ken Miyagishima of Las Cruces, and Eduardo Olmos of Torreon, Mexico. C-SPAN’s live recording of the event can be found here.

November 2012- “Rethinking Immigration Reform,” NDN/New Policy Institute hosted an event titled which featured a bi-partisan panel and looked at means of reforming and improving low- and high-skilled immigration visa programs. Tamar Jacoby, President and CEO of ImmigrationWorks, moderated a lively discussion featuring panelists from the Cato Institute, SEIU, and the Partnership for a New American Economy. To read a recap of the event please click here.

21st Century Border Initiative Website: The New Policy Institute’s 21border.com is a one stop website for the latest on immigration and border related news, analysis and commentary.  This website also features events, papers, essays and a network of like-minded individuals both inside and outside the beltway. For fresh new content everyday from our website please click here.

March 2012 -Realizing the Full Value of Tourism from Mexico to the United States: The New Policy Institute and ASU published a seminal report, which argues that increasing tourism from Mexico should be a major priority for our new national tourism strategy. Please read the full report here.

December 2011 Realizing the Value of Crossborder Trade with Mexico: This New Policy Institute paper, researched by The North American Center for Transborder Studies (NACTS) at Arizona State University, explores the important and growing economic relationship between the United States and Mexico.  Among the paper’s more interesting findings is that, remarkably, 22 states now count Mexico as their first or second largest export market, including our two biggest states, California and Texas. Please read the full report here.

May 2010 -The Impact of Immigration and Immigration Reform on the Wages of American Workers: The New Policy Institute released an economic report by NPI Fellow and Former Under Secretary of Commerce Dr. Robert J. Shapiro, which explores the impact of immigration and comprehensive immigration reform on the wages of the American worker. The report presents an accurate portrait of America's immigrant population, dispels certain misconceptions about American Immigration and offers economic analysis regarding the impact of immigration, and proposed immigration reforms on wages and the economy. The full report can be found here.


January - Immigration Reform Legislation Takes Shape  A bipartisan group of senators outlined a far-reaching proposal to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws, saying that the time has come to fix “our broken immigration system.” This blueprint will create a tough but fair pathway to citizenship for the nation’s undocumented immigrants, and represents the most substantive bipartisan effort toward comprehensive legislation in years. A blueprint for the legislation can be found here.

January - Alan Bersin Discusses Border Gains at NDN:  NDN and NPI were honored to host Alan Bersin, Assistant Secretary of International Affairs at the Department of Homeland Security, during our latest event, “Perspectives from the US-Mexico Border Region,”. Bersin delivered an insightful statement in which he points to great advances in border security and urges lawmakers to remember that strengthening the border today should focus on investment in infrastructure and managing cross-border flows. A full transcript of Bersin’s remarks can be found here.

May 2011 - President Obama on “Building a 21st Century Border:" President Obama forcefully articulated the progress made in creating a 21st Century Border and connected it back to the broader struggle to reform our nation’s broken immigration system. The President’s full speech can be found here.

October 2011 - Secretary Janet Napolitano on “Making the Border Safer:”  Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano delivered a speech at American University detailing the significant progress that DHS has accomplished both on the border and on interior enforcement. She described new policies, including prosecutorial discretion, which ensures that those enforcing immigration laws make appropriate use of the discretion they already have in deciding the types of individuals we prioritize for removal from the country. Secretary Napolitano’s full speech can be found here.

April 2011 - Secretary Janet Napolitano Speaks at NDN: Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano gave a strong defense of the Administration's border enforcement at an event hosted by NDN/NPI. Specifically, Secretary Napolitano called on lawmakers in Congress to stop moving the goal post on Border Security as a means to stop work on a legislative overhaul on the nation's immigration laws. A video of Secretary Napolitano's remarks can be found here.


January - MPI Report Highlights Major Progress in Border Security: A January report released by the Migration Policy Institute demonstrates that our significant investment in border security has paid off, reducing undocumented migration and making our side of the Mexican border among the safest parts of the U.S. today. According to the report, the U.S. government spends $18 billion on immigration enforcement, more than on all other federal law enforcement combined. The report also found that Border Patrol staffing, technology, and infrastructure have reached historic highs, while levels of apprehensions have fallen to historic lows. To read the full report please click here.


Daily Border Bulletin- Obama to Highlight Immigration Proposals in Las Vegas While House Crafts Own Plan

Daily Border Bulletin is up! Today's stories include:

Obama to pitch immigration reform today- President Barack Obama rolls into Las Vegas on Tuesday, ready to double down on immigration reform.

Immigration plan hinges on definition of secure borders- Whether the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. someday qualify for citizenship could depend on how lawmakers define “secure borders.”

Secret group in House finalizing plan for immigration reform- As a group of senators unveil their bipartisan proposal for immigration reform today and President Obama heads west this week to rally support for his own ideas, a separate bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House of Representatives is on the verge of finalizing its own designs for comprehensive immigration reform.

Some Initial Thoughts on the Senate Immigration Reform Outline

Today the Senate released a bi-partisan set of principles on immigration reform that represented a step forward in passing Congressional legislation which includes some form of a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

While the process for citizenship outlined here is a long  and arduous, it is worth noting that this blueprint would provide relief for many undocumented immigrants, keep families together and fix many of the problems associated with our current immigration system.

The first part of the bipartisan framework outlines the process and triggers for a pathway to citizenship. From the document: “Our legislation will provide a tough, fair, and practical roadmap to address the status of unauthorized immigrants in the United States that is contingent upon our success in securing our borders and addressing visa overstays.” The principles presented here are indeed tough, creating a long process for eventual citizenship.

The pathway presented in this blue print is divided into three parts legal status, lawful permanent residency and finally citizenship through a green card. Upon the enactment of the legislation all undocumented immigrants seeking citizenship are required to register with the government pass a background check, pay a fine and back taxes, in order to earn probationary legal status. This probationary legal status allows them to live and work legally in the United States but does not mean that they are in line to achieve citizenship. Rather they are now eligible to apply for a lawful permanent residency provided that two enforcement triggers are met. To achieve full on citizenship, the principles outlined require that two enforcement benchmarks - securing our border and addressing the problems around visa overstays- are met. These two triggers present two very distinct and difficult undertakings.

As the Senate principles rightly acknowledge there have been great strides in making the border secure but more must be done. As such the details outlined in the principles are fairly straight forward: more technology, aerial drones, investment between ports of entry, an increase in oversight over the border patrol and the creation of a commission of Governors, attorney generals, and community leaders living along the southwest border to monitor the progress of securing our border.

As Simon noted in his recent statement we have already had significant success on the border with  “additional resources, better strategies, and enhanced cooperation with Mexico have brought about significant improvement in the border region.  Net migration of undocumented immigrants into the US has dropped from 500,000 a year a decade ago to zero today, crime on the US side of the border has plummeted, all while legal trade and tourism with Mexico have grown at very rapid levels.”

The second trigger, fixing the problem of visa overstays is more complicated. The language in the text of the principles focuses solely on the completion of an “entry-exit system that tracks whether all persons entering the United States on temporary visas via airports and seaports have left the country as required by law.” In this regard fixing the Visa Overstay problem is a much larger undertaking then securing our border. Far more people enter the U.S. legally and over stay their visa’s than cross our southwest border illegally. There has been much less emphasis on visa overstays, partly because of the prohibitive cost of monitoring, tracking and removing immigrants who enter the country in this manner.

After these two triggers have been met those undocumented immigrants with probationary legal status will be required to go to the back of the line of current prospective legal immigrants, pass an additional background check, pay taxes, learn English and civics, demonstrate a history of work, and current employment in the U.S. to apply for lawful permanent residency. Those who successfully complete these requirements can eventually earn a green card. There is of course more: individuals who are present without lawful status will only receive a green card after every individual who is already waiting in line for a green card, at the time this legislation is enacted, has received their green card.

Believe it or not all of this is progress; if this outline as legislation is passed, it would bring immediate relief too many undocumented immigrants, keep families together, and address many of the problems currently facing our immigration system. It is likely that these principles will change further once legislation is actually drafted but on its face as a bipartisan legislative frame work for a pathway to citizenship this is more than a good start. It is a reason to hope that this year after so long Congress will finally pass meaningful reform of our immigration system.

Stay tuned for my thoughts from Las Vegas tomorrow, on the Presidents big immigration speech.

Simon to Discuss Immigration Reform Tomorrow at American University

Tomorrow, January 29th at 7pm, Simon will be discussing the future of immigration reform during the second Obama administration at American University.

The event, titled "Immigration Reform, A Possibility in 2012? A Fireside Chat with Simon Rosenberg," is open to the public and will be discussion-style to encourage audience involvement.

The event will take place in Mary Graydon Center (MGC) Room 203 at American University, 4400 Massachusetts Ave, NW. We encourage you to attend and engage in tomorrow's discussion!

Daily Border Bulletin- Key Senators Reveal Blueprint for Sweeping Immigration Reform

Daily Border Bulletin is up! Today's stories include:

Senators reveal framework for comprehensive immigration reform- A bipartisan group of senators has agreed on a set of principles for a sweeping overhaul of the immigration system, including a pathway to American citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants that would hinge on progress in securing the borders and ensuring that foreigners leave the country when their visas expire. 

Lawmakers, including Ryan, predict Congress will approve immigration overhaul- Republican and Democratic lawmakers were cautiously optimistic Sunday that a long-sought overhaul of the nation’s immigration system that includes a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants currently in the country will clear Congress this year, the result of changes in the political landscape shown in November’s election. 

Daily Border Bulletin- Rubio Adapts Immigration Approach, New High-Skilled Bill to be Introduced, and Jeb Bush Promotes CIR

Daily Border Bulletin is up! Today's stories include:

Marco Rubio changes immigration narrative with conservatives- On Wednesday, Rubio, the Republican junior senator from Florida, called in to one of the most popular conservative talk shows, the Mark Levin Show.

Bipartisan group of senators to introduce high-skilled immigration bill- A bipartisan group of senators is poised to introduce a high-skilled immigration bill next week that would significantly increase the number of H-1B visas available to skilled foreign-born workers, such as engineers and computer programmers.

Jeb Bush promoting comprehensive immigration reform- Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, one of the most respected voices in the Republican Party and a potential presidential contender, rejects the “piecemeal” approach to immigration reform favored by some members of his party in a forthcoming book.

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