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.


Special Event: MON 5/24 - Ambassador Sarukhan and Commissioner Bersin on US-Mexico Relations

On Monday, May 24th at Noon, NDN will host Ambassador of Mexico to the United States, Arturo Sarukhan and Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Alan Bersin for a discussion of the unprecedented cooperation between the United States and Mexico in both seizing opportunities and better managing the challenges of the region along the common border.

In addition to their general remarks, Ambassador Sarukhan and Commissioner Bersin will reflect upon the discussions this week between the U.S. and Mexican governments during President Calderon's State Visit this week.

While this is a private event, you may watch via our live webcast beginning at 12:15pm.  The event is open to the press.


Political Ramificatons of SB1070

Michael Gerson's op-ed in the Washington Post today is chock full of all sorts of goodness. I have pulled out some highlights below, the full op-ed can be seen here:

He starts with this:

Has the Republican Party become, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid recently charged, the "anti-immigrant party"?

Then moves on to this:

.....it would be absurd to deny that the Republican ideological coalition includes elements that are anti-immigrant -- those who believe that Hispanics, particularly Mexicans, are a threat to American culture and identity. When Arizona Republican Senate candidate J.D. Hayworth calls for a moratorium on legal immigration from Mexico, when then-Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) refers to Miami as a "Third World country," when state Rep. Russell Pearce (R), one of the authors of the Arizona immigration law, says Mexicans' and Central Americans' "way of doing business" is different, Latinos can reasonably assume that they are unwelcome in certain Republican circles.

Then this which, I personally quite enjoyed:

Sen. John McCain, a long-term supporter of humane, comprehensive immigration reform, has run a commercial feeding fears of "drug and human smuggling, home invasions, murder" by illegal immigrants.

Never mind that the level of illegal immigration is down in Arizona or that skyrocketing crime rates along the border are a myth. McCain's tag line -- "Complete the danged fence" -- will rank as one of the most humiliating capitulations in modern political history.

Then makes this excellent point:

Republicans have now sent three clear signals to Hispanic voters:

California's Proposition 187, which was passed in 1994 and attempted to deny illegal immigrants health care and public education before being struck down in court; the immigration debate of 2006, dominated by strident Republican opponents of reform; and now the Arizona immigration law. According to a 2008 study by the Pew Hispanic Center, 49 percent of Hispanics said that Democrats had more concern for people of their background; 7 percent believed this was true of Republicans. Since the Arizona controversy, this gap can only have grown. In a matter of months, Hispanic voters in Arizona have gone from being among the most pro-GOP in the nation to being among the most hostile.

And ends with some good demographic information which  really contextualizes the political ramifications of SB1070. Also it allows me to work in a shameless plug for the New Politics Institute report Hispanics Rising 2010 which also highlights the Republican parties move further and further to the right on the immigration issue:

Immigration issues are emotional and complex. But this must be recognized for what it is: political suicide. Consider that Hispanics make up 40 percent of the K-12 students in Arizona, 44 percent in Texas, 47 percent in California, 54 percent in New Mexico. Whatever temporary gains Republicans might make feeding resentment of this demographic shift, the party identified with that resentment will eventually be voted into singularity. In a matter of decades, the Republican Party could cease to be a national party.

Finally, in case you missed it, Sen. John McCain is a big old flip flopper on immigration. The two videos below show  Sen. McCain's before and after transformation on the issue. Wait till the end of the first video to see him speak eloquently on immigration:

If you believe that the only answer to our immigration problems is to build a bigger wall then i would argue that you are not truly aware of the conditions of the human heart.

Fast forward to now and we see in the second video, that his once principled stance has been reduced to this trite soundbite:

Complete the danged fence.

McCain on Immigration

McCain continues to be pulled further and further right of where he once was on immigration.  This ad speaks for itself.

New Policy Institute Releases New Report, "Hispanics Rising, 2010"

Yesterday, our affiliate New Policy Institute released a report by Andres Ramirez and Kristian Ramos on the rapid increase of the Hispanic population, fueled by recent waves of immigration to the United States.  You can find the Executive Summary here and the full report here.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at ssanchez@ndn.org.

Hispanics Rising 2010 Executive Summary

Hispanics Rising 2010 Full Report


TODAY: NDN Releases Hispanics Rising 2010

Today at 12pm ET, NDN will release Hispanics Rising 2010: An Overview of the Growing Power of America's Hispanic Community, a 21st Century America report by Andres Ramirez and Kristian Ramos that examines the rapidly increasing Hispanic population in the United States and how it affects the politics and policy of our time. 

The rapid increase in the Hispanic population in the U.S. is one of the most tangible demographic trends of the 21st century. Huge waves of immigration from throughout the Americas contributed to this exponential growth, and will have lasting effects on the complexion of the United States. At 15% of the U.S. population today, Hispanics are now America’s largest “minority” group, and are projected to be 29% of all those living in the United States by 2050. The combination of the 2010 Census and the upcoming mid-term elections provides meaningful context for examining the growing influence and power of the Hispanic community.

Hispanic Rising 2010 Release on 4/27

Next Tuesday, April 27th, at 10:30am NDN will release Hispanics Rising 2010, a report on the most current trends that characterize Aerica's growing Hispanic community, at our headquarters on 729 15th Street, NW.  The previous installment in this series was released in 2008 and can be found here. Hispanics Rising 2010 builds on the findings of the previous reports, updating statistics and data to reflect the most relevant and up to date information.

Click here for more information on NDN's Hispanic Programs. 

Click here to learn about NDN's initiatives on Fixing our Broken Immigration System.

Simon Rosenberg Makes the Case for Immigration Reform

See video

Simon Rosenberg makes the case for Immigration Reform by describing the seven reasons why Congress should pass immigration reform in April 2009.

Obama praises Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes


Obama and FunesThis Monday, President Obama met with President Mauricio Funes of El Salvador to discuss trade, security, the environment - the three central elements of the administration's agenda for Latin America.  President Obama commended President Funes for taking bold steps to "break down political divisions within the country and move it forward with a spirit of progress" and for his "pragmatic and wise approach to the situation in Honduras".

In his remarks following the meeting, President Obama commented that the positive relations between the countries is partially due to the 2 million Salvadorians working in the United States and sending remittances back to their country, stating that the ties "provide an outstanding foundation for continuing cooperation" between the two countries." President Funes replied, stating the need to generate more jobs in El Salvador because when "people have better jobs, health, and education, they will be able to remain in [their] countries and have a better life." 

Obama also suggested interest in a multilateral project between the United States, Brazil, and El Salvador to pursue measures that would expand biofuels and energy development, which would benefit all three countries.  He also touched on regional security issues, primarily surrounding drug trafficking and gangs, emphasizing the commitment to be supportive not only in addressing the symptoms, but also the root causes of the issues.  The President closed by stressing that the relationship between the United States and El Salvador is one based on mutual interest and mutual respect, a sentiment echoed by President Funes in his remarks.

President Funes commended President Obama's new vision of how to deal with the hemisphere, and particularly Central America.  President Funes closed by saying that he hopes to have a strong alliance and strategic, equal partner in the United States.



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