“After the first day of Senate Judiciary Mark-Up, it is clear the Senate Immigration Bill (S.744) retains significant bipartisan momentum. Some smart amendments were added to the bill, but more importantly bad ones were rejected. The thoughtful bipartisan core of the bill remains intact. The adept management of this early stage of the Committee process leaves us optimistic about the bill’s passage. Some additional observations:
The Grassley amendment Extending the Higher Border Apprehension Goals To The Whole Border – The Gang of Eight Bill called for new border security targets of 100% surveillance and 90% apprehension rate of people attempting to cross the border in what are called “high traffic” corridors where most of the north-bound flow lies. Senator Chuck Grassley’s amendment #1 adopted yesterday extended that goal to the entire border.
It remains to be seen if this is a good idea. The original target appears achievable with the amount of money allocated, the time required (5 years) to achieve these goals, and taking into account where these apprehension rates are today. A December report from the Government Accountability Office reported that of the Border Patrol’s nine southwest-border sectors, five had more than 30,000 apprehensions in fiscal 2011, making them a “high traffic” corridor. Of these five, San Diego, CA had a 92% apprehension rate, El Centro, CA 91%, Tucson, AZ 87%,Laredo, TX 84 % and the Rio Grande corridor in Texas was 71%.
Given where things stand now, it seems reasonable that with the time allotted and additional resources the 5 high traffic corridors, where the overwhelming majority of the north bound flow lies, can hit the new 90% apprehension rate target. Whether it is prudent to extend that goal to areas where far fewer migrants pass, and in places that are often remote and difficult to police, is something that deserves debate in the coming months.
The Feinstein Infrastructure amendment - We were further heartened to see that Senator Diane Feinstein’s amendment #10, was adopted. This important amendment would allow the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and the Secretary of Transportation, in consultation with the governors of the States in the Southwest border region and the Northern border region to establish a grant program “to construct transportation and support infrastructure improvements at existing and new international border crossings necessary to facilitate safe, secure, and efficient cross border movement of people, motor vehicles, and cargo.”
Coupled with the far-sighted commitment in the Senate Bill to add an additional 3,500 new customs agents, the improved legislation makes a truly significant commitment to investing in expanding legal trade and travel with Mexico. As our new paper, Realizing the Strategic National Value of our Trade, Tourism and Ports of Entry with Mexico details, the economic relationship between the US and Mexico has become one of the most important in the world. In just the past 4 years, trade between US and Mexico has grown from $300 billion to $536 billion last year. Mexico is now our 3rd largest trading partner, 2nd largest export market. 23 states in the US count Mexico as their number 1 or 2 export market of all the countries in the world. The smart investments in this bill directed towards border infrastructure investment will help ensure that this explosive trade relationship continues to expand, and jobs on both sides of the border continue to be created.
This week's issue of TIME magazine is garnering considerable attention, and in many cases, scrunity, for its hyper-narcissitic portrayal of the millenial generation: "The Me Me Me Generation." It's an interesting piece (warning: behind a paywall), but has been accompanied by a range of ripostes from Klein's brief response to Elspeth Reeve's strong rebuttal, "Every Every Every Generation has been the Me Me Me Generation" that refutes much of what Stein claims.
If you were interested in learning more about this, we are hosting a panel on this subject this Tuesday, May 14th from 5:30 with some of the leading experts in the field of millenails - and NDN Fellows - Mike Hais and Morley Winograd and the National Journal's Ron Brownstein. In this informative discussion, we'll learn about Mike and Morley's latest book,"Millenial Majority: How a New Coalition is Remaking American Politics" that focuses on the political ramifications of this burgeoning generation and the resultant demographic shifts. Join us Tuesday to hear from these veritable experts!
This past Thursday Simon appeared on HuffPost Live to discuss the recent Heritage report on immigration reform, the co-author's previous work relating IQ to race, as well as the overall status of immigration reform and the political climate for it here in Washington. Watch it here.
From the interview:
“To me one of the most glaring omissions in this [the Heritage report] is they left out the investment we’re going to be making in the border – more customs agents, potentially depending upon some of the amdendments in the senate, more border infrastructure investment, that will help support millions of tourists coming in and trillions of dollars of trade.”
Alicia Menendez hosted the segment, and other participants included Professor Michael Dyson of Georgetown, Hillary Tone of Media Matters, and Victor Landa of New Taco.
As the report states: “Trade between Mexico and the United States is among one of the great untold success stories of the last four years. Key policies and investment in infrastructure can either help or hinder the enormous economic exchange between our countries. The current negotiations in Congress on comprehensive immigration reform offer a key window of opportunity to expand our ability to facilitate legitimate trade and tourism with Mexico and grow our economy in the process.” Below please find some key statistics featured in the report:
Six million U.S. jobs depend on our trade with Mexico. Trade relationship is critically important to our economic activity. Bilateral trade is estimated to have reached $535.9 billion in 2012, nearly double the amount of trade since the President took office.
Mexico is on the rise, economic growth integral to Americas Economy. Mexico has a $1.76 trillion dollar economy, the twelfth largest in the world (measured by GDP purchasing power parity)
Investment in Infrastructure is Key. Twenty-three states have Mexico as their number one or number two trading partner, multiplying jobs in both countries. Forty-seven U.S.-Mexico land ports of entry facilitate several hundreds of billions dollars in U.S.-Mexico trade every year
At an event announcing the report’s release NDN President Simon Rosenberg stated: "Our report shines a light on one of the most important economic stories of the last decade, one more American policy makers need to pay attention to - the rise of the Mexican economy, and the exploding trade relationship between Mexico and the United States. Our report finds that trade between the US and Mexico was a staggering $536 billion last year up from $300 billion just 4 years ago. These extraordinary results, validating the hemispheric ambition of NAFTA, have turned the US-Mexican economic relationship into one of the largest, and most important, in the world today."
Congressman Filemon Vela, (TX-34) said: "The State of Texas has a 1,254-mile long border with Mexico. Texas’ multiple border crossings makes it the largest port-of-entry for goods traveling from Mexico into the United States as well as goods heading south from the US into Mexican markets. The Estimated Value if this trade for Texas is $285 Million, which creates 3,037 jobs in Texas, 45% of imported produce comes through Texas and over last 15 years, imports have tripled in volume with 100K of the 160K loads of fresh and frozen produce that came through a single bridge in Hidalgo County I represent but not in my district. Trade with Mexico is critically important to both the United States and Texas. We hope to see it continue to increase in the future."
Jonathan Rothschild, Mayor of Tucson, AZ said: "As the Mayor of a city impacted by the state of Mexican-American relations, I have gone to great lengths to lay out a vision for an ever more productive and cooperative relationship with our neighbors to the South. Truly, our relationship with Mexico is a symbiotic relationship with the potential to yield vast dividends, both financially and culturally. Trade with Mexico generates jobs for Tucson in exports, logistics, supply chain management, tourism, scientific, technical and professional expertise- but in order for Tucson to be a hub for international trade, we need the right infrastructure at the border. Throughout our nation's history, we have always thrived when engendering the best ideals of a diverse and complex country. In 2013, with new and emerging demographics, this ethic has never been more important."
Erik Lee, associate Director at Arizona State University’s North American Center for Transborder Studies (NACTS) and writer of this report noted: "US-Mexico bilateral trade hit $535.9 billion in 2012 and is an economic force that all of us need to appreciate and understand better. President Obama’s extensive references to this enormous economic relationship last week essentially confirmed what we have known for years: the U.S.-Mexico relationship is essentially a commercial relationship, rather a security-based relationship.. We have a window of opportunity to increase this economic bonanza that includes key legislation (including immigration reform), new trade agreements and important pending infrastructure investments to facilitate trade and tourism. If we can get this done, we can set the stage for tremendous future shared prosperity."
For background on the event be sure to read Simon’s recent Huffington Post Op-ed, “The Border is Safer, Our Immigration System is Better;” Kristian's recent NBC Latino Op-Ed "Want to make the border safer? Pass common sense gun violence legislation;" see our round-up of our most important work on these issues; read some of our key reports, "Realizing the Value of Crossborder Trade With Mexico" and "Realizing the Full Value of Tourism from Mexico to The United States." Also, stay in touch with us via our website 21border.com.
Please join NDN on Monday May 20th at noon for a luncheon discussion of postal reform, and how to modernize and save the Postal Service.
Joining us will be two of the four co-authors of a recently released paper urging the Postal Service to concentrate on what it does best -- final mile delivery -- and establish a charge for that service. George Gould is the former National Legislative and Political Director for the National Association of Letter Carriers; John Nolan is a former Deputy Postmaster General. A similar final mile delivery charge is already established for packages and standard mail. The authors call for extending that system to all mail.
The discussion will take place at NDN's event space, just a block from the White House, at 729 15th Street, NW, Washington. We'll serve lunch at noon, and the program will begin promptly at 12:15, ending at 1:30pm.
With the Senate Judiciary Committee in the midst of marking up a bill to fix our broken immigration system, NDN and NPI's 21st Century Border Initiative will host a special lunchtime keynote address featuring Senator Michael Bennet (D-Col.) highlighting the progress this critically important bill is making through Congress. Congressman Joe Garcia (D, FL-26) will also join us to give an update on the House immigration legislation. Simon Rosenberg, president of NDN and the New Policy Institute will introduce Senator Bennet.
Senator Michael Bennet, a member of the “Gang of Eight” that drafted the Border Immigration bill. Congressman Joe Garcia, member of the House Judiciary Sub-Committee on Immigration and Border Security. Simon Rosenberg, President of NDN and the New Policy Institute.
Congressman Joe Garcia will be give an update on progress made in the House on immigration legislation. Senator Michael Bennet, Member of the “Gang of Eight,” will deliver remarks emphasizing the progress made on the Immigration Border Reform Bill.
The event will take place in room SR-485 in the Russell Senate Office Building. We will start at noon and the program will begin at 12:10, with Congressman Garcia speaking at 12:15, Senator Bennet will be speaking promptly at 12:30 and the event will end at 1:00 pm. To RSVP for this event please click here.Tuesday, May 21, 2013.
For more on guns and the border, be sure to check out this new report from Professor Topher McDougal from the University of San Diego and Kristian Ramos's op-ed, "Want to make the border saffer, immigration system better, pass gun control legislation"
This past Monday, Simon attended a meeting with President and the Vice President at the White House prior to the President Obama's trip to Mexico. In the session, they discussed the border, the complex relationship between the two countries, and immigration reform. The meeting was also attended by latino leaders. From the White House:
"This afternoon, the President and the Vice President met with Latino leaders to discuss the upcoming trip to Mexico and Costa Rica. As this is the President’s fourth trip to Mexico and his sixth trip to the region, he noted that this is an important opportunity to reinforce the deep cultural, familial, and economic ties that so many Americans share with Mexico and Central America. The President said that he is looking forward to talking with Latin American leaders about our vision for the Americas as a region of shared opportunity. He emphasized that the long term trends in the hemisphere are clearly moving in the right direction, with growing middle classes, declining poverty and inequality in much of the region, and countries such as Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia taking a more active global role. At the meeting, the President made clear that immigration reform continues to be a top legislative priority this year.
Participants in the meeting included:
David Ayon, U.S. Director, Focus Mexico/Enfoque México
Jose Calderon, President, Hispanic Federation
Yanira Cruz, President and CEO, National Hispanic Council on Aging
Janet Murguia, President and CEO, National Council of La Raza (NCLR)
Ana Navarro, CNN/CNN-E Political Contributor, National Political Advisor for Politic365.com, Republican Advisor
Javier Palomarez, U. S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC)
Nathalie Rayes, Executive Director, Fundación Azteca America
Simon Rosenberg, President and Founder, NDN
Hector Sanchez, Chair, National Hispanic Leadership Agenda
Tom Saenz, President, Mexican-American League and Defense Educational Fund (MALDEF)
Arturo Vargas, Executive Director, National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO)
Brent Wilkes, Executive Director, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
Al Zapanta, President & CEO, U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce"
Please join NDN and NPI's 21st Century Border Initiative for a special event where we will release a new report, "Realizing the Strategic National Value of our Trade, Tourism and Ports of Entry with Mexico."
The event is timed to provide perspective on President Obama’s visit to Mexico this week, and on the current debate about the border and immigration here in the United States. Joining us for the release will is a terrific group of experts and elected officials to discuss the contents of the report:
Filemon Vela, Congressman (TX-34), whose district lies along the border and is co-chair of the House Border Caucus
Jonathan Rothschild, Mayor of Tucson, AZ
Erik Lee, Associate Director at Arizona State University’s North American Center for Transborder Studies (NACTS)
The discussion will take place at NDN's event space, just a block from the White House, at 729 15th Street, NW, Washington. We'll serve lunch at noon, and the program will begin promptly at 12:15, ending at 1:30pm. In case you cannot join us in person, we will also be streaming the event online.
This new report will build on two previous papers produced by ASU’s Erik Lee, "Realizing the Value of Crossborder Trade With Mexico" and "Realizing the Full Value of Tourism from Mexico to The United States."
Please RSVPhereand we look forward to seeing you on May 8th!