NDN Blog

Discriminatory Texas ordinance shows need for comprehensive immigration reform

An article from the Washington Post sheds light on yet another local law attempting to fix our broken immigration system the wrong way. This time, the spotlight is on Farmers Branch, TX, a Dallas suburb, which is facing a vote to keep an ordinance like others around the country "prohibiting landlords from renting to most illegal immigrants."

Some residents of Farmer's Branch blame the inability of the federal government to act on this issue as the reason for taking such a stand. But we all know that Harry Reid and Senate Democrats are attempting to put forth a comprehensive plan, one that doesn't evoke discriminatory views or bigotry.

Creating a broader context for the coming debate on trade and globalization

The Washington Post weighs in with an editorial detailing the victories Democrats won in the new bi-partisan trade deal (read our statement here). 

While we should all be pleased with the spirit of this deal, it would be advisable for those wanting to garner votes to create a bigger context for the coming debate.  The data is very clear here - in this decade globalization has been very good for those with capital and for American corporations, but has not been so good for American workers and families. 

A vital strategic goal for those of us who believe in the benefits of liberalization must be to help our elected leaders come up with an agenda that successfully reverses the sluggish job growth and weak income and wage growth of our time.  To believe that the American people will accept the current way the economy is unfolding is niave.  Poll after poll, and the core economic data show that for about two-thirds of all Americans the economy is not what they want it to be.  They are losing faith that this century's global economy has the capacity to give them the opportunity and upward mobility all generations of Americans have to come to expect.  Making the American economy work for more Americans is one of the most important governing challenges of our time, and one NDN has been relentlessly focused on for the past several years in our Globalization Initiative.  

So in the days ahead I think it would be wise for those looking to build public support for this new trade policy to talk about what their strategy is bring greater prosperity to our workers and kids.  We've offered many ideas - raise the minimum wage, reform our immigration system, put a laptop in every backback, bring broadband to all Americans, fix our health care system so all Americans can have adequate insurance and good care, give our workers the option of card check, adopt the Speaker's innovation agenda, significantly increase funding for the teaching of science and math in all schools - the list goes on and on.  And it is time for once and for all to stop throwing out "TAA - trade adjustment assistance" as a sop that everyone knows isn't an adequate response to the realities we face today. 

The conversation about trade cannot happen in a vacuum.  Unlike the 1990s, globalization is neither seen to be, or is, working for a majority of Americans.  If the American people and their elected leaders are being asked to support greater liberalization, they must be told in clear terms what the strategy is to help them achieve the American Dream in a much more competitive age.  These conversations need to be linked.  And those looking to build public support for further liberalization need to get serious about offering not just a new trade policy, but a comprehensive economic strategy for America in the 21st century that helps ensure that globalization works for all Americans. 

NDN Statement on the Bi-partisan Agreement on a New Trade Policy

Dr. Robert J. Shapiro, Director of our Globalization Initiative, and I just released the following statement. Feel free to comment below.

We congratulate Speaker Pelosi, Chairmen Baucus and Rangel, the White House and other Congressional leaders - including the New Democrats - for finding common ground and fashioning together a new approach to trade policy.

The agreement shows that this White House and the new Congress are capable of doing what the American people want them to do – come together and offer forward-looking, pragmatic solutions to the tough problems facing our nation today.


This new agreement creates a new and better framework for our trade arrangements, one that will put labor and environmental issues front and center in future trade deals, and no longer relegate these important issues to side agreements. This new path may allow America to once again be a leader in fashioning the new rules of the road for the global economy, a role that up until now has been neglected by the Bush Administration.


This new agreement will be remembered as an historic one if it leads the White House and Congress to forge a new national strategy that seeks prosperity for all Americas in this intensely competitive economic era. Even as the economy as a whole is well positioned to prosper in a time of globalization, too many Americans are struggling to get ahead. By undertaking the necessary governmental actions and making the needed investments in education, skills, technology, infrastructure and communities, America will be able to ensure that our workers and our kids the same broad opportunities that all proceeding generations have enjoyed.  

NDN hosts Cecile Richards in NYC

Last night, NDN held a fantastic reception with Cecile Richards, one of the Founders of our New Politics Institute and the President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. An extremely thoughtful and engaging speaker, Cecile spoke to us on behalf of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. She discussed the GOP candidates and how their wavering stances on abortion will harm them during their campaigns, as well as how Americans need to view the debate around abortion as also being about the right and access to contraception. Check out pictures below:

Free Classifieds on Facebook

The New York Times reveals a new venture for Facebook: free classified ads. The new service, entitled Marketplace, will be introduced today and will "allow users to create classified listings in four categories: housing; jobs; for sale, where users can list things like concert tickets and used bikes; and “other,” a catch-all that could include things like solicitations for rides home for the holidays." Targeting who is able to see the ads, the article points out:

Facebook users who create classifieds can choose to show them only to their designated friends on the service, or to anyone in one of their “networks” — their high school, college, company or geographic region. They can choose to make the listings appear on their profile pages, and send them out on “news feeds,” the automatic updates that appear when users log in to the site.

The article also touches on the affect of Facebook's new Marketplace on traditional advertising sources:

Traditional media like college newspapers, which rely to a varying degree on classified ads, may be threatened as well. “If Facebook can provide a larger audience at a lower price than traditional media, people will shift their advertising dollars,” said Daniel A. Jauernig, chief executive of Classified Ventures, a joint venture of five media companies including the Tribune Company and the Washington Post Company.

Pelosi's statement on the trade deal

"Nearly 50 years ago, President John F. Kennedy advanced a new trade policy that cemented Democrats as the party of free and fair trade.  Today, we build on that tradition to announce a new bipartisan breakthrough for fair trade – where we expand opportunities for American businesses, workers and farmers.

Our economic future rests upon our ability to open new markets for U.S. goods and services so that we can continue to capitalize upon the innovative spirit of the American people.  We must also do much more to address the consequences of globalization and how many working families are faced with increased economic insecurity.

Free trade must be fair trade. For that reason, the inclusion of basic, internationally recognized labor and environmental standards in our trade agreements have been long-standing Democratic priority. 

Enforceable labor standards ensure that our trading partners abide by the most fundamental standards of common decency and fairness – prohibitions against child and slave labor, protection from employment discrimination, and the right for workers to form a union.

Similarly, protecting our planet is a core Democratic value and must be reflected in the core of our free trade agreements, not as a side agreement.

Last November, Americans voted for a New Direction, and that includes a right direction on trade – where labor and environmental standards are at least as valued as our financial interests. 

Today marks a new day in trade policy so that we can raise living standards in the U.S. and abroad, expand markets, spur economic growth and uphold strong labor and environmental standards.”

On Iraq

On Iraq, Congress continues to act responsibly, challenging the Administration to offer more than more of the same.  While the bill passed last night may not become law, our country is now in the midst of a large and important debate about an issue of vital national interest, ensuring that whatever the final outcome the process for getting there will be more of the kind imagined by our founders than the "don't worry be happy" approach of the Bush years. 

In a powerful editorial this morning, the Times sums up the events of recent weeks:

The difference between mainstream hawks and mainstream doves on Iraq seems to have boiled down to two months, with House Democrats now demanding visible progress by July while moderate Republicans are willing to give White House policies until September, but no longer, to show results.

Then there is President Bush, who has yet to acknowledge the reality that Congressional Republicans and even administration officials like Defense Secretary Robert Gates now seem to tacitly accept. Three months into Mr. Bush’s troop escalation, there is no real security in Baghdad and no measurable progress toward reconciliation, while American public support for this folly has all but run out.

The really important question now facing Washington is the one Mr. Bush still refuses to address: how, while there is still some time left, to design an exit strategy that contains the chaos in Iraq and minimizes the damage to United States interests when American troops inevitably leave...

On the new trade deal

Steven Pearlstein has a thoughtful look at the new bipartisan deal on trade in today's Post.

U.S. is open for investment

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is going on offense in an attempt to prove that the U.S. is open to foreign investment. Citing the Dubai Ports World deal as an example of skepticism surrounding the issue, Paulson is reaching out. Today he spoke at a panel on the importance of attracting foreign investment capital, and is scheduled to head to St. Louis tomorrow to meet with foreign-owned firms.

Adding his weight to the issue, the President released a statement encouraging foreign direct investment in the U.S. today. The first from a president in 15 years (the last was issued by George H.W. Bush), it cites foreign investment as key to creating jobs, stimulating growth and boosting productivity in the U.S. Two interesting paragraphs from the statement:

A free and open international investment regime is vital for a stable and growing economy, both here at home and throughout the world. The threat of global terrorism and other national security challenges have caused the United States and other countries to focus more intently on the national security dimensions of foreign investment. While my Administration will continue to take every necessary step to protect national security, my Administration recognizes that our prosperity and security are founded on our country's openness.


My Administration is also committed to advancing free and fair trade in multilateral, regional, and bilateral negotiations. We will work aggressively to conclude the World Trade Organization's Doha Development Agenda negotiations and to secure congressional approval of the free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, Peru, and South Korea. The prospects for the Doha Development Agenda negotiations to produce significant new economic opportunities, particularly in developing countries, demand that we do everything possible to reach an outcome that creates new trade flows and strengthens global development.

OK's stopgap to deal with immigration is not a humane solution

Governor Brad Henry of Oklahoma signed an immigration bill this week that tightens employment standards to prevent illegal immigrants from finding work. On his state's action the Governor said, "States can take some actions on their own, but until the U.S. Congress enacts a comprehensive, national immigration policy, citizens will see little progress on this issue."

More on the bill from the Houston Chronicle:

The measure requires state and local agencies to verify the citizenship and immigration status of applicants for state or local benefits.

It also requires public agencies starting Nov. 1 to use a program to screen Social Security numbers to make sure they are real and match up with the job applicant's name. Private companies must comply by July 1, 2008.

The measure would not affect emergency medical and humanitarian services, such as visits to hospital emergency rooms and enrollment in public schools, that are required by federal law.


"It's going to take us back," said Ray Madrid, state director of the League of United Latin American Citizens. "I'm sure there's going to be neighbors turning neighbors in.

Things like this inspire us to work so hard to pass humane, comprehensive immigration reform.

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