Daily Border Bulletin is up! Today's stories include:
Jeb Bush: Path to citizenship not needed: In a dissapointing development former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Monday comprehensive immigration reform didn’t require a pathway to citizenship, a key plank of the bipartisan Gang of Eight proposal in the Senate.
Top 5 Reasons Why Immigration Reform May Pass: No one would blame supporters of immigration reform if they were pessimistic about the chances of getting a comprehensive bill passed this year. And yet, activists and politicians working on a bill are sounding increasingly confident — even cocky — about their chances. Here are five reasons that the prospects for immigration reform are looking a lot better than they were even a few weeks ago:
Border Is Secure So “Fix the Entire System”: The U.S. border is secure and it is time to move forward on comprehensive immigration overhaul, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told ABC News in an exclusive interview. “My belief is that you need to fix the entire system because, from my standpoint, one of the biggest draws of illegal traffic across the border is the demand for illegal labor,” she said Thursday.
Gang of 8 continue to work hard on immigration bill: Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Sunday he was optimistic the Senate’s bipartisan work on immigration reform could pave the way to other agreements. In an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Durbin said that despite frustration over deadlocked sequester talks, the Gang of 8 could be a model for bipartisan cooperation in the upper chamber.
Stop me if you've heard this one: the border between Mexico and the United States is an open highway for undocumented immigrants and before we fix our broken immigration system we must secure our porous border.
Given all of the progress made along our border, crime is down, trade is up, legal movement of people eclipses undocumented migration, it has become increasingly clear that the prism with which our country views a "secure border" is warped. While there has been progress made of course there is more to do. As such it is unsurprising that Republicans are demanding greater investment in border enforcement as a trade off for supporting a pathway to citizenship. As this debate continues to heat up what is really needed is a better understanding of how our southwest border works and what has occurred there over the last decade.
The border works best when it enhances the legal movement of people and goods, not when it stops things from entering altogether. If Congress is looking to add more resources to our southern border, they are not needed in the areas between our ports of entry, but rather at them.
This was certainly the message Marc R. Rosenblum, Specialist in Immigration Policy at the Congressional Research Service presented in his recent testimony before the Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security:
"Since 2002, far more resources have been devoted to enforcement between ports of entry than to enforcement and trade and travel facilitation at ports of entry or work site enforcement. This comparison appears to hold across several different categories of comparison: personnel, appropriations, technology acquisitions, etc. Little is known about illegal flows through ports of entry, or how such flows are affected by tougher enforcement between the ports."
None other then Arizona Senator John McCain has come out and highlighted success at our border. "There is no question that there has been a significant reduction in illegal crossings over the past five years." ...apprehensions by the border patrol have dropped 70 percent from 2005 to 2012." All one has to do is watch this video to see just how little Senator McCain's own constituents actually believe has occurred. Which is unfortunate, if people understood what has actually occurred both on the U.S. side and perhaps more importantly the Mexican side of the border they would not be so skeptical.
Mexico is not the same country it was during the last great undocumented migration into the U.S. Mexico is now the thirteenth largest economy in the world, our third largest goods trading partner and second largest export market. For the first time ever Mexico has a self sustaining middle class. As such there is no longer the urgent need for low skilled migrants to leave the country. The birth rate per Mexican woman has dropped significantly from 7.3 in 1960 to only 2 today. In the end dramatically reducing the number of undocumented migration into the U.S. from Mexico was a simple case of economics.
On the other side of the border the Obama administration has put significant muscle behind our enforcement apparatus. Since 2004, the Border Patrol has doubled in size, making our borders better staffed today than ever before. In 2011, Customs and Border Patrol increased the number of Border Patrol agents to 21,444, an increase of 886 agents from the previous year. The result of all of these developments is that the net migration of undocumented immigrants from Mexico is now zero and the flow into the U.S. from Mexican migrants we saw over the last decade is unlikely to occur in the future.
At the end of the day the strongest border security measure we can possibly have is fixing our immigration system. Giving undocumented immigrants the legal means to come and contribute to our country is the easiest way to prevent them from coming in without documentation. More border enforcement is undoubtedly coming, but this in and of itself is not a bad thing. With a greater understanding of the region, pragmatic investment at our ports of entry we could further enhance the legal movement of goods and people from all over the world. A direct pathway to citizenship is absolutely the preferred option going forward. However If more border enforcement is the only way to get the GOP to agree to a pathway to citizenship, if they are willing to create finite achievable metrics, given the recent transformation we have seen in the region, that may not be the worst thing. For those currently living in the shadows it could be a good thing.
This was originally posted in the Huffington Post here
Thanks to all who attended our great discussion with Nish Acharya, Director of the Economic Development Agency’s Department of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Mr. Acharya’s remarks touched on the wide range of issues associated with innovation with a specific emphasis on what the Obama administration has done to help enhance innovation ecosystems around America. Mr. Acharya spoke at length about EDA’s groundbreaking I6 Challenge, what has grown out of that process, and how accelerating regional economies is critical for entrepreneurs across the country.
We appreciate Mr. Acharya’s time and encourage all to learn more about the interesting and underpublicized I6 challenge here.
High-Tech CEOs to use social media to influence immigration debate- CEOs such as Steve Case, co-founder of AOL and John Lilly, former CEO of Mozilla, are organizing a "virtual march" on Washington to convince lawmakers on the Hill to lift the number of H-1B visas, which are currently capped at 60,000 a year.
Republicans call the illegal detainees release sequester propaganda- Ahead of sequestration cuts set to impact the Department of Homeland Security, the GOP claims political gamesmanship with the release of sores of undocumented detainees this week.
Immigration debate in Arizona gets heated- With release of approximately hundreds of illegal immigrats by federal authorities, volatile Arizona is ground zero in the immigration debate.
This week’s bout over federal spending pits Tea Party militants, conservative pundits and most Republican office holders against the President, his congressional allies and most economists who pay attention. But behind the politics, there is simply no economic basis for the immediate spending cuts that would follow the sequester – or immediate tax increases for that matter. The economy is still fragile enough that GDP went negative in the last quarter, when inventory purchases and federal spending both slowed more than usual. And just last weekend, Moody’s credit rating agency stripped the United Kingdom of its AAA rating -- not because UK deficits are too high, but because Britain’s premature austerity policies are leaching away the growth required to make its deficits manageable. Moody’s decision only echoed recent warnings from the IMF and World Bank against just such precipitous moves to bring down cyclical deficits.
Back home, President Obama’s odds of prevailing on the sequester would be greater, if those who have made careers out of fetishizing a balanced budget were not receiving quiet support from much of Washington’s split-the-difference political pros, including a clutch of Democrats. Looking out a few weeks, a chorus of self-described centrists and a few liberals could nudge the President into accepting a “compromise package” of substantial, immediate spending cuts and what Ronald Reagan used to call “revenue enhancers.” If it stops there, the economic damage will be contained. But the scenario could turn worse if, as seems likely, such a compromise also becomes embedded in a Continuing Resolution that will cover the rest of the fiscal year and create a new, lower baseline for 2014.
This premature austerity inescapably will weaken the economy, raising deficits even more down the line. Worse, such a bipartisan agreement could reinforce both parties’ natural resistance to contain Medicare spending and build up the tax base, especially over the long-term. And that could finally convince global financial markets that the United States has lost its way economically. The result would be higher interest rates, which in turn would mean even slower growth and higher deficits. What the markets want and have long expected from us is just fiscal common sense. That means, first, sidestep the sequester trap and instead increase federal investments in infrastructure, basic R&D along our technological frontiers, and access for all adults to upgrade their skills. Then follow it up with serious steps to contain long-term Medicare spending and expand the national tax base.
Tech leaders plan virtual push for immigration reform- High-tech leaders including the former heads of AOL and Mozilla are organizing a “virtual march for immigration reform” aimed at pressuring lawmakers to enact sweeping changes to the nation’s immigration laws.
Labor and big business continue negotiations- One of the most important components of any immigration reform bill will be how the immigration system will be changed to deal with future waves of immigrant workers in manual labor sectors.
McCain “guardedly optimistic” on immigration deal- After meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, U.S. Sen. John McCain said Friday that he and other lawmakers working on an immigration overhaul will meet with President Barack Obama on Tuesday to discuss the effort to revamp the system.
House reports progress on immigration reform- As the move to pass immigration reform continues, a bipartisan House group reports making “really good progress” despite missing a target date for an agreement, while multiple senators and congressmen have expressed optimism that legislation will pass.
Business and labor reach basic agreement on immigration reform- In an effort to avert the bitter and public feuding between business and labor organizations that helped kill a broad immigration overhaul in 2007, representatives of the two groups released a statement on Thursday outlining shared goals designed to show that at least for now, they could reach a basic level of compromise.
Latino support for Obama is up- President Obama’s push to overhaul immigration laws this year hasn’t produced a bill yet, but it already has restored his standing among Hispanics.
Goodlatte signals opposition to pathway to citizenship- This week, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee signaled opposition to passing an immigration reform bill that includes a pathway to citizenship.