Last Friday the Obama Administration took a series of smart and sure footed steps designed to bring an end to the Central American migrant crisis we are now experiencing on our Southern Border. While we all welcome Congress’s attention to the issue this week, the discussions should be focusing on what Congress can and should be doing to support the Administration’s aggressive actions to date. I offer up four things in particular Congress can do to help bring this crisis to a more rapid close:
Allocate necessary resources to ensure safe temporary detention facilities, expedited adjudication for unaccompanied minors and sufficient legal representation for those requiring it. Other measures which will hasten adjudication or give temporary authority to the President should be considered.
Publically support the Administration’s short and long term efforts in Central America designed to prevent reoccurrences of this recent surge. Should include short term measures to ensure repatriation is both rapid and humane, and longer term efforts to bring more economic opportunity, citizen security and rule of law to the region. A whole of government approach to combating the growing regional influence of trans-national organized crime should be developed and implemented.
The House should pass something akin to the Senate Immigration Reform bill in the next few weeks. There is no doubt at this point that confusion about our immigration system has played a role in the recent surge. The single most effective way our government has of clearing up this confusion is by passing immigration reform swiftly so it can be enacted by the end of this year. The rules of the road will be clear as day at point, ensuring that all in Central America understand that no migrants arriving here after Dec 31st, 2011 will eligible for legalization.
Speak with one voice. Again, by Congress passing a plan like the one outlined here and showing their support for the Administration, the United States government will be sending a loud and clear signal to those South of us that the US is determined to bring a swift and humane end to the crisis. This unaminity will itself be a powerful deterrent, and help us bring an immediate slowing of the northbound flow.
This week the House Republicans have spent far more energy beating up on the Administration about this crisis than acting as a responsible partner in bring the crisis to a close. In the coming weeks they and all of Congress will have an opportunity to do their part in bringing this unfortunate chapter in our immigration system to a close. The Administration has taken smart and aggressive first steps. They have done their part. It is now time for Congress to do its part. Failure to act will prolong the crisis, worsen human suffering and strengthen the cartels south of the border prospering from the enlarged flow.
Please join NDN later this week for an online Webinar about the US-Mexican border, the Obama immigration and border enforcement record and the recent surge in migrants from Central America. We will be hosting two live Webinars, the first on Thursday at 3 PM and a second on Friday at 11 AM.
On the heels of Vice President Biden's trip to Guatemala, many are wondering what conditions caused a surge of people to show up at the U.S./Mexico border. NDN President Simon Rosenberg will offer his insight and provide a greater context to how our immigration system has changed in the Obama Era. Simon will walk through a newly constructed powerpoint presentation, which reviews recent data about what is happening on the US Mexican border today and review true signs of progress of late in managing this complex system. Simon will also review the recent surge at the border and discuss the best way to stem the tide. The briefing will be useful for anyone trying to learn more about the issue, whether they are writing in the media or anyone attempting to have a greater understanding of the policy options available.
Please note that it will take a few moments for the software to install before the event begins, so plan accordingly. Webinar can be used on either a Mac or PC. If you have any issues, please contact email@example.com.
Each Webinar will last for about an hour. The first 30 minutes will be devoted to Simon's powerpoint presentation, followed by 30 minutes of Q &A:
For Friday's 11 AM presentation, please rsvp here.
If you want to learn more about these issues before joining us later this week, please check out NDN's "backgrounder" that we put together with the latest news and resources on what's going on at the border.
For years NDN has maintained that keeping the Internet open and free should be one of the highest priorities of our government in the 21st century. Of late, it seems, maintaining the Internet as we know it today feels a bit more daunting, as stories of efforts to block, censor of limit the reach of the Internet in countries around the world pop up in our social media feeds and newspapers daily. Of all the challenges to an open and free Internet, there is perhaps one that may over time be the most difficult to manage – the ease and prevalence of cyber attacks by hostile governments and 21st century criminals on American companies, consumers, networks and governments.
To help bring us gain a better understanding of the nature of these emerging threats, we are pleased to invite you to lunch on June 24th with one of the nation’s leading experts on cyber threats to the US, Dr. Paul Stockton, former Assistant Secretary for Homeland Defense and America’s Security and current managing director at Sonecon. Dr. Stockton, who until recently led the Pentagon’s program to maintain the continuity of Government, its operations and mission assurance during crises, will talk about how pervasive cyber attacks are, who or what’s behind them, and the challenges that Government and businesses face in recovering from cyber-attacks.
The event will take place on Tuesday, June 24th here at NDN, 729 15th St, NW 1st floor. Lunch will be served at noon, and I will be moderating a discussion with Paul that will begin at 12:15p. You can RSVP here. We hope you will join us for what will be a very interesting discussion that delves into the challenges that both the public and private sectors face on the Internet today.
Perhaps the central issue in the current immigration reform debate is whether the Obama Administration has effectively managed immigration and border enforcement. Many immigrant groups have attacked the President for being overly aggressive, many Republicans have argued that the Administration has been so lax in enforcing the laws that they cannot move ahead on a broader immigration bill. So what is it? Too much or too little enforcement? Is the system better today, or worse than when Obama came to office?
To help provide some insight into this consequential debate, next Friday here at NDN I will be making a presentation going through the data and what we know today. In this presentation we’ve incorporated lots of newly available data from DHS and many other sources. Our basic conclusion is that the President’s critics are wrong – that in fact the President has brought vast improvements to immigration and border enforcement, making these systems both far more effective and humane. Significant investments, better strategies and greater cooperation with Mexico have left America with a far better enforcement system today than when the President took office.
Join us next Friday, June 6th here at NDN (729 15th Street, NW. First Floor) for this presentation. Lunch will be served at noon, and I will begin at 12:15pm. The presentation will take about 30 minutes and there will plenty of time for questions, comments and discussion. You can reserve your spot here, and feel free to invite others who might interested.
We have an opening for my assistant here at NDN. See the job description below. All applications for the position will need to be in by this coming Wednesday, May 21st. Please send cover letter, resume, recommendations and anything else you would like to submit to Andres Chong-Qui at firstname.lastname@example.org
Job Description: At NDN & New Policy Institute, the Assistant to the President is responsible for managing their principal’s immediate priorities, including his schedule; getting out important e-mails via NGP-VAN; responsibilities with respect to paper processes; delegable operational and administrative duties and tasks (such as event managing, travel, scanning important documents, running errands); coordination with other assistants from NDN members’ offices and important stakeholders. With direction from the President, the assistant is also responsible for coordinating the President’s work towards his or her medium and longer-term objectives and goals, including directing and supporting special projects. Other duties include: answering communications, including telephone calls, emails, and written correspondence; clearing visitors in the building and meeting and escorting them while on the premises; event coordination; meeting arrangements, including manifests and agendas; support when President is on the road or in the office as needed; and other duties as assigned.
I write in support of Robert Holleyman to be the next Deputy United States Trade Representative. I have known Robert for several decades, and worked closely on many issues over the years. He is very smart, collegial, knowledgeable, experienced, forward-looking - a perfect fit for this position.
Through his years running a leading software advocacy organization, time as a federal clerk, Senate staffer and in private practice, Robert brings:
Deep understanding of the role of technology in expanding economic and individual opportunities, and empowering citizens.
Over two decades of private-sector experience working with some of the most innovative companies and entrepreneurs in America. A decade of experience working in government.
Extensive and direct on-the-ground experience working to open foreign markets and fight trade barriers impacting US technology workers internationally. This has helped make software one of the largest export industries in the US, with a positive balance of trade and growing job base.
Thoughtful, balanced perspective on the mix of policies needed to foster innovation and an open and democratic Internet both in America and globally.
Private sector leadership in helping define new "digital age" opportunities around cloud computing and cross-border digital trade. This is critical to ensure further expansion of the benefits of technology around the world and the ability of US-based companies to compete successfully in the world of emerging cloud architecture.
Deep appreciation for the important roles of Congress, the Administration and the public in developing trade policy that strengthens the American economy, raises standards of living and promotes global stability.
It has long been our belief that keeping the internet open and free is one of the most significant responsibilities of our government in the 21st century. Adding Robert Holleyman to the already strong team in place working on this project will truly give the United States an “A” team on one of the most important issues the United States is facing today.
Given that these issues are under intense discussion in the TPP and TTIP trade agreements being negotiated by USTR, and in many global forums like NETmundial and the ITA talks at this very moment, it is our hope that you act swiftly to confirm Mr. Holleyman. His expertise is needed now in shaping discussions that could determine the evolution of the global digital economy for decades to come.
Yesterday, a group of Republican Senators repeated one of the great canards of the Obama era – that our immigration and border enforcement system is less effective today than when Obama took office. By virtually every measure we have, this is simply not true. With far greater resources, better strategies and improved cooperation with Mexico, the Obama Administration has in fact made the border safer, the immigration system far better while also allowing for an enormous expansion of trade with Mexico (visit here for a deeper dive on these arguments and more).
Let’s review some of what we know:
Crime is Down on US Side of the Border - Crime is down along the US side of the border. The two largest border cities, El Paso and San Diego, are the two safest large cities in America today.
Border Patrol Far More Effective - Four of the five high-traffic migration corridors across the US-Mexico border are already at or near the Senate bill’s goal of 90% effectiveness rate. Many of the nine corridors have seen significant increases in their effectiveness rates in recent years.
Flow of Unauthorized Immigrants into US Has Plummeted – The increased effectiveness of the border patrol along the border, and the deterrent effect of more aggressive removals of those crossing the border has helped dramatically slow the flow of unauthorized migration from Mexico. This flow has fallen from its peak of 770,000 people in 2001 to zero today. Looking at it another way, under President Bush, the undocumented immigration population grew by 3m, or almost 400,000 a year. Under President Obama there has been no increase in the overall size of the undocumented population. The flow has essentially stopped.
The System Is Deporting Far More High Priority Unauthorized Immigrants - The system is removing far more people of consequence from the US than before. According to ICE data, 59% of those deported in 2013 had criminal records, up from 36% a few years ago. And fully 98% of those removed were either caught trying to illegally enter the country or were interior removals with criminal records. In 2013, the number of overall removals was at approximately the same level as the last year of the Bush Administration, and the average number of formal removals has been far higher under Obama than Bush. Prioritizing the removals of murderers and border-crossers over hard-working moms is just smart policy.
While Providing Opportunities for Young People To Contribute – In another smart improvement in immigration enforcement, the President has offered temporary relief from deportation and work permits for more than a million DREAM-eligible youth, allowing these young people to more fully contribute to American society.
Trade Across our Border With Mexico Has Almost Doubled - Trade with Mexico has jumped from $340b in 2009 to about $550b in 2013. Mexico is now America’s 3rd largest trading partner and 2nd largest export market. $1.3 billion worth of goods and 1m people now cross the 2000 mile US-Mexico border each day. This trade supports millions of jobs on both sides of the border.
So what is the big idea these tough Senators propose to make the system better? Move resources to deporting non-criminal migrants in the interior of the country. The result of this in practical terms will be to weaken the highly effective border deterrence system established in recent years, and to cause a drop in the number of criminals we are deporting in the interior. In essence, the President’s critics want to re-establish the Bush era system which did not prioritize murderers over moms, and simply went after all unauthorized immigrants in the interior regardless of their criminal history. The outcome of this strategy will be in fact to weaken the enforcement system in the US, not strengthen it.
This is no idle debate. Last year the House GOP passed something known as the King Amendment which would achieve the same thing the Senate Republicans are advocating for – the roll back of the DHS’s successful new enforcement priorities, a vote that would among other things revoke the DACA program for DREAM eligible youth. The excuse coming from the House GOP today on why they cannot move forward on immigration reform is that the President’s policies have weakened our immigration and border enforcement system – when it is clear that this is not true, that the system is far better today and that their proposals will actually weaken the system not strengthen it. This argument, still alive and potent inside the House GOP is simply ridiculous, and is not a legitimate reason to hold up moving ahead on immigration reform. If they want to once again turn their back on the clear majority of Americans – and their Speaker – who want a better immigration system they simply are going to have to come up with a far better excuse.
With the future of the Internet being discuss a great deal these days, I just wanted to repost something Alec Ross and I wrote seven years ago. It was an early articulation of what became known as the "Internet Freedom" agenda, and still speaks powerfully today:
"A single global communications network, composed of Internet, mobile, SMS, cable and satellite technology, is rapidly tying the world’s people together as never before. The core premise of this paper is that the emergence of this network is one of the seminal events of the early 21st century. Increasingly, the world’s commerce, finance, communications, media and information are flowing through this network. Half of the world’s 6 billion people are now connected to this network, many through powerful and inexpensive mobile phones. Each year more of the world’s people become connected to the network, its bandwidth increases, and its use becomes more integrated into all that we do.
Connectivity to this network, and the ability to master it once on, has become an essential part of life in the 21st century, and a key to opportunity, success and fulfillment for the people of the world.
We believe it should be a core priority of the United States to ensure that all the world’s people have access to this global network and have the tools to use it for their own life success. There is no way any longer to imagine free societies without the freedom of commerce, expression, and community, which this global network can bring. Bringing this network to all, keeping it free and open and helping people master its use must be one of the highest priorities of those in power in the coming years."
Given the very public discussion about the Obama Administration’s immigration enforcement and deportation strategy in the last few weeks, we’ve spent some time going through a new ICE report on deportations, and frankly, it had some surprising findings in it.
At NDN, we have long argued that despite both very real operational and political challenges, the Obama Administration has done a very good job in managing one really important piece of the enforcement puzzle - our border with Mexico. Crime is down substantially on the US side of the border, and net migration of unauthorized migrants from Mexico has dropped from 700,000 per year to zero today. While the border has been toughened up, we have also seen a huge increase in cross border trade with Mexico, which has almost doubled since 2009. Despite this increased security, Mexico is now our 3rd largest trading partner and 2nd largest export market in the world.
The new FY 2013 report from ICE, which offers a more detailed look at our deportation strategy than was available in previous years, shows similar success. While the report shows that deportations of unauthorized migrants remain at near historic highs, it also chronicles how smart Obama Administration policies putting greater priority on the removal of criminal migrants and border crossers has dramatically altered the composition of who gets deported. Over the past few years, we’ve seen a steady increase in these high-priority deportations; almost all of those deported in 2013 were either convicted criminals or people caught at the border attempting to enter the country illegally. Remarkably, only 10,336 non-criminal, non-border-crossers were removed from the country in FY 2013. In 2009, based on one estimate, this number was closer to 150,000. The percentage of those deported who are convicted criminals has risen from 35% in 2009, to 59% in 2013.
These numbers should bring some comfort to the critics of the Obama Administration deportation policies. For those wanting a more humane system, we’ve seen the near elimination of the deportation of run of the mill non-criminal unauthorized migrants. For those calling for even tougher policies, the explosion of deportation of border-crossers and criminals should be welcome news. Prioritizing criminals for deportation is clearly the best use of our limited deportation resources, and leaves the nation far safer than in the day of Bush era workplace raids.
But rather than doing an even deeper analysis of the ICE report, we think it should speak for itself. We end with some of the more interesting charts and graphs in the report, and look forward to hearing from others well versed in this tough and important issue.
Source: FY 2013 ICE Immigration Removals
Source: FY 2013 ICE Immigration Removals
See the full "FY 2013 ICE Immigration Removals" report here.
Please join us for a special event next Thursday - a discussion with noted author and former State Department official, Emily Parker. Emily will be discussing her new book, “Now I Know Who My Comrades Are,” which features her own on the ground reporting on Internet-based activists challenging the authoritarian regimes in China, Cuba and Russia. For more on this terrific and timely new book, please see below.
Our book talk will take place next Thursday at NDN, 729 15th St, NW 1st floor. Lunch will be served at noon, and the discussion will begin at 12:15p. You can RSVP here. I hope you will join us for what will be an insightful discussion.
Praise for “Now I Know Who My Comrades Are” –
"Emily Parker’s book Now I Know Who My Comrades Are: Voices from the Internet Underground is a rigorously researched and reported account that reads like a thriller . . . It’s been a while since I have read a book that is so entertaining, not to mention one so encouraging for the culture of liberty.”—Mario Vargas Llosa, Nobel Prize–winning author
“Although dissident use of the Internet is already part of the twenty-first-century story, Parker goes beyond the obvious headlines to the grinding daily battles of people and situations that receive only passing media notice. . . Some of what she reveals is stunning (2012 estimates find that only 5 percent of Cubans have regular access to the web), but the book’s greatest strength is the intimacy with which she describes the lives of her subjects. . .Parker profiles fascinating people and effectively shows why, in hands like theirs, social media is one of the most important tools for conducting positive political and social change around the world.”—Colleen Mondor, Booklist (starred review)
“Now I Know Who My Comrades Are is a timely and necessary book. Story by story, Emily Parker shows how the Internet has changed lives and social realities in three oppressive countries. The clarity, honesty, and intelligence of her writing make this book both admirable and enjoyable.”—Ha Jin, National Book Award–winning author of Waiting and War Trash
"Emily Parker tells us enthralling and beautifully detailed stories about bloggers and Internet activists in China, Russia, and Cuba, showing us the power of human connection even as she describes and analyzes it. The combination of her humanism and keen insight illuminates dimensions of the Internet that we so often miss, the ways it can create the personal ties and trust that are the foundation of collective action. A great read for both the nightstand and the scholar's shelf.”—Anne-Marie Slaughter, president and CEO of the New America Foundation
“The heroes of this terrific book are ‘Internet foot soldiers,’ not the usual foreign ministers and businessmen, and those soldiers are changing Russia, China, and Cuba . . . and the world. Emily Parker is among a handful of the most promising new foreign policy commentators who weave together technology, culture, society, and politics with hard facts and clear analysis.”—Leslie H. Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations
“This book is about twenty times better reported or written than any book ever written about the Internet, period.”—Tim Wu, author of The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires
“In this fascinating book, Emily Parker shows that the Internet affects politics by affecting the psychology of its users. Now I Know Who My Comrades Are demonstrates how much it can matter for citizens to have a voice, and to discover that they are not alone.”—Clay Shirky, author of Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations