Border Tour Promotes Trade Between the U.S. and Mexico - A U.S. trade delegation on Monday launched a five-day Mexican border tour by visiting city officials,maquiladoras, and learning about the planned cross-border ports of entry. The group includes members of the private and public sectors. It is led by assistant U.S. Commerce Secretary Michael C. Camuñez and members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as well as the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Anthony Wayne. Federal Program Recruits Mexican Entrepreneurs to Invest in the U.S. - Select USA, a federal program to attract foreign investment, teaches Mexican businesspeople about immigration visas, legal and fiscal systems in the U.S. and business opportunities to expand their companies to the U.S. market.
D.C. Police Might Ignore Secure Communities- Council members of the District of Columbia say they would oppose the federal program Secure Communities by passing a law instructing loal police to ignore requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement to hold people arrested for low-level crimes.
A proposed legislation in the U.S. Congress would raise penalties for straw purchasers who acquire assault weapons under false pretenses to resell them to Mexican criminal organizations. Congressman Adam Schiff of California and Mexico’s Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan talked on Thursday, May 31st at the US Capitol about the relevance of this legislation to slow the illegal flow of guns into Mexico. The forum was convened by NDN’s 21st Century Border Initiative.
Rep. Schiff , who sponsors the Straw Purchaser Penalty Enhancement Act, said that the United States has a responsibility to decrease violence levels in Mexico since this country is the third largest trade partner and second export market of the United States. “Our prosperity is tied with Mexico”, Rep. Schiff said.
Schiff emphasized that the bill would give two-year sentences to straw purchasers and because of that, it would create incentives for suspects to cooperate with law enforcement officials to fight criminal organizations. He said that currently there is no prohibition to resell arms to individuals unauthorized to own guns in the U.S., including people with criminal backgrounds or foreign nationals.
“Straw purchasers use loopholes in the regulation of arm sales and they face low penalties”, said Mexico’s Ambassador to the United States, Arturo Sarukhán.
Sarukhán said that this bill would help Mexican law-enforcement agencies to use their manpower and resources in a more strategic way to fight criminal organizations. He also mentioned the impact that the expiration of a ban to sell assault weapons in the U.S. has had in Mexico. Since then, the number of assault weapons seized by Mexican authorities more than doubled from 2007 to 2011. “Before then, the highest number of seized weapons were handguns”, said Sarukhán.
Rep. Schiff also noted that the drug war violence not only takes lives of alleged criminals but also members of the press and law enforcement officials in the Mexican side. “Mexico has lost more citizens than the ones we lost in the Vietnam War”, he said.
The Mexican Ambassador also explained that his government does not want to destroy the Second Amendment, which grants Americans the right to own weapons. However, American founding fathers did not contemplate under this constitutional right the international trade of firearms or any illicit cross-border trade, he said.
Sarukhán praised efforts from the Obama administration to require sellers in Southwest border States to report multiple sales of semiautomatic rifles which have led to several investigations of gun smuggling operations. In his opinion, there are misconceptions in both countries on how policies create a negative impact in the other side of the border.
At the conference, Sarukhán said that Operation Fast and Furious, in which the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firarms let walk guns into Mexico. “poisoned public opinion in Mexico” about the U.S. fostering violence south of the border. However, legislation like the one proposed by Rep. Schiff strengthens law enforcement cooperation between both neighbor countries and would have a profound impact in the fight against organized crime in Mexico. “Both countries understand that they need to work together to fight this issue”, he said.
Tougher penalties would slow down the illicit gun trade to Mexico Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan and Congressman Adam Schiff of California cited statistics to instate firmer penalties against illegal gun traffickers and straw buyers at a forum hosted by NDN and the New Policy Institute, which got lots of national press atention.
Texas Senator supports local-federal partnerships to improve border crossings U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas announced he would introduce legislation to allow local governments to pay for infrastructure and staffing at border crossings when the federal government doesn’t have or can’t accept funding.
Michigan governor launches initiative to attract immigrants Governor Rick Snyder launched the Global Michigan Initiative to attract entrepreneurs and foreign talent to live, work, and invest in Michigan.
New report compares American immigration policies with other countries “Not Coming to America: Why the US is Falling Behind in the Global Race for Talent” is a first-ever comparative study of the immigration reforms other countries employ to boost their economies.
Border Patrol agents might change job description in El Paso Border Patrol agents might start helping to ease traffic across international bridges in the Texas border city of El Paso.
New revision of Albama’s anti-immigrant law gets tougher Alabama’s HB 658 includes includes harsher provisions against undocumented immigrants.
Why California’s Bid to Legalize Undocumented Immigrants Works A new California law, AB 1544, sets up a state work permit (subject to federal approval) to legalize many unauthorized immigrants in California.
Arizona Militias Gain Momentum After Citizen Border Group Bill is Defeated Volunteer patrols are determined to take on their own hands the security along the Arizona’s border with Mexico after plans for a state-sanctioned citizens border organization were struck down in the State Legislature.
U.S., Mexico in talks to deport criminal immigrants deep into Mexico to cut down on repeat crossings The United States and Mexico are negotiating deportation plans of criminal undocumented immigrants deep into Mexico rather than releasing them at Mexican border cities, hoping to stop adding to the criminal chaos south of the border.
States Introduce Fewer Immigration Bills The number of immigration bills and resolutions appearing in state legislatures across the country declined steeply in the first quarter of this year, according to a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Ciudad Juarez Back on Border Region Tourist Maps Ciudad Juarez is returning to maps featuring attractions for visitors to the U.S.-Mexico border region around El Paso after two years of being excluded due to a wave of drug-related violence.
Republicans’ Hispanic problem — in 2 Charts New data from an NBC-Wall Street Journal poll that show President Obama leading former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney by 34 points among Hispanics set off a new round of speculation about whether Republicans can win in November if they can’t narrow that margin.
Mitt Romney's polling numbers with Hispanic voters are abysmal. The media has attributed this to his extreme statements on immigration. This is only part of the story. Romney's campaign outreach to Hispanics faces deep structural and policy deficits. His campaign does not have the necessary tools to present his best case to Hispanic voters. From a policy standpoint, his stance on the DREAM Act is complicated at best and his embrace of the Ryan Budget puts him at odds with Hispanic voters on education and Medicare.
Romney's sagging numbers in Florida and Obama's considerable lead among Hispanics in Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona shrinks his electoral map path to victory. This electoral map reality makes Romney's lack of outreach to Hispanic voters all the more baffling.
Buzz Feed puts it best: "A full year after Romney launched his presidential bid, the campaign doesn't have a Spanish version of its website, nor has it hired a Spanish-speaking spokesperson. Romney boycotted a primary debate on Univision, leading to the event's collapse, and, to date, he has only done one sit-down interview on a national Spanish network."
The Republican National Committee (RNC) has constructed a Spanish language tumblr which mostly trashes the Obama Administration in Spanish. It is fine to disagree with the President's policy decisions, but to present no policy recommendations of your own is a bit hypocritical. Although you can't really blame the RNC for not presenting any policy recommendations for Hispanic voters, as Romney's campaign has not done so itself. Romney's campaign does not have a policy page yet because they have not worked out where they are on issues important to Hispanics. A perfect example of this is the DREAM Act.
Speaking at the White House's Cinco de Mayo reception, President Barack Obama called on Congress to pass the Dream Act --a measure deeply popular with Hispanic voters. The Romney campaign has repeatedly stated that he would veto the DREAM Act if it came to his desk as President. Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a possible vice president pick for Romney, is currently advancing his own version of the legislation. Romney has declined to endorse the legislation and as of this writing was "studying" the legislation.
While immigration is important to Hispanics it is by no means the only issue they vote on, Medicare and education are deeply cherished institutions to this voting bloc. Romney is far to the right of where Hispanic voters are on both issues. Romney has publicly stated that Congressman Paul Ryan's budget plan was "Marvelous." His campaign has indicated that he would be running on a plan similar to Ryan's in the general election. The Ryan Plan certainly is marvelous, as long as you are fabulously wealthy. However for those in the country who rely on a good public education or Medicare it is disastrous.
On education, the Ryan/Romney Plan would eliminate money for 200,000 children in 2014, according to an analysis by the National Education Association. On Medicare, the Ryan/Romney Plan would cut spending on the poorest by about $5 trillion over 10 years from Medicaid and other programs that Hispanics and the rest of working class Americans use. On the other hand, the Ryan/Romney plan balances the budget on the back of the working middle class while giving $4 trillion in tax cuts to the most-wealthy Americans.
While some may disagree with this analysis, even a casual observer can see that the Romney campaign has put zero thought into their Hispanic outreach. The worst thing about Romney's presidential campaign is not their Tumblr page (which is actually an RNC production), nor their lack of Spanish language content/spokesmen, but rather there has been no new ideas about how a Romney Presidency would help Hispanics. Romney's team has indicated that the Hispanic vote is important, but when will he ever actually reach out to them? At this point is it even possible for Romney to reach out without flip flopping completely on past stances? It is perfectly O.K. if Romney wants to engage on other issues with the Hispanic community, he may have a great energy plan.... at this point he just needs to engage.
Our non-existent immigration problem Tim Noah of The New Republic provides analysis on our non-existent national immigration problem.
The Arizona Immigration Law is Beside the Point An editorial notes that despite the fact that the Supreme Court is likely to uphold the most pernicious sections of SB1070, the real fight is just beginning.
How the Taco Gained in Translation Mexican American fast food expert gives a history lesson on how food from Mexico immigrated to the U.S. mainstream.
With the Supreme Court likely to uphold portions of Arizona's infamous immigration law, the state will remain front and center in national headlines up until this year’s general election. While Hispanic voters in the state have no control over the Supreme Court’s decision, they will be able to have their voices heard at the Arizona ballot box in November.
The Obama campaign certainly believes that the agitation of Hispanic and independent voters in Arizona puts the state in play for the general election. Historical evidence and recent polling indicate that the states may well be up for grabs this year. Putting Arizona's 11 electoral votes in play would not only shake up the electoral map but also send a clear message that extremist immigration laws are political poison.
In 2008 – with minimal investment from the Obama Campaign – the President commanded a large share of the Hispanic vote in Arizona, besting hometown Senator John McCain 56% to 41%. If the President can boost Hispanic turnout, the statewide electorate could become much more Democratic. With recent polling showing Arizona as a toss-up, a solid investment in Hispanic mobilization could make the state very competitive.
A recent NBC News/Marist Poll reveals that President Obama is only trailing in Arizona by 5 points. The real eye-popping numbers for the President, however, are the preferences of independent voters. Among independents in Arizona, the President outperforms Romney 45 percent to 36 percent, with 19 percent undecided. Another poll by the Merrill/Morrison Institute puts the race within the margin of error. 42 percent of Arizona registered voters preferred Mitt Romney, while 40 percent supported the President. With a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percent, so if the election were held today the contest for Arizona’s 11 electoral votes would be a toss-up.
The real question on everyone's mind is; can an investment in maximizing the Hispanic vote in Arizona generate enough support to push Obama and down ticket Democrats over the top? Trends in Hispanic turnout from neighboring states with similar demographics suggest that these investments could pay off. Significant efforts to boost turnout in 2008 resulted in substantial increases in Hispanic voter participation. Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada saw Hispanic voter participation increase by 33 percent, 62 percent and 32 percent respectively from 2004 to 2008. The overwhelming majority of that increased Hispanic vote went to Obama. The growing voter turnout from Hispanics helped the President carry all three of those states on his way to the White House, and this same dynamic could bring Arizona into the fold later this year.
Hispanics nationally are breaking nearly three to one for the President, if this holds true in Arizona increasing the vote of this population could swing the general election vote for more moderate voices in Arizona as well. For the first time ever there is viable Hispanic Senatorial candidate in former Surgeon General Richard Carmona.
Carmona, a military veteran, has a huge lead with Hispanic voters. Politico notes that Hispanic voters favor him 61% – 25% percent statewide. Hispanic women are even more supportive, giving him a 70% – 14% advantage over Flake. At this point in the race he is an unknown quantity. Just 22 percent of voters can identify Richard Carmona, including just 19 percent of white voters, giving him room to expand support. The reality is the more Carmona is able to galvanize Hispanic support in Arizona the better off the Obama campaign will do in the state.
If any segment of the Arizona population should want to change the dynamic of the state’s political apparatus it would be Hispanics. The current political environment in Arizona is toxic for Hispanics, and has been hijacked by political extremists. For those in the state vested in sending a strong message to the country that Arizona is turning a corner on this brand of governance, voting against the likes of Jan Brewer, Joe Arpaio, and Russell Pearce would speak loud and clear. With the Supreme Court likely to uphold parts of SB1070, November will be the earliest that Arizona voters can let the country know where they truly stand on this law.
Union challenges Alabama immigration law under NAFTA An international labor union and a Mexican labor lawyers group have filed a complaint challenging Alabama's immigration law under an international trade agreement.
Visa Plan Poses Bipartisan Test Two Senators have found much bipartisan agreement on the need to expand the number of visas given to highly skilled foreigners, however their legislation may be in trouble.
Drones at Mexican border have yet to prove worth Drones at Mexican Border are seen as an enhanced security mechanism by some others are saying they are a waste of taxpayer money.