Coffee Party USA is for connecting all communities, and that means including those communities that are marginalized and targeted. But more importantly, America's economic and entitlement problems do have a solution: Immigration Reform, for a larger, more productive workforce.
When he was in the Utah Legislature, Stephen Sandstrom championed a “show your papers” law requiring local police to check the immigration status of suspects during felony stops, detention, or arrests. The law is similar to Arizona’s infamous and now-defunct SB 1070, which required police to check the status of anyone stopped for any reason.
Sandstrom’s law is now facing the scrutiny of a federal judge, who heard arguments last month. But, since lobbying hard for the law in 2011, Sandstrom now hopes the law is struck down. What’s more, he’s now a vocal supporter of the DREAM Act.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor outlined a kinder, gentler House Republican agenda for the coming term that puts a greater emphasis on kitchen table issues, and called for a path to citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants.
Two years after the Republicans came to power in the House on a wave of tea party fervor, Cantor’s speech at a DC think tank Tuesday – entitled “Making Life Work” – marked the start of an effort to move beyond the budget fights that have come to define the party at a time of divided government.
He outlined a handful of initiatives on education and health care the GOP majority has pushed before, but ones that were relegated to the second-tier after a relentless focus on government spending and deficits during the party’s first years in power. The exception was on immigration reform, one of two major issues other than the budget that President Obama has pushed Congress to tackle in the near term.
“While we are a nation that allows anyone to start anew, we are also a nation of laws, and that’s what makes tackling the issue of immigration reform so difficult,” he said. But “one of the great founding principles of our country was that children would not be punished for the mistakes of their parents. It is time to provide an opportunity for legal residence and citizenship for those who were brought to this country as children and who know no other home.” [MORE]
The momentum of President Obama's resounding victory in November's election – with a big push from Latinos and other minority groups – has catapulted immigration policy to the top of Washington's 2013 agenda, making reform not only possible but also likely.
The shift in the political conversation has been so dramatic that even a pathway to citizenship for some of the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States – long rejected out of hand by most Republicans and some Democrats – could be part of the deal.
The task is momentous. It involves weighing the wishes of industries from agriculture to high-tech, as well as the sensitivities of opening the door to immigrant workers at a time when unemployment remains high. MORE
THE first surprise came in June, when the Pew Research Centre reported that Asians were immigrating to the United States in higher numbers than Latinos. The second came after the presidential election, when some exit polls suggested that Asian-Americans were second only to blacks in their proclivity for Barack Obama. (A new report this week estimated that 71% voted for the president, roughly the same as the Latino figure.)
Recent political soundings in racial demography have focused on Latinos. That is no surprise; they are projected to grow from 17% of the population today to nearly one-third by 2060. But the Asian-American story is a fascinating subplot. Since a loosening of immigration laws in 1965, Asians have risen from less than 1% of the population to nearly 6%. They are richer, better-educated and more optimistic than other groups, including whites. And in the past 20 years the share of them voting for Democratic presidential candidates has more than doubled.
But is the term “Asian-American” anything more than a convenient shorthand?
“You see an unusual degree of support for immigration reform: Chamber of Commerce? They want reform. Agriculture industry? They want reform. Technology industry? They want reform. When you see groups off Capitol Hill — left, right and center — who really want to do immigration reform, that tells you that, hey, there’s a moment we can do it.” —Senator-elect Tim Kaine (VA)
Coffee Party USA's insight:
by MICHAEL D. SHEAR, New York Times
Tim Kaine, Virginia’s newest senator, said he was eager to be a vote for immigration reform that would require those in the country to pay a fine in exchange for permanent legal status.
“I think the elements of that deal are acceptable to most of the parties that are around the table right now,” Mr. Kaine, a Democrat, said in an interview with The New York Times. “I’m expecting and I’m anxious to get in and be a vote for comprehensive immigration reform.”
Mr. Kaine, who served as governor of Virginia and as chairman of theDemocratic National Committee, will join the Senate early next year as one of a dozen newly elected members of the chamber.
In the interview, Mr. Kaine said he was more optimistic about the likelihood of an immigration deal early next year, in part because of what he called “soul searching” among Republicans who are eager to do better among Hispanic voters than they did in the last election.
“I see them willing now, maybe for self-preservation, to build and to grow their party, look we’ve got to do this,” Mr. Kaine said. [MORE]
America's restrictive immigration laws are hurting the recovery and endangering the country's future...
Beyond the huge importance of immigrants to the U.S. economy today, three forces are making immigration reform more urgent: growing crackdowns on undocumented workers at the state level, which are already hurting farming and are likely to spread to other sectors, including construction; the aging of populations in the U.S. and Europe; and increasing opportunities in the developing world, which are luring home skilled immigrants the U.S. needs most.
Congress has been unable to make any progress on an immigration overhaul for years, but for voters such as dairy farmer Matt Lamb, the party that figures out a way forward will go a long way toward securing his vote. Lamb is a self-described conservative guy and a longtime Republican voter, but he’s considering casting his ballot for Democratic Rep. Kathy Hochul and President Barack Obama because of what he calls his most important issue.
Lamb has more than 2,000 cows on his family farm that need to be milked three times a day, and he struggles to find the labor to do it. He puts ads in local papers but still is at pains to find adequate help. Lamb uses some foreign workers, but the current immigration system makes it almost impossible for him to get visas for potential new employees. And since the push for immigration changes during the George W. Bush administration, he’s seen the GOP move in what he thinks is the wrong direction on his key issue.
“Generally, agriculture votes Republican,” Lamb said in an interview earlier this month. “We traditionally have been [Republican] on this farm. But right now, being able to carry out our business is the single most important thing. I’m a single-issue voter: Where’s my labor going to come from?”
Voters like Lamb — in need of workers, tired of the stalemate in Washington, D.C., — could present an opening for Democrats. And that could be pivotal in close districts such as this one in Western New York. [MORE]
by Rose Levy and Barbara Pruitt, Kaufman Foundation
A new Kauffman Foundation study finds that high-tech, immigrant-founded startups — a critical source of fuel for the U.S. economy — has stagnated and is on the verge of decline.
"The U.S. risks losing a key growth engine just when the economy needs job creators more than ever," said Wadhwa. "The U.S. can reverse these trends with changes in policies and opportunities, if it acts swiftly. It is imperative that we create a startup visa for these entrepreneurs and expand the number of green cards for skilled foreigners to work in these startups. Many immigrants would gladly remain in the United States to start and grow companies that will lead to jobs." [MORE]
If polls are to be believed, pro-immigration activists may need to work harder to prevent the reelection of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio
The Justice Dept. is suing him, and pro-immigration activists want him out, but it seems Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio might be here to stay.
The 80-year-old, who declares himself "America's toughest sheriff" and is known for his extreme anti-immigration views, might just secure a sixth term in office as a poll shows that Arpaio is keeping his lead over his closest challenger.
Path To Immigration Too Toxic A Topic For Many Republican Politicians NPR Amid GOP soul-searching over a dismal 2012 election, a consensus has emerged that Republicans must appeal better to Latino voters.
The White House has released state-by-state reports on some of the programs and services that would be impacted under the sequestration cuts that are scheduled to go into effect on March 1. Here is a breakdown by state and program.
The promise to “secure the border” made for good politics even before 1986, when Congress passed the last comprehensive immigration reform bill. In the last quarter-century we have spent approximately $187 billion on enforcement, mostly along the United States-Mexico border. This included a ninefold increase in the size of the Border Patrol since 1980; nearly 700 miles of fencing; and the deployment of surveillance drones and motion sensors. These efforts reduced but did not stop unauthorized entries (only the Great Recession was able to reduce the net flow of Mexican illegal immigration to effectively zero). In fact, the hazards of crossing an increasingly militarized border led many Mexican workers to settle permanently in the United States.
Similarly, proposals for a new guest worker program, which were scuttled from the 1986 legislation because of opposition from labor and immigrant advocates, should again give us pause. From the agricultural “Bracero Program” of the 1940s and ’50s to the current H-2 visa for temporary unskilled labor, these programs are notorious for employer abuse.
If we really want to tackle unauthorized migration, we need to understand why it exists in the first place. The most important cause is our system of allocating green cards, or visas for permanent residency, which stipulates that no country may have more than 7 percent of the total each year. With an annual ceiling of 366,000 family- and employer-sponsored visas, the per-country limit is 25,620.
In practice, this means it is easy to immigrate here from, say, Belgium or New Zealand, but there are long waits — sometimes decades — for applicants from China, India, Mexico and the Philippines. These four max out on the limit every year. When critics admonish prospective immigrants — as well as the 11 million plus undocumented migrants currently in America — to “go to the back of the line,” they should realize that for many people the line is a cruel joke.
The United States has followed this one-size-fits-all rule since 1965. It was, admittedly, a vast improvement over the blatantly discriminatory national-origins quota system, which since the 1920s had favored migration from Northern and Western Europe and excluded Asians altogether. But we can do better.
One alternative might be a plan introduced by Senator Philip A. Hart, a Michigan Democrat, in the early 1960s. Senator Hart, who died in 1976, gave his name to the 1965 immigration law, along with Representative Emanuel Celler, a New York Democrat. But before that, he proposed a system that would have given 20 percent of the visas to refugees; 32 percent to countries in proportion to the size of their populations (recognizing need); and 48 percent to countries in proportion to their amount of emigration in the last 15 years (supporting family unification and existing ties in immigrant communities in the United States).
To keep the immigration stream diverse, he proposed maximum and minimum per-country limits. The overall ceiling and the distribution would be revisited every five years to reflect changing conditions. Finally, Senator Hart recommended continuing the policy of pan-Americanism, which had long exempted countries in the Western Hemisphere from quota restrictions. [MORE]
Corporate leaders urged President Barack Obama to swiftly overhaul U.S. immigration laws, positioning the business community for a confrontation with House Republicans seeking to slow legislative action.
In a meeting yesterday with the president, a dozen chief executive officers stressed the economic importance of passing a comprehensive bill that includes more visas for highly-skilled and seasonal immigrant workers.
“The business community is not necessarily monolithic,” said Arne Sorenson, chief executive officer of Marriott International Inc., the biggest U.S. hotel chain. “But I think there are many aspects of the business community where we see immigration reform as being positive for our economy.”
The meeting, attended by executives including Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s Lloyd Blankfein and Yahoo! Inc.’s Marissa Mayer, is part of a White House effort to enlist the business community as an ally in its fight to get an immigration measure through Congress by mid-year and to isolate congressional Republicans who oppose pieces of the legislation.
Administration officials say public backing from business leaders for Obama’s immigration proposals will give the president leverage in negotiations with lawmakers.
Obama also is pressing to unify business and labor on an issue that has split them before.
“We are all on the same page,” said Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest labor federation. [MORE]
It sounds like one of those stories you can safely ignore: The U.S. birth rate has hit a record low, led by a big drop in the portion of immigrant women having babies.
This development doesn't directly affect anybody, since it's one of those long-term societal trends that occurs in small increments and doesn't change the unemployment rate, the price of gas, the direction of the stock market or any of the big economic forces that make our lives better or worse today. And since the trend is strongest among immigrants, it sounds like maybe this is something happening in a shadowy part of the economy that doesn't matter all that much.
But it does matter, and if the trend persists, it could mean lower living standards for most Americans in the future.
Coffee Party USA's insight:
America's falling birth rate, and our expanding senior citizen population as Baby Boomers retire, make an immigration wave an economic and fiscal necessity. Read full article here.
Georgia to start enforcing tough new immigration lawAtlanta Journal ConstitutionGeorgia state and local police may start enforcing one of the most controversial parts of the state's immigration law for the first time now that a federal judge has...
Eight of the nation's largest Latino organizations are gathering in Washington, D.C., Wednesday to issue a joint call for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship.
Paul Penzone, Arpaio’s opponent, is a no-nonsense former undercover cop from Phoenix who was a political independent before Democrats convinced him to run. On the phone, he speaks in the hyper-serious monotone of a highway patrolman handing out a speeding ticket, but his frustration is evident when he talks about what he sees as the mockery that Arpaio has made of his profession, what with the pink underwear, Steven Seagal stunts and — worst of all — tragic mishandling of hundreds of child sex abuse cases. “I take great pride in what law enforcement stands for, the service that it provides for the community … I think the sheriff has misrepresented that and it undermines not only law enforcement, but the safety of our families,” he told Salon.
Turning out the Latino vote is critical, he said. He said that unlike in Arpaio’s sheriff’s office, he worked hard in the Phoenix police department to build trust among the Latino community, “so my relationships are already in place, I’ve already earned their respect.”
With 3 million residents, Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, has almost 60 percent of the state’s entire population. And almost a third of the county’s residents are Hispanic, so their potential impact statewide is enormous. So far, however, many in the community are not registered or do not often turn out to the polls.
Fully 80 percent of Arizona’s Latino population support President Obama, according to a Latino Decisions poll from last week, while about 75 percent are backing Democratic Senate candidate Richard Carmona, a former Green Beret and surgeon general who is mounting a surprisingly competitive bid in the red state. A recent Democratic poll has Carmona up by 4 points over his Republican rival, while he has a narrower lead in polling averages. Obama has stayed fairly competitive as well. There are also at least two competitive House races in districts that include part of Maricopa, the 2nd and 9th districts. But it’s Carmona’s race where the most is on the line.
Latino voters in several battleground states are considerably more enthusiastic about the 2012 election than the average Latino voter nationally. They also strongly prefer President Barack Obama over his challenger, Gov. Mitt Romney, according to new data released this week.
While nationally only 53 percent of Latino voters said they were "very enthusiastic" about voting in the 2012 election, in Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Florida, between 68 and 70 percent of Latino voters said they felt that way. The surveys were conducted by political opinion research firm Latino Decisions for America's Voice, a liberal pro-immigration reform group.
"It took a lot of convincing at first, to let people know you really need to register to vote [because] your vote is important this year," said Grace López Ramírez, the Colorado state director of Mi Familia Vota, a non-partisan organization. "Finally it's getting into the community's brain that we are three weeks away from the election."
Weekly tracking polls of Latino voters in all 50 states show strong support for the president, with the latest survey showing 72 percent support for Obama and 20 percent support for Romney. [MORE]
Veteran education reporter Lesli Maxwell has worked both inside and outside of major school systems. Join her now as she delves into the educational, policy, and social issues surrounding English-language learners in U.S.
This entrepreneurial class of immigrants are increasingly settling in younger, growing cities in the South, and spreading out from traditional inner-city hubs to the suburbs.
“There’s nothing wrong with New York that a million Chinese couldn’t cure,” the urban geographer George Sternlieb once quipped. It may be an exaggeration, but rising Asian immigration has indeed been a boon to many communities and economies across the country.
Over the past 30 years the number of Asians in America has quadrupled to 18 million, or roughly 6% of the total U.S. population. But their economic impact is much greater. They are far more likely to be involved in technology jobs than other ethnic groups, constituting over 20% of employees in the nation’s leading technology companies, four times their share of the overall U.S. workforce. And then there’s the line of connections to the most dynamic economies on the globe: India, South Korea, Singapore and, of course, China.
By Shannon K O'Neil from Council on Foreign Relations website analyzes developments in Latin America and U.S. relations in the region.
Contrary to many who assume Latino immigrants just take away American jobs, Hispanic immigrants have played an important role in helping to revive small U.S. towns. While many come to find work, they often create the positions themselves, opening up new restaurants, storefronts, and services that line small-town Main Streets. Big cities are no different. In fact, almost half of New York City’s small businesses are immigrant-run. The report finds that immigrant entrepreneurs often have a distinct advantage due their ability to understand and work within both the United States and their home countries, allowing them to appeal not only to immigrant communities within the U.S. but also to export markets back home. Due in part to these benefits (as well as geography), Mexican immigrants have taken the entrepreneurial lead, starting more new companies (in sheer number) than any other immigrant group. On average Hispanic-run enterprises are small, though 16 percent employ between one and twenty employees (similar to 21 percent of non-immigrant-run small businesses).