Senate Democrats plan to revive the contentious debate over immigration policy by cherry-picking pieces from a comprehensive bill that collapsed three months ago and offering them as amendments to other measures moving on the floor.
The strategy for advancing selected provisions of the failed legislation on other bills is being crafted by Majority Whip Ricahrd J. Durbin.
Durbin is likely to offer an amendment to the defense authorization bill when debate begins next week that would attach legislation allowing children of illegal immigrants who entered the United States before age 16 and lived here at least five years to gain conditional legal status and eventual citizenship if they attend college or join the military for at least two years.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Friday, September 14, 2007
Pro-Dream Act groups are unlikely to have Martinez's support this time around. Durbin plans to offer it as an amendment to the Defense Department authorization bill. A spokesman for Martinez said Friday that the senator doesn't support ''adding immigration-related amendments'' to the defense bill.Sen. Sessions (R-AL) thinks that the "DREAM Act" could affect more than just students and could have further-reaching consequences (e.a.):
Among Sessions' complaints: it would eliminate a federal provision that discourages states from providing in-state tuition to undocumented immigrant students.
The act, he says, would ``allow future illegal aliens to qualify for in-state tuition even when it is not offered to citizens and legal permanent resident students living just across state lines.''
And Sessions argues that the act ''is not just for children and young adults.'' It only requires that the immigrant's illegal entry occur before they were 16 years old and says nothing about their current age.
Kris Kobach casts a skeptical eye at the "DREAM Act" and points out some ways in which it could offer a relatively broad sweep of legalization (e.a.):
To follow up on Kobach's claim about deportation--in Section 3304 of one draft of this Act:
(f) Removal of Alien.--The Secretary of Homeland Security may not remove any alien who has a pending application for conditional status under this title.How long could an application be pending for?
An earlier "California Dream Act" was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger (R). Will he sign this newer version?
The California Dream Act, SB 1 (Cedillo) allows
citizen and undocumented AB 540 students to apply for community college fee waivers and eligible for the Cal Grant which can be applied at U.S. colleges and universities. However, SB 1 specifically excludes students from the Competative Cal Grant Program. California
Was it maybe because Thompson has distinguished himself from the field by strongly opposing Bush's misguided illegal-immigrant semi-amnesty proposal, while Bell a) supported it; b) worked for La Raza, which helped draft it and c) erroneously (and self-servingly) declared to pro-legalization pundit Fred Barnes that the political tide had turned Bush's way? ...
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Senate Democrats plan to use the defense authorization bill next week to revive a provision from the failed immigration overhaul that would put some children of illegal immigrants on a path to citizenship.
Meanwhile, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., is working to bring to the floor another provision from the immigration bill (S 1639) that would create a guest worker program for up to 1.5 million agricultural workers (S 340).
Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., is expected to offer an amendment to the defense bill (HR 1585) that would attach legislation (S 774) to allow children of illegal immigrants who entered the United States before age 16 and lived here at least five years to gain conditional legal status and eventual citizenship if they attend college or join the military for at least two years.
Durbin said Wednesday he is working on the amendment and contacting colleagues to gauge support.
“The Department of Defense has endorsed this, and I think it would be of value,” he said in an interview.
Durbin said Feinstein is searching for the right vehicle. One possibility could be the upcoming five-year farm bill, which is expected to reach the Senate floor next month.
Sen. Sessions (R-AL) says that these measures could "
The reason for Sessions’ alarm was a July 25 colloquy in which Majority Leader
Harry Reid, D-Nev., assured Feinstein of a vote on the so-called AgJobs measure, which she introduced earlier this year as a freestanding bill ( S 340). “I will do everything I can to make sure it is part of the farm bill,” Reid said.
Sessions said Feinstein is negotiating a potential compromise with the ranking Republican on the Agriculture Committee, Sen.
Saxby Chamblissof Georgia.
Sen. Claire McCaskill indicated she might vote against Myers. McCaskill, D-Mo., said the administration is not doing enough to crack down on businesses that employ illegal workers.McCaskill says that she's been trying to get the statistics for employers "for months."
McCaskill challenged Myers to say how many employers, under her tenure, have faced criminal or administrative penalties for hiring illegal employees.
Myers did not provide a number and said law enforcement statistics do not break out records that way. She said businesses have paid $30 million in criminal fines and forfeitures this year, compared with just $600,000 in 2006.
"I agree with you on targeting egregious employers and getting U.S. attorneys to take these cases," Myers said. "The bottom line is that we are looking to change behavior."
But McCaskill said it was "outrageous" that Myers would appear at the hearing without having an answer.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Besides Schwarzenegger [R-CA], the letter was signed by Govs. Christine Gregoire (D-Wash.), Mitch Daniels (R-Ind.), Bill Ritter (D-Colo.), Dave Freudenthal (D-Wyo.), Deval Patrick (D-Mass.), Eliot Spitzer (D-N.Y.), Janet Napolitano (D-Ariz.), Jim Doyle (D-Wis.), Kathleen Sebelius (D-Kan.), Tim Pawlenty (R-Minn.), Jim Gibbons (R-Nev.) and Rick Perry (R-Texas).
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), today, sought court intervention to protect the 4th Amendment rights of all Americans and enjoin the government from illegally arresting and detaining workers including U.S. citizens and legal residents while at their workplace.The text of the lawsuit is here.
The lawsuit—filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas—names the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency as defendants. The suit calls for an injunction against the excessive, illegal and unnecessary worksite raids conducted by ICE agents.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
The 75-23 vote to bar the Department of Transportation from spending tax dollars on the project as part of a transportation funding bill increases the chances – but does not guarantee – that Congress will shut down the initiative.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration last Thursday began the program, which allows up to 100 Mexican carriers to send trucks throughout the United States.
While it appears likely the prohibition will survive in the final spending bill sent to President Bush, he has said he will veto the bill. That raises doubts about whether the effort to bar funding for the pilot program will succeed.
The initiative paves the way for pre-approved Mexican trucks to make deliveries anywhere in the United States, something that has not been widely permitted since 1982. U.S. trucks also are allowed to travel in Mexico under the arrangement.
The overall Transportation bill (H. R. 3074) passed the House 268-153. It is still being considered by the Senate.
WaPo has more--and considers some of the NAFTA implications of this measure.
*CORRECTION: I originally had details about a different amendment sponsored by Duncan Hunter. Apologies.
UPDATE: Before voting to stop funding for this program, the House had also voted 411-3 to extend this pilot program and set more standards for it:
In May, the House voted overwhelmingly, 411-3, to pass H.R. 1773, the Safe American Roads Act of 2007, legislation which would extend the pilot program to three years and ensure that DOT establishes a process to analyze the impact of allowing Mexican trucks on our nation's roadways, before the border is completely opened. Provisions were also included in the FY 2007 Iraq War Supplemental spending bill to impose strict measures to ensure that the pilot program adheres to safety and security guidelines and that its progress is assessed by an independent panel.
• One question about controversial U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham asked Republicans if they would re-elect him: 36 percent said yes, 24 percent said they'd vote for someone else, while 37 percent said their votes would depend on who runs against him.Fellow "grand bargain" backer McCain also doesn't sound too popular in SC according to this poll.
The Bush administration's program for building a virtual fence along the nation's borders will be delayed at least another month because of problems with integrating technology, and Homeland Security Department officials are now threatening to go back to the drawing board.
Homeland Security hired defense contracting giant Boeing Integrated Defense Systems to develop the so-called SBInet program, which is supposed to use technology, personnel and infrastructure to control the borders. Under the first phase of the contract, Boeing was supposed to develop an integrated system for 28 miles of border in Arizona by June.
But the department has refused to accept Boeing's solution because of ongoing technical glitches.
"I am not going to buy something with U.S. government money unless I'm satisfied it works in the real world," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told lawmakers during a hearing Wednesday. "And if it can't be made to work, I'm prepared to go and find something that will be made to work, although I'll obviously be disappointed."
Flow on, river! flow with the flood-tide, and ebb with the ebb-tide!--Walt Whitman, "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry"
Frolic on, crested and scallop-edg’d waves!
Gorgeous clouds of the sun-set! drench with your splendor me, or the men and women generations after me;
Cross from shore to shore, countless crowds of passengers!
Stand up, tall masts of Mannahatta!—stand up, beautiful hills of Brooklyn!
Throb, baffled and curious brain! throw out questions and answers!
Suspend here and everywhere, eternal float of solution!
Gaze, loving and thirsting eyes, in the house, or street, or public assembly!
Sound out, voices of young men! loudly and musically call me by my nighest name!
Live, old life! play the part that looks back on the actor or actress!
Play the old role, the role that is great or small, according as one makes it!
Monday, September 10, 2007
Sunday, September 9, 2007
In a letter to Pelosi Friday, Boehner asked for $1 million for professional investigative staff, consultants and other expenses. He also asked for an expansion of the probe to include “exceedingly controversial events in the House that occurred in close succession in early August,” such as the malfunction of the automatic voting system and alterations of the Congressional Record.
Pelosi made clear to Boehner two days earlier that she was in no mood for swelling the investigation into mini Watergate hearings.
“There is no reason for this review to become protracted as the committee’s charge is limited to a very small number of matters,” Pelosi wrote in a terse letter to Boehner Wednesday.
Boehner, however, sees the matter differently.
“Madame Speaker, our votes in the House are cast on behalf of the American people — and public confidence in the integrity of the legislative actions in the House can only be restored by fully and aggressively investigating the circumstances surrounding each of these deeply disturbing events,” wrote Boehner. “Simply put, the Select Committee must follow the evidence wherever it leads — and it must have all the tools necessary to complete that critically important task.”
If he is planning on pushing this matter--and trying for "mini Watergate" proportions--could his placing of LaTourette and Hulshof on the committee be an attempt to strengthen a sense of legitimacy for its investigations?
UPDATE (9/10): Hulshof is definitely playing up his past support of ethics sanctions against Tom DeLay:
Hulshof said the situation reminded him of his tenure on the ethics committee, during which he and his Republican colleagues chose to admonish former Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas).
“I will tell you personally, being in the majority, that was a very difficult and painful process, to have to look at one of your own and to call to task, but to call it as you saw it,” Hulshof said.
Nearly all the candidates committed to overhauling immigration laws in their first year in office, days after Republican candidates accused each other in a debate of supporting "amnesty."According to the NYT, there were some other criticisms raised about the Republican response to the "grand bargain":
"We all know that this has become a contentious political issue," Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) said. "It is being demagogued, and I believe that it is being used to bash immigrants, and that must stop. The Republican candidates need to understand that they are doing a great disservice to our country."
The three leading candidates, Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois and former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, had especially sharp criticism for leaders of the Republican Party. They expressed concerns that Republicans were enabling anti-immigrant feelings and even racist attitudes, or at least not taking a tougher stand against them.
Later, Mrs. Clinton added: “There are many in the political and frankly in the broadcast world today who take a particular aim at our Latino population. I think it’s very destructive.” A spokesman for Mrs. Clinton said after the debate that she was referring to the CNN anchor Lou Dobbs and the radio host Rush Limbaugh, among others.
“That’s what’s been missing from presidential leadership — explaining to the American people from all walks of life that our separate struggles are one,” Mr. Obama said. “A president has to not only speak up forcefully against anti-immigrant sentiment and racist sentiment, but also make sure that all workers are being tended to.”
Mr. Edwards put the blame on President Bush for divisive attitudes that can lead to anti-Hispanic sentiment, saying he “uses absolutely every tool available to him politically to divide the country.” Mr. Edwards added, “This needs to be brought to an end.”
The NYT also reports that Dennis Kucinich was alone in openly advocating for Spanish as an official language for the United States.
Meanwhile, Christina Bellantoni at the Washington Times reveals some of the technical difficulties faced by the press during this debate:
But 90 seconds before the forum began tonight, the Media Room had no sound - not in Spanish, English or French. Nada.
Spanish- and English-speaking reporters in the room erupted in a panic, sending University of Miami staff scrambling to try and fix the feed. What most reporters heard for the first 16 minutes of the debate was static - both from the closed television feed and from the translation device.
Under the government's new "points" system, there are three main categories of immigrants coming to Britain from outside the European Union to work — highly skilled, skilled and low-skilled workers. The first two groups eventually can settle permanently in Britain; the third group cannot.
Highly skilled migrants have been forced to learn English as a condition of entry since last December. However, Mr. Brown and Mrs. Smith will announce this week that the condition will be extended to all skilled migrants, who numbered 96,000 last year.