Saturday, August 18, 2007

Rasmussen releases a new poll showing majority-level support for cutting off federal funds for "sanctuary cities," working on a fence on the US-Mexico border, and issuing foreign visitors an identification card:

Fifty-eight percent (58%) of voters nationwide favor cutting off federal funds for “sanctuary cities” that offer protection to illegal immigrants. A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that just 29% are opposed. Republican Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney proposed such a plan earlier this week.

By a 71% to 16% margin, voters also favor a proposal that would require all foreign visitors to carry a universal identification card as proposed by another GOP Presidential hopeful, Rudy Giuliani. Seventy-four percent (74%) also favor the creation and funding of a central database to track all foreign visitors in the United States.

By a 56% to 31% margin, voters want the government to continue building a fence along the Mexican border.

GOP voters even more strongly believe in these policies:

A quick look at the opinions of Republican voters makes it easy to understand why Romney and Giuliani are so eager to engage on this issue. Seventy-three percent (73%) of GOP voters favor cutting off funds for sanctuary cities and 75% want the government to keep building the border fence. Eighty-one percent (81%) favor a universal identification card for foreign visitors and 88% of the GOP faithful support a central database to track all foreign visitors.

By a 58% to 33% margin, Republican voters also agree with Giuliani’s assertion that it’s possible to end illegal immigration. Democrats and unaffiliated voters are evenly divided on that question.

In a NYT story on the various strategies and tactics of presidential campaigns this cycle, an interesting observation:

All the candidates try to anticipate questions and plot their answers. So when Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama clashed over foreign policy at a recent event — with a comment from him that he would be willing to hold diplomatic talks with the leaders of hostile nations, and one from her that it would be a mistake to do so without preconditions — the dustup was a product of preparation and strategic decisions on both sides.

Mr. Obama was primed for the question: Aides had seen it among the videotaped questions submitted on YouTube to CNN for the debate. Mr. Obama and his advisers did not script an answer beforehand, aides say, but they were all clear that if the question were asked, Mr. Obama would speak about why he would break with the Bush administration’s diplomatic approach.

So it seems as though Obama did know about the "Will you meet with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea?" question in advance. There had been some debate about whether Obama's (unequivocal and seemingly unconditional) "yes" was a prepared answer--and, from this report, it sounds like it was at least somewhat prepared (or at least the question wasn't a complete surprise).

Friday, August 17, 2007

US Immigration officials say they will not cease their enforcement efforts for the 2010 census:
"We won't entertain any request to scale back our efforts," Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Kelly Nantel said Friday.
"I don't want there to be any question in the American people's mind as to whether or not ICE would suspend enforcement efforts," Nantel said. "The answer to that is emphatically no."
WaPo and the Politico offer some reporting on Fred Thompson's trip to Iowa; the Post wonders about the "lateness" of his entry, and the Politico's Richard Allen Greene has a snappy opener:
Fred Thompson let another silk drift gently to the straw-covered ground of the Iowa State Fair on Friday as he continued his Dance of the Seven Veils toward declaring his candidacy for president.
There seems to be some growing online anger (including calls for his resignation) about RNC Chairman Mel Martinez's derogatory comments about those Republicans who opposed the "grand bargain" (such as Romney). Meanwhile, Jim Boulet reminds readers about some of Martinez's commitments from the past:
[Martinez] said he was committed to NOT use his position as General Chairman to push any issue nationally or advance his personal agenda through the RNC.
Do his recent remarks constitute "using his position as General Chairman to push any issue nationally"? Are these notes of anger the opening salvo of a wider push against Martinez? Or will this controversy die down?
The Politico has a roundup of some reactions to the new worker-verification rules.
Australia changes its immigration system:
The changes - which will target workers in the medical profession, the IT sector and tradesmen and women - will result in the country's points-based immigration system being adapted to make it easier for fluent English-speaking professionals between the ages of 30 and 35 to gain work visas.
The president of the Food and Commercial Workers union is not happy with the tactics of immigration raids and wants congressional hearings into them.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

It seems as though the prosecution for violations of the new worker-verification rules may depend, in part, upon citizen tips (e.a.)
A week after unveiling a major crackdown on businesses that hire illegal immigrants, the Bush administration is now conceding that its most heavily touted weapon in pursuing employers - an assault against Social Security fraud - will be nearly useless.

That's because when the Social Security Administration warns employers about bogus identification numbers, it remains barred from also alerting the Department of Homeland Security, the agency that's supposed to hand out penalties.

In addition, federal promises to hold companies responsible for hiring illegal immigrants could potentially be stymied by several other issues: Employers are still not required to check a new employee's Social Security number against a free federal database, there could be long gaps between when an employee is hired to when the warnings are issued each year, and there is no way to follow up on employees who have been fired. In many cases, illegal workers could still hop from job to job without being caught.

The only way the government can punish an employer - with fines or criminal charges - is if someone first tips them off about potential fraud and then, during the course of the investigation, authorities discover evidence that Social Security warnings have been ignored.

Are these tips effective? Some DHS and ICE folks say they are:

"There are a number of people who do come forward and tell us an employer is not conforming with the law," said Veronica Valdez, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security. "While we don't get information directly from the Social Security Administration, we do see that we get a lot of tips."

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the department's investigative branch, will aggressively work off such tips - using, among other tactics, raids - with an eye for those who are knowingly hiring illegal immigrants, ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice said.

Time will tell what the effects of this new policy are--though some wonder how much last week's announcement was merely a "scare tactic." An attempt to inspire a renewed push for "comprehensive immigration reform"?

This story also says:

Still, leaders of California industries that rely heavily on illegal labor, like agriculture and restaurants, say they aren't taking any chances. Trade groups that represent the sectors said they have strongly recommended that employers follow the new rules, regardless of the government's ability to trace its own threats.

Giuliani defends his immigration policies as mayor of NYC.
Some judicial polling points. A new Quinnipiac poll was released today that asked respondents about their opinion on the recent Supreme Court cases, Parents Involved in Community Schools Inc. v. Seattle School District and Meredith v. Jefferson County (KY) Board of Education, which limited the way in which public schools could use race to shape student enrollment. It reports a majority in favor of this decision:
39. As you may know, the Supreme Court recently ruled that public schools may not consider an individual's race when deciding which students are assigned to specific schools. Do you agree or disagree with this ruling?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind    

Agree 71% 79% 64% 71%
Disagree 24 17 30 24
DK/NA 5 3 6 5

However, a Washington Post-ABC News poll taken in July shows a different result:

43. As you may know, the Supreme Court recently restricted how local school boards can use race to assign children to schools. Some argue (this is a significant setback for efforts to diversify public schools), others say (race should not be used in school assignments). On balance, do you approve or disapprove of this decision?

             Approve     Disapprove     No opinion
7/21/07 40 56 4
Why this discrepancy--71% v. 40%? The Post speculates it's because the Post's question includes "context"--"Some argue (this is a significant setback for efforts to diversify public schools), others say (race should not be used in school assignments)."--while the Quinnipiac poll does not. While this "context" inclusion may indeed have shaped the response of individuals to this question, couldn't one perhaps also wonder if changes in date might also explain part of this difference? The Quinnipiac poll was taken from Aug. 7-13 (a few weeks after the Post poll), so couldn't another possibility be that Americans thought more about this ruling and decided they agreed with it? So both polls could be accurate for their respective polling periods--but some Americans might have changed their minds. Maybe? Perhaps another new poll will come out to confirm or disprove this speculation?
Do US Census officials want a hold on immigration raids during the time of the 2010 census?

The Census Bureau wants immigration agents to suspend enforcement raids during the 2010 census so the government can better count illegal immigrants.

Raids during the population count would make an already distrustful group even less likely to cooperate with government workers who are supposed to include them, the Census Bureau's second-ranking official said in an Associated Press interview.

Deputy Director Preston Jay Waite said immigration enforcement officials did not conduct raids for several months before and after the 2000 census. But today's political climate is even more volatile on the issue of illegal immigration.

In a Washington Post story on the complications of Romney's and Giuliani's approaches to immigration, Dan Balz offers this political speculation:
Romney's advisers have two goals. The first is to narrow the race as much as possible to a contest between Romney and Giuliani. The second is to cast Romney as the conservative and Giuliani as out of the GOP mainstream. They hope that will open up a path to the nomination by allowing Romney to seize the conservative mantle before voters have a chance to make a real judgment about the conservative bona fides of Fred Thompson, who won't enter the race officially before September.
The debate over immigration between Romney and Giuliani does seem to have, for the moment, somewhat concentrated the media on these two candidates; after all, the media does seem to like a good public spat between politicians.

Giuliani expatiates on immigration reform (e.a.):

I [BALZ] asked him after his exchange with Redeker about his broader views, particularly his willingness to allow many illegal immigrants to remain in the country and become citizens. That, I suggested, sounded very similar to the kind of comprehensive immigration package President Bush and John McCain pushed with no success earlier this year.

"I don't think comprehensive reform is politically possible right now," Giuliani replied. "I've come to the conclusion in studying this now for six months or eight months... It seems to me you first control the borders. Give everyone a little relief from the debate for awhile. Then we revisit in it a situation of more order, more confidence the border can be controlled. Then we have to say what's the best answer to deal with the people who are here."

When does he think this "comprehensive reform" will be more possible? What would this "reform" entail?
An interesting David Broder column talking about some of the issues Fred Thompson may focus on in his campaign.
Though some stories have focused on the anxiety of employers over the announced new worker verification rules, some employers are, according to some sources, more hopeful about the new rules:

Several employer groups supported the new no-match rules, saying the revisions provide a set of guidelines that employers have never had.

“Employers never really knew what to do when they received these letters, so they generally just ignored them,” said Mike Aitken, director of governmental affairs for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). “The new rules now provide a clear outline of what employers must do when they get these letters and how to comply with the law.”

While we often hear about the effects of immigration policy on agriculture and construction, there's some controversy in Canada about immigration and exotic dancers: could a proposed Canadian law limit immigration work permits for exotic dancers?
Increasing--or at least persistent--tension in the Republican party over immigration? The Washinton Times has a story today about RNC Chair Mel Martinez criticizing Giuliani and Romney (and maybe others) for their opposition to the "grand bargain." The St. Petersburg Times's summary of Martinez's remarks:

"Presidential contests are about leadership. ... It's about leading on the tough issues," Martinez told the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce. "It was easy to say, 'This wasn't good enough, this isn't right, I don't agree with Martinez.' ... But at the end of the day what is your answer? How would you solve this?"

In his remarks, Martinez did not directly refer to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney or former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, but he later suggested both candidates, who were critics of the controversial Senate immigration proposal, had mischaracterized the plan.

Well, Giuliani has announced his own plans (though some opponents of the "grand bargain" are skeptical about these plans).
Random theory: if some Bush insiders believe (as some critics believe) that Giuliani's immigration policy may be, in significant ways, a continuation of the president's, could this criticism of Giuliani be an attempt to make it seem as though he is "tougher" on immigration enforcement: many critics of the administration's approach to immigration policy have focused on the lack of enforcement and the president's attempt to offer a "pathway to citizenship" to the "undocumented," so if the Bush-picked Martinez is criticizing Giuliani (who also supports a "pathway" and has been criticized for his immigration record while mayor of NYC), then he must be "tougher" on immigration enforcement! This criticism could give Giuliani an appearance of difference of opinion with the president over immigration (something, it seems, that much of the Republican base--and, perhaps, the nation as a whole--would like)--even if there may not be that much of a difference in actual policy. But there may also be significant differences; time will have to tell. Maybe Giuliani's immigration advisers will weigh in on this issue.
Of course, Martinez may just be angry about the difficulties the "grand bargain" has faced and be striking out at two opponents of the "bargain." In any case, his remarks do show some tensions in the national GOP over the "grand bargain" and immigration policy as a whole...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

CQ has an interesting list of 25 vulnerable House seats for Republicans and 25 vulnerable Democratic House seats. Many of the House seats--on both sides--were decided in 2006 by a few percentage points. It seems like one of the noteworthy questions of the 2008 House race will be to see how safe many of the newly-elected 2006 Democrats are in their incumbency--though the GOP is also looking at some seats whose holders were not first elected in 2006. Democrats seem to have their eyes on a number of Republican House seats in New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania; Republicans may hope to gain a number of seats in Indiana, and it doesn't look like they intend to give up New York and New England (they seem to have their eyes on seats in Connecticut and New Hampshire)--they also have their eyes on seats in NM/AZ and Georgia.
Sen. Graham (R-SC) assures everyone that he hasn't given up hope on "immigration reform":

It's those Republicans Graham is talking about when he says there are conservatives in his corner and advocating immigration reform.

"The problem doesn't get solved by saying no (to reform)," Graham said. "That's why I'm going to get back up on the horse. As a U.S. citizen, I feel I owe more to South Carolinians than to say `no.' "

The Politico reports that the administration's announced new employer-verification rules might face some resistance:
Laura Reiff, co-chairwoman of the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition, said her organization had sought support from Congress to block funding for the enforcement of the no-match rule, which would require employers to fire workers unable to clear up discrepancies between their Social Security numbers and government records.

“But with Congress being so gun-shy about opposing anything dealing with enforcement, we didn’t get very far,” Reiff said.

So Reiff, along with Monica Guizar, an attorney with the National Immigration Law Center, told immigration advocates on a conference call Wednesday that they were exploring other options. Among the ideas under consideration are seeking approval of a resolution under the Congressional Review Act, a rarely used tool that allows Congress to review and overrule regulations, or raising the question of whether the rules violate the Regulatory Flexibility Act, which require agencies to consider the impact of their regulatory actions on small businesses.
So it looks like Congress rebuffed an attempt to deny funding for these new rules (I wonder whom they "didn't get very far" with). Could these other tactics have much success? From reports that I've seen, it looks like the Congressional Review Act has been used very rarely (only one successful use as of March 1, 2005). Are there any other legal challenges in the works?
A new report may show some lack of cooperation between ICE and the FBI on terrorism-related matters--seemingly because some ICE agents don't like to work with the FBI.
In CQ's report on Hastert's decision to retire from Congress, it offers this paragraph on the way, partly under Hastert, caucus leaders in the House were able to concentrate power:

Under Hastert, a Republican-written term limit on the Speakership was abandoned even as six-year limits on chairmen were kept in place. The move solidified the caucus-elected leaders as permanent power centers. Meanwhile, the seniority system eroded. When chairmen cycled out they were not necessarily replaced by the next-most-senior member on the committee. Instead, they were forced to compete with each other by proving their loyalty to the party through their campaign fundraising efforts and voting records.

The chairmen and subcommittee chairmen owed their allegiance to the leadership, which in turn was elected by the caucus at large. The system, which Democrats have largely followed, gave tremendous authority to party leaders to develop and deliver a legislative agenda.

One wonders what this shift away from the seniority system might mean. Could it lead to a more dynamic House, in which new players continually jockey with old players for this newly centralized power? This shift might--in addition to giving party leaders more power--also make the position of party leader a little more unstable; with fewer limits on the power of party leaders, others might find this position more desirable and easier to achieve in the absence of a seniority system. And various congressmen and congresswomen might be more inclined to engage in party leader conflicts (since their positions would even more depend on these conflicts). Of course, with these new controls, the right party leader under the right circumstance could exercise even more rigid control over the House than under the earlier, seniority-balanced system. And you could have both: rigid control with some level of uncertainty bubbling beneath the system. Or so it seems to me at the moment...
An interesting NYT story on the way Fred Thompson's "testing-the-waters" campaign has used the internet.
A WaPo story on the immigration debate between Giuliani and Romney.
The Washington Times reports on some possible corruption in US federal immigration services (H/T Bryan at Hot Air):
criminal investigations report says several U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services employees are accused of aiding Islamic extremists with identification fraud and of exploiting the visa system for personal gain.

The confidential 2006 USCIS report said that despite the severity of the potential security breaches, most are not investigated "due to lack of resources" in the agency's internal affairs department.


According to the document, other potential security failures include reports that:

Employees are sharing detailed information on internal security measures with people outside the agency.

A Lebanese citizen bribed an immigration officer with airline tickets for visa benefits.

A USCIS officer in Harlington, Texas, sold immigration documents for $10,000 to as many as 20 people.


Last week, The Times disclosed a confidential DEA report substantiating the link between Islamic extremists and Mexican drug cartels. The 2005 DEA report states that Middle Eastern operatives, in U.S. sleeper cells, are working in conjunction with the cartels to fund terrorist organizations overseas. Several lawmakers promised congressional hearings based on the information disclosed in the DEA documents.

The DEA report also stated that Middle Eastern extremists living in the U.S. — who speak Spanish, Arabic and Hebrew fluently — are posing as Hispanic nationals.

USCIS Director Emilio Gonzalez in March told Congress that he could not establish how many terror suspects or persons of special interest have been granted immigration benefits.
Some are concerned about the national security implications of this potential corruption.
Sen. Chambliss (R-GA) also thinks that these new enforcement rules could be used to support a "guest worker" program (H/T a reader):
“This approach is probably the best approach right now. It may move us toward an overall immigration reform package down the road, but if we have border security first, I really do think that the American people are going to immediately demand in the near term a good temporary worker program and figure out some way to accommodate these people who are here illegally. I don’t know what it would be,” Chambliss said.
He also made some comments about streamlining certain worker visa programs and doing away with "birthright citizenship."

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Kaus isn't the only one who thinks that the new employer verification rules may be used to support a renewed push for "comprehensive immigration reform"; Sen. Craig (R-ID) has reportedly claimed that "[p]ressure to pass immigration reform will intensify as millions of undocumented workers lose jobs as a result of a crackdown by the Social Security Administration." Meanwhile, Chertoff still hopes for "comprehensive reform."
The Hill has a story about some of the preparations leading up to (what could be) a battle over Iraq policy after Gen. Petraeus makes his report on the "surge." It does look like some Democratic leaders (e.g. Speaker Pelosi) will argue that, despite any seeming military success of the "surge," the "surge" was really about political reconciliation--and, since they think no (or at least insufficient) progress has been made on that front, they will continue to argue for forced timetable for withdrawal. We'll see if that persuades the Blue Dogs; we'll also have to see how Republicans organize their strategy.
Giuliani reveals his new immigration proposals:

The Mayor’s commitment recognizes that illegal immigration is an issue of national security for America and change begins with securing our borders because the federal government has failed to solve the problem. To help protect our nation in the Terrorists’ War on Us, Rudy Giuliani is committed to ending illegal immigration by enforcing immigration laws and controlling America’s borders. The Mayor’s commitment calls for deporting any illegal alien who commits a felony and building both a physical and a high-tech border fence, while deploying a larger and better-trained border patrol.

Rudy’s plan also includes the tamper-proof Secure Authorized Foreign Entry Card (SAFE Card) for all foreign workers and students, a single national database of non-citizens to track their status, and tracking those who leave the country. In addition, Giuliani will encourage Americanization by requiring immigrants to truly read, write and speak English.

According to the AP (e.a.):

Giuliani wants a tamperproof ID card that includes fingerprinting for everyone entering the country and a central database to track when they leave.

The ID card and other immigration proposals have been part of Giuliani's campaign speeches for several months. He says he would allow a pathway to citizenship only for illegal immigrants who identify themselves as illegal, who learn English and who go to the back of the line to apply.

We'll have to see if Giuliani releases any other details of his plan for a "pathway to citizenship." And if any other candidates have anything to say about these plans.
The Border Patrol is looking for some agents to volunteer to help build parts of the border fence.
More on Giuliani's immigration advisers:
Serving as the Mayor’s Chief Homeland Security Advisor is Robert Bonner, former Commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency and former Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Agency. Stewart Verdery, Jr., the former Assistant Secretary for Policy and Planning at the Department of Homeland Security, will serve as Senior Immigration Advisor. Other members of the advisory board include Victor Cerda, Michael Petrucelli, Nicolle Sciara Rippeon, Ray Shepherd, and Jan Ting.
The Washington Times has a story up about how Giuliani's advisory board has a number of former Homeland Security/Border Protection officials on it and says that these individuals are "pro-enforcement."

But what else do these individuals support? I've done a little bit of research on the web, and here's what I've been able to find out about some of them.

Robert Bonner spoke in favor of a "guest worker" program in 2004 (claiming that this program would increase border security)--though he still held his official position as head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection then, so maybe he believed he had to support the president's position. Though Bonner expressed some skepticism about the "Minutemen" patrolling the border, he later showed some interest in considering having the Border Patrol coordinate with volunteer citizen groups.

In addition to testifying in favor of a "guest worker" program (and otherwise speaking in favor of such a program), Stewart Verdery pretty much supported the Senate's 2006 attempt at "comprehensive immigration reform" (saying that its approach was "correct"). In a 2006 column at the National Review, he urged for passing a reform that allowed for increased visas for foreign workers, increased border security, and legalization of the "undocumented." He claimed that the lack of "reform" was, in fact, "another day of amnesty by default." I don't know where he ultimately stood on the "grand bargain"--but, on June 15, he did write in support of the "grand bargain"'s requirements for the use of Real ID.

In a (somewhat well-known) July 2006 letter, 33 individuals (who are usually associated with the right)--such as Jack Kemp and Bill Kristol--wrote in support of "comprehensive" reform. Verdery and Michael Petrucelli were both signatories of this letter. This letter declared that the US needed a
comprehensive solution, one that includes border security, interior enforcement, a guest worker program and status for the illegal immigrants already here.
Here's an interview with Victor Cerda in which he stresses the importance of increased enforcement--but claims that we need to "look at" a "guest worker" program. He also seems to believe that our immigration system is "broken."

Jan Ting was an opponent of the Senate's 2006 attempt at "comprehensive immigration reform"--calling it an "amnesty" measure--and did not seem to support attempts to legalize the "undocumented." In his 2006 Senate run in Delaware, he was endorsed by Tancredo's Team America PAC and by Mark Krikorian. Certainly, he spoke in favor of "enforcement" in the Washington Times story mentioned above. In May 2007, he testified before the House against a legalization program and a "guest worker" program--but in favor of increased enforcement and moving towards a skill-based immigration system.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Chris Cillizza reports that Giuliani is planning on announcing the creation of an "Immigration Advisory Board" today and further outlining his position on immigration--perhaps as a result of Romney's attacks on Giuliani's record on immigration.
UPDATE: Guiliani announces his board of advisers:
Serving as the Mayor’s Chief Homeland Security Advisor is Robert Bonner, former Commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency and former Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Agency. Stewart Verdery, Jr., the former Assistant Secretary for Policy and Planning at the Department of Homeland Security, will serve as Senior Immigration Advisor. Other members of the advisory board include Victor Cerda, Michael Petrucelli, Nicolle Sciara Rippeon, Ray Shepherd, and Jan Ting.
CQ has more on the proposed rule to require contractors with the federal government to use the E-Verify system to ensure the legality of their workers.
Norman Ornstein has a column up in which he is very critical of both Republican and Democratic leadership in the House over the vote "meltdown" that occurred before the congressional recess--and suggests that much of the reporting of this issue has been misinformed. He offers this summary of voting procedure in the House:

First, some basics on rules and procedures on the House floor. Contrary to what many Republicans said, and many reporters wrote, there is no such thing as "gaveling the vote." The gavel, for purposes of finality, simply is irrelevant. Gavels get banged by presiding officers all the time, including during votes, to restore order or before an announcement. What matters is the announcement from the chairman. Even an announcement can change if new information comes in on a timely basis. The occupants of the chair often make premature announcements and then update them.

What about the voting screen? It is even more irrelevant than the gavel. Presiding officers are told before they take on the role to ignore the screens, which are not official or relevant information for a vote count by the chairman.

So what matters? The sheets compiled by tally clerks, who give them to the presiding officer with running counts; when the counts are complete--and they may be viewed as complete but then change as Members arrive two minutes late or signal that they are going to switch--the chairman announces the total. The final tally on a vote can come only when the chairman, using information from the tally clerks, reads a final vote and moves on to other business.

Thus the notion that at one moment frozen in time, when the gavel banged and the vote screen read 215-213, the vote was final--as if it were a basketball game that ended when the horn sounded and the final shot had not yet left the shooter's hand--simply is bogus. Standard practice for a 15-minute vote is to take an extra minute or two to let stragglers vote and switches to occur--but only for at most a handful of minutes to accommodate those on their way to vote or signaling a desire to change, not to cut them short or, at the other end, to prolong a vote so leaders can change the clear outcome.

He also cites some Republican actions from the past:
Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who was one of former Majority Leader Tom DeLay's (R-Texas) major allies, said after the fiasco, "Never once in the majority did we ever try to steal a vote." Whoa, remember the three-hour vote on the Medicare prescription drug bill, during which an absolute majority of the House, 218, voted "nay," which was ignored by the chair and the majority and resulted in several rare rebukes by the ethics committee? Or the occasion in 1995, when Republican John Linder (Ga.) declared a vote over when several Democrats were openly and actively clamoring in the well to record their votes--a vote that was vacated by unanimous consent the next day after an uproar?
In a column on the federal government's "new rules" for immigration enforcement, Krikorian draws attention to another considered government rule:
Along the same lines is another, less-noticed measure in last week’s announcement. The administration says it will begin to draft a new rule to require all federal contractors to use the online system, redubbed E-Verify, that enables employers to check if new hires are authorized to work in the United States. This probably won’t identify a large number of illegal workers, but it will change the environment, representing an important step toward internalizing legal status as a labor standard.
Rasmussen suggests that there may be significant public support for the newly announced employer verification rules--and would support other "enforcement" measures:

Seventy-nine percent (79%) of American adults favor a proposal requiring employers to fire workers who falsify identity documents. A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that just 9% are opposed while 12% are not sure.

The survey was conducted as the Bush Administration announced a series of proposals designed to crack down on illegal immigration. One proposal would require companies to fire workers if proper documents are not provided by the employee within 90 days. While this proposal has upset some immigrant-rights leaders, most Americans would like to go even further—74% believe that if a person wants to rent an apartment they should be required to provide documents proving they are in the country legally. Just 17% are opposed.

This level of support contrasts somewhat to the public's reaction to the "grand bargain." But the public is still skeptical of the federal government's response to illegal immigration:
The government currently has little credibility in this arena. Just 12% of Americans believe the federal government is doing enough to secure the border and reduce illegal immigration. Seventy-one percent (71%) say it is not doing enough.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A money game snapshot. An interesting table of candidate contributions (released on July 30) from the Center for Responsive Politics (I've slightly edited this table to make it fit):


% from Donors
of $200 or less

% from Donors
of $2,300+

% from Donors
of $4,600

Obama, Barack




Clinton, Hillary




Romney, Mitt




Giuliani, Rudy




McCain, John




Edwards, John




Both New York candidates--Clinton and Giuliani--seem to have a relatively high reliance upon donors giving the maximum $4,600. (Romney's numbers are a little skewed because 20% of his contributions so far have been from himself, but he doesn't have that many $200-or-less donors, either.) Indeed, Clinton's reliance on high-level donors (44% of her individual contributions coming from those giving the most allowed by law) far supersedes that of any other candidate at the moment (Giuliani, her closest rival in this regard, only has one half of that dependence at 22%). Among the front-running declared candidates, Obama has the most dependence on the $200-and-under demographic on the Democratic side, and McCain has the most on the Republican side. The declared candidate with the most dependence on the $200-and-under crowd? Republican Tom Tancredo: 79% of his individual contributions are $200 and under.
These figures are likely to change, but this does provide an interesting snapshot for the moment.
Sen. McCain (R-AZ) hears from some New Hampshire voters on immigration--and they seem unhappy with his support of the "grand bargain."