Saturday, November 10, 2007

NY Gov. Spitzer (D) doesn't sound too optimistic about his plan to offer licenses to the "undocumented":

"We'll work and see where things go," said Spitzer, noting several times "it's a tough issue."

At one point, as he continued to defend the plan, he said, "as of now I think it's the right idea from a security perspective."

"The way policy gets created, you put out ideas. Most of them we've succeeded in implementing," he said.

"Sometimes you put out an idea and there isn't so much support and you try to persuade people and you see where you go. This is the way the world works."

Spitzer's Homeland Security director, Michael Balboni, originally conceded to The Post yesterday that while the administration is "not there" in terms of pulling the plug on the plan, "after all the things that have gone on, you'd have to be completely tone deaf not to pay attention. There are lots of discussions going on."

(Via JammieWearingFool.)

Friday, November 9, 2007

Thompson, Romney, and Giuliani have agreed to participate in the Univision Spanish-language debate in December. McCain, Paul, and Hunter had already agreed, so they'll be there, too. Huckabee and Tancredo are not currently confirmed to attend.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

House Democrats--to the surprise of some--are putting forward another mandatory-withdrawal-from-Iraq bill.
In the wake of HB1804, further immigration-related measures are proposed in Oklahoma:
The author of the state's immigration bill said Wednesday he will file legislation seeking to make English the official language in Oklahoma and to give law officers the right to seize assets, such as a vehicle or a home, when used to transport or house illegal immigrants.
The Politico reports on some Democratic strategies for the 2008 Congressional elections.
$3 Billion No More: Earlier this year, the Senate vote 95-1 to include $3 billion for increased border security in a defense bill. In the closed-door negotiations, the $3 billion has now been removed from the final version of this bill. Some senators had a press conference about this removal of defense funding:
“It is outrageous that the leadership yanked this critical funding from the final bill,” said Dole. “The Senate spoke loud and clear on this issue, and now a select few have decided to ignore the number one lesson learned from the Senate’s failed immigration bill – that Americans simply don’t have confidence that their government is serious about securing our borders and enforcing our laws.”

The $3 billion would fund border security and enforcement measures, including 700 miles of border fencing, 45,000 detention beds, and training and tools for local law enforcement to handle criminal illegal aliens. As a result of Dole’s leadership, North Carolina is the first state in the nation to have a statewide partnership and plan for sheriffs to coordinate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. This plan, which is in its early implementation stages, will ensure that North Carolina sheriffs can readily access the tools that they need to identify, apprehend and remove undocumented aliens who have self-identified themselves by committing crimes.

Dole took part in a press conference today with Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Jim Demint (R-S.C.), Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.).
There's some more information here. Sen. Graham says he's thinking of ways to try to add the $3 billion back to the bill. One wonders who was behind this removal....

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Sen. Schumer (D-NY) doesn't seem to give a very clear answer on whether he supports Gov. Spitzer's plan to offer licenses to the "undocumented."
Rasmussen has a new poll up: 77% of Americans oppose drivers licenses for the "undocumented."

Monday, November 5, 2007

Some say the border fence is "working." (H/T Hot Air)
Lobby, Lobby: The Hill reports that Sen. Feinstein (D-CA) has announced that she will not introduce AgJOBS as an amendment to the farm bill. Meanwhile, it seems as though some corporations have (to the disappointment of the unions) so far successfully fought off a measure that would require companies to label the country of origin for processed foods. Sen. Brown (D-OH) may be trying to revive this measure:

The AFL-CIO argued that safety measures must keep pace with the rising imports of processed foods. The union’s letter cited reports from January and March of this year by the Food and Drug Administration that found shipments of Hershey’s Kisses, believed to be contaminated by salmonella, were refused entry at the border with Mexico.

Harkin also received a letter from the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM), an AFL-CIO affiliate. The union’s letter brings up a June 2007 Consumers Union poll in which 92 percent of Americans said they wanted to know where their food was produced.

U.S. food manufacturers have continued to shift operations to low-wage countries, the union said.

“Thousands of BCTGM members are losing their jobs as a result of this shift in production,” reads the letter.

Both letters asked Harkin to fold a bill by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) into farm policy that requires origin labeling for processed foods. But Brown’s language did not make into the bill, according to Gibson.

The Ohio Democrat is not expected to offer it as an amendment to the farm bill either, according to one of his aides.

Gibson hopes to build a coalition of consumer advocacy groups and family farm organizations to push for Brown’s bill once the Senate finishes with farm legislation.
Geraghty wonders how much immigration might play a role in tomorrow's state elections in Virginia.
As the fate of an extension of a "guest worker" plan for certain seasonal workers seems in doubt, others wonder if an agricultural "guest worker"/legalization package could become part of the upcoming debate on the farm bill in the US Senate.
The Center for Immigration Studies has a new report on farm labor in the US. The report's skeptical about the claims of a "labor shortage" in farming. Some key details:
  • The average farm worker makes $9.06 an hour, compared to $16.75 for non-farm production workers.
  • Real wages for farm workers increased one-half of one percent (.5 percent) a year on average between 2000 and 2006. If there were a shortage, wages would be rising much more rapidly.
  • Farm worker earnings have risen more slowly in California and Florida (the states with the most fruit and vegetable production) than in the United States as a whole.
  • The average household spends only about $1 a day on fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Labor costs comprise only 6 percent of the price consumers pay for fresh produce. Thus, if farm wages were allowed to rise 40 percent, and if all the costs were passed on to consumers, the cost to the average household would be only about $8 a year.
  • Mechanization could offset higher labor costs. After the “Bracero” Mexican guestworker program ended in the mid-1960s, farm worker wages rose 40 percent, but consumer prices rose relatively little because the mechanization of some crops dramatically increased productivity.