By Doug Porter
The body of law and administrative policy defining reality for the nation’s 12 million immigrants has once again risen to the top of our national “do-list”. The Republicans in Congress see it as yet another opportunity to thwart the administration, saying the latest push for action is simply an attempt to draw attention away from more “pressing issues” like Benghazi and Healthcare.gov.
Last week President Obama urged House Republicans to act on immigration, saying: “Democratic leaders have introduced a bill in the House that is similar to the bipartisan Senate bill. So now it’s up to Republicans in the House to decide whether reform becomes a reality or not.”
The Los Angeles Times and the New York Times both weighed in with editorials over the weekend on the subject of immigration.
From the LA Times:
The reality is that the current immigration system isn’t working for American employers, who rely on the low-wage labor that comes in over the border, or for the millions of immigrants stuck in the underground economy. That’s why a broad coalition of religious, law enforcement and business leaders has repeatedly called for a compromise.
Immigration reform can still be achieved, if only GOP lawmakers stop stalling, stop grandstanding and get to work.
The NY Times also called out the Obama administration’s shortcomings, saying the incoming homeland security secretary presents an opportunity to ease up on draconian deportation policies. Still, it takes two to tango, and Sen. Marco Rubio’s declaration this weekend that he’d no longer support a comprehensive bill only makes things more difficult.
From The NY Times editorial:
The talk in Washington has focused on how, after the shutdown debacle, Republicans and Democrats might exploit immigration for political advantage. But last week, the genuine immigration crisis intruded, as if from another universe. Busloads of Arizonans — parents, children, students known as Dreamers — lined up outside House Speaker John Boehner’s office, pleading for a meeting and praying for action on reform. Mr. Boehner had no time for them.
The shutdown was a fake emergency. Immigration is a real one, harming lives every day in every state. Mr. Obama has sometimes been resentful when immigrant advocates remind him of his failures. Now, at least, he has invited their pressure.
The prospects of a newly ensconced Homeland Security chief lessened this weekend as Sen. Lindsey Graham announced his intention to to block every single nomination from the Obama administration until he gets what he wants on Benghazi.
From Think Progress:
This is not the first time at all that Graham has threatened to take hostages in the Senate to get his way, nor even the first time his demands have related to Benghazi. Graham issued a warning about no nominations proceeding unless the Port of Charleston received the $50,000 needed to be deepened back in 2011. In Dec. 2012, Graham threatened to allow the U.S. to go over the so-called “fiscal cliff” unless the Social Security age was raised.
On Benghazi itself, Graham has had his exact demands change along with his targets. CIA Director John Brennan was threatened not to be confirmed unless Graham was able to learn precisely who changed the infamous “talking points” that now-National Security Advisor Susan Rice delivered the week after the attack. He also swore to not allow a vote on Chuck Hagel’s nomination as Secretary of Defense unless his predecessor Leon Panetta testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Both of those demands were met, showing that the CIA itself was the one who deleted references to al Qaeda from Rice’s talking points and allowing Panetta to chide the SASC’s Republicans for treating the military like a 911 service.
(Those of you who want to jump in here and say, “Yeah, but what about the 60 Minutes story on Benghazi?” should read this.)
On a second track, there’s Fox News, which has a full court press on, saying the White House emphasis on immigration is merely a ploy to get the problems with the government’s health care website out of the headlines.
Meanwhile pushback from the Latino community is coming.
From the Washington Post:
A network of Latino donors that played a pivotal role in raising money for President Obama’s reelection is now focused on a new campaign: an effort to oust lawmakers who stand in the way of overhauling immigration laws.
The Latino Victory Project, a new political advocacy organization modeled after the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, is planning to spend as much as $20 million on campaigns targeting members of Congress who have sizable Latino communities in their districts but oppose comprehensive immigration reform…
At a private meeting for about 30 donors, fundraisers and union leaders Friday, leaders of the group laid out a strategy to make the issue central in next year’s midterm elections if Congress does not pass a bill, identifying 10 House Republicans who would be vulnerable to pressure from Latino constituents.
Back to Benghazi: Issa’s Actions Endanger Prosectutions
In today’s Los Angeles Times there’s a story detailing how Congressman Darrell Issa’s quest for fame and fortune has opened a legal hole for defense attorneys should the perpetrators of the embassy attack be brought to trial.
Despite repeated admonitions from the Justice Department, Issa insisted on getting depositions from State Department security personnel prior to any arrests taking place..
From the LA Times:
The interviews “would prematurely alert individuals who may be charged about details of the government’s case against them,” and would give defense lawyers a golden opportunity to review the depositions and impeach the agents if they testified as prosecution witnesses, the Justice Department warned in one of the letters, according to sources.
“For over a year, department prosecutors and FBI agents have been investigating the attack and preparing for prosecution,” top Justice Department officials told Issa on Sept. 23, in the first of their letters. “They have made substantial progress despite the difficulties in obtaining evidence, locating witnesses, and other issues.… We believe that a successful prosecution here is vital to protecting our national security interests.”
Lou Reed Moves On
Musician Lou Reed died yesterday. Everybody’s publishing tributes. Here’s my favorite, from John Nichols at The Nation:
Lou Reed, who has died at age 71, will be rightly remembered for creating a canon that was groundbreaking in the scope of its sociological and literary achievement. There was nothing unreasonable about Reed’s 1987 suggestion to Rolling Stone that “all through this, I’ve always thought that if you thought of all of it as a book then you have the Great American Novel, every record as a chapter. They’re all in chronological order. You take the whole thing, stack it and listen to it in order, there’s my Great American Novel.”
Yet, Reed was, as well, an artist who understood and engaged in the political struggles of his times. No one who followed the remarkable career of the Velvet Underground co-founder and iconic solo artist over the better part of five decades failed to recognize his determination to speak up—and to show up.
Mayoral Race Quotes of Note
Kevin Faulconer in UT-San Diego:
You can trust me to put San Diego first, a key difference between my opponents and me. Let’s be clear: if my opponents are elected, you’re going to see across-the-board pay hikes at City Hall. If I’m elected, you are going to see across-the-board increases in street repairs and other neighborhood improvements, starting in San Diego’s most neglected communities.
Mike Aguirre on Twitter:
Sad to see our version of Vladimir Putin (Jerry Sanders) take over Kevin’s campaign, Kevin is a great guy and deserves better
— Michael Aguirre (@Julesan1) October 28, 2013
10News, following up on Nathan Fletcher’s suggestion that they look into his opponents’ calendars to see if taxpayers were getting ripped off:
Calendars provided by two of the three front-running candidates for mayor and video of public meetings show they have not missed work as they run for the city’s highest office…
…Fletcher’s campaign said it could not release his political calendar because it is merged with his Qualcomm calendar.
Nathan’s calendar includes commitments and obligations to Qualcomm, which are considered confidential and cannot be released,” Fletcher campaign spokeswoman Janine Pairis said in a written statement to Team 10.
Pairis said Fletcher did not have time to provide excerpts from his calendar to show campaign activities before and after he declared his bid for mayor..
Important City Council Votes This Week
This evening the San Diego City Council will be voting on prioritization policies for the city’s Capital Improvement Program, which funds infrastructure in neighborhoods. The Community Budget Alliance has been working with neighborhood groups and residents for many months now, developing language concerning issues of equity, investing in underserved communities, and affordable housing. They’re inviting people to come down to witness the vote tonight (Monday at 6pm) . For more information, go here.
On Tuesday (2pm) the City Council will be casting its final vote on whether to close the La Jolla Seal Rookery during the pupping season. This should be a no-brainer, but it’s not. Please come show your support. Info here.
Check Out the SDFree Press Calendar
Thanks to the efforts of Brent Beltran, the San Diego Free Press now has an on-line calendar of events. You can see events in the arts, performances and political gatherings of every persuasion by clicking on the ‘Calendar’ Tab at the top of the page. To get your event listed, drop us a line: email@example.com
On This Day: 1886 – The Statue of Liberty was dedicated in New York Harbor by President Cleveland. The statue weighs 225 tons and is 152 feet tall. It was originally known as “Liberty Enlightening the World.” 1919 – The Congress enacted the Volstead Act, also known as the National Prohibition Act. Prohibition was repealed in 1933 with the passing of the 21st Amendment to the Constitution. 1977 – “Nevermind The Bollocks Here’s the Sex Pistols” was released in America.
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