Yesterday Illinois Democratic Congressman Luis Gutierrez rose on the floor of the House waving a red card (ala futbol) to pronounce the end of immigration reform.
As Lawrence Downes, writing in the New York Times put it, “In sports terms, Mr. Gutierrez’s speech was simply marking the moment when a losing team is mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.”
The US Senate passed a comprehensive immigration bill one year ago this week. Republicans in the House rejected that approach, preferring to introduce piecemeal legislation which even they wouldn’t and/or couldn’t pass.
It’s been a year of excuses from the GOP bench and, to carry the sports analogy further, excuses are for losers.
The latest excuse for inaction is the surge of women and children from Central America coming across the Rio Grand.
Quoting again from the New York Times op-ed:
The Senate bill, which passed a year ago Friday, would have done a lot of what the Republicans said they wanted. It would have added billions more dollars for border enforcement, a nationwide electronic hiring system to keep unauthorized immigrants out of the workplace and visa reforms to solve labor shortages in agriculture and other industries.
The “reasonable Republicans” at the UT-San Diego, who give lip service to the concept of immigration reform, say it’s the Presidents fault. Of course in their eyes the fact that my blackberries on my breakfast cereal were extra-tart this morning was Obama’s fault. I’m sure they think their man Mitt could have simply waved his Republi-Magic(™) wand and solved this humanitarian crisis.
Why this lethargy and indifference to a brewing crisis? We have no idea. But the parallels to the administration’s lethargy and indifference in the Veterans Affairs debacle are plain.
Americans — and not just those who support immigration reform — deserve far better from the president and his management team.
Even Hillary Clinton has zigged to the right on this issue, saying that the current wave of migrants needs to be sent back.
It’s not so simple, as the explainers at Vox.com point out:
“We have to send a clear message: just because your child gets across the border doesn’t mean your child gets to stay,” Clinton said at a CNN-hosted town hall.
But there’s one big problem with Clinton’s proposal. About half of the children coming over the border could qualify for humanitarian protection under international or US law — although it often takes years to resolve this. Acting quickly and decisively, as Clinton wants, would basically mean ending the asylum process in the United States as we know it.
The article, by the way, goes through five popularly discussed courses of action, showing the legal problems inherent in each idea.
The Unreasonable Approach to Immigration
The not-so-reasonable Republicans are actively campaigning for a non-humanitarian solution. Spewing excrement about the spread of diseases and brown rapists run amok, these fanatics whipped up the yokels in Escondido and other cities to oppose the very idea of providing temporary shelter. I expect you’ll soon hear protests from Point Loma, where one local TV station says another facility is under consideration.
Here’s the take on this story from the Washington Post:
The slow collapse of hopes for new border legislation — which has unraveled in recent months amid persistent opposition from House Republicans — marks the end of an effort that both Democrats and Republicans have characterized as central to the future of their parties. The failure leaves some 12 million illegal immigrants in continuing limbo over their status and is certain to increase political pressure on Obama from the left to act on his own.
Some of the most vocal proponents of a legislative overhaul now say they have surrendered any last hopes that Democrats and Republicans can reach a deal. The realization marks a low point for advocates who mounted the first serious immigration push since 2007, when a bipartisan effort under then-president George W. Bush was defeated in the Senate.
GOP on Executive Action: Oh No You Don’t!
Now it’s up to President Obama to take executive actions contemplated by the White House earlier this year but put on hold in hopes that a congressional deal would emerge.
The Republican have an answer for that:
House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) announced Wednesday that he intended to initiate a federal lawsuit seeking to declare President Obama’s executive orders as an unconstitutional power grab by one branch of the government.
Boehner declined to spell out which specific actions would be addressed in the suit, which have included a 2012 decision not to deport children of illegal immigrants and this month’s order to allow the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate carbon emissions from power plants. Those executive orders came after the Republican-controlled House and Democratic-controlled Senate deadlocked on these issues over the past few years, taking no action.
The folks who manufactured the “Obama Tsar” crisis have been hammering away at this course of action for a couple of years now. Rep. Michele Bachmann has taken it a step further and is advocating “defunding” the executive branch, an idea so “out there” that even Fox News host Neil Cavuto called her out on it.
Ronald Reagan: 381
George Bush: 166
William J. Clinton: 364
George W. Bush 291
Barack Obama 168
Darrell “Me Too” Issa Jumps on the Immigration Bandwagon
Our own Congressman Darrell Issa has been doing his best to get his name out there on this issue. He probably sees an opening for most Right-Wing Nut-Job now that Rep. Bachmann has announced she’s stepping down.
From Think Progress:
On Tuesday, Rep. Darrel Issa (R-CA) circulated a letter to his Republican colleagues demanding President Obama end a 2012 presidential initiative that has kept some undocumented immigrants from deportation proceedings. Issa’s reasoning? That initiative is responsible for the current stream of unaccompanied child refugees through the southern border. This is despite the fact that residency restrictions would disqualify applicants who came in after June 15, 2007.
In particular, Issa’s letter to his colleagues pointed to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for instigating the humanitarian crisis in which more than 90,000 unaccompanied children are expected to come into the United States by the end of this year. Issa also blamed the President for doing “little to end the perception” that the children won’t receive preferential immigration status after they get into the United States. The letter in part stated that “the only way to effectively end the current crisis and prevent any future surge is to end the President’s failed policies … President Obama has done little to end the perception that unaccompanied alien children will not receive preferential immigration status.” Issa asked his colleagues to sign the letter by the end of business day Thursday. Issa sent a similar letter to the President to end DACA.
The DACA program granted temporary legal presence and work authorization to qualified undocumented immigrants — at least 553,000 thus far– brought to the country as children. With a cut-off date of June 15, 2007, the program is only applicable for undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country at least seven years ago and have fulfilled numerous requirements.
Score one for the GOP (Group Of Racists). Immigration reform is probably dead until after the 2016 elections.
A No-Fly Victory
A Federal District Court ruling on Tuesday struck down a key aspect of the so-called no-fly list that blocks people suspected of terrorism ties from boarding planes in the United States or flying through American airspace.
From the New York Times:
In a 65-page ruling, Judge Anna J. Brown of Federal District Court for the District of Oregon said that the procedures for reviewing whether it was appropriate to put someone’s name on the list were inadequate and violated Americans’ Fifth Amendment right to due process.
Judge Brown wrote that the redress procedures were “wholly ineffective” and created a “high risk of erroneous deprivation” of the plaintiffs’ rights, leaving them potentially “doomed to indefinite placement on the no-fly list,” in violation of the Fifth Amendment.
“The absence of any meaningful procedures to afford plaintiffs the opportunity to contest their placement on the no-fly list violates plaintiffs’ rights to procedural due process,” she wrote.
Global furniture retailer IKEA announced today that it’s raising wages for lower paid employees, saying it will now base pay rates on what’s considered to be a “living wage” in localities surrounding its 38 stores. The decision will effect about 50% of the furniture retailer’s employees starting in 2015.
The new wage structure will be based on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Living Wage Calculator, a site that shows how much workers need to make in any given local county or municipality to afford basic goods. In San Diego that translates to a base rate of $11.38 per hour.
SDPD Probe: You Might Want to Lower Your Expectations
As new aspects of the ongoing scandals involving the San Diego Police Department unfolded this past winter, much was made of a pledge by higher-ups to bring in out-of-town Justice Department consultants to audit the agency.
(As I’ve said repeatedly!) There’s big difference between an Justice Department FBI investigation (which may be going on anyway) and a private contractor sniffing around.
Liam Dillon at Voice of San Diego has a story posted that should at a minimum cause folks to lower their expectations for any real changes with the SDPD. The Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) certainly seems to have a connection with the SDPD’s leadership over the years.
Here’s the money quote from the VOSD article:
Chuck Wexler, a former official in Boston’s police department, has led PERF for more than two decades. He’s had very long relationships with former San Diego police chiefs Jerry Sanders and William Lansdowne.
In the 1990s, PERF helped Sanders develop the city’s neighborhood policing model, the nationally renowned approach that emphasized crime prevention. Sanders served as PERF’s treasurer and as a board member. Sanders’ wife, Rana Sampson, worked at PERF as a senior researcher and trainer.
When Sanders left SDPD in 1999, Wexler called him “one of the most progressive, innovative and compassionate leaders in the country.”
Wexler goes back with Lansdowne, too. Wexler began a recent PERF report on minimizing officer use of force with an anecdote about Lansdowne.
Lansdowne also served as PERF’s treasurer and taught a senior management classfor the firm.
Earlier this month, Lansdowne took a job with a mobile phone recycling company, and the job announcement said he was on PERF’s board. (Neither PERF’s website nor the firm’s most recent tax form list him as a current member.)
On This Day: 1894- Members of the American Railway Union, led by Eugene V. Debs, refusd to handle Pullman cars, in solidarity with Pullman strikers. Two dozen strikers were killed over the course of the strike. 1971 – The U.S. Justice Department issued a warrant for Daniel Ellsberg, accusing him of giving away the Pentagon Papers. 1977 – Elvis Presley’s final concert took place at Market Square Arena, Indianapolis.
Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to “The Starting Line” and get an email every time a new article in this series is posted!
I read the Daily Fishwrap(s) so you don’t have to… Catch “the Starting Line” Monday thru Friday right here at San Diego Free Press (dot) org. Send your hate mail and ideas to DougPorter@