Posts tagged ‘Immigration’

The Big Losers Of 2013

The Big Losers Of 2013

biggest losers 2013

WASHINGTON — Some people are losers because they have failed in their endeavors; others are losers because they’ve suffered misfortune. Here are HuffPost’s favorite losers of the year, in no particular order.

James Clapper — The intel honcho oversaw one of the greatest losses of intelligence in U.S. history and was also caught lying to Congress. He still has his job somehow, but otherwise he likely wants to forget 2013.

james clapper

Grand Bargaineers — This year saw the death of the Grand Bargain and the rise of the Petite Bargain. Henceforth, Barack Obama and John Boehner will have to find some other way to cut Social Security. Maya MacGuinneas, the head of Fix the Debt, raised tens of millions of corporate dollars to pressure Washington into a grand bargain, but began the year on the losing end of the “fiscal” cliff deal and ended it completely marginalized, with everyone from all sides dismissing the group’s central aim. Biggest loser runner-up in the deficit scold category is Peter Peterson, the private equity billionaire who funded much of MacGuinneas’ failed effort.

debt(via Dave Weigel)Fix The Debt’s can that kicks back is on its way to the recycle bin of history.

Ted Cruz — The Texas GOP senator’s vaunted strategy to foil Obamacare shut down the government, but did not foil Obamacare.

ted cruz

Pine Trees — Warmer weather allowed the mountain pine beetle to continue to gorge itself on Western forests. It’s just one of the many plagues that climate change is visiting upon the globe.

Bigots — Gay people have been getting married left and right; the sky hasn’t fallen.



Voters — The Supreme Court struck down part of a landmark civil rights law that protected voting rights for minorities, with Chief Justice John Roberts arguing that racism is over. Southern states immediately began passing laws intended to block minorities from voting.

Judgmental Catholics — Pope Francis said an amazing thing: “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Indeed.


Workers — The year started with shrunken paychecks thanks to the expiration of a 2 percent Social Security payroll tax cut, which essentially wiped out wage gains for millions. Then, Black Friday canceled Thanksgiving.

Dan Snyder — His Washington, D.C., football team began the year with its star quarterback’s tragic knee injury in the playoffs. Then, everyone started talking about the team’s racist name again, and Snyder trotted out a fake chief. Then, the team lost most of its games in the new season, and the organization is closing the year in hopelessness and disarray.


The Washington Department of Football’s season in a nutshell.

Gun Control Advocates — How many mass shootings does it take to get to the hearts of gun lobbyists? The world may never know.

The Long-Term Unemployed — Congress had already shortened the duration of unemployment benefits available to the long-term unemployed, but people like Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) still beat them up for receiving 99 weeks of aid. On Dec. 28, extra benefits will disappear altogether.

Rand Paul — Soso much plagiarism.

rand paul

People on Food Stamps — Republicans spent the summer claiming food stamp recipients are lazy surfers who use their benefits for sushi and lobster. Then in the fall, Democrats cut their assistance by $5 billion. Experts say it was the first-ever month-to-month drop in benefit amounts.

Third Way — Took on Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). Whoops.

Women in North Dakota, Arkansas, Texas — These states passed harsh abortion restrictions as part of a lesser-known Obamacare backlash. Reproductive freedom advocates in Texas had state Sen. Wendy Davis to thank for her filibustering high point, though a few weeks later Texas passed its unconstitutional abortion bill anyway. But we’ll always have that night.

Anthony Weiner — For a minute there he was actually winning the New York mayor’s race, despite being a serial sext offender. Then he flipped the bird and conceded he is an empty, soulless vessel.

Detroit Civil Servants — Because Detroit’s public employees have it so good, thevampire squid is sucking blood from their pensions.

Trey Radel — Florida man busted for cocaine possession. This time he also happened to be a GOP congressman.

Undocumented Immigrants — They’re being detained and deported at record rates, the president’s way of showing he’s tough on enforcement so Republicans will join him in reforming the system. Instead, reform went nowhere in 2013. People just got the stick.

Barack Obama — The signature achievement of his first term has badly underperformed in a big year, and the president’s “you can keep it” promise proved false. Despite his best efforts to prosecute leakers, a leaker exposed the administration’s extremely vast and creepy and probably unconstitutional surveillance activities. And his approval ratings, those aren’t so hot right now.

barack obama

Kim Jong Un’s Uncle — If you were the uncle of a 30-year-old North Korean dictator, this was not your year.

Federal Workers — President Obama earlier implemented a pay freeze to show how tough he is on spending and then spent the next several years being dubbed a big spender. After that thankless sacrifice, federal workers were furloughed in 2013, and the latest budget deal asks them to give up some of their pensions so we can keep tax rates low. We can’t think of a better way to manage employee morale and attract and retain top-quality talent.

Marco Rubio — The rising Republican star and Florida senator abandoned what could have been his first big legislative achievement. We don’t understand the long game here — the man wants to be president and he’s slowly losing his hair! Americans haven’t elected a bald president since Dwight Eisenhower in the 1950s … and that guy had won World War II.

America — My God, what a year.



Anthony Weiner’s Uncomfortable Faces

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What Do We Know About Voters Who Don’t Fit Neatly Into an Ethnic Box?Americans are getting all mixed up.

  ELECTION 2012  

Huffington Post / By Leighton Woodhouse


What Do We Know About Voters Who Don’t Fit Neatly Into an Ethnic Box?

Americans are getting all mixed up.

November 21, 2012  |  


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As anybody with a TV, radio or newspaper subscription can affirm, the big story coming out of the 2012 election is the long feared/eagerly awaited arrival of the Latino vote as a national political force capable of deciding a presidential contest. Latinos accounted for a record ten percent of the electorate this year, and something north of 70 percent of them cast their ballots for Obama. Meanwhile, fewer Latinos than ever before voted for the Republican candidate. With the Latino segment of the electorate poised to  continue expanding  for many election cycles to come, leaders of  both parties are tripping over each other to position themselves on immigration reform, and even in blood red states like Texas, GOP strategists are warning of  imminent doom  for their party if Republicans fail to break their cycle of addiction to racism, xenophobia and pandering to border-guarding lunatics.

The story is both accurate to a point and incomplete, as conventional wisdom is wont to be. Tavis Smiley, for instance, has highlighted the  grating irony  of black voters being left out of the punditocracy’s post-election anointing of the “new governing coalition,” following the second presidential election in a row in which African Americans broke records turning out to support Barack Obama. And when it comes to speculating about long-term electoral prospects, there’s another demographic category of Americans that’s getting glossed over in this mechanical extrapolation of the present into the future. Interestingly, it’s the one that Obama himself belongs to: multiracial Americans.

That’s not to say that mixed-race voters were a big electoral force in this election or any other national election in history. Nor is “mixed race” really much of a coherent ethnic identity in the first place (then again, neither arguably is “Latino” or “Asian”). As a demographic category, however, it’s going to be a significant factor for both parties to grapple with in future elections. It’s simply inevitable: About fifteen percent of new marriages nationally in 2010 were interracial, according to a  Pew study  published earlier this year. That’s more than double the proportion of the 1980s. Those couples are having kids, and those kids are growing up to become voters. Moreover, according to the study, quaint taboos against interracial coupling are pretty close to completely breaking down, with nearly two-thirds of Americans fine with the idea, so we can expect the phenomenon to continue and accelerate going forward: more multiracial couples, more mixed race kids. And in politics, as they say, demography is destiny.

Among the states in which interracial marriages are above twenty percent are, not surprisingly, deep blue states like California and Hawaii. But some of the most conservative states in the country are also on the 20 percent-plus list, including Alaska, Arizona and Oklahoma. Texas and Kansas aren’t far behind. Also above average are new and perennial swing states like Colorado, Virgina and Florida. The highest rates of interracial marriage skew west, where three of the  four states  with the fastest-growing populations in the country are located (or four of the four, depending on whether you consider Texas a Western or a Southern state). The bottom line is that mixed-race matrimony is a national phenomenon that cuts across the red-blue divide. As the children of those couples come into voting age, there will be more and more Americans in every part of the country who don’t fit into the tidy racial boxes that form the basis of the  long-term electoral prognostications being offered up by the dozens in the aftermath of Obama’s re-election.

Will mixed race voters help the Republicans or the Democrats? That’s a murkier question than you might assume, since Pew’s data shows sharper differences in terms of income and education  betweenvarious mixed-marriage demographic sub-groups (the parents of those voters-to-be) than between mixed couples and non-mixed couples as a whole; there’s little in the way of a uniform set of characteristics of interracial households to grasp onto.


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Sheriff Joe To Arm Sheriff Deputies With Automatic Weapon To The Undocumented From Escaping Or Murder Them In COLD BLOOD

By Nicole Flatow on Nov 16, 2012 at 12:10 pm

A week after the infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaiosurvived a reelection campaignthat spotlighted his flagrant anti-Latino practices and misuse of government funds, the Maricopa County enforcer is back to work making “every effort” to target undocumented immigrants.

In a press release issued by his office yesterday, Arpaio touted several recent operations to chase down “suspected illegal aliens” that involved violence, injuries and some smuggled marijuana. And he is pledging to escalate this effort by arming all of his deputies with automatic weapons:

During one of the investigations on Wednesday of this week, Sheriff’s deputies tried to approach a vehicle they had observed at a high rate of speed, when the vehicle sped away, going off road driving through a barb-wire fence into the desert. The suspect vehicle sustained damage to include flat tires but continued to drive for about one mile before eight occupants, including the driver, fled on foot into the thick brush. Immediately deputies created a perimeter and with the use of the Sheriff’s helicopter and K-9 units, they located one suspect hiding in a backyard of a residence and all others hiding in a wash. […]

Sheriff Joe Arpaio says, “Once again the entry into Maricopa County from Mexico by illegal aliens does not seem to have subsided by evidence of numerous arrests made by my deputies. Aside from their determination to get away we will continue to make every effort to pursue and apprehend human smugglers as well as drug traffickers. More and more illegal aliens are attempting to escape which places my deputies in dangerous positions. In the near future I will be issuing automatic weapons for all my deputies”.

Setting aside the savage tone of the press release, Arpaio’s boast of expending vast county police resources to chase down individuals in the desert is misplaced at best. While Arpaio continues to “make every effort” to snag these individuals through violent means, less local police resources are available for addressing violent and property crimes. Instead, he is increasing the risk of violence going forward by pledging to arm all of his deputies with automatic weapons.

What’s more, Arpaio’s aggressive efforts put him and his department at risk of becoming the target of yet another lawsuit. This past June, the U.S. Supreme Court made clear in striking down many of the most controversial provisions of Arizona’s immigration law that immigration enforcement is primarily the purview of the federal government. While the court left in place one controversial provisions that requires police to ask individuals about their immigration status pursuant to an otherwise lawful police stop, the five-justice majority left the door wide open for a later lawsuit challenging improper enforcement of this provision once the law went into effect.

[h/t @TedHesson]




Former Bush Commerce secretary: Republicans ‘scaring the heck out of’ Hispanics

Former Bush Commerce secretary: Republicans ‘scaring the heck out of’ Hispanics (via Raw Story )

President Bush’s former secretary of Commerce on Sunday pointed out that Mitt Romney and the Republican Party made a mistake by pushing anti-immigrant policies like “self deportation” in the 2012 elections because it was “scaring the heck out of” Hispanic voters. “I would lay the blame […

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The Economic Case For Immigration Reform

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  • 16 Nov 2012 06:09 PM

    The Economic Case For Immigration Reform

    At this week’s presser, Obama said he wanted to introduce immigration reform “very soon after [his] inauguration.” Julia Preston sums up the president’s plan:

    Mr. Obama made clear he intends to push for broad-scope legislation that would include a program to give legal status to an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the country…. Mr. Obama said he also wanted to strengthen border security, punish employers who systematically hire unauthorized workers, and make visas available for farm workers and immigrants working in science and technology. 

    The above chart is from a 2010 Center for American Progress report (pdf) that projects immigration reform could add a potential $1.5 trillion to the US GDP over 10 years. Jordan Weissmann unpacks it:

    [The report’s] calculations are based partly on the impact of the Reagan administration’s 1986 immigration reforms, which gave legal status to about 3 million undocumented individuals. That, in turn, gave those workers leverage to bargain with their employers for higher paychecks, while giving them an incentive to learn English so they could advance in the workplace. … Extrapolating from that history, CAP believes that giving today’s 11.3 million undocumented immigrants a route to citizenship could increase their collective earning power by as much $36 billion a year.

    Free Exchange highlights similar findings:

    Even a modest … easing of restrictions could be very rewarding. Lant Pritchett of Harvard University estimates that just a 3% rise in the rich-world labour force through migration would yield annual benefits bigger than those from eliminating remaining trade barriers. The incorporation of women into the rich-world workforce provides an analogy: this expanded the labour supply and the scope for specialisation without displacing the “native” male workforce.

Latin Americans love Obama – so why the ‘collective shrug’ on reelection?

Latin Americans love Obama – so why the 'collective shrug' on reelection? (via The Christian Science Monitor)

Leading up to the United States presidential election, Latin Americans, like Latinos in the US, widely favored the reelection of President Obama. In fact, while attitudes about the US are conflicted here – and often far from glowing – America’s leader is widely respected. In the latest poll from…

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Program Offering Immigrants Reprieve Is Off to Quick Start –

Program Offering Immigrants Reprieve Is Off to Quick Start –

One month after the Obama administration started a program to suspend deportations of young illegal immigrants, more than 72,000 of them have applied for the temporary reprieve, senior immigration officials said on Tuesday, and this week the first approvals have been granted.
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The figures for applications received so far — the first results the administration has released since a federal agency began receiving the documents on Aug. 15 — show that large numbers of young immigrants are ready to take the risk of coming forward, administration officials and immigrant advocates said, and that the agency in charge has been able to manage the rush of paperwork.

The immigrants requesting two-year deportation deferrals do not reach the high estimates of 250,000 that officials had said they were prepared to handle in the first month of the program, which is President Obama’s most significant immigration initiative.

But at the current rate, at least 200,000 young immigrants could have applications in the pipeline by the time of the presidential election on Nov. 6, and many thousands will probably have received deferrals and the work permits that go along with them. Officials originally predicted that it could take several months for the immigration agency, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, to issue the first deferrals.

The intense activity around the program in immigrant communities, especially among Latinos, has already yielded some political benefits to Mr. Obama, with Democrats repeatedly highlighting the initiative during their convention last week, to cheers from the floor. Initiated by an executive action, the program grants deportation deferrals that must be renewed after two years, and it does not provide any legal immigration status.

Pressure is increasing on Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate, to clarify his position on the program. He has not said whether he would continue it if he is elected, although he has said he would prefer “a more permanent solution” for young illegal immigrants.

The surge of applicants has not been greater, lawyers and advocates said, because of difficulties many young immigrants have encountered in gathering the documents they need to meet the program’s requirements and in mustering the $465 application fee, a hefty sum for many. Since the program has no filing deadline, eligible young people are taking time to consult with their families, weighing the benefits for them against possible risks for parents and siblings here illegally who are not eligible.

“There has been huge interest in community programs where people can get information,” said Laura Lichter, president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, who practices in Denver. “But these applications are not something you would be ready to go with in one day. They take a fair amount of work. And we have to be sure people understand the risks they are taking.”

To qualify, illegal immigrants must be under 31 years old and have come to the United States before they were 16. They must show that they have lived here continuously since June 15, 2007, and be currently in school or have earned a high school diploma or have been honorably discharged from the military. They must pass a background check to show they do not have any significant criminal record or pose a threat to national security.

The program posed a test for the immigration agency, known as U.S.C.I.S., which has not been known for brisk efficiency. According to the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan research group, as many as 1.2 million illegal immigrants could be immediately eligible for the program.

Given only two months to prepare, Alejandro Mayorkas, the director of the agency, worked to rally its 18,000 employees, including some 11,000 federal workers, to rise to the task. The applications — sheaves of school transcripts, utility and other bills, rental contracts or other documents immigrants can find to track their daily lives over the past five years — have to be submitted by mail.

Operating in the bureaucratic equivalent of a blitz, the agency has been issuing receipts for applications within 48 hours after they were logged in, Mr. Mayorkas said. Fingerprints and photographs are taken for background checks, generally within three weeks after an application is received.

The first applicants gave their fingerprints last Thursday, Mr. Mayorkas said, and the checks were completed by Monday. The agency is equipped to perform the criminal checks, Department of Homeland Security officials said, because those are required for most visas the agency routinely issues.

Completed applications first reached the decision-making officers on Monday. By that afternoon the first few approvals were issued, Mr. Mayorkas said, with several dozen more on Tuesday. Some immigrants were notified immediately by text message.

“If somebody submits documents that show by the preponderance of the evidence that they meet the guidelines, we are poised to move the cases as quickly as possible,” Mr. Mayorkas said.

Mr. Mayorkas said he expected the first work permits, which are approved in a separate but parallel process, to be issued in coming weeks.

Administration officials have said the program will be paid for by fees, with no taxpayer money invested. California is leading in applications, not surprisingly, followed by Texas, New York, Florida and New Jersey. By far the largest number of applicants was born in Mexico. But officials said a surprisingly large number of applications came from South Koreans, a much smaller population of immigrants.

As the deferral program expands, resistance to it has grown among Republicans in Congress, who say it is undermining the administration’s broader enforcement against illegal immigration and making it difficult for immigration agents to do their jobs.

In a letter on Tuesday to John Morton, the director of the agency in charge of enforcement, Senator Jeff Sessions, a Republican from Alabama, wrote, “There is no question that the administration’s unilaterally decreed policy is contrary to codified federal law and places our law enforcement officers in an untenable position.”
A version of this article appeared in print on September 12, 2012, on page A19 of the New York edition with the headline: Quick Start to Program Offering Immigrants a Reprieve.