The House of Representatives is moving quickly to give the appearance that they have changed their tune on immigration. The House is scheduled to vote this week on the STEM Jobs Act, sponsored by the anti-immigrant Lamar Smith (R-TX). The STEM Jobs Act would provide 55,000 additional visas for foreign nationals receiving advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Supporters of the STEM Jobs Act argue that it addresses an acknowledged problem area in U.S.
In Washington, we have very hot summers without a real beach to beat the heat. Our winters can be wet, sloppy messes or we can get pounded with multiple snow storms in a city completely unprepared for more than three inches of snow. Along with the occasional security scare, World Bank protest and Presidential motorcade, life in the Nation’s Capital can be challenging. However, certain things make up for that.
We have heard lots of talk about the need for bipartisan immigration reform in the new Congress. We have heard that Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) will work with Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) on a new bill for introduction in the Senate. The Senate was five votes away from passing the DREAM Act in 2010, so it is possible to believe that the new political reality has jolted preservation-minded conservatives in the Senate to support common sense immigration reform.
Before the tectonic plates shifted last week, there was a recent time that the Republican Party stood a chance to exploit the serious disaffection of the Latino and immigrant communities with the Obama administration. Last spring, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) teased the electorate with a so-called “Republican DREAM Act.” Although no legislation was drafted, Rubio’s attempt to reconcile his party with the immigrant community got serious attention.
At his first press conference since the election, the President called on a Telemundo reporter to ask the third question in the press conference. The President must have known that she would ask about immigration reform and she did not disappoint. Here is the President’s answer, without any comment or editing: PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I think what was incredibly encouraging was to see a significant increase in Latino turnout.
As the prospects of serious immigration reform have exploded over the past week, we propose a change to how advocates of immigration reform call it. For years, we have called it comprehensive immigration reform (CIR). This formulation has gotten us nothing. Why is that? Perhaps it is because very few people, not steeped in the legal mumbo-jumbo of immigration, have any idea what it means. It sounds complex and challenging and like something designed by the social engineers to radically change America.
One of the most pivotal moments in the 2012 campaign was when former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney attacked Texas governor Rick Perry for being soft on immigration. More than his famous “oops” moment, this moment doomed the campaign of Governor Perry. Perry never recovered from the sustained attack on him that occurred after the governor challenged GOP orthodoxy regarding the availability of in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants.
As Hurricane Sandy crawls through the Washington, DC area, and the kids clamor for yet another game of Who Shook Hook?, now seems as good a time as any to prepare a thoughtful post on the Maryland Dream Act. As a Washington DC resident, I don’t get a vote in Maryland even though, to paraphrase the former Alaskan governor, “I can see Maryland from my house.” Of course, that has never stooped us from having an opinion and I hope that all of my Maryland friends support Question 4, the so-called Maryland Dream Act next Tuesday.
Lost in the DACA week busy-ness and euphoria was the depressing news that the supply of U visas was dwarfed by the demand for this essential visa. For third straight year, US Citizenship & Immigration Service has announced that it has reached the 10,000 cap on U visas, with more than a month left in the fiscal year. The U visa is available to a victim of a serious crime who has provided substantial support to the investigation or prosecution of that crime.
There is a lot in the news about unlawful voting these days. Many states have enacted laws that require specific forms of voter identification before one can step into a voting booth. Voting experts state that voter fraud is infinitesimally small, but the concern over ineligible people voting has grown despite the lack of evidence of its ubiquity. The consequences for the non citizen who votes are drastic.