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“Marco Rubio’s Mad Rush To The Right Continues”: On The First Day In Office, My True Love Gave To Me…

From the outset of the 2016 campaign, Marco Rubio has tried to adopt a clever straddle on immigration. He has edged towards the hard line stances of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, while carefully keeping the door ajar to re-entering in the general election as the GOP’s Great Hispanic Hope, the candidate whose background and relative moderation on the issue would allow him to solve the GOP’s demographic woes.

Rubio may have just slammed that door shut — or, at least, made it a whole lot harder for himself to pull off this long planned reentry.

In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Rubio clarified that on Day One of his presidency, he will end President Obama’s executive action protecting the DREAMers — people brought here illegally as children — from deportation.

In the interview, Rubio was asked to respond to Ted Cruz’s ongoing insistence that Rubio has not said clearly that he would end Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals on Day One, something Cruz has repeatedly said he would do. To buttress his point, Cruz has cited an interview Rubio gave to Univision in which he said DACA would have to end at some point, while saying he “wouldn’t undo it immediately,” and keeping his timeline vague. Asked for comment, Rubio replied:

“Right after that interview, Univision reported that I said that DACA has to go away, and that it will. I will on my first day in office get rid of it because it’s unconstitutional. I was against it when the president did it. I remain against it now. It cannot be permanent policy. And I’ve said that repeatedly.”

So there you have it. Under President Rubio, hundreds of thousands of people would lose their temporary reprieve from deportation — and the other benefits of DACA, such as work permits — on the first day of his presidency.

It’s important to understand that this has serious substantive significance. It’s true that Rubio has repeatedly said, albeit vaguely, that under his presidency, DACA would end eventually. (See this Politifact article documenting his repeated statements to this effect.) But saying you’ll end DACA on Day One — as Rubio has now done — is very, very different from this. That’s because DACA is granted in stints of several years; it needs to be perpetually renewed over time by the president. The pledge to end it immediately is a flat out promise not to renew it, and to cancel it on a hard date. The president has the authority to do this, since the original grant was done by executive action. And it would mean instant disruption.

Indeed, Rubio himself believes this to be the case. Here’s what he said in February 2015, according to Politifact:

“What I’m not advocating is that we cancel it right now at this moment, because you already have people that have signed up for it. They’re working, they’re going to school. It would be deeply disruptive. But at some point, it has to come to an end.”

Rubio previously thought doing this would be “deeply disruptive,” but he is now advocating for “canceling it right now at this moment,” or at least, on his first day in office.

To be sure, Rubio can legitimately vow to end Obama’s executive deportation relief while simultaneously supporting the general goal of legislative legalization for undocumented immigrants later (which Rubio has hedged on, too, by saying he’ll only back legalization once some undefined state of border security is attained first). But Rubio himself has been reluctant to say he’d end DACA on Day One, very likely because he understands that this would complicate his hopes of moderating on the issue as the nominee. That’s now changed. And apparently, he shifted precisely because he’s been getting attacked hard from the right over it, and needed a way to defuse these attacks. That immediate set of political imperatives has apparently won out over his longer term ones. And Democrats will surely conclude that Rubio has now saddled himself with a major vulnerability in the coming general election battle for Latino voters.

 

By: Greg Sargent, The Plum Line Blog, The Washington Post, February 19, 2016

February 21, 2016 Posted by | Dreamers, Immigration, Marco Rubio | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

“Pressure Pushes Christie Into Self-Deportation Camp”: In A Constant State Of Fear About Bothering Right-Wing Activists

In New Jersey, gun ownership is already illegal if you’ve been convicted of any number of serious crimes, including homicide, kidnapping, and sexual assault. State lawmakers passed legislation to expand the list to include other serious crimes, including carjacking, gang criminality, and making terroristic threats.

The bill passed the state House and state Senate unanimously. As Rachel noted on the show last night, Gov. Chris Christie (R) rejected it anyway, apparently because he’s running for president – and he’s living in a constant state of fear about bothering right-wing activists.

And that’s not all. The Republican governor also shared some new thoughts yesterday about his approach to federal immigration policy. NBC News reported:

Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie is the latest Republican candidate to support “self-deportation” for the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the United States.

In an interview with the Washington Examiner published Monday, Christie was asked if he supported “attrition through enforcement.”

“I think that would be the practical effect of it, yes,” Christie said in response to a question about his support for E-verify, a workplace enforcement program.

The full transcript of Christie’s conversation with the Washington Examiner’s Byron York is online here.

Note, the governor didn’t literally use the phrase “self-deportation,” but he did endorse a description of what such an approach would entail. Christie specifically expressed support for a system that would “encourage” undocumented immigrants “to leave on their own.”

When York asked, “So you would envision something like what Ted Cruz has called ‘attrition through enforcement’?” Christie responded, “I think that would be the practical effect of it, yes.”

Nearly four years after President Obama defeated Mitt Romney among Latino voters, 71% to 27%, Republicans still haven’t changed their posture.

Keep in mind, in 2010, Christie said he supports a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants already in the United States. As recently as April 2015, Christie told an audience at the Conference of the Americas, “I’m not someone who believes that folks who have come here in that status [illegally] are going to engage in self-deportation.”

It’s a genuine shame to see what a Republican primary can do to some people.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, January 20, 2016

January 21, 2016 Posted by | Chris Christie, Immigration, Self Deportation | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Ted Cruz: Flip-Flopper”: Supports Trade Agreements As Long As They Don’t Contain Anything Related To Immigration

It might surprise you to hear someone say that Ted Cruz is a flip-flopper. He’s built an entire reputation on being nothing if not consistently conservative. But when it comes to an issue that reporters like Scott Bland suggest are animating Trump supporters – trade – he did a huge flip-flop.

Back in April of last year, as Congress was preparing to vote on Trade Promotion Authority (so-called “Fast Track”), Senator Cruz wrote an op-ed in support of it with none other than Rep. Paul Ryan. As we all know, Ryan is now the Republican House Speaker – a position that places him at the center of what Cruz calls “the Washington cabal.” So he not only supported giving President Obama “fast track” authority on trade deals, he joined forces with the cabal to speak out it favor of it passing in Congress.

A short two months later, Sen. Cruz voted against TPA, citing “concerns over unrelated legislation and a separate trade deal, the Trade in Services Agreement, which he asserted could impact U.S. immigration law.”

As it stands right now, it would seem that Ted Cruz supports trade agreements as long as they don’t contain anything related to immigration. That might be an interesting question for a reporter to pose to the candidate on the campaign trail or at an upcoming debate.

On the one hand, Cruz might face criticism from the “job creators” if he changes his tune and comes out against trade deals. On the other, he could hurt his chances with Trump supporters if he embraced them.

Attempting to obscure and pander on the issue of trade agreements is not the first time Cruz has changed his tune on an issue. He did the same thing with his position about H-1B visas – he was for them before he was against them. What a flip-flopper!

 

By: Nancy LeTourneau, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, January 11, 2016

January 12, 2016 Posted by | Immigration, Ted Cruz, Trade Promotion Authority | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“I Wave My Lamp Beside The Bolted Door”: Give Me Your White, Your Rich… Yearning To Earn Fees

In honor of the shameful refusal to accept Syrian refugees, RD contributing editor Peter Laarman has rewritten Emma Lazarus’ sonnet, “Give Me Your White, Your Rich… Yearning to Earn Fees,” best known as the poem carved into Statue of Liberty:

Just like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land,
Here at our sea-washed sunset gates shall stand
A fearsome watcher with a torch whose flame
Sparks paranoid frightening, and her name
Purger of Exiles.

From her clenched hand
Flows world-wide warning; her cold eyes command
A guarded harbor that shows our shame.
“Keep in ancient lands, you filthy scum,” cries she
With savage lips. “Give me your white, your rich,
Your lads and lasses yearning to earn fees,
The choicest claimants we have known before.
Send just these, the vetted and well-glossed to me,
I wave my lamp beside the bolted door!”

 

By: Peter Laarman, United Church of Christ Minister and Activist, Retired Executive Director of Progressive Christians Uniting in Los Angeles; Religion Dispatches, November 19, 2015

November 22, 2015 Posted by | American History, Immigration, Stature of Liberty | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Immigrants Don’t Drain Welfare; They Fund It”: Immigrants Have Long Given More To The Welfare System Than They Take From It

Republican presidential candidates who want to deport undocumented immigrants en masse, end birthright citizenship, and build a wall along the Mexican border just got some new ammunition. A report released Wednesday by the Center for Immigration Studies, an organization that advocates for reducing immigration to the United States, has concluded that 51 percent of households headed by immigrants—legal or undocumented—receive some kind of welfare. “They are creating a significant burden on public coffers,” writes Steven Camarota, the study’s author and the director of research for CIS. “By using welfare programs immigrants may strain public resources, harming taxpayers and making it more difficult to assist the low-income population already in the country.”

While that sentiment is likely to resonate with conservatives, the facts prove otherwise: Native-born Americans aren’t footing the bill for immigrants so much as immigrants are contributing to a welfare system that many of them can’t take advantage of.

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 cut back on welfare extended to immigrants. It categorized green card holders and refugees granted asylum as “qualified,” and all other immigrants—including undocumented workers and many people lawfully here in the United States—as “not qualified” and therefore ineligible for welfare. But the law stipulated that even qualified immigrants had to spend five years in the United States before they could apply for benefits like Medicaid, food stamps, or cash assistance for families with children. Since that major welfare reform, some states have responded by providing for immigrants with programs that offer health care to the children of immigrants or pregnant mothers, and a few states—like California and New York—offer nutritional or cash assistance. But those efforts are mostly limited to qualified residents, while all other immigrants are still almost universally banned from receiving welfare.

The CIS study exaggerates the number of immigrants on welfare by using households as the unit of analysis; as long as the head of household is an immigrant, they consider it an immigrant household, and Camarota counts a household “as using welfare if any one of its members used welfare during 2012.” This means that a household with an American spouse who therefore qualified for welfare could be counted as “using welfare.” The same would go for a child born in the United States to immigrant parents. If he or she received subsidized lunch at school, the whole household would be categorized as “using welfare.” As the Cato Institute notes in its critique of the study, that measure is “ambiguous, poorly defined, and less used in modern research for those reasons.” Relying on such mutable methodology let Camarota exaggerate the number of immigrants on welfare to back up the claim that Americans are footing the bill for immigrants.

Groups like The American Immigration Council have long argued that, contra conservative depictions of “moocher,” immigrants have long given more to the welfare system than they take from it. “In one estimate, immigrants earn about $240 billion a year, pay about $90 billion a year in taxes, and use about $5 billion in public benefits,” a 2010 report by the Council found. “In another cut of the data, immigrant tax payments total $20 to $30 billion more than the amount of government services they use.” And a report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 2013 found that “more than half of undocumented immigrants have federal and state income, Social Security, and Medicare taxes automatically deducted from their paychecks.” Those immigrants are essentially helping to underwrite the welfare system, providing an enormous subsidy to it every year without being able to reap any of the benefits.

Camarota rejects that conclusion.

“We have an immigration system that lets in vast numbers of unskilled laborers. We tolerate illegal immigration,” he said in an interview. “Pretty much everyone concludes that it’s going to be a net drain.” He wants to institute a “selective” immigration system, one that cuts back on the number of immigrants and places an emphasis on allowing only educated, not unskilled, workers into the country.

Many economists would advise against such a plan. From construction sites in Virginia to farms along the California coastline, immigrants provide essential labor in an evolving economy. The Chamber of Commerce report found they are more than twice as likely as native-born Americans to start a new business each month. In fact, immigrants started 28 percent of all new businesses in the United States in 2011. Immigrants pay billions in taxes to the government every year; in Texas alone, they generate $1.6 billion annually in taxes. To deport millions en masse, sending them back to their home countries—to say nothing of Donald Trump’s proposal to uproot American citizens born here—would be economically disastrous.

 

By: Laura Reston, The New Republic, September 3, 2015

September 4, 2015 Posted by | GOP Presidential Candidates, Immigrant Laborers, Immigration | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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