Jerry Kammer's blog

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Awards for Commentary on Reform Proposal

By Jerry Kammer, January 30, 2013

Most Sweeping Statement. Univision anchorman Jorge Ramos: "It's the most important immigration news since the amnesty 27 years ago." Read more...

Harper's Magazine Gives the Free Market a Pass on Immigration

By Jerry Kammer, January 21, 2013

Unlike many of my CIS colleagues, I consider myself a liberal. One reason is that I believe government regulation is necessary to curb abuses of the free market. Another is that I think government should be involved in checking the free market's tendency to devalue the work of those at the bottom and to concentrate too much wealth at the top.

I believe that we need to restrict immigration, especially of the unskilled and poorly educated, in order to protect the social safety net and limit the ability of employers to displace American workers or drive down their wages. Read more...

Immigration Vox Populi on C-SPAN, Part Two

By Jerry Kammer, January 11, 2013

Read "Immigration Vox Populi on C-SPAN, Part One"

More comments from callers to Thursday's Washington Journal: Read more...

Immigration Vox Populi on C-SPAN, Part One

By Jerry Kammer, January 10, 2013

When I was an immigration reporter, I learned that C-SPAN's Washington Journal frequently provides a valuable national cross-section of public reaction to immigration. Today and tomorrow, I want to reproduce excerpts from callers to Thursday's program. (You can watch the whole program here.) I am not including comments from the studio guests, which included our own Mark Krikorian, as well as Clarissa Martinez of the National Council of La Raza, Dan Stein of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, Ali Noorani of the National Immigration Forum, and National Journal reporter Fawn Johnson. Read more...

Grover Norquist and Reporters Without Questions

By Jerry Kammer, January 4, 2013

I've decided to bring an occasional feature to this blog: a look at the job my former colleagues in the press do covering immigration. I'm sure there will be plenty of opportunities in the coming months. But my first look will be back in time—to a story that ABC posted on its website last October. I came across it recently. Read more...

Mexico's El Universal Says Latinos in U.S. Have No Civil Rights

By Jerry Kammer, December 26, 2012

An article last week in Mexico´s largest newspaper passed a remarkable judgment on the civil rights of Latino immigrants in the United States. It said they don´t exist.

"For more than half a century, the civil rights of the immigrants of Latino origin have been non-existent, which has made them the slaves of the modern era," reported El Universal, in an analysis that was also published elsewhere in Latin America. Read more...

NPR Fudges the Facts on Border Security

By Jerry Kammer, December 22, 2012

Ted Robbins, NPR’s fine reporter in Arizona, used some hard numbers in his recent story about border security.

Said Robbins: “Since the mid-1980s, the U.S. Border Patrol has quintupled in size — growing from about 4,000 to more than 20,000 agents. The government has built some 700 miles of fencing and vehicle barriers. It has placed thousands of ground sensors, lights, radar towers and cameras along the border.” Read more...

Notre Dame Professor: Upwardly Mobile Mexican-Americans Not Moving Right

By Jerry Kammer, December 5, 2012

Professor Jose E. Limon, director of the Institute for Latino Studies at Notre Dame, made an interesting contribution to the discussion of the Latino vote Monday night at the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington. He suggested that identification with the Democratic Party has solidified as an enduring feature of Mexican-American identity. Read more...

Carlos Gutierrez, Bush-Era Commerce Secretary, Rips the Republican Party

By Jerry Kammer, November 13, 2012

Carlos Gutierrez, Secretary of Commerce during President George W. Bush's administration, made no attempt to hide his frustration with the Republican Party during his appearance on the Univision program "Al Punto". Gutierrez claimed that the party's extremism was the reason for Mitt Romney's resounding defeat last week. Read more...

Migrant Advocate Cites Increasing Exodus from Central America to el Norte

By Jerry Kammer, October 24, 2012

Among the many immigration stories that are going untold by our steadily shrinking corps of newspaper reporters, one of the most important is the unrelenting exodus of Central Americans heading northward in hopes of crossing illegally into the United States. Univision's reporter in El Salvador had a brief story about the phenomenon on yesterday's evening news. Read more...

People for the American Way Takes the Low Road with Romney Ad

By Jerry Kammer, October 3, 2012

A new 30-second political spot that People for the American Way has launched on Spanish-language television distorts Mitt Romneys views on Latinos in order to encourage Latino voters not to vote for Romney. The ad is part of a $1 million ad buy in the key election states of Virginia, Ohio, and Wisconsin. I saw it on last night's Univision evening news and during the telenovela "Refugio Para el Amor".

The centerpiece is Romney's infamous comments about the "47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what … . who are dependent upon the government". Read more...

The Executioner's Men, a Review

By Jerry Kammer, September 7, 2012

When I was a reporter covering U.S. Mexico relations, I often looked to George Grayson for expert commentary. Here at CIS, where he is a member of the board, I have come to admire not just his expertise, but also his courage in reporting the stories he has told in The Executioner's Men, a new book he has written with investigative reporter Samuel Logan. This is a brief review. Read more...

Dissing American Kids: Genuine Problem or Employer Cop-Out?

By Jerry Kammer, August 24, 2012

An e-mail about last week's PBS NewsHour story that drew from our work on the State Department's Summer Work Travel (SWT) program posed a big question: "What do you think about the idea that was put forward that U.S. students don't work as hard as their foreign counterparts?" Read more...

Lithuanian SWT Workers Sweat Their Way Across the USA

By Jerry Kammer, August 23, 2012

The most interesting e-mail I've received since the PBS NewsHour story last Friday about the Summer Work Travel (SWT) program came from a friend who just moved from Baltimore to State College, Pa. It began with a wry comment about my failure to wear a tie for my on-camera interview and ended with a painfully candid description of the program's sweat-shop charms for American employers. Read more...

A Wish List for the State Department's Management of the Summer Work Travel Program

By Jerry Kammer, August 21, 2012

As I walked near Farragut Square on Monday, I could have sworn that the warm breeze from the southwest was the accumulation of all the sighs of relief wafting from the State Department as administrators of the Summer Work Travel program discussed the story that aired on Friday night's PBS "NewsHour".

State — whose years of egregious mismanagement of the program have been chronicled by the GAO, its own inspector general, the Associated Press, the Economic Policy Institute, and by us at the Center for Immigration Studies — got off easy. Read more...

PBS NewsHour Takes a Look at Summer Work Travel

By Jerry Kammer, August 20, 2012

The PBS NewsHour on Friday covered a lot of ground with its story about the State Department's Summer Work Travel (SWT) program, which over the past decade has brought more than a million foreign college students to the United States for low-wage seasonal jobs.

At the end of his nine-minute piece, economics correspondent Paul Solman said his reporting left him feeling ambivalent about the program, which is intended to engender good will in U.S. relations with foreign countries. Read more...

On Nationwide Tour, Documentary Film Stirs Discussion in a Washington, D.C., Suburb

By Jerry Kammer, August 9, 2012

Dennis Lynch, the director of a provocative documentary about illegal immigration, led a brief but spirited discussion last night in the Washington suburb of Rockville, Md.

First came the 100-minute film, They Come to America, which is decidedly against illegal immigration but also respectful of the issue's complexity and mindful of its swirling human cross currents. Its main characters are Americans upset by illegal immigration and a young Latin American man who works as a day laborer on Long Island, N.Y. Read more...

"On Point" on the Federal Betrayal of American Workers, Part 2

By Jerry Kammer, August 7, 2012

Last week, we published part one of a synopsis of a recent "On Point" radio program out of public radio station WBUR in Boston. The program concerned federal programs that allow employers access to cheap foreign labor and drive down the wages of American workers.

Today, we bring you the comments of two Americans who called in to the program to tell their stories. Read more...

"On Point" on the Federal Betrayal of American Workers, Part 1

By Jerry Kammer, August 3, 2012

As a former reporter, I regard the paucity of journalistic attention to the growth of federal programs that bring in foreign workers for temporary employment as an egregious failure of American journalism.

But a recent edition of the "On Point" radio program, which is produced at Boston public radio station WBUR, was a noble effort to fill the information void. In conversation with host Tom Ashbrook, who seemed to grow more incredulous with each example of our government's fecklessness, Ross Eisenbrey of the Economic Policy Institute staked out the story. Then two American contractors called in with details of the ongoing assault on their ability to earn a decent living. Read more...

Israel and Arizona: Similarities, Differences, Questions

By Jerry Kammer, July 25, 2012

In the July 25 Washington Post, columnist Ruth Marcus writes about the uproar in Israel over what she describes as a "flood" of refugees who have crossed the border illegally from Egypt at the end of the long trek from their homelands in Eritrea and Sudan. Read more...

Una Poca de Gracia — A Little Grace — for the Immigration Debate

By Jerry Kammer, June 29, 2012

"La Bamba", a Mexican folk song that in 1958 was turned into a pop hit by Richie Valens, observes that in order to climb to heaven you need "a big ladder, and another smaller one". It adds that to dance "La Bamba" you need "a little grace". This week, I received a message from Cornell law professor Stephen Yale-Loehr that provided a measure of both of those wondrous tools. They will be necessary if there is to be compromise in the national battle over immigration policy.

Let me explain. Read more...

C-SPAN Callers and Justice Kennedy's Call for "Rational Civic Discourse"

By Jerry Kammer, June 27, 2012

As someone who lived in Arizona for much of my adult life and covered immigration for many years as a reporter, I have closely followed the controversy involving S.B. 1070. Yesterday's "Washington Journal" program on C-SPAN included comments that were striking from two distinct points of view. Read more...

Senator Marco Rubio Takes on Jorge Ramos, and Wins

By Jerry Kammer, June 25, 2012

Jorge Ramos, the popular Univision news anchor, makes no pretense of objectivity about illegal immigration. He fills his newscasts with human interest stories about the plight of illegal immigrants, scorning the fundamental journalistic responsibility to report the experiences of those who resent the influx and feel overwhelmed by it. He has declared that those who oppose it are xenophobes. Read more...

Meet Deepak Bhargava: Well-Connected, Well-Funded Immigration Activist

By Jerry Kammer, June 19, 2012

On Monday, C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" program included an interview with Deepak Bhargava, the executive director of the Center for Community Change, which helps to fund and coordinate immigrant-rights organizations around the country. Read more...

Irish Workers in the Big Apple: American Kids (Apparently) Need Not Apply

By Jerry Kammer, June 11, 2012

When I was working on our report "Cheap Labor as Cultural Exchange", about the State Department program that brings more than 100,000 foreign college students to the United States every year for temporary jobs and includes financial incentives for American employers not to hire American workers, I frequently heard complaints that employers couldn't find American kids to do the jobs. Read more...

The Untold Emigration from Central America

By Jerry Kammer, June 7, 2012

We've been hearing a great deal of speculation lately that emigration from Mexico to the United States has reached an inflection point. Some observers say that demographic changes in Mexico are combining with greater economic opportunity there to bring a definitive end to the four decades of mass emigration that have transferred about 10 percent of Mexico's population to the United States.

What we haven't heard much about in the U.S. press is the ongoing exodus from Central America. I have read several reports in the Mexican press, however, estimating that 300,000 Central Americans are crossing Mexico every year on their way to the United States. Read more...

Vernon Briggs: Prophet of the Economic Divide

By Jerry Kammer, May 30, 2012

The New York Times recently published a laudatory review of The Great Divergence, a book written by journalist Timothy Noah to explain how the widening gap between haves and have-nots came to be. Here is an excerpt: Read more...

Post Questions Displacement of American Workers by the Summer Work Travel Program

By Jerry Kammer, May 27, 2012

The Washington Post this week had an important story by Pamela Constable about the displacement of young Americans from summer jobs by young foreigners hired through the State Department's Summer Work Travel program.

Constable cites the experience of Crystal Aquatics, a Northern Virginia company that hires young Americans to work as lifeguards and that has been undercut by other companies that hire SWT workers.

The vice president of Crystal Aquatics, Jeff Collins, provided a moving description of the problem at our panel discussion in March at the National Press Club.

And here are excerpts from Collins' statement: Read more...

Two Key Points in the New Yorker Article on Arizona's Immigration Politics

By Jerry Kammer, May 23, 2012

There is a lot to chew on in the May 28 issue of The New Yorker about Arizona's politics of immigration and the race for the Senate seat that will be left open by the impending retirement of Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.). "Raging Arizona: How a border state became a battleground" was written by Kelefa Sanneh, who has a talent for paragraphs that are at once packed with information and gracefully constructed. Read more...

The Clichéd Sentimentality of Jon Meacham on PBS

By Jerry Kammer, May 14, 2012

When PBS asks someone like Jon Meacham — contributing editor to Time magazine, former editor of Newsweek, television pundit, and author of a Pulitzer-prize winning biography of Andrew Jackson — to write an essay on immigration, the result is likely to be a measure of elite media thinking on the topic.

And so it was with Meacham's commentary at the end of last Friday's "Need to Know" program. It was a call to welcome the world. It was also devoid of any recognition of how unconstrained immigration policy has become since passage of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act. Read more...