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Sen. Schumer's Reach Exceeding His Grasp

By Jerry Kammer, June 12, 2013

As I listened to Sen. Chuck Schumer's (D-N.Y.) speech Tuesday on the Senate floor, some famous words of the poet Robert Browning came to mind: "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?"

Sen. Schumer seems to think that comprehensive immigration reform should serve the same purpose — inspiring sweeping promises that have scant chance of being fulfilled. Read more...

Obama on Immigration, Now and Then

By Jerry Kammer, June 12, 2013

In his Tuesday speech on immigration reform, President Obama ignored the Senate bill's proposal for a major expansion of unskilled immigrants into the U.S. economy. Read more...

From 2002, a Cautionary Tale for the Gang of Eight

By Jerry Kammer, June 11, 2013

The enforcement flat-liners at the New York Times editorial board are at it again. On Saturday they again denounced critics of the Gang of Eight reform bill. This time, instead of labeling them "hardliners" as it so often does, the board classified their bad guys as "die-hard obstructionists" and "dead-enders". Read more...

Rubio, McCain, Reid Talk Strategy on Reform Bill

By Jerry Kammer, June 10, 2013

Some excerpts from Sunday morning's "Al Punto" program on Univision, where Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), and Harry Reid (D-Nev.) responded to questions from host Maria Elena Salinas:

Salinas to Rubio: You said this week that you would be inclined to vote against the legislation that you yourself helped to write unless there were some amendments that would strengthen even more the security of the border. Would you be willing to throw everything overboard? Read more...

News from South of The Border Shadows Senate Immigration Reform Bill

By Jerry Kammer, June 7, 2013

In recent months, many members of Congress have declared their determination to pass immigration reform legislation that will prevent another wave of illegal immigration.

"I've got one goal," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican who has emerged as one of the staunchest proponents of the bill he helped draft as a member of the Gang of Eight. "When all is said and done, there will not be a third wave of illegal immigration." Read more...

Central American Exodus Shakes South Texas

By Jerry Kammer, June 4, 2013

The exodus from the stunning violence and brutal poverty of Central America is a growing tragedy.

The implications for the United States can be seen most readily in South Texas. Many news reports have taken note of the Border Patrol's inability to control the narrow corridor leading northward from the border town of McAllen. Read more...

Castaneda Warns of "New Underclass of the Undocumented"

By Jerry Kammer, June 3, 2013

Jorge Castaneda, the former foreign minister of Mexico, is warning that a "new underclass of the undocumented" will form in the United States unless the immigration bill that will be debated in the Senate beginning next week is amended to provide more visas for low-skilled Mexicans. Read more...

William Finnegan of the New Yorker Defends the Facts on Immigration and Wages – His Version, Anyway

By Jerry Kammer, June 3, 2013

William Finnegan, the accomplished New Yorker writer with an unfortunate tendency to denigrate those who resist large-scale immigration of low-skilled workers, did it again this week. This time he questioned the character and competence of those who claim that an oversupply of immigrant labor has suppressed wages among unskilled workers.

Finnegan called that concern "a venerable argument against immigration, with unfortunate nativist echoes and only a glancing association with the facts." Read more...

MSNBC'S Alex Wagner Visits the Border, Delivers Nothing

By Jerry Kammer, May 30, 2013

Over the past month an interesting debate has involved liberal commentator Matt Yglesias, who defends large-scale immigration of poor people from Third World countries, and conservative Ross Douthat, who suggests that immigration should be limited in order to avoid overwhelming our ability to provide poor immigrants with the opportunity to incorporate themselves economically and civically into American society. See, for example, here and here.

Their debate has contrasted the liberal tendency to regard national identity as subordinate to our common human identity with the conservative inclination to believe that the nation state and national boundaries are both natural and necessary. Read more...

Proof that Senate Bill Is Comprehensive: Visa Pork!

By Jerry Kammer, May 29, 2013

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) was so determined to ensure that the immigration bill now being debated was "comprehensive" that he added the perfect touch: visa pork for his Irish friends. Now Schumer, long known as the senator from Wall Street for his courting of the big money boys who finance campaigns while they're not throwing the economy into the abyss, is jockeying to be known as the senator from Ireland. Read more...

Irish Report: Senate Bill Would Jeopardize Summer Work Travel Program

By Jerry Kammer, May 28, 2013

According to a story in Ireland's largest daily paper, the Senate immigration bill would put the State Department's Summer Work Travel program in jeopardy by imposing a $750 fee on employers or sponsors of the foreign students who come to the United States with J1 visas. Read more...

Sen. Feinstein Issues a Confusing Warning about Terrorists at the Mexican Border

By Jerry Kammer, May 21, 2013

Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) on Monday warned about the vulnerability of the U.S.-Mexico border to penetration by Middle Eastern terrorist organizations. But her statement was marred by major ambiguity and several factual inaccuracies.

"There is evidence of actual and potential terrorists entering via the Southwest border, principally members of Hamas and Hezbollah," Feinstein said at a session of the Senate Judiciary Committee to consider immigration reform legislation. Read more...

Sessions Cries Foul, Escalating Battle over Biometrics

By Jerry Kammer, May 20, 2013

The battle over biometrics intensified Monday at the Senate Judiciary Committee as Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions angrily said a 2009 DHS study showed it is feasible to use biometrics to confirm the departure of temporary visa holders from U.S. airports.

Sessions said the report, which he first learned about last Friday, "completely rejects" claims by some committee members that a biometric system is not available because of technical problems and affordability issues. He said a system could be in place in a short time and at a reasonable cost. Read more...

Charlie Rose on White House Crisis Management and Immigration

By Jerry Kammer, May 20, 2013

Friday's Charlie Rose program included discussion of how the Obama administration's triple whammy – controversies involving Benghazi, the IRS, and the Justice Department – could reverberate in the attempt to pass immigration reform legislation. Here are comments of Bloomberg's Al Hunt, the Washington Post's Karen Tumulty, and CNN's Jessica Yellin: Read more...

Lord, Give Us Biometrics – But Not Yet

By Jerry Kammer, May 17, 2013

Yesterday's session of the Senate Judiciary Committee brought to mind the ambivalence of St. Augustine when he famously implored the Lord to make him chaste, but not yet.

The committee's prayer seems to be, "Oh Lord, give us a biometric identification system that would make immigration policy credible, but no hurry." Read more...

What Happened to Sen. Schumer's National Employment Card?

By Jerry Kammer, May 15, 2013

The disappearance of Sen. Charles Schumer's (D-N.Y.) proposal for a national employment card gets my nomination for mystery of the year in the national immigration debate. Just a few years ago, Schumer trumpeted the idea as essential to effective immigration reform. Read more...

Sessions' Amendments Fail at Senate Judiciary

By Jerry Kammer, May 14, 2013

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) got considerable agreement this morning with his claim that Congress should press for completion of the entry/exit system that it ordered in 1996 to track those who overstay their visas. But he failed to win enough votes for his proposal to amend the immigration bill by requiring that the system be up and running at U.S. ports of entry before illegal immigrants could be given provisional legal status. Read more...

Consternation with the Administration? We Can Relate

By Jerry Kammer, May 14, 2013

This morning, on the MSNBC program "Morning Joe", investigative reporter Lisa Myers made pointed observations about the Obama administration's mania for controlling the news and squelching critics. She was speaking in light of the cascading revelations about the Justice Department's seizure of Associated Press reporters' phone records and about the IRS targeting conservative organizations for special scrutiny. Read more...

Let Us Now Praise Ethan Bronner of the New York Times

By Jerry Kammer, May 8, 2013

After writing criticisms of the New York Times's coverage of immigration in which I expressed dismay at the paper's seeming disinterest in the negative effects that foreign workers can have on U.S. workers, I want to express my admiration for Monday's story out of Georgia by Times reporter Ethan Bronner, "Workers Claim Race Bias as Farms Rely on Immigrants". Read more...

Excerpts from Jonathan Haidt's "The Righteous Mind", Part 2

By Jerry Kammer, May 8, 2013

Read Part 1

More on the liberal/conservative divide that is explored in Jonathan Haidt's book The Righteous Mind. Today we present the second of two sets of excerpts from the book, which The Guardian called "a compelling study of the morality of those on the left and right [that] reaches some surprising conclusions." Read more...

Four Nuggets from the Senate Homeland Security Committee Hearing

By Jerry Kammer, May 7, 2013

The U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held a hearing today to examine the Gang of Eight's immigration reform bill, which is titled "The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act". It featured several interesting exchanges between individual senators and DHS witnesses, including Border Patrol chief Michael Fisher and Anne Richards, an auditor in the DHS Inspector General's office. Read more...

Fact-Checking the Zuckerberg-Rubio Ad

By Jerry Kammer, May 7, 2013

Maybe you've seen the television spot called "Marco Rubio on Conservative Immigration Reform".

It begins with the Florida Republican saying, "Anyone who thinks that what we have now in immigration is not a problem is fooling themselves. What we have in place today is de facto amnesty." Then comes the on-screen message: "A Conservative Plan", as a narrator reads statements from articles or commentary about the Gang of Eight bill that have been published or aired by various media outlets. Read more...

NBC Story Shows Border Reality

By Jerry Kammer, May 6, 2013

Thursday night's NBC Nightly News featured a strong story by Mark Potter that came straight from the just-the-facts-ma'am school of reporting. In less than three minutes Potter presented the familiar border-security assurances of the Border Patrol and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, then showed graphic footage from Arizona and Texas — some of it recorded by hidden cameras — that contradicted those assurances. San Juan, Texas, Police Chief Juan Gonzalez told Potter the influx of illegal immigrants into his community on the Rio Grande is happening "every single day." You can see Potter's story here And you can see the 2010 CIS video from the same Arizona border region here. Read more...

Excerpts from "The Righteous Mind", Part 1

By Jerry Kammer, May 6, 2013

This blog reported the other day that a recent Senate hearing on immigration provided a demonstration of the liberal/conservative divide that is explored in Jonathan Haidt's book The Righteous Mind. Today we present the first of two sets of excerpts from the book, which The Guardian called "a compelling study of the morality of those on the left and right [that] reaches some surprising conclusions." Haidt, by the way, describes himself as a life-long liberal whose research has led him to respect the values of social conservatives. Read more...

National Review Editor Discusses "Rubio's Folly" on Morning Joe

By Jerry Kammer, May 3, 2013

This morning's "Morning Joe" program featured a discussion of "Rubio's Folly", the National Review cover story written by CIS Executive Director Mark Krikorian. Host Mika Brzezinski launched the conversation — which included National Review editor Jay Nordlinger, Huffington Post correspondent Sam Stein, and Donny Deutsch, by reading this excerpt from the article: Read more...

"Morning Joe" Talks about Republican Skepticism

By Jerry Kammer, May 2, 2013

On this morning's "Morning Joe" program, co-host Willy Geist began a conversation with Politico's Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei by noting the growing skepticism of some Republicans about the Gang of Eight immigration reform legislation. Here is how the conversation unfolded.

GEIST: This is no sure thing before the end of the year, is it? Read more...

"The Righteous Mind" at Senate Hearing

By Jerry Kammer, May 1, 2013

If Jonathan Haidt, whose book The Righteous Mind is the best explanation of the liberal/conservative divide I have ever seen, ever makes a documentary film based on the book, video of the April 22 Senate hearing on immigration would provide an excellent opening scene. Read more...

The President's Laugh Line: The Joke's on MSNBC

By Jerry Kammer, April 29, 2013

If you believe that reporters need to play it straight with their reporting and pundits have an obligation to rise above cheap disdain toward those with whom they disagree, you can only shake your head at MSNBC's coverage of the immigration policy debate. Read more...

Wanted: More Reporting on K Street's Influence

By Jerry Kammer, April 26, 2013

The Hill, the Capitol Hill newspaper, has noted in an editorial that the new immigration reform bill was produced by a "bipartisan group of eight senators [who claim it] will both secure the border and create a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants." The paper said that accomplishment "follows months of difficult negotiations in which the Gang of Eight sought to address weaknesses that have killed prior immigration bills."

True enough, as far as it goes. But there has been little reporting on efforts to shape the bill for purely commercial purposes. The public needs to understand what is being done along the axis of influence that ties K Street and Capitol Hill. There, dozens of lobbyists are representing the interests of a myriad of employers who want to shape the bill to suit their purposes. They also perform the complementary duty of raising money for the politicians whose opinions they seek to shape — and for whom many of the lobbyists previously worked. Read more...

Schumer Corrects Rubio on Immigration Bill Trigger

By Jerry Kammer, April 22, 2013

In an interview broadcast Sunday morning on the Univision news program "Al Punto", Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) corrected an erroneous description of the new Senate immigration reform legislation by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

Sen. Rubio, who has emerged as one of the most outspoken and widely quoted advocates of the bill, has published a detailed analysis of the bill on a webpage that describes it as providing "the toughest border security and enforcement measures in U.S. history". Read more...