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Immigration

Real Solutions Or Fear And Hate?

On their way to Ames today

On their way to Ames today

Yesterday and today will be offering a dramatic contrast of the differences between what the Democratic Party stands for and what the Republican Party stands for.

Last night in Cedar Rapids, Democrats met for their annual Hall of Fame dinner. Speakers for the evening were the declared Democratic candidates for president – Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb and Lincoln Chaffee. The general focus of remarks last night were to bring back the middle class for every group in America and reestablish a country that works for all of its citizens, not just the wealthy and well connected. In short, the focus was on putting the citizens back in charge of this country.

Other issues included climate change, student debt, access to education for all, building an economy that works for all including living wages for workers, sensible immigration solutions and many others. The focus was on issues, not personalities or rumors or made up media hype.

Half a day later and 100 miles to the west in Ames we will be seeing Republicans gathering under the auspices of a quasi-Christian group known as the FAMiLY Leader. The focus of this conference is to push the theme that America is Christian and should be run by a set of principles based on their interpretation of Christianity.

Today we will see such Republican presidential candidates as Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz pander to folks who share the Family Leaders’ version of Christianity. In that version, gays are hated and of course the idea that a gay person could marry is anathema to them. Immigrants and immigration policy will be also be in for major criticism. Policies that will come in for praise are those policies that will enrich the already wealthy while continuing low wages and no benefits for the poor and middle class. No doubt there will be veiled references to Muslims being terrorists through comments on the middle east or the new deal with Iran.

Climate change will certainly come in for derision as will science in general. Shoot, I almost wouldn’t even be surprised if someone joked that the Pluto mission was staged in a back lot in Hollywood. The only science that counts for them is that which can be exploited for a buck.

At a time when serious consideration is needed concerning the deal with Iran, Republican will use it as a cornerstone around which to build fear. There will be no sensible discussion as each of the presidential candidates tries to stake out the furthest right position.

No doubt there will also be attacks on Democratic candidates, most likely Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. There will also be attacks on Planned Parenthood which has recently been the subject of another bogus right wing “documentary.” In short, the hate will flow with no real issues discussed nor any solutions offered.

Within one day the contrast between what have become polar opposites should be quite apparent to any American. Do you want solutions? Or do you want more hate and fear?

Governing Undocumented Iowans

Community IDIOWA CITY–Johnson County announced acceptance of applications for a new Community ID program on Wednesday. The county seeks to become more welcoming, and to resolve a practical public safety issue problem—undocumented residents prefer to stay in the shadows.

“Johnson County will be the first community in the Midwest, and the first outside a major metropolitan area, to offer community-issued identification,” according to a press release. “The Community ID program is designed to help people who may have difficulty getting a state-issued ID, such as seniors who no longer drive, the homeless, people in poverty or transition, and new immigrants. A Community ID can help these people interact with law enforcement, local government, pharmacies and banks.”

Rod Sullivan, Johnson County supervisor, explained the public safety aspect of the program in an April 9 email.

Why do we need a Community ID? I have a very personal story. After years of doing nothing, a few years ago, the board of supervisors finally began taking action against the criminals that own Regency Mobile Home Park. State law severely limits the ability of the board to intervene, but there were dozens of credible reports of fraud coming from Regency.

Johnson County detectives swooped in, gathered all the info they could, and began following up on leads. Then they ran into a stone wall. Most of the people they needed to speak with refused to talk to them. These folks saw law enforcement coming, and they went the other way–even when they were innocent victims!

I spoke at length with the lead detective on the case, and he said that this avoidance of law enforcement was common. When I asked why, he said it all came back to a lack of ID.

This illustrates the number one reason for instituting a Community ID – public safety. We need victims and witnesses to come forward in order to solve crimes and see to it that justice is served. The Community ID will help with this.

There have already been hundreds of applications for Community IDs. The program requires both documentary proof of identity and proof of residency. It is an open question whether the victims and witnesses Sullivan referred to will actually come forward to secure a Community ID, or change their behavior.

In an unrelated incident undocumented immigrants made news Wednesday when Rep. Steve King (R-Kiron) condemned the concept of “Sanctuary City” for the umpteenth time in the wake of the murder of Kate Steinle in San Francisco. The accused is a seven-time felon who has been deported to Mexico five times, according to the story.

“Sanctuary cities exist because of the left, because of the open border policy,” King told Newsmax. “Yes, there is blood on their hands and San Francisco is at fault. All of California is a sanctuary state today, and many states have these jurisdictions like this.”

Having a Community ID is not the same as being a Sanctuary City, but it may represent what is possible in governing the undocumented.

Old-Fashioned Democrats Emerging?

Hillary Clinton came out strong for a path to citizenship and fixing the immigration mess on Cinco de Mayo. She has previously put out strong positions for women, on greatly lessening income inequality and money in politics.

Bernie Sanders introduced a bill in the Senate to break up the mega-banks that have grown out of the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009. As he did he reminded us that:

No single financial institution should be so large that its failure would cause catastrophic risk to millions of Americans or to our nation’s economic well-being. No single financial institution should have holdings so extensive that its failure would send the world economy into crisis. If an institution is too big to fail, it is too big to exist and that is the bottom line.

Bernie on the economy

Martin O’Malley staked out positions in liberal territory early on, even though he has not officially declared his candidacy yet. You can check his positions here.
Martin_omalley_2008

Is this reality? After years of Democrats running like lukewarm Republicans, we are getting Democrats talking as if they are Democrats. This is a trend we hope continues up to election day and beyond. It may be Sanders’ entrance into the race, or it may be that Democratic leaders finally realize that Republican ideas are failed ideas.

Democratic debates will be debates on real issues talking about real solutions for real people.

But don’t forget.  America not only needs a Democratic president that will face issues – as Barack Obama has done – America also needs a Democratic congress to put those concepts into reality.

Random Thoughts Before A Holiday

* The President takes as bold of an action as he possibly can and the Speaker of the House claims this ends any co-operation that was going to happen between congress and the President. Maybe Boehner missed it, but there was never any co-operation to begin with. When you make a threat, try to operate within reality, Boehner.

cooperation after

* We will sure miss this guy:

attribution:EarlG at democraticunderground,com

attribution:EarlG at democraticunderground,com

* While you are sitting back digesting the turkey and taters, the Koch brothers and their ilk will be busy preparing their demands for the state politicians they own. Did I say own? I meant own. They will whine and dine them (yep I meant whine about how tough it is to be a billionaire these days) and give them a list of must dos or they will buy new politicians. I expect a new demand will be to destroy the electoral college before the next election.

* The President asks for TV network air time for a momentous speech and the networks tell him to take a hike, “Big Bang Theory” is much more important than some silly speech. Just in case you wondered how the media views Obama or any Democrat for that matter.

* If you are shopping over the holiday weekend, remember that you do vote with your dollars. Money spent at most of the big box stores will come back to haunt you when the billionaires buy politicians with the profits. Shop local if you can. Otherwise try to pick merchants who espouse policies you do: decent pay, equal pay and decent working conditions.

* There will be many things to fight against in the next congress. One that really hasn’t been talked about much but has me worried is the fate of the Post Office. As the employer with the biggest (and I daresay most cohesive) union in the country, I believe we can expect an all out assault on the Post Office to the point of totally dismantling it. In covering this story, I expect the media will give us many stories on how bad the USPO is and how private industry could do the job better. Typical media crap.

* Have a good holiday. Take a few moments to think of those less fortunate. Then try to act in ways that could help them.

REPORT: Executive Action on Immigration Will Boost Iowa’s Economy‏

progress iowa

For Immediate Release: November 20th, 2014
Contact: Matt Sinovic, (515) 423-0530
www.progressiowa.org

REPORT: Executive Action on Immigration Will Boost Iowa’s Economy

Des Moines, Iowa — President Obama’s announced executive action on immigration will boost the Iowa economy, according to a new report released by the Center for American Progress (CAP). 13,000 undocumented immigrants living in Iowa would see their wages increase by 8.5%, and Iowa tax revenues would see a $22 million spike over five years, according to the study.

Click here to read the report

Progress Iowa Executive Director Matt Sinovic issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s executive action and the CAP report:

“President Obama’s executive action will keep families together, raise wages for thousands of Iowans, and bring more money in to our state. The President’s action tonight will make our country and our economy more secure.”

“Republicans like Steve King will demagogue the President’s decision, but I challenge them to speak directly to the 13,000 undocumented immigrants living in Iowa who would be forced to leave their children behind if deported. The US Senate passed bipartisan legislation in 2013, by a 68-32 margin, but it died in the House of Representatives, who refused to hold a vote. Because of their inaction, families in Iowa and across the country were left to wonder whether they would stay together or be ripped apart. Before King or any Congressional Republican criticizes the President, they should remember we are in the position we are today because of their failure to act.”

“The policy effects of the President’s executive action will also be tremendous for our country. Immigrants impacted by the President’s executive action will be required to pay taxes, which will help our economy. And the Department of Homeland Security will be able to free up resources to focus on serious criminals and those who might present a threat to our national security.”

“We hope for and will continue to support a legislative solution to our broken immigration system. But given the multiple delays and the failure by Congressman King and the House of Representatives to act, we are thankful that the President took the executive action he did.”

Progress Iowa is a statewide organization focused on research, education and advocacy regarding Iowa public policy.

President Obama’s Immigration Speech

 

Tolerance In Iowa Without Congress

immigration(EDITOR’S NOTE: This guest opinion first appeared in the Daily Iowan on Feb. 2, 2010. The idea of creating a sanctuary city did not gain traction, but local groups continue to seek ways to make the city more welcoming to recent immigrants. With this week’s failure of the U.S. Congress to reform our immigration system, the latest in a long series of failures on immigration reform, people must take matters into their own hands. Sanctuary City is a way of doing that).

Iowa City should be a sanctuary city for immigrants

Iowa City should become a sanctuary city, and here is why: It would be a step toward recognizing that seeking the welfare of one is seeking the welfare of all.

A sanctuary city is a place in which a formal sanctuary policy is written and passed by a local government body in the form of a resolution, ordinance, or policy. In sanctuary cities, sanctuary policies instruct city employees not to notify the federal government of the presence of illegal aliens living in their communities. The policies also would end the distinction between legal and illegal immigration. Some examples of sanctuary cities are Takoma Park, Maryland; Sacramento, California; Worthington, Minnesota; Chicago; and Columbus, Ohio.

Every day, people notice the international community drawn here by the UI. They also notice the increase in the number of immigrants from Mexico and Central and South America. We find landlords rent to immigrants more often and schools enroll more immigrant children. People who work in social safety-net organizations such as the Iowa City Free Medical Clinic, the Crisis Center Food Bank, and the Broadway Neighborhood Center see a significant number of immigrant clients.

Public-health needs staff able to speak Spanish to work effectively with immigrant communities. An increasing number of churches are being founded by immigrants. This is in Iowa City.

There is consensus in the community that immigration reform is needed. There are social problems related to our flawed immigration system. Native-born workers have seen a decline in standard of living. Businesses want access to inexpensive labor provided by immigrants. Undocumented workers compete with native-born/naturalized workers on an uneven playing field for jobs. Guest-worker and work-visa programs replace permanent jobs with temporary jobs without benefits or the legal protections guaranteed to most U.S. workers.

Undocumented immigrants are most likely to receive abuse and mistreatment in social situations and in housing and employment. There is a language barrier, and skin color may be different, resulting in discrimination. These are the symptoms of a community in conflict. How can this conflict be addressed?

Some in the faith and labor communities believe we should seek common ground. United States immigration law and enforcement are flawed, and there should be legal reform to facilitate immigration. For practical reasons, the law should limit immigration. Worker exploitation is an issue, and steps should be taken to avoid such exploitation. Crimes against immigrants should be prosecuted as hate crimes. Compliance with existing law is a place where people can come together.

At the same time, there are polarizing issues regarding immigration— notably, the idea of amnesty for undocumented immigrants. The idea of sanctuary cities may be a way to address the issues surrounding our flawed immigration system.

By declaring Iowa City a sanctuary city and creating a sanctuary policy, the community would become more welcoming to immigrants and address the fear of authorities, language and culture barriers, racism, and worker exploitation that often cause friction between immigrants and others in the community.

Making Iowa City a sanctuary city would be no panacea. It would be a first step toward improving the international community that is Iowa City.

~ Paul Deaton is a member of Iowa Physicians for Social Responsibility and was chairman of the Johnson County Board of Health at the time of publication.

Hodge-Podge: Branstad For Bishop!

branstad jobs numbersI understand Terry Branstad is a Roman Catholic. I never knew this because I never cared before. As one who truly believes that the separation of Church and State must as wide as a galaxy it really irked me to see him leading the phony-baloney “day of prayer” last Monday. Terry, if you want to be bishop go for it. I think you would make a lousy one after cutting food aid for the poor 2 years in a row and doing all you could to stop Medicaid in Iowa before making the poor pay for it. You may be religious, but you sure as hell are not moral.

Sending The Refugees Home
Would be like telling fire fighters to take the people they just rescued back into the burning house. Really, Branstad? Really Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman? You both claim to be Christian, yet in a true test of your Christianity you turn your backs on those in need.

I do believe in the separation of Church and State. This is not a religious question, it is a question of morality. Here are two governors who proudly fail that test and want your vote. Morality and government should not be separated.

How To Pay For The Lawsuit Against Obama
The whole concept of the House suing President Obama is so ludicrous it is beyond laughter. Boehner and his sycophants think they have outsmarted both Dems and the far right with this one. But one thing Tea Baggers insist on is that the cost be offset. I have a humble suggestion and shall send it to Mr. Boehner.

Mr. Boehner, I recommend that this epitome of frivolous lawsuits be paid for by taking the salary, travel costs, staff salaries and any other perks from any member voting for this suit. If they truly believe this is a legitimate and necessary suit, they will gladly give up a few years of pay and perks. You may also need to ask them for donations. I see no reason why I or any other taxpayer should pay so much as a nickel for this tomfoolery!

Science On The March
Holy Moley is science ever marching forward at breakneck speed. Couple of really interesting developments these past couple of weeks. Too bad the Tea Party hates science, because they are truly missing some fantastic advances. When they come back to earth they will have a lot of catching up to do. Here are a couple that really caught my eye:

1) Researchers may have found a way to stop type 2 diabetes. Very preliminary, but very promising.

2) Future farming in a high-rise? Taking place now in Japan. Takes up less surface space while making it much easier to recycle, control pollution and farm darn near anywhere. My son-in-law and I have been talking of this for years.

Christie Running!
At least as well as he can run for president while carrying around tons of corruption. Hobbled by many major corruption stories in his administration in New Jersey, Chris Christie has time to take a trip to Iowa and New Hampshire. At least in Iowa he will be able to compare corruption notes with another scandal plagued governor, our own Terry Branstad.

Putin, Plane Shot Down and Republicans
When My wife and I heard of the tragedy in the Ukraine with the speculation that Vladimir Putin may be responsible either directly or indirectly we could not help but remember that only a few weeks ago Republicans from the US Senate to the Us House down to the state house were expressing such admiration for Putin. They used Putin as an example of a “man of action” and someone who gets things done. Wonder how they feel about their hero now. My teachers used to tell to be careful when you pick heroes. Most are not anything like what they appear to be.

I also recall how our last President Bush implied he was a good guy:
“I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straight forward and trustworthy and we had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul.”

Raise your hand if you are really glad Obama is President and not Bush or any other war hungry Republican.

Branstad Admin Nixes Solar Power Grant
Like a good corporate Tea Party governor the Branstad administration rejected a $1 million grant based on corporate lobbyists objections.

They wanted changes to the grant that the energy office were unwilling to make, since they were making them for no one else and they would gut the purpose of the project.

Terry, you can’t stop progress forever. If Iowa’s voters have a lick of sense it will only be for another few months. Jack Hatch will move Iowa forward!

Keep it up and Iowa Republicans will be irrelephant:

irrelephant

Mid-July Hodge-Podge

Things I love to hear

Things I love to hear

Paula Poundstone tweets:
“CNN headline said Sarah Palin calls for “impeachment,” but it did not say of whom, and there is no evidence that she knows.”

Joni Ernst also favors impeachment and will be willing to waste your time and your money to seek the ideological dream of impeaching the black guy. Someone please ask her specifically what the charges are?

BTW here is a short video that gives a little history of the reactionaries now called conservatives:

Proven in Murietta, Cal.:
Republicans believe a fertilized egg is a child but a refugee child is not. In fact once a baby is born, they no longer care.

Per NPR Report Wednesday:
“Republicans chose Cleveland for its 2016 convention. They hope they can demonstrate their “minority outreach” in Cleveland.” No that was not from the Onion. Can’t wait to see how it turns out!

Just To Drive Home A Point
The Justices(?) who decided the Hobby Lobby case (corporate religious belief) were doing just what their party wanted. Any veneer they ever had of impartiality was smashed by that. Appointed for life, they are driven to represent the Republican party – the Tea Party on the highest Court in the land. Justice is not a consideration.

Can I Have A Refund?
I see that Darryl Issa wants some big bucks for another snipe hunt on Benghazi. This follows his previous waste of money and such other Republican money wasting schemes such as suing the president, voting against the ACA every weekend of course their three major money wasters Iraq, Afghanistan and a deeply flawed Medicare drug bill they forks money over to big Pharma.

Can I have a refund? Or at least relief from taxes until the amount wasted per person on these boondoggles equals what I should have paid. I figure the people who benefited from this crap should be the ones paying – the uber-wealthy who seek to destroy our government from the inside with their puppets and their corrupt money.

Gohmert Calls For Invasion Of Mexico
Just remember that Republicans think Louie is a clear thinking human. To them his views are not extreme.

Once More- Why Elect Republicans?
The Republican Party of today is a party that has been calling to make government useless and impotent. As humans we need government. In the US our forefathers set up a system where all citizens (eventually) have some say in how that government is run. Since Ronald Reagan the Republican Party has made no bones that they want to greatly alter our government and had it over to the oligarchs.

Remember when you vote for a Republican you are voting for someone who wants to take your voice out of government, someone who wants to hand your government over to the rich and well-born. Is that what you really want?

liberal - conservative

Immigrants In Iowa – From IPP

Once more, the folks over at Iowa Policy Project take an hot button issue, take the emotion out of it and give us a sober fact based report. I certainly wish some of our politicians would take a cue from IPP in their actions. This month they look at the effect of immigrants in Iowa.

As an aside, in today’s parlance “immigrant’ has seemed to become synonomus with “Latino.” IPP in no way designates a specific group of immigrants in their report. This is some interesting reading for the Fourth of July weekend in a land built on immigration.
IPP-webbanner-draft5
Immigrants in Iowa
What New Iowans Contribute to the State Economy

Immigrants are important to Iowa and its economy:
– generating income as workers, spending money as consumers, and contributing to state and federal revenues as taxpayers;
– starting businesses that contribute to local economic development and job creation; and
– contributing to the vitality and culture of Iowa communities.
In fact, immigrants make up about 4.3 percent of the Iowa population, account for 4.5 percent of the state’s economic output and represent 1 in 20 Iowa workers.

These contributions would increase further if immigration reform were to make work authorization or a path to citizenship possible for the subset of Iowa immigrants who currently lack such documents. That subset — undocumented immigrants — pays an estimated $64 million in state and local taxes, and another $37 million in federal payroll taxes.

In a new report for the Iowa Policy Project, researchers Heather Gibney and Peter Fisher explore the facts that should be part of an accurate understanding of Iowa’s immigrant population and its relationship to the state’s economy. Read our new report — or the two-page executive summary here.

immigrant contribution chart

Did you know? The Congressional Budget Office estimates that over half of undocumented workers have federal and state income taxes withheld from paychecks, along with payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare. Yet they are unable to access benefits that they are helping to fund. Learn more in our new paper.