Immigration Reform 2013: Obama Speaks On Leaked Bill; Senators Debate Federal ID Card For All Workers

Immigration Reform 2013: Obama Speaks On Leaked Bill; Senators Debate Federal ID Card For All Workers

Although leaked, President Obama’s discusses his Immigration reform. He believes it won’t hurt talks on the reform. Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, several key legislators are looking into the possibility of an immigration bill that would force every U.S. worker to carry a high-tech ID card that could use fingerprints or other markings to determine a person legal status.

Too often, in this highly politicized, highly polarized society, we approach questions through the lenses of politics or economics, job security, family concerns, security concerns – and these things become the categories and lenses through which we approach a particular question. And in addition, too often our thinking is by the pundits – what does Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, or Rachel Maddow or some other person that we listen to say and think about a particular issue.

Prosperous nations such as the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom will always attract immigrants that are in search for a better life. The problem is that many immigrants do not follow the proper immigration channels. The United States has an illegal immigration problem as immigrants enter the country illegally by crossing the border between the United States and Mexico, or they enter legally but overstay their visas. The United States Immigration Reform is specifically targeting the problem of 12 to 20 million undocumented workers in the United States.

On January 28, 2013, a bi-partisan group of eight Senators announced principles for comprehensive immigration reform (CIR). The Senators involved include: Chuck Schumerof New York, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Bob Menendez of New Jersey, and Michael Bennet of Colorado, and Republicans John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Marco Rubio of Florida, and Jeff Flake of Arizona.[10]

The policies envisioned by the Senators include the following provisions:

  1. A citizenship path for undocumented immigrants already in the United States contingent on certain border security and visa tracking improvements. The plan provides for permanent residence for undocumented immigrants only after legal immigrants waiting for a current priority date receive their permanent residence status and a different citizenship path for agricultural workers through an agricultural worker program.
  2. Business immigration system reforms, focusing on reducing current visa backlogs and fast tracking permanent residence for U.S. university immigrant graduates with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering or math also known as the STEM fields.
  3. An expanded and improved employment verification system for all employers to confirm employee work authorization.
  4. Improved work visa options for low-skill workers including an agricultural worker program.

As mention President Obama has his administration’s effort for immigration reform. I hope that our country will find a way to common ground on immigration, which is currently tearing us apart.

Advertisements

Voter Suppression

Image

New voter identification laws have sprung up across the country, requiring registered voters to show a government-issued identification card — a photo ID in 16 states — in order to cast a ballot. Supporters of these new voter ID laws argue that tighter security at polling stations cuts down on voter fraud and ensures cleaner elections. But critics of voter ID laws see something far more devious: a plot to disenfranchise or at least discourage targeted segments of the American electorate.

Voter suppression — also known as caging — is any action or behavior intended to deter an individual or group from voting. In the history of American politics, a wide range of dirty tactics have been used by both major political parties to intimidate or disqualify voters traditionally aligned with the opposition. During the “Jim Crow” era in the southern U.S., state and county governments evaded the 15th Amendment — prohibiting voter discrimination based on race or color — — by imposing a series of literacy tests, poll taxes and even thuggish “poll workers” to block African-American voters from casting a ballot. Modern methods of voter suppression are more subtle, but the intention is the same: to employ legal and illegal means to affect voter turnout in an election.

Critics of the new voter ID laws are crying foul, accusing the states of imposing a solution in search of a problem, citing Justice Department statistics that voter fraud is extremely rare: 86 convictions out of 300 million votes cast in recent elections. The real reason for the rash of new voter ID laws, critics argue, is that certain Democratic-leaning voters — African- and Hispanic-Americans, students, the elderly and the disabled — are less likely to possess a valid government-issued ID . Strict voter identification laws, they say, have the intended effect of discouraging or disqualifying traditionally Democratic voters.

Conversely, Supporters of the voter ID laws insist that voter fraud, particularly by third-party voter registration groups and illegal immigrants, is a serious problem. Moreover, if requiring a photo ID to vote is discriminatory, where are the cries of civil rights violations at the airport security kiosk or the liquor store? In a landmark 2008 decision, the Supreme Court sided with voter ID supporters in Indiana, citing a “valid interest” in deterring fraud and finding no significant obstacles to obtaining an ID.

In an era of passionately partisan politics, both parties will do everything in their power to gain a political advantage during an election. The question is, when does a savvy political tactic become an unconstitutional breach of civil rights?

Women in Future Drafts: Imagine That!

Females may be included in the Selective Service and qualify for a potential draft should one be ordered by the president, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said. The U.S. military’s civilian leader lamented that he didn’t know who ran the Selective Service, but whoever does will “have to exercise some judgment based on what we just did,” Panetta said at a Pentagon press conference on January 24,2013. On last Thursday, Panetta and Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, lifted the official ban on women serving in combat roles, removing gender barriers from jobs in the military. However, this new position can place women in the draft.

Congress established the U.S. Selective Service as an independent federal agency in 1940, one year ahead of the start of World War II. Presidents had drafted men in previous wars, but this was the first time it was established in peace time. In America’s history, the military has never drafted a woman or ordered her to register for the Selective Service. That could change as the service leaders determine how to institute the new policy of allowing women to serve in combat arms specialties. In doing so, it may force Congress or the president to include women or scrap the Selective Service.

My question to my followers “What are your thoughts of women being on the frontline in a military campaign?”

Image

Roe v. Wade Supreme Court Decision Anniversary. Are we really Celebrating?

Today marks the anniversary of the landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court on the issue of abortion, Roe v. Wade. Here’s some history of the court’s decision:

Decided simultaneously with a companion case, Doe v. Bolton, the Court ruled 7–2 that a right to privacy under the due process clause of the 14th Amendment extended to a woman’s decision to have an abortion, but that right must be balanced against the state’s two legitimate interests in regulating abortions: protecting prenatal life and protecting women’s health. Arguing that these state interests became stronger over the course of a pregnancy, the Court resolved this balancing test by tying state regulation of abortion to the trimester of pregnancy.

Norma Leah McCorvey, better known by the legal pseudonym "Jane Roe"

Norma Leah McCorvey, better known by the legal pseudonym “Jane Roe”

Henry Wade, as Dallas County District Attorney

Henry Wade, as Dallas County District Attorney

In 2011, 92 abortion restrictions were passed in 24 states and in 2012, 19 states enacted 43 provisions restricting access to abortion services. So as we “celebrate” (and I use the term hesitantly) the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, does anyone know where one can obtain an abortion in a timely fashion without mortgaging their house?

In a perfect world there would be no need for abortions, women would not be sexually assaulted, and children would have no need to fear their own family members. But that isn’t the world we live in. We must protect those who are vulnerable and we must put an end to all types of violence. So forty years later, the struggle to preserve access to abortion is even more daunting than the fight to legalize it was.

Love to hear your thoughts on this controversial issue.

Guns and Mental Illnesses, who has rights?

Is this an infringement of our Second Amendment rights or is this a just action of our American leadership. Since there is no magic wand that police and psychiatrists could use to catch and treat the next unstable mass shooter before the next massacre. Of course there isn’t. However, we are getting more information of the, dare I say culprits, who commit these horrific mass slaughter. William Spengler in Webster, Adam Lanza in Newtown, James Holmes in Aurora, Jared Loughner in Tucson, from what we’ve been told, all displayed clear signs of imbalance, at least by their deeds. Policymakers and the public must guard against remedies that unfairly target the mentally ill, circumscribe their civil liberties, aggravate the stigma that could prevent them from getting help and deny the resources to keep them — and everyone else — safe.

New York Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand have introduced a “Fix Gun Checks” bill extending scrutiny to virtually all gun purchasers and barring those ordered to receive treatment for mental illness. It deserves to become law.

0109lede.JPG

New York Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer, seen here Jan. 4 on Capitol Hill, have proposed legislation further restricting access to firearms by people with mental illness

Here’s a definition of mental illness: A mental disorder or mental illness is a psychological pattern or anomaly, potentially reflected in behavior, that is generally associated with distress or disability, and which is not considered part of normal development of a person’s culture. Mental disorders are generally defined by a combination of how a person feels, acts, thinks or perceives. This may be associated with particular regions or functions of the brain or rest of the nervous system, often in a social context. The recognition and understanding of mental health conditions have changed over time and across cultures and there are still variations in definition, assessment and classification, although standard guideline criteria are widely used. In many cases, there appears to be a continuum between mental health and mental illness, making diagnosis complex.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.