Wednesday, April 17, 2013

CIR Watch 2013, Senate Gang of Eight Bill introduced

The "Gang of Eight" in the Senate has now filed their comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) bill.  It begins like this:

"To provide for comprehensive immigration reform and for
other purposes.
1 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representa-
2 tives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
4 (a) SHORT TITLE.—This Act may be cited as the
5 ‘‘Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigra-
6 tion Modernization Act’’.
7 (b) TABLE OF CONTENTS.—The table of contents for
8 this Act is as follows:
Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
Sec. 2. Statement of congressional findings.
Sec. 3. Effective date triggers.
Sec. 4. Southern Border Security Commission.
Sec. 5. Comprehensive Southern Border Security Strategy and Southern Border Fencing Strategy.
Sec. 6. Comprehensive Immigration Reform Trust Fund.
Sec. 7. Reference to the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Sec. 8. Definitions.

and goes on for 844 pages.

I am going to be reading it in chunks and posting a summary and perhaps some thoughts over the next few weeks.  I think a lot of what I see in the bill so far based on the table of contents makes a lot of sense.  I am, however, not openly advocating for or against the bill.  Given my occupation, I don't feel comfortable doing so. On the other hand, given my occupation, I clearly have a lot of interest in the outcome; it will affect my job greatly.  And so since I will be following everything closely, I might as well be a resource for (hopefully accurate and helpful) information about the bill (as opposed to uninformed rhetoric from both ends of the political spectrum, which is all the debate on these issues usually entails).

Tonight I made it through the initial sections and most of Title 1.  Section 2 of the bill is worth quoting in it's entirety:

2 Congress makes the following findings:
3 (1) The passage of this Act recognizes that the
4 primary tenets of its success depend on securing the
1 sovereignty of the United States of America and es-
2 tablishing a coherent and just system for integrating
3 those who seek to join American society.
4 (2) We have a right, and duty, to maintain and
5 secure our borders, and to keep our country safe and
6 prosperous. As a nation founded, built and sustained
7 by immigrants we also have a responsibility to har-
8 ness the power of that tradition in a balanced way
9 that secures a more prosperous future for America.
10 (3) We have always welcomed newcomers to the
11 United States and will continue to do so. But in
12 order to qualify for the honor and privilege of even-
13 tual citizenship, our laws must be followed. The
14 world depends on America to be strong — economi-
15 cally, militarily and ethically. The establishment of a
16 stable, just and efficient immigration system only
17 supports those goals. As a nation, we have the right
18 and responsibility to make our borders safe, to es-
19 tablish clear and just rules for seeking citizenship, to
20 control the flow of legal immigration, and to elimi-
21 nate illegal immigration, which in some cases has be-
22 come a threat to our national security.
23 (4) All parts of this Act are premised on the
24 right and need of the United States to achieve these
1 goals, and to protect its borders and maintain its
2 sovereignty."

Section 3 sets requirements for measuring the effectiveness of border security measures, and ties the beginning of the registration of aliens in the newly created provisional status (more on this later in the bill) to the beginning of this process.

Skipping down to Section 6, that section creates a trust fund to pay for the measures required by the bill.  Various new immigration fees (fees paid by applicants for immigration benefits) and portions of existing fees are then designated to go into this fund.

Title 1 then goes on to add numerous additional resources for border security.  Resources are also provided to triple the number of immigration prosecutions in the border region.  The title also has provisions for a review of the use of force by border enforcement agents, and requires extensive new training for border enforcement agents.

All of this is basically a predicate for all of the quite extensive changes to the immigration system contained in the remainder of the bill.  I'll get in to those in subsequent posts.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Profiles in Madness, Palm Sunday Edition, Volume 2, Chapter 3: Florida Gulf Coast

(15) Florida Gulf Coast now has as many wins in this tournament as they have years in Division 1.  They pulled away from (7) San Diego St. in the 2nd half for what ended up as a blowout win.  They'll now face their in-state neighbor (3) Florida in the Sweet 16.

One more double-digit seed will join (12) Oregon and (15) FCG in the Sweet 16.  It will be the winner of (13) La Salle and (12) Ole Miss, who are currently at halftime with La Salle holding a 2-point lead.  Whoever wins that one, it won't be considered an upset, given the closeness of the seeds.  But it will mean that three double-digit seeds are in the Sweet 16.  None of which, by the way, I picked to be there (nor, I imagine, did many others).

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Profiles in Madness, Shocker Edition, Volume 2, Chapter 2, Wichita State

(9) Wichita St. knocks off (1) Gonzaga.

This is the best tourney perfomance for Wichita since 2006, when they lost in the regional semifinal to another upstart, George Mason.  In 1965, Wichita St. had a Final Four appearance.

Wichita will make the Sweet 16 and face the winner of upsetters La Salle and Mississippi.

I have now lost the first of my Final Four picks.

Profiles in Madness, Second Round (I Refuse to Call it Third) Edition, Volume 2, Chapter 1: Oregon

Oregon was the first upset of the first round, and now they are the first upset of the second round.  This time they knocked off the 4 seed Billikens of Saint Louis.

This is my first mistake in the Midwest region; I had Saint Louis moving on to face Louisville.

Instead the webfoots Ducks will move on to face to Louisville.  They are the second Pac-12 team in the Sweet 16 (earlier Arizona knocked off Harvard).

So far the Sweet 16 has two Big 10 teams, two Pac-12, and one Big East team.

Profiles in Madness, Last Game of the Round Edition, Volume 1, Chapter 7: Minnesota

Minnesota has vastly underperformed versus their talent this year, but they may be poised for a tourney run nonetheless.  As an 11 seed, they embarrassed 6 seed UCLA.

This is the Gophers' first tourney since 2010.  Their last tournament appearance in which they didn't lose the first game was 1997, where they went to the Final Four and lost to Kentucky in the national semifinal.

The Gophers will next get the Gators of Florida.  Hey, Tubby, if you want to make it up to me for leaving Georgia way back when, you can do it by knocking off Florida.

By the way, I did pick this upset.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Profiles in Madness: Mayor of Ames Embarrasses The Irish Edition, Volume 1, Chapter 6: Iowa State

(10) Iowa State pounds (7) Notre Dame.  No time for much additional expounding; Kansas is locked in a close one with (16) Western Kentucky, while US soccer tries to finish a 1-0 win over Costa Rica in heavy snow in Colorado in World Cup qualifying.

Profiles in Madness, Wherein I Lose Another Regional Finalist Edition, Volume 1, Chapter 5: Florida Gulf Coast

Last year's first round featured two of the rarest of upset flavors, the 15 over 2 upset.  And now we have this year's first (and only, since Ohio State is currently handling Iona by 20+ with less than five minutes to go): (15) Florida Gulf Coast over (2) Georgetown.  This one hurts because I had the notion to pick it, based on FCG's victory this year over Miami and Georgetown's sometime vulnerability (see e.g. loss to South Florida).  But in the end I didn't have the guts. Now I'm like the guy that didn't buy the lottery ticket.

This is the first tournament in FGC's history.  In fact, it is only their second year in Division 1.  Last year, they lost in the final of their conference tournament, and this year won it to capture their first dance in their 2nd chance.  Not bad.

Next up for FGC will be the San Diego St./Oklahoma winner.