November 2011


The conservative Mobile Press-Register calls for the repeal of the Alabama Anti-Immigrant law, HB56.

But we’d like to hear from Gov. Robert Bentley — and other corporate executives and officials, all of whom surely must see the folly in trying to enforce this radical law.

The more that supporters defend Alabama’s extremist stance, the more they sound like throwbacks to another era — one known for its poor treatment of people of a different color.

It’s time to call an end to the madness.

Alabama legislators will have to swallow their pride as they repeal the act they once touted as “the nation’s toughest immigration law.” But that’s a far better choice than ignoring the serious consequences that continue to unfold.

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I am still waiting for Mike Hubbard and Mike Rogers to call Mitt Romney a socialist for his “push toward a socialistic-leaning government in this country” with RomneyCare and its “socialist” mandates . But I also now expect them to call Newt one as well.

If I see somebody who’s earning over $50,000 a year, who has made the calculated decision not to buy health insurance, I’m looking at somebody who is absolutely as irresponsible as anyone who was ever on welfare. Because what they’ve said is, A, I’m gambling that I won’t get sick, and B, I’m gambling that if I do get sick, I can cheat all my neighbors. Now, when you talk to hospitals, a very significant part of their non-collectibles are people who have money, but have calculated it’s not worth the cost to pay. And so I’m actually in favor of finding a way to say, whatever the appropriate level of income is, you ought to have either health insurance, or you ought to post a bond. But we have no right in this society to have a free rider approach, if we’re well off economically, to cheat our neighbors.

 

Alabama should consider some of these arguments:

Virginia has become one of the few true swing states in presidential elections and, in recent years, has experienced divided partisan control of its state legislature. You’d think that this would have prompted hotly contested state legislative races on Election Day, but in fact only 52 of 140 races had candidates from both major parties – including just 27 percent of elections for the House of Delegates.

Another round of largely uncontested races is just the latest evidence of the failure of winner-take-all, single-member district elections.

Winner-take-all inherently represents voters poorly and tempts partisans to gerrymander outcomes. Although we need other changes like independent redistricting, it’s time to look for a better way grounded in our electoral traditions: fair voting, which is an American form of proportional representation in elections taking place in larger “superdistricts.”

Fair voting may seem new to many readers, but it is used in many national elections and in a growing number of American cities as an alternative to winner-take-all rules.

Fair voting systems allow like-minded voters to pool their votes in multi-seat superdistricts to elect representatives in numbers that reflect the level of public support. It puts voters in charge of their representation in every election, rather than leaving it to redistricting mapmakers once a decade.

Several candidate-based forms of fair voting have been upheld by our courts and fit well with American traditions. Choice voting, in which voters rank candidates in order of choice in at-large elections, helped break the power of urban political machines in New York and Cincinnati. It’s used currently in Cambridge, Mass., and in Minneapolis for their citywide elections.

Used in dozens of U.S. cities today, cumulative voting provides another alternative. From 1870 to 1980, members of the Illinois House of Representatives were elected this way, with voters able to allocate three votes however they wished, with the option to give three to one candidate. Nearly every district elected both Democrats and Republicans.

We created examples of fair voting proposals for Virginia’s congressional elections and state legislative elections by combining single-member districts in proposed plans. For the House of Delegates, for example, Virginia would have 20 superdistricts, each with five members.

Using a fair voting method, winning in a five-seat superdistrict would take about 17 percent of the vote. Winning two seats would take just over a third of the vote, and winning three would require more than 50 percent.

No party would have the votes to shut out the other party from representation, meaning every voter in the state would have real general-election choices and representatives from both major parties.

Voters also would have far more choice in picking which major party candidate would get elected.

Minor parties and independents would also gain a greater chance to hold the major parties accountable and win a seat. Far more African American and Latino voters would have the power to elect preferred candidates, and women candidates would have more chances to increase their representation in the state’s congressional delegation.

Our plans for the Senate and House of Representatives provide similar outcomes. While a fair voting plan for congressional elections would require Congress to repeal a 1967 law mandating one-seat districts, Virginia can act on its own in order to take power away from the political cartographers in state legislative races and give it to voters.

With our government founded on upholding the consent of the governed, it’s time to reject winner-take-all and put voters in charge.

From the Small Wars Journal:

Drug-cartel violence in Mexico escalated dramatically in 2010, with the violence reaching the highest levels since it broke out in 2006; as many as 15,000 people were killed as a result during the year. In 2010, northern states bordering the United States, where trafficking routes were concentrated, were most affected. While the violence has caused forced displacement, the government has not systematically collected figures to indicate its scale.

In 2010, most IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) originated from the states most affected by violence, Chihuahua and Tamaulipas. Surveys conducted by a research centre in Ciudad Juárez in Chihuahua estimated that around 230,000 people had fled their homes. According to the survey’s findings, roughly half of them had crossed the border into the United States, with an estimated 115,000 people left internally displaced, predominantly in the states of Chihuahua, Durango, Coahuila and Veracruz.

This raises a future political a foreign policy problem:

Since 2006, when Mexican President Felipe Calderon declared war on the drug cartels, there has been a rise in the number of Mexican nationals seeking political asylum in the United States to escape the ongoing drug cartel violence in their home country. Political asylum cases in general are claimed by those who are targeted for their political beliefs or ethnicity in countries that are repressive or are failing. Mexico is neither. Nonetheless, if the health of the Mexican state declines because criminal violence continues, increases, or spreads, U.S. communities will feel an even greater burden on their systems of public safety and public health from “narco-refugees.” Given the ever increasing cruelty of the cartels, the question is whether and how the U.S. Government should begin to prepare for what could be a new wave of migrants coming from Mexico.

Allowing Mexicans to claim asylum could potentially open a flood gate of migrants to the United States during a time when there is a very contentious national debate over U.S. immigration laws pertaining to illegal immigrants. On the other hand, to deny the claims of asylum seekers and return them to Mexico where they might very well be killed, strikes at the heart of American values of justice and humanitarianism.

What is the extent of this displacement?

Census taken in mid-2010 revealed that two-thirds of the homes in Praxedis G. Guerrero, a town east of Ciudad Juarez, have been abandoned, most likely due to the violence created from the wars between the Sinoloa and Juarez cartels in the area.

That’s about 116,000 homes.

Note to policy makers. Let’s crack down on real criminals, the cartels, and not good people who only want to live peaceably, raise their families, and worship freely.

h/t Helen Rivas.

As I discussed here and here:

“You can wait six years, 15 years or 20 years to come on a family visa,” said Tamar Jaco­by, president of Immigration­Works USA, a coalition of pro-immigration business groups. “For a young, able-bodied man to look for work, he’d apply when he’s 18, and come when he’s 40.”

Newt on the GOP and Immigration:

The party that says it’s the party of the family is going to adopt a policy that destroys families that have been here a quarter century … finding a way to create legality so they are not separated from their families.

UPDATE: Or try this:

I do not believe that the people of America will expel people who have been here 25 years.

Let’s be humane in enforcing the law.

This shouldn’t surprise anyone. He proposed a path to legality a few weeks ago.

Gerald Dial on HB56:

And we were kind of caught in a box. We either vote for it or we vote against it. If we voted against it, it looked like we were supporting illegal immigrants into our state. So we voted for it. I made some mistakes and I’m going to try to correct those.

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