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California Congressman To Propose Middle Road On Immigration Reform

Above: Maria Reyes helps run a bustling family business in downtown Vista. Nearly half of Vista's population is Latino.

Southern California Congressman Darrell Issa is rumored to be cooking up his own immigration reform proposal. It’s reportedly designed to find some middle ground in the contentious debate over providing legal status to the more than 11 million immigrants in the country illegally.

Aired 11/5/13 on KPBS News.

Congressman Darrell Issa is expected to propose an immigration reform bill that would give temporary legal status to immigrants in the country illegally.

Issa’s district stretches along the coast from UC San Diego in La Jolla to southern Orange County. The district leans heavily Republican: Issa won the 2012 election with a 16-point lead.

Issa’s constituents are mostly white and largely affluent. Still, Issa isn’t immune to the demographic changes taking place throughout California and the nation. About one-quarter of Issa’s district is Latino, and close to 50 percent of his hometown of Vista is now Latino.

Polls have shown that the majority of Latinos want immigration reform with a path to citizenship for people in the country illegally.

The details of Issa’s plan for immigration reform are still scarce, and his office didn’t respond to numerous requests for an interview. But the plan would reportedly include a six-year period of temporary relief from deportation for undocumented immigrants.

During that time, they would be expected to find a legal way to stay here or leave.

Issa told Politico it's "halfway between full amnesty and simply rejecting people."

But some of Issa’s staunchly conservative constituents say that approach is too soft.

“This whole subject to me right now is about the rule of law,” said Patricia Newman, who manages her husband’s medical practice in Vista.

Newman is Mexican-American, and she thinks the government should make it easier for immigrants to come here legally. But she’s suspicious that Issa's proposal would reward those who haven’t followed the rules, and encourage others to keep coming here illegally.

She said the Republican Party was compromising its ideals in exchange for votes.

“I really think that’s what they’re doing,” Newman said, a stylized portrait of Ronald Reagan looking down at her from her office wall.

“They’re just considering all these things just so they can get new votes. I don’t think they’re thinking it through.”

Patricia Newman, a staunch conservative, thinks the Republican Party is pandering to Latino voters at the expense of its core values.

But Republicans like Issa are facing pressure from business and faith leaders — and even some GOP donors — to take action on immigration reform.

The Vista Chamber of Commerce recently joined state and national business groups in endorsing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented residents. They also want a temporary worker program for high and low-skilled workers, and strong border security.

“We also have businesses that have had tangible difficulties bringing talent in from outside the country when they needed people,” said Bret Schanzenbach, CEO of the Vista Chamber.

Political scientists warn the Republican party risks becoming irrelevant if it can't appeal to the country's growing Latino population. That warning hasn’t seemed to hold much weight for Republican congress members in districts with few Latino voters.

But the political calculations are different for Republican leaders. That likely includes Issa, said Tom Wong, a political science professor at UC San Diego.

“He not only is concerned about his electoral survival, but with eyes towards higher office, he also has to be concerned with the Republican brand as a whole and how that's perceived nationally," Wong said.

Several other Republican congress members have recently signed on to the House Democrats’ immigration reform bill, which includes a path to citizenship for people in the country illegally.

Wong said Issa’s halfway plan could help propel a real discussion on the issue among the Republican caucus.

But time is quickly running out this year to get that discussion going.

Comments

Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | November 4, 2013 at 11:50 a.m. ― 1 year ago

What is "middle road" to Issa, is Draconian to most.

Ms Newman, mmmaybe you've never heard of Hugh Hewitt? He's a Consrevative talk show host, very anti-Obama, yet sees the reality of socio-economic situtations as he is completely sympathetic to the undocumented worker, and makes a strong argument against his fellow Republicans. He doesn't fall for the neoMalthusian scare tactics.

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Avatar for user 'progressivebuthey'

progressivebuthey | November 5, 2013 at 12:51 p.m. ― 1 year ago

blue collar americans don't want road to amnesty because it takes jobs away ---- reality check --- illegals are now taking white collar jobs --- they can now be lawyers in California, and probably in Florida soon. Any profession with a license will soon change following the legal profession letting illegals work at high paying jobs. Let's just throw out all law and become Mexico --- I guess that's what Mexicans living her want.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | November 5, 2013 at 5:19 p.m. ― 1 year ago

Draconian? Hardly. It seems quite reasonable.

Issa is offering a 6 year temporary visa for illegal aliens currently in the US. Those with criminal histories would be deported immediately and the rest would be able to work for 6 years before having to return to their homeland to reapply for a legal visa.

Although I don't see what would stop those on the temporary visa from simply staying and becoming illegal again at the end of the 6 years. If this is coupled with vigorous enforcement and immediate deportation of all future illegal aliens, this seems like a workable plan.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | November 5, 2013 at 9:32 p.m. ― 1 year ago

Translation : Issa's district is a land mine of contradictions, lots of Latinos but also lots of tea party nut jobs, so the poor dear must try and strike some kind of impossible balance that will please them all.

By the way, his district stretches from UCSD up into Orange County?

Who dared these things?

Orange County is part of the greater Los Angeles area, yet northern parts of San Diego get thrown in w/parts of Orange County?

This seems like a conflict of interest.

What if congress is deciding on a large research grant or something that has the potential to go to either OC or SD, where does Mr. Issa's loyalty lie?

Is this some politically-drawn sham that allows some rich OCers throw money at Issa in elections that he would t get from his poorer local constituents in Vista?

What a sham.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | November 5, 2013 at 9:37 p.m. ― 1 year ago

I find it ironic that Ms. Newman is making her comments proudly in front of a portrait of a man, R. Reagan, who granted AMNESTY.

This canonizing by conservatives of someone who did everything they hate (granted amnesty, raised taxes, etc.) is perplexingly absurd.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | November 5, 2013 at 9:44 p.m. ― 1 year ago

CADefender, if someone is here for 6 years and employed, law-abiding, and being a productive member of our nation, why should they have to leave?

I don't see how kicking-out long-time residents who contribute positively to our society because of some random timeframe a politician pulls out of his backside because he's too scared of tea party cranks to allow a path to citizenship is good for our country!?

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Avatar for user 'DeLaRick'

DeLaRick | November 6, 2013 at 6:58 a.m. ― 1 year ago

"Patricia Newman, a staunch conservative, thinks the Republican Party is pandering to Latino voters at the expense of its core values".

First of all, who has a portrait of Ronald Reagan prominently displayed in their homes?!?! (I imagine her portrait of G.Gordon Liddy is in the family room.) Isn't it funny that when politicians subjugate themselves to monied interests, it's "politicking." But, when they do the same for ethnic interests, it's "pandering." It's the same exact thing.

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Avatar for user 'StuartHurlbert'

StuartHurlbert | November 6, 2013 at 10:38 a.m. ― 1 year ago

Issa's proposal, like the Senate bill itself, is defective in that it is not based on a clear understanding of the big picture, in particular how it will set the stage for a doubling or even possible tripling of the U.S. population. Virtually all the mainline news media, including KPBS and the Union-Tribune (and FOX News and MSNBC, etc.) actively suppress this information. The op ed piece below tries to remedy it, and has the honor of having been rejected by 7 different newspapers so far.

Outing the 800-lb Immigration Reform Gorilla
Stuart H. Hurlbert
October 2013

Before we can discuss how the poor fellow might change our future, we must first get him out of the closet and into the living room for close inspection. In manacles, of course.

As when his brother was in the closet in 2006, inspection has been hindered by baggage piled against the closet door – tons of anecdotes, hard luck stories, numbers without context, and self-serving demands from multitudinous interest groups. Who can blame many in Congress and the general public for imagining that it may be only a capuchin monkey in the closet.

We can’t have a sane immigration policy until we have a sane population policy. The single most important question for any immigration reform bill is how it will affect U.S. population size over the medium and long term. That will drive everything else. Many, perhaps most, environmental scientists and natural resource economists regard even the present U.S. population of 316 million as one that is not sustainable economically and environmentally over the long term.

But discussions of population policy are taboo in Congress and other establishment venues. The political parties and their controllers fear any disturbance to our existing de facto population policy of “growth forever.” The reason the growthists censor is, of course, that they want no reasoned population policy. To their minds, one favoring stabilization would be “un-American”, if not an outright Communist plot.

Now let’s open that closet door a bit. The whole gorilla can be visualized with numbers in the U.S. Census Bureau’s (USCB) 2012 population projections and the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) June 2013 report on the probable demographic impact of S.744 were something close to that bill to become law.

(see next comment)

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Avatar for user 'StuartHurlbert'

StuartHurlbert | November 6, 2013 at 10:44 a.m. ― 1 year ago

The USCB makes four population projections out to the year 2060, based on four different immigration scenarios. As usual, three of these (termed the low, middle, and high series) assume net immigration rates that increase continuously into the future though to different degrees. The fourth (termed the constant series) assumes annual net immigration remains constant over time at 725 thousand, about what it is now.
In the context of true immigration reform, where changes in all deficient laws and policies should be under consideration, the logical starting point for discussion would be the constant series projection. This gives a U.S. population in 2060 of 392.7 million. That would be an increase equal to the total current population of the western third of the U.S. And we would still be growing in 2060 by 1.2 million per year.
So the first question a responsible Congress should ask is, “Do the American people want our population to expand to 393 million, given all the negative economic, environmental, and social consequences of doing so?”
If the people do not want this, true immigration reform must start off by figuring how to adjust laws and policies so that net immigration levels are lower than 725 thousand per year. Options that would logically be on the table would include rates of 400 and 550 thousand total (not net) immigrants per year. Those were the recommendations of the 1972 Rockefeller and 1995 Jordan commissions, respectively.
The USCB usually recommends its "middle series" projection as the basis for comparisons, and governmental agencies at all levels demand that projection be the one used for planning purposes. The middle series (like the low and high series as well) is based on laws and policies many of which everyone agrees need changing.
The establishment nevertheless pushes this “growth forever” middle series projection as de facto policy. The general public meekly follows, mainly because the media never tell them what is really going on. Indeed, the media mostly engage in piling more baggage in front of the closet door.
The 2012 middle series projects a U.S. population in 2060 of 420.3 million that would still growing then by 2.1 million per year.
Now consider the COB report. This contains some ‘spin’, is secretive about key assumptions, and gives a vague population projection but only to the year 2033. Its information is sufficient, however, to estimate that S.744 would lead to a conservative revised 2060 middle series projection of about 441.5 million people, with that population still growing at 2.7 million per year.

(see following comment)

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Avatar for user 'StuartHurlbert'

StuartHurlbert | November 6, 2013 at 10:48 a.m. ― 1 year ago

Now consider the COB report. This contains some ‘spin’, is secretive about key assumptions, and gives a vague population projection but only to the year 2033. Its information is sufficient, however, to estimate that S.744 would lead to a conservative revised 2060 middle series projection of about 441.5 million people, with that population still growing at 2.7 million per year.

In sum, S.744 is an excellent start on immigration reform if the intent is to increase U.S. population size by 40 percent by 2060 and probably more than 100 percent by 2100.

If apprised of all the negative consequences of moving in that direction, however, the American people surely would demand that Congress start from scratch, deliberate with greater intelligence, and put the U.S. on the road to population stabilization. All censors and baggage-pilers out of the way, please.
________________
Stuart H. Hurlbert is emeritus professor of biology at San Diego State University, fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, former board secretary of Californians for Population Stabilization, and current president of Scientists and Environmentalists for Population Stabilization.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | November 6, 2013 at 11:40 a.m. ― 1 year ago

REGRESSIVEBUTHEY, that is totally false. Are the undocumented taking your stoop labor job in the strawberry fields? No. Look up labor economist David Card. The ONLY people who face any competition from the undocumented are high school drop-outs. And even then, it would do depend on the job and the level of skill required. Do your research instead of regurgitating:

North Carolina needed 6,500 farm workers. Only 7 Americans stuck ...

www.washingtonpost.com/.../north-carolina-needed-6500-farm-workers-...‎

May 15, 2013 - Freddie Quell works at a cabbage farm alongside migrant workers in PT Anderson's “The Master ... the US Department of Labor proving that it has actively recruited US .... Oh dear, you can't find good help anymore. ... The alternative for H2A workers is to go back to their home country and work for much less pay

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | November 6, 2013 at 11:47 a.m. ― 1 year ago

@QUACKSTER, from what I read, St. Ronnie later regretted the "amnesty," as imperfect as it was and a much to the chagrin of the Nativists who to this day believe it was done at the snap of a finger, much paperwork was involved and not everyone who was eligible turned out. That said, Ms Newman is obviously too young to remember him and too ill-informed today to know.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | November 6, 2013 at 11:48 a.m. ― 1 year ago

@DLR, G. Gordon Liddy--LOL You got the wrong prez but that's a good. The closest thing St. Ronnie got to a Liddy was Ollie North. LOL

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | November 6, 2013 at 11:55 a.m. ― 1 year ago


@Professor Hurbert, like I said in my first post: neo-Malthusian scare tactics.

Figures of 11 to 12 million undocumented people in the USA have been bandied about from back in the 70s--including from Gen. Leonard Chapman, Ret., then director of the INS. I can provide you with the sources if you wish, professor. So considering the US's pop growth since 1976 or 1980 to 2010, and we are still using the 11 and 12 million figures, then that means there has been NO increase or negligible at best.

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Avatar for user 'StuartHurlbert'

StuartHurlbert | November 6, 2013 at 12:13 p.m. ― 1 year ago

Consider Repogle's statement, "Polls have shown that the majority of Latinos want immigration reform with a path to citizenship for people in the country illegally."

Of course they do! But why is this relevant? Over the last decade illegal aliens have made up 50-60% of Mexico-born residents in the U.S.

Despite his tough and highly principled stand in favor of "attrition through enforcement", Romney got 27% of the Latino vote. Might we presume that was the most pro-American, educated segment of the Latino citizenry?

Wouldn't sensible leaders of the GOP build on that base rather than engage in the most transparent and unprincipled sort of pandering to illegal aliens, their employers, and the pro-mass amnesty crowd?

Issa is shooting himself in the foot if he does anything to help open the floodgates as any bill similar to S.744 would do. And while mass amnesties may benefit many white CEOS and others in the managerial elites, it will do much harm to Latino and black citizens at the bottom of the economic ladder where they are already overrepresented.

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Avatar for user 'DeLaRick'

DeLaRick | November 6, 2013 at 1:04 p.m. ― 1 year ago

Stuart,

If you have to ask questions like those you posed, you're knowledge of that particular segment of society is lacking. Your presumption that only the educated and gainfully employed voted for Romney is misguided because there are plenty of educated and gainfully employed ethnic Mexicans who voted for Obama. There are lots of reasons why some in the ethnic Mexican community voted for Mitt, e.g. overt racism towards blacks, the Romney Family's ties to Mexico or agreement on economic issues. (Surprise! Some Mexicans want a lower tax bill.)

Every time the subject of Mexicans is debated in this country, Mexican-Americans' strong and deep cultural ties to their extended families in Mexico is never mentioned. Ask a thoughtful Mexican for a primer on the differences between the institutions in Mexico and those in the U.S. That'll help with some of your questions.

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Avatar for user 'StuartHurlbert'

StuartHurlbert | November 6, 2013 at 1:56 p.m. ― 1 year ago

MissionAccomplished: if "data" equate to "scare tactics," so be it?

You should focus on the big picture. Something on the order of 10-15% of the US population consists of illegal aliens who have come here since 1970 and their descendants. Post-1970 legal immigration has, of course, been responsible for even more of US population growth.

The Census Bureau projects net immigration rates (legal plus illegal) will increase by about 50% between now and half a century from now. As the world adds another few billion people over that period of time, the numbers of people wanting to come to the US will grow. If the US does not decrease total immigration rates dramatically, the country will -- socially, economically and environmentally -- simply go under. It's not rocket science.

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Avatar for user 'StuartHurlbert'

StuartHurlbert | November 6, 2013 at 5 p.m. ― 1 year ago

Critically important perspective on the Senate's immigration bill (S.744) is provided by an analsyis by Sen. Jeff Sessions' (R-Alabama) office last May.

The title and subtitle pretty much say it all:

"Analysis Of Future Immigration Flow In Gang Of Eight Plan. More than 30 Million Immigrants Granted Legal Status In 10 Years; An Additional 25 Million Will Be Granted Nonimmigrant Work Visas, Bringing Total To 57 Million."

...with corresponding levels of chain immigration thereafter. And the Congressional Budget Office estimates that S.744 would reduce illegal immigration by only 25%.

If you want a human tsunami, S.744 is the bill for you!

See:

http://www.sessions.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressShop.NewsReleases&ContentRecord_id=6bcf94aa-d1f8-a301-4dd6-a7c0f1c8a8df&Region_id=&Issue_id=&IsPrint=true

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Avatar for user 'benz72'

benz72 | November 7, 2013 at 8:45 a.m. ― 1 year ago

MA, What do you believe the population of the US should be over the next century?

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