Best Of The Border (12/09-12/14)
This week’s top stories from Fronteras Desk
What Is Immigration Reform?
Our most popular story this week was Defining Terms: Immigration Reform.
A bipartisan group of Senators is already meeting to hammer out some kind of reform legislation in Washington, and via The Los Angeles Times, the Obama Administration wants to strike early with a proposal in the coming year. We decode the terminology, to present the messy issue in bullet points.
Immigration Reform — Our immigration system is broken, and needs change.<br><br>• Too many people want to live and work in the U.S.; we make it very difficult to do so. Thus, an estimated 11 million people are here without documentation.<br><br>• Not enough visas are available to bring in high-skilled or less-skilled workers at the levels our labor market needs.<br><br>• Visa caps, set years ago, have created huge backlogs of family members who wait sometimes up to 20 years to be reunited with family in the U.S.
Mezcal is tequila’s cousin. Both are products of the agave plant combined with astonishing skill. But unlike tequila, mezcal isn’t mass produced — each batch is unique. It’s increasing popularity in the U.S. is reuniting Mexican families.
"We and our families depend on mezcal," Jorge Mendez said in Spanish. He is a mezcal producer, or mezcalero. His face is burnished by the sun; one hand grips a machete, the other adjusts a faded blue baseball cap.<br><br>In his family’s still where the mezcal is made, a horse pulls a stone wheel over chunks of roasted agave. The mash under the wheel is fermented and then double distilled over a smoky fire.
The Border Patrol is the largest law enforcement agency in the country, at nearly 22,000 agents. The Homeland Security Department, its umbrella agency, is one of the departments facing possible cuts, or sequestration if politicians don't come up with a compromise.
"If allowed to occur, the sequestration would be highly destructive to domestic investments, national security, and core government functions," Zientz said.<br><br>A more detailed look at the possible cuts comes from the House Appropriations Committee. It issued a report in October and estimated cuts of 3,400 Border Patrol agents, 3,400 Customs and Border Protection officers, and another 7,200 Transportation Security agents.
To Tijuanense flooding is to be expected after heavy rain. One of our reporters lives outside the city, she drove around town taking photos of the winter storm’s wet aftermath.
How Does Obama’s New Pot Stance Affect The Border
President Barack Obama told ABC News' Barbara Walters that recreational pot users in Colorado and Washington were not a “top priority” for federal officials in the war on drugs. How does this translate to the border?
Just because President Obama said recreational users in Colorado and Washington are a not top priority for the DOJ, doesn’t mean marijuana is not a priority. Regardless of Washington and Colorado, marijuana is still classified a schedule I controlled substance, grouped in the same bundle as LSD and heroin.