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A Catholic's Dissent from the Bishops' Immigration Policy, Pt. 2

By Jerry Kammer, April 17, 2014

Read Pt. 1

The package of immigration measures known as "comprehensive immigration reform" would provide a sweeping legalization for illegal immigrants and increase legal immigration to more than 2 million newcomers a year. But Catholic bishops think it should provide more.

Kevin Appleby, the director of migration policy and public affairs at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, made that position clear last month at an immigration conference at Notre Dame. Read more...

A Catholic's Dissent from the Bishops' Immigration Policy

By Jerry Kammer, April 16, 2014

Like many Catholics, I have been bitterly disappointed in the church's negligence in its response to the pedophile priests. And as someone who thinks legal immigration should be reduced and illegal immigration should not be encouraged, I have been disappointed that the policy preferences of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops seem to be reducible to a slogan: "More green cards, less enforcement!"

But after viewing a video of a presentation at an immigration conference last month at the University of Notre Dame, I now have a better understanding of the bishops' immigration advocacy. But I also have a new criticism. Read more...

Bill O'Reilly Needs to Know the Law Before Reforming It

By Jerry Kammer, April 11, 2014

Fox's Bill O'Reilly is positioning himself as a Great Compromiser on immigration policy. But if the influential Papa Bear is going to have credibility in the debate, he needs a better understanding of immigration law than he displayed last night in a conversation with immigration hawk Laura Ingraham.

Said O'Reilly: "You know as well as I do that it's not a criminal offense to overstay your visa or sneak across the border. It's a civil offense." Read more...

Morning Joe Discusses Jeb Bush's "Act of Love" Comment

By Jerry Kammer, April 7, 2014

Today’s “Morning Joe” on MSNBC included a clip of a statement yesterday by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on immigration and followed it with a discussion of how it might affect his prospects in the 2016 Republican presidential primary race. Here are excerpts, beginning with one from Bush’s interview: Read more...

Idealistic Immigrants Provide an Antidote to Wall Street Predators

By Jerry Kammer, April 3, 2014

I didn't enjoy the "The Wolf of Wall Street". I came away from it discouraged by its all-too-vivid presentation of the decadence and rot bred by a financial system that rewards predatory behavior. The real-life, penny-stock-pedaling thugs whose predations are dramatized in the film were not outsiders. They were the soulless brothers of the hustlers at the investment banks whose credit default swaps nearly took the world economy into the abyss. Read more...

Judy Woodruff's Unfortunate Use of the "Anti-Immigrant" Label

By Jerry Kammer, February 24, 2014

I wish that journalists who are linguistically sensitive enough to speak of "undocumented immigrants" rather than "illegal immigrants" would be equally sensitive to the concerns of people who do not want to be denigrated as "anti-immigrant" because they want to limit immigration.

That concern came to mind recently as I watched Judy Woodruff's introduction of a PBS NewsHour story on the success of a Swiss referendum aimed at scaling back the immigration that has brought dramatic change to the country's demographics. Immigrants now represent about 27 percent of Switzerland's population. Read more...

PBS Corrects the Documentary Record

By Jerry Kammer, February 20, 2014

Hats off to the producers of the PBS documentary film series "Independent Lens" for following through on a promise to correct the error we noted in their documentary about the rancorous Arizona debate over illegal immigration. Titled "The State of Arizona", the documentary was broadcast in late January around the country. Read more...

On CNN, McCain Prods GOP Leaders on Immigration

By Jerry Kammer, February 17, 2014

On CNN's "State of the Union" program Sunday, Sen. John McCain called on Republican House leaders to reverse their announced decision to avoid consideration of immigration reform legislation this year.

Here is the exchange between McCain and host Candy Crowley Read more...

Todd Purdum Quotes Orwell, but So Do We in Response to His Article "Prancing on a Volcano"

By Jerry Kammer, February 14, 2014

Todd Purdum, whose views on immigration and role in the Washington establishment have been the subject of two earlier posts (see here and here), last year referred to the immigration-policy deadlock as an example of our political leaders' lamentable inability to come to grips with a host of pressing issues.

In an article headlined "Prancing on a Volcano", Purdum's thesis was that revolutionary advances in technology and science have given us the tools to understand comprehensively our most pressing problems and shape the policies to address them. Read more...

Let Us Now Praise the SPLC, Sort Of

By Jerry Kammer, February 12, 2014

In December 2011, we at the Center for Immigration Studies published a 38-page investigative report on the State Department program that issues J-1 visas to foreign college students so they can do seasonal work in the United States. The report, "Cheap Labor as Cultural Exchange", began with bullet-point criticisms that the report fleshed out in detail.

We showed that the Summer Work Travel Program (SWT): Read more...

Dee Dee Myers, Todd Purdum, and the Lucrative Inside Game of "This Town"

By Jerry Kammer, February 10, 2014

Read Part One

As we noted last week in a blog post about immigration commentary by journalist Todd Purdum, he is married to Dee Dee Myers, the Clinton-era White House press secretary who is now a principal at the Glover Park Group. GPG, founded in 2001 by former aides to President Clinton and Vice President Gore, is a lobbying/public relations firm that has become a player in the nation's capital.

So Purdum and Myers are a power couple playing multiple roles inside the Capital Beltway. Read more...

Todd Purdum Grabs 2 Nominations for Immigration Punditry in 1 Day!

By Jerry Kammer, February 6, 2014

"I think the Republicans have to be awfully careful about this issue as not being seen as obstructionist, not being seen as racist or anti-immigrant, but as being in the great American tradition of if you work hard and play by the rules...yes, you can get in line and you can have your path to being part of this country." – Todd Purdum, PBS's "Washington Week", January 31

Call to Mike Barnicle: Come Back to Where You Once Belonged

By Jerry Kammer, February 5, 2014

Yesterday's Morning Joe program on MSNBC included a discussion between former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and journalist/pundit Mike Barnicle. I was particularly interested in their exchange on the alleged "anti-immigrant" position of the Republican Party. It prompted me to turn to Googlebooks for a look at the book Crist was promoting. Read more...

The Big Sort and the "Anti-Immigrant" Label

By Jerry Kammer, February 5, 2014

A discussion yesterday on NPR concerned research by social scientists who were trying to understand why many Americans move to places where there are more people like themselves. The researchers understood that job opportunities and family considerations play a role in decisions to change address. But they also tested the conclusion that the moves are part of "the big sort," in which Americans uproot themselves to replant themselves in more comfortable political soil. Read more...

Immigration and the GOP "Gateway" Problem with Hispanics

By Jerry Kammer, February 3, 2014

While the big story on Sunday's TV talk shows was the mounting controversy about what Gov. Chris Christie knew and when he knew it, there was also discussion about the stay of play in immigration reform. There were some interesting comments on the debate within Republican ranks over whether to push for some form of reform legislation this year.

"The Republicans have a major problem here," said Matthew Dowd, who as an aide to President George W. Bush was part of a major push for comprehensive reform. Read more...

Arizona Documentary Shows the State of PBS

By Jerry Kammer, January 31, 2014

One scene in a recent PBS documentary on Arizona's battle over illegal immigration shows a man walking his bike past a street demonstration. "Follow the law!" he yells to the crowd, "Acclimate to the country!"

But that's not what he said according to the subtitle provided by the filmmakers to compensate for the marginal sound quality. In a mistake that somehow made it past the independent moviemakers and the review process at PBS, the subtitle reports that he shouted "Go back to your country!"

It was an honest mistake, I am sure. But it was a sloppy mistake that should have never made it past the first edit, much less the final screening by the people at PBS who decided to make it available to stations across the country. And it was all too fitting as a metaphor of PBS deafness in its reporting on those who are upset by illegal immigration. Read more...

Postscript to BBC Documentary
The Lasting Influence of Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine

By Jerry Kammer, January 17, 2014
The Lasting Influence of Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine

This week we have published two items about the provocative new BBC documentary "The Truth About Immigration". Since the documentary reports on the attitudes and sensibilities of people on opposite sides of the immigration debate in Britain, it may be appropriate to cite a work about two historic political thinkers whose world views, as American author Yuval Levin writes, "still describe two broad and fundamental dispositions toward political life and political change in our liberal age." Read more...

BBC Documentary, "The Truth about Immigration", Part 2
Elites vs. Ordinary Brits. Growth Uber Alles

By Jerry Kammer, January 15, 2014
Elites vs. Ordinary Brits. Growth Uber Alles

Read Part 1

In the new BBC documentary "The Truth About Immigration", journalist Nick Robinson interviews an economist who, during the economic boom years at the start of the millennium, was instrumental in Prime Minister Tony Blair's decision to adopt an expansive immigration policy.

The economist, Jonathan Portes, tells Robinson that the idea was to bring in new workers who would fill skill gaps and allow "growth to carry on at a faster clip than it otherwise would have." Read more...

Organization Says Era of Mass Immigration Is Over, Seeks to Harness Migrants' Talents for Economic Development in Mexico

By Jerry Kammer, January 15, 2014

The executive director of an organization that is seeking to tap the energies of Mexicans returning to their homeland after living in the United States said Tuesday that mass movement from Mexico to the United States has come to an end.

"We can confidently declare the end of that era, and we recognize a new era of return migration, with record numbers returning and fewer coming to the United States," said Aracely Garcia Granados at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Read more...

Free at Last? BBC Documentary Seeks to Tear Down the BBC's Own Wall of Poor Reporting

By Jerry Kammer, January 14, 2014

There has been an apparent breakthrough in the discussion of immigration in Britain. BBC political editor Nick Robinson has acknowledged that for many years the organization made "a terrible mistake" by muzzling its immigration coverage because of concern that it might stir racist unrest. Read more...

Immigration and the Press: Four Stories from the First Week of January

By Jerry Kammer, January 13, 2014

As a former reporter, I'm interested in how immigration is covered in the press. As this blog has shown, I think much coverage is marred by political correctness, timidity, superficiality, and outright bias in the face of complex and emotional issues. Many reporters have such a strong desire to show sensitivity toward immigrants that they ignore and deprecate those who believe immigration should be regulated and limited. Read more...

Washington Post Carnival Story: Nicely Written, Terribly Reported

By Jerry Kammer, January 6, 2014

A front-page story in Friday's Washington Post presented a glowing report about the prominence of migrant workers from Mexico in the U.S. carnival industry. It marveled at the energy of the workers, who come to the U.S, on H-2B visas. It described how the money they sent home had "helped transform" the small town of Tlapacoyan in the coastal state of Veracruz. Reporter Joshua Partlow quoted one carnival manager as saying that without them "we'd be out of business."

The story is a good read. Partlow has a bright, fluid writing style. But like many reporters who admire the migrant work ethic and the diversity they bring to the workplace, he failed to engage the less appealing reality that there is often a downside to stories of migrant labor. The unpleasant reality of the carnival labor market is that it is also a story about the degradation of the American workplace and the manipulation of U.S. visa policy by politically active employers eager to jettison American workers. Read more...

Jorge Ramos and Joe Arpaio Discuss Immigration and the Law

By Jerry Kammer, January 5, 2014

Univision's Al Punto program on Sunday presented a discussion between two men who have done much to stir the passions of the immigration debate: anchorman Jorge Ramos, who uses immigration as a megaphone to spread his belief that the right to immigrate is a fundamental human right and that racism is the underlying cause for opposition to illegal immigration; and Maricopa County (Arizona) Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who regards public issues as a mirror to reflect his endlessly self-propagated image as "America's toughest sheriff." Read more...

On Telemundo, Obama Takes Heat for Enforcing Immigration Law Too Much

By Jerry Kammer, December 26, 2013

President Obama takes considerable criticism from those who say he is not going enough to enforce immigration laws. (See, for instance, my colleague Jessica Vaughan's recent analysis.) But as Telemundo anchorman Jose Diaz Balart demonstrated on his Sunday news program Enfoque, the president is also under fire from those who say he is doing too much. Read more...

More on Jagdish Bhagwati's Olympian Disdain for Low-Wage Workers

By Jerry Kammer, November 26, 2013

Jagdish Bhagwati has apparently never met an American who lost work to an illegal immigrant. That became clear in his Saturday appearance on C-SPAN's "Washington Journal". Yesterday's blog quoted his condescending views toward blacks who are unable to find work. Today I want to cite his exchanges with C-SPAN viewers who were concerned about the displacement of young people of all races by illegal immigrants. Read more...

Echoing Rubio Aide's Gaffe, Bhagwati Throws Black Workers under the Bus

By Jerry Kammer, November 25, 2013

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) took heat last spring when an unnamed aide, explaining Rubio's enthusiasm for a guestworker program as part of immigration reform legislation, made this comment about American workers to Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker: Read more...

NPR Story Goes for the "Wow", Neglects the "Why" of Immigrant Detention

By Jerry Kammer, November 21, 2013

On NPR's Morning Edition this week, reporter Ted Robbins had the makings of a good story about a congressional mandate that requires Immigration and Customs Enforcement to hit an expensive target for detention of illegal immigrants.

But the story careened immediately into editorial Never-Never Land with host Steve Inskeep's sophomoric introduction. Then Robbins drove it into the reportorial briar patch with his own editorial slant on a story that should have let the facts speak for themselves. Read more...

With Fusion, Univision Anchor Has a New Platform to Defend Illegal Immigration

By Jerry Kammer, October 29, 2013

With this week's launch of Fusion, the TV joint venture between ABC and Univision, it will be interesting for English-speaking audiences to be exposed to Jorge Ramos's full-throated advocacy for illegal immigrants.

The current issue of Tiempo Latino, the Spanish-language weekly owned by the Washington Post, offers a fresh example. It includes a column by Ramos (a Mexican-born journalist and anchor on Univision) that laments the tragic deaths of illegal immigrants in their attempt to cross the border in remote harsh desert terrain – often led and then abandoned by smugglers called coyotes – and succumb to hyperthermia or dehydration or other gruesome forms of death. Read more...

Two Stories of Immigration and Human Capital

By Jerry Kammer, October 15, 2013

Two stories last week in El Diario de El Paso, a Spanish language newspaper in that city, illustrate one of the most salient features of immigration to the United States: the fact that it brings us many people who have an abundance of what social scientists call the "human capital" to become productive members of society, and many more who do not. Read more...

California, Illegal Immigration, and the Damaged Social Contract on Immigration

By Jerry Kammer, September 26, 2013

Three decades ago, during the long national debate that finally produced the ill-fated Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, there was broad agreement that uncontrolled illegal immigration was undermining public support for all immigration. Prominent voices warned of danger to an implicit social contract that maintained that public support in return for effective control through the rule of law.

In a 1983 editorial headlined "Time to Turn the Illegal Tide", The New York Times said that while the country needed immigration, "What it does not need is such an uncontrollable flood of illegal migrants that it tries public patience and foments a backlash against all newcomers." Read more...