Less Than “Do Nothing” Congress?
Recently Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross interviewed New York Times congressional correspondent Jonathan Weisman about Congress’ coming summer recess and its inaction in the last term.
Here is a description of the interview:
Friday is the last day before the 113th Congress scatters for their summer recess. And what has it accomplished so far? Almost nothing, says New York Times congressional correspondent Jonathan Weisman. As he points out in a recent article:
“None of Congress’s 12 annual spending bills have reached Mr. Obama’s desk, and with the House and the Senate far apart on total spending levels, a government shutdown is possible on Oct. 1, when the current spending law expires.
“Once Congress returns on Sept. 9, lawmakers will have just nine legislative days until the current fiscal year ends and large swaths of the government would be forced to close.”
Weisman joins Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross to discuss why this Congress has passed so few laws, and explain some of the conflicts between Republican lawmakers and President Obama.
Undocumented Immigrants Intentionally Arrested in Protest
As the debate about immigration reform continues to simmer, This American Life ran a story recently about a group of activists
from the National Immigrant Youth Alliance who intentionally got arrested for being undocumented. They believed if they could get inside the Broward Transitional Center in Florida, they could prevent lots of the immigrants there from being deported. Obama Administration policy, laid out in a series of documents called the Morton memos, states that non-violent immigrants who are not criminals are low priority for detention. Michael May also wrote a print version of this story, for The American Prospect. (27 minutes)
Iraqi Refugee’s New Home
Earlier this week, we posted a This American Life episode discussing the difficulties Iraqi refugees face in seeking asylum in the United States. Today, CBS Sunday Morning featured a story about an Iraqi camera man that made it to the US with his family.
Here is a description of the story:
Lancaster, Pa., is not where I thought I’d find him. But here in a place where the old so easily meshes with the new, maybe there was no better place to find an old friend’s new home.
We hadn’t seen each other in more than a decade, since the unwelcome circumstance that first brought us together: the war in Iraq.
It was in Baghdad on the eve of the U.S. invasion that I first met Atheer Hameed.
He was an Iraqi photographer, a cameraman, well-known in Baghdad for his work shooting soap operas and documentaries. CBS News hired him not only for his eye, but for his language and local knowledge.
But it turned out Atheer’s greatest asset was his courage.
Iraqis Seeking Asylum
This past weekend, This American Life feature the story of Kirk Johnson and the thousands of Iraqis seeking asylum in the United States after aiding America in the War in Iraq.
Here is a description of the story, its prologue, and two acts:
The truly incredible story of a guy named Kirk Johnson who started a list of hundreds of Iraqis who needed to get out of their country. They were getting death threats, and he was their only hope. Only 26 and living in his aunt’s basement, he had no idea what to do. How Kirk kind of succeeded spectacularly and failed spectacularly at the same time.
PROLOGUE–Ira talks with Producer Nancy Updike about when she first met Kirk Johnson in 2007. At the time he was mulling a crazy plan that involved Iraqi refugees, the Coast Guard and a boat. (5 minutes)
ACT ONE: RELUCTANT SAILOR–Kirk sleepwalks through an open window and into a completely different life. He explains how he starts compiling a list of Iraqis who’d worked with the U.S. government after the invasion, whose lives were now in danger because of that. Carrying around that list gets some very strange reactions from government officials. Kirk is founder and executive director of The List Project to Resettle Iraqi Allies. His memoir To Be a Friend Is Fatalcomes out in September. (23 minutes.)
ACT TWO: EMAILS FROM A DEAD MAN.–To get a sense of what may be broken about our process for bringing these Iraqis into the US, the ones who worked with US forces and who believe their lives are now in danger because of that, Kirk Johnson tells Nancy Updike about one guy. Almost a year of his emails were forwarded to Kirk, who printed them out and started to realize that he was looking at a dead man’s attempt to immigrate to the U.S. (29 minutes)
The Economics of Immigration Reform
Recently, Fareed Zakaria discussed the economics of immigration reform. Here is a description of Fareed’s economic argument in favor of reform. Here is a description of the video:
The latest numbers show slow growth in the United States. That’s bad for jobs, income – it’s even bad for those worried about the deficit because it means lower tax revenues. And it has prompted a revival of the partisan debate about what to do about it.
Well, there’s one idea out there that could have support from both parties. A study out last week suggests there is one very simple way to increase tax revenue, expand GDP, and create jobs – all at the same time. What’s more, Congress is already weighing it: it’s called immigration reform.
How and why? Well, a new paper from the left-leaning Center for American Progress actually calculates the economic impact of immigration reform.
Daily Show on Immigration Reform
Jon Stewart and Al Madrigal discuss the GOP’s proposed path to citizenship and Latinos proposed path for the Republicans to the White House.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce and AFL-CIO Reach Deal on Immigration Reform
In a major breakthrough for the prospect of comprehensive immigration reform the AFL-CIO and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reached an agreement regarding the nation’s guest worker program. The deal brings together labor unions and big business, two groups that clashed during the last immigration reform effort in 2007.
NPR’s Talk of the Nation discussed the agreement and the problems with the broken immigration system. This segment runs approximately 17 minutes.
The Chamber of Commerce’s position on immigration reform is available here, while the AFL-CIO’s position is available here.