Our Immigration Conundrum

Our immigration policy resembles the ineffective war on drugs. For decades we've spent billions of dollars on interdiction and law enforcement yet trafficking only increases. Similarly, the federal government continues to increase spending on border patrol and enforcement to no avail. Indeed, in November 2005, the the Migration Policy Institute described how spending has increased since the passage of the Immigration Control and Reform Act of 1986(ICRA):

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Is Our Children Employable?

For that matter what are the job prospects for any of us? A soft economic recovery and an increasingly level (or "flat," to borrow Thomas Friedman's strange phrasing) global marketplace are rapidly reducing the options of American workers across a range of careers and vocations.  Harold Meyerson of the Washington Post asks "Will Your Job Survive?" Meyerson's alarm bells were tripped by a disturbing report from Princeton University economist Alan Blinder. I hate to go all "Lou Dobbs." But Blinder's prognostication about the job market of the not too distant future should send a chill down the spine of any American concerned about the future of the US economy.

In the new global order, Blinder writes, not just manufacturing jobs but a large number of service jobs will be performed in cheaper climes. Indeed, only hands-on or face-to-face services look safe. "Janitors and crane operators are probably immune to foreign competition," Blinder writes, "accountants and computer programmers are not."

There follow some back-of-the-envelope calculations as Blinder totes up the number of jobs in tradable and non-tradable sectors. Then comes his (necessarily imprecise) bottom line: "The total number of current U.S. service-sector jobs that will be susceptible to offshoring in the electronic future is two to three times the total number of current manufacturing jobs (which is about 14 million)." As Blinder believes that all those manufacturing jobs are offshorable, too, the grand total of American jobs that could be bound for Bangalore or Bangladesh is somewhere between 42 million and 56 million  . [emphasis mine] That doesn't mean all those jobs are going to be exported. It does mean that the Americans performing them will be in competition with people who will do the same work for a whole lot less.

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Will's Concern Not For Students

George Will has a column in today's Washington Post that criticizes the Florida Supreme Court for a recent decision calling a school voucher program unconstitutional.  In his rush to defend all things voucher, regardless of the merits, Will leaves out information necessary to assessing the situation.

In typical form, Will begins with a touching anecdote about a poor little girl whose educational opportunities are being jerked around because of politics.  True, the student deserves a quality education - but Will's implication is that she can either get a quality education through a voucher program, or not at all.  This is a false dilemma meant to hide the fact that Will refuses to look seriously at improving the public school system.

The problem with Will's column is evident by the second paragraph.

The Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) serves just 733 children statewide, 62 of whom are at this school of 416 students. The OSP provides vouchers, redeemable at private as well as public schools, to students at schools the state says are failing. Archbishop Curley, which in 1960 -- just its seventh year -- became the first Florida secondary school to be racially integrated, has grades nine through 12 and sends more than 98 percent of its graduates to college.

Will tries to make the program sound like no big deal - "just" 733 students!  But he doesn't tell us if the 733 children served by the program are all the children who would be otherwise receiving an inadequate education.  Sure, the program might be good for those 733, but if the program benefits these few at the expense of the many - that program is unjust and unconstitutional.

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Bush Presidential Priorities, Debt and Defense ©

Never was there a doubt. President George W. Bush said, "Bipartisan education reform will be the cornerstone of my Administration." Yet, it never was.  It is not that the Democrats did not wish to work with Mr. Bush to improve our schools and to set a standard of excellence for the nation's children.  It is that Baby Bush had a truer mission, that of spreading Democracy throughout the world. This goal has always distracted King George.  

This President has "war" on his mind.  For him, "conflict" is the definition of the democratic process.  He promotes it in his daily travels.  He may speak of erudition; however, he acts on combat.

George W. strives to be the one that unites nations; however, he divides them.  He destroys nations aboard and at home.  He battles, blames, and builds walls, not bridges.  

This President speaks of being a "compassionate conservative," and just as his father, he envisions himself as "kinder and gentler;" however, the truth is he is leaving millions, billions, and trillions behind.  The rich are getting richer, the poor, poorer; and the children . . . they are left behind.  

* Please Read, Children Left Behind,Washington Post and The Children Left BehindThe Institute for Women's Policy Research

According to the Congressional Budget Office, "The government will spend $217 billion on interest on the debt this year. By contrast, federal spending for the Department of Education is $83 billion."

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KIVA microlending Update II: Integrated Internet Development Policy Revisited

In my last article on this topic, I reintroduced KIVA and showed how 1.) what they do really can help create successful small businesses in East Africa and how those businesses help the community in which they exist, and 2.) how our efforts on the blogsphere have helped KIVA become so successful that they cannot keep up with the outpouring of help. But they are also bringing on the businesses in need of loans faster than ever, so jeep checking back. Congratulations to all who are making this such a success.

In this diary I want to reiterate the context in which KIVA works and how we also have to help that context. This will partly be a reiteration of diaries I have written before, explaining why I am calling for an "integrated" approach to development that we in the blogsphere can participate in. This is my vision of how you and I can change the world from the bottom up.

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