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Renewing America

Ideas and initiatives for rebuilding American economic strength.

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Showing posts for "Education and Human Capital"

Trump, DHS and Immigration: The New Memos That Ignore Political Realities

by Edward Alden
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent (Mike Blake/Reuters).

A nation’s laws are not handed down from on high – they are the creation of flawed human beings working through flawed political processes. Successful political leaders understand this reality, and try to work within its limitations. Those who ignore it risk creating damaging social conflict. And that is what the Trump administration is risking with its new approach to enforcing U.S. immigration laws, which were outlined in a series of memos just released under the signature of General John Kelly, the new secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Read more »

Trump and Borders: A Different, and Dangerous, Direction

by Edward Alden
A view of perimeter security fences which have been installed, and that are now too small for a foothold, at Los Angeles International Airport September 7, 2011, as part of new security enhancements following the 9/11 attacks (Jonathan Alcorn/Reuters).

President Donald Trump’s multi-pronged campaign to address the potential threats posed by refugees and migrants has a familiar ring. New border barriers with Mexico, a sharp reduction in refugee admissions, a crackdown on so-called “sanctuary cities,” and new restrictions on travel from countries thought to pose a terrorist threat—all these and more were part of the U.S. reaction to the September 11 terrorist attacks. Read more »

How Inequality Found a Political Voice

by Michael Spence
A voter peels off an "I Voted" sticker after voting (Chris Keane/Reuters).

MILAN – It took a long time for widening inequality to have an impact on politics, as it suddenly has done in recent years. Now that it is a central issue, national economic priorities will need to shift substantially to create more equitable, inclusive economies and societies. If they do not, people could embrace explosive alternatives to their current governments, such as the populist movements now sweeping many countries. Read more »

A Muslim Travel Ban and the U.S. Economy

by Edward Alden
U.S. Customs and Immigration officers await travelers (Mike Blake/Reuters).

Republican candidate Donald Trump has said that, if elected, he would use the expansive powers of the president to block foreign Muslims from traveling to the United States. As an alternative, he has suggested he might block all travel from countries “compromised by terrorism.” Again, this would be well within his powers as president. This week, his vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence said Trump no longer favored either approach, though Trump himself has not suggested any softening. Read more »

What the Trade and Minimum Wage Debates Have in Common

by Edward Alden
California Governor Jerry Brown (C) signs a bill hiking California's minimum wage to $15 by 2023 (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters).

The election-year debates over trade and the minimum wage would appear to have little to do with each other. The growing concern over trade, on the one hand, has focused mostly on the impact of global competition on U.S. manufacturing, sectors in which most employees make far more than the minimum wage. The historic move by California and New York this week to raise their minimum wages to $15, on the other hand, will mostly boost pay for restaurant and retail workers – sectors that do not face international competition. Read more »

Immigration and the 2016 Campaign: The Sad Legacy of Speaker John Boehner

by Edward Alden
Former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters).

There has been a great deal of ink spilled on the question of who or what is to blame for the meteoric rise of Donald Trump in the Republican Party. The alleged culprits include everything from wage stagnation to cable news to talk radio to political correctness run amok. Read more »

Visa Overstays: A Footnote on What Congress Can Do

by Edward Alden

Judging from the reaction to this week’s release of the first DHS report on the number of foreign travelers overstaying their visas, one would think this was fresh and damning evidence for critics who claim that America’s borders are wide open and that the administration is woefully failing to enforce the law. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) called a hearing on the issue Wednesday, to denounce the administration’s “refusal” to build a biometric system to track all departures. “If we do not track and enforce departures, then we have open borders,” he said. Read more »

Visa Overstays and Illegal Immigration: Finally, Some Real Numbers

by Edward Alden
A traveler has his passport scanned as he passes through U.S. Customs and Immigration (Mike Blake/Reuters).

After several years of promising, the Department of Homeland Security this week finally delivered its first report documenting the number of “visa overstays” — travelers to the United States who come on a legal visa but then fail to leave when the lawful duration of their stay expires. The good news is that roughly 99 percent of all visitors comply and go home when they are supposed to; the bad news is that, with more than 40 million visitors last year, the one percent who didn’t go home still adds up to nearly 500,000 overstayers. Read more »

Buried in the Omnibus, a Step Back for Immigration Reform

by Edward Alden
Mexican workers, on the U.S. H2B visa program for seasonal guest workers, process crabs at the A.E. Phillips & Son Inc. crab picking house on Hooper's Island in Fishing Creek, Maryland August 26, 2015. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters).

Anti-immigration activists who helped to derail comprehensive immigration reform last year are seething over several provisions of the omnibus spending bill passed by Congress last week. Tucked away in the mammoth legislation were some of the most significant changes in years to U.S. immigration laws. One of the biggest would greatly expand the H-2B program for temporary seasonal non-agriculture workers such as landscapers, restaurant staff, and seafood processors. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who led the fight in the Senate against comprehensive reform, lamented that the new provisions would “line the pockets of special interests and big business.” Read more »