In an increasingly polarized political environment, it is rare to find issues on which people from all over the ideological spectrum can find consensus. So what do Grover Norquist, Dr. Richard Land, Wade Henderson, former corrections officials and prosecutors, representatives of faith groups, attorneys, and human rights advocates have in common? They all believe that the immigration detention system is in desperate need of repair and that Congress should fix it… now.
In the wake of cyberattack mischief by foreign regimes and unrestrained disruptions from commercial and criminal sources, we are witnessing heightened concerns about cybersecurity from politicians in Washington.
Recently the White House issued an executive order featuring plenty of new regulations it feels could tighten security in federal information systems. More recently, Rep Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) submitted a bill (short name SECURE IT) that addresses what freedoms U.S. governmental agencies and private sector entities should have in their role as protectors, and what criminal penalties should apply to criminals who attack us.
What does it take to get Congress to listen?
On April 10, more than 100,000 people from 31 states descended on the nation’s Capitol to send a strong message that now is the time for immigration reform.
Thousands of immigrant families knocked on Congress’ door and met with policymakers while in Washington, telling their stories about the urgent need for compassionate, comprehensive legislation.
An opportunity to pass comprehensive immigration reform doesn’t come along every day. More than 25 years have passed since President Ronald Reagan signed the last major reform into law, and leaders of both parties have tried unsuccessfully to adopt new legislation since. Reforming immigration is hard to do because passing a truly comprehensive bill requires national consensus — bipartisan political will in Congress and the White House paired with an American public that believes reform is important and necessary.
Today, the political stars have aligned once more. After a flurry of activity over the past few weeks, comprehensive immigration reform legislation will likely be introduced in both houses of Congress this week. Yet at this once-in-a-generation moment, we shouldn’t attach the label “comprehensive” to a bill that leaves people out simply on the basis of who they are or who they love.
A recent report issued by computer security firm Mandiant shined a bright light onto a dark truth we have known for years: The Chinese government is systematically and methodically stealing American intellectual property at a breathtaking pace and scope.
The Chinese are doing this to gain an artificial advantage in the global economy. Chinese Communist party leadership has learned from the collapse of the Soviet Union that the only way to compete with free, dynamic, innovative nations like ours is to have a strong economy of their own. The problem is that China decided to take a short cut. One manufacturer in the U.S., for example, spent $1 billion and ten years on research and development for a new product. In a matter of minutes, the Chinese had stolen the design and now can engineer and sell it in the global marketplace without having spent one day or one dollar on research and development. Pesticide formulas have been stolen, manufacturing blue prints, software, chemical formulas, you name it. The Chinese even attempted to steal the secret recipe for Coca-Cola. Extrapolate that out to the entire American economy and you have a major threat to our ability to compete in the world.
The dire human and economic consequences of maintaining a massive immigration detention system are clear. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has recently come under fire both for holding immigrants in solitary confinement, and for releasing hundreds of immigrants from detention in advance of sequestration. The system is out of control, and it’s time for the government to engage with communities to figure out a better way.
Through the Interfaith Committee for Detained Immigrants, we provide pastoral care to people in custody and rapid-response support upon their release. We’ve seen the reality that immigrants face in both situations. ICE detained more than 420,000 people last year in more than 150 prisons and jails, at a cost of more than $2 billion. About 85 percent of those men and women faced deportation proceedings without legal counsel. Untold numbers were cut off from medical and mental health care and family support networks.
Only a few multiculturalist radicals would seriously argue that immigrants who settle in the United States should not be expected to assimilate into our society. It seems obvious that we cannot have a stable political community if people don’t share a common set of civic values and don’t — or can’t — communicate with each other.
It’s likewise unrealistic to ask that immigrants renounce their faith or the customs and traditions of their home countries upon arrival in America. It is nonetheless reasonable to expect that those who come from abroad to make this their new home learn English and identify with the ideas behind our founding and our history.
Immigration reform faces a variety of challenges as it moves through Washington’s political wickets, but none may be as seemingly daunting as the task the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will face when it will be required to rapidly accredit the estimated eleven million undocumented immigrants currently residing within the United States.
All webs, whether spun by spiders or by man, have holes that trap the unwary, and the World Wide Web is no exception. There are holes everywhere, and every one provides an open door for a hacker.
The cyberworld is a great equalizer in many respects, not the least of which is its risk for mischief. Wealth and privilege offer no shield against potential damage to finances, reputations, corporate intelligence and vital infrastructure. It’s open season whenever anyone goes online.
During their spring recess, members of Congress are confronting the issue of immigration reform as they meet with constituents and explain their evolving positions on the issue. This is particularly true among Republican officials, many of whom have gone from opposing the DREAM Act and advocating self-deportation a year ago, to now supporting a broader legalization and even a path to citizenship.