Pronk Pops Show 114, June 21, 2013: Segment 1: Enforce Existing Immigration Laws — Deport The 40 Million Plus Illegal Aliens and Build The U.S. Mexican Border Fence — No Amnesty — Vote Out of Office Any Politician That Votes For Comprehensive Immigration Reform — Videos
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Pronk Pops Show 114, June 21, 2013: Segment 1: Enforce Existing Immigration Laws — Deport The 40 Million Plus Illegal Aliens and Build The U.S. Mexican Border Fence — No Amnesty — Vote Out of Office Any Politician That Votes For Comprehensive Immigration Reform — Videos
316 Million and Counting
Less 40 Million Plus Foreigners (Illegal Aliens) and Rapidly Growing
Where’s The Fence
IQ2: Undocumented Immigrant Debate: Mark Krikorian part 6 of 12
Immigration with Mark Krikorian
Mark Krikorian’s Intro – Amnesties: Past, Present, Future
The New Case Against Immigration: Both Legal and Illegal
Senator Lee and Megyn Kelly discuss the pending Corker/Hoeven border security amendment
Immigration by the Numbers — Off the Charts
Immigration, World Poverty and Gumballs – Updated 2010
How Many Illegal Aliens Are in the US? – Walsh – 1
How Many Illegal Aliens Are in the United States? Presentation by James H. Walsh, Associate General Counsel of the former INS – part 1.
How Many Illegal Aliens Are in the US? – Walsh – 2
How Many Illegal Aliens Are in the US? – Philip Romero
Sessions: How In The World Can We Justify Passing This Immigration Bill?
-Based on CBO data, the Gang of Eight immigration bill would add approximately 30 million total immigrants over the next decade and 46 million by 2033, which CBO concluded would depress wages for US workers. Budget Ranking Member Sessions addressed the Congressional Budget Office’s economic and fiscal estimate of the Gang of Eight immigration bill in remarks on the Senate floor. The report plainly stated: “Taking into account all of [the] flows of new immigrants, CBO and JCT expect that a greater number of immigrants with lower skills than with higher skills would be added to the workforce, slightly pushing down the average wage for the labor force as a whole… However, CBO and JCT expect that currently unauthorized workers who would obtain legal status under S. 744 would see an increase in their average wages… [An] increase in the average wage would not occur for a dozen years.”
Sessions reacted: “This is supposed to be good for the people we represent? … This will add to [our] problems, this report says, quite clearly—unequivocally. It’s going to increase unemployment and it’s going to pull down wages. That is exactly the wrong thing that ought to be happening at this time. How in the world can we justify passing a bill that hammers the American working man and woman that’s out trying to feed a family?”
Senator Sessions previously observed: “This bill guarantees three things: amnesty, increased welfare costs, and lower wages for the U.S. workforce.”
Rand Paul: Lack Of Border Security Is Immigration Bill’s ‘Fatal Flaw’ – Bloomberg 6/18/2013
Milton Friedman on illegal immigration
USDA & Mexican embassy encouraging illegals to get welfare.
SEIU Represents Undocumented Workers
Eliseo Medina bragging about illegal immigrants in the SEIU
Ann Coulter on Immigration Bill, Amnesty and Gang of Eight
Beware of the Big Interventionist Government Statists (BIGS) Disinformation Campaign On Immigration
Marco Rubio Ad Pushing Conservative Gang of 8 Bill
On Tuesday, a fresh new ad debuted, featuring Senator Marco Rubio pitching the ‘Gang of 8′ immigration bill, by an organization calling itself Americans for a Conservative Direction. As Politico reports, the ad and its new group are funded by the FWD.us, the organization formed to push Silicon Valley’s priorities in Washington, backed by Mark Zuckerberg. FWD plans to push immigration reform partly through a subsidiary group aimed to garner conservative support, Americans for a Conservative Direction. According to Politico, Americans for a Conservative Direction will spend seven figures to run the pro-immigration-bill ads in several key states, including Texas, Florida, Utah, North Carolina, Iowa, and Kentucky.
Kelly Ayotte – Independence
Conservative Video Marco Rubio Ad Pushing Gang of 8 Bill, Funded by Mark Zuckerberg? – Immigration
“…a fresh new ad debuted, featuring Senator Marco Rubio pitching the ‘Gang of 8′ immigration bill, by an organization calling itself Americans for a Conservative Direction. As Politico reports, the ad and its new group are funded by the FWD.us, the organization formed to push Silicon Valley’s priorities in Washington, backed by Mark Zuckerberg. FWD plans to push immigration reform partly through a subsidiary group aimed to garner conservative support, Americans for a Conservative Direction. According to Politico, Americans for a Conservative Direction will spend seven figures to run the pro-immigration-bill ads in several key states, including Texas, Florida, Utah, North Carolina, Iowa, and Kentucky.
Americans for a Conservative Direction’s board members include:
Haley Barbour: former Governor Haley Barbour served as the 62nd governor of Mississippi from 2004 to 2012 and served as Chairman of the Republican National Committee in the mid ’90s.
Sally Bradshaw: former Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s Chief of Staff from 1999-2001, and served as a Co-Chair of the Republican National Committee’s Growth and Opportunity Project.
Joel Kaplan: currently Vice President of US Public Policy at Facebook. Joel also served as Deputy Chief of Staff to former President George W. Bush.
Dan Senor: former chief advisor to Representative Paul Ryan on the Romney-Ryan 2012 campaign
Rob Jesmer: former Executive Director at the National Republican Senatorial Committee from 2008 — 2012.
Politico notes that “the FWD.us blitz, and the heavy-duty group of GOP advisers who have signed on to support it, illustrate the fierce intensity of elite pressure on Republicans to pass a bill.”
The fact that GOP ‘elite,’ establishment pressure is pushing immigration reform also illustrates the growing disconnect between the ‘Beltway’ and grassroots conservatives. For instance, Red State’s Erick Erickson, posted a piece entitled: “HAHAHAHA. Meet Americans for a Conservative Direction, the Latest GOP Scam in Washington,” noting:
I’d like to introduce you to “Americans for a Conservative Direction.” It’s got Haley Barbour as the head of it, whose nephew was on the RNC audit committee. He’s joined by Sally Bradshaw of the same RNC Audit Committee. They’ve also got Joel Kaplan of Facebook, Dan Senor whose wife is Campbell Brown formerly of CNN, and Rob Jesmer.
Jesmer, you will recall, headed the National Republican Senatorial Committee and backed Arlen Specter, Charlie Crist, Trey Greyson, Bob Bennett, and every other terrible squishy moderate to liberal candidate the GOP could field.
And now they want to call themselves “Americans for a Conservative Direction.”
Erickson added another post today, slamming the group’s use of the word ‘conservative’:
Typical GOP consultants. Prop up a single issue — the Gang of 8 Immigration plan — and use “conservative” as the word to try to sell it. At what point do conservatives make Republican consultants stop whoring that word around? Heck, we’ve got the American Conservative Union now working with defense and infrastructure lobbyists for big government spending. This is nuts.
Friends, the consultant class of the GOP at least screws rich liberals too. Gotta give them applause for their equal opportunity con-jobs.
The ad also contains a serious, misleading error. As Senator Rubio makes his pitch, wording underneath him reads “Establish Border Security First”: Huh? ‘Border security first’? That’s precisely conservatives’ main gripe with the Gang of 8 bill — it does not establish border security, much less ‘first.’ In fact, as I’ve written, the only ‘trigger’ necessary for the legalization to proceed is that a border strategy and border fencing plan has been submitted to Congress and ‘commenced.’ Further down the line, there is no real ‘border security’ before the green card/permanent residency process may proceed: regarding the border, all that is required is that the two plans are “substantially” implemented and operational. …”
Mark Levin Exposes Americans for a Conservative Direction
Mark Zuckerberg’s New Venture: The ‘FWD’ Group for American Jobs
Laura Ingraham: Marco Rubio has betrayed conservatives
Laura Ingraham Confronts Marco Rubio Over Immigration Reform: ‘Stop Dividing The Republican Party’
Ted Cruz Discusses ‘Gang of 8’ Immigration Bill with Rush Limbaugh (part 1)
Ted Cruz Discusses ‘Gang of 8’ Immigration Bill with Rush Limbaugh (part 2)
Sen. Ted Cruz Speaks on the Senate Floor in Opposition to the Gang of Eight’s Immigration Bill
Glenn Beck: Interview with House Republicans Planning Revolt On Immigration Bill
Chris Crane Testimony At Senate Immigration Hearing
Sessions To Senate: Can Anyone Explain How This Immigration Bill Will Help Struggling Americans?
Schumer, Gang of Eight Refuse To Say How Many Will Be Admitted Under Their Plan
Law Enforcement Groups Detail How Immigration Bill Guts Future Enforcement
Dramatic Guest Worker Provisions In Immigration Bill Designed To Suppress Wages
Sessions Warns Washington Elites Against Rush To Amnesty
Sen. Ted Cruz Speaks on the Senate Floor in Opposition to the Gang of Eight’s Immigration Bill
Congressman Steve King Spoke on the House Floor — Immigration and Securing the Border
Congressman Steve King leads House opposition to Senate’s Gang of Eight immigration bill
Senator Boxer Speaks on the Need for Immigration Reform
Senate close to passing immigration bill
Ted Cruz Launches National Petition Against Gang of Eight’s Bill
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) launched a national petition on Thursday to stop the Senate Gang of Eight’s amnesty bill and send Washington a “strong signal” of the grassroots opposition to the bill.
“This is urgent,” Cruz wrote in an e-mail to supporters. “We must stop this Gang of 8 immigration bill, which would give amnesty to an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants with no guarantee of a secure border.”
“The Senate debate is in the final stages and we need to send Washington a strong signal of the overwhelming grassroots opposition to this amnesty bill from Americans across the country,” Cruz explained.
Cruz urged supporters to share the petition with friends and to “act now–without delay–to help us defeat amnesty and stand for legal immigration!”
CBO Releases Two Analyses of the Senate’s Immigration Legislation
The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744) would revise laws governing immigration and the enforcement of those laws, allowing for a significant increase in the number of noncitizens who could lawfully enter the United States on both a permanent and temporary basis. Additionally, the bill would create a process for many individuals who are present in the country now on an unauthorized basis to gain legal status, subject to requirements specified in the bill. The bill also would directly appropriate funds for tightening border security and enforcing immigration laws, and would authorize future appropriations for those purposes.
Based on joint work with the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), CBO released two analyses related to the immigration legislation that was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee:
- A cost estimate providing projections of the bill’s effects on federal spending, revenues, and the deficit.
- A report on the economic impact of S. 744, analyzing the bill’s effects on economic output, the size of the labor force, employment, wages, capital investment, interest rates, and productivity.
How Would the Legislation Affect the U.S. Population?
CBO estimates that, by 2023, enacting S. 744 would lead to a net increase of 10.4 million in the number of people residing in the United States, compared with the number projected under current law. That increase would grow to about 16 million by 2033. CBO also estimates that about 8 million unauthorized residents would initially gain legal status under the bill, but that change in status would not affect the size of the U.S. population.
How Would the Legislation Affect the Federal Budget from 2014 Through 2023?
CBO and JCT estimate that enacting S. 744 would generate changes in direct spending and revenues that would decrease federal budget deficits by $197 billion over the 2014–2023 period. CBO also estimates that implementing the legislation would result in net discretionary costs of $22 billion over the 2014–2023 period, assuming appropriation of the amounts authorized or otherwise needed to implement the legislation. Combining those figures would lead to a net savings of about $175 billion over the 2014–2023 period from enacting S. 744. However, the net impact of the bill on federal deficits would depend on future actions by lawmakers, who could choose to appropriate more or less than the amounts estimated by CBO. In addition, the total amount of discretionary funding is currently capped (through 2021) by the Budget Control Act of 2011; extra funding for the purposes of this legislation might lead to lower funding for other purposes.
Following the long-standing convention of not incorporating macroeconomic effects in cost estimates—a practice that has been followed in the Congressional budget process since it was established in 1974—cost estimates produced by CBO and JCT typically reflect the assumption that macroeconomic variables such as gross domestic product (GDP) and employment remain fixed at the values they are projected to reach under current law. However, because S. 744 would significantly increase the size of the U.S. labor force, CBO and JCT relaxed that assumption by incorporating in this cost estimate their projections of the direct effects of the bill on the U.S. population, employment, and taxable compensation.
The bill also would have a broader set of effects on output and income that are not reflected in the cost estimate described above. Those additional economic effects include changes in the productivity of labor and capital, the income earned by capital, the rate of return on capital (and therefore the interest rate on government debt), and the differences in wages for workers with different skills. Those effects and their estimated consequences for the federal budget are described in a report, The Economic Impact of S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, that accompanies the cost estimate.
According to CBO’s central estimates (within a range that reflects the uncertainty about two key economic relationships in CBO’s analysis), the economic impacts not included in the cost estimate would have no further net effect on budget deficits over the 2014–2023 period.
How Would the Legislation Affect the Federal Budget for 2024 Through 2033?
CBO and JCT generally do not provide cost estimates beyond the standard 10-year projection period. However, S. 744 would cause a significant number of people to become eligible for certain federal benefits in the decade following 2023, so CBO and JCT have extended their estimate of the effects of this legislation for another decade.
The additional amount of federal direct spending stemming from enactment of S. 744 would grow after 2023 as more people became eligible for federal benefits as a result of the bill. The additional amount of federal revenues owing to the legislation also would increase after 2023 as the labor force continued to increase. On balance, CBO and JCT estimate that those changes in direct spending and revenues would decrease federal budget deficits by about $700 billion (or 0.2 percent of total output) over the 2024–2033 period. In addition, the legislation would have a net discretionary cost of $20 billion to $25 billion over the 2024–2033 period, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts. According to CBO’s central estimates (within a range that reflects the uncertainty about two key economic relationships in CBO’s analysis), the economic impacts not included in the cost estimate would further reduce deficits (relative to the effects reported in the cost estimate) by about $300 billion over the 2024–2033 period.
How Would the Legislation Affect the Economy?
S. 744 would boost economic output. Taking account of all economic effects (including those reflected in the cost estimate), the bill would increase real (inflation-adjusted) GDP relative to the amount CBO projects under current law by 3.3 percent in 2023 and by 5.4 percent in 2033, according to CBO’s central estimates. Compared with GDP, gross national product (GNP) per capita accounts for the effect on incomes of international capital flows and adjusts for the number of people in the country. Relative to what would occur under current law, S. 744 would lower per capita GNP by 0.7 percent in 2023 and raise it by 0.2 percent in 2033, according to CBO’s central estimates.
Per capita GNP would be less than 1 percent lower than under current law through 2031 because the increase in the population would be greater, proportionately, than the increase in output; after 2031, however, the opposite would be true. CBO’s central estimates also show that average wages for the entire labor force would be 0.1 percent lower in 2023 and 0.5 percent higher in 2033 under the legislation than under current law. Average wages would be slightly lower than under current law through 2024, primarily because the amount of capital available to workers would not increase as rapidly as the number of workers and because the new workers would be less skilled and have lower wages, on average, than the labor force under current law. However, the rate of return on capital would be higher under the legislation than under current law throughout the next two decades.
The estimated reductions in average wages and per capita GNP for much of the next two decades do not necessarily imply that current U.S. residents would be worse off, on average, under the legislation than they would be under current law. Both of those figures represent differences between the averages for all U.S. residents under the legislation—including both the people who would be residents under current law and the additional people who would come to the country under the legislation—and the averages under current law for people who would be residents in the absence of the legislation. As noted, the additional people who would become residents under the legislation would earn lower wages, on average, than other residents, which would pull down the average wage and per capita GNP; at the same time, the income earned by capital would increase. CBO has not analyzed the full economic effects of the legislation separately for the incomes of people who would be U.S. residents under current law.
In sum, relative to current law, enacting S. 744 would:
- Increase the size of the labor force and employment,
- Increase average wages in 2025 and later years (but decrease them before that),
- Slightly raise the unemployment rate through 2020,
- Boost the amount of capital investment,
- Raise the productivity of labor and of capital, and
- Result in higher interest rates.
Leftist group ‘Americans for a Conservative Direction’ using conservative front name to sell its immigration message (Your view)
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
So, for the leftist establishment group FWD.us to utilize the name “conservative” in a front name for its pro-amnesty group “Americans for a Conservative Direction,” it must mean that they are impressed with the intellectual prowess and marketability of the conservative message in America.
Au contraire, patriots.
This group is using a moniker hoping it will confuse people into thinking that as long as Congressmen Rubio and Ryan are for it, and this “conservative” group backs it, it must be acceptable.
But the group is headed by some known elements who don’t have a conservative ideological thought — people like Mark Zuckerburg of Facebook, Joe Green, Bill Gates, etc. A group of cognoscenti, techno-nerds, with the resources to fund big-dollar ad campaigns and the computer savvy to influence the outcomes when necessary.
The parent group is FWD.us, so if you want to see their agenda, I would encourage some research about them.
Their version of immigration reform differs vastly from that of the majority of Americans, but they are selling their ideas on any outlet willing to take their money. Conservatives must appreciate the fact that these charlatans turn to tried-and-true name association when they want to give credence to their cause.
Their facade is crumbling, however, and the more people become aware of their agenda, the bigger their fail.
One more of a myriad of reasons Congress should reject the Gang of Eight bill coming before them.
FWD.us is a 501(c)(4) lobbying group based in the United States that aims to lobby and advocate for its version of immigration reform, changes to the US education system to improve science and technology education, and the facilitation of scientifc breakthroughs with broad public benefits. It is primarily supported and funded by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. The initiative is led by principal Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, and its president is Joe Green, a close friend and confidant of Zuckerberg. The group is non-partisan and aims to build a bipartisan consensus around its proposed policies.
The first rumors of the creation of a lobbying group on immigration reform were reported by Evelyn Rusli in the Wall Street Journal on March 26, 2013. On April 4, 2013, Politico obtained a leaked prospectus prepared by Joe Green intended for prospective contributors, with a proposed name of “Human Capital” for the lobbying group. Green admitted that the prospectus was authentic but also stated that many details, including the name of the group, had changed since the time the prospectus was sent out.
FWD.us was launched on April 11, 2013. The launch was accompanied by an op-ed by Mark Zuckerberg in the Washington Post laying out the agenda and arguing for the vision of the group. There was extensive media coverage of the launch.
- Immigration reform (in the context of immigration to the United States)
- Improving the quality of science and technology education (again focused on the United States)
- Encouraging more investment in breakthrough technologies in a manner that benefits the public at large.
- Improved border security.
- An immigration policy that is biased in favor of attracting extremely talented and hard-working people.
- A path to citizenship for current and prospective immigrants to the United States, including those who are present in the United States illegally.
- An improved employment verification system (the current most widely used system is e-verify).
Founders and key supporters
The founders of FWD.us include Mark Zuckerberg (the public face of the group), Joe Green (founder and president of the group), Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Dropbox employees Drew Houston and Ruchi Sanghvi, LinkedIn CEO and founder Reid Hoffman, super-angel Ron Conway, and venture capitalists Jim Breyer (of Accel Partners), Matt Cohler (of Benchmark Capital), John Doerr (of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers), and Chamath Palihapitiya (of The Social+Capital Partnership).
Other major contributors include Steve Ballmer (CEO of Microsoft — was not in the original list at launch), Steve Chen (co-founder of YouTube — was not in the original list at launch), Brian Chesky (founder of Airbnb), Chris Cox, Paul Graham (co-founder of Y Combinator), Reed Hastings (CEO of Netflix), Chad Hurley, Josh James, Max Levchin (former CTO of Paypal), Joe Lonsdale (founder of Palantir and Addepar), Andrew Mason (founder and CEO of Groupon), Marissa Mayer (CEO of Yahoo!), Mary Meeker, Dave Morin (CEO of Path), Mark Pincus, Keith Rabois, Eric Schmidt (executive chairman at Google Inc), Brad Smith (Microsoft executive vice president of legal affairs), Kevin Systrom (CEO of Instagram), Padmasree Warrior (CTO of Cisco), and Fred Wilson (of Union Square Ventures).
Although some earlier reports, including the leaked prospectus by Politico, had suggested that Bill Gates and Marc Andreessen would be involved with FWD.us, their names did not appear on the FWD.us site at launch. However, Gates’ name was added to the list of founders later.
Elon Musk (CEO of SpaceX and of Tesla Motors) was originally listed as a major contributor, but left the group in May 2013 in the wake of advertisements put out by FWD.us supporting some political activities that conflicted with Musk’s environmentalist priorities. David Sacks, who was originally listed as a major contributor, also left the group at around the same time.
The team in Washington D.C. includes Rob Jesmer (former executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee) and Kate Hansen (who worked as the communications director for the Democratic Governors Association in 2012).
According to news reports, the lobbying group is raising about $50 million (USD) for its lobbying efforts. As of April 2013, information about funds is not available on the official site, though a list of major contributors is available.
Plans prior to launch
The leaked prospectus obtained by Politico suggested that the lobbying group was planning to use the tremendous leverage that tech companies and their leaders had in pushing their agenda to the public, similar to the tactics used for the protests against SOPA and PIPA that were coordinated for January 18, 2012. However, in the same Politico article, Joe Green said that the prospectus used misleading language, and that various tech leaders would, “operating solely as individuals”, promote the agenda of the lobbying group.
According to the leaked prospectus, the tactics were described as follows:
“grassroots and grasstops” organizing in targeted congressional districts, online advocacy campaigns, paid online and television advertising that will be “critical to creating the political infrastructure we need” and “earned media.”
The use of stories
A “Stories” section on the website features videos of FWD.us supporters featuring their personal stories. Featured videos include videos by Ruchi Sanghvi (who worked at Facebook and is now at Dropbox) and Max Levchin (co-founder of PayPal).
Political lobbying and ads
On April 23, 2013, Politico reported that FWD.us had created a front group called “Americans for a Conservative Direction” that would air political ads in support of conservative Republican politicians who supported immigration policies similar to those desired by FWD.us. Video advertisements were already being aired in favor of pro-immigration conservative politicians Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio. The Politico report also indicated that FWD.us was planning to open another front group called “Council for American Job Growth” designed to appeal to people with progressive political sensibilities. The pro-conservative advertisements met with considerable backlash from progressive friends and erstwhile supporters of Zuckerberg and the cause.
Facilitating grassroots activism
On June 6, 2013, FWD.us announced the launch of tools that enabled US residents to phone their senators and representatives to express views on the immigration bill that would soon be put to a vote.
Criticism of Keystone XL Pipeline Support
At least two key members of the group and several liberal organizations withdrew support from FWD.us after revelations that the group supported the Keystone XL oil pipeline in two major ways. Elon Musk, a founder of the electric carmaker Tesla, and David O. Sacks, chief executive of Yammer, left the group and withdrew financial support. The Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters and MoveOn.org also suspended advertisements on Facebook.
The controversy stemmed from the fact that FWD.us paid tens of millions of dollars for advertisements supporting three prominent lawmakers who also supported the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The lawmakers were Republican Marco Rubio, Republican Lindsey Graham, and Democrat Mark Begich. In addition, FWD.us ran advertisements praising the Keystone XL pipeline through one of its subsidiaries, Americans for Conservative Action and Council for American Job Growth.
At least five people protesting Zuckerburg’s involvement in FWD.us were arrested at Facebook’s first shareholder meeting on 11 June 2013.
Parallels drawn with other present and past groups
The first report in the Wall Street Journal that reported rumors of the lobbying group that would eventually become FWD.us considered its possible overlap in terms and methods with Michael Bloomberg‘s group called the Partnership for a New American Economy as well as with the March for Innovation, a “virtual march for immigration reform.” An in-depth article in The New Republic likened FWD.us to the Technology CEO Council, founded 24 years before FWD.us by the heads of first-generation computing companies like Dell, Intel, Xerox, and Hewlett-Packard.
Viability of the approach
The launch of FWD.us met with a wide range of reactions. Gregory Ferenstein, writing for TechCrunch, expressed skepticism regarding whether FWD.us was that different from existing lobbying groups and whether it would be able to accomplish anything. Om Malik, writing for GigaOm, also expressed a mixed reaction, albeit for different reasons.
The “cynical” approach taken by FWD.us in its political lobbying and campaigning has met with some criticism. However, an article in The New Republic argued that the cynical approach might be necessary for FWD.us to meet its goals, while noting dissent from “Silicon Valley libertarians” such as Michael Arrington and Peter Thiel (neither of whom were listed as contributors to FWD.us) from the idea of trying to influence politics and play the political game. Chamath Palihapitiya and Jim Breyer defended the approach used by FWD.us despite the political backlash.
Hector Ruiz, former chairman and CEO of Advanced Micro Devices, wrote a piece critical of Mark Zuckerberg arguing that freer migration and a path to citizenship should be extended to all people, not just an elite.
Shaun Raviv in an article for The Atlantic and Nathan Smith in a blog post for Open Borders: The Case (a website focused on discussing and debating open borders), critiqued Mark Zuckerberg and FWD.us for the modesty of their vision, their focus on high-skilled immigration, and their endorsement of border security.
Background Articles and Videos
BORDERS : Mexican Drug War – Full Documentary 2013
The full-length documentary that is an “on the ground,” on location look at the problem at the US/Mexico border. The film demonstrates the reticence, if not absolute refusal, of the US Govt to adequately protect the dangerous southern border. While security is feigned in some locations, it is totally disregarded in others. Footage shows the mostly non-functional and worthless border fence, easy access across the border at nearly any location, interviews with affected US citizens in the border zone, and questions why certain drugs are illegal that fuel the carnage. I do apologize for some of the wind problems in the sound as I was in very windy locations without an adequate cover on the mic. I did submit this documentary to several networks, but was told it was too politically charged for broadcast. So, here it is on youtube.
The Mexico–United States barrier – also known in the United States as the border fence, rotted fence or border wall – is actually several separation barriers designed to prevent illegal movement across the Mexico–United States border. The barriers were built as part of three larger “Operations” to taper transportation of illegal drugs manufactured in Latin America and illegal immigration: Operation Gatekeeper in California, Operation Hold-the-Line  in Texas, and Operation Safeguard in Arizona. The barriers are strategically placed to mitigate the flow of illegal border crossings along the Mexico–United States international border into the Southwestern United States. Construction supporters cite the ongoing escalation of national security risks, relating to Cartel border violence, and their possible co-operation with overseas terrorists. Opponents claim the barriers are a taxpayer boondoggle, an ineffective deterrent and that the barriers inappropriately jeopardize the health and safety of those seeking illegal entry into the United States, as well as destroy animal habitat, prevent animals from reaching water, disturb animal migration patterns, and otherwise damage the environment.
General impact on illegal immigration
96.6% of apprehensions by the Border Patrol in 2010 occurred at the southwest border. The number of Border Patrol apprehensions declined 61% from 1,189,000 in 2005 to 723,840 in 2008 to 463,000 in 2010. The decrease in apprehensions may be due to a number of factors including changes in U.S. economic conditions and border enforcement efforts. Border apprehensions in 2010 were at their lowest level since 1972.
The 1,951-mile (3,141 km) border between the United States and Mexico traverses a variety of terrains, including urban areas and deserts. The barrier is located on both urban and uninhabited sections of the border, areas where the most concentrated numbers of illegal crossings and drug trafficking have been observed in the past. These urban areas include San Diego, California and El Paso, Texas. As of August 29, 2008, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security had built 190 miles (310 km) of pedestrian border fence and 154.3 miles (248.3 km) of vehicle border fence, for a total of 344.3 miles (554.1 km) of fence. The completed fence is mainly in New Mexico, Arizona, and California, with construction under way in Texas.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported that it had more than 580 miles (930 km) of fence in place by the second week of January, 2009. Work is still under way on fence segments in Texas and on the Border Infrastructure System in California.
The border fence is not one continuous structure and is actually a grouping of short physical walls that stop and start, secured in between with “virtual fence” which includes a system of sensors and cameras monitored by Border Patrol Agents. As a result of the effect of the barrier, there has been a marked increase in the number of people trying to illegally cross the Sonoran Desert and crossing over the Baboquivari Mountain in Arizona. Such illegal immigrants must cross 50 miles (80 km) of inhospitable terrain to reach the first road, which is located in the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation.
There have been around 5,000 migrant deaths along the Mexico-U.S. border in the last thirteen years, according to a document created by the Human Rights National Commission of Mexico, also signed by the American Civil Liberties Union Between 43 and 61 people died trying to cross the Sonoran Desert during that same time period; three times that of the same period the previous year. In October 2004 the Border Patrol announced that 325 people had died crossing the entire border during the previous 12 months. Between 1998 and 2004, 1,954 persons are officially reported to have died along the US-Mexico border. Since 2004, the bodies of 1086 migrants have been recovered in the southern Arizona desert.
U.S. Border Patrol Tucson Sector reported on Oct. 15, 2008 that its agents were able to save 443 undocumented immigrants from certain death after being abandoned by their smugglers, during FY 2008, while reducing the number of deaths by 17 percent from 202 in FY 2007 to 167 in FY 2008. Without the efforts of these agents, hundreds more could have died in the deserts of Arizona. According to the same sector, border enhancements like the wall have allowed the Tucson Sector agents to reduce the number of apprehensions at the borders by 16 percent compared with fiscal year 2007.
U.S. Representative Duncan Hunter, a Republican from California and the then-chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, proposed a plan to the House on November 3, 2005 calling for the construction of a reinforced fence along the entire United States–Mexican border. This would also include a 100-yard (91 m) border zone on the U.S. side. On December 15, 2005, Congressman Hunter’s amendment to the Border Protection, Anti-terrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005 (H.R. 4437) passed in the House. This plan calls for mandatory fencing along 698 miles (1,123 km) of the Mexican border. On May 17, 2006 the U.S. Senate proposed with Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 (S. 2611) what could be 370 miles (600 km) of triple layered-fencing and a vehicle fence. Although that bill died in committee, eventually the Secure Fence Act of 2006 was passed by Congress and signed by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2006.
U.S.-Mexico Border at the Pacific Ocean in Imperial Beach, California. (Tire tracks from Border Patrol Jeeps are visible on the beach.)
The government of Mexico and ministers of several Latin American countries have condemned the plans. Rick Perry, governor of Texas, also expressed his opposition saying that instead of closing the border it should be opened more and through technology support legal and safe migration. The barrier expansion has also been opposed by a unanimous vote of the Laredo, Texas City Council. Laredo’s Mayor, Raul G. Salinas, is concerned about defending his town’s people by saying that the Bill which includes miles of border wall would devastate Laredo. He states “these are people that are sustaining our economy by forty percent, and I am gonna [sic] close the door on them and put [up] a wall? You don’t do that. It’s like a slap in the face.” He hopes that Congress would revise the Bill that better reflects the realities of life on the border. There are no plans to build border fence in Laredo at this time. However, there is a large Border Patrol presence in Laredo.
Secure Fence Act
House Resolution 6061 (H.R. 6061), “Secure Fence Act of 2006”, was introduced on September 13, 2006. It passed through the U.S. House of Representatives on September 14, 2006 with a vote of 283–138.
On September 29, 2006, by a vote of 80–19 the U.S. Senate confirmed H.R. 6061 authorizing, and partially funding the “possible” construction of 700 miles (1,125 km) of physical fence/barriers along the border. The very broad support implies that many assurances have been made by the Administration, to the Democrats, Mexico, and the pro “Comprehensive immigration reform” minority within the GOP, that Homeland Security will proceed very cautiously. Michael Chertoff, announced that an eight-month test of the virtual fence, he favors, will precede any construction of a physical barrier.
On October 26, 2006, President George W. Bush signed H.R. 6061 which was voted upon and passed by the 109th Congress of the United States. The signing of the bill comes right after a CNN poll shows us that most Americans “prefer the idea of more Border Patrol agents to a 700-mile (1,125-kilometer) fence.” There is a down payment of $1.2 billion to the Department of Homeland Security marked for border security, but not specifically for the border fence.
As of January 2010, the fence project has been completed from San Diego, California to Yuma, Arizona. From there it continues into Texas and consists of a fence that is 21 feet (6.4 m) tall and 6 feet (1.8 m) deep in the ground, cemented in a 3-foot (0.91 m)-wide trench with 5000 psi (UK/Éire:345 bar; 352 kg/cm²) concrete. There were no fatalities during construction, but there were 4 serious injuries with multiple aggressions against building crews, there was one reported shooting with no injury to a crew member in Mexicali region. All fence sections are south of the all American canals, and have access roads giving border guards the ability to reach any point easily, including the dunes area where a border agent was killed 3 years before and is now sealed off.
The Republican Party’s 2012 platform states that “The double-layered fencing on the border that was enacted by Congress in 2006, but never completed, must finally be built.” The Washington Office on Latin America notes on its Border Fact Check site that the extremely high cost of complying with the Secure Fence Act’s mandate, estimated at US$4.1 billion, or more than the Border Patrol’s entire annual budget of US$3.55 billion, was the main reason that it was not fulfilled.
Rethinking the expansion
House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) announced in January 2007 that Congress will revisit the fence plan, while committee chairs are holding up funding until a comprehensive border security plan is presented by the United States Department of Homeland Security. Both Senators from Texas, John Cornyn (R-TX) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), advocate revising the plan.
Construction of the border fence will not be subject to any laws. This is because in 2005 the Real ID Act, attached as a rider to a supplemental appropriations bill funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, decreed, “Not withstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall have the authority to waive all legal requirements such Secretary, in such Secretary’s sole discretion, determines necessary to ensure expeditious construction of the barriers and roads.” Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff used his new power to “waive in their entirety” the Endangered Species Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Coastal Zone Management Act, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the National Historic Preservation Act to extend triple fencing through the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve near San Diego. The Real ID Act further stipulates that his decisions are not subject to judicial review, and in December 2005 a federal judge dismissed legal challenges by the Sierra Club, the Audubon Society, and others to Chertoff’s decision.
Secretary Chertoff exercised his waiver authority on April 1, 2008. In June 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal of a lower court ruling upholding the waiver authority in a case filed by the Sierra Club. (Associated Press) In September, 2008 a federal district court judge in El Paso dismissed a similar lawsuit brought by El Paso County, Texas.
By January 2009, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security had spent $40 million on environmental analysis and mitigation measures aimed at blunting any possible adverse impact that the fence might have on the environment. On January 16, 2009, DHS announced it was pledging an additional $50 million for that purpose, and signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of the Interior for utilization of the additional funding.
President Barack Obama ordered a halt to the expansion of the “virtual fence,” the Department of Homeland Security announced on March 16, 2010. The money would be used to upgrade current border technology.
In response to a perceived lack of will on the part of the federal government to build a secure border fence, and a lack of state funds, Arizona officials plan to launch a website allowing donors to help fund a state border fence.
Steel barrier wall near Mariposa port of entry, Nogales Sonora, Mexico. Viewpoint: from Sonora northeast to Arizona.
Tribal lands of three American Indian nations would be divided by the proposed border fence.
On January 27, 2008, a U.S. Native American human rights delegation, which included Margo Tamez, (Lipan Apache-Jumano Apache) and Teresa Leal (Opata-Mayo) reported the removal of the official International Boundary obelisks of 1848 by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in the Las Mariposas, Sonora-Arizona sector of the Mexico-U.S. border. The obelisks were moved southward approximately 20 meters, onto the property of private landowners in Sonora, as part of the larger project of installing the 18-foot (5.5 m) steel barrier wall.
The proposed route for the border fence would divide the campus of the University of Texas at Brownsville into two parts, according to Antonio N. Zavaleta, a vice president of the university. There have been campus protests against the wall by students who feel it will harm their school. In August, 2008, UT-Brownsville reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for the university to construct a portion of the fence across and adjacent to its property. The final agreement, which was filed in federal court on Aug. 5 and formally signed by the Texas Southmost College Board of Trustees later that day, ended all court proceedings between UTB/TSC and DHS. On August 20, 2008, the university sent out a request for bids for the construction of a 10-foot (3.0 m) high barrier that incorporates technology security for its segment of the border fence project. The southern perimeter of the UTB/TSC campus will be part of a laboratory for testing new security technology and infrastructure combinations. The border fence segment on the UTB campus was substantially complete by December, 2008.
In the spring of 2007 more than 25 landowners, including a corporation and a school district, from Hidalgo and Starr County in Texas refused border fence surveys, which would determine what land was eligible for building on, as an act of protest.
In July 2008, Hidalgo County and Hidalgo County Drainage District No. 1 entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for the construction of a project that combines the border fence with a levee to control flooding along the Rio Grande. Construction of two of the Hidalgo County fence segments are under way; five more segments are scheduled to be built during the fall of 2008; the Hidalgo County section of the border fence will constitute 22 miles (35 km) of combined fence and levee.
Mexico has almost always condemned any course of action by the United States on its stance to increase border security and immigration control dating back over a century. It is estimated that over 500 people a year die trying to cross into the US illegally. In prior years, two times the amount was estimated as a casuality. Because of this, some Mexicans see the barriers as a slightly positive thing; but most Mexicans, as well as the Mexican government, somewhat view it a discrimination, as well as a source of alienation by the United States.
In 2006, the Mexican Government vigorously condemned the Secure Fence act of 2006. Mexico has also urged the US to alter its plans for expanded fences along their shared border, saying that it would damage the environment and harm wildlife.
In June 2007, it was announced that a section of the barrier had been mistakenly built from 1 to 6 feet (1.8 m) inside Mexican territory. This will necessitate the section being moved at an estimated cost of over US$3 million.
In 2012, then presidential candidate of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto was campaigning in Tijuana at the Playas de Monumental, less than 600 yards from the US/Mexico border adjacent to Border Field State Park. In one of his speeches he critizied the US government for building the barriers, and asked for them to be removed. Ultimately, he mocked Ronald Reagan’s “Tear down this wall” speech from Berlin in 1987.
In April 2008, the Department of Homeland Security announced plans to waive more than 30 environmental and cultural laws to speed construction of the barrier. Despite claims from then Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff that the department would minimize the construction’s impact on the environment, critics in Arizona and Texas asserted the fence endangered species and fragile ecosystems along the Rio Grande. Environmentalists expressed concern about butterfly migration corridors and the future of two species of local wildcats, the ocelot and the jaguarundi.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) conducted environmental reviews of each pedestrian and vehicle fence segment covered by the waiver, and published the results of this analysis in Environmental Stewardship Plans (ESPs). Although not required by the waiver, CBP has conducted the same level of environmental analysis (in the ESPs) that would have been performed before the waiver (in the “normal” NEPA process) to evaluate potential impacts to sensitive resources in the areas where fence is being constructed.
ESPs completed by CBP contain extremely limited surveys of local wildlife. For example, the ESP for border fence built in the Del Rio Sector included a single survey for wildlife completed in November, 2007, and only “3 invertebrates, 1 reptile species, 2 amphibian species, 1 mammal species, and 21 bird species were recorded.” The ESPs then dismiss the potential for most adverse effects on wildlife, based on sweeping generalizations and without any quantitative analysis of the risks posed by border barriers. Approximately 461 acres of vegetation will be cleared along the impact corridor. From the Rio Grande Valley ESP: “The impact corridor avoids known locations of individuals of Walker’s manioc and Zapata bladderpod, but approaches several known locations of Texas ayenia. For this reason, impacts on federally listed plants are anticipated to be short-term, moderate, and adverse.” This excerpt is typical of the ESPs in that the risk to endangered plants is deemed short-term without any quantitative population analysis.
By August, 2008, more than 90 percent of the southern border in Arizona and New Mexico had been surveyed. The remaining portions will be surveyed in the next three months. In addition, 80 percent of the California/Mexico border has been surveyed.
Public opinion in the United States
A July 29, 2010 Rasmussen Reports nationwide poll revealed that Americans favored building a fence along the U.S. border with Mexico, with 68 percent in favor and 21 percent against (margin of error: +/- 3 percentage points).