Public Policy is social agreement written down as a universal guide for social action. We at The Policy ThinkShop share information so others can think and act in the best possible understanding of "The Public Interest."

FY 2013 ICE Immigration Removals

American immigration enforcement is necessary.  It’s goals and means at the present time may need reforming though.

Fueled by fear and political opportunity in the aftermath of the post 911 decade, this policy went into full force in 2010, despite the fact that so called “illegal immigration” had significantly tapered off.  The Obama administration, nevertheless, went full force ahead with this policy to appease popular fears and to give a sense of being tough on crime and of being pro national security.  It is clear that the affect of the current immigration policy is disproportionately falling on the Latino immigrants.  It is also labeling them criminals.  THIS POLICY MOST BE REASSESSED… In light of the hardships that illegal immigration causes for men and families running away from political, economic stress or toward the pull of the American dream, and the problems that it causes for an America whose labor markets have been themselves greatly stressed by the long, deep and lingering national recession, perhaps we need to take a good long look at how America is investing in its labor force and how it might better integrate and recruit needed talent from its neighbors to the south.  America will continue to age at an alarming baby boomer pace, by the time we hear all the reports of the “unintended consequences” of the current skewed immigration policy it may be too late.

The report fails to mention the nearly 12 million people who are not in the country legally.  According to the report only a fraction of this number (368,644) were removed, or deported, from our country.  The report fails to discuss the apparent problem that this policy is disproportionately affecting Hispanic immigrants.  For example, according to the PEW Foundation’s Hispanic Center:

“About three-quarters (76%) of the nation’s unauthorized immigrant population are Hispanics. The majority of undocumented immigrants (59%) are from Mexico, numbering 7 million. Significant regional sources of unauthorized immigrants include Asia (11%), Central America (11%), South America (7%), the Caribbean (4%) and the Middle East (less than 2%).” Source: 

People from Asia, for example, are underrepresented in the ICE immigration dragnet.  The connection to immigration from the Eastern European former soviet block and Russian gangs, for example, is also missing from the national security report.  Although we should not paint former Soviet block countries with a broad brush, the absence of many other groups from the demographics of this dragnet needs closer examination.

According to the most recent U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) report, the principle investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), “ICE has prioritized its limited resources on the identification and removal of criminal aliens and those apprehended at the border while attempting to unlawfully enter the United States.”

The data provided by ICE shows that most of the immigrants being affected by this policy are involved with the criminal justice system or are coming across our southern border from a handful of Latin American countries (see table 1 below).  Coming across the border without appropriate immigration paperwork is itself a violation of our national laws.

Table 1 – The Latino Immigration Dragnet (by the Policy ThinkShop)

FY 2013 ICE Immigration Removals

The Policy ThinkShop provides this convenient link for easy access to the full ICE report:

“In executing these responsibilities, ICE has prioritized its limited resources on the identification and removal of criminal aliens and those apprehended at the border while attempting to unlawfully enter the United States. This report provides an overview of ICE Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 civil immigration enforcement and removal operations:

In FY 2013:

ICE conducted a total of 368,644 removals.

ICE conducted 133,551 removals of individuals apprehended in the interior of the U.S.

82 percent of all interior removals had been previously convicted of a crime.

ICE conducted 235,093 removals of individuals apprehended along our borders while attempting to unlawfully enter the U.S. 1

59 percent of all ICE removals, a total of 216,810, had been previously convicted of a crime.

ICE apprehended and removed 110,115 criminals removed from the interior of the U.S.

ICE removed 106,695 criminals apprehended at the border while attempting to unlawfully enter the U.S.

98 percent of all ICE FY 2013 removals, a total of 360,313, met one or more of ICE’s stated civil immigration enforcement priorities. 2

Of the 151,834 removals of individuals without a criminal conviction, 84 percent, or 128,398, were apprehended at the border while attempting to unlawfully enter the U.S. and 95 percent fell within one of ICE’s stated immigration enforcement priorities. 3

The leading countries of origin for those removed were Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.”

More via FY 2013 ICE Immigration Removals.

Filed under: Asian, Blogosphere, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Culture Think, Data Trends - American Demographics and Public Opinion, Demographic Change, Discrimination, ethnicity in politics, Immigration, Latin American Alliances, Latinos, New American Electorate, News, Political Facts and Fiction, Public Policy, symbolic uses of politics, WeSeeReason

America is in an ideological tug of war: Can we do better?

Too often, American public policy discussions are framed in single issue debates of pros and cons which make for great media theater and water cooler conversation–but never end in solutions… only in winners and losers.  To be sure, the real losers are once again the shrinking middle-class which continues to see a broken Congress continue to destroy the country.  An American dream Hollywood built and the middle-class made  sustainable by working itself out of the working class and buying into the popular media illusion.  This “progress” now seems out of reach for much of the children of that middle-class and for recent immigrants.  So where is America going?  What will happen to an America where honest and bipartisan discussion of real public policy problems is muffled by cable show sensationalism and campaign politics?  Can we do better?

Immigration is not only about people staying in America without a proper visa or citizen status; it is also about the American continent and the millions of people that have called it home for well over a thousand years.  From the perspective of native Americans the question is: Who is the illegal immigrant, pilgrim?   This includes millions of modern day South of the border Latinos whose ancestors have roamed across the Rio Grande for thousands of years.  From the perspective of the Eurocentric 1st, 2nd or 3rd generation American the clamor is: Go back to where you came from; you are not a real American.  As America fails to sustain a middle-class and integrate new immigrants it dies a thousand deaths one broken dream at a time.  Mortgage foreclosures, drug abuse, urban decay, and dead end jobs that cannot pay for healthcare or sustain a family are but a few of the pervasive signs that America is not only divided but headed in the wrong direction.

Complex public policy issues are never about one variable, one social or economic dynamic or simple yes or no choices.  Today’s media industry continually portrays a false choice in a tug of  war  between one dimensional unilateral actions to protect the perceived interests of one side against those of another.  In reality, public policy issues are characterized by complex social and economic dynamics that impact many publics and present several choices in terms of:

  • acting or not acting,
  • who (government or the philanthropic sector, for example) should act,
  • who should pay and
  • how much it will all cost.

The outcome of those choices and the quality of that debate ultimately impacts the cultural and economic health of the country.

American is killing its life source–IMMIGRANTS.  As such, it is killing itself.  For this we can all agree President Obama has failed to lead in this most important of public policy problems.  

“AS A presidential candidate in 2008, Barack Obama promised to enact immigration reform during his first year in office. Although his party controlled both arms of Congress for the next two years, he barely tried. Instead, he has presided over the greatest mass deportation in American history. As our chart shows, he has tossed far more Mexicans and other illegal immigrants out of the country than his predecessors—nearly 2m so far. Spending on border security is now greater than on all other types of federal criminal-law enforcement combined. Since migrants bring youth, energy and enterprise, this is an expensive way of making America less dynamic (as our leader this week explains). And the human costs are immense (read our story here). Families are torn apart; lives ruined. Yet many House Republicans still insist that they will not back immigration reform because they cannot trust President Obama to defend the border.”

via Daily chart: Obama and aliens | The Economist.

Filed under: Blogosphere, Culture Think, Data Trends - American Demographics and Public Opinion, Demographic Change, ethnicity in politics, Immigration, Latin American Alliances, Latinos, New American Electorate, News, propaganda and spin, Public Policy, symbolic uses of politics

The Policy ThinkShop Policy Team Comments on Health insurance: The Obamacare software mess | The Economist

Given today’s liberalization of news information, few bastions remain where one can sift through the cacophony of media bites and babble to form an educated

opinion or assess an educated risk. The Economist is failing in this regard on the American debate on healthcare reform–The Affordable Care Act.

Healthcare reform in America is a struggle for power and wealth at the increasingly small American top and a life and death struggle for most of the people below.

If we loose respected journals like the Economist in these times of mass information as intellectual fodder for the masses, we will be left without an intellectual meeting place where concerned minds can gather to contemplate benchmarks and directions. Regarding The Affordable Care Act debate in America, not only has the current president failed to sell and communicate the important of ACA implementation, he has once again betrayed the needs of the many for the expedient and self serving calculus of preserving power and status by appealing to an imaginary center–not too different here from the pragmatic Bill Clinton on Welfare Reform. But we digress.

The Economist has been a reliable source for decades as it has proven to be an \”objective\” source of information on the complex world stage. It\’s recent coverage of the American scene, however, requires vision and focus if it is going to support the journal\’s reputation as one of the few sources that our college professors respected that were not refereed journals.

The headline of the above story, \”The Obamacare sofware mess,\” is as semantically charged as it is irrelevant to any of the public policy issues raised by a serious American healthcare market debate addressing the important issue of how healthcare is distributed, facilitated or accessed by people in need of healthcare services.

Semantics: The term \”Obamacare\” plays directly into the divisive and charged narrative that portrays the healthcare debate in America as a tug of war between an \”evil and un-American\” president and American freedom. The framing of the current full court press, by conservatives, to obstruct the American president, at all at all costs, and the popular will of a democracy, is akin to saying that Churchill failed to stop Hitler sooner or to foresee the costs of settling with Stalin because of his neonatally determined speech impediment. It is academically irresponsible and intellectually dishonest, at least on the pages of this fine journal, to stain this usually intellectually rigorous space with narratives that are more appropriate in pop news sources that entertain people who are looking to reinforce their own deeply held biases and/or myopic political world views.

The Economics has been a leading world source of factual information relevant to the business of serious policy discourse and sober business leadership.

The foregoing comments are submitted on behalf of the Policy ThinkShop blogging team.

As a not for profit, non partisan source of policy analysis and conversation, we rely heavily on sources like the Economist to promote reason and thoughtful

conversation on all things public policy….

Please reconsider your use of the American public policy discourse and reflect on your use of language to add to and further support our current cacophony of obstructionism and self promoting pragmatism in the pursuit of popular power and further public policy noise…


The Policy ThinkShop Policy Team

via Comments on Health insurance: The Obamacare software mess | The Economist.

Filed under: ACA and Medicaid, Blogosphere, Changing Media Paradigm, European Alliances, Government Works?, Health Policy, Healthcare Reform, ideology, Mass Media and Public Opinion, Medicaid Expansion, News, Policy ThinkShop Comments on other media platforms, Public Health, Public Policy, Social Media, Software and Hardware Change, symbolic uses of politics, symbols as swords, Technology and You, WeSeeReason

Big Data and Big Government …. Breaking the Rules Thousands of Times at the N.S.A. : The New Yorker

When it comes to government having access to “Big Data” the mistakes, however small or innocent, can be quite large.

Perhaps we are a bit naive as Americans when we assume that government is not watching a great deal of what we do or say over “public” airways, etc.   It just stands to reason that if it is going out over “the air” that somehow, interested parties are going to be able to get their hands on it,  That may include foreign governments spying on us, local rebels like Anonymous, and, perhaps more thoroughly and often, our government’s amazing information gathering apparatus linked to places like the NSA.

But as Americans, naive or cynical, we should be able to question and contemplate the possibilities of Big Data in the hands of Big Government.

“What does the National Security Agency consider a small or a big number? The Washington Post’s Barton Gellman has a report based on documents the paper got from Edward Snowden about an N.S.A. audit that found two thousand seven hundred and seventy-six “incidents” in 2012 in which it broke its own rules about spying on Americans, either accidentally or on purpose. That is seven times a day, which sounds less like a slip than a ritual. But to call those violations frequent, according to the agency, would be to misunderstand the scale of its operations: “You can look at it as a percentage of our total activity that occurs each day,” a senior N.S.A. official told the paper. “You look at a number in absolute terms that looks big, and when you look at it in relative terms, it looks a little different.” We spy so much that the math gets hard; even thousands of privacy and legal violations can’t really be held against us.”

via Breaking the Rules Thousands of Times at the N.S.A. : The New Yorker.

Filed under: analytics, Big Data and Big Government, Blogosphere, Changing Media Paradigm, consumers, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Culture Think, News, symbolic uses of politics, , , , ,

Same-Sex Marriage: Public Life — The Policy ThinkShop reflects and comments

People are all deserving of dignity and happiness.  We live in a society that’s supposed to make it happen.  Well…. happiness within reason.  Perhaps Norman Rockwell’s four freedoms.  Perhaps those four are not enough?

All men are created equal, it’s just that we have all not evolved equally.  Hmmm… That’s a loaded statement.   Let us clarify.

Women and men of voting age in our society have full citizenship rights.  Which is to say, they theoretically have the right to understand and exercise their rights.  However, we know that the plying field is not leveled and that we all have differing resources in our pockets, sort of speak.  So even rights must be moved if you will with resources.  If rights are theoretically equal the exercising of those rights is not.

America continues her journey in the pursuit of her nobility of values: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

For America, as a metaphorical entity, this makes perfect sense. But for a divided, fractured and haunted by racial, gender and economic diversity America, it is quite something else.

Noble values and pursuits aside, our American family is trying to get along and it is acting like a typical family–bickering, blaming, competing and demanding.

The difference here, though, is that yet another segment of our polity is claiming that it is alienated from the whole–that it needs legal remedies in order to ensure its proper place and, perhaps most importantly, the full exercise of its citizen status under our framework of laws and rights.  “Our framework of laws and rights?”  Indeed, if by “our” we do not mean the entire polity then it seems meaningless to say that we are one nation.  And so it goes that our citizenry is divided because our laws, our economic way of life and our burgeoning diversity seem inadequate for a nation that clamors for more in the face of world recession, political division, perpetual war, a broken healthcare system, and a global security problem that threatens to let drones loose in our backyards… Hmmm…. wait a minute, it already has.

What is essentially a tax, health coverage and inheritance problem is now morphing into the next semantically charged issue that will mobilize the next electorate and shape our political future in ways that go well beyond civil rights issues here at home.   But our house seems ever more divided and our ability to clamor for more “from a broken house” is akin to the lung filled screams of a baby, saying: “MAMA! I want more!”  Perhaps naively groups form, put together leadership and a voice and clamor in the public square, the courts in this case, for their dignity and their dollars.  Others have clamored, have achieved their screams in legal code and yet are left wanting… Yet here we go again–like The Who song goes…

“The U.S. Supreme Court has handed down two landmark same-sex marriage rulings, one striking down a major provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the other leaving uncertain the fate of California’s Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot initiative that prohibits gay and lesbian couples in the state from …”

via Same-Sex Marriage: High Court Strikes Down DOMA but Leaves Fate of Calif. Ban Uncertain – Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

Filed under: Blogosphere, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Culture Think, Demographic Change, Discrimination, drone attacks, Economic Recession, News, Policy ThinkShop Comments on other media platforms, symbolic uses of politics, symbols as swords, , ,

A Lifeline for No-Longer-Illegal Immigrants – An interesting comment from this NYT’s comments section …

Contrary to popular belief America was not created by immigration. It was created by conquest and exploration and it was done so on top of many other “native” nations. To this day Americans have not been able to assimilate and fully include those natives into its polity or its economic success. How then can we argue that immigration has been so noble and that immigrants are naturally a part of the American way?The truth lies much closer to Plato’s “necessary untruths.” To romanticize immigration, both in terms of why people leave their native lands and in terms of why they come to America is simply false and misleading. People come to America because they hope for better than they have where they reside as they make the often courageous decision to uproot and venture into the relatively unknown. What never seems to be discussed is how few of us here in America consider leaving this country. In an important way, America was created by people leaving their homeland because they were pushed out by various political and economic factors. That is what we have in common with the new comers. They come here because it is not comfortable where they previously resided. Here then lies the central question that needs to be considered by all of us who want to be fair minded and responsible. What would have become of us and our ancestors if the then native “americans” would have had the wherewithal to keep our ancestors out? Just as many of us want to keep other people out today.

More via A Lifeline for No-Longer-Illegal Immigrants –

Filed under: Blogosphere, Culture Think, Demographic Change, ethnicity in politics, Immigration, New American Electorate, New Electorate, News, propaganda and spin, Public Policy, symbolic uses of politics, WeSeeReason, , ,

“Killer drones: Out of the shadows” or are they?

Technology is changing war but legal concepts and international law are not as mutable.  As governments and leaders enthusiastically move forward with technological efficacy, the legal morass and moral quandary caused by social, psychological and economic destruction promises to create new problems that may haunt us for generations.  But technology moves fast, corporate America knows how to package and sell it, and the American public is the last to weigh in.  Democracy is increasingly purchased in the ongoing divided American electorate and the internecine warfare election politics now represent.  Like the proverbial Pyrrhic victory, we crush and pick off our enemies as the facts of our deeds slowly leek out and we potentially stand in ubiquitous and unforgiving popular judgement at home and abroad.

We seem to be getting farther and farther away from “though shall not kill” and “violence begets violence”

At last we have a technological equivalent to hackers threatening social and economic information exchange where the government is “anonymous” and civilization itself is the victim.  It is legion, expect it…

“WHEN it comes to lethal drone strikes against foreign targets, America’s government and Congress should be aware that “what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander”, says …”

via Killer drones: Out of the shadows | The Economist.

Filed under: Blogosphere, Changing Media Paradigm, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Culture Think, Death and Dying, drone attacks, News, Policy ThinkShop Comments on other media platforms, political plots, Political Violence, propaganda and spin, symbolic uses of politics, symbols as swords, Technology and You, waging war, WeSeeReason, , ,

Everything You’ve Been Told About Radicalization Is Wrong – From: Rolling Stone Magazine

Imagine that you live in a bubble and there is only one radio in that bubble which filters all the news and distributes it in the bubble via many mediums and makes it look and sound like many truths–necessary untruths.  Rolling Stone magazine has a very interesting take on the recent media frenzy over American raised terror.

As far back as the times of Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, and Tamerlane (Timur), ruthless conquerors have struck fear in the hearts of their conquest targets and their progeny.  Much of what passes for news analysis these days is well anointed by ideological and psychological overtones that not be grounded in fact or circumstance. The Policy ThinkShop team invites you to visit the following link to explore a sobering argument addressing recent media handling of the Boston Marathon tragedy and the reasons behind the bombing perpetrators …

Everything You’ve Been Told About Radicalization Is Wrong | Politics News | Rolling Stone.

Filed under: access to education, Blogosphere, Changing Media Paradigm, Community Tragedy, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Culture Think, Mass Media and Public Opinion, News, Policy ThinkShop Comments on other media platforms, Political Facts and Fiction, Pundits, symbolic uses of politics, symbols as swords, , , ,

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