by Countable | 1.18.19
Welcome to Friday, Abbevillians (LA) to Zuni Puebloites (NM)...
Instead of #BuildTheWall should it be #EnforceVisaStays?
As President Trump fights to secure funds for his border wall with Mexico, a new study finds that for the seventh consecutive year, visa overstays far exceed illegal border crossings.
The study, from the nonpartisan Center for Migration studies, found that most unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. are those that overstay their visas—not those coming through the southern border.
From 2016-2017, people who overstayed their visas accounted for 62 percent of the newly undocumented, while 38 percent had crossed a border illegally.
Given these findings, instead of focusing on enforcement at the border – and funds for a barrier – should the U.S. shift its focus to visa overstays?
On the Radar
The president's former attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen, said in a Thursday tweet that he tried to rig polls "at the direction of and for the sole benefit of President Trump." Cohen was responding to a report in the Wall Street Journal which claimed he hired an IT firm to attempt to rig online polls from CNBC and Drudge Report in favor of then-candidate Trump. "I truly regret my blind loyalty to a man who doesn’t deserve it," Cohen tweeted. How do you feel about this allegation?
Under the Radar
The U.S. Justice Department has decided to expand the federal prohibition on internet gambling to include all online gambling, not only sports betting. The restriction had been long-sought by GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson, who controls one of the world's largest casino empires. Former Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), speaking on behalf of the Adelson-backed "Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling," praised the move: "Today's decision seamlessly aligns with the department's long-standing position that federal law prohibits all forms of internet gambling." Nevada Congresswoman Dina Titus (D) said the ruling appears to be politically motivated: “Unfortunately, the Trump Administration only supports states’ rights when it is politically convenient.” Should all online gambling be illegal?
One of the first bills out of the new Congress would – among other things – lift a ban currently preventing the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from requiring publicly traded companies to disclose their political donations. The broader intent of the For the People Act is to reduce money’s influence in politics, and increased campaign finance transparency is one of the bill’s three pillars. The current bill doesn’t seem likely to pass the Republican-controlled Congress, particularly given that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has consistently opposed any sort of political disclosure rulemaking. Should the SEC have the legal option to require publicly traded companies to disclose their political spending?
President Trump's cabinet includes a bunch of officials who haven't been confirmed by the Senate—and he's in no hurry to change that. Does that mean he's violating the Constitution? Give a listen to the Daily Dose to find out.
Those 800,000 workers who haven't received their paychecks have plenty to say about the shutdown. “I’m not going to try to candy-coat it,” Tom O’Connor, a special agent and president of the FBI Agents Association, told The Atlantic. “We really feel that the financial insecurities we are facing right now equate to a national-security issue.” Forrest Lanning, a Federal Emergency Management Agency earthquake and volcano program manager based in California, said: "I wish they would understand we're not all living in the Beltway." Clifford Buchanan, a furloughed Detention Center Officer in downtown Houston, told a local station: “Just this morning, I’m trying to figure out which bills to pay and which bills I can’t pay, and calling bill collectors every day, saying ‘Can you give me a break until we get paid?’” Click here to read what representatives and employees from various federal agencies are saying about the shutdown.
Your Gov at a Glance 👀
The White House: President Trump in D.C.
The House of Representatives: Out
- The House will return Tuesday, January 22nd.
The Senate: Out
- The Senate will return at a time to be announced.
What You're Saying
Here are some of your thoughts on Senate Bill S.109: Permanently Banning Federal Funding for Abortions (With Exceptions)
(Follow Kathy's comment here.)
(Follow Patty's comment here.)
But wait, there's more!
And, in the End…
Can American democracy escape the partisan strait-jacket of the two-party political industrial complex? Can we become greater than the sum of our disparate parts?
We believe we can with a "cross-partisan" constituency.
Cross-partisanship is a conscious, enduring process of thoughtful dialogue across cultural and ideological divides to achieve evidence-based solutions to human, community, national, and global issues.
This week, Rob Stein - political strategist, founder of the Democracy Alliance, and co-founder of the Committee on States – has held a digital town hall on cross-partisanship.
On Wednesday, in his piece "E Pluribus Unum” or “E Pluribus Pluribus”, Rob asked: Do you think an activist cross-partisan constituency is necessary to the health and well-being of American democracy?
Here's how the Countable Community responded:
Today, we invite the 82% - and, in the spirit of cross-partisanship, the 18% - to join Rob Stein for Part 3: Realizing the Ideals of “E Pluribus Unum” is Dependent on Building A Sustainable Cross-Partisan Constituency
Did you miss Parts 1 and 2? Read the complete conversation here.
Have a lot of good fun things and stuff for National Thesaurus Day,
Talk to us via email at contact [at] countable.us. And don’t forget to keep in touch @Countable.