Ex-Labor Secretary Suggests New Immigration Advisory Committee Be Created

By Janie Amaya, Adrianna McGinley and Andrea Salazar

Former Secretary of Labor Ray Marshall suggested Monday at the Economic Policy Institute that a new, permanent and high-level government position be created to oversee immigration in the United States.

Economic analysts joined Marshall for the release of his new book, “Value-Added Immigration: Lessons for the United States from Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom,” a study comparing the successes and failures of the immigration policies in each country.

Marshall said that the success of the United Kingdom’s Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) in collecting data to determine the country’s need for migrant workers is an idea that should be introduced and implemented in the U.S.

“The [Department of Homeland Security] looks at this problem as a law enforcement problem,” Marshall said. “[But] the Labor Secretary sees it as a labor market problem, [and] it would be fairly easy…to have these systems so that they could communicate with each other.”

Ron Hira, associate professor at Rochester Institute of Technology, said that the lack of data collection in the United States on the effects of immigration on the labor market is a leading factor in policy uncertainties.

“We haven’t built up any analytical capability in immigration, and in many cases we aren’t even collecting data that would inform policy choices,” Hira said. “Analysis isn’t a panacea, but the lack of it contributes to the stalemated positions on immigration policy.”

Like in a business, Marshall acknowledged that the importance of collecting data to measure the economic impact of immigration rather than focusing solely on the enforcement of such policies would improve the effectiveness of future comprehensive immigration policies.

“Immigration is a part of overall economic and social policy in these countries,” Marshall said. “They strive to see to it that the workers they import are complementary to the domestic workers and not competitive with them.”

Originally for Talk Radio News Service.

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6.9 Quake Shakes Peru

A 6.9 magnitude earthquake hit the South American country of Peru Friday at 2:54 pm EDT.

According to the United States Geological Survey, the quake’s epicenter was near the coastal city of Ica in central Peru, 178 miles from the capital city of Lima.

RPP Noticias, a Peruvian news organization, reported that in Ica, people fled to the streets where there was some structural damage due to a previous earthquake in 2007.

The quake was also felt in Cusco, about 400 miles away.

No immediate tsunami warning was issued.

Originally for the Talk Radio News Service.

Education Secretary, Asian Americans Fight Model Minority Myth

By Andrea Salazar

Asian American and Pacific Islanders, as well as Education Secretary Arne Duncan are fighting against the tendency to lump all Asian Americans under a similar umbrella by emphasizing the importance of organizing data to better pinpoint populations.

“We all know that all too often, Asian Americans suffer from that model minority myth,” Duncan said during remarks Friday at the Center for American Progress. “For other Asian American subgroups, like Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, they’re not often on the radar at all when it comes to targeting students with significant educational challenges and real gaps.”

The UCLA report “Forging the Future: The Role of New Research, Data, & Policies for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, & Pacific Islanders” revealed that Southeast Asian Americans have higher rates of poverty than other groups.

Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), who also spoke at the event, said “it really doesn’t make sense to lump together populations as diverse as ours” because the Asian American population is made up of 48 different ethnicities and more than 300 languages.

“If people buy into this misconception that we’re all successful and healthy and graduating from the best schools, then…very critical resources will be diverted away from large segments of our population that suffer from great unemployment, poverty, health disparities and high drop out rates,” Chu said.

Originally for the Talk Radio News Service.

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Bankers Oppose IRS Regulation Of Foreign Investments

By Andrea Salazar

Representatives from financial institutions in Texas and Florida fear loss of investments if the IRS moves ahead with a proposed regulation requiring banks to report the deposit interest paid to foreign investors.

The Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee held a hearing on the recent IRS proposal. Currently, banks do not report the interest foreign investors earn from American banks, nor do foreign investors pay federal taxes on that interest.

At the hearing, Rep. Bill  Posey (R-FL) emphasized that the policy is not necessary to enforce U.S. tax laws and will harm the economy instead.

“Make no mistake about it, the proposed regulation will drive hundreds of billions of dollars out of America, and cause irreparable harm to an already fragile U.S. economy,” Posey said in a statement.

Alex Sanchez, president and CEO of the Florida Bankers Association, emphasized the threat the IRS regulation would impose on foreign investors from South America, whom he says are the majority of investors.

“People do not trust their institutions in their home countries,” Sanchez told the subcommittee. “They’re worried about an economic collapse where their currency will be worthless. That’s why they have their monies in the United States of America.”

However, Rebecca Wilkins, senior counsel on Federal tax policy for Citizens for Tax Justice, supports the IRS measure as a way to curb tax evasion.

“We do not believe that the United States should be a tax haven for citizens of other countries who wish to evade their tax obligations to their home country,” Wilkins said in her testimony.

Posey, along with Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) have introduced legislation to block the IRS from forcing banks to release the deposit interest information of foreign investors. They also sent letters, with bipartisan support, to President Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner asking them to withdraw the proposed regulation.

Originally for Talk Radio News Service.

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AFL-CIO ‘Extremely Alarmed’ By Occupy Wall Street Arrests

By Andrea Salazar

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka responded to the recent mass arrests of Occupy Wall Street protestors Thursday, calling them a “tremendous dishonor to America.”

Protestors at an Occupy Oakland demonstration clashed with police Wednesday as did protestors in Atlanta. More than 100 people were arrested in Oakland and 53 in Atlanta.

“The Occupy Wall Street movement has elevated the national conversation by shining overdue attention on the struggles of the 99 percent for whom the economy is broken,” Trumka said in a statement. “When people can’t raise their voices around pervasive inequality, there is a fundamental problem with how we’re functioning as a nation.”

Trumka urged officials to follow in New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s footsteps and refrain from disbanding peaceful protests.

“We urge all elected leaders across the country to enable peaceful protestors to continue to exercise their most American of rights,” Trumka said.

Originally for the Talk Radio News Service.

Paul Ryan Takes Aim At Obama, Defends GOP Budget Proposal

By Andrea Salazar

House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) accused President Obama today of “sowing social unrest” as he travels across the country promoting his jobs bill.

Ryan said that as a presidential candidate, Obama pledged to put politics aside to tackle the country’s problems. However, the chairman said the president has not followed his own advice.

“Instead of working together where we agree, the President has opted for divisive rhetoric and the broken politics of the past,” Ryan said during a speech at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC. “He is going from town to town, impugning the motives of Republicans, setting up straw men and scapegoats, and engaging in intellectually lazy arguments, as he tries to build support for punitive tax hikes on job creators.”

Ryan later defended his budget proposal, which came under severe attack earlier this year by Obama and congressional Democrats.

“The President has wrongly framed Republican efforts to get government spending under control as hard-hearted attacks on the poor,” Ryan said. “In reality, spending on programs for seniors and for lower-income families continues to grow every year under the House-passed budget – it just grows at a sustainable rate. We direct tax dollars where they’re needed most, and stop spending money we don’t have on boondoggles we don’t need.”

Instead of working toward “equality of outcome,” Ryan suggested working toward “equality of oportunity” by reforming the tax code, instead of raising taxes on the rich.

“Let’s stop trying to pick winners and losers in Washington, through the tax code or through spending, and just lower the rates and broaden the base so everybody’s treated the same and so that our companies are competitive,” Ryan said.

Originally for Talk Radio News Service.

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House Dems Urge Super Committee To See Past Gridlock

By Andrea Salazar

House Democratic Caucus Chair John Larson (D-Conn.) called on the Joint Select Committee to break through the partisan gridlock that has become the new era of politics on Capitol Hill.

Following this summer’s debt ceiling debacle, the “super committee” was tasked by President Obama with cutting $1.5 trillion from the nation’s deficit over the next decade. The committee must reach consensus on where to cut spending by Thanksgiving before automatic cuts take effect.

“This Congress by acting together, this super committee by coming together, could demonstrate, not only to the people of this country but everybody around the world, what we need to do,” Larson said. “I guarantee you that money and investment would then flow to this country because we would establish ourselves as a place where you can park your money, where you can do business and where we can create the kind of stability that we need.”

Fellow Democratic Reps. Kathy Hochul (N.Y.) and Charlie Gonzalez (Texas) echoed Larson’s concern for the “super committee,” and went even further, pushing Congress to move on the president’s jobs plan in its piecemeal form.

Hochul offered her endorsement for the upcoming infrastructure provision of Obama’s jobs bill, explaining that, in her home state of New York, the bill would have an immediate impact on those struggling.

“I’m putting this Congress on notice that if something happens to one of my bridges and we had the ability through this jobs act to provide infrastructure money to fix my bridges…well I’m sorry folks, you were forewarned,” Hochul said.

Originally for Talk Radio News Service.