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The right-wing media is attacking President Obama for discussing immigration reform rather than focusing on the economy, but researchers have estimated that immigration reform can add $1.5 trillion to GDP and create 900,000 jobs.
Studies Show That Comprehensive Immigration Reform Will Boost The Economy And Create Jobs
IPC: Comprehensive Immigration Reform Could Generate "750,000 To 900,000 Jobs" And Increase GDP By $1.5 Trillion. In a report prepared for the American Immigration Council's Immigration Policy Center and the Center for American Progress, UCLA's Dr. Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda concluded that comprehensive immigration reform could add .84 percent to GDP each year, amounting to "at least $1.5 trillion in added GDP" over a ten-year period. He also concluded that comprehensive immigration reform could "generate $4.5 to $5.4 billion in additional net tax revenue" over a three-year period. According to Hinojosa-Ojeda:
[A]n increase in personal income of this scale would generate consumer spending sufficient to support 750,000 to 900,000 jobs. [Raising The Floor For American Workers: The Economic Benefits Of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, January 2010]
Economist Cowen: "Allowing In More Immigrants, Skilled And Unskilled" Would "Create Jobs." In a New York Times opinion piece titled "How Immigrants Create More Jobs," George Mason economist Tyler Cowen wrote that "it turns out that the continuing arrival of immigrants to American shores is encouraging business activity here, thereby producing more jobs, according to a new study." Cowen cited the research of economists at the University of California, Davis and at Bocconi Uniersity in Italy. According to Cowen:
We see the job-creating benefits of trade and immigration every day, even if we don't always recognize them. As other papers by Professor [Giovanni] Peri have shown, low-skilled immigrants usually fill gaps in American labor markets and generally enhance domestic business prospects rather than destroy jobs; this occurs because of an important phenomenon, the presence of what are known as "complementary" workers, namely those who add value to the work of others. An immigrant will often take a job as a construction worker, a drywall installer or a taxi driver, for example, while a native-born worker may end up being promoted to supervisor. And as immigrants succeed here, they help the United States develop strong business and social networks with the rest of the world, making it easier for us to do business with India, Brazil and most other countries, again creating more jobs.
The current skepticism has deadlocked prospects for immigration reform, even though no one is particularly happy with the status quo. Against that trend, we should be looking to immigration as a creative force in our economic favor. Allowing in more immigrants, skilled and unskilled, wouldn't just create jobs. It could increase tax revenue, help finance Social Security, bring new home buyers and improve the business environment. [The New York Times, 10/30/10]
Cato Study: Comprehensive Immigration Reform Could Boost GDP By $180 Billion. After describing the negative impact reducing the number of low-skilled immigrant workers in the U.S. would have on the income of U.S. households, researchers Peter B. Dixon and Maureen T. Rimmer said that "legalization of low-skilled immigrant workers would yield significant income gains for American workers and households," and concluded that immigration reform could increase GDP by $180 billion. [Cato Institute, Restriction or Legalization? Measuring the Economic Benefits of Immigration Reform, 9/13/09]
NFAP: Low Number Of H-1B Visas "Likely" Pushes "More Work To Other Countries." In a policy brief by the National Foundation for American Policy, researchers estimated that technology companies hire five workers for every one high-skilled employee hired under a temporary, H-1B visa, which the researchers concluded was "further evidence that the current restrictions on high skill immigration are counterproductive." They also noted:
Preventing companies from hiring foreign nationals by maintaining an artificially low limit on H-1B visas is likely to produce the unintended consequence of pushing more work to other countries. Sixty-five percent of technology companies responding to an NFAP survey said in response to the lack of H-1B visas they had "hired more people (or outsourced work) outside the United States." [National Foundation for American Policy, March 2008]
Nevertheless, Right-Wing Media Tell Obama To Drop Immigration Reform And Focus On The Economy
Bolling Slams Obama For Focusing On Immigration Given Economic Conditions. Guest hosting Glenn Beck, Fox News' Eric Bolling criticized Obama for focusing on immigration reform and claimed:
So, let me get this straight. Gas prices are spiking up 116 percent in the last two years, unemployment raging with 14 million people out of work in America, bank sales account for record 34 percent of all home sales, and America is choking on $14 trillion in debt that threatens the republic. Yet, immigration is his focus. Hmm, some leadership, Mr. President. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 5/10/11, transcript via Nexis]
Bolling: Immigration Reform "Can't Be Good For The Economy Any Way You Slice It." From Glenn Beck with Eric Bolling guest hosting:
BOLLING: Hey, Juan, we're broke. America is broke. We have $14 trillion in the hole. We're trying to figure out what's going on with health care. If we had 11 million or whatever number that he's proposing - - if we had 11 million, 10 million, 5 million more onto the health care rolls, onto, you know, taking the jobs from people who need jobs, this can't be good for the economy any way you slice it. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 5/10/11, transcript via Nexis]
Dobbs: "There Isn't A Soul" Who Could Argue Lack Of Immigration Reform Has "Had An Effect On" Jobs, GDP. From Fox Business' Lou Dobbs Tonight:
DOBBS: Economy, the economy is number one: creating jobs, creating wealth. Where in the world is this president on those most pressing issues?
ROBERT ZIMMERMAN (Democratic strategist): The travesty of our immigration laws, and the failure to really have a comprehensive program is hurting the economy. Obviously border and port security has got to be a priority in this process --
DOBBS: Wait a minute, wait a minute, when you say it's hurting the economy, we've got 15 seconds. How many jobs has it cost? How much has it reduced GDP? There isn't a soul in the world who could argue it has had an effect on either. [Fox Business, Lou Dobbs Tonight, 5/11/11]
Hanretty: Obama Should Focus "Laser-Like" On Economy, Not Immigration. From the May 10 edition of America's Newsroom:
HEATHER NAUERT: There was an NBC poll that came out that said 60% disapprove of the President's handling of the economy. So should the President be focusing on immigration right now?
KAREN HANRETTY: No. I think Republicans and Democrats should be focused laser-like on the economy, on jobs, on what the American people are most concerned about right now. Immigration, we all know, is a political hot button issue, there's not likely to be any consensus or real debate between now and the elections in 2012. [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 5/10/11]
Hume Suggests Obama Is Discussing Immigration To Distract From Economy. From Brit Hume's commentary on Special Report:
There's not much legislative logic in the president's push for immigration reform at this moment. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor wondered why the president was even bringing the issue up.
The political logic though is clear. Mr. Obama made much of the issue in 2008 but has done little since, and Hispanic groups which did much to help him back then are not amused. Plus the issue tends to divide Republicans as George W. Bush found when his immigration reform effort collapsed amid cries of amnesty from his right. But the immigration maneuver is not a sign of political strength for this president. His bin Laden triumph has buoyed his standing for the moment, but his other political fundamentals are weak. The first quarter economic growth was anemic at 1.8 percent and last month's job growth was insufficient even to keep the unemployment rate from ticking up. And there is genuinely terrible news from the housing market with foreclosures continuing apace and prices still declining.
The voters may nod in agreement when Mr. Obama says these economic woes began on Mr. Bush's watch. But they will also nod when Republicans say Mr. Obama was elected to fix them and has not. Not only that, Mr. Obama has run up trillions in new debt and hasn't fixed that either. And that may help explain why he's talking now about immigration. [Fox News, Special Report, 5/10/11, transcript via Nexis]
Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.
Family members and people who knew Lotfi Hassan Misto described him as "a kind, hard-working man whose 'whole life was spent poor,'" The Washington Post reported.
The Pentagon said earlier this month, without providing evidence, that a U.S. drone strike in northwest Syria killed a "senior al-Qaeda leader."
But U.S. military officials are now beginning to walk back the claim as the victim's family insists the father of 10 had no connections to terrorist organizations and was herding his sheep when he was slain by a Hellfire missile on the morning of May 3.
Lotfi Hassan Misto, a 56-year-old former bricklayer, has been identified by his family as the victim of the drone strike, The Washington Postreported Thursday, citing interviews with the man's brother, son, and several people who knew him.
"They described a kind, hard-working man whose 'whole life was spent poor,'" the Post noted.
The operation that killed Misto, the Post reported, "was overseen by U.S. Central Command, which claimed hours after the strike, without citing evidence or naming a suspect, that the Predator drone strike had targeted a 'senior al-Qaeda leader.' But now there is doubt inside the Pentagon about who was killed."
One unnamed U.S. military official told the newspaper that the Pentagon is "no longer confident" that the strike killed an al-Qaeda leader. Another official said that "though we believe the strike did not kill the original target, we believe the person to be al-Qaeda."
The entire U.S. drone program, including the process by which officials choose their assassination targets, is shrouded in secrecy, and activists argue the program should be shuttered in its entirety.
Often described by the Pentagon as "precision" attacks, U.S. drone strikes have killed thousands of civilians in recent years—deaths that U.S. officials typically refuse to even acknowledge, let alone apologize for.
The Biden administration did apologize after killing 10 members of an Afghan family—including seven children—in a 2021 drone strike in Kabul, but the U.S. has yet to uphold its pledge to compensate the survivors. A U.S. Central Command report on the strike indicated that military officials knew the attack likely killed civilians but initially lied about it in public.
The aftermath of the May 3 drone strike in northwest Syria appears to be following a similar trajectory.
On the day of the deadly strike, the watchdog Airwars published an initial assessment noting that a "60-year-old male civilian was killed by a declared U.S. drone strike on the outskirts of Qurqaniya," immediately disputing the Pentagon narrative.
Airwars pointed to a tweet from a Syrian journalist who said that contrary to CENTCOM's statement, the man killed was a civilian with "no connection with any organization, neither now nor previously."
Previously unpublished video footage given to the Post shows "a dozen people standing nearby" as aid workers arrived at the scene of the drone strike earlier this month, the newspaper reported.
"Most stare in shock," the Post observed. "Some cry."
Nearly a week after the strike, a CENTCOM spokesperson said the U.S. military was "aware of the allegations of a civilian casualty" and determining whether "further investigation is necessary and how it should proceed."
Misto's brother told the Associated Press at the time that the U.S. military's claims that Misto had terrorist connections were "absolute lies," decrying his killing as "an injustice and an aggression."
"If they claim that he's a terrorist, or that they got someone from al-Qaeda, they're all liars," Misto's brother told the Post.
Analysts told the Post that the family's insistence that Misto had no terrorist ties appear highly credible.
"Very quickly after this strike, the White Helmets came out and identified the individual with his name and his profession," said Charles Lister, the director of Syria and Countering Terrorism and Extremism at the Middle East Institute.
"Locals came forward to say, this guy's always been a farmer. He's never had any political activities; he's never had any affiliation with armed groups," said Lister. "The pace and breadth of such pushback was actually quite unusual.”
"The single biggest threat to the U.S. banking system is more concentration," said the Massachusetts Democrat. "A bank as big as JPMorgan shouldn't be allowed to get even bigger."
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren raised alarm about the recent sale of First Republic Bank to JPMorgan Chase—which followed a government takeover of the former—in a letter to financial regulators and a series of questions during a Thursday hearing.
"The failure of First Republic Bank shows how deregulation has made the too-big-to-fail problem even worse," the Massachusetts Democrat said after the controversial sale earlier this month. "Congress needs to make major reforms to fix a broken banking system."
Ahead of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs hearing, Warren wrote to two officials who appeared before the panel Thursday morning: Martin Gruenberg, chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and Michael Hsu, acting head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).
"The executives at First Republic—who took excessive risks and did not appropriately manage them as interest rates increased throughout 2022 and 2023—bear primary responsibility for this failure," Warren wrote in the letter, dated Wednesday. "I am continuing to seek answers from the bank's executives, and attempting to pass bipartisan legislation that would claw back their excessive compensation."
"But the outcome of this seizure and sale were deeply troubling: It resulted in a $13 billion cost to the Federal Deposit Insurance Fund—which will ultimately be passed on to ordinary bank consumers across the country—and made JPMorgan, the nation's biggest bank, even bigger," she added. "JPMorgan will also record a $2.6 billion gain from the deal."
Warren asked Gruenberg and Hsu to prepare to address the topic at the committee's hearing and also requested written responses to a series of questions by the end of the month.
"One set of questions involves the $13 billion loss to the Federal Deposit Insurance Fund, and why the fund was allowed to take this loss while the FDIC deal made nearly $50 billion worth of uninsured deposits at First Republic—including $30 billion in uninsured deposits from big banks—whole," she noted. "My second set of concerns involves the decision to choose JPMorgan—which was already the nation's largest bank—to acquire First Republic and become even bigger."
During the hearing, Warren explained that "when the FDIC sells a failed bank, the law requires that you choose the highest bidder that will result in the lowest cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund—but the law also requires signoff from the OCC, and the OCC's job, by law, is to consider whether the merger would pose 'risk to the stability of the United States banking or financial system.'"
The senator questioned Hsu about the decision to sell to JPMorgan versus PNC or Citizens Bank, given that selling to either of the latter would have posed less of a risk, based on one metric used by financial regulators that is notably influenced by bank size.
\u201cThe single biggest threat to the U.S. banking system is more concentration. I am troubled by @USOCC Acting Comptroller Michael Hsu's decision to approve @jpmorgan's acquisition of First Republic Bank. A bank as big as JP Morgan shouldn't be allowed to get even bigger.\u201d— Elizabeth Warren (@Elizabeth Warren) 1684436759
"Comptroller Hsu, your job, by law, is to determine risk to the system from making big banks even bigger, and you have a clear metric for doing that," Warren said. "So how do you explain approving a sale to a banking giant that increases the risk to the banking system by somewhere between nearly 800% and 1,400% more than selling to other bidders? Did you just ignore the fact that a failure at JPMorgan would blow a hole in our banking system... and let them grow by $200 billion?"
After insisting that "for every merger application we follow the law, we follow our guidelines, we follow our policies and procedures," Hsu said focusing only on the metric Warren cited would not have been "wise," and if that approach had been taken, "I fear that there would have been greater financial instability that weekend."
As her time expired, Warren—who was visibly frustrated by Hsu's lack of a broader explanation for choosing JPMorgan Chase—declared that "the single biggest threat to the U.S. banking system is concentration."
"We're all pushing harder for merger guidelines so that we don't get more concentration in the banking system," she told Hsu. "You are the one person who was supposed to use judgment on the question... 'Between multiple sales, which one was the right one to go with, and which one presented more risk to the banking system?'"
"According to your own metric, you chose the one that gives us more concentration in the system," the senator stressed. "I am very troubled by that decision."
"It is an exhibition of unadulterated hate and racism," said one Palestinian activist. "Beyond inflammatory."
Israeli government officials including far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir joined tens of thousands of ultra-nationalists participating in Thursday's inflammatory "Flag March" in occupied East Jerusalem, an event at which police and demonstrators attacked Palestinians and journalists while chanting slogans including "death to Arabs" and "your village will be burned."
Ben-Gvir, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, and Transport Minister Miri Regev were among the Israeli officials who took part in the annual march, which celebrates Israel's conquest and illegal occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967.
Marcher Limor Son Har-Melech, a lawmaker from Ben Gvir's far-right Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) party, toldThe Times of Israel that she was participating to celebrate "our victory over the Arabs."
\u201cWhen referring to the upcoming \u201cJerusalem Day\u201d or flag day march, this is what we\u2019re talking about: an anti-Palestinian hate fest that includes attacking homes, businesses & Palestinians. It is an exhibition of unadulterated hate and racism. Beyond inflammatory. Video from 2021\u201d— Nour Odeh \ud83c\uddf5\ud83c\uddf8 #NojusticeNopeace (@Nour Odeh \ud83c\uddf5\ud83c\uddf8 #NojusticeNopeace) 1684359874
In Gaza, Israeli forces used live and "less lethal" munitions to break up a Palestinian demonstration that took place along the besieged strip's border with Israel, according toAl Jazeera.
"We will not surrender and we will continue to demand our rights and defend our occupied lands and our sanctities in Jerusalem," Palestinian protester Osama Abu Qamar told the Qatar-based news network.
The Jerusalem-based NGO Ir Amim called the Israeli demonstrations a "display of incitement, Jewish dominance, and racism."
Israeli marchers threw rocks at journalists, hitting at least two reporters in the head and wounding them, Middle East Eyereports.
\u201cUs journalists are under attack by participants in the flag march in #Jerusalem. \n\nThey cheer every time they hit us with projectiles.\u201d— \u211d\ud835\udd60\ud835\udd64\ud835\udd5a\ud835\udd56 \ud835\udd4a\ud835\udd54\ud835\udd52\ud835\udd5e\ud835\udd5e\ud835\udd56\ud835\udd5d\ud835\udd5d (@\u211d\ud835\udd60\ud835\udd64\ud835\udd5a\ud835\udd56 \ud835\udd4a\ud835\udd54\ud835\udd52\ud835\udd5e\ud835\udd5e\ud835\udd56\ud835\udd5d\ud835\udd5d) 1684421979
Middle East Eye said that marchers in Jerusalem's Old City beat Palestinian residents, and when Israeli police intervened, they assaulted Palestinian victims under attack instead of protecting them.
March participants stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque—one of the holiest sites to both Muslims and Jews—and insulted the prophet Mohammed, who Muslims believe was the messenger of God.
Ofer Cassif, an Israeli lawmaker from the left-wing Hadash coalition, called the flag march a "violent parade presented as a joyous dance."
"Rioting gangs backed by Ben-Gvir and the fascist government are bullying Arabs to show them who's in charge, "Cassif told Haaretz. "This is disgusting Kahanism in its peak."
\u201cIsrael's right wing uses Flag Day to violently remind Palestinians each year that Israel will stop at nothing to kick them out of their own homeland.\n\nThey fly Israel's national symbol as a symbol of Palestinian exclusion.\n\nThat's apartheid.\u201d— IMEU (@IMEU) 1684421511
Cassif was referring to the Jewish supremacist movement once led by Meir Kahane, the Orthodox rabbi convicted of terrorism before being assassinated in 1990. Ben-Gvir was convicted in 2007 of incitement to racism and supporting the Kahanist terror group Kach after he advocated the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.
There were other Israeli marches in cities and towns including Lod—known to Palestinians as Lydda—site of a 1948 massacre and death march as Jewish militias seized control of the area.
Thursday's marches came three days after, and stood in stark contrast with, Palestinians' commemoration of Nakba Day, a remembrance of the ethnic cleansing of more than 750,000 Arabs from over 400 villages—sometimes by massacres—during the foundation of the modern Israeli state in 1948. For the first time ever, the United Nations officially commemorated the Nakba.