Lee Hamilton: Governing by crisis isn’t governing

by PSA Staff | March 19th, 2015 | |Subscribe

Lee Hamilton is director of the Center on Congress at Indiana University and current Advisory Board Co-Chair to the Partnership for a Secure America. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years. The article originally appeared in Battle Creek Enquirer.

Lee Hamilton: Governing by crisis isn’t governing

After Congress came a hair’s breadth from shutting down the Department of Homeland Security a few weeks ago, members of the leadership tried to reassure the American people. “We’re certainly not going to shut down the government or default on the national debt,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Congress, he said, would not lurch from crisis to crisis.

I wish I could be so confident. Because if you look at the year ahead, the congressional calendar is littered with opportunities to do just that. (more…)

Getting at the Roots of Illegal Immigration

by PSA Staff | March 6th, 2015 | |Subscribe

Mr. Shultz, PSA Advisory Board member, a former secretary of labor, Treasury and state, and director, Office of Management and Budget, is a distinguished fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.This article originally appeared in The Wall Street Journal.

Getting at the Roots of Illegal Immigration

Yes, secure the border—by helping address the conditions that drive desperate people here.

Widely supported immigration reform seems to be hostage to the understandable need to “secure our borders.” Our border with Mexico is truly important. Huge volumes of trade and numbers of people cross that border legally every day to the great advantage of both countries. The problem arises when those who cross the border do so illegally.

To get at this problem, we need to think through the sources of the illegal crossings. When masses of children showed up on our border a few months ago, none were Mexican. Pew Research’s “Hispanic Trends” project reports that net migration from Mexico to the United States was zero from 2005 to 2010, and the Mexican illegal immigrant population, which peaked in 2007, has continued its fall in the years since. Fertility in Mexico has dropped to slightly below replacement levels. Mexico’s competitive position with countries such as China is now strong. Labor costs are almost comparable, and energy and transportation costs are considerably less. With reforms in place, the Mexican economy is likely to respond. (more…)

NATIONAL SECURITY: Defense experts say costs of climate change could be staggering

by PSA Staff | March 3rd, 2013 | |Subscribe

The author, Julia Pyper, is a writer for E & E News’s ClimateWire. Reproduced with permission. Copyright 2013, E&E Publishing, LLC www.ClimateWire.net.

NATIONAL SECURITY: Defense experts say costs of climate change could be staggering

The ramifications of climate change pose a serious threat to U.S. security interests and will have devastating effects unless Washington takes immediate action, a bipartisan group of 38 former politicians and retired military officials wrote in a letter released yesterday.

“As a matter of risk management, the United States must work with international partners, public and private, to address this impending crisis,” the letter says. “Potential consequences are undeniable, and the cost of inaction, paid for in lives and valuable U.S. resources, will be staggering.”

(more…)

Who wants to be an American? A lot of people.

by Alexis Collatos | November 22nd, 2010 | |Subscribe

http://www.cbc.ca/gfx/images/news/photos/2008/12/29/wide-bangladesh-cp-6025285.jpg

It’s no secret that life in Bangladesh is tough. Desperate poverty, one of the highest population densities on the world, and the possibility that the country may disappear under rising ocean waters all contribute to living conditions that are less than enviable from an outsider’s perspective. And it would seem that the Bangladeshis agree. This year, 7.67 million people from Bangladesh applied to the U.S. green card lottery, an immigration program that awards 50,000 green cards a year to foreign nationals selected simply by luck of the draw. That’s almost 5% of the country’s population, including children and the elderly.

Bangladesh was not the only country filled with would-be immigrants seeking a way to the United States. 2010 was a banner year for the green card lottery, with a record 15 million entries from around the world. Bangladesh took the lead for most applicants, followed by Nigeria with 1.47 million, Ukraine with 760,000, Ethiopia with 580,000, and Egypt with 340,000.

In short, the numbers once again represent what we sometimes forget: despite the varying perceptions of the U.S. abroad, the American Dream retains its allure- even in parts of the Middle East, a region many Americans automatically assume is uniformly inimical to the U.S.  While pundits may fret about declining American soft power around the world, the promise of a better life is one aspect of the U.S.’s reputation that is unlikely to disappear anytime soon.

Is election year bipartisanship possible?

by Brian Vogt | May 4th, 2010 | |Subscribe

Bipartisanship is tough in an election year.  Each candidate up for election is seeking ways to differentiate him/herself from the opposition.  Particularly in primary battles, compromise is often punished.  A few examples come to mind recently of election years politics getting in the way of bipartisan compromises.  Candidates from both parties have let the politics of the moment derail sensible policy.

Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) is one Democrat who comes to mind.  After financial regulatory reform, there are two important major legislative priorities that have a chance to getting bipartisan support in this Congress – immigration reform and climate change/energy security.  The one Republican who has been willing to stick his neck out on both of these initiatives is Lindsey Graham (R-SC).  Graham has worked with Senator Schumer (D-NY) on immigration reform and Senator Kerry (D-MA) on climate change.  They had both come up with sensible compromises that had a chance of getting bipartisan support.  It wasn’t going to be easy in an election year on either of these issues, but it was a start.  The challenge for the Democrats was to maintain Graham’s support on both issues and hope to pick up some more Republicans who were willing to put aside partisan differences.  Then came Harry Reid. (more…)

All blog posts are independently produced by their authors and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of PSA. Across the Aisle serves as a bipartisan forum for productive discussion of national security and foreign affairs topics.