This week (6.01.2011)
The most important problems facing the country are economic, while immigration and border security are the most important problems facing the state, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll.
The top issues facing the U.S. are the economy, 29 percent; federal spending/national debt, 17 percent; and unemployment/jobs, 14 percent. Nothing else in the poll broke into double digits. The big issues facing the state? Immigration, 16 percent; border security, 15 percent; education, 12 percent; the economy, 12 percent; and unemployment/jobs, 10 percent.
In one of the most surprising and inspiring grassroots campaigns this year, the Citizens for a Better Arizona will make history next Tuesday, May 31st, when they present Secretary of State Ken Bennett with more than twice as many signatures needed to recall notorious state Senate President Russell Pearce (R-Mesa).
Defying all expectations, the once powerful Pearce will become the first Senate president to be recalled in American history, according to campaign supporters, if 7,756 valid signatures from Pearce's District 18 in Phoenix-area Mesa are verified over a rigorous 90-day period.
California lawmakers have taken steps to opt out of a controversial federal immigration enforcement program, joining a growing number of states that say it harms public safety and undermines local law enforcement. Under the Secure Communities program, fingerprints of all arrestees booked into local jails and cross-checked with the FBI's criminal database are forwarded to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for screening. Officials said the system, launched in 2008, is intended to identify and deport undocumented immigrants convicted of serious crimes such as murder, rape and kidnapping.
Some state lawmakers say the reality has been far different. Citing ICE data, Democrats say that many of those ensnared in the program have never been convicted of crimes or are low-level offenders. The result, they say, has been a chilling effect on immigrant crime victims and witnesses, who stay silent for fear of deportation.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has suspended New York’s participation in a controversial federal immigration program aimed at deporting undocumented immigrants who have been convicted of crimes.
The Secure Communities program, operated by local authorities in partnership with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, has drawn opposition from immigration advocates and some city lawmakers, who say that thousands of people with clean records have been sent back to their country of origin.
When the regular session of the Texas Legislature ended on Monday, most key immigration legislation was left dead, including a proposal championed by Republican Governor Rick Perry that sought to crack down on cities that provide sanctuary to undocumented immigrants.
But now that Perry has called lawmakers back for a special session of the Legislature to address an unresolved budget matter, proponents of the sanctuary city bill have renewed hope that the legislation could have another chance. It's up to Perry which issues to add to the agenda for the special session, which began on Tuesday.