December 6, 2013
The Mexico Institute’s “Weekly News Summary,” released every Friday afternoon summarizes the week’s most prominent Mexico headlines published in the English-language press, as well as the most engaging opinion pieces by Mexican columnists.
What the English language press had to say…
This week the Washington Post noted that Mexico’s Senate passed the most dramatic political reform attempt in decades which would allow re-election of federal legislators, create new election oversight and make the Attorney General’s office independent from the executive. It also highlighted that the Senate is moving on to energy reform, which is considered the most critical part of the reform package that President Enrique Peña Nieto is pushing to have passed before the end of this year. The Economist noted that it will be difficult for Mexico´s left to stop the Energy Reform after Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador suffered a heart attack on December 3rd. His absence weakened a blockade of the Senate that he had promised. Meanwhile, the Financial Post was not enthusiastic over the Energy Reform. In an article published this week, it argued that that even if the proposed reform is passed within a year, it could take up to 10 years for production to begin in the deep-sea reserves. Additionally, the profit-sharing contracts may not be as profitable as anticipated, as the terms under the proposal stipulate that foreign companies would receive a share of the revenues from the fields, rather than the oil and gas to sell themselves.
In another note, the BBC reported on Wednesday that a truck carrying medical radioactive material had been stolen near Mexico City. Mexico’s Nuclear Security Commission said that at the time of the theft, the cobalt-60 teletherapy source was “properly shielded”. Nonetheless, the Washington Post noted on Thursday, that the theft of the material sparked international concern over the possibility that the cobalt-60 could be used in a “dirty bomb.” By Wednesday afternoon, the same news outlet reported that authorities had found the stolen the radioactive material. The National Journal claimed that after the theft, a group of critics questioned if the International Atomic Energy Agency’s radiological security rules were enough for securing radioactive materials.
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December 6, 2013
International Business Times, 12/5/2013
More than two dozen Democrats on Thursday sent a letter to President Barack Obama, calling on him to help restart the immigration reform debate in Congress by suspending deportation. They also asked the nation’s chief executive to go a step further and expand “deferred action,” a program that would grant these immigrants reprieve.
The lawmakers’ formal request to the president came more than a week after he was heckled at a California event by an immigrant who asked that Obama use his executive power to protect immigrants from the laws under what they describe as a broken system.
December 6, 2013
Lawmakers in Mexico are considering a major change to their elections. For more than a century, the country has had the ultimate term limits: nobody can be re-elected.
December 5, 2013
The Economist 12/5/2013
Mexico’s legislative blitzkrieg has stepped up a gear. On December 5th the Senate will at last start formally discussing energy reform, which is supposed to be the crowning achievement of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s first year in office. That is the day after both upper and lower houses approved an electoral reform bill that overturns a century-old ban on the re-election of politicians. It has, however, been done in such haste that José Woldenberg, an elections expert, writes in Reforma today of a “sea of imprecisions”.
Speed is the order of the day. To meet the December 15th deadline when Congress shuts for Christmas, senators are working like Santa’s elves: so late into the night that it is hard to contact them by day to discuss what they approved. The initial impression, however, is that the electoral reform, cobbled together by Mr Peña’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the conservative National Action Party (PAN), has good intentions, but is a bit slipshod. It looks like Congress decided that a fast-tracked electoral bill was a price worth paying for a bold energy reform.
December 4, 2013
USA Today, 12/4/2013
Four immigrant rights activists ended their 22-day fast Tuesday on the National Mall and were immediately replaced with eight others who pledged to continue the fast to try to persuade Congress to pass immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship for the 12 million people living illegally in the United States.
The four activists — Cristian Avila of Mi Familia Vota in Arizona, Lisa Sharon Harper of Sojourners in Washington, D.C., Dae Joong Yoon of the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium in Los Angeles, and Eliseo Medina of the Service Employees International Union — took their first bites of bread from a priest before being led away to be checked by doctors.
November 26, 2013
The Washington Post, 11/25/2013
President Obama gave a speech Monday in San Francisco calling on Congress to act on immigration reform! House Speaker John Boehner rejected the idea that immigration reform was dead at a press conference late last week! Momentum! Spark!
Eh, maybe not so much. Why? Because the underlying political realities in the vast majority of Republican-held congressional districts haven’t changed a bit.
November 18, 2013
The Washington Post, 11/14/2013
It’s now looking extremely unlikely that Congress will enact immigration reform this year. And that raises a question: Could President Obama use his executive powers to effectively legalize some of the 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the United States?
This possibility has actually been raised several times before. Back in August, Sen. Marco Rubio warned House Republicans that if they don’t pass a bill, Obama will act on his own: “I believe that this president will be tempted, if nothing happens in Congress,” Rubio said, “to issue an executive order as he did for the Dream Act kids a year ago, where he basically legalizes 11 million people by the sign of a pen.”
November 18, 2013
The Washington Post, 11/15/2013
The Obama administration will allow some relatives of U.S. service members living in the country illegally to stay, according to a policy directive issued Friday.
The nine-page memorandum is the latest in a series of immigration policy changes made by President Barack Obama since he took office. The department has long had the power to stop deportations for relatives of military members and veterans, but Friday’s memo lays out how and when it can be used.
November 13, 2013
The Huffington Post, 11/12/13
By David Leopold
There is a reason the twitter hashtag #TimeIsNow caught on. The time really is now for Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and the House Republican leadership to allow a vote on a bipartisan immigration reform bill. It’s been 5 long months since the Senate passed such a bill, and sent it over to the House for consideration.
But it’s been one excuse after another from the House GOP leadership. First it was the Tea Party-manufactured fiscal crisis which consumed most of September and closed the government for the first two weeks of October. Now the House GOP leadership — including even some like Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) who has worked to draft a bipartisan immigration bill — claim that time has run out this year on immigration reform; that the GOP leadership cannot possibly schedule a vote on a bipartisan bill because there are not enough days in the legislative calendar.
November 13, 2013
The Los Angeles Times, 11/13/13
A key California Republican is pushing back against House GOP leaders who say there is not enough time before Congress adjourns this year to consider immigration reform.
Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) will make his case to House Republicans behind closed doors Wednesday, trying to build support among lawmakers after Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), the No. 3 party leader, said last week the issue would have to wait until next year.