February 19, 2014
President Barack Obama is almost certainly about to be pressured once again by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to approve the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, USA Today reports. Obama is heading to Mexico for the one-day North American Leadership Summit, and the two leaders will meet on the sidelines. But Harper won’t likely hear anything new from his American counterpart. “I think what President Obama will do is explain to (Harper) where we are in the review of the Keystone pipeline and indicate, of course, that we will let our Canadian friends know when we’ve made a decision,” said a senior administration official.
Also on the cross-border front: Obama on Wednesday will sign an executive order mandating the completion of a government portal for small businesses to submit import and export information. The White House says the electronic portal will allow U.S. companies to better compete in the global economy. Read more about the International Trade Data System in the Hill.
February 5, 2014
Washington Post, 2/3/14
Barack Obama has all but conceded his lame-duck status. His State of the Union address was bereft of big ideas. And his declaration that he will use his “pen and a phone” to issue a raft of executive orders is an admission of political impotence — a presidency reduced to small-ball initiatives like creating “myRA” savings accounts and raising the minimum wage for federal contractors.
The one exception — his one last shot at a major legislative achievement — was comprehensive immigration reform. But that isn’t happening either. And the reason can be summed up in one word: Obamacare. “Comprehensive” is Washington-speak for “big.” And in the wake of the Obamacare debacle, no one is interested in anything big from Barack Obama.
January 22, 2014
The White House is trying to dial down the partisan rhetoric on immigration — and it’s asking its allies to do the same.
In meetings with immigration reform advocates, White House officials have said President Barack Obama won’t threaten to take unilateral executive action — at least not yet — and that he wants to give House Republicans some breathing room to try to pass legislation this year, said immigration advocates who have participated in the sessions.
January 16, 2014
Latin Times, 01/14/2014
Reuters reported on Monday that President Barack Obama will travel on February 19 to Toluca, Mexico, where he will meet with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto at a summit of North American leaders. When Obama touches down on Mexican soil, Animal Politico notes, it will be the fifth time since he entered the White House in 2008 that the president has done so, making Mexico the country he has most frequently visited – eclipsing France, to which he has traveled on four occasions.
The first two visits came in 2009, during the tenure of now-ex-president Felipe Calderón, with whom Obama discussed US-Mexico cooperation on the war against drugs and responses to the financial crisis in which the United States remained sunk. Nearly three years later, in 2012, they met again to talk another financial crisis – the one over European debt – but last May, when newly elected Peña Nieto greeted Obama, there was much talk of turning the page in US-Mexico relations. Peña Nieto had campaigned on a promise to scale back the military presence in hotbeds of cartel activity and aim less for high-profile kingpin arrests – which often triggered fights for control in the power vacuums it left – than his predecessor.
January 16, 2014
The Washington Times, 01/13/2014
President Obama will travel to Toluca, Mexico, on Feb. 19 for a meeting with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the White House announced Monday.
The gathering of North American leaders will focus on “issues important to the daily lives of all of North America’s people, including economic competitiveness, entrepreneurship, trade and investment and citizen security,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters
January 16, 2014
AULA Blog, 01/16/2014
U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) recently released statistics showing that deportations in fiscal year 2013 hit an all-time low since Obama took office in 2009, but the drop is apparently not yet a harbinger of a policy shift. Removals fell slightly from a record high of 410,000 in 2012 to just under 370,000. News of the first decline during Obama’s tenure comes as he has been under growing pressure from immigration advocates and some members of Congress to use his executive powers to bring removals to a halt. But the slight decline can be attributed to several factors:
December 12, 2013
The Washington Post, 12/11/2013
President Obama’s nominee for the No. 2 spot at the Department of Homeland Security advanced to the full Senate for consideration after winning a vote Wednesday from a deeply divided Senate panel.
The Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee made a party-line decision after a Republican senator unsuccessfully sought a delay, in part by revealing previously undisclosed official findings of problems with a visa program the nominee administers.
November 26, 2013
The New York Times, 11/25/2013
President Obama is often heckled, but it is rare for a guest who is part of a White House-approved backdrop to shout out a protest while the president is in mid-speech.
But that is what happened here on Monday when Mr. Obama called on Congress to pass an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws.
“Mr. Obama, my family has been separated for 19 months now!” yelled a young man who stood with others on the riser behind the president at the Betty Ann Ong Chinese Recreation Center.
November 26, 2013
It’s pretty clear the House of Representatives is not going to take up immigration reform this year.
Even after President Barack Obama said he was willing to consider immigration legislation in pieces instead of one large bill — which House Speaker John Boehner has suggested – just a handful of workdays remain for the House this year.
Obama’s concession might open the door for the House to consider the issue next year, but it’s going to take more than the president’s backing.
November 26, 2013
President Obama reignited the debate on immigration reform on Monday, calling on Republicans to immediately take up the issue, which has been stalled in the House.
“It’s long past time to fix our broken immigration system,” the commander-in-chief said at the Betty Ann Ong Chinese Recreation Center in San Francisco, adding the only barrier is the “unwillingness of certain Republicans in Congress to catch up with the rest of the country.”
The House has failed to take up a Senate bill that passed in late June. Speaker John Boehner has said that he has “no intention” of debating the Senate proposal, and is instead pushing for a piecemeal approach. Some GOPers want stricter enforcement and tighter border security as preconditions to any new laws.