I support comprehensive immigration reform for a whole host of reasons. There’s the moral angle: its wrong to have draconian laws that are out of sync with reality and keep 12 million people hiding in the shadows. There’s the economic side: we need immigrants with a wide variety of skills to fuel our economy—from computer scientists from around the globe who can keep America at the cutting edge of innovation and create jobs to agricultural workers who harvest our bounty. But, I want to talk about another reason to support immigration reform, that I don’t hear being discussed: it will make our communities safer.
As it currently stands, undocumented immigrants all across the country are weary of talking to the police. Whether they are victims—mugged or raped or exploited by an employer—or witnesses to crimes, these immigrants fear talking to the police will land them behind bars or result in deportation. When violence, theft and abuse go unreported, perpetrators remain on the loose and everyone in a community remains vulnerable. To get a sense for how immigration reform can abate this, just look at the case study of New Haven, CT.
In 2007, New Haven began issuing its Elm City Resident Card to residents regardless of immigration status. In many ways, the program amounted to local immigration reform: an attempt by the city government to recognize and legitimize the undocumented immigrants in its midst in the wake of the Federal government’s failure to act. By issuing the cards, the city sent immigrants a clear message: you are welcome here and are part of our community.
After the release of New Haven’s card, the city experienced an uptick in police reports and other forms of civic engagement by undocumented immigrants who felt a newfound sense of inclusion in their community. The city’s law enforcement officials attributed declining crime to the advent of the municipal resident card and the ensuing rise in police reports According to Assistant Chief of Police Luiz Casanova, in Fair Haven, historically one of New Haven’s most dangerous neighborhoods, there have been “improved interactions between police and undocumented residents” and “double-digit drops in every category of crime” in the five years since the card’s release.
Documenting the undocumented in New Haven has made that city a safer place for all of its residents, from busboys to Yale professors. Now, think about how comprehensive immigration reform could make cities and towns all across America safer—places where crimes won’t go unreported because of the risks of coming forward.
Creating a path out of the throes of limbo to permanent residency and ultimately citizenship for the 12 million undocumented people living among us isn’t just a moral or economic imperative—it’s a commonsense policy that will help all of our communities become safer.
Immigration reform cleared the Senate judiciary committee and is on its way to the Senate floor.
"The insidious intention of that money is to set the agenda, change the agenda, block the agenda, define the agenda of Washington. How else could we possibly have a US tax code of some 76,000 pages? Ask yourself, how many Americans have their own page, their own tax break, their own special deal?"
From: “Brian Levin”
Date: May 21, 2013 5:15:01 AM
Subject: Letter to Tim Cook from a Disgruntled Shareholder
I’m upset—and no, it’s not because Apple’s share prices have fallen 37% since last September. I’m 24 and got most of my shares around $20 when I was a kid, so I take the long view.
I’m writing to you because I always thought Apple was different. My grief following Steve Jobs’ death—like that of so many others around the globe—mourned the loss of a creative visionary who crafted a different kind of company in his image—an anti-corporate corporation, a company with a soul that made magic, or the closest thing to it. It’s the reason Macs grace the desks of artists and activists and students everywhere and Apple logos are ubiquitous on Volkswagen Beetles next to “Save Darfur” and “No Farms, No Food” bumper stickers. But perhaps I was just drinking the marketing Kool-Aid.
I’m angry because Apple not only engages in the questionable practice of stashing its cash in offshore tax havens, it has become the greatest offender, avoiding US taxes on $74 billion over the past four years. There’s something fundamentally wrong when the wealthiest company in America pays 12.6% in taxes, while my father’s small business, my grandfather’s store and the Korean Deli across the street pay a rate nearly three times higher. And it’s not just savvy accounting or a strategic maneuver—Apple’s tax avoidance has a profoundly damaging effect on our whole country.
The fifty largest San Francisco Bay Area companies alone did not pay taxes on over $225 billion stashed overseas. A 35% corporate tax rate on that money would amount to $78.75 billion, which would nearly cover the $85 billion in painful sequester cuts that resulted from the government not taking in enough money to pay the bills. These cuts are hurting everything from Head Start programs to food safety inspections and police forces to infrastructure projects. In some ways, Apple’s tax avoidance is threatening its own future, as cuts to schools and STEM education mean fewer people will be equipped with the skills to innovate and break new technological barriers at places like Apple. Avoidance by companies like Apple also unfairly shifts the tax burden to individuals and small businesses—after all, the government can’t run on empty, and if companies like Apple don’t pay their fair share, the rest of us pay more.
Apple’s story is an American story, of entrepreneurs hacking away in a garage who ultimately went on to create products that changed our world and the way we live. In doing so, Apple benefited from the prowess of employees educated at government-funded schools, research financed by the American taxpayer and being located in a country where the only limits are those imposed by one’s imagination.
Tim—as Steve Jobs once implored all of us—please “think different.” Don’t go into the Senate hearing on the defensive or with a cockamamie tax proposal. Instead, why don’t you pledge to bring Apple’s money back home where it belongs and be King Arthur, not the Grinch?
I want Apple to innovate with new “incredibly great” products that wow the world like the iMac and iPhone did—not with new ways of nickel and diming Uncle Sam. Do what’s right and stick to what Apple does best and continued success will surely follow.
All the best,
(Source: The Huffington Post)