The Codcast: The immigration reform challenge
With last year’s election of Donald Trump, complete with his campaign talk about about bad hombres and Mexican rapists, it’s hard to feel too optimistic about the prospects for comprehensive — and reasoned — immigration reform. Trump adds a loud exclamation mark to what had already become a starkly partisan divide on the issue.
But Ali Noorani — the guest on this week’s Codcast — says a solution to the immigration debate isn’t just a matter of the political dynamics in Washington. (Noorani may be familiar to folks in Massachusetts because he spent a decade in Boston serving as director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition.)
“We’ve always thought about this as an issue that’s all about politics or is all about policy. What I have learned about the immigration debate is that I think the majority of Americans see this as a question about culture and about values,” he said.
Noorani, the executive director the National Immigration Forum, a Washington-based group advocating for immigration reform, has been having conversations about those values and culture issues with conservative religious figures, law enforcement officials, and business leaders. His conclusion: We can find a lot more common ground on the immigration debate than people think.
The conversations led to formation of an alliance dubbed Bibles, Badges, and Business for Immigration Reform. “If you hold a Bible, you wear a badge, or you run a business, you want a common sense solution to the immigration system,” says Noorani.
Noorani has written a book about his conversations and about some of the failures of earlier immigration reform efforts — There Goes The Neighborhood: How Communities Overcome Prejudice and Meet the Immigration Challenge.
In our conversation — and his book — Noorani has some interesting observations that probably go against conventional thinking. He says a good example of a campaign that succeeded by focusing on culture and values and not just politics was the 2010 effort to repeal the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy on gay service members. His book also discusses the deep disappointment of immigrant-reform advocates with President Obama, who aggressively pushed deportation orders in what Noorani thinks was a mistaken belief that this would give him more credibility with conservatives to negotiate reform legislation.
Noorani says he’s an eternal optimist, but concedes that Trump’s election has made the path to immigration reform tougher.
— MICHAEL JONAS
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Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, once a leading opponent of marijuana legalization, is now embracing the economic potential of pot. (CommonWealth)
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Some Brockton officials are denouncing Mayor Bill Carpenter’s hiring of a former Boston police officer fired for assault. The officer is working as a code enforcer in Brockton. (The Enterprise)
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Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll and her challenger Paul Prevey engage in their first debate. (Salem News)
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New GE chief executive John Flannery is eyeing cuts to increase the company’s profitability, and that could include slicing positions at the new Boston corporate headquarters. (Boston Globe)
The drama over Lowell’s new high school goes on, as the school board sues the city. (Lowell Sun)
Students at Somerset Berkley Regional High School will have to give up their cellphones while in classrooms under a new School Committee policy that bans the use of personal devices connecting to the school’s wifi. (Herald News)
Govs. John Kasich of Ohio and John Hickenlooper of Colorado unveil bipartisan recommendations for fixing Obamacare. (Governing)
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The MBTA plans a crackdown on fare evaders on commuter rail trains. (Boston Globe)
Newton Yellow Cab of Newton, a 40-year-old company that has been owner Dick Johnston’s life, turned out the (head)lights on Wednesday, victim of the disruptive force of Uber and Lyft. (Boston Globe)
A New Hampshire regulatory agency puts off a decision on Northern Pass for six months, dealing Eversource a major blow in its bid to land a major clean energy contract with the state of Massachusetts. (CommonWealth)
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