Warren unveils major immigration plan

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren unveiled a sweeping immigration plan that would reverse many of President Trump’s policies, but in tone and style it failed to address, let alone acknowledge, many of the underlying concerns of Americans.

In an article in Medium, under the headline “A Fair and Welcoming Immigration System,” Warren portrayed immigrants as “a vital source of American strength” and condemned Trump for advancing a “policy of cruelty and division that demonizes immigrants.”

The Washington Post said the plan puts Warren “firmly on the side of the liberal immigration debate.” The New York Times said Warren’s plan “includes an assertive push for liberal immigration priorities, like decriminalizing unauthorized border crossings.”

She also called for reducing immigration detention, eliminating private detention facilities, affirming asylum protections, overhauling the federal agencies in charge of border protection and immigration enforcement, upping the refugee cap to 125,000 her first year in office, and spending $1.5 billion to address forces displacing migrants from their homes and countries.

“America should welcome more legal immigration – done in the right way and consistent with our principles,” Warren said. “We should use targeted immigration as a tool to create jobs and businesses and grow our economy.”

The policy paper is worth a read, but you won’t find much in there addressing the uneasiness many Americans feel about rising levels of immigration. Charles Stein, in a Boston Globe op-ed, suggests Democratic candidates for president should develop immigration policies that blend compassion with pragmatism.

“They should craft a policy that recognizes that America is a country with a big heart but a finite appetite for letting people come here,” he says. “The policy should be based on an understanding that many Americans, not all of them racists, are uncomfortable with high levels of immigration, especially the kind of spikes we have witnessed in border crossings in the past few months.”

David Frum, in an earlier eye-opening piece in The Atlantic, examines immigration from a wide variety of angles and concludes that many people are right to be worried. He says immigration appears to be having a bigger impact on the country because Americans are not having lots of children.

“When natives have lots of children of their own, immigrants look like reinforcements,” he says. “When natives have few children, immigrants look like replacements.” Frum says it’s no wonder that a 2016 survey indicated nearly half of white working-class Americans agree with this statement: “Things have changed so much that I often feel like a stranger in my own country.”

Frum’s biggest warning for the field of Democratic presidential candidates is that it’s not enough to just attack Trump. “Demagogues don’t rise by talking about irrelevant issues,” he says. “Demagogues rise by talking about issues that matter to people, and that more conventional leaders appear unwilling or unable to address: unemployment in the 1930s, crime in the 1960s, mass immigration now. Voters get to decide what the country’s problems are. Political elites have to devise solutions to those problems. If difficult issues go unaddressed by responsible leaders, they will be exploited by irresponsible ones.”

–BRUCE MOHL

BEACON HILL

Sometimes a Mr. Fix-it needs to get under the hood — more on Gov. Charlie Baker’s visit to the site of the Red Line derailment. (CommonWealth)

James Aloisi offers an interesting take on making public policy, and how a public servant who goes down in flames can come back and make a meaningful contribution. (CommonWealth)

Associated Industries of Massachusetts, one of the original architects of the declining price cap on offshore wind, explains why it’s no longer needed, at least in its current form. (CommonWealth)

Twenty-nine senators, including five of the six Republicans, write to Gov. Charlie Baker’s appointee urging him to rescind approval for a natural gas compressor station in Weymouth. (State House News)

Lesli Suggs of the Home for Little Wanderers says 1 in 5 children in foster care never find a permanent home, a situation that has staggering and heartbreaking consequences. (CommonWealth)

A bill would exempt police body-cam recording from the reach of the public records law. Secretary of State William Galvin, who oversees the law, said the measure would defeat the purpose of body-cam recordings. (Associated Press)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Telegram & Gazette columnist Clive McFarlane says Worcester is no longer the wallflower of New England urban centers.

A computer outage caused by a virus at New Bedford City Hall stretched into its seventh day Friday, with Fire Department computers down. (Standard Times) 

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

President Trump gives up on the effort to add a citizenship question to the Census. (Washington Post)

California is taking Obamacare to a whole new level, even as the national program is being challenged in the courts. (Governing)

US officials scramble to broker a deal with European nations as those countries begin to tax the revenue of digital  services from large tech firms. (New York Times) 

ELECTIONS

Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse is considering a run against US Rep. Richard Neal. (Politico)

Two advocates for greater voter participation lay out how businesses can play a key role. (Boston Globe)

WBUR unfolds Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s “brand” of making public policy a central part of her campaign following her latest policy proposal to decriminalize unauthorized border crossings.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

An Ohio investor pays off the back taxes and buys the Berkshire Mall for $1 million. Now people want to know what he intends to do with the struggling facility. (Berkshire Eagle)

The South Shore’s first recreational marijuana shop could open as early as November if all goes according to a dispensary Ermont Inc.’s plans. (Patriot Ledger) 

EDUCATION

Alarmed by long wait times for mental health services for students with anxiety and depression, Nauset school officials have applied for — and received — a state grant to hire a psychiatric nurse practitioner. (Cape Cod Times) 

ARTS/CULTURE

The Standard Times takes a trip down memory lane to look at some of the shops that have been in New Bedford since the 1800s.

TRANSPORTATION 

Weekday Red Line boardings at the Kendall Square MBTA station are expected to double to 30,000 by 2040, according to a new report by the Kendall Square Association. Red Line passengers think the line can’t handle it. (Boston Herald) 

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Nervous times for Vineyard Wind: The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management says it needs more time to review the offshore wind farm’s environmental impact statement, and notes the agency is well within the two-year review period ending March 2020. Any lengthy delay could be bad news for a project on a very tight construction timetable. (CommonWealth)

A temporary entertainment venue planned at the Fall River Redevelopment Authority-owned City Pier likely won’t happen this summer as the agency waits to learn the terms the property must meet to comply with environmental requirements. The property was about to open to the public when the US Department of Environmental Protection stopped those plans, notifying City Administrator Cathy Ann Viveiros and the RDA that the city failed to provide reports on contamination remediation since 2017. (Herald News) 

CASINOS

Encore Boston Harbor President Robert DeSalvio talks with WGBH’s Jim Braude about the casino’s first month of business.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

A West Bridgewater man accused of dealing prescription painkillers that contained fentanyl has been indicted by a Plymouth County grand jury. (Brockton Enterprise)