To expand communications between Washington and California, the California Institute provides periodic bulletins regarding current activity on Capitol Hill that affects our state. Bulletins are published weekly during sessions of Congress, and occasionally during other periods. To subscribe to the Bulletin or other California Institute announcements, visit this link.
CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE:
Immigration: Senate Judiciary Examines Visa Waiver Program
State: California-Federal Issues Among Priorities for Governor Schwarzenegger’s DC Visit
State: California Assembly Majority Leader Karen Bass Elected Speaker
Welfare: Income & Family Support Panel Holds Hearing On KIDS Act
Justice: Senate Judiciary Reviews Law Enforcement Assistance Programs
SCHIP: House Subcommittee on Health Examines SCHIP Reauthorization
Environment: House T&I Subcommittee on Water & Environment Hears Testimony on EPA Brownfields Revitalization
Border: Homeland Security Subcommittee Examines Project 28 Implementation Challenges
Housing: Negotiators Report Progress Resolving FHA Bill Differences
Science: Fusion Energy Community Holds Annual Washington Forum
Environment: California Center for Environmental and Occupational Health Releases Report on Green Chemistry
Immigration: International Migration to Play Lead Role in US Population Growth, Pew Hispanic Center Finds
Immigration: PPIC Releases Report Highlighting Inaccuracies in Common Public Perceptions about Immigrants and Crime
State: Columnist Dan Weintraub To Discuss New Book Examining Rise of Governor Schwarzenegger on March 6
Space: California Space Week Includes Reception Tuesday Evening March 4
Transportation: March 10 Luncheon Briefing to Discuss Highways, Transit, Rail, and the “Long View” to the Nation’s Transportation Future
Water: Activist To Offer Predictions of a Coming Water Crisis at Events on Friday, February 29
On February 28, 2008, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security, chaired by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, held a hearing on “Weaknesses in the Visa Waiver Program: Are the Needed Safeguards in Place to Protect America?” Witnesses included: Paul Rosenzweig, Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Department of Homeland Security; Tony Edson, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Visa Services at the State Department; and Jess Ford, Director of International Affairs and Trade for the Government Accountability Office.
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows the citizens of several countries certified by the United States to enter the country temporarily without obtaining a visa, and those countries reciprocate for U.S. citizens. The program has long been hailed as promoting travel and tourism in the United States. DHS has been negotiating with several additional countries that would like to become participants in the VWP (the “Roadmap” countries), and has recently formally nominated Greece for VWP designation. The Secure Travel and Counterterrorism Partnership Act of 2007 modified the criteria of the VWP to reduce its vulnerability to terrorist exploitation and require closer security collaboration against terrorism with participating countries. In addition, the law mandates implementation of an exit system to track foreign nationals leaving the U.S.
Senator Feinstein severely criticized DHS’s efforts to ensure that the VWP did not expose the U.S. to the risk of further terrorist attacks and its failure to implement an air exit systems. She said the program was still in “shambles” and provides no sense of stability in controlling illegal immigration. Moreover, she chastised DHS for its failure to track whether more than two percent of a VWP country’s individuals are overstaying their time in the U.S., in which case the law requires that country’s removal from the VWP. She also elicited from Rosenzweig that DHS has interpreted the 2007 law’s requirement that it be able to identify and track 97 percent of foreign nationals departing the United States by this fall, as not requiring it to start from the foreign nationals entering the United States, but just from the number actually leaving. She called it a manipulation of the law, which will only provide a false measurement if DHS doesn’t start with who has entered the country to begin with.
For further information, go to: http://judiciary.senate.gov .
During a visit associated with the winter meeting of the National Governors Association, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger visited Washington this week and addressed a variety of federal issues with California implications. Priority topics included encouraging growth in California’s economy, protecting our nation’s borders, and reversing the state’s housing slump, as he met with White House and administration officials. Scheduled meetings included President Bush, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson, Transportation Secretary Mary Peters and U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab.
In a statement made on Monday, February 25, 2008, the Governor said, “The temporary increase to the federal home loan limits included in the economic stimulus package helps reduce foreclosures and allows more Californians to achieve the American dream with solid, responsible loans, but it is time to permanently raise these limits.” He also asked for an extension of Operation Jump Start, which he said “has successfully reduced illegal border crossings and significantly limited drug and human trafficking.” In a January 2008 letter to President Bush, Governor Schwarzenegger sought a continuation of Operation Jump Start “until the mission is complete.” He said, “The combined efforts of the Border Patrol and the California National Guard have proven successful in reducing illegal border crossings and limiting the influx of narcotics and human trafficking. Operation Jump Start is scheduled to end in July 2008, but the operational objective is only half complete: fewer than 3,000 of 6,000 new Border Patrol agents have been added to the force.”
Regarding the request to permanently increase government mortgage loan limits to address the mortgage loan crisis, the Governor stated, “No other state has been more impacted by the ongoing mortgage crisis than California.” The Federal Economic Stimulus plan increased home mortgage loan limits to 125 percent in high volume areas, temporarily through the end of the year. For California, the new cap increases loan limits from $417,000 to $729,500. To make the increased loan limits permanent, Congress must pass comprehensive reform legislation before the end of the year.
The Governor led a meeting of fellow border governors from both the U.S. and Mexico, Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff, and Commerce Secretary Gutierrez. The visit focused on border security, money laundering, economic development and disaster preparedness and response. A similar meeting of border governors was held regarding regional water management with Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne and Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Bob Johnson.
In a historic vote, Assembly Majority Leader Karen Bass was unanimously elected Speaker of the California State Assembly, making her the first African American woman to ever hold the post. Bass, who represents the 47th Assembly District in the Los Angeles area, will succeed the termed-out Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez. Núñez said that her selection is not only historic for the state, but the nation, because no other African American woman in the United States has served as speaker of a state legislative body.
“I am deeply honored and deeply humbled by the trust that you have placed in me,” Bass told the Assembly. “Please know that I will work to be deserving of your trust every single day of my service as speaker.” She also said that it was a welcome coincidence that her election came as the Assembly held it’s Black History Month celebration. Speaker-elect Bass prevailed in the contest over eight other candidates who entered the Speaker’s race earlier this year.
For more information visit http://democrats.assembly.ca.gov/members/a47/
The Income and Family Support Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on February 27, 2008 to discuss the proposed KIDS Act (H.R. 5466). The proposed legislation aims to “improve outcomes for vulnerable children by investing in families, improving accountability in the child welfare system, and finding safe, stable, and permanent homes for foster children.”
Witnesses included Rep. Danny Davis (Illinois); MaryLee Allen, Director of Child Welfare and Mental Health, The Children’s Defense Fund; Khatib Waheed, Senior Fellow, Center for the Study of Social Policy; and Gil Kerlikowske, Chief of Police, Seattle, Washington.
Rep. Davis stated, “This bill would greatly improve the child welfare system by addressing the key deficiencies in our current system simultaneously…our child welfare system must promote permanency, be it through reunification with a child’s birth family, adoption, or legal guardianship.” He discussed subsidized guardianship, extending foster care to age 21, and the adoption incentives program. Wahid agreed that such permanency was of extreme importance and also explained that the act would “help to reduce the disproportionate representation and disparate treatment of children and families of color who are involved in the child welfare system.” MaryLee Allen confirmed the need for increased prevention and early intervention as well as greater accountability, both of which are addressed in the bill. The bill requires annual reporting and monitoring of whether the services and activities funded yield improved child outcomes.
Chief Kerlikowske applauded the bill and remarked on the imperative to keep children away from abuse and neglect, citing research indicating that exposure to such circumstances leads to thousands of additional violent criminals and murderers, as abused children continue the violence they first learned at home.
For more information on this hearing, please visit: http://waysandmeans.house.gov .
On Wednesday February 27, 2008, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs held a hearing on restoring federal funding for state and local law enforcement. A number of programs, including the COPS and Byrne-JAG programs, have seen a significant decline in federal funding in recent years.
Witnesses included Mark Epley, Senior Counsel to the Deputy Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice; Jeffrey Horvath, Chief of Police, Dover Police Department, Delaware; Anthony F. Wieners, Executive Board Member, National Association of Police Organizations; and Charles H. Ramsey, Police Commissioner, Philadelphia Police Department.
Mark Epley noted that changes in the crime rate have been uneven in different localities. Although there has been a recent slight drop in violent crime rates on the national level, many cities and jurisdictions are facing an increase in violent crime rates, he said. Epley maintained that the proposed budget for state and local law enforcement assistance “struck a good balance,” and will distribute resources to the areas where they are most needed.
Anthony F. Wieners disagreed, stating that the proposed cuts “will result in the closing of many drug and gang task forces in California…and throughout the Mid-West, at a time when these forces are making tremendous strides in the fight against methamphetamine.” Senator Dianne Feinstein had discussed the issue of gang violence in her opening statement, noting that last week a section of L.A. had to be shut down due to gang violence and that programs to fight such violence are of premium importance.
Several participants brought up the issue that law enforcement agencies are already thinly stretched as a many law enforcement officers and FBI agents have been reassigned to cover terrorism cases. Two studies, one by the Brookings Institution and one by researchers at the University of Nebraska, found the COPS program has a direct impact on decreasing crime and is extremely cost-effective. In fact, its past success may be partially responsible for the current dearth of funding, as violent crime levels are near a historic low.
For more information on the hearing, go to: http://www.judiciary.senate.gov .
On Tuesday February 26, 2008, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a hearing to examine the reauthorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), a program that provides affordable heath insurance for children in low-income families.
Committee member Rep. Hilda Solis (El Monte) agreed that there ought to be state flexibility and noted that while SCHIP serves 19,000 people in her district, but 18,000 eligible children alone are still left without coverage. Committee member Rep. Anna Eshoo (San Mateo) explained that since many states, including California, are facing steep budget shortfalls, SCHIP must be reauthorized in order to provide security for low-income families. Rep. Lois Capps (Santa Barbara) said that reduction in SCHIP funding amounts to “billions of dollars that represents lost services to our nations neediest families.”
Witnesses included the Hon. Deval L. Patrick, Governor of Massachusetts; the Hon. Chris Gregoire, Governor of Washington; the Hon. Ted Strickland, Governor of Ohio; the Hon. Haley Barbour, Governor of Mississippi; and the Hon. Sonny Perdue, Governor of Georgia.
All witnesses urged the reauthorization of SCHIP, although some called for changes in the new bill. Gov. Perdue pushed for a new funding formula, stating that the success of SCHIP has caused the program to outgrow its original funding model. The funding formula provides more money to states with the greatest number of uninsured children as many states who have made great strides in reducing the number of uninsured now face budget shortfalls.”The better you are at implementing SCHIP, the less funding you receive”, he said.
Gov. Patrick called for the Center on Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to rescind its August 17th guidance letter on SCHIP, which reduced state flexibility in implementing it and Gov. Strickland suggested that Congress legislate a prohibition on enforcement of the Aug. 17 guidelines until “larger SCHIP reauthorization issues are settled.”
For more information visit: http://energycommerce.house.gov/
On Thursday, February 14, 2008, the House Transportation Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment held a hearing to address the revitalization of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Brownfields Program.
Brownfields are properties, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant. These are properties where real or potential environmental concerns pose a barrier to reuse. Estimates of the number of brownfields across the country range from 450,000 to more than one million properties.
The subcommittee was specifically interested in hearing stakeholder recommendations for potential improvements to the program. Some issues the committee brought up were expanding eligible uses of brownfields grants beyond site assessment and clean up to include other purposes, such as demolition costs; increasing the overall appropriations for the brownfields program beyond the $250 million level; and, creating effective performance measures to determine the extent to which the program is reaching its goals.
Susan Parker Bodine, Assistant Administrator in the Office of Solid Waste for the EPA, and Cleveland Councilman Matt Zone, speaking on behalf of the League of Cities, delivered the primary testimony.
Bodine testified that through 2007, “EPA’s Brownfields Program has assessed more than 11,500 properties, made more than 3,600 acres ready for reuse, generated more than 47,000 jobs, and leveraged more than $10.3 billion in economic development. Brownfields revitalization also produces long-term sustainability benefits, with every acre of brownfields reused saving 4.5 acres of greenspace.
“Working with communities, states, tribes and other federal agencies, the brownfields initiative has become a coordinated national effort, linking environmental protection, economic development and community revitalization,” Bodine testified. “Since the passage of the Brownfields Law in 2002, EPA has awarded 818 assessment grants to small and large communities, usually for $200,000 each, for a total of $175.5 million. For example, a $200,000 EPA assessment grant enabled the City of Gardena, California to perform environmental assessments on selected brownfields on a former airstrip more recently used for open-air swap meets. The city’s brownfields assessments drew immediate attention from private developers. Economic Development Director Yvonne Mallory said, ‘The city brought attention to several sites and helped spur development… no one paid attention until we got the Brownfields site money.’ Following assessments, Gardena acquired the former airstrip/swap meet area and plans to redevelop the site into a new, state-of-the art, public transportation facility.”
Zone lauded the benefits of the Brownfields Programs, but also made suggestions for improvement. He commented that the program “is vital for local governments in aiding their redevelopment efforts, but much work remains to be done.” He listed NLC priorities for Congress include increasing funding authorization levels for the Brownfields Programs, raising the cap on assessment grant amounts, whether site-specific or community-wide, and increasing technical assistance to communities. Additionally, he urged legislation to address and resolve disincentives created by potential liability to facilitate reuse of brownfield properties, adding that such legislation should provide a definitive limitation or elimination of liability for non-contributing local governments coming into title of previously contaminated properties involuntarily.
He also spoke to issues of environmental justice and sustainability associated with the program: “Local governments rightly approach brownfields redevelopment as an economic development activity. However, strategically redeveloping these contaminated properties means much more than dollars and taxes. It means correcting the environmental injustices unduly thrown upon those living in our impoverished neighborhoods that are host to a disproportionate share of brownfields. It means protecting our first responders by eliminating contaminated enclaves of criminal activity and structures of high fire risk.” He also urged “creating a more sustainable future by promoting urban infill rather than urban sprawl” and encouraging environmentally-friendly design and building stock.
For more information visit http://transportation.house.gov
According to press reports, House and Senate negotiators are nearing agreement on key provisions of a legislative package to alter rules for the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and expand the scope of that agency’s authority to intervene in the growing housing crisis. After meetings between top Democrats and Republicans from the relevant committees (House Financial Services and Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs), major differences have reportedly been ironed out. In particular, House Chairman Barney Frank (MA) has reportedly relented in his insistence that any bill contain a provision creating a $20 billion trust fund for affordable housing.
While some differences remain between the House and Senate drafts, the bills would reduce the percentage required for (or perhaps even eliminate) down payments on loans and would allow FHA to underwrite loans for higher-risk borrowers with less solid finances. The earlier House-passed version of the bill (H.R. 1852) had included an affordable housing trust fund; the Senate bill (S. 2338) did not; and the White House had strongly opposed the concept.
A key remaining difference as of this writing was reported to be over loan limits. The Senate bill would increase the maximum loan amount by $55,000 to a new limit of $417,000; the House bill would raise the limit above $600,000 in high-cost areas such as California. In any case, the proposed increases would be temporary.
On Wednesday, February 27, 2008, the Subcommittee on Border, Maritime, and Global Counterterrorism and the Subcommittee on Management, Investigations, and Oversight held a joint hearing entitled “Project 28: Lessons Learned and the Future of SBInet.” The hearing was held to address issues regarding the implementation of Project 28, the Customs and Border Patrol response to the project and its issues moving forward, and the technological shortfalls that have contributed to the delay in full implementation.
Subcommittee Chairwoman Loretta Sanchez (Lakewood) said SBInet programs have had an “ongoing struggle with transparency.” She expressed her desire to finally be objectively updated with the status of the program “openly and honestly.” She referenced previous testimony that attempted to show that committee members may have been misguided in their program expectations.
The primary witness testimony was delivered by Jayson Ahern, Deputy Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in the Department of Homeland Security; Mr. Richard Stana, Director of Homeland Security and Justice in the Government Accountability Office; and Mr. Roger Krone, President of Network and Space Systems and Integrated Defense Systems at The Boeing Company.
Deputy Commissioner Ahern said that Project 28 is “the promise of integrated surveillance and tracking capabilities” and is an important piece of CBP’s SBInet mission, but that it is getting a “disproportionate amount of attention compared to its scope and significance.” According to him, it is “not even the most important piece” of the program; the most important component is personnel, whose numbers have doubled in size since 2001. He also stated that the technologies associated with Project 28 are “some of the tools [used for securing the border], but not the only ones.” He further argued that in their current form, “use of some of these tools is more resource intensive that they may need to be.”
Ahern commented on the background of the program, the challenges it has faced, and how CBP is still moving forward with the SBInet program overall. He commented that the initial prototype demonstration along a 28-mile stretch of border in Arizona was designed as a proof-of-concept and the first building block for the system’s technology foundation. “As a prototype, the system was intended to (1) demonstrate the feasibility of Boeing’s SBInet solution and (2) establish baseline performance characteristics against the SBInet performance targets.” After initial modules were designed and installed, and adjustments responded to a testing program’s identification of areas needing further review, the Government conditionally accepted the plan, “so the Border Patrol could begin using the system to determine opportunities for improvements, as well as learn how it would enhance their operational capabilities.” He stated, “CBP has been deploying and continues to deploy these technology tools for our frontline personnel and we have not been waiting for or dependent upon the results of P-28 to do so. It is not a one-size-fits-all approach.”
In his statement, portions of which are found below, GAO’s Stana said that the Project 28 technology was deployed with limitations, but the contractor is resolving these on an ongoing basis. According to the GAO’s investigation, the operators of the technology said it “did not fully meet expectations.” Among the issues was that technological “incompatibilities could not be tested before deployment.” Stana commented: “Border Patrol agents in the P-28 location have been using the system as they conduct their border security activities since December 2007, and as of January 2008, 312 agents in the Project 28 location had received updated training. According to Border Patrol agents, while Project 28 is not an optimal system to support their operations, it has provided them with greater technological capabilities – such as improved cameras and radars – than the legacy equipment that preceded Project 28. [The technology] is expected to be replaced with updated technologies developed for SBInet.
Mr. Krone testified that Boeing is aware of system issues and is addressing them as the technology is deployed, adding that they will strive to incorporate overall operators into the program…to give input on development. He said the initial goal was “to develop core capabilities.”
Regarding lessons learned, Mr. Krone testified: “First, and most important, is the need for engagement with a complete set of customer stakeholders to include the actual SBInet users within the Border Patrol. Knowing how these various customers work together and understanding what technology and infrastructure serves best to assist them in accomplishing their mission is key to a successful SBInet program. We…are evolving the system to the needs and desires they express. “A second lesson learned is the need for much more capable command and control software, usually referred to as the Common Operating Picture (COP). The first edition of the next generation Common Operating Picture (COP 0.5) will be available in mid 2008. Another major lesson we have learned is the need for more robust integration and testing prior to deployment. In connection with that, Boeing has invested company funds to support DHS in the creation of new facilities to conduct the increased testing. We built a System Integration Lab [to] test and integrate system components in a lab environment prior to installing them in the field.”
For more information visit http://homeland.house.gov/Hearings/index.asp?ID=117 .
On Thursday, February 20, 2008, U.S. fusion energy technology experts came together for the annual Washington Fusion Day. The event was kicked off with their annual fusion day breakfast where participants addressed their priorities for this year: to show support for the President’s FY09 Budget Request for the Department Of Energy’s Science and Fusion Energy Science account and to retain support for the ITER program.
Haynes said that having researchers attend Fusion Day’s meetings on Capitol Hill is essential because they “help take responsibility for [their] program’s funding and lend [their] voice of support on the importance of federal funding of the physical sciences.” Fusion is the energy source of the sun and the stars. On earth, fusion research is aimed at demonstrating that this energy source can be used to produce electricity in a safe and environmentally benign way, with abundant fuel resources, to meet the needs of a growing world population.
ITER (the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) is a joint international research and development project that aims to demonstrate the scientific and technical feasibility of fusion power. The partners in the project – the ITER Parties – are the European Union (represented by EURATOM), Japan, and the People’s Republic of China, India, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation and the USA. ITER will be constructed in Europe, at Cadarache in the South of France.
“A robust domestic fusion research effort is required for the U.S. to support, supplement and benefit from ITER and to remain competitive in fusion research and ultimately, fusion energy,” said Haynes. According to the participants, “U.S. participation in ITER and U.S. domestic research are closely integrated. ITER participation is essential for any nation to be at the cutting edge of fusion research.”
U.S. Fusion Program participants based in California include General Atomics, the Universities of California (UC) at Davis, Berkeley, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Diego and Irvine; Stanford University, University of San Diego, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Cal Tech, and TSI Research, Inc., among others. California typically gets about half of federal fusion spending.
For more information go to http://www.ofes.fusion.doe.gov/ .
In January of 2008, the University of California Center for Environmental and Occupational Health released a report entitled “Green Chemistry: Cornerstone to a Sustainable California,” commissioned by the California Environmental Protection Agency’s (CalEPA) Green Chemistry Initiative.
The Initiative, begun in May 2007, is a collaborative approach for identifying options to significantly reduce the impacts of toxic chemicals on public health and the environment. Green chemistry is the design of chemical products and processes to reduce and/or eliminate substances hazardous to human health and the environment.
“The University of California’s green chemistry report supports and reinforces the significance of the state’s new environmental protection initiative on green chemistry. The University of California is an important partner in our efforts to establish a first-of-its-kind comprehensive policy for managing toxic chemicals in products,” CalEPA announced.
According to the Center, the report outlines “the principles of chemicals policy..[that] highlight the need for a modern, comprehensive solution to pressing health, environmental and economic problems associated with California’s management of chemicals and products.”
The policy suggestions address numerous issues, chief among them are the promotion of “science, technology, and commercial applications of green chemistry: the design, manufacture and use of chemicals, processes and products that are safer for human health and the environment.” The Center also stated that “[b]uilding new productive capacity in green chemistry will support a vibrant economy, open new opportunities for investment and employment, and protect human health and the state’s natural resources.”
California sells 644 million pounds of chemical products each day, enough to fill 2,700 tankers. The U.S. produces and imports 42 billion pounds of chemical products each day, equivalent to 623,000 full tankers.
For more information, visit http://coeh.berkeley.edu/greenchemistry/briefing/ .
On February 11, 2008, the Pew Hispanic Center released a new report, U.S. Population Projections: 2005-2050, concluding that if current trends continue, the population of the United States will rise to 438 million in 2050, from 296 million in 2005, and 82% of the increase will be due to immigrants arriving from 2005 to 2050 and their U.S.-born descendants. The nation’s racial and ethnic mix will change markedly by mid-century, the Pew Research Center’s projections show, with the Hispanic share of the population rising to 29%. Among non-Hispanic race groups, the Asian share will rise to 9%, the black share will hold steady at 13% and the white share will fall to 47%. The report was prepared by Jeffrey S. Passel and D’Vera Cohn.
Of the 117 million people added to the population during this period due to the effect of new immigration, 67 million will be the immigrants themselves and 50 million will be their U.S.-born children or grandchildren, the report states.
Among the other key population projections:
- Nearly one in five Americans (19%) will be an immigrant in 2050, compared with one in eight (12%) in 2005. By 2025, the immigrant, or foreign born, share of the population will surpass the peak during the last great wave of immigration a century ago.
- The major role of immigration in national growth builds on the pattern of recent decades, during which immigrants and their U.S.-born children and grandchildren accounted for most population increase. Immigration’s importance increased as the average number of births to U.S.-born women dropped sharply before leveling off.
- The Latino population, already the nation’s largest minority group, will triple in size and will account for most of the nation’s population growth from 2005 through 2050. Hispanics will make up 29% of the U.S. population in 2050, compared with 14% in 2005.
- Births in the United States will play a growing role in Hispanic and Asian population growth; as a result, a smaller proportion of both groups will be foreign-born in 2050 than is the case now.
- The non Hispanic white population will increase more slowly than other racial and ethnic groups; whites will become a minority (47%) by 2050.
- The nation’s elderly population will more than double in size from 2005 through 2050, as the baby boom generation enters the traditional retirement years. The number of working age Americans and children will grow more slowly than the elderly population, and will shrink as a share of the total population.
To obtain the report, go to www.pewhispanic.org .
On Monday, February 25, 2008, the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) released a report that analyzes information regarding immigration and crime. The report, “Crime, Corrections, and California: What Does Immigration Have to Do with It?” sought to examine the relationship, if any, between crime and incarceration rates and immigration. The report was authored by Kristin Butcher and Anne Morrison Piehl, with research support from Jay Liao.
The report was released at a time when the immigration debate is at the forefront in California and Washington, and when much unproven misinformation, according to the report, is being spread about the impact of immigrants on U.S. society.
Among the most interesting facts, the report finds that people born outside the United States make up about 35 percent of California’s adult population but represent only about 17 percent of the state prison population; U.S.-born adult men are incarcerated in state prisons at rates up to 3.3 times higher than foreign-born men; and, immigrants are far less likely than the average U.S. native to commit crime in California. For example, among men ages 18-40 – the age group most likely to commit crime – the U.S.-born are 10 times more likely than the foreign-born to be in jail or prison. Even among non-citizen men from Mexico ages 18-40 – a group disproportionately likely to have entered the United States illegally – the authors find very low rates of institutionalization.
The authors contend that such findings suggest that longstanding fears of immigration as a threat to public safety are unjustified.
PPIC and the California Institute will host a lunch briefing on this report on Friday, March 14, in Room B-369 Rayburn House Office Building at 12:00 noon. An invitation will be available in the near future.
For more information visit www.ppic.org .
A veteran California political observer and Sacramento Bee columnist will be in Washington on Thursday, March 6, 2008, to discuss a book examining the political rise and policy approach of the state’s current Governor. Dan Weintraub, a longtime columnist, will discuss his new book — entitled Party of One: Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Rise of the Independent Voter — on March 6 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Hunan Dynasty restaurant on Capitol Hill, at 215 Pennsylvania Ave. SE in Washington DC. In addition to Weintraub’s remarks, Michael Barone, who wrote the book’s foreword, will also be on hand. Those interested may contact [email protected] or view an announcement for the event at http://www.evite.com/app/publicUrl/VTXAHUTZWRNBYLIJNLGG/Weintraub .
On Tuesday, March 4, 2008, the California Space Authority will host a Capitol Hill reception to be held in conjunction with California Space Week. The event will take place from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
California Space Week is organized annually by the California Space Authority, a statewide non-profit focusing on space enterprise within the state of California. More than 50 people representing industry, academia, and the workforce are expected to participate in the event and meet with Congressional members and staff as well as executive branch officials from the White House, NASA, and the Departments of Defense, Labor, Commerce, and State to discuss issues related to space exploration, education and workforce, space science, and homeland security. Possible focus topics for the week include highlighting the economic benefits of NASA in California; adequate resources for national defense space; inspiring students to study science, technology, engineering and math; streamlining export licensing; and the application of space technology to homeland security challenges. California Space Week participants expect to meet with members and staff in the delegation’s Congressional offices on Wednesday, March 5.
For additional information, visit http://www.californiaspaceauthority.org .
On March 10, 2008, the California Institute will hold a luncheon briefing featuring remarks by the sole California member of the blue ribbon panel convened by Congress and the President to examine the condition and future needs of the nation’s surface transportation system, as well as short and long-term alternatives to replace or supplement the fuel tax as the principal revenue source to support the Highway Trust Fund over the next 30 years.
Congress created The National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission in 2005 under the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act—A Legacy for Users, more commonly known as SAFETEA-LU. The 12-member Commission was comprised of U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters and some of the nation’s top transportation experts, including Steve Heminger.
Appointed to the Commission by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (who was then Minority Leader), Steve Heminger is Executive Director of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) in San Francisco. MTC is the regional transportation planning and finance agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. It allocates more than $1 billion per year in funding for the operation, maintenance and expansion of the Bay Area’s surface transportation network.
The National Surface Transportation Commission’s report, released in January, offers a wide range of ideas and approaches for addressing the nation’s highway, rail, and transit issues and for revitalizing transportation in the U.S. The report is available at http://www.transportationfortomorrow.org/final_report/ . See also, Bulletin, Vol. 15, No. 1 (1/18/2008).
Full details regarding the March 10 luncheon featuring Heminger — to be held in Room B-340 of the Rayburn House Office Building — will be available in the near future.
As Congress faces growing conflicts over declining water supplies, grapples with our nation’s deteriorating water infrastructure, and considers how to ensure that the world’s poor have access to safe and affordable water, Food & Water Watch is sponsoring a conversation with outspoken activist Maude Barlow about her new book, entitled Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water. The discussion will take place on Friday, February 29, 2008, at 10:00 a.m. in Room 1116 of the Longworth House Office Building in Washington DC.
As described by the book’s author, Blue Covenant addresses an environmental crisis that — together with global warming — poses one of the gravest threats to our survival, the global water crisis. Blue Covenant takes an up-to-date and comprehensive look at both the global water crisis and the political struggle surrounding the world’s dwindling water supplies. Arguing that water is a basic right and should not be a commodity, Barlow explores not only the ecological and human crisis in detail but also the political struggle over control of freshwater.
Maude Barlow is head of the Council of Canadians, Canada’s largest public advocacy organization, and founder of the Blue Planet project. A recipient of Sweden’s Right Livelihood Award (“The Alternative Nobel”) for her work in the water justice movement, she is author of sixteen books, including (with Tony Clarke) Blue Gold, which has been translated into sixteen languages and published in nearly fifty countries. Sometimes called the “Ralph Nader of Canada,” Barlow is a member of the World Future Council and is on the board of directors of Food & Water Watch and the International Forum on Globalization.
No reply is necessary to attend the Friday briefing. A similar event will occur Friday evening from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Busboys & Poets, at 2021 14th Street, NW. For more information, contact Zach Corrigan at 202-683-2451 or [email protected] or visit www.fwwatch.org .
To contact the California Institute, visit our contact page. To subscribe to the weekly California Capitol Hill Bulletin or announcements of upcoming events, visit our subscribe page. The California Capitol Hill Bulletin is an email and fax publication devoted to the nexus between California and Washington DC — summarizing key Congressional or Administration activity from a uniquely or significantly California-oriented perspective. It is published free of charge on a weekly basis by the California Institute for Federal Policy Research and distributed to subscribed readers. To be removed from our lists or to change your memberships, visit our list management page.
The California Institute for Federal Policy Research ~ 1608 Rhode Island Ave, NW, Suite 213 ~ Washington DC 20036
This page was last modified on