Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Another voice: Do right, Congress, and make Dreamers legal

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program isn't lost yet. Members of Congress can save it by doing what once was commonplace — working across the aisle to advance common interests. The fate of about 800,000 immigrants — brought here as children by their undocumented parents — is ample inspiration for bipartisanship.

When Congress failed to legislate DACA, President Barack Obama created the program in 2012 by executive order. On Tuesday, the Trump administration rescinded the order, delighting Republicans who have taken a hard line on immigration as well as those who disapproved of Obama's end run around the legislative branch.

But these aren't the border scofflaws Americans love to hate. DACA protects young immigrants, known as the Dreamers, who enjoy much public sympathy. They're here through no action of their own. America is the only home many of them ever have known, and they have become acculturated to the American way. Many are in the military or in college, learning the knowledge and skills the American economy demands.

While immigration remains a national flashpoint — and there's no shame in any nation wanting to control its borders — protecting the Dreamers would be in keeping with American immigration history. The nation has taken a practical approach to immigration, welcoming immigrants because we needed them. Irish immigrants helped to build the Erie Canal, while those from eastern and southern Europe worked in the mines and mills. During the Bracero Program, in place from 1942 to 1964, millions of Mexican agricultural workers from Mexico traveled to America to meet labor shortages.

Now, there's sound basis for suggesting that America needs the Dreamers, too, and that deporting them would be cutting off our nose to spite our face, given the resources the nation already has invested in them.

Some parts of the country face dire shortages of workers. Why couldn't the Dreamers fill some of these slots?

Some Republican congressmen realize the Dreamers' special status — House Speaker Paul Ryan was among those who wanted Trump to keep DACA intact — and they now have the opportunity to rally support within their party or work with Democrats to save the program through legislation. Additional border security measures may be part of the deal.

Trump, an immigration hard-liner who has had kind words for the Dreamers, has given Congress six months to act. That's plenty of time to get the job done.


Another voice: Self-dealing by nursing home owners threatens patient care

The outsourcing of logistical support services, which became commonplace in the U.S. military in the 1990s and later was adopted by state prison systems, has now come to dominate the nursing home industry. And while nursing homes, unlike the military...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Editorial: Making illegal sewage discharges legal is wrong answer

Editorial: Making illegal sewage discharges legal is wrong answer

Three years into a crisis with its sewer system, St. Petersburg has a dandy new idea for dealing with the environmental fallout of dumping dirty water into the aquifer. Instead of committing to banning the outlawed practice, a consultant suggested th...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Editorial: Tighten substitute teacher rules in Hillsborough

Editorial: Tighten substitute teacher rules in Hillsborough

A substitute teacher at a Plant City elementary school berated a class of fourth graders — and then the school principal. Another compared a student to a stripper. Others were caught napping, hitting children, making sexual remarks, giving students b...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Editorial: Balancing the playing field for workers’ compensation

Editorial: Balancing the playing field for workers’ compensation

For the longest time, injured workers in Florida were basically at the mercy of the whims of employers to treat them fairly. A 2003 law aimed at reducing the cost of workers’ compensation coverage for businesses had the desired impact, but it also di...
Published: 01/16/18

Another voice: Why just Florida?

Cynicism has always been a part of politics, but rarely are politicians so brazen and self-serving as President Donald Trump and his interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, have been over the past week. First they announced a new offshore drilling plan that ...
Published: 01/16/18
Editorial: King’s legacy still relevant in digital age

Editorial: King’s legacy still relevant in digital age

Today’s holiday honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. couldn’t be more timely. At a moment when the nation’s civic dialogue is choking on personal and political division, it is hard to remember an earlier time when role models were role m...
Published: 01/15/18

Another voice: 38 minutes of fear in Hawaii

In 1938, Orson Welles panicked the nation with a false alarm about a Martian invasion in the radio broadcast The War of the Worlds. That was farfetched, of course. But what happened on Saturday, sadly, was not so hard to imagine — or believe.Authorit...
Published: 01/14/18
Updated: 01/16/18
Editorial: Florida’s chance to make it easier to restore civil rights

Editorial: Florida’s chance to make it easier to restore civil rights

As it has for decades, Florida stubbornly clings to an inhumane, inefficient and indefensible system of justice that permanently sentences more than 1.5 million residents to second-class citizenship. This state automatically revokes the right to vote...
Published: 01/13/18
Editorial: Speak out against Trump’s vulgar remarks

Editorial: Speak out against Trump’s vulgar remarks

President Donald Trump’s vulgar outbursts during a White House meeting on immigration are racist and indefensible no matter how he parses them. They are not presidential, they undermine U.S. foreign relations and they do not reflect America’s values....
Published: 01/12/18

Editorial: Pinellas commission stands up for accountability

The Pinellas County Commission has gotten the message that it should not be a rubber stamp. Commissioners sent a clear signal this week they will demand more accountability of local agencies by refusing to approve nominees for the board for CareerSou...
Published: 01/11/18
Updated: 01/12/18