Sunday, June 24, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: The president acts on immigration because Congress won't

President Barack Obama's frustration with Congress' failure to address immigration reform is understandable, and his only alternative in the face of Republican opposition is to do what he can alone. With tens of thousands of unaccompanied children crossing the U.S. border, and virtually no chance that House Republicans will allow a vote this year on a comprehensive immigration bill, the president has to act to address this humanitarian crisis.

Obama was right that the nation can no longer continue to wait for Republicans to get past another election. Though House Speaker John Boehner blasted the president for not working with Congress, House leaders have only themselves to blame for not putting a viable bill to an up-or-down vote. The bipartisan comprehensive bill the Senate approved in June 2013 would have reformed the broken system in an orderly way. It would have provided billions of dollars in additional border security, tools for attracting foreign labor to meet America's workforce needs and a lengthy path to citizenship to bring the 12 million illegal immigrants already here into American society.

Obama offered no specifics Monday about how he would proceed, declaring only that he would act by late summer. He announced that federal officials would shift some assets of the border and immigration system from the interior to the south. That's a practical step that should improve conditions for thousands of children who have made the dangerous journey and are being held in cramped detention facilities. It should also help overburdened border states such as Texas and Arizona that are bearing the brunt of this challenge to public health and safety.

Congress should approve Obama's request for $2 billion in emergency aid to deal with the border crisis as unaccompanied children continue to stream in from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. The total could reach 92,000 children this year, which would further burden an overtaxed enforcement system. The administration needs to move on the diplomatic front to address the poverty, violence and political volatility across Central America that feeds the exodus. And it needs to make clear to parents in Central America and elsewhere that the United States will maintain its borders and that there is no free pass for children who arrive alone at the border.

The lack of a comprehensive immigration strategy sends a mixed message overseas and forces the administration to deal ad hoc with enforcement and hardship cases. Confronting reality is still better than pretending that the border is impregnable, or that states can do Washington's job alone, or that children are not at risk. But a meaningful fix for immigration still will require congressional action — and for that, Republicans need to demonstrate they are as interested in governing as they are in campaigning and attacking the administration.

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Editorial: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

Editorial: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

Itís hard to pick the biggest outrage in the financial and ethical swamp that has swallowed Tampa Bayís two primary job placement agencies, CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay. Is it the boiler room atmosphere where CareerSource recruite...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18

Family separation crisis is not over

The family-separation crisis that President Donald Trump created is not over. The executive order Trump signed Wednesday purporting to end the routine tearing of children from their undocumented parents stands on uncertain legal ground. U.S. border a...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: State help needed to staff hotlines with veterans helping veterans

Editorial: State help needed to staff hotlines with veterans helping veterans

Veterans can help veterans deal with trauma resulting from military service in a way no one else can. Thatís the theory behind a special hotline set up in the Tampa Bay area that proponents are hoping to take statewide.The expansion would cost some $...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

It turns out the U.S. Supreme Court has a better grasp of the economic realities of the 21st century than Congress or the Florida Legislature. The court ruled Thursday that states can require online retailers to collect sales taxes even if the retail...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

The shocking scenes of immigrant children crying after being taken from their parents at the border exposed a new level of cruelty by the Trump administration, and though the president reversed course Wednesday, Congress needs to end the shameful pra...
Published: 06/21/18
Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Good job, Jeff Sessions! It seems the attorney generalís misguided attempts to revive the unpopular and unjust federal war on marijuana may be having the exact opposite effect ó prompting a new bipartisan effort in Congress to allow states to legaliz...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Editorial: A court victory for protecting Floridaís environment

Editorial: A court victory for protecting Floridaís environment

A Tallahassee judge has affirmed the overwhelming intent of Florida voters by ruling that state lawmakers have failed to comply with a constitutional amendment that is supposed to provide a specific pot of money to buy and preserve endangered lands. ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Innocent children should not be used as political pawns. That is exactly what the Trump administration is doing by cruelly prying young children away from their parents as these desperate families cross the Mexican border in search of a safer, better...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Editorial: ATF should get tougher on gun dealers who violate the law

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for polic...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/18/18
Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
Published: 06/15/18