That Was the Week That Was
came reverberatingly to mind with the news of the last seven days.
The week began with the airing of a surreptitiously recorded video of presidential candidate Mitt Romney wishing out loud to an audience of wealthy contributors that, if his dad, George, the late Michigan governor, had not been born in Mexico of an American mother and father but instead of "Mexican parents, I'd have a better shot at winning this. I mean, I say that jokingly, but it would be helpful to be Latino." As the week proceeded, his campaign staff had to walk back Romney's claim
that he'd never met anti-immigrant lawyer and father of AZ's SB1070, Kris Kobach (according to CNN, "Romney and Kobach have, in fact, met before at campaign events -- but not in formal policy meetings"). The week ended with the resolution of a controversy stirred up by Stephen Colbert suggesting that the candidate had applied tanning spray before his appearance on Univision as a pander to its Latino viewers
. The truth is that Romney's Ricardo Montalban look, as Univision has confirmed, came at the heavy hand of the network's make-up artist
who daubed on too much "MAC Studio Fix powder and foundation."
President Obama likewise had his turn on the Univision hot seat, admitting (duh!) that his biggest failure was failing to pass comprehensive immigration reform
, and splitting hairs with the moderators over whether he had promised or not promised to do so (or merely try) in his first year in office or first term.
Another laughable moment came when the White House issued a statement
and the State Department a video
claiming how much easier than perceived it now is to visit America. Yes, they are right that more consular resources, enhanced customer service training and better queuing at ports of entry, among other measures, will improve the inbound traveler's experience. But nothing will fundamentally create better first impressions until minimal standards of fairness are established for consular visa interviews
and CBP interrogations
. Yet another Administration official, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, surprised many with the risible observation that immigration hasn't been much of "a linchpin, red hot issue"
in the presidential campaign. Tell that to the 10 million Hispanic-Americans
whose votes may be suppressed this year.
Congress too contributed to the week's fatuous merriment with the "BRAIN-STEM" follies. Senator Schumer proposed a new BRAINS act
which would allow a smart foreigner with family members to enter every time we deport an equivalent number of permanent residents. In the other chamber, House partisans bickered and failed to pass a green-cards-for-STEM-students bill that failed -- as Bill Clinton might say -- over "arithmetic." Republicans wanted to eliminate 55,000 Diversity-Lottery visas to provide the immigrant-visa currency for the additional Science, Technology, Engineering and Math graduates from U.S. universities who would receive green cards, while the Democrats wanted to add, not subtract, green-card quota numbers for additional STEM graduates
On the international front, an Italian court affirmed criminal convictions in absentia
of 22 Americans (allegedly CIA operatives) by tossing a creamy tiramisu (a confection translated as "lift me up") at a Bush-era immigration policy known as rendition
-- the act of removing (airlifting?) individuals from one country and forcibly immigrating them to another where they are likely to be tortured. In other judicial news, a federal judge in Arizona lifted an injunction
on the surviving piece of SB1070, known as the "show me your papers" provision, which many fear will play out as a "driving or walking while Hispanic" basis for arrest and removal.
The week's levity aside, some important and serious things happened as well: