- Associated Press - Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Republican of Springfield (Mass.), April 17, 2014

There’s a special place in heaven for former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

At least that’s how Bloomberg sees it.

Citing his efforts to curb obesity, his work to stamp out smoking, and his newest endeavor, a group looking to stem gun violence, Bloomberg told The New York Times: “I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.”

Ultimately, of course, this will be a decision for a higher authority, though there’s little doubt that the 72-year-old billionaire is doing his best with his time here on earth.

The new group, on which Bloomberg plans to spend some $50 million, will focus on electing candidates who support reasonable efforts to curb gun violence. One example: appropriate background checks meant to keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them.

When the talk turns to guns, reason is frequently the first to leave the room. Or at least to duck for cover. Most folks have positions that leave no wiggle room: It’s either-or.

Building a group to rival the NRA will not be an easy task.

It shouldn’t have to be this way. One ought reasonably to be able to support a constitutional right to gun ownership, and at the same time back reasoned limits.

“The test of a first-rate intelligence,” F. Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote, “is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.”

If only.

Bloomberg isn’t looking to create a group that would ban guns. But that’s what you will soon enough be hearing from a certain wild-eyed faction, folks who apparently have the ability to hold onto but one single notion.

For these people, the only acceptable limits are no limits at all.

Bloomberg has his work cut out for him. But he is tenacious. And he’s got money. Who knows - maybe he’s even got a prayer.

Foster’s Daily Democrat of Dover (N.H.), April 15, 2014

If Jeb Bush was looking to light a fire under the debate over illegal immigration and the question of amnesty, he succeeded in flying colors.

The son of Bush 41 and the brother of Bush 43 called illegal immigration an “act of love.”

He made the comment during an interview with Fox News host Shannon Bream at the Texas presidential library of his father, George H.W. Bush.

There is little doubt the comment was planned, prefaced by his saying, “I’m going to say this and it will be on tape and so be it.”

Bush wasn’t necessarily saying illegal immigration was right or good. But he certainly was rationalizing.

“The way I look at this is someone who comes to our country because they couldn’t come legally … and they crossed the border because they had no other means to work, to be able to provide for their family, yes, they broke the law, but it’s not a felony.

“It’s an act of love, it’s an act of commitment to your family.”

Were the debate over illegal immigration so singularly focused it might have been settled long ago.

Truth be told, love is only one of many reasons our borders are breached on a regular basis. And it is worth noting that as our economy soured after the crash of 2008 immigrating for love (read: jobs) seemed to briefly decline.

Over the following years, the decline was attributed to a variety of reasons - job losses north of the border and stepped up deportations among them.

Now with the economy improving - and we would argue talks of amnesty - illegal immigration is edging up.

Jobs are returning and our economy is getting better - renewed incentives to sneak across our borders.

But for all Bush missed in his comments, this presidential hopeful may have helped re-frame the debate.

Building a wall and denying the need to grant some of an estimated 12,000 undocumented aliens the legal right to be here is just as simplistic as Bush’s love doctrine.

Illegal immigration is a tree of many branches and roots.

There are the children of illegal immigrants who bear no culpability for their status inside our borders. There are those who have honestly sought to put food on their table by taking jobs Americans won’t. There are drug dealers and gun runners. And there are welfare cheats.

Taken together they tally an estimated 11 million to 12 million illegal immigrants within our borders.

All this means there is no “one size fits all” answer.

Perhaps what Bush intended was to be as nonsensical as those who want to build miles of defensive walls, then try to find ways to send all 12 million packing.

Just as love does not conquer all, neither will turning a blind eye to the realities of illegal immigration.

Fixing our broken immigration system is in the best interests of our country as a whole.

For example, the business community is desperately in need of a revised visa program, and not just for farm labor.

As reported by the Mercury News on April 7: “Deeply frustrating Silicon Valley’s tech industry, federal officials on Monday announced that the annual cap on the number of H-1B visas for skilled foreign workers has been reached less than a week after applications for the controversial program were accepted.”

The bottom line to this debate is the need for immigration reform that addresses the many layers of the problem.

That means moving the debate from one of love and hate to one of need and ability.

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