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POLITICS: PennAve

Big Ideas: On entrepreneurship, prison and amnesty

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Immigration,PennAve,Joseph Lawler,Economy,Think Tanks

Ilya Shapiro for Cato at Liberty: It's very expensive to visit many cities in the United States. New York City is perhaps the most expensive, not only because of the finite space in such a densely populated city, but because of numerous taxes on lodging and regulations like rent control that artificially create lodging shortages.

Nevertheless, there is still high demand to visit cities like New York, and the market has found a way to make those visits more affordable. Airbnb is an online service that allows members to stay in people’s spare rooms, apartments and homes in cities all over the world, often much more cheaply than the average hotel stay in the area.

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, however, is challenging the entrepreneurial innovation — probably under pressure from special interests who would like the government to stifle their competition. This is crony capitalism as usual. As we’ve seen here in D.C., established businesses like brick-and-mortar restaurants and taxicab drivers use their connections to government to squeeze out competition like food trucks and the Uber personal car service that challenge the status quo. ...

Government overreach like Schneiderman’s campaign punishes not only Airbnb hosts and travelers, but also the New York economy as a whole as fewer people will be able to visit New York.

 

KEEP YOUR FRIENDS CLOSE, AND YOUR PRISONERS CLOSER

Nancy La Vigne and Sam Taxy for the Urban Institute's metrotrends: Yesterday, the Federal Bureau of Prisons decided to allow female prisoners who hail from the region surrounding the Danbury [Conn.] Federal Correctional Institution to remain at the facility, where a new prison will be built to house the growing population. The decision is being heralded as a welcome reversal -- and rightly so. Our analysis shows that 41 percent of women housed in Danbury -- a location familiar to fans of Piper Kerman's memoir and the popular Netflix series "Orange is the New Black" -- live in Connecticut or nearby Northeastern states from Pennsylvania through Maine.

Why does proximity to home matter? Distance from prison is the greatest barrier to maintaining contact with family and loved ones during incarceration.

Keeping in touch with family is a critical component of successful re-entry. Our research has found that families are an important influence on the re-entry process, with higher levels of family support linked to higher employment rates and reduced recidivism following release.

But the positive role that families can play is dependent on the degree of contact they have with their incarcerated loved ones. In-prison contact with family members leads to closer family relationships following release. Such contact allows parents to maintain connections with their children, which in turn encourages them to keep their lives on track upon release.

 

IMMIGRATION REFORM VS. IMMIGRATION OFFICERS?

David Inserra for the Heritage Foundation's foundry: Chris Crane, president of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council, which represents immigration enforcement officers, recently called on Congress to resist immigration reforms that harm his officers' ability to do their jobs:

"ICE officers are being ordered by [administration] political appointees to ignore the law. Violent criminal aliens are released every day from jails back into American communities. ICE officers face disciplinary action for engaging in routine law enforcement actions. We are barred from enforcing large sections of the Immigration and Nationality Act, even when public safety is at risk. Officer morale is devastated."

If this were the U.S. Capitol Police, the Secret Service or the military, Congress would be outraged, the president would react firmly and swiftly, and pundits and groups from across the country would be demanding this problem be fixed. Sadly, though, nothing is being done to fix this broken and dangerous state of affairs.

In fact, the situation is even scarier. As the ICE letter points out, President Obama continues to order ICE officers to ignore ever-growing sections of immigration law and undertake actions that create a risk to public safety. The Senate has passed a gargantuan immigration bill that includes mass amnesty, tons of handouts to special interests, and enough waivers and exemptions to make Obamacare officials jealous.

Notably, the Senate bill does little to actually support the hard-working men and women of ICE and other immigration enforcement agencies. Even worse, amnesty would make the work of ICE even more difficult by encouraging more illegal immigration and adding new classes of provisional immigrants who have special rules that apply to them.

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