DHS Sec. Nielsen explains shift in immigration policy on the Southern border

McALLEN — United States immigration policy at the southern border has shifted due to what Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Thursday called an overflowing of her agency’s facilities, leading to mass releases of immigrants to the streets of McAllen as city leaders attempt to help care for the hundreds of new arrivals every day. Instead of referring immigrant adults to federal court in McAllen for prosecution, Nielsen said in some cases federal authorities are releasing undocumented immigrants with a notice to appear that instructs the immigrants to come before an immigration judge at a later date. This process is reminiscent of the so-called catch and release policy during the Obama era, which President Trump has repeatedly denounced. During the Obama-led program, undocumented immigrants were issued the same notices, but Nielsen in a press conference at the McAllen Border Patrol station on Thursday firmly denied comparisons to the catch and release program. McAllen Monitor

Mexico president talks US investment with Trump son in law

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Wednesday that talks with White House senior adviser Jared Kushner have led to advances toward an agreement that would have the U.S. government guarantee some $10 billion in development investments for Mexico and Central America. The previously discussed investments would aim to reduce immigration from Mexico and Central America by providing more opportunities in those countries. Roughly half of the sum would go to Mexico while the remainder would be divided among Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, Lopez Obrador said. Laredo Morning Times

Report: Joe Biden mulling Georgia’s Stacey Abrams as 2020 running mate

Advisers to former Vice President Joe Biden are considering 2018 Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams as a potential candidate for vice president on a Biden ticket, the political news website Axios reported Thursday. Biden has yet to enter a very crowded 2020 Democratic presidential field officially but reportedly has been thinking about naming a running mate when he announces his candidacy. Abrams met with Biden in Washington, D.C., last week at Biden’s request, according to the Associated Press. She would give a Biden ticket not only racial and gender balance but, at age 45, make the slate significantly younger. Atlanta Business Chronicle

Pentagon Spending Is a Poor Job Creator

here they go again. Against strong evidence to the contrary, the Trump administration is touting weapons spending as the best way to bolster the American economy. Its persistence in doing so has more to do with an unwillingness to invest in other forms of job creation than with the economic benefits of Pentagon expenditures.

These realities did not prevent Peter Navarro, President Trump’s chief adviser on trade and economic matters, from taking to the pages of The New York Times to praise arms production as a boon to employment in advance of Trump’s visit to an Army tank plant in Lima, Ohio. Navarro’s central claim was that the Trump military buildup will create “good manufacturing jobs and good wages.”


A missed opportunity in Virginia to embrace renewable energy

Sustainability and profitability are not mutually exclusive. More and more American companies are demanding renewable energy options to power their businesses. You can be sure that these demands are motivated by economics, not philanthropy.

In Virginia, job creators from every corner of the commonwealth support state policies that enable greater customer choice for renewable energy. In fact, access to low-cost, clean energy was a key siting criteria for Amazon’s selection of Arlington for its second headquarters. (Amazon founder and chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Post.) Of course, companies from a variety of industries, not just the technology sector, understand that clean energy makes economic sense and has a positive impact on their bottom lines. Leading American businesses want the choice to run on cost-effective, renewable energy. However, many businesses in Virginia do not have access to these resources.

The Washington Post

Equipment manufacturers worry tariffs hurt their bottom line

Consumers, workers and growth in gross domestic product could be hit by the uptick in prices of steel, aluminum and other products needed to produce agricultural and construction equipment, a report released Monday by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, or AEM, warns. As the cost of producing such equipment rises to 6 to 7 percent, more than 20,000 jobs in equipment manufacturing could be lost and 260,000 that would have been added to the economy over the next 10 years won’t be, according to the report. It also suggests that 0.2 percent could be shaved off of the nation’s GDP in 2019 and 2020. Overall, however, the report predicts that GDP will continue to rise over the next two years. San Antonio Business Journal

Texas may collect more online sales taxes; Amazon on board

The Texas government could add about $550 million in revenue to the books for the next two years with the passage of two bills that would collect sales tax from out-of-state online retailers like eBay and LL Bean. The two pieces of legislation — filed by Senate Finance Chairwoman Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound — would enact the state’s response to last summer’s U.S. Supreme Court decision, South Dakota v Wayfair. The Wayfair decision, decided on a 5-4 vote, requires out-of-state sellers and online marketplace retailers to pay state and local sales taxes. Wayfair Inc. runs a website that sells home goods. Austin Business Chronicle

Gwinnett County, Ga. voters shoot down MARTA expansion

Gwinnett County voters have rejected a proposal to expand MARTA bus and rail service into the county. “No” voters in Tuesday’s transit referendum outnumbered supporters of the transit plan 49,936 to 41,985, or 54.3 percent to 45.7 percent. Voter turnout was 16.9 percent. The Gwinnett County Commission voted last summer to ask voters to increase the local sales tax by a penny to finance an ambitious transit expansion plan highlighted by an extension of MARTA heavy rail from the Doraville station in DeKalb County to a new multimodal hub that would be built near Jimmy Carter Boulevard and Interstate 85. The tax would have raised up to $170 million a year over 30 years. Atlanta Business Chronicle

Alabama ranks among most federally dependent states

Alabama is one of the top five most federally dependent states in the nation. That’s according to a recent study by WalletHub that compared the 50 states across two key dimensions – state residents’ dependency and state governments’ dependency – to determine which states depend most on federal funding. The study found Alabama ranks fifth in the nation where residents most depend on federal funding and 11th where the state government most depends on federal funding. According to the report, Alabama also received one of the highest amounts of federal contracts and other financial assistance and produces one of the lowest gross domestic products. Birmingham Business Journal

Gov. Bevin On Higher Ed Funding, Competing With Tennessee

When asked if he would support more funding for higher education in the next budget, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin said the state has “a finite amount of money.”

Speaking to local media after a recent Republican event at Murray State University, Bevin said he wished there was more money for higher ed, roads and law enforcement, but billions have been put into pension system.

“The reality is you have to pay the bills,” he said, and suggested funding as many things as possible with the remaining money. “You know this as families. You know this as businesses. We’ve gotta pay our bills. So we’re going to fund the pension because we have a legal and moral obligation to do it. And we’re going to the best of our ability, with the money that’s left, fund everything we can.”