As President Obama’s second inauguration draws near, the Capitol seems oddly quiet. On Thursday, Republican House members retreated to a golf course in Williamsburg, Virginia, for a secret strategy session on how to regain some political mojo.

Democrats, meanwhile, are thinking guns, immigration and the coming battle over raising the debt ceiling. I’ve met with  several freshmen members of California’s delegation this week, and overall they seem an impressive bunch, if not still a little green. Doug LaMalfa, a fourth-generation rice farmer still getting his sea legs, asked in the middle of my interview, “Am I doing all right here?”

He was doing fine.

Anyway, the quiet no doubt precedes a coming storm over those big issues I mentioned. But before that: the presidential inaugural on Monday, a celebration with ceremonial oaths of office, a big speech and the Star Spangled Banner sung by Beyoncé.

On the policy front, Democrats seems split on how to move ahead on gun control legislation — piecemeal or comprehensive. But on immigration there seems to be the outline of a bipartisan agreement shaping up, with Florida Senator Marco Rubio describing a Republican path to legal status for the 11 million undocumented immigrants here. This sounds a lot like what President Obama offered in the past. So what’s new? The November election results, that’s what, and the overwhelming support the president received from Latinos and Asian voters — the fastest growing segment of the electorate. And Republican-leaning groups — agricultural, religious and business interests — who seem to agree this needs to get done.

On Monday I spoke with San Jose Rep. Zoe Lofgren, the ranking Democrat on the House Immigration subcommittee, about the path forward on immigration. She says that she’s “cautiously optimistic” that legislation can be passed.

“In November, the Republican candidate for president, Mr. Romney, got under 30 percent of the vote among Asian voters and under 30 percent among Latino voters,” she said. “A lot of analysts have said that if the Republicans can’t get right with these fast-growing demographic groups, there’s just not going to be another Republican president.”

Here’s the video

  • http://www.facebook.com/lance.johnson.5074 Lance Johnson

    Let’s face it, this immigration thing is a 20th century issue that has
    slopped over into the 21st century and the time has come to finally resolve it
    in an intelligent fashion. An interesting new worldwide book/ebook that helps
    explain the role, struggles, and contributions of immigrants and minorities is “What Foreigners Need To Know About America From A To Z: How to understand crazy American culture, people, government, business, language and more.” It paints a revealing picture of America for those who will benefit from a better understanding. Endorsed by ambassadors, educators, and editors, it also informs those who want to learn more about the last remaining superpower and how it compares to other nations on
    many issues.

    As the book points out, immigrants and minorities are a major force in America, as Romney and the GOP recently discovered. Immigrants and the children they bear account for 60 percent of our nation’s population growth and own 11 percent of US businesses and are 60 percent more likely to start a new business than native-born Americans. They represent 17 percent of all new business owners (in some states more than 30 percent). Foreign-born business owners generate nearly one-quarter of all
    business income in California and nearly one-fifth in New York, Florida, and New Jersey.

    Legal immigrants number 850,000 each year; undocumented (illegal) immigrants are estimated to be half that number. They come to improve their lives and create a foundation of success for their children to build upon, as did the author’s grandparents when they landed at Ellis Island in 1899 after losing 2 children to disease on a
    cramped cattle car-like sailing from Europe to the Land of Opportunity. Many
    bring skills and a willingness to work hard to make their dreams a reality, something our founders did four hundred years ago. In describing America, chapter after chapter identifies “foreigners” who became successful in the US and contributed to our society. However, most struggle in their efforts and need guidance in Anytown, USA. Perhaps intelligent immigration reform, concerned citizens and books like this can extend a helping hand. Here’s a closing quote from the book’s Intro: “With all of our cultural differences though, you’ll be surprised to learn how much our countries—and we as human beings—have in common on this littlethird rock from the sun. After all, the song played at our Disneyland parks around the world is ‘It’s A Small World After All.’ Peace.” http://www.AmericaAtoZ.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dave-Francis/100003689645540 Dave Francis

    FIRST OUR GUNS, AND MORE TAXES TO BE TAKEN TO SUPPORT ILLEGAL ALIENS.

    Everybody can have a say in this illegal immigration controversy, by calling their federal and state representatives? President Obama is determined to give people who have no respect for our laws, a path to citizenship; even low key criminals. Zero-in on your politicians and demand they vote for passage of Texas Republican Lamar Smith “(The Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 2885)” to remove unauthorized workers from nationwide business by implementing mandated E-Verify. Both businesses and the American people overwhelmingly support E-Verify. Nearly 360,000 American employers voluntarily use E-Verify and over 2,700 new businesses sign up every week. The program quickly confirms 99.5% of work-eligible employees. It’s free, fast, and easy to use. With 23 million Americans unemployed or underemployed and seven million illegal immigrants working in the U.S., now is the time to increase E-Verify. Then also demand passage of the “Birthright Citizenship bill (Rep. Steve King, R-IA; H.R.140)”, which will collapse the intentional smuggling of the illegal unborn into the United States to collect hundreds of billions of dollars in entitlements from taxpayers by parents.

    Called “anchor babies,” the children of illegal immigrants born in the United States cannot actually prevent deportation of their parents. It is not until they attain the age of 21 that the children are able to file paperwork to sponsor their parents (CHAIN MIGRATION) for legal immigration status. The cost is unparalleled for the U.S. taxpayer who is charged with the free education, health care and low income shelter and cash payments. The parents remain exposed until that point. A well regulated Guest Labor force could be provided for agriculture, but not permanent residency. Plus the STEM program for technical professionals who wish to immigrate, but not unlimited numbers. The impoverished should not apply, as America has millions of its own under privileged. All the facts, the shocking costs to federal and mainly states welfare benefits, which the Liberal Progressives press, does not wish to be known at NumbersUSA website.

    Are we about to lose our rights, our guns and a say on illegal immigration?

Author

Scott Shafer

Scott migrated to KQED in 1998 after extended stints in politics and government. Now he covers those things and more as host of the California Report and Senior Correspondent for KQED Newsroom. When he's not asking questions you'll often find him in a pool playing water polo. Find him on Twitter @scottshafer

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