Politics & Reform: Can the States Assist in Immigration Policy?
Save Alaska, Texas and California are America’s largest states (by area), and with their big land, they’ve got big ideas! With both states bordering Mexico, they’ve decided to take on the immigration issue, given the federal system does not seem to be very effective.
It seems said states are taking their cues from Canada and Australia, which also have continent-spanning countries with diverse melting pots of culture. “In a recent report, Canada called its Provincial Nominee Program a success; 96% of the program’s immigrants to Manitoba, British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan were employed within a year, many filling niche rolls in the labor market.”
“If the U.S. government followed that example and relinquished some migration powers to state governments, we’d see a proliferation of different visas regulated in various ways.”
California is exploring the implementation of high tech and agricultural jobs for new immigrants, and similarly Texas might incorporate visas for agriculture, high tech, and construction positions.
And Michigan is even considering a program for real estates investors in Detroit. If all goes well, these pilots programs may develop in many more states.
The Assembly of California Assembly recently passed worker visa bill doctored by Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Salinas). Alejo acknowledged that the federal system has been failing and offered, “If California wants change in immigration policy, we as state officials must stand up and lead.” This bill would, in fact, grant currently residing farmworkers a visa to continue employment.
Although this program may ease some immigration woes, there are concerns, such as abuse of guest workers which unfortunately has occurred previously at the federal level. One solution could be to connect the worker visa to the employment in a specific State, rather than to individual employers.
It seems that States are in a “better position than the federal government to discover, appropriately punish, and design programs to prevent worker abuse. State guest workers would not be eligible for citizenship,” considering the federal government chooses naturalization.
While not yet perfect, at least this program could create custom-tailored jobs to meet local needs. And given the difficulties with immigration laws at the federal level, why not allow States to give it a-go, especially considering they’re doing a decent job ironing out other federal issues, such as welfare, education, and drug policies?
Auto Industry & Sustainability: Exploring New Uses for Old Electric Car Batteries.
Like the previous story, this article is most exciting for me as it proposes new usages for old electric car batteries. Noting that typically old batteries are disposed of only to gather dust in a junk yard or maybe in the back of an auto dealer lot — not cool! While old electric car batteries can no longer power a car, they still have enough power in them to execute smaller tasks.
“On Monday, Nissan plans to announce that it has teamed up with startup Green Charge Networks to reuse batteries from Nissan’s LEAF electric car to store energy for commercial and industrial buildings. The partnership is an important milestone because Nissan’s LEAF is among the best selling electric cars with over 70,000 sold in the U.S.”
This of course is a relatively new industry, given that the electric cars started hitting the roads approximately five years ago. As such, said batteries are at their 5-6 year mark, where many are now expiring, opening the opportunity for these to be re-purposed.
Luckily, Nissan is not the only company looking to extend the life of their electric car batteries. GM announced their plans for other battery uses yesterday at the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference, having spent time and energy with heavy hitters ABB and Duke Energy.
“Green Charge Networks is among a handful of startups that are using low cost batteries to help corporate customers manage their energy use. When electricity rates are high, like during a hot summer afternoon, it automatically shifts customer energy use from the traditional power grid to batteries. The goal is to help clients lower their electricity bills. UPS, 7-Eleven, and Walgreens are among the companies that have signed on.”
Across our beautiful world, We Are All One.