Mitch Perry Report for 9.10.15 – Few presidential candidates offering specifics on refugee crisis

Mitch Perry

Yesterday in Brussels, Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Union’s top executive, proposed a plan to move approximately 160,000 refugees coming from war-torn and poverty-stricken nations in the Middle East and Africa in response to other countries to deal with the crisis gripping Europe.

Although often called “Europe’s problem,” there is increasing discussion about what the U.S. could, and should do to take in those fleeing Syria and other volatile parts of the world.

Yesterday Secretary of State John Kerry told lawmakers that he favors “significantly increasing the number of refugees the United States is willing to accept, possibly to as many as 100,000 next year,” according to today’s New York Times.

The issue is becoming something that every candidate on the campaign trail has had to weigh in on.

There has been one candidate head and shoulders above the rest in saying the U.S. needs to take in refugees from Syria – that being Martin O’Malley. Over the Labor Day weekend, O’Malley said that the U.S. should submit to United Nations demands and take 65,000 refugees by the end of next year.

Hillary Clinton said yesterday that the U.S.  should “do our part,” but didn’t cite a number, instead saying the U.S. should press for a global conference to deal with the issue.

Donald Trump has said that the U.S. should also take in some of the refugees, and Marco Rubio says the U.S. should be “open” to the idea.

The rest? Not so much.

Maybe things have changed in the past couple of days, but the Guardian called all 22 candidates running about the issue on Monday, and said that only O’Malley was talking about specific numbers.

The article concluded as such:

Lincoln Chafee, the former Rhode Island governor who is polling below 1% in the Democratic race, said the US “unfortunately bears a great deal of responsibility for the refugee crisis because of our invasion of Iraq and the spread of chaos in the region as a result.” He stopped short, however, of saying more refugees should be taken in, in his statement to the Guardian. Only two of the 22 candidates vying to hold the most powerful position in world policy – O’Malley and Kasich – appeared ready to go that far.

In other news…

The Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission passed a resolution yesterday hoping that they can end their feud with Uber by having the state Legislature pass a bill regulating TNC’s next year.

After the meeting, PTC Chair Victor Crist said he and PTC critic Jeff Brandes should share a beer and talk transportation. Brandes says he’s up for the beer, but isn’t likely to agree with Crist regarding the troubled agency.

Frank Reddick is staying relatively mum as the war of words heats up between the Tampa City Council and Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

Florida Democratic Party Vice-Chair Alan Clendenin has some issues with DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

And Jeff Brandes and says he believes the state’s policy on driver license suspensions is broken, with far too many Florida residents having their driving privileges suspended or revoked for reasons unrelated to their driving behavior.

Mitch Perry

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served five years as political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. Mitch also was assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley and is a San Francisco native who has lived in Tampa since 2000. Mitch can be reached at [email protected]


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