Presidential Debate Round 2
October 8, 2008
John McCain and Barack Obama squared off again last night in round two of the Presidential Debate Series. Like round one, there were some great questions about the future of our great country. This particular debate was more of a “Town Hall” format than debate. In fact, the candidates didn’t even debate each other, they just answered questions. Yesterday’s questions were heavily focused on the downturn in the economy, the war in Iraq and healthcare. The candidates did a better job on answering the questions and not attacking each other directly. It was pretty tame (nice way of saying lame).
I was surprised that there were no questions regarding domestic security and immigration reform. There are several bills pending today that address both issues. First is the E-Verify program allowing organizations to instantly verify an employee’s right to work. This program is set to expire in November and has overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives by a huge margin. Under this extension the program would be extended for five years. This program also allows employers to centralize their I-9 process and allow for electronic I-9 forms. Currently this renewal bill is sitting in the Senate.
Secondly, questions on domestic security were passed over. September 11th, 2001 was not all that long ago. There have not been too many significant bills regarding domestic terrorism since the Patriot Act was renewed. One bill that has caught my eye is HR 7033. This bill would provide safeguards with respect to the FBI criminal background checks prepared for employment purposes. The act is officially titled “Fairness and Accuracy in Employment Background checks Act of 2008.” Several reports prior to this act has the FBI admitting how inaccurate their databases are in regard to criminal records. This bill does NOT expand the industries that are allowed access to the system but strives to make the process better. Would FBI background checks stop terrorism? No, but checking your employees and people is a pillar of a strong security program. According to the Attorney General’s Report on Criminal History Background Checks:
Contrary to common perception, the FBI’s III system is not a complete national database of all criminal history records in the United States. Many state records, whether from law enforcement agencies or courts, are not included or have not been updated. For example, not all the state criminal history records or associated fingerprints meet the standards for inclusion in the III. Because of inconsistent state reporting requirements, some criminal history records involve offenses that are not submitted to the FBI. Other records that were submitted to the FBI do not have fingerprints of sufficient quality to be entered into the system. Moreover, many criminal history records may contain information regarding an arrest, but are missing the disposition of that arrest. Currently, only 50 percent of III arrest records have final dispositions. The records of more recent arrests, however, have a higher rate of completeness. Nevertheless, the III, while far from complete, is the most comprehensive single source of criminal history information in the United States, and provides users, at a minimum, with a pointer system that assists in discovering more complete information on a person’s involvement with the criminal justice system.
What does this have to do with the Presidential Debate? In today’s age security and terrorism remain fresh in everyone’s minds. Immigration Reform and Security go hand-in-hand and need to be addressed.
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