Take Two®

News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by A Martínez

Friday Flashback: The border security debate and NSA turmoil

by Take Two®

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A fence runs along the US-Mexico border between the Otay Mesa and San Ysidro ports of entry in and near San Diego, California, across from Tijuana, Mexico (L). The barrier seperating the two countries known to many as the 'border fence' or the 'border wall' is in reality several barriers, designed to prevent illegal movement across the border, backed by supporters and criticized by opponents. FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

It's time for the Friday Flashback, where we look back and discuss the week's biggest topics with the journalists that cover them. This week, we're joined by Nancy Cook of the National Journal and James Rainey of the L.A. Times.

On the docket this week

Poll after poll shows a pretty wide majority of Americans favor reform of immigration laws. Immigration reform is under debate in the Senate, and the subject of a lot of wrangling in the House. It seems like there's continued optimism that the Senate plan will pass with a pretty big -bi-partisan majority. 

A Congressional Budget Office report released earlier this week showed that there would be a big economic plus — a trillion dollars in deficit reduction — if immigrants in this country are allowed to become citizens. But in the House, an elephant in the room for Republicans is leading to plenty of chaos over the bill. It's the idea that a path to citizenship will give Democrats what might be a generations long advantage. 

The other ongoing story of the summer has been the NSA. One of the great unknowns in government is the intelligence budget, and it looks like not even Congress knows how much the U.S. is spending on intelligence operations. 

Edward Snowden, the leaker of the NSA documents currently in hiding, is also still in the news. Many are questioning the journalists who broke the story of Snowden, and about how these people are rejecting the ethic of objectivity that is among the core values of the journalism profession. 

Finally, in the realm of government scandals, Michael Hastings, whose coverage of former U.S. general Stanley McChrystal lead to the military leader's resignation, was killed in a fiery car crash in Los Angeles earlier this week. We'll take a look into his career as an activist-based jouralist. 

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