Rubio Calls Reports of Immigration Deal ‘Premature’

As several of the senators taking part in a bipartisan effort to overhaul to the nation’s immigration laws appeared on the Sunday talk shows to sound an optimistic note, Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida and a member of the group, offered a strongly worded note of caution: “No agreement on immigration legislation yet,” read a headline, in all capital letters, of a statement released by his office on Sunday.

“I’m encouraged by reports of an agreement between business groups and unions on the issue of guest workers,” Mr. Rubio said in the statement. “However, reports that the bipartisan group of eight senators have agreed on a legislative proposal are premature.”

Mr. Rubio was referring to news reports on Saturday saying that the nation’s leading business and labor groups had reached an agreement on a guest worker program for low-skilled workers — an issue that had been among the final sticking points in the overall immigration negotiations among the group of eight senators.

“We have made substantial progress, and I believe we will be able to agree on a legislative proposal that modernizes our legal immigration system, improves border security and enforcement and allows those here illegally to earn the chance to one day apply for permanent residency contingent upon certain triggers being met,” Mr. Rubio said. “However, that legislation will only be a starting point.”

On Saturday, as news of the deal between business and labor broke, Mr. Rubio sounded a similar refrain of caution, sending a letter to Senator Patrick Leahy, Democrat of Vermont and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, warning Mr. Leahy not to take up immigration reform with “excessive haste.”

Mr. Rubio, one of four Republicans in the group, was elected in 2010 as part of a Tea Party wave, and seems determined to emerge from any immigration bargain with his conservative credentials intact; at the outset, he went on something of a one-man media tour, trying to sell the broad principles behind an immigration overhaul to conservative hosts on television and radio. Recently he has been saying that he believes an immigration bill needs to be the result of a deeply deliberate process.

Speaking on the CNN program “State of the Union” on Sunday, Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and a member of the group, said that while the eight senators still needed to sign off on the language of an immigration bill, they had largely reached an agreement in principle and he was confident that a bill would be introduced imminently.

“I think we’ve got a deal,” Mr. Graham said. “We’ve got to write the legislation.”

Mr. Graham added: “It will be rolled out next week.”

Mr. Rubio’s statement, meanwhile, called for a healthy debate if and when the group does introduce an immigration bill.

“We will need a healthy public debate that includes committee hearings and the opportunity for other senators to improve our legislation with their own amendments,” he said. “Eight senators from seven states have worked on this bill to serve as a starting point for discussion about fixing our broken immigration system. But arriving at a final product will require it to be properly submitted for the American people’s consideration, through the other 92 senators from 43 states that weren’t part of this initial drafting process. In order to succeed, this process cannot be rushed or done in secret.”

Sunday Breakfast Menu, March 31

Sunday's Breakfast MenuStephen Crowley/The New York Times

Two members of the bipartisan Senate group working on overhauling immigration policy — Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, and Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona — will be on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Business and labor leaders reached a deal on a guest worker program for low-skilled immigrants on Friday.

NBC will also have a conversation about immigration and guns with David Axelrod, former White House adviser, and Tom Davis, former Republican congressman. In addition, a panel including Rob Reiner, the actor and director who is a critic of California’s same-sex marriage ban and attended last week’s Supreme Court arguments, and Brian S. Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, will weigh in on the decisions now up to the court.

Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, and Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, will appear on CNN’s “State of the Union” to talk about immigration, guns and the budget. Also on the program are Theodore B. Olson and David Boies, the lawyers who joined forces to fight California’s same-sex marriage ban.

CNN also talks to the chaplain of the Senate, the Rev. Dr. Barry C. Black, and of the House, the Rev. Patrick J. Conroy.

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York will appear on ABC’s “This Week” and CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Easter Sunday to talk about the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis.

Mayor Cory Booker of Newark and Representative Peter T. King, Republican of New York, will also join ABC to talk about politics, and the program will feature a panel discussion about the intersection of religion and politics.

CBS will also have a conversation about religion in the United States with the imam of the Islamic Society of Boston, Suhaib Webb; Rabbi David Wolpe of the Sinai Temple in Los Angeles; Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington; and Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr. of Hope Christian Church in Baltimore.

Mark E. Kelly, the astronaut and husband of the former United States Representative Gabrielle Giffords, discusses his push for stronger gun control measures on “Fox News Sunday.” Also, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington joins the program to weigh in on the debate over same-sex marriage and the pope.

Univision’s “Al Punto,” which is on Sunday at 10 a.m. Eastern, will feature an interview with President Obama, among other guests. In the pre-recorded segment, he discusses his efforts to revamp the immigration system.

C-Span’s “Newsmakers” features Richard Trumka, president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., who will discuss the immigration debate and its effect on American workers.

On Bloomberg’s “Capitol Gains,” Charles Ward, a retired Air Force general, will talk about cuts to defense spending, and Clay Jones, chairman and chief executive of Rockwell Collins, a defense contractor, will discuss the effects of sequestration on his company. The program airs Sundays at noon Eastern.

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, former archbishop of Washington, appeared on Bloomberg’s “Political Capital,” which is on Fridays with repeats over the weekend.

TV One’s “Washington Watch” will air a special edition, “Amazing Grace: Drama in the Black Church,” Saturday at 7 p.m. Eastern, which will run again Sunday at 11 a.m.

Sunday Breakfast Menu, March 31

Sunday's Breakfast MenuStephen Crowley/The New York Times

Two members of the bipartisan Senate group working on overhauling immigration policy — Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, and Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona — will be on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Business and labor leaders reached a deal on a guest worker program for low-skilled immigrants on Friday.

NBC will also have a conversation about immigration and guns with David Axelrod, former White House adviser, and Tom Davis, former Republican congressman. In addition, a panel including Rob Reiner, the actor and director who is a critic of California’s same-sex marriage ban and attended last week’s Supreme Court arguments, and Brian S. Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, will weigh in on the decisions now up to the court.

Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, and Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, will appear on CNN’s “State of the Union” to talk about immigration, guns and the budget. Also on the program are Theodore B. Olson and David Boies, the lawyers who joined forces to fight California’s same-sex marriage ban.

CNN also talks to the chaplain of the Senate, the Rev. Dr. Barry C. Black, and of the House, the Rev. Patrick J. Conroy.

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York will appear on ABC’s “This Week” and CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Easter Sunday to talk about the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis.

Mayor Cory Booker of Newark and Representative Peter T. King, Republican of New York, will also join ABC to talk about politics, and the program will feature a panel discussion about the intersection of religion and politics.

CBS will also have a conversation about religion in the United States with the imam of the Islamic Society of Boston, Suhaib Webb; Rabbi David Wolpe of the Sinai Temple in Los Angeles; Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington; and Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr. of Hope Christian Church in Baltimore.

Mark E. Kelly, the astronaut and husband of the former United States Representative Gabrielle Giffords, discusses his push for stronger gun control measures on “Fox News Sunday.” Also, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington joins the program to weigh in on the debate over same-sex marriage and the pope.

Univision’s “Al Punto,” which is on Sunday at 10 a.m. Eastern, will feature an interview with President Obama, among other guests. In the pre-recorded segment, he discusses his efforts to revamp the immigration system.

C-Span’s “Newsmakers” features Richard Trumka, president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., who will discuss the immigration debate and its effect on American workers.

On Bloomberg’s “Capitol Gains,” Charles Ward, a retired Air Force general, will talk about cuts to defense spending, and Clay Jones, chairman and chief executive of Rockwell Collins, a defense contractor, will discuss the effects of sequestration on his company. The program airs Sundays at noon Eastern.

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, former archbishop of Washington, appeared on Bloomberg’s “Political Capital,” which is on Fridays with repeats over the weekend.

TV One’s “Washington Watch” will air a special edition, “Amazing Grace: Drama in the Black Church,” Saturday at 7 p.m. Eastern, which will run again Sunday at 11 a.m.

The Weekend Word: Checkpoint

Today’s Times

  • Top business and labor groups were near agreement Friday on a guest worker program for low-skilled immigrants, a sticking point that would eliminate one of the last significant obstacles for a broad immigration overhaul, Ashley Parker and Steven Greenhouse report.
  • After a week absorbed by social issues like gun control and gay rights, President Obama spoke at the ocean port in Miami on Friday to promote his plans to rebuild the nation’s “raggedy” infrastructure, Peter Baker reports.

Weekly Address

  • President Obama used this week’s address to wish Christians around the world a happy Easter, and to recognize Jewish families as they commemorate the Exodus from Egypt and the triumph of faith over oppression. “From Judaism to Islam; Hinduism to Sikhism; there echoes a powerful call to serve our brothers and sisters,” he said. “That’s the common humanity that binds us together. And as Americans, we’re united by something else, too: faith in the ideals that lie in the heart of our founding, and the belief that, as part of something bigger than ourselves, we have a shared responsibility to look out for our fellow citizens.”

Around the Web

  • The Texas Department of Transportation will be paying to keep 13 air traffic control towers open that the federal government was going to shut down because of the sequester, The Hill reports.
  • One gun-control advocacy group is using Ronald Reagan to be the face of a new ad promoting the expanded use of background checks, The Hill reports.

Bipartisan Rebuke for Republican Congressman Who Used Slur

Under pressure from Congressional leaders and advocacy groups, Representative Don Young, Republican of Alaska, has apologized for describing Hispanic farm workers who picked tomatoes on his father’s ranch as “wetbacks” in an interview.

“I apologize for the insensitive term I used during an interview in Ketchikan, Alaska,” Mr. Young said in a statement on Friday. “There was no malice in my heart or intent to offend; it was a poor choice of words. That word, and the negative attitudes that come with it, should be left in the 20th century, and I’m sorry that this has shifted our focus away from comprehensive immigration reform.”

On Thursday, after the interview was released, Mr. Young tried to explain his remarks, saying that he “meant no disrespect” by using the term in a discussion about the labor market. He said that its usage was common when he was growing up in central California.

But leaders from both parties demanded a fuller apology. Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio said Friday that there was “no excuse” for the remarks, which he deemed “offensive and beneath the dignity of the office he holds.”

“I don’t care why he said it – there’s no excuse and it warrants an immediate apology,” Mr. Boehner said.

Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Senate Republican, said the remarks did not reflect the party’s views.

“Migrant workers come to America looking for opportunity and a way to provide a better life for their families,” he said in a statement. “They do not come to this country to hear ethnic slurs and derogatory language from elected officials. The comments used by Representative Young do nothing to elevate our party, political discourse or the millions who come here looking for economic opportunity.”

Mr. Young, 79, is serving his 20th consecutive term.

Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic leader, demanded an apology on Twitter for “deeply offensive comments that were not appropriate in his youth or now.”

Representative Rubén Hinojosa of Texas, the Democratic chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said Friday that his colleague should have known better than to use the “hateful” word.

“He has served alongside Hispanics in Congress since 1973, so he should know terms like ‘wetback’ have never been acceptable,” Mr. Hinojosa said.

Mr. Young’s gaffe came as a bipartisan group of lawmakers is set to unveil legislation to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws and create a pathway to citizenship for the nation’s estimated 11 million illegal immigrants.

“When elected officials use racial slurs, it sets back our nation and sets back legislators who are seriously working toward real, bipartisan solutions,” Mr. Hinojosa said.

In recent weeks, leading Republicans have expressed a desire to change the party’s tone toward Latinos and immigration policy, with the Republican National Committee pledging to spend $10 million on outreach to women and minorities, after a report revealed deep disconnects with those pivotal groups.

Reince Priebus, the party chairman, said Mr. Young’s words “emphatically do not represent the beliefs of the Republican Party.”

“As I have continued to say, everyone in this country deserved to be treated with dignity and respect,” he said in a statement. “Our party represents freedom and opportunity for every American and a beacon of hope to those seeking liberty throughout the world.”

Mr. Young, the second most senior Republican member of Congress, is no stranger to political difficulties. He has held on to his Congressional seat for 40 years, despite a number of missteps and tough races. The House is currently investigating whether he broke House rules by improperly using campaign funds for personal use and not reporting hunting trips he took that were paid for by an unknown third party, after an inquiry by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The Original Digital Pet Returns for a New Generation

The Tamagotchi L.I.F.E. app from Bandai. The Tamagotchi L.I.F.E. app from Bandai.

Making the most of a recent nostalgia trend in technology that has brought back brands like Furby and Pac-Man, Bandai is reintroducing Tamagotchi, the digital pet from the 1990s, as a lifestyle brand called Tamagotchi L.I.F.E. (for Love Is Fun Everywhere).

The original Tamagotchi was a tiny toy that fit on a keychain; the new version is a smartphone app. An iOS version was released on Thursday, following the introduction of an Android app last month. The app is free, but comes with banner ads; an ad-free version is available for 99 cents.

Tamagotchi appears to be aimed at girls and young women. The app recreates the same nurturing play that Tamagotchi offered when it was introduced in the United States 16 years ago. It eats, it sleeps and it poops. It can die, too, so you have to take care of it by feeding it, playing games with it and giving it medicine when it gets sick. To increase awareness of your parenting duties, the little guy sends alerts when it needs attention, at least a half-dozen times a day. Fortunately, Tamagotchi sleeps through the night.

The app has color graphics and better resolution than the original Tamagotchi, but it still has the same pixelated appearance of the original. If you’re feeling really nostalgic, a toy mode replicates the look of the original, including the shell that housed it. The app also includes a few extras, like a rock-paper-scissors game and the ability to share photos of your bouncing baby blob on Facebook.

The app is a simple pastime, but I can see how it could get tedious after a few days for anyone over the age of 7. The Tamagotchi’s incessant appetite is bested only by the piles of stinking poop it makes (you can tell they are stinky because they have wavy stink lines rising above them).

Unlike other mindless apps, there are no ropes to cut or fruit to slice or birds to sling at pigs. Bandai may have updated the brand for a new audience, but it forgot to advance the concept.

A Big Picture From a Small Projector

Sometimes even a four-inch smartphone screen may not seem enough. If so, would 200 inches do

The iPower Sight can — according to the manufacturer, iPowerUp — take what is on your phone, tablet or computer screen and enlarge it, projecting an image up to 200 diagonal inches from a device that is itself pocket-size.

Both measures may be a shade optimistic. No doubt the projector is small, at about 4 by 4 by ¾ of an inch and just over three ounces, but you would still need a pretty big pocket. And while it can project a focused image at up to 200 inches, you wouldn’t want to do that unless you had a completely darkened room and a nicely reflective projection screen.

It was easy enough to watch an image enlarged to around 50 inches on a white wall on an overcast day. Considering the size of the projector, the quality was quite good. The Sight uses a DLP chip, which is covered with minuscule mirrors to reflect LED light to the screen. It is the same technology that has long been used in many full-scale, high-end projectors.

The Sight’s lamp kicks out 85 lumens, which is brighter than most similarly sized projectors, and it has resolution of 854 by 480 pixels, which qualifies as high definition, but you will not want this to replace your 1080p plasma TV. Unlike your TV, the Sight can run about two hours on battery power, or plugged in for a movie marathon.

The videos I projected from YouTube looked good. Noise didn’t distract me from Psy’s horsie dance, but I could find it if I looked for it.

The projector’s built-in speaker is as anemic as the one you would find on your phone or tablet. If you want to add some quality sound, you will need to connect to a separate speaker dock.

If what you’re looking for is a decent picture from a small package, perhaps for presentations, entertaining the kids on a trip or making video games wall-size in a dorm room, the iPower Sight is far, far superior to huddling around your phone.

Currently the projector is only available direct from iPowerUp for $350.

App Smart Extra: For the Garden

This week, App Smart was all about gardening because spring has sprung, or is about to. There are many apps that can help you in the garden, like plant reference guides or advice about garden bugs, and even apps that can help you manage your garden and its plants over time.

A useful reference is the free Android app Garden Plants Growing Guide. Unlike some of its peers, this app is a little pedestrian in design because of its plain lists of plants and simple pages full of text. But it contains an impressive database of flowers, vegetables and herbs — with more of an emphasis on flowers — and each entry has a photo and detailed advice on when to sow a plant and how to take care of it. You’ll have to know the Latin name for many of the flowers, though, because that is how the app lists them and there are no thumbnail photos in the flowers list to help identify them.

Fruit Garden is a slightly similar $0.99 Android and $1.99 iOS app with a focus on fruit plants. It’s a list of common varieties, with details on each to help you understand how to best plant and grow them. The app lacks useful extras like garden management facilities, and its list of plants is not exhaustive. But it has taught me how to better feed the orange trees in my garden.

The Gardening Guide is a much more detailed app that has lots of advice about planting and tending your garden. It’s aimed more at vegetable gardening than flower gardening, but each entry is well written and has comprehensive advice on each crop. For example, I learned that it’s a good idea to harvest lettuce in the morning, after the leaves have plumped with water overnight. It’s listed as The Gardening Guide From Mother Earth News on iTunes, and as Garden Guide in Google’s app store.

If you’re planning a bit of a spring garden redesign, the aptly named Garden Design Ideas, free on Android, may help. It’s a large list of photos of gardens, with no extra details or data on plants and so on because it’s all about a garden’s visuals. It shows all sorts of gardens, like modern ones or Japanese-style ones. This app is fairly simple, but it may frustrate you if you fixate on a particular design and want to know more about it.

Quick call

Pandora, one of the hottest music streaming apps out there, is finally available as a free Windows Phone 8 app — and as a sweetener, the app has no ads and no monthly streaming limit through the rest of this year.

The Early Word: Hints of Agreement

In Today’s Times:

  • President Obama and Congressional Republicans have quietly brought up making broad changes to Medicare, a move that could result in significant savings and possibly lead to a budget deal, Jackie Calmes and Robert Pear report.
  • With Congress increasing its resistance to tougher gun laws, Mr. Obama asked lawmakers and the nation Thursday not to forget about the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., Jeremy W. Peters and Peter Baker report.
  • The focus of recent cyberattacks on American financial institutions has shifted to destroying data, with suspicions cast on Iran and North Korea, though a smoking gun has yet to be produced, Nicole Perlroth and David E. Sanger report.
  • The Obama administration’s balancing act on enforcement of the Defense of Marriage Act is up for discussion this week after Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. accused the president of not having “the courage of his convictions” by continuing to enforce a law he deemed unconstitutional, Peter Baker reports.
  • Craft beer brewers descended on Washington this week for the industry’s first conference, sampling the hometown brew and lobbying Congressional staff members for a tax cut, Andrew Siddons reports.

Washington Happenings:

  • Mr. Obama will travel to Miami on Friday to tour a tunnel project and talk about investing in infrastructure.
  • The presidents of Cape Verde, Malawi, Senegal and Sierra Leone will speak about encouraging prosperity in Africa at the United States Institute of Peace on Friday.

Obama Order Establishes Bipartisan Voting Commission

President Obama signed an executive order on Thursday establishing a bipartisan commission to examine problems of voter access after complaints of long lines at polling stations during last year’s election.

Mr. Obama promised during his State of the Union address last month that he would appoint such a panel, saying that “we are betraying our values” if voters end up sacrificing their franchise “because they can’t wait for five, six, seven hours just to cast their ballot.”

The commission will be headed by the lawyers for last year’s presidential campaigns: Robert Bauer, who represented Mr. Obama, and Benjamin Ginsberg, who represented his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney. Mr. Bauer has long been Mr. Obama’s legal adviser and served a stint as his White House counsel. In addition to Mr. Romney, Mr. Ginsberg represented former President George W. Bush during both of his campaigns and the 2000 recount.

Mr. Obama’s order directed the new commission to submit a final report within six months of its first public meeting, but it was not clear when it would gather because seven other members are still to be appointed by the president.

The commission was charged with finding ways to shorten lines and “to promote the efficient administration” of elections.

“That report is intended to serve as a best-practices guide for state and local election officials to improve voters’ experience at the polls under their existing election laws,” said Josh Earnest, a deputy White House press secretary.