GONZO’S WORLD: HOMOPHOBIC AG ATTACKS LGBTQ COMMUNITY WITH BOGUS LEGAL MEMO STRIPPING TRANSGENDER INDIVIDUALS OF CIVIL RIGHTS PROTECTIONS!

https://www.buzzfeed.com/dominicholden/jeff-sessions-just-reversed-a-policy-that-protects

Dominic Holden reports for BuzzFeed News:

“US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has reversed a federal government policy that said transgender workers were protected from discrimination under a 1964 civil rights law, according to a memo on Wednesday sent to agency heads and US attorneys.

Sessions’ directive, obtained by BuzzFeed News, says, “Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination encompasses discrimination between men and women but does not encompass discrimination based on gender identity per se, including transgender status.”

It adds that the government will take this position in pending and future matters, which could have far-reaching implications across the federal government and may result in the Justice Department fighting against transgender workers in court.

“Although federal law, including Title VII, provides various protections to transgender individuals, Title VII does not prohibit discrimination based on gender identity per se,” Sessions writes. “This is a conclusion of law, not policy. As a law enforcement agency, the Department of Justice must interpret Title VII as written by Congress.”

But Sharon McGowan, a former lawyer in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and now an attorney for the LGBT group Lambda Legal, countered that Sessions’ is ignoring a widespread trend in federal courts.

“It’s ironic for them to say this is law, and not policy,” McGowan told BuzzFeed News. “The memo is devoid of discussion of the way case law has been developing in this area for the last few years. It demonstrates that this memo is not actually a reflection of the law as it is — it’s a reflection of what the DOJ wishes the law were.”

“The sessions DOJ is trying to roll back the clock and pretend that the progress of the last decade hasnt’ happened,” she added. “The Justice Department is actually getting back in the business of making anti-transgender law in court.”

“The Justice Department is actually getting back in the business of making anti-transgender law in court.”
The memo reflects the Justice Department’s aggression toward LGBT rights under President Trump and Sessions, who reversed an Obama-era policy that protects transgender students after a few weeks in office. Last month, Sessions filed a brief at the Supreme Court in favor of a Christian baker who refused a wedding cake to a gay couple. And last week, the department argued in court that Title VII doesn’t protect a gay worker from discrimination, showing that Sessions will take his view on Title VII into private employment disputes.

At issue in the latest policy is how broadly the government interprets Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which does not address LGBT rights directly. Rather, it prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex.

But the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, an independent agency that enforces civil rights law in the workplace, and a growing body of federal court decisions have found sex discrimination does include discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sex stereotyping — and that Title VII therefore bans anti-transgender discrimination as well.

Embracing that trend, former attorney general Eric Holder under President Obama announced the Justice Department would take that position as well, issuing a memo in 2014 that said, “I have determined that the best reading of Title VII’s prohibition of sex discrimination is that it encompasses discrimination based on gender identity, including transgender status. The most straightforward reading of Title VII is that discrimination ‘because of … sex’ includes discrimination because an employee’s gender identification is as a member of a particular sex, or because the employee is transitioning, or has transitioned, to another sex.”

But Sessions said in his latest policy that he “withdraws the December 15, 2014, memorandum,” and adds his narrower view that the law only covers discrimination between “men and women.”

“The Department of Justice will take that position in all pending and future matters (except where controlling lower-court precedent dictates otherwise, in which event the issue should be preserved for potential future review),” Sessions writes.

Sessions adds: “The Justice Department must and will continue to affirm the dignity of all people, including transgender individuals. Nothing in this memorandum should be construed to condone mistreatment on the basis of gender identity, or to express a policy view on whether Congress should amend Title VII to provide different or additional protections.”

Devin O’Malley, a spokesperson for the Justice Department, explained the decision to issue the memo, telling BuzzFeed News, “The Department of Justice cannot expand the law beyond what Congress has provided. Unfortunately, the last administration abandoned that fundamental principle, which necessitated today’s action. This Department remains committed to protecting the civil and constitutional rights of all individuals, and will continue to enforce the numerous laws that Congress has enacted that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.”

McGowan, from Lambda Legal, counters, “The memo is so weak that analysis is so thin, that it will courts will recognize it for what it is — a raw political document and not sound legal analysis that should be given any weight by them.”

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Virulent homophobia has always been a key element of the “Gonzo Apocalypto Agenda.” Check out this report from Mark Joseph Stern at Slate about how when serving as Alabama’s Attorney General Gonzo attempted to use an Alabama statute that had been ruled unconstitutional by a Federal Judge to both publicly demean LGBTQ students and stomp on their First Amendment rights. (So much for the disingenuous BS speech that Gonzo delivered on Free Speech at Georgetown Law last week.)  Here’s what happened:

“Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivered a speech at Georgetown University Law Center in which he argued that “freedom of thought and speech on the American campus are under attack.” As my colleague Dahlia Lithwick explained, the attorney general said this in “a room full of prescreened students who asked him prescreened questions while political demonstrators outside were penned off in ‘free speech zones.’ ” Ensconced in a safe space of his own, Sessions blasted the notion that speech can be “hurtful,” criticizing administrators and students for their “crackdown” on “speech they may have disagreed with.”

Mark Joseph Stern
MARK JOSEPH STERN
Mark Joseph Stern is a writer for Slate. He covers the law and LGBTQ issues.

Sessions’ hypocrisy on speech issues is not a new development. In 1996, the then–attorney general of Alabama used the full power of his office to try to shut down an LGBTQ conference at the University of Alabama. Sessions took his battle to court, asking a federal judge to let him block the conference altogether—or, at the very least, silence students who wished to discuss LGBTQ issues. He ultimately failed, but his campaign reveals a great deal about his highly selective view of free expression. Sessions claims to support freedom for “offensive” speech, but when speech offends him, he is all too happy to play the censor.

When Sessions served as Alabama attorney general, the state still criminalized sodomy. A 1992 law, Alabama Education Code Section 16-1-28, also barred public universities from funding, recognizing, or supporting any group “that fosters or promotes a lifestyle or actions prohibited by” the sodomy statute, either “directly or indirectly.” The law also forbade schools from allowing such organizations to use public facilities. Sessions’ predecessor, Jimmy Evans, had interpreted the statute to effectively outlaw the discussion or promotion of gay rights on public campuses, with that prohibition even extending to AIDS awareness campaigns.

In 1995, the University of South Alabama’s Gay Lesbian Bisexual Alliance sued in federal court to block Section 16-1-28. That summer, the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that, under the First Amendment, public universities may not deny access to facilities or funding for student organizations on the basis of their viewpoints. This decision, the GLBA asserted, rendered Section 16-1-28 unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Myron H. Thompson agreed, holding the law to be invalid in a January 1996 ruling.

This decision was excellent news for the Gay Lesbian Bisexual Alliance at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa. The GLBA had planned to host the Fifth Annual Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual College Conference of the Southeastern United States in February 1996. Sessions, by now attorney general, was trying his hardest to shut it down.

“University officials say they’re going to try to obey the law,” Sessions said at the time, as CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski reported in December of last year. “I don’t see how it can be done without canceling this conference. I remain hopeful that if the administration does not act, the board of trustees will.” Sessions didn’t give up even after Judge Thompson struck down the law. “I intend to do everything I can to stop that conference,” he said.

In a last-ditch effort, Sessions returned to Thompson’s court and asked permission to ban the conference. “The State of Alabama,” he explained in court filings, “will experience irreparable harm by funding a conference and activities in violation of state law.” Failing a total ban, Sessions implored Thompson to let him censor any discussion of “safe sex and the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.” Sessions claimed that, by talking about LGBTQ issues, conference attendees were essentially conspiring to promote criminal activity, and Alabama should not be obligated to support their criminality. Predictably, Thompson rejected Sessions’ arguments, writing that the attorney general was endeavoring to violate students’ free speech rights. Sessions then appealed to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which unanimously ruled against Alabama. The conference went on as planned.

Cathy Lopez Wessell, a lead organizer and spokeswoman for the conference, told me Sessions’ intervention “was incredibly stressful. We got threatening phone calls. We were attacked from all sides.” She continued, “We were the abomination of the month. I didn’t feel safe in the world for a while. I started to internalize some of the judgment leveled at our group. I thought, there must be something deeply wrong with you if you need to be silenced.”

Lopez Wessell explained that Sessions’ campaign against the conference registered as a broader attack on LGBTQ students.

“If we can’t talk, do we have a right to exist?” Lopez Wessell asked. “If our speech is so dangerous that it needs to be stopped, then are we dangerous? We weren’t promoting any particular activity; we just wanted to talk—about our experiences, about our existence.”

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Denying the humanity as well as the human rights of those he is biased against is a staple of the Gonzo Apocalypto agenda. Just look at his constant attempts to tie all members of the Hispanic ethnic community to crime, drugs, and gangs (even though all credible studies show that immigrants or all types have markedly lower crime rates than native-born U.S. citizens) and his false and gratuitous attempts to tie “Dreamers” to crime, terrorism, and loss of jobs!

There is no more certain way of knowing that a DOJ “legal” memo is all policy and no law than the statement: “This is a conclusion of law, not policy.“ In other words, “Don’t you dare accuse me of doing what I’m actually doing!”

Since assuming the office of Attorney General for which he is so spectacularly unqualified, here’s a list of the folks whose rights or humanity Sessions has attacked or disparaged:

Hispanics

African Americans

LGBTQ Individuals

Dreamers

Immigrants

Refugees

Asylum Seekers

Poor People

Undocumented Migrants

Women

Muslims

Civil Rights Protesters

Black Athletes

City Officials Seeking To Foster Community Law Enforcement

Prisoners

Immigration Detainees

Forensic Scientists

State Governors Who Disagree With Him

Federal Judges Who Find Trump Policies Illegal

State & Federal Judges Who Object To Migrants Being Arrested At Their Courts

Convicts

Liberal Students & College Administrators

Anti-Facists

Anti-Hate-Group Activists

Reporters

Unaccompanied Migrant Children

President Obama

Whistleblowers (a/k/a “Leakers” in “Gonzopeak”)

DOJ Career Attorneys

I’m sure I’ve left a few out.  Feel free to send me additions. The list just keeps getting longer all the time.

The only group that appears to be “A-OK” with Gonzo is “White straight Christian male Republican ultra rightists.”

Liz was right!

PWS

10-05-17

 

 

 

 

 

“Warren Buffett on Immigration Reform: Buffett feels that immigrants (including undocumented ones) have been and continue to be a key part of our prosperity — not a part of the problem.“

https://www.fool.com/investing/2017/09/29/warren-buffett-on-immigration-reform.aspx

Matthew Frankel reports for The Motley Fool:

“Immigration reform has been a hot-button issue long before President Trump pledged to build a wall along our border. And while there’s certainly an argument to be made that we need to do a better job of controlling illegal immigration, there’s also a strong case to be made that immigrants are a big driving force behind America’s growth — past, present, and future.

Warren Buffett has been very outspoken in recent years about America and its amazing economic story. Not only does Buffett feel that immigrants have led us to where we are today, but he also thinks that immigrants are an essential component of our country’s future success.

Here’s what Warren Buffett thinks of immigrants
In a nutshell, Buffett feels that immigrants (including undocumented ones) have been and continue to be a key part of our prosperity — not a part of the problem. “This country has been blessed by immigrants,” Buffett said in February at Columbia University. “You can take them from any country you want, and they’ve come here and they found something that unleashed the potential that the place that they left did not, and we’re the product of it.”

Referring to Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard, both of whom were immigrants themselves, Buffett said, “If it hadn’t been for those two immigrants, who knows whether we’d be sitting in this room.”

In his most recent letter to Berkshire Hathaway’s (NYSE:BRK-A) (NYSE:BRK-B) shareholders, Buffett specifically mentioned immigrants as one of the major components of America’s success story. “From a standing start 240 years ago — a span of time less than triple my days on earth — Americans have combined human ingenuity, a market system, a tide of talented and ambitious immigrants, and the rule of law to deliver abundance beyond any dreams of our forefathers.”

On a pathway to citizenship
Buffett is an outspoken Democrat who actively campaigned for Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential race. So it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that Buffett doesn’t want to deport millions of illegal immigrants who are currently in the United States.

In a 2015 interview with Fox Business, Buffett said

People should be able to earn citizenship who are here. You know, I do not think we should deport millions of people. So, I think we should have a real path to citizenship.

Buffett was then asked specifically about the DREAM Act and its 800,000 minors who are in the country illegally and now face an uncertain future after the end of DACA, from the perspective of a successful American businessman. Buffett replied:

It is a question of being a human being not really a businessman. Immigrants came, our forefathers came as immigrants, they got here anyway they could. And who knows what I would have done if I were in some terrible situation in a country and wanted to come here…a great percentage of them are good citizens. I would have a path to citizenship for them, I would not send them back.

 

On immigration policy and reform
As we all know, the immigration debate has been going on for a long time. And Buffett’s stance hasn’t changed much over the past several years. In a 2013 interview with ABC’s This Week, Buffett said:

I think we should have a more logical immigration policy. It would mean we would attract a lot of people, but we would attract the people we want to attract in particular — in terms of education, tens or hundreds of thousands of people. We enhance their talents and have them stick around here.

Buffett went on to say that any reform package should “certainly offer [undocumented immigrants] the chance to become citizens,” and one main reason for doing so would be to deepen the talent pool of the labor force.

Buffett’s stance on immigration in a nutshell
Warren Buffett believes that allowing immigrants who are already in the country to stay and pursue citizenship is not only the right thing to do, but is essential to America’s continued economic prosperity. Buffett certainly sees the need for immigration reform, as most Americans of all political affiliations do, but wants to encourage and simplify the legal pathways to immigration.”

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Buffet speaks simple truth: Immigrants, both documented and undocumented are not threats, but rather are a necessary ingredient for America’s greatness. We need to bring law-abiding undocumented individuals into our society in some type of legal, work authorized status. We also need substantial across the board increases in legal immigration, so that in the future the immigrants we need can come through the legal system (or wait in a realistic line) rather than coming through an underground system and working and living in the shadows.

The lies, misrepresentations, and false narratives being peddled by Trump, Sessions, Bannon, Miller, Kobach, Cotton, Perdue, King, Goodlatte, Labrador, the so called “Freedom” Caucus, and the rest of their White Nationalist restrictionist cronies are a path to national disaster. Removing existing non-criminal migrants who happen to be working here in undocumented status is a colossal waste of limited Government resources that actually hurts our country in numerous ways.

Time to stand up against the restrictionist, White Nationalist, xenophobic, anti-American blather. Demand that your Congressional representatives back sane, humane immigration reform that takes care of those already here and recognizes their great contributions while appropriately and significantly expanding future legal immigration opportunities so that we don’t keep repreating our mistakes over and over.

Let’s be honest about it. If the time, money, and resources that the U.S. Government is currently spending on the counterproductive aspects of immigration enforcement and inhumane immigration detention were shifted into constructive areas, there would be no “disaster relief crisis” in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands right now, and we’d have more money to spend on heath care, job training and retraining, infrastructure, addressing the opioid crisis, and many more legitimate national priorities!

PWS

09-30-17

GONZO’S WORLD: “Eggshell” Attorney General Is A Parody Of The First Amendment!

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2017/09/jeff_sessions_wants_a_first_amendment_that_celebrates_robust_criticism_of.html

Dahlia Lithwick writes at Slate:

“Having seen the Sessions DOJ prosecute someone for laughing at Jeff Sessions, it’s hardly surprising that he wants a First Amendment that celebrates the robust criticism of everyone but himself. Watching Sessions’ DOJ going after private Facebook information for anti-Trump activists, it’s hardly surprising that these much-vaunted free speech protections flow in the direction of Trump officials and away from Trump dissenters. It is, nevertheless, somewhat more surprising to see that the burgeoning theory that conservatives deserve free speech protections, and liberals deserve none, is becoming yet another normalized part of this abnormal administration. After all, if you cannot even see anyone from the opposing side, you certainly have no reason to hear their voices. And what was most striking about Sessions’ rousing performance at Georgetown is that he didn’t seem to even notice or concede that an opposing side exists. This has very real practical effects for his DOJ and for our rule of law.

Read, for example, the work of my friend Garrett Epps on the stunning DOJ brief filed in the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission “religious baker” case to be heard at the Supreme Court this fall. The Justice Department evinces no solicitude at all for the injuries of anyone but the Christian baker at issue, the one who seeks not to be compelled to make a wedding cake for a gay couple. Sessions’ Department of Justice, for instance, argues that Colorado hadn’t yet acknowledged the rights of marriage equality at the time of the cake incident, so the fact that such equality is now a constitutional right should not even be considered. It’s a hard case, as Epps notes. But it’s vastly easier if you simply pretend away the interests of the other side. For this DOJ, there is nobody else on the radar. Nobody else exists.

Want More SCOTUS? Subscribe to Amicus.

Join Dahlia Lithwick and her stable of standout guests for a discussion about the high court and the country’s most important cases.
When talking about the First Amendment and the brutal and challenging clash of diverse opinions, a big part of that is the obligation to listen to ideas that might be uncomfortable or even painful to hear. But that relationship presupposes that we can see or acknowledge that there are speakers on the other side. More and more, it feels as though the Trump administration’s aperture has narrowed to the point where someone can espouse First Amendment values while viewing genuine opponents as wholly other, foreign, and not even worth giving the chance to respond. This is the framing for the NFL protests (Trump has free speech rights, the players do not) and the framing for Sessions’ speech about student speech.

There’s little doubt that Jeff Sessions meant it when he importuned the students before him to stand up for free speech and to spend their law school careers refining their own views in opposition to conflicting ideas. But it’s far from clear that he realized how absurd it was to say those things at an event that excluded faculty and students with different viewpoints. Admonishing law students to spend their time testing their pre-existing views against alternate ideas while engaging in almost daily acts of punishing and suppressing speech and expression of alternate ideas is insane. I’m not sure that the sparking, hotly contested debates between people who hate marriage equality and the people who really, really hate marriage equality is the sort of dispute Justices Jackson and Brandeis were thinking about.

And what is terrifying is the possibility that Sessions truly believes that people with different viewpoints don’t even exist anymore in any tangible application. These dissenters are all just enemies of the state. They are no more real to him than ghosts. More and more, Sessions is constructing a Justice Department in which the other side is just noise to him, not speech. And if you cannot even see protesters and political dissidents, it’s hardly a surprise that you cannot hear them either.”

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Read Lithwick’s complete article at the link.

I have to admit that it’s great to be retired, outside the repressively paranoid atmosphere of the DOJ (and that was before the reign of Gonzo began), and able to exercise my right to free speech again.

Sessions is enthusiastic about defending the right to promote hate speech, religious zealotry, and homophobia, all things in which he and his alt-right cronies fervently believe. But, when it comes to defending the rights of Blacks, Hispanics, immigrants, and the rest of us to protest, or in the case of Blacks and Hispanics to even exercise their voting rights, not so much.

Gonzo’s career has been built on disingenuously promoting bias, racial inequality, xenophobia, homophobia, intolerance, and white privilege in the name of a Constitution that it’s hard to believe he’s ever read much less understands or follows. Other than Trump, Bannon, or Miller, I can’t imagine anyone less qualified than Gonzo to pontificate about the First Amendment, or indeed any portion of the U.S. Constitution other than, perhaps, the Second Amendment which apparently is the only part of the Constitution they have ever heard about down in Ol’ Bammy.

PWS

09-29-17

MARK JOSEPH STERN IN SLATE: Rule Of Scofflaws! — Trump, Sessions Have No Regard For Law Unless It Suits Their Disingenuous Purpose!

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2017/09/the_trump_administration_s_lawless_attacks_on_sanctuary_cities.html

Stern writes:

“The Trump administration’s latest attempt to punish sanctuary cities hit a snag on Friday when a federal court ruled the Justice Department cannot withhold public safety grants from jurisdictions that refuse to assist federal immigration authorities. Attorney General Jeff Sessions had attempted to prevent cities and states from receiving these funds unless they cooperatedwith immigration officials’ crackdown on undocumented immigrants. The court held that Sessions in fact has no power to attach new restrictions to the grants, rendering most of his new rules unlawful.

Mark Joseph SternMARK JOSEPH STERN

Mark Joseph Stern is a writer for Slate. He covers the law and LGBTQ issues.

Friday’s decision marked the second time a court has blocked Sessions’ attempts to penalize sanctuary cities by depriving them of federal grants. It also comes on the heels of a sweeping ruling that froze the most controversial provisions of Texas’ new anti–sanctuary cities bill. Earlier this month, the White House declared that Donald Trump is “restoring law and order to our immigration system.” But in their haste to adopt a restrictionist immigration regime, Trump, Sessions, and their fellow Republicans have shown a consistent disdain for federal statutes and constitutional protections.

Consider Sessions’ latest sanctuary cities imbroglio. In July, the attorney general created new criteria for Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance grants, which dispense hundreds of millions of dollars to state and local law enforcement. Under these rules, jurisdictions would not be eligible for Byrne grants unless they collaborate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials. Most pertinent here, law enforcement officials would have to give ICE agents access to local jails and, if the agency is interested in detaining an undocumented immigrant, notify ICE 48 hours before that person is set to be released. Chicago sued, alleging that the new rules were illegal.

Where does Sessions get the authority to impose these conditions on Byrne grants? Nowhere, as Judge Harry D. Leinenweber of the Northern District of Illinois pointed out in his ruling siding with Chicago. The Constitution grants Congress, not the executive branch, authority to impose conditions on federal funding. And Congress has never authorized the Justice Department, which is part of the executive branch, to force Byrne grantees to work with ICE. Sessions simply usurped Congress’ authority to make new rules.

When Chicago sued Sessions over the Byrne conditions in August, the attorney general put out a Trumpian statement asserting that the city “proudly violate[s] the rule of law” by protecting undocumented immigrants. But as Leinenweber explained on Friday, it was Sessions, not Chicago, who was acting lawlessly.

It’s surprising that Sessions would try to meddle with Byrne grants given that his first foray into sanctuary city–bashing failed so spectacularly. In Trump’s first days in office, the president issued an executive order directing the attorney general and Homeland Security secretary to withhold all federal grants and funding from sanctuary jurisdictions. Multiple cities quickly filed suit to defend their sanctuary policies. Sessions’ Justice Department, which apparently realized this order would violate multiple constitutional provisions, told a federal court that in reality, the order was nothing more than a narrow warning to sanctuary cities that the government would enforce current grant conditions.

In April, U.S. District Judge William Orrick blocked the order as an unconstitutional abomination. In his decision, Orrick essentially mocked the Justice Department, writing that he would not accept the DOJ’s “implausible” interpretation as it would transform Trump’s order into “an ominous, misleading, and ultimately toothless threat.” Instead, he analyzed the text of the order and found that it infringed upon constitutional separation of powers; coerced and commandeered local jurisdictions in violation of the 10thAmendment; and ran afoul of basic due process principles.

The White House promptly complained that Orrick “unilaterally rewrote immigration policy for our Nation” in an “egregious overreach.” Ironically, that is almost exactly what Trump had done through his executive order, illegally attaching new conditions to federal funds without congressional approval. Orrick had merely enforced the law; it was Trump who tried to change it unilaterally.

Neither of the Trump administration’s unlawful immigration power-grabs is as startling as SB 4, a Texas bill targeting sanctuary cities that Sessions’ Justice Department has defended in court. Confident in their measure’s legislative success, Texas Republicans turned SB 4 into a compendium of the most draconian possible attacks on sanctuary jurisdictions. The bill compelled local police to enforce immigration law, cooperate with ICE agents, and detain potentially undocumented immigrants; it also censored local officials who wished to speak out against the law. Law enforcement officers who ran afoul of SB 4 would face massive fines, jail time, and removal from office. Government employees who criticized the measure could also be fined and stripped of their positions.”

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Let’s get this straight: the “rule of law” to Sessions means laws aimed disproportionately at Latinos, Blacks, Muslims, undocumented migrants, non-white immigrants, LGBTQ individuals, ethnic communities, jurisdictions that voted for Democrats, legal marijuana users and businesses, innocent victims of civil forfeitures, and “leakers” (many would say “whistleblowers”) who are career civil servants. In other words law enforcement that in some disturbing ways parallels the “Jim Crow” laws in Alabama and other Southern States to which Sessions would apparently like to return (only with a greater emphasis on targeting Latinos, rather than Blacks, although he has little use for the latter now that the confirmation process is complete during which he “conned” a couple of Blacks into saying he wasn’t a racist.)

I remember from my youth hypocritical Southern racists like George Wallace asserting the false mantle of “the rule of law” and “states rights” for enforcing blatantly discriminatory racial laws while stomping on the actual legal and constitutional rights, and often lives, of Black citizens. Sessions has little or no intention of enforcing laws relating to civil rights protections, voting rights, protections for LGBTQ individuals, protections against local police abuses, due process for migrants in and outside of the U.S. Immigration Court process, environmental protection, constitutional conditions of detention, and ethics. Sessions is clearly a liar, if not a perjurer (which he might be) under legal definitions.

We should all be concerned that this totally unqualified and disingenuous individual has been put in charge of the U.S. justice system. I’ve commented earlier on the glaring unsuitability of individuals like Greg Abbott and Ken Paxton to be governing a state with a significant Hispanic population.

And, Stern’s article didn’t even raise Trump’s greatest and most audacious abuse of the rule of law: his totally unjustified and inappropriate abuse of the Presidential Pardon authority by pardoning the unrepentant, unapologetic “Racist Joe.” Think about what “Racist Joe” stands for, as described by a U.S. District Judge who found him guilty of contempt of court after trial for his continuing, knowing, and intentional abuses of the constitutional rights of Latino citizens and prisoners, among others. In what way does “Racist Joe” deserve a pardon? How would you feel if you were a Hispanic citizen or a detainee who had his or her constitutional rights intentionally violated and was victimized by this arrogant, bullying, racist? The innocent suffer while the guilty go unpunished. What kind of “rule of law” is that?

Then think of all the GOP “politicos” who “palled around” with “Racist Joe” and his toxic sidekick Kris Kobach and even sought their endorsements! That’s because it would help with the racist, White Supremacist “core vote” that has allowed the GOP to gain control of much of the U.S. governing structure notwithstanding the party’s extremist views and generally destructive agenda.

This is very reminiscent of how the “White Southern racist base” helped the Democrats maintain a stranglehold on government for the bulk of the mid-20th Century. Assume that the “Trump base” is 20% of the electorate and only 15% fit my foregoing description. That means without the racist White Supremacist vote, the GOP and Trump would have polled  around 31% of the popular vote, not enough to win even with the idiosyncrasies of our electoral system that favor the GOP minority!

PWS

09=19-17

MIGRANTS ARE THE HOPE FOR REVIVING MANY SMALLER MIDWESTERN CITIES — TRUMP/SESSIONS “GONZO” ENFORCEMENT IS THE THREAT! — “In light of Trump’s policies, anything that hurts cities is bad for the Midwest, because we have a lot of cities back on their heels (after) population loss!”

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/immigration/ct-midwest-immigrant-populations-met-20170918-story.html#nws=true

Marwa Eltagouri Reoorts for the Chicago Tribune:

“Like most Midwestern cities, this one is losing its native population. It’s becoming less appealing to the people born and raised there, who have their sights set on warmer states in the South and West.

But as locals move out, immigrants are moving in.

Rockford has manufacturing and aerospace jobs, and help-wanted fliers are taped inside the windows of storefronts. It’s a short drive from Milwaukee, Madison and Chicago. Housing is affordable. There are Buddhist temples and a mosque, and tight-knit immigrant communities that praise Rockford to friends and families overseas who are looking to settle in America.

For these reasons, among others, the city’s immigrant population grew by 64 percent from 2000 to 2015, according to U.S. Census data, helping to mitigate a net population loss of about 10,000 people between 2010 and 2016.

 

Rockford is emblematic of a larger trend that’s happening at a time when the country is torn over the issue of immigration. In more than 40 Midwestern cities, immigrants are a lifeline, bucking the pattern of population loss and revitalizing an aging workforce. In the last 15 years, immigrants accounted for 37 percent of the growth of Midwestern metropolitan areas — defined as a city and its surrounding suburbs. That’s a significant contribution for a region that has experienced the slowest growth in the nation.

In larger cities like Chicago, population loss is greater and the influx of immigrants isn’t having the same impact as in smaller Midwestern cities. Chicago and its suburbs lost 19,570 residents in 2016 — the most of any major city in the country.

Immigrants tend to settle in ethnic neighborhoods in larger cities, and have a more difficult time assimilating. Demographers predict that immigrants will likely keep fueling the populations of quieter, midsize cities like Rockford, where some say it’s easier to adjust to American life.

“I think in Rockford, you can be part of America,” said Sunil Puri, a Rockford businessman who moved there from India in the 1970s. “The middle class, in the middle part of the country, in Midwestern America.”

For many Midwestern cities with shrinking populations, immigration is a lifeline

Immigrants talk about resettling in Rockford, where the immigrant population grew by 64 percent from 2000 to 2015, according to U.S. Census data. “Rockford – it’s a great place for a refugee to start,” said Ahmed Muhammed, who moved to Rockford from Iraq in 2010. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune)
Marwa EltagouriContact Reporter
Chicago Tribune

Like most Midwestern cities, this one is losing its native population. It’s becoming less appealing to the people born and raised there, who have their sights set on warmer states in the South and West.

But as locals move out, immigrants are moving in.

Rockford has manufacturing and aerospace jobs, and help-wanted fliers are taped inside the windows of storefronts. It’s a short drive from Milwaukee, Madison and Chicago. Housing is affordable. There are Buddhist temples and a mosque, and tight-knit immigrant communities that praise Rockford to friends and families overseas who are looking to settle in America.

For these reasons, among others, the city’s immigrant population grew by 64 percent from 2000 to 2015, according to U.S. Census data, helping to mitigate a net population loss of about 10,000 people between 2010 and 2016.

 

Rockford is emblematic of a larger trend that’s happening at a time when the country is torn over the issue of immigration. In more than 40 Midwestern cities, immigrants are a lifeline, bucking the pattern of population loss and revitalizing an aging workforce. In the last 15 years, immigrants accounted for 37 percent of the growth of Midwestern metropolitan areas — defined as a city and its surrounding suburbs. That’s a significant contribution for a region that has experienced the slowest growth in the nation.

In larger cities like Chicago, population loss is greater and the influx of immigrants isn’t having the same impact as in smaller Midwestern cities. Chicago and its suburbs lost 19,570 residents in 2016 — the most of any major city in the country.

 

Immigrants tend to settle in ethnic neighborhoods in larger cities, and have a more difficult time assimilating. Demographers predict that immigrants will likely keep fueling the populations of quieter, midsize cities like Rockford, where some say it’s easier to adjust to American life.

“I think in Rockford, you can be part of America,” said Sunil Puri, a Rockford businessman who moved there from India in the 1970s. “The middle class, in the middle part of the country, in Midwestern America.”

 

Immigrants can’t fully make up for population losses across the Midwest communities, but without them, cities and towns would be far worse off, demographers say.

The number of people born in the U.S. has declined since 2000 in about one-third of Midwestern metropolitan areas, according to a report compiled by Chicago demographer Rob Paral in May for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Another third of the cities have grown slowly — by less than 7 percent while the nation as a whole grew by 14 percent during that same time.

While immigrants made up 7.8 percent of Midwestern metropolitan areas in 2000, that number rose to 9.7 percent by 2015. The areas with the most foreign born people continue to be traditional gateway cities like Chicago, Minneapolis and Detroit. But in areas less-known for their immigrant communities, like Rockford, Iowa City, Bloomington, Ind., Wichita, Kan., Lincoln, Neb., and Grand Rapids, Mich., immigrants are starting to make up nearly 10 percent of the population.

In towns large and small across Indiana and Wisconsin, the trend is noticeable, according to people surveyed by the Tribune. They say their neighborhoods are diversifying, and they can count a number of newer, immigrant-owned restaurants or businesses they’ve visited. In Rockford, most residents believe the city to be welcoming to immigrants, and say instances of discrimination are generally rare. They also say they’ve noticed an effect on the economy.

“From an economic standpoint, we’re seeing the impact the immigrant population has on our city,” said Mayor Tom McNamara. “It’s pretty dramatic. Foreign-born residents are starting businesses at a more frequent rate.”

Rockford immigrants
Immigrants from several countries who’ve recently made Rockford their home gather at Catholic Charities of Rockford on Aug. 24, 2017. From left are: Girom Gebreslessie, a former refugee from Eritrea; Lusi Ntamuheza, a former refugee from Burundi; Thang Khen Mung, a former refugee from Burma; and Tshela Annie Mwambuyi, a former refugee from Congo. (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune)
Still, Rockford’s home county, Winnebago, voted for President Donald Trump, who promised to reduce illegal immigration and has proposed policies since taking office to do so. Last month, Trump embraced legislation that would dramatically reduce legal immigration and shift toward a system that prioritizes merit and skills over family ties.

Because foreign-born people are a key component of Midwestern cities, Paral said, policies that curtail immigration put their population growth at risk.

“In light of Trump’s policies, anything that hurts cities is bad for the Midwest, because we have a lot of cities back on their heels (after) population loss,” Paral said.”

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Read the rest of the story at the link.

Wow! Just think how great America could become if we had an Administration that ditched the White Nationalist, racist, xenophobic agenda and instead worked to develop a sane immigration policy that actually advanced our national interests? That would include legalization, significantly expanded opportunities for legal immigration (and not just for English-speaking PHDs — forget the xenophobic, White Nationalist “RAISE Act” built on the premise that immigraton is bad and has to be reduced or “offset” – hogwash!), more enforcement of wage and hour laws, and concentrating immigraton enforcement resources on “bad guys” rather than folks who are here to hep us prosper and move forward.

Also, what would it be like to have an electorate where more folks voted their own and their country’s best interests, instead of voting their biases, fears, and erroneous beliefs (like, perhaps undocumented migrants should get in a nonexistent “line,” or that immigration is bad for American workers, or that migrants don’t want to assimilate and be part of the community).

Our daughter Anna and her family live just over the state line from Rockford in Beloit, WI. Migrants of all types are helping to revive what had been a “down and out” former manufacturing center. In other words, they are an important part of the “Beloit Proud” movement that is making Beloit a better place to live.

The Trump Administration and in particular “Gonzo Apocalypto” Sessions are getting in the way of progress. Pretty ironic for an Administration that claims to want to reduce government regulation and intrusions on American businesses and communities, while actually building an expensive and counterproductive internal police force in the guise of immigration enforcement.

PWS

09-18-17

BREAKING: CHICAGO WINS “ROUND 1” IN SANCTUARY BATTLE — FEDERAL JUDGE RULES AGAINST “GONZO’S” ASSAULT ON COOPERATIVE LAW ENFORCEMENT IN MIGRANT COMMUNITIES — IRREPARABLE LOSS OF TRUST CITED — NATIONWIDE INJUNCTION ISSUED!

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-chicago-sanctuary-cities-lawsuit-met-20170915-story.html

Jason Meisner and John Byrne report for the Chicago Tribune:

“In a ruling with national impact, a federal judge in Chicago on Friday blocked the Trump administration’s rules requiring so-called sanctuary cities to cooperate with immigration agents in order to get a public safety grant.

ND IL, U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber wrote in his 41-page ruling that Chicago has shown a “likelihood of success” in its arguments that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessionsexceeded his authority in imposing new standards governing Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants across the country.

He also said Mayor Rahm Emanuel‘s administration has shown the city could suffer “irreparable harm” in its relationship with the immigrant community if it were to comply with the U.S. Department of Justice‘s new standards.

“Once such trust is lost, it cannot be repaired through an award of money damages, making it the type of harm that is especially hard to rectify” if he were to wait until the lawsuit is settled, Leinenweber wrote.

The preliminary injunction granted by Leinenweber applies to districts nationwide.

Emanuel and City Corporation Counsel Edward Siskel were scheduled to speak Friday about the ruling at a news conference at City Hall.

Representatives of the Justice Department did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

The ruling comes a little over a month after the Emanuel administration filed suit against the Justice Department over its new requirements for sanctuary cities such as Chicago, that want federal funding, to give notice when immigrants in the country illegally are about to be released from custody and allow immigration agents access to local jails.”

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Read the full story at the link.

I’m sure that the DOJ will appeal and seek a stay from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Although what happens probably depends on the composition of the 7th Circuit panel, the Seventh Circuit has often been critical of the DOJ and EOIR’s delivery of justice in the U.S. Immigration Courts. So, they clearly aren’t afraid of the DOJ or getting involved in immigration issues.

PWS

09-15-17

 

SURPRISE! – GONZO LIES: “2017 is on pace for the second-lowest crime rate since 1990 — and near-record low murders” — Sessions Fabricates “Crime Wave” To Support White Nationalist Anti-Hispanic, Anti-Black Political Narrative! –“It’s irresponsible to incite public panic based on falsehoods, and it makes our police officers’ jobs harder.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2017/09/06/2017-is-on-pace-to-have-the-second-lowest-crime-rate-since-1990-and-near-record-low-murders/?utm_term=.d5c197d6052e

Philip Bump reports in the Washington Post:

“At his swearing-in as the nation’s top law enforcement official in February, Attorney General Jeff Sessions picked up a thread that had run throughout Donald Trump’s campaign for president: America is experiencing an alarming crime wave.

“We have a crime problem,” Sessions said. “I wish the rise that we are seeing in crime in America today were some sort of aberration or a blip. My best judgment, having been involved in criminal law enforcement for many years, is that this is a dangerous, permanent trend that places the health and safety of the American people at risk.”

Preliminary analysis of crime data from the nation’s 30 largest cities released by the Brennan Center for Justice on Wednesday suggests that it isn’t. According to the center’s overview of crime and murder data, 2017 is on pace to have the second-lowest violent crime rate of any year since 1990.

From the report:

  • The overall crime rate is projected to drop by 1.8 percent to the second-lowest point since 1990.
  • The violent crime rate is projected to fall by 0.6 percent, also to the second-lowest point in over 25 years. (The lowest rate was in 2014.) “This result,” the report’s authors write, “is driven primarily by stabilization in Chicago and declines in Washington, D.C., two large cities that experienced increases in violence in recent years.”
  • The murder rate is projected to be down 2.5 percent, on-par with the rate in 2009.

Explore the center’s data for each of the country’s largest cities.

While there was indeed a national uptick in violent crime and murder during 2015 and 2016, one of the underrecognized drivers of those shifts was the sharp increase in killings in two cities, Chicago and Baltimore, which combined made up more than half of the increase in murders in large cities from 2014 to 2017. This year, the number of murders in Chicago alone is expected to drop 2.4 percent. But it’s declines in New York, Houston and Detroit that are driving the overall decrease.

Inimai Chettiar, director of the justice program at the center, told The Post that the analysis suggested two things.

“First, the long-term trend toward safer cities isn’t going anywhere,” Chettiar said over email. “The evidence conclusively shows there is currently no national crime wave. Second, short-term fluctuations in crime are often driven by local factors.”

There are several cities that reinforce that point. The murder rate in Charlotte, doubled over the first half of 2017, for example, even as it fell sharply in other places.

Chettiar addressed Sessions’s concerns directly.

“Our data leads us to believe that the upticks in 2015 and 2016 were likely short-term fluctuations,” she wrote, noting that “not enough research has been done to identify the exact catalyst.”

The center, which is a part of the New York University School of Law, shared its report with Ronal Serpas, a former New Orleans police superintendent who now co-chairs an organization focused on reducing incarceration rates.

“In contrast to what we have been hearing from the president and attorney general, this new data from police departments shows that all measures of crime and murder are in decline this year,” Serpas said in a statement provided to The Post. “It’s irresponsible to incite public panic based on falsehoods, and it makes our police officers’ jobs harder.” Both Serpas and Chettiar noted that in places where violent crime had increased the Trump administration’s focus was best placed on that crime — as opposed to immigration violations, for example.


Attorney General Jeff Sessions stands waiting during a meeting with the Fraternal Order of Police in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in March. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

As the Trump campaign and then the Trump presidency cited localized increases as examples of the crime threat that Trump pledged to solve, independent observers frequently noted that, despite the uptick in crime in recent years, overall levels were still near recent lows following the sharp drop of the last 20 years. The Brennan Center’s analysis suggests that this trend will continue, leading the administration to a no-doubt vexing problem:

Is it too soon to claim credit?

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I’ve noted many times before that Session’s disingenuous, xenophobic, White Nationalist focus on immigration enforcement actually makes the country less safe from crime. This report confirms that.

Moreover, with his “morbid fixation” on spreading a false narrative on immigration, Sessions has abandoned the real law enforcement functions of the DOJ, particularly in the areas of civil rights, voting rights, police brutality, prison reform, protection of the LGBTQ community, right-wing hate groups, domestic violence, and effectively combatting gangs, drug cartels, and human traffickers. As I’ve noted before, the latter three groups have been energized and empowered by Sessions’s focus on janitors, maids, gardeners, Dreamers and other “collaterals” — even dissing legal immigrants ands implicitly U.S. citizens of ethnic and immigrant heritage — rather than working on nuanced solutions to real law enforcement problems. By sowing unnecessary fear, mistrust, and terror among law-abiding productive members of migrant communities, he has basically “green-lighted” them as targets for crime, domestic violence, sexual exploitation, and gang recruitment. Ironically, this is a scenario I heard many times from individuals seeking refuge from third world countries: “I can’t go to the police because they won’t help and might even abuse or arrest me with impunity.”

Sessions is destroying the hard work of of community policing in ethnic communities in many cities throughout the U.S. One reason that many jurisdictions abandoned the “Safe Communities” program pushed by the Obama Administration is because they found it was a misnomer: busting undocumented workers and minor offenders actually did not make communities “safer.” Rather than learning from history, Sessions is doubling down on past failures. “Irresponsible” might be too kind a word to describe the Trump-Sessions White Nationalist legal agenda.

PWS

09-09-17

DERELICTION OF DUTY! — Sessions’s DOJ Is MIA In Vindicating Public’s Constitutional Rights To Freedom From Police Brutality — State Of IL Forced To Do Feds’ Job For Them!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/illinois-fills-in-for-the-missing-in-action-justice-department/2017/09/02/c8e16484-8e90-11e7-84c0-02cc069f2c37_story.html?utm_term=.ed2fa2d4a0d6

The Washington Post says in an editorial today:

“IN JANUARY, an investigation by the Justice Department found that the Chicago Police Department routinely used excessive force against the city’s residents, often along racial lines and without accountability. That report recommended federal court oversight of the Chicago police to prevent further abuses. Now, almost nine months later, a federal judge is set to begin supervising the process of reforming Chicago’s police.

But the city of Chicago won’t be working with the Justice Department. Instead, it’s Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan who is bringing the lawsuit to begin negotiations on a federal court decree for police oversight.

The state of Illinois is filling the hole left by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, under whose leadership the Justice Department pulled back from its agreement to negotiate with Chicago to find a mutually agreeable model for court supervision of the city’s police. After months, nothing came of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s efforts to find a solution with the Justice Department outside the courts. Now, Mr. Emanuel — who has been reluctant to embrace judicial oversight of Chicago police — has pledged to partner with Ms. Madigan to achieve reform under the watchful eye of a judge.

Chicago is one of several cities left behind by Mr. Sessions’s emphasis on fighting crime over working with unsettled police departments in need of reform — as if protecting civil rights and public safety were somehow incompatible. Two months into his time as attorney general, Mr. Sessions issued a memorandum directing his deputies to review oversight agreements reached by the Obama administration with police departments found to have systematically violated civil rights. The Justice Department then tried to delay an agreement finalized by Obama officials from going into effect in Baltimore, over the objections of the police department itself — only to be rebuked by the judge who gave the reform plan his approval. And recently, the department’s Community Oriented Policing Services Office (COPS) has reportedly failed to provide assessments requested by at least seven local police departments that reached out for help with reform.”

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Read the entire editorial at the above link.

Get this! While Gonzo Apocalypto is out spreading his knowingly false narrative about how nannies, gardeners, drywallers, carpenters, health care workers, fast food workers, students, soccer players, and emergency response personnel are threats to the public safety (not surprisingly, a tough sell in many diverse communities that depend on migrant labor and ethnic community participation without regard to legal status) and misusing statistics and anecdotes to support the Trump Administration’s bogus case that local police need tanks and other combat type military equipment to protect the public, the real law enforcement duties of the DOJ are going by the board. Nowhere is this more true than in the area of civil rights and voting rights, where the DOJ is actually working with some states and localities to undermine Americans’ constitutional rights. But, the Department’s “turn back the clock” approach to drug enforcement, prison reform, sentencing reform, forensic science, and community policing is also “built to fail” and deserves censure.

Then, there is the massive failure of justice in the overwhelmed U.S. Immigration Courts. Rather than setting forth a rational plan to restore due process and functionality by reducing dockets, providing more and better training for judges, hiring additional law clerks, closing down “kangaroo courts” in detention centers, giving judges control of individual dockets, implementing statutory contempt authority for judges, establishing a merit-based hiring system that promotes a diverse judiciary, putting resources into technology including e-filing, and making EOIR functionally independent from the DOJ’s political influence and the President’s immigration enforcement initiatives, Sessions has sent a “just peddle faster” message to Immigration Courts that are already peddling so fast that they are careening out of control. The DOJ’s handling of the U.S. Immigration Courts is a national disgrace that will come back to haunt the entire justice system unless or until Coongress or the Article III Courts call a halt!

And Jeff “Gonzo Apocalypto” Sessions is a key part of the problems that his White Nationalist agenda can never solve and, indeed, will continue to aggravate while he holds office.

PWS

09-03-17

 

 

U.S. IMMIGRATION JUDGES CAN BREATHE EASIER: Judge Richard “Dickie The P” Posner Retires — 7th Cir. Jurist Was Caustic, Unrelenting Critic Of U.S. Immigration Courts!

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-judge-richard-posner-retires-met-20170901-story.html

The Chicago Tribune reports:

“Judge Richard A. Posner, one of the nation’s leading appellate judges, whose acerbic wit attracted an almost cultlike following within legal circles, is retiring after more than three decades with the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.

Posner, 78, is stepping down effective Saturday, according to a news release Friday afternoon from the 7th Circuit. He was appointed to the court by President Ronald Reagan in 1981 and served as its chief judge from 1993 to 2000.

Posner said in a statement he has written more than 3,300 opinions in his time on the bench and is “proud to have promoted a pragmatic approach to judging.” He said he spent his career applying his view that “judicial opinions should be easy to understand and that judges should focus on the right and wrong in every case.”

Posner’s biting and often brilliant written opinions as well as his unrelenting questioning from the bench have made him an icon of the court for years.

 

Known as a conservative at the time of his appointment, Posner’s views skewed more libertarian through the years, and he often came down in favor of more liberal issues such as gay marriage and abortion rights.

Lawyers who regularly appeared before the 7th Circuit knew that when Posner was on a panel they had to be ready for a line of questioning that could come out of left field. The salty judge was known to abruptly cut off lawyers who he thought were off-point, often with a dismissive “No, no, no!” delivered in his trademark nasal tone.”

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Read the full article at the link.

Here’s a classic Posner comment on the U.S. Immigration Courts from a 2016 case,  Chavarria-Reyes v. Lynch:

“POSNER, Circuit Judge, dissenting. This case involves a typical botch by an immigration judge. No surprise: the Immigration Court, though lodged in the Justice Department, is the least competent federal agency, though in fairness it may well owe its dismal status to its severe underfunding by Congress, which has resulted in a shortage of immigration judges that has subjected them to crushing workloads.”

See my prior blog on Chavarria-Reyes:

http://immigrationcourtside.com/2017/01/02/the-u-s-immigration-courts-vision-is-all-about-best-practices-guaranteeing-fairness-and-due-process-7th-circuits-judge-posner-thinks-its-a-farce-blames-congressional-underfunding/

Judge Posner was always provocative, often entertaining, and eminently quotable. While I found some of his commentary on the Immigration Courts and the BIA, and particularly some of his harsh words about individual Immigration Judges, to be “over the top,” his blunt criticism of the failure to provide due process to migrants and his recognition that the DOJ and Congress shared the majority of the responsibility for screwing up the system was spot on.

He was always a “player,” and he will be missed even by those who disagreed with him. I look forward to a “Posner commentary” on the state of due process in the Immigration Courts in the Sessions regime.

PWS

09-03-17

 

 

APPARENTLY, (LIKE TRUMP) HE JUST CAN’T HELP HIMSELF: SESSIONS CONTINUES TO PEDDLE FALSE NARRATIVE ON MIGRANT CRIME WHILE THREATENING TO IMPEDE EFFECTIVE LAW ENFORCEMENT!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/sessions-makes-sweeping-attack-on-chicagos-sanctuary-city-policy/2017/08/16/aa1b76f8-82b4-11e7-b359-15a3617c767b_story.html?hpid=hp_rhp-more-top-stories_sessions606pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.a88227d68507

Sari Horwitz and Mark Berman report in the Washington Post:

“On Wednesday, in response to Sessions’s latest comments, Emanuel invoked the controversy that has enveloped the White House over President Trump’s responses to the violence that erupted in Charlottesville this past weekend.

“In a week in which the Trump administration is being forced to answer questions about ­neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and the KKK, they could not have picked a worse time to resume their attack on the immigrants who see America as a beacon of hope,” Emanuel said in a statement. “Chicago will continue to stand up proudly as a welcoming city, and we will not cave to the Trump administration’s pressure because they are wrong morally, wrong factually and wrong legally.”

While Sessions attacked Chicago, he praised Miami-Dade County for “complying with federal immigration law.”

“Americans — all Americans — have a right to full and equal protection under law,” Sessions said. “No one understands this better than the Cuban Americans here in Miami-Dade. . . . They understand that no single person — whether a dictator or a mayor — should determine whose rights are protected and whose are not.”

Sessions said that the county’s homicides were a third of what they were in the 1980s. But, according to the county’s police statistics, murders, rapes and assaults are up in Miami-Dade from where they were at this point last year.

Chicago has also been combating a surge in violent crime, an issue that Trump repeatedly cited during his presidential campaign and since taking office. The city had 762 homicides in 2016, more than the combined total reported by New York and Los Angeles, the only two American cities with larger populations.

There have been 428 murders in Chicago so far this year, down from 440 at the same point in 2016, according to police data. The city has also seen 1,811 shootings, down from 2,149 at this time a year ago, the data show.

Trump has been critical of the response by officials in Chicago, saying that “they’re not doing the job” and suggesting in a television interview this year that perhaps the police were being “overly politically correct.”

Sessions took aim at a city that federal officials have pledged to help. Police have pointed to illegal guns and gang activity as explanations for the increase in crime and have called for harsher sentencing for people convicted of gun crimes. In June, Chicago police and federal authorities announced a new partnership aimed at cracking down on illegal guns.

The top police official in Chicago sharply disputed Sessions’s comments seemingly connecting the violent-crime increase with illegal immigration.

“I have said it before and I will say it again, undocumented immigrants are not driving violence in Chicago and that’s why I want our officers focused on community policing and not trying to be the immigration police,” Eddie Johnson, the Chicago police superintendent, said in a statement.

Rather than helping combat crime, Johnson said, “the federal government’s plans will hamper community policing and undermine the work our men and women have done to reduce shootings by 16 percent so far this year.”

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Read the complete article at the link.

Sessions is so steeped in White Nationalist, xenophobic propaganda that he just keeps on lying and misrepresenting with shocking regularity. This dude has no more interest in effective law enforcement and protecting civil rights (including the rights of undocumented individuals to fair treatment under the law) than the man in the moon (or Donald Trump). And he is the guy who is going to protect us from White Supremacists? Com’ on, Man! Liz was right on!

Now, some folks might think it strange that a supposed defender of “states rights” would be threatening to have the Feds roll over the needs and policies of local law enforcement. But, when the overriding agenda is driven by White Nationalism and xenophobia, consistency is beside the point.

PWS

08-16-17

WASHPOST: AT JUSTICE, SESSIONS’S XENOPHIBIC WHITE NATIONALIST AGENDA TRUMPS EFFECTIVE LAW ENFORCEMENT!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/ideology-trumps-crime-fighting-at-sessionss-justice-department/2017/08/09/6b714040-7d23-11e7-a669-b400c5c7e1cc_story.html?utm_term=.37ad314a70b2

From a Washington Post editorial:

“IN GRAPPLING with its worst epidemic of homicides in years, Chicago faces no more critical task than repairing frayed relations between its beleaguered police force and the communities it serves. Now the Trump administration, more eager to advance its anti-illegal- immigration agenda than to combat violent crime, is throwing up obstacles that will make it more difficult for Chicago and other localities to get a grip on the problems they confront.

After a federal court blocked the administration’s crusade to punish so-called sanctuary cities such as Chicago by withholding an array of federal funds, the Justice Department has renewed the effort in a more targeted way, declaring that localities that refuse to cooperate with deportation agents are ineligible for a specific grant program for police departments.

If that sounds illogical, it’s because it is. Despite President Trump’s assertions to the contrary, there is no evidence that illegal immigration has contributed to Chicago’s murder spree. Eddie Johnson, the city’s police superintendent, said “the vast majority” of Chicago’s violent crime “is committed by homegrown people,” while illegal immigrants are a “nominal” factor. And while the city does prohibit cooperation with federal deportation agents in most instances, it makes exceptions for convicted and charged felons, as well as suspected gang members.

Nonetheless, Attorney General Jeff Sessions justifies barring the federal grants to Chicago — thereby impeding its ability to buy crime-fighting gear such as police cars, SWAT equipment and radios — by falsely linking the Windy City’s homicide rate with its sanctuary policies. “The city’s leaders cannot follow some laws and ignore others and reasonably expect this horrific situation to improve,” he said.”

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Read the entire editorial at the link.

Contrary to his self-promoted image as a defender of law and order, Session’s “Gonzo Apocalypto” approach is probably the biggest threat to effective law enforcement in the U.S. since Richard Nixon.

PWS

08-15-17

NLJ — Chicago Enlists Wilmer Cutler’s All-Star Team In Battle With Sessions On Sanctuary Cities!

http://www.nationallawjournal.com/id=1202794915257?kw=Wilmer%2C%20Counsel%20to%20Kushner%2C%20Challenges%20Trump%27s%20Immigration%20Policies&et=editorial&bu=National%20Law%20Journal&cn=20170808&src=EMC-Email&pt=Daily%20Headlines&slreturn=20170708095540

Katelyn Polantz writes:

“The leading lawyers on Chicago’s new challenge to the Trump administration’s immigration policies are names that you’ve heard before.
There is David Ogden, the first deputy attorney general during the Obama administration years. There is Debo Adegbile, an unsuccessful assistant attorney general nominee in the Obama years who developed a corporate practice related to civil rights at Wilmer after joining the firm in late 2014. And there is Jamie Gorelick, another former deputy attorney general who represents Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, on their security clearance applications and federal ethics issues.
All three lawyers are partners at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr in Washington, D.C. Monday’s civil complaint filed by Chicago against U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions III sees the city’s all-star legal team claim that the federal government’s new policies for immigration enforcement are “unauthorized and unconstitutional.”
“These new conditions also fly in the face of longstanding city policy that promotes cooperation between local law enforcement and immigrant communities, ensures access to essential city services for all residents, and makes all Chicagoans safer,” states the 46-page filing in a federal court in Chicago. Wilmer’s lawyers claim in court papers that their client’s case seeks to help keep Chicago “a Welcoming City.”
At risk—and prompting the suit—is federal funding available to cities. Sessions and the Justice Department are seeking to implement programs that help local police treat undocumented immigrants more strictly so they can continue to get federal grants. The extra grant criteria from the Justice Department includes requiring cities to give federal law enforcement officials greater access to immigrant detainees.”

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Those with NLJ access can read the complete story at the link.

Sessions impresses me as someone who would rather fight to publicize his extreme agenda than work with others to solve problems. As I have mentioned before, “Team Trump” promises full employment for lawyers on all sides of  a wide range of issues on which they seek to “turn back the clock” to a darker phase of American legal history. Indeed, Sessions himself has found it prudent to retain private counsel Chuck Cooper, in addition to his “cast of thousands” of DOJ lawyers and legal advisers.

PWS

08-08-17

 

HEAVYWEIGHT BOUT: RAHM V. GONZO — Chicago Sues DOJ Over Sanctuary Cities!

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-rahm-emanuel-donald-trump-lawsuit-met-0808-2-20170807-story.html

The Chicago Tribune reports:

“Mayor Rahm Emanuel‘s Law Department on Monday filed its much-touted lawsuit against President Donald Trump‘s Justice Department over its effort to withhold some grant funding from so-called sanctuary cities.

Emanuel wants a federal judge to block the Trump administration from enforcing its new policy, which would affect not just Chicago, but other major U.S. cities like New York and San Francisco. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ funding decision also would affect Cook County, which also holds sanctuary status and operates the largest single-site jail in the country.

The Justice Department quickly fired back in an emailed response that notes last year more people were killed in Chicago than New York and Los Angeles combined. “It’s especially tragic that the mayor is less concerned with that staggering figure than he is spending time and taxpayer money protecting criminal aliens and putting Chicago’s law enforcement at greater risk,” the response stated.

Trump has long maintained that illegal immigration fuels crime, an assertion that critics say is not backed by statistics that show immigrants in the country without the required permission are less likely to commit crimes than U.S. citizens and legal residents. And Emanuel in a rare Sunday news conference maintained Trump’s policy would damage efforts to tamp down crime, because people in the city without documentation would then be afraid to cooperate with police.”

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Uh, cutting funding for law enforcement to make cities safer doesn’t make much sense either. And, I have no doubt that if Sessions were really interested in getting criminals off the streets, he and Emanuel could reach some type of working agreement. But, what Sessions and the DOJ are really after is to cause more “collateral damage.” To date, the “gonzo” increased enforcement efforts promoted by Trump, Sessions, Kelly, and some within ICE have netted about 70% “collaterals” — folks without any serious criminal record. So, either ICE is particularly incompetent at targeting criminals, or the whole beefed up interior enforcement program is just a smokescreen for more arbitrary enforcement by DHS. I think that’s why Emmanuel and others are concerned about the Trump Administrations “punish sanctuary cities” initiatives.

PWS

08-07-17

 

HUFFPOST: How White Nationalist “Know Nothing” Jeff “Gonzo Apocalypto” Sessions Tanked Needed Police Reform In Chicago Without Even BOTHERING TO READ The DOJ’s 160 Page Report!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/doj-police-reform-jeff-sessions-chicago_us_58f50a77e4b0da2ff86254cf?ncid=inblnkushpmg00000 report on HuffPost:

Ryan J. Reilly & Kim Bellware report in HuffPost:

“CHICAGO ― In the final months of the Obama administration, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division scrambled to complete its biggest-ever investigation of a city police department: a 13-month probe of Chicago’s 12,000-strong police force that wrapped up just a week before President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

For more than a year, the division’s lawyers reviewed thousands of Chicago Police Department documents, visited all 22 police districts, went on 60 ride-alongs, reviewed 170 police shooting files, examined over 425 incidents of less-lethal force, interviewed 340 department members and talked to about 1,000 Chicago residents.

Their final report, issued Jan. 13, recognized the tough job officers had in Chicago as they dealt with spiking gun violence, and praised the “diligent efforts and brave actions of countless” officers. But a “breach in trust” eroded Chicago’s ability to prevent crime, because officers were able to escape accountability when they broke the law, the report found. Because “trust and effectiveness in combating violent crime are inextricably intertwined,” the report found “broad, fundamental reform” was needed in Chicago.

Without a formal legal agreement to reform — known as a consent decree — and independent monitoring, the report concluded, reform efforts in Chicago were “not likely to be successful.”

JI SUB JEONG/HUFFPOST

Jeff Sessions, Trump’s attorney general, disagrees. In recent weeks, Sessions has expressed deep skepticism about the role of the federal government in fixing broken police departments, leaving serious doubts about the ultimate outcome of the Justice Department’s work in Chicago.

Sessions wants the Justice Department to serve as the “leading advocate for law enforcement in America.” While admitting he hadn’t read the full Chicago report, he called it “anecdotal” and “not so scientifically based.” Earlier this month in Baltimore, a Justice Department lawyer said Sessions had “grave concerns” about an agreement previously reached between that city and the Obama administration. A federal judge signed off on the deal over Sessions’ objections.

In an interview with a conservative radio host this month, Sessions seemed to suggest that Justice Department investigations and consent decrees were resulting in “big crime increases.” In an op-ed for USA Today last week, Sessions wrote that consent decrees could amount to “harmful federal intrusion” that could “cost more lives by handcuffing the police instead of the criminals.” There’s too much focus on “a small number of police who are bad actors,” Sessions wrote, and “too many people believe the solution is to impose consent decrees that discourage the proactive policing that keeps our cities safe.”

Chicago has a serious violent crime problem. Last year was the deadliest in the city in two decades, with 762 homicides. But supporters of police reform like Jonathan Smith, a former official in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said that Sessions was “simply wrong” to suggest that crime goes up as a result of reform (or, in Chicago’s case, an investigation). DOJ investigations can increase community confidence in police departments and make people safer, Smith argued.

JIM YOUNG / REUTERS
A protester takes part in a weekly nighttime peace march through the streets of a South Side Chicago neighborhood on September 16, 2016.

Lorie Fridell, a criminologist and police bias expert from whom the Chicago’s Police Accountability Task Force solicited information for its report released last year, said DOJ investigations not only help to usher in badly need reforms to the specific departments probed, but other departments also rely on the reports to determine if their own departments are meeting constitutional standards.

“I think it’s very unfortunate the DOJ is no longer going to prioritize police reform,” Fridell said. ”The future of police reform is therefore going to have to come from the ground up. It’s going to be important for concerned individuals to demand high-quality policing.”

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Read the complete HuffPost article at the above link. And, for those of you who would like to be better informed than AG “Gonzo Apocalypto” about the need for serious police reform in Chicago, you can read the complete DOJ Civil Rights Division report here: https://www.justice.gov/opa/file/925846/download.

Sen. Liz Warren, Sen. Cory Booker, and others who opposed Sessions’s nomination to be AG, and told the truth about his white nationalist views (which he tried to conceal/downplay during his confirmation hearing, in addition to lying under oath about his Russian contacts) were right!

PWS

04-29-17

WashPost: J. Rubin Says Trump Administration’s War On Illegal Immigration Is Bogus!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2017/04/26/the-jig-is-up-hysteria-over-illegal-immigration-is-baseless/?utm_term=.73251571b3e1Bogus!

Rubin writes in “Right Turn” in the WashPost:

“The anti-immigrant hysteria that became a mainstay of President Trump’s agenda and the hymnal of the GOP rests on the assumption that we are awash with illegal immigrants. It’s illegal immigrants who are responsible for a crime wave. (There isn’t a wave, but stick with this for a moment.) It’s illegal immigrants, they say, who are responsible for the economic suffering in the Rust Belt. (If we just got rid of them, jobs and wages would go up!) Hillary Clinton was going to continue the Obama administration’s policy: open borders!

Well, it’s all fake. There was a dramatic downturn in illegal immigrants under President Barack Obama, who deported record number of people. As many of us argued, the economic recession reversed the flow of immigrants so on net more are now leaving for Mexico than coming from there. Alex Nowrasteh of the Cato Institute observes, “President Trump can’t take credit for the unprecedented collapse in illegal immigration since 2007 but the Great Recession, growing Mexican economy, and Mexican demographics can. ”

The Pew Research Center tells us:

There were 11 million unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. in 2015, a small but statistically significant decline from the Center’s estimate of 11.3 million for 2009, the last year of the Great Recession. The Center’s preliminary estimate of the unauthorized immigrant population in 2016 is 11.3 million, which is statistically no different from the 2009 or 2015 estimates and comes from a different data source with a smaller sample size and a larger margin of error. This more recent preliminary data for 2016 are inconclusive as to whether the total unauthorized immigrant population continued to decrease, held steady or increased.

Oops. You mean getting rid of all those illegal immigrants didn’t create job openings for unemployed factory workers in the heartland or boost wages or prevent Chicago’s crime increase in the past two years? Nope. It seems the anti-immigration crowd will need to find new scapegoats to blame and new ideas for solving our systemic economic problems.

In particular, Trump’s obsession with the Mexican border appears to be entirely misplaced:

Mexicans have long been the largest origin group among unauthorized immigrants – and the majority for at least a decade – but their numbers have been shrinking since peaking at 6.9 million, or 57% of the total, in 2007. In 2014, they numbered 5.8 million (52% of the total). In 2015, according to the Center’s new estimate, they declined to 5.6 million, or 51% of the total. And in 2016, according to the Center’s preliminary estimate, the number of unauthorized immigrants from Mexico was the same, but their share fell to 50% of the total, marking the first time since at least 2005 that Mexicans did not account for a majority of the unauthorized immigrant population.

Why, then, do you suppose the Trump team is so fixated on illegal immigrants and the southern border? Well, immigration exclusionists have been ignoring readily available facts for some time. There is no illegal immigrant crime wave. The border is much more secure.

We’re hard-pressed to come up with any other explanation than the obvious one: As in France, fear and hatred of immigrants are a convenient excuse for voters and policymakers who cannot grapple with messy truths. Trump has no policy agenda to help the working and middle class, so he sells xenophobia. Get rid of illegals and you’ll all have $30-per-hour jobs! You can’t make a middle-class living as a manual laborer? blame the immigrants! Scared of terrorism and don’t want to think about the problem of radicalization of Westerners? Blame the refugees, the most thoroughly vetted immigrants there are.

It’s time to put an end to the nonsense, stop turning our cities and communities upside-down, alienating our ally Mexico over an unneeded wall, wasting money on building a wall and vilifying outsiders. Right-wingers should stop pushing the comforting fantasy to displaced workers that nothing they have done (e.g., not gone to college, not developed computer skills, stayed in locales with no jobs) and nothing they have to do (e.g., go back to school, develop new skills, move to where the jobs are) matter so long as all those illegal immigrants are “stealing” their jobs. That sort of fatalism is wrongheaded and ultimately does a huge disservice to those who need to catch up to the globalized economy. And now we now have plenty of evidence that the immigration scaremongering is fraudulent.”

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While I often disagree with Rubin, her points here seem well taken. It appears that Trump & Co’s rhetoric is driven largely by xenophobia and the belief that it wins elections.

Philip Bump in the Washington Post also pointed out that there is good reason to doubt the honesty of Trump’s attempt to link homicide rates in Chicago with undocumented migration. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2017/04/26/trumps-attempt-to-link-illegal-immigration-to-chicagos-homicide-problem-is-extremely-tenuous/?utm_term=.1916c1e4aa17

PWS

04-26-17