CNN POLITICS: “A Trump meltdown for the ages!” — Prez Aligns Himself Squarely With Racist Hate Groups!

http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/15/politics/trump-news-conference-twitter/index.html

Key Quote from Stephen Collinson’s article:

“But ultimately, Tuesday’s stunning appearance will be remembered for the sentiments that passed the lips of a President of the United States.
In the long and tortured history of a nation still trying to work through its complicated story on race, Trump’s meltdown will stand out, as a moment ripped from the darkest pages of history and transposed into the 21st Century.
In the process, he appears to have abdicated any claim to the traditional presidential role as a moral voice for the nation and the world.”

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Read the full article at the link.

What a tragic nightmare for our country and the world. Watching the daily disintegration of the U.S. and our stunning fall from a position of world leadership. “Making America Great” — yup, for White Supremacists, Nazis, racists, and Vladimir Putin (who must be beside himself with joy at what a bunch of chumps we are). But not for the majority of Americans.

PWS

08-15-17

 

 

 

NEW FROM TAL KOPAN AT CNN: DACA ON THE ROPES — “Only Congress can enact a permanent solution to the DACA situation!”

http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/15/politics/daca-anniversary-peril/index.html

Tal reports:

“Washington (CNN)Tuesday marks the fifth anniversary of a program that protects young undocumented immigrants from deportation — but supporters worry this one could be its last.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, was implemented in 2012 under President Barack Obama, and President Donald Trump’s administration has continued running despite heated rhetoric against it from Trump on the campaign trail.
But DACA has arguably never been on shakier ground, and advocates for the program are desperately trying to protect it, including with a planned march Tuesday on the White House.
Nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants have benefited from DACA, which protects individuals who were brought to the US illegally as children from deportation, and offers them the ability to work, study and drive legally. Applicants must meet certain criteria, pass a background check and maintain a clean record.
But despite the fact that the administration has continued to issue permits, concerns are increasing that the program could be ended.
“DACA is under grave threat,” Nevada Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto said on a conference call with reporters Monday.
Ten state attorneys general, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, have issued an ultimatum to the Trump administration — sunset DACA by September 5, or we’ll challenge it in court. The attorneys general have threatened to petition a court that’s considering a similar but separate Obama administration deferred action program, for parents, to also weigh the legality of DACA.
Experts believe that given the makeup of the court hearing the case, and its previous ruling against the parents program, the judges involved would likely strike down DACA as well.
If the court allows arguments against DACA, the Justice Department would be forced to decide whether it will defend the program. While Trump has recently spoken about how sympathetic he is to the “Dreamers” who receive DACA, saying the choice is “very, very hard to make,” he campaigned on a pledge to immediately rescind it. And the US attorney general, former Sen. Jeff Sessions, has been a chief opponent of the program.
The White House offered a cryptic statement on the program’s future, expressing only concern with illegal immigration.
“The President’s priority remains protecting the jobs, wages and security of American workers, families and communities — including the millions of Hispanic and African American workers disadvantaged by illegal immigration,” an administration official said.
On the call with reporters and a DACA recipient, Masto and California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris extolled its virtues, citing estimates that the US economy would lose hundreds of billions of dollars without the contributions of DACA recipients.
“This is not just about what is morally right, this is not only a point about what is right in terms of fighting for the ideals of our country,” Harris said. “This is also right and smart in terms of public benefits.”
Both are co-sponsors of one bipartisan proposal to make the program permanent in Congress, the Dream Act, which also has three Republican co-sponsors. It’s one of four proposed bills that would codify DACA if the administration were to rescind it or the courts were to strike it down.
The Department of Justice did not respond to a CNN request for comment.
US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the division of the Department of Homeland Security, said the program remains under review.
“The Department of Homeland Security’s stance remains the same — the future of the DACA program continues to be under review with the administration,” said USCIS press secretary Gillian Christensen. “The President has remarked on the need to handle DACA with compassion and with heart. As a matter of policy, we do not comment on pending litigation, but we have said before only Congress can enact a permanent solution to the DACA situation.”
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I think the last statement in Tal’s article, from USCIS, hits the nail on the head. Congress has to come up with a solution to this issue or there will be chaos. Imagine another 800,000 cases of young people thrown into the U.S. Immigration Courts on top of the 610,000 cases already there! It’s Jason Dzubow’s vision of “Trump’s 100 year deportation plan” in action. http://immigrationcourtside.com/2017/08/14/jason-dzubow-in-the-asylumist-trumps-101-year-plan-for-removals-malevolence-tempered-by-incompetence/
As Nolan Rappaport has pointed out, it’s unlikely that any of the pending bills, in their present forms, will attract enough GOP support to be enacted. http://immigrationcourtside.com/2017/08/07/n-rappaport-in-the-hill-dems-dreamer-bill-offers-false-hope/
But perhaps Democrats and some willing Republicans can work on a compromise legislative solution. Otherwise, the results aren’t likely to be pretty — for the Dreamers or for our country’s future.
PWS
08-15-17

TWO NEW ONES FROM CNN’S AMAZING TAL KOPAN: September May Bring Dark Clouds For Dreamers — Trump Administration Lags In Filling Top Spots!

Good morning! Happy recess.

Thought you might find a couple stories of mine that we published this morning interesting.

As always, all the best,

Tal

 

 

A storm is brewing for DACA this September

By: Tal Kopan, CNN

A suite of pressures on the policy that protects young undocumented immigrants is brewing — and it could mean the program soon either becomes permanent or disappears entirely.

Next month, the Trump administration faces both an ultimatum from challengers to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, or DACA, and a potentially nasty government funding fight that could require an 11th hour deal to avert a shutdown.

Last week, the administration’s biggest defender of DACA moved much closer to the President, who has also spoken about being sympathetic to DACA recipients. Gen. John Kelly is now the White House chief of staff, and as homeland security secretary, he spoke frequently about preserving the program under this administration.

But the move also takes him out of the department that was responsible for issuing permits under the Obama administration policy — and he recently warned Democrats on the Hill that the program’s prospects are dim.

When Congress wraps up its August recess, members will return to a consequential month — one in which they may be forced to act whether they want to or not.

The earliest trigger will be September 5. That’s the deadline in an ultimatum issued by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and nine other state attorneys general to the Trump administration: Rescind DACA or we will challenge it in an unfriendly court. They have already succeeded in stopping a similar program to protect the parents of childhood arrivals to the US.

Trump said the ultimate decision on what to do will be made by him.

“It’s a decision that I make and it’s a decision that’s very, very hard to make. I really understand the situation now,” Trump said in a conversation with reporters on Air Force One last month. “I understand the situation very well. What I’d like to do is a comprehensive immigration plan. But our country and political forces are not ready yet.”

Trump has spoken recently about having compassion for recipients of the policy, which protects undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children from deportation and allows them to work and study in the US. But he also pledged to end the program “immediately” on the campaign trail, and his base strongly opposes the Obama administration policy they call an “amnesty.”

That could make punting the issue to Congress an appealing solution for the administration.

“My assumption is that the cleanest thing they can do, though they’ll take the vast majority of the blame for ending the program, is simply announce come September 5 a sunset of the program, that they’ll stop approving applications, and then invite Congress to work on legislation,” said a Democratic congressional staffer familiar with the issue who spoke on condition of anonymity to be candid.

Story continues here http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/07/politics/daca-coming-storm/index.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

At 200-day mark, Trump nominations still lag

By: Tal Kopan, CNN

On President Donald Trump’s 200th day in office, he still lags far behind his predecessors in staffing up his administration, both in terms of nominations and confirming those positions.

Any new administration has to fill roughly 4,000 positions across the government, more than 1,200 of which require Senate confirmation. While no administration can accomplish that task in 200 days, the nonprofit good-government group Partnership for Public Service recommends having the most important 300-400 confirmed by August recess.

Trump hasn’t come close.

The President got a big boost to his progress last week when the Senate confirmed en masse more than five dozen outstanding nominees — roughly doubling the number of nominees Trump has had confirmed.

But he still remains far behind.

As of August 4, when the Senate left town for its August recess, Trump has nominated 277 people for key posts, has had 124 confirmed, and has withdrawn eight of the nominations, according to CNN’s tracker.

The Partnership for Public Service has identified 577 executive branch positions as being particularly essential — and Trump has only successfully filled about a fifth of them.

Meanwhile, his predecessor fared far better at the same point in their terms. President Barack Obama had 433 nominations and 310 confirmations at the same point, President George W. Bush had nominated 414 and had 294 confirmed, and President Bill Cilnton had 345 nominations and 252 confirmed.

Trump’s rate of 45% of nominees confirmed lags behind Obama’s 72%, Bush’s 71% and Clinton’s 73%. His nominees have also taken far longer to confirm — an average of 54 days compared with 41, 35 and 30 respectively.

The White House has consistently placed blame for its slow pace on Democrats — the minority party in the Senate — arguing they’ve employed stall tactics to slow-walk Trump’s confirmations.

Indeed, before the failure of the Senate to advance a plan to repeal Obamacare, Senate Democrats were forcing Republicans to go through all procedural steps for nominees, dragging out the process.

But part of the slowness has also been due to difficulty getting paperwork in for many of the nominees, and some announced nominations were not transmitted to the Senate for formal consideration for months. Trump also lags in naming officials amid reports that Cabinet officials and the White House have butted heads over potential candidates.

Trump has had his entire Cabinet confirmed, although when he selected John Kelly as his chief of staff late last month, he created a vacancy at the Department of Homeland Security. But experts say his slowness to fill deputy positions at agencies is equally important, as those officials handle much of the day-to-day management of government.

Partnership for Public Service President Max Stier, who has advised multiple presidents and presidential candidates, including Trump, on transitioning into office, said the President should be prioritizing filling positions if he wants to execute his agenda.

“While the pace of nominations for political appointees has picked up in recent weeks, critical leadership positions remain vacant at almost every agency and department,” Stier said. “The President must prioritize getting his full team in place. Doing so will strengthen his ability to run the government, achieve his priorities and deal effectively with the inevitable crises that will take place in our complicated and dangerous world.”

Story link here: http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/07/politics/trump-200-days-nominations/index.html

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Thanks, Tal, for your incisive and timely reporting and for making it readily available to us.

PWS

08-07-17

 

 

TRUMP & GOP EXTREMISTS DECLARE WAR ON AMERICA: Xenophobic, Racist Agenda Also Attacks Young & Old — CNN’S TAL KOPAN BREAKS DOWN WHAT RAISE ACT REALLY DOES!

http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/02/politics/cotton-perdue-trump-bill-point-system-merit-based/index.html

Tal writes:

“Under the plan — if approved by Congress, which will be a heavy lift — the highest point-getting candidate, for example, not including special circumstances, would be a 26- to 31-year-old with a US-based doctorate or professional degree, who speaks nearly perfect English and who has a salary offer that’s three times as high as the median income where they are.
Have an Olympic medal or Nobel Prize? That will help too.
A candidate must have at least 30 points to apply.
Here’s how the points would be doled out:

Age

Priority is given to prime working ages. Someone aged 18 through 21 gets six points, ages 22 through 25 gets eight points and ages 26 through 30 get 10 points.
The points then decrease, with someone aged 31 through 35 getting eight points, 36 through 40 getting six points, ages 41 through 45 getting four points and ages 46 through 50 getting two points.
Minors under the age of 18 and those over the age of 50 receive no points, though people over 50 years old are still allowed to apply.”
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Read Tal’s complete article at the link.
PWS
08-03-17

CNN’S TAL KOPAN: Meet New Acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke

http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/28/politics/elaine-duke-homeland-security-john-kelly/index.html

Tal writes:

“Washington (CNN)With Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly being tapped as President Donald Trump’s new White House chief of staff, leadership of the agency responsible for protecting the nation at home will fall to Elaine Duke, the deputy secretary.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, Kelly will remain the secretary until Monday, and then Duke will take over in an acting capacity.
The longtime veteran of government brings an expertise in business management and government acquisition to the role, with many of her past positions focused on the operational side of the bureaucracy.
Duke was sworn in as deputy secretary in April after a seven-year stint in the private sector. She was confirmed by the Senate on an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote, 85-14.
“I am grateful to have this opportunity to further mature the Department and continue improving its efficiency and effectiveness,” Duke testified at her confirmation hearing for the deputy position. “If confirmed, I promise to lead DHS in enforcing the law with respect and integrity. I will be honest in my assessments and recommendations, and relentless in pursuing excellence. Such commitments are critical at this juncture in homeland security.”
Since taking office, Duke has taken a lead role in many of the agency’s priorities, including an effort to increase security on large electronics in carry-ons on airplanes traveling to the US.
A public servant for nearly three decades, Duke spent the last eight years of her tenure with government at DHS, serving in a Senate-confirmed position as undersecretary for management from 2008 to 2010.
After working at DHS, she worked as the principal of Elaine Duke & Associates, described in her DHS bio as an acquisition and business consulting firm.
During her tenure at DHS, Duke worked in management and as chief procurement officer. She also worked in acquisition at the Transportation Security Administration. She took on that role less than a year after the September 11 attacks, according to an older speaker’s biography.
Duke also worked at the Department of Defense before she arrived at DHS.
She went to New Hampshire College for her undergraduate degree in business and received an MBA from Chaminade University of Honolulu.
According to DHS, she has received many honors during her public service career, including the Presidential Meritorious Rank Award, the DHS Secretary’s Medal, the TSA Silver Medal for Customer Service, the Department of the Army Commander’s Award for Public Service, and the Coast Guard’s Distinguished Public Service Medal.
Duke is married and has two sons, according to her Senate testimony.”
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Duke looks like a total pro. And, it appears that, barring something unusual happening (which might be the norm in this Administration), she will be around until at least next year, even if she doesn’t get the nod for the Secretary appointment.
But, General Kelly also looked and sounded like a pro until his confirmation hearing was over. Then, Kelly bought into and carried out the zany max enforcement, minimum judgment, waste of resources White Nationalist immigration program of Sessions, Bannon, Miller, and ultimately Trump. In other words, he was unwilling or unable to stand up for smart and humane enforcement that could benefit the country and stop the waste of taxpayer dollars.
Duke has one thing going for her that Kelly didn’t: she is familiar with the formidable DHS bureaucracy and how to actually get things done. Notwithstanding his credentials, Kelly appeared afraid to “just say no” to the demands of some (but by no means all) DHS agents for unlimited discretion for “gonzo” enforcement. Presumably, Duke is no stranger to the concept that line agents should carry out policies (and have their views considered, among others, in determining policies), not “make them up as they go along.”
Will Duke continue the “gonzo” policy of overloading the already overwhelmed U.S. Immigration Courts and stripping DHS prosecutors of discretion to help manage dockets? Or, will she take responsibility for establishing rational Immigration Court filings by DHS and restore needed ability to exercise prosecutorial discretion to the Assistant Chief Counsel?
We’ll see what happens.
PWS
08-01-17

CNN: American Families Are The Human Wreckage Of Trump’s Deportation Policies!

http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/27/politics/connecticut-family-deportations/index.html

Mallory Simon and Alex Marquardt report on CNN:

“New Fairfield, Connecticut (CNN)Six-year-old Preston Colindres runs up the driveway and front steps and jumps into his father’s arms.

“Hey buddy! How are you? Oh, I love you!” Joel Colindres says as he kisses his son’s cheek. He picks up his 2-year-old daughter, Lila, hugs her and tells her he loves her.
Colindres’ children don’t know their father’s heart is breaking.
Colindres, 33, fled from Guatemala more than a decade ago. He and his American wife, Samantha, can’t quite figure out how to tell their young children that in less than a month he may no longer greet them on the steps of their New Fairfield home.
How do you explain to a 6-year-old why their father is going to be deported? The couple is unsure — especially when they can’t figure it out themselves.
“I can’t seem to summon the courage to look them in the face and say all that,” Samantha Colindres said. “How can you say it before bed, how’s he going to sleep? How do you say it in the morning before school and ruin his day? When’s the right time?”
Colindres must produce an airline ticket to Guatemala on Thursday as proof that on August 17 he intends to comply with a deportation order.
Stopping illegal immigration and kicking out “bad hombres” was a central theme of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. In the days after his inauguration, he vowed to rid the country of violent criminals who enter the country illegally.
Trump administration widens net on deportation
Trump administration widens net on deportation 01:53
Since he came into office, the number of undocumented immigrant arrests has risen by roughly one-third, according to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement statistics. That was largely driven by an increase in the number of non-criminals arrested.
But the Colindres family never thought Joel would be a target for deportation. They, along with family, friends, and their lawyer Larry Delgado, maintain his case is typical of a change in the face of those targeted for deportation.
“This is one of the most compelling cases that we have ever seen in terms of the positives versus the negatives,” Delgado said.
Delgado counts off the positives rapidly: Colindres is married to a US citizen; has two children who are citizens; pays his taxes; owns his own home and is a skilled worker who has been with the same company for 12 years. Most importantly, Delgado said, Colindres has no criminal record.
Delgado believed Colindres’ case would be a “slam dunk” to at least get a stay of deportation. But a growing number of undocumented immigrants have found themselves expecting one outcome and getting another, Democratic Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal said.
“These individuals relied on the good word and promise of the American government. They were permitted to stay here, they reported periodically, they made no effort to hide, they violated no laws, they raised children here, US citizens, and contributed and worked hard,” Blumenthal said.

Unfairness should ‘strike the hearts of Americans’

Nury Chavarria, also a Guatemala native, sought sanctuary from deportation inside a church.

The Colindres family is not alone.
“There are hundreds and maybe thousands in Connecticut and many, many more around the country that find themselves in this trauma and tragedy,” Blumenthal said.
Similar cases include that of single mother Nury Chavarria, also a Guatemala native, who had taken sanctuary with her four children inside a New Haven, Connecticut, church last week to avoid deportation. Her eldest son, who is 21 years old, has cerebral palsy. Chavarria was granted a stay of deportation in her case on Wednesday night, according to her lawyer.
Sen. Blumenthal believes immigration laws should be enforced, but with discretion.
“We should be deporting people who are dangerous and who pose a threat to society, not people like Nury and Joel and others who have lived here, worked, paid taxes, raised families, and have people depending on them at work and in their homes,” Blumenthal said.
“That is a betrayal of American values, it’s also against our interest because our economy depends on the talents and energy of these people, and we should be providing some pathway to earned citizenship for them.”
But the Trump administration has made clear anyone here illegally can be subject to deportation.
“The fact that you are not a priority does not exempt you from potential enforcement,” a Department of Homeland Security official said. People with crimes like DUIs and status violations, or noncriminal histories but a final order of removal could be subject to deportation, the official added.
Blumenthal believes those like Colindres and Chavarria should get a chance to further present their cases to remain in America.
“The fundamental unfairness of it ought to strike the hearts of Americans,” he said.”
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Read the complete story at the link.
“Gonzo” enforcement in action. Diminishing America one arbitrary enforcement action at a time. Why do we deport them? “Because we can!”
PWS
07-31-17

MS-13 GANG MEMBERS HEARTENED, ENCOURAGED BY TRUMP-SESSIONS “GONZO” TACTICS — “They [MS-13] feel like they can do whatever they want, ’cause Trump himself has made everybody fear,” Alex said. “He’s helping them.”

http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/28/us/ms-13-gang-long-island-trump/index.html

CNN reports:

“Long Island, New York (CNN)The first time members of the MS-13 street gang attacked Margarita’s teenage son in suburban New York, they beat him with a baseball bat.

The young man had immigrated from El Salvador three months earlier to join his mother in Nassau County, Long Island. The gang had harassed him in El Salvador because he refused to join them. Now, in his new home, they were upping the stakes.
The second time, they attacked the 19-year-old as he was on his way to work. They slashed him in the stomach with a machete, the gang’s weapon of choice. He survived and has been in hiding for the last few weeks, but his mother is terrified.
“I think it’s worse (in the US) because over there they hadn’t tried to kill him. But here they have,” said the woman, who is undocumented and asked to be called only “Margarita” for her safety. She witnessed the first attack on her son, on the street outside their home, and says she’s too afraid to go to the police for fear of deportation.
The violent gang known as Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, originated decades ago among Salvadoran immigrants in Los Angeles and has since built a criminal network that extends across the US, with thriving pockets in the Washington, D.C. suburbs and here on Long Island, just an hour or so east of New York City. It’s estimated to have 10,000 members nationwide.
President Trump has vowed to wipe them out and will visit Long Island Friday to discuss his plans. But the FBI says the gang is growing.

Investigators comb woods where the mutilated bodies of four young men were discovered in late April in Central Islip. Authorities believe MS-13 was behind the killings.

And several people familiar with MS-13, including two gang members themselves, told CNN they think Trump’s crackdown on immigrants is actually making MS-13 stronger because witnesses are more reluctant to come forward for fear of being deported.
“It’s not like before, where … they (the gang) were more hidden,” said Margarita, adding that a decade after fleeing violence in El Salvador she has never felt more afraid. “People can get deported, so they don’t call the police. So they (MS-13) feel more free.”
“I think it’s emboldening them, because this gives them the opportunity to tell immigrants, ‘What are you gonna do? Are you going to report us? They’re deporting other innocent people … (so) they’re going to associate you with us by you coming forward,'” said Walter Barrientos, Long Island coordinator with Make the Road, an immigrant advocacy group.
“‘So what are you going to do? Who’s going to protect you?’ And that’s what really strikes many of us.”
But a senior Trump administration official disputed that thinking.”
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Read the complete article at the link.
REALITY CHECK: Ever since the 1920’s, the U.S. has made major efforts to deport organized crime figures. Indeed many “line” Mafiosi and dozens of leaders have been deported over the years. Has it stopped or inhibited the growth of organized crime? The answer is pretty obvious. No way!
In fact, deportations merely forced some adjustments in organizational structure and actually internationalized, “professionalized,” and increased the power of the organized crime families. I suspect that these gangs suffered far more damage from their internal wars than they ever did from the Feds (“Untouchables” myths notwithstanding).
Likewise, deportations merely force some MS-13 (and rival) gang members to assume positions in “overseas operations.” Imprisonment in countries of the Northern Triangle gives them a chance to run the gang operations that control the prisons and to develop new criminal skills.
After all, there was no MS-13 in El Salvador until a waive of deportations from the U.S. (primarily the L.A. area) got it off to a running start in the 1980s and 1990s. And gang members won’t have too much difficulty coming back into the U.S. when they choose. The idea that they are going to be stopped by a wall, or by denying due process to their victims at the border is a joke. How dumb do we think these guys are?  I’m sure somewhere down in the Northern Triangle, the leaders are laughing at the Trump-Sessions idle threats and literally licking their chops right now.
I’m certainly not saying gang members who commit crimes shouldn’t be deported. Unlike most of the other participants in the debate, and certainly unlike Trump and Sessions, I’ve actually sent detained gang members, associates, and even wannabes back to whence they came. I also know that some of them have ended up back in the U.S. So, the idea that deportations are a “durable solution” to gang problems is little short of preposterous.
Combatting gang problems in the U.S. will take a nuanced strategy that deals more constructively with the instability, lack of honest government, and other societal problems in the sending countries (for example, U.S. inspired “zero tolerance,” “iron fist,” and “peace treaty” programs in Central America have been dismal and proven failures). In the U.S., it’s going to take a combined approach of social workers, teachers, law enforcement, counselors, local political figures, and families to make inroads. All this takes building trust, confidence, and sound relationships with migrant communities, the very thing that the “gonzo” enforcement programs of Trump and Sessions, and their unwarranted attacks on so-called sanctuary cities (actually cities that are constructively trying to solve these problems and undoubtedly making more progress than the Trumpsters and ICE) are mindlessly destroying. Since bilingual members of the communities have the best chance of getting to the bottom of these problems, many of those recent arrivals fleeing gang violence that Trump, Sessions, & Kelly are so intent on removing are exactly the folks that we will need to solve these problems here and in the sending countries.
The problems are real. But, Trump’s solutions are bogus. The results won’t be pretty for anyone except the gangs, who will take us to the cleaners, chuckling all the way (perhaps with their checks for civil damages for police brutality inspired by Trump in hand).
PWS
07-28-17

 

BREAKING NEWS FROM CNN’S TAL KOPAN — TRUMP’S WALL DELAYED BY BID PROTESTS!

http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/27/politics/border-wall-delay/index.html

Tal reports:

“Washington (CNN)Construction on prototypes for President Donald Trump’s long-promised border wall has been delayed until winter at the earliest after bidders who were passed over filed protests about the decision, according to an update obtained by CNN.

The delay pushes back construction of the potential wall designs months beyond when the administration had hoped to break ground. The plan had originally been to build in June, and in recent weeks the Department of Homeland Security has insisted it was still on track to begin work on prototypes this summer.
But according to a memo sent out by the Customs and Border Protection legislative affairs office, obtained by CNN, two companies that were not selected to be finalists — who then were asked to submit more detailed proposals — filed a total of four protests of the process. While two of the protests, from WNIS, were dismissed, two from Penna Group are still under review and won’t be decided until October, the update said.
That sets the earliest that prototype construction could begin for November, to be completed by early December. That’s if no further protests are filed and if the original protests are dismissed, the update notes, and acknowledges that protests are a common part of government contracting.
CBP did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The news comes as the House is set to vote Thursday night on a security funding package that would include money to build new border wall next fiscal year, though Democrats in the Senate have signaled they will oppose any such effort.
Since Congress has yet to appropriate any money for Trump’s signature campaign pledge, the prototypes have been the only step the administration has been able to take in executing Trump’s vision.”
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Gee whiz, this Government contracting process seems to be more complicated than Trump thought. Maybe he should just have Jared build the wall.
Many thanks to the always wonderful Tal Kopan for the “early scoop” on this.
PWS
07-27-17

 

UNFAZED BY HUMILIATION FROM TRUMP, SESSIONS MOVES FORWARD ON GONZO AGENDA — PICKING UNNECESSARY FIGHTS WITH “SANCTUARY CITIES” — DIVIDING AMERICA!

http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/25/politics/trump-admin-sanctuary-cities/index.html

CNN’s Tal Kopan reports:

“Washington (CNN)The Trump administration opened up a new salvo against sanctuary cities on Tuesday — moving to make immigration enforcement a pre-condition for receiving key law enforcement grants.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday evening that applicants for Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants will be required to certify that they’ll cooperate with federal immigration enforcement more extensively than in the past, a move that is likely to generate court challenges quickly from advocates and state and local jurisdictions who have opposed President Donald Trump’s efforts.
Among the requirements: Letting federal authorities access detainees in jails to inquire about immigration status and giving the federal government 48 hours’ notice before any inmate they’re interested in is released.
The term sanctuary city loosely refers to jurisdictions that in some way do not cooperate with federal immigration enforcement. Localities have a variety of justifications for doing so, from protecting undocumented immigrants to preserving law enforcement’s ability to gain the trust and cooperation of communities. Some jurisdictions have also been barred by the courts from complying with certain federal requests.
Trump himself railed against sanctuary cities during a rally in Youngstown, Ohio, on Tuesday. He drew out a long and graphic description of violent gang members torturing and killing young women.
“These are the animals that we’ve been protecting for so long,” Trump said. “Well, they’re not being protected any longer folks. And that is why my administration is launching a nationwide crackdown on sanctuary cities.”
He hailed legislation in Congress targeting sanctuary cities and Kate’s Law, named for a woman allegedly murdered by an undocumented immigrant. He called on the Senate to vote on the bills now that they had passed the House.
“We’ve got to get it passed,” he said.
Sanctuary cities have been a key focus of the Trump administration and Republicans in Washington. The President signed an executive order in January that threatened to withhold federal funding from sanctuary cities, which immediately prompted a court challenge.
A federal judge this spring blocked the administration from enforcing that order broadly — limiting them to restricting the Edward Byrne grants based on a piece of law that requires localities to communicate immigration information about individuals to the federal government when asked.
. . . .
The Justice Department, however, stopped short of requiring compliance with “detainers” — requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement to hold individuals suspected of being in the country illegally an extra 48 hours beyond when they would otherwise be released from custody. The administration has made complying with detainers a key piece of their efforts on sanctuary cities, although nothing in law requires local law enforcement to comply.
In fact, the latest slap from the courts came on Monday, when the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that it is a violation of state law to ask local law enforcement to comply with detainer requests without a criminal warrant, based on the fact that immigration violations are a civil crime — and thus Massachusetts law enforcement cannot arrest a person and hold them based on a civil infraction.”
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Read Tal’s complete report and watch the accompanying video at the link.

Let’s see, we’ll promote law enforcement by cutting off grants to law enforcement. That makes lots of sense. We’ll promote cooperation with local law enforcement by insulting and threatening them rather than by sitting down and discussing common solutions.
White Nationalists should be concerned about Trump’s vendetta against Sessions. No future Attorney General could possibly match Sessions’s enthusiasm for and commitment to the White Nationalist agenda and his racial, cultural, and ethnic insensitivity. Yet, Trump seems far less interested in an Attorney General who will continue to advance the White Nationalist racially divisive platform that he ran on than in finding an Attorney General who will “see job number one” as protecting Trump and his family from the legal and political consequences of their own actions. And, loyalty to the Constitution and the People of the U.S. — not even concepts that Trump understands, much less accepts.
PWS
07-25-17

 

“KATE’S LAW” — Steinle Family Didn’t Want Her Name Associated With Political Football!

http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/14/politics/kate-steinle-trial/index.html

CNN reports:

“San Francisco (CNN)One minute, Kate Steinle was walking with her dad on a San Francisco pier. The next, she fell to the ground, crying out for help after a bullet hit her in the back and pierced her aorta.

In a matter of hours, Steinle was dead, and police had arrested an undocumented immigrant who they accused of pulling the trigger.
On that summer day in 2015, Donald Trump had barely kicked off his campaign. But the case quickly became a rallying cry for Trump as he called for a crackdown on illegal immigration and railed against sanctuary cities.
In the two years since, candidate Trump has become President Trump, and Steinle’s name echoed in the halls of Congress this month as the House of Representatives passed Kate’s Law, a measure named for her.
But Steinle’s family has balked at her case becoming the symbol of Republicans’ immigration agenda. The attorney defending the suspect in the case says there’s more to the story than meets the eye.
And Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, the undocumented Mexican immigrant who’s accused of killing Steinle and of repeatedly entering the United States illegally, has yet to go on trial.
Lopez-Sanchez appeared in court on Friday, wearing an orange jumpsuit and a blank expression through most of the proceedings.
Here’s the latest on the case: . . . .”
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Read the complete article and get detailed information on the current status of the case at the link.
No surprise that the Trump-Sessions crew and the GOP sponsors of “Kate’s Law” are more interested in scoring political points than the feelings of the family struck by this tragedy.
And, even “enhanced” deportation laws really would’t have prevented this tragedy. The suspect had already been deported five times.
Thanks to star CNN immigration beat reporter Tal Kopan for alerting me to this article to which she contributed.
PWS
07-14-17

TAL KOPAN AT CNN: DACA IN PERIL –“If you’re going to count on Jeff Sessions to save DACA, then DACA is ended!”

http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/12/politics/daca-jeopardy-kelly/index.html

Tal Reports:

“Washington (CNN)The DACA program, which protects undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children, could be in serious jeopardy, President Donald Trump’s secretary of Homeland Security told lawmakers Wednesday.

Secretary John Kelly told Democrats of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus that while he personally supports the program, he could not commit to the Trump administration defending it, according to members in attendance and Kelly’s spokesman, David Lapan.
Kelly said that legal experts he’s talked to both inside and outside the administration have convinced him that it is unlikely the DACA program, the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals executive action, would sustain a court challenge.
Kelly said he has discussed DACA with Attorney General Jeff Sessions but wouldn’t describe the contents of those conversations. Sessions is an immigration hard-liner who has been outspoken against the Obama administration policy.
“He did not indicate that they would (defend it). He didn’t say that they wouldn’t, but he didn’t say that they would,” said New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez. “So between that and what he says is the legal analysis he’s heard, it’s not a pretty picture.”
The issue may be forced later this year. There is a pending lawsuit on a related program, deferred action for parents of childhood arrivals, that will come up in September, and attorneys general from 10 states are threatening to add DACA to their complaints, which could force the administration to defend or abandon it.
Kelly suggested to lawmakers they work to pass immigration reform, but lawmakers expressed frustration that Kelly seemed to ignore the difficulty of passing legislation and the Republican opposition to extending DACA. They were also unhappy he seemed unaware there were any bills to make the program permanent, including the bipartisan BRIDGE Act and other proposals including from some Republicans — “to which there was a combination of laughter and appalled shock in the room,” said California Rep. Nanette Barragán.
. . . .
“If you’re going to count on Jeff Sessions to save DACA, then DACA is ended,” Illinois Rep. Luis Gutiérrez said.”
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Read Tal’s complete article at the link.
The Trump Administration probably could garner bipartisan support for some sort of long-term legislative relief for “DACA/Dreamers.” But, so far, they haven’t shown much interest in doing so.
PWS
07-13-17

 

CNN’S TAL KOPAN ON SANCTUARY CITIES: Trump Administration’s Statements Continue To Be a Goldmine Of Evidence For Opponents!

http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/07/politics/sanctuary-cities-trump-administration-words/index.html

Tal reports:

“Washington (CNN)The Trump administration does not shy away from tough rhetoric, and lawyers representing sanctuary cities are hoping that will come back to haunt it in court.

Attorneys representing Santa Clara County in California petitioned a federal judge late Thursday to enter a collection of statements made by members of the administration into the record in their case, saying that the administration’s public statements directly contradict what Justice Department lawyers are arguing before the court.
It’s the latest example of attorneys trying to use the public statements of the Trump administration against itself, a theme in court battles designed to try to block pieces of President Donald Trump’s agenda.
Santa Clara County is the lead plaintiff in a case challenging a piece of Trump’s January executive order on immigration that targeted sanctuary jurisdictions, a catch-all term generally used to describe states, cities and localities that do not fully cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.
The federal judge in the case in April blocked the administration from enforcing part of the order — a broad threat to take away federal funding from jurisdictions determined to be so-called sanctuaries.
The judge allowed a narrow interpretation of the threat to be enforced, hinging on a small piece of US law that requires localities to transmit immigration information about individuals to the federal government when asked. The judge said the government could withhold a small subset of federal grants related to law enforcement if cities didn’t comply with that law — a requirement already put in place as a precondition for those grants late in the Obama administration.
Despite months of statements that the administration would seek to potentially take away more grant monies for a broader range of perceived noncooperation from jurisdictions, the Justice Department in May released guidance clarifying that the narrow range of actions allowed by the federal judge were the only punishment the government intended to pursue.
After that, the Justice Department asked the court to dismiss the case, based in part on the new guidance.
But attorneys for Santa Clara County are asking the court to not buy the government’s argument, pointing to statements since the guidance that go far beyond what it says.
Attorneys are asking the judge to allow them to file an additional argument in the case, which compiles those statements.
Examples include testimony of Immigration and Customs Enforcement acting Director Thomas Homan before Congress in June, where he said the government expects “not only sharing the information, but (to) allow us access to the jails” — the latter piece of which is not required by US law. The attorneys also note that Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told Congress three days after the guidance memo: “With respect to ‘the Sanctuary Cities thing,’ he said: ‘Frankly, I don’t really know what it means. I don’t think anyone out there knows what it means.'”
The attorneys argue that because of the administration officials’ comments, the court can’t simply rely on the guidance memo from the Justice Department — accusing the administration of more than “moving the goalposts.”
“Defendants’ shifting positions, clarifications, and interpretations of the Executive Order make clear why the Court’s injunction is necessary,” the attorneys wrote. “Between counsel’s representations, the AG memorandum, relevant congressional testimony, and the President’s own statements, defendants aren’t merely moving the goalposts in this litigation; they’re switching sports entirely.”
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Read Tal’s complete article at the link.
Arrogance and ignorance are usually a toxic combination in litigation.
PWS
07-07-17

CNN’S TAL KOPAN: Congress “Stonewalls” Trump’s Wall!

http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/02/politics/border-wall-white-house-push/index.html

Tal reports:

“Washington (CNN)Building a border wall remains a stated top priority for President Donald Trump, but thus far he has precious little to show for it.

That’s largely because when Congress appropriated money earlier this year to fund the government, opposition from Democrats and some Republicans alike left the administration empty handed in terms of funding any new construction.
Trump’s Department of Homeland Security did get permission to reassign $20 million to fund prototypes for wall construction as well as new money for technology, maintenance and hiring for Border Patrol.
But the biggest thing Trump wants remains the biggest thing Democrats want to deny him — the ability to point at a structure and say: Here is the wall.
Multiple sources familiar with negotiations for both the fiscal year 2017 budget and 2018 cycle say that the White House did mobilize behind the wall — putting it in their proposed budget and having representatives like Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly stump for it.
But Democrats from the outset threatened that inclusion of wall money would be a deal breaker on the budget, which needs Democratic votes to pass, meaning the White House risked a government shutdown standoff on the President’s 100th day in office if it forged ahead.
Ultimately, the White House accepted a budget deal that did not include the wall.
“Their priorities were made known, obviously,” said a House GOP aide, who requested anonymity to speak freely. But, the aide added, there was also an awareness that a second chance at money would be coming up this fall.
“I didn’t get the impression that they were deeply disappointed or unhappy,” the aide said of the White House. “I think they realized the situation and will continue to work toward to getting more money.”
Negotiations are well underway for the next chance, in the budget for fiscal year 2018.
But it’s an open question whether the administration will push Congress harder on getting money for the wall after caving on the signature campaign pledge this spring. The dynamics of the situation haven’t changed to give the White House any more leverage.
Already, Democrats have again signaled that a wall is a no-go. In a letter this week to their Republican counterparts, the top Senate Democrats in leadership and the Appropriations committee laid out their red lines.
“We are once again concerned with the President’s Fiscal Year 2018 request for a very expensive, ineffective new wall along the southern border with Mexico,” the Democrats wrote.
And other barriers in Congress remain. Border state lawmakers of both parties are largely against a massive wall in their districts, preferring technology and smart infrastructure. Even without Democratic support, it’s unclear if Republicans have the votes among themselves to move forward with a wall.”
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Read Tal’s entire article at the above link.
We arrived in Washington, D.C. in the “Watergate Summer” of 1973. “Stonewall” was one of the great adjectives used during Watergate to describe efforts by the Nixon Administration to undermine and resist the various Watergate investigations. It remains vibrant and relevant 44 summers later!
Gee, I thought that Mexico was going to pay for “The Wall.”
PWS
07-02-17

TEXAS AG PAXTON, OTHER GOP RACIST POLITICOS MOUNT ATTACK ON YOUNG PEOPLE OF COLOR!

http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/30/politics/trump-daca-bind/index.html

Tal Kopan reports for CNN:

“Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump has let a controversial Obama-era immigration policy continue — and conservative states are running out of patience.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was joined by his counterparts in nine other states in a letter Thursday warning Attorney General Jeff Sessions that if the Trump administration does not move to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, they will file a court challenge to the program.
At the heart of the threat is ongoing litigation over a related program — giving the attorneys general an opening to squeeze the administration on DACA.
Despite explicitly pledging during the campaign to “immediately” rescind DACA, a program that gives undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children protection from deportation and the ability to work and study in the US, the Trump administration has continued to honor the program and issue new permits under it.
With its efforts, the administration appears to want to have it both ways, continuing the program and pledging to protect its participants while saying the situation isn’t necessarily permanent and arresting those who officials say have lost their DACA status. But that position has angered activists on both sides of the issue, who in a rare moment of agreement have expressed similar frustrations that the administration won’t clearly articulate its long-term plans for DACA.
At issue is pending litigation in Texas that has challenged an Obama administration program that’s similar to DACA but geared toward parents of childhood arrivals as well as an extension of the childhood arrivals program, both of which were never allowed to go into effect by the courts.
The Trump administration formally abandoned the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents program, known as DAPA, earlier this month to avoid having to defend it in court. But it left DACA on the books despite similar criticism of that program — namely that both programs were an overreach of executive authority.
Asked by CNN about that decision, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly at the time called it “house cleaning,” saying the program for parents was blocked by the courts while the one for those who came to the US was children wasn’t.
But Paxton wrote that if the administration doesn’t end DACA by September 5, Texas will amend its complaint in the case to include that program — which would force the administration to defend the program in litigation or abandon it.
“We respectfully request that the Secretary of Homeland Security phase out the DACA program,” Paxton wrote in the ultimatum. “Otherwise, the complaint in that case will be amended to challenge both the DACA program and the remaining Expanded DACA permits.”
The Department of Justice and DHS did not respond to a request for comment on the letter. Sessions was asked about it on “Fox and Friends” on Friday and seemingly praised the states.
“The DAPA law has already been withdrawn,” Sessions said when asked what changes could be coming. “That was a big victory, and we’ll be looking at that. But I’ve got to tell you, I like it that our states and localities are holding the federal government to account, expecting us to do what is our responsibility to the state and locals, and that’s to enforce the law.”

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Trying to throw 800,000 American young people — basically America’s future — out of the country and sow fear in local ethnic communities has nothing whatsoever to do with law enforcement. But, it has lots to do with racism and white nationalism. The real target here is Hispanic Americans and other ethnic Americans from immigrant roots.

Paxton, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Kansas Secretary State Kris Kobach and their followers are the George Wallaces, Lester Maddoxes, and Orval Faubuses of our time. Yeah, white racists might be giving it one more go. But, like the Trump victory, it is the last gasp. Eventually, the screw will turn as it did for prior generations of racist politicians.

To point out the obvious, with 600,000 pending cases in U.S. Immigration Court, the Trump Administration could not actually remove another 800,000 individuals any time in the foreseeable future. So, it’s all about meanness, fear, racism, white nationalism, and trying to prevent these young people from fully participating in our society. In other words, to make them a permanent underclass. Sound familiar?

The Dream Act to protect these young people should have become law years ago. But, then Senator Jeff Sessions and other GOP right wingers blocked its passage, even though it had the support of the majority of Senators. So, although legislation would be the logical solution, I wouldn’t count on it under today’s polarized conditions.

And, today’s GOP has become the home of racists and white supremicists.  Something that anyone who runs on the GOP ticket or pulls the lever for a GOP candidate should consider.

PWS

07-01-17

HOUSE PASSES MORE UNNEEDED, DIVISIVE, ANTI-IMMIGRANT LEGISLATION!

http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/29/politics/kates-law-house-vote/index.html

Tal Kopan reports for CNN:

“Washington (CNN) The House Thursday is expected to pass bills that would hand President Donald Trump key pieces of his immigration agenda, especially efforts targeting sanctuary cities.

The bills, “Kate’s Law” and the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, would install harsher penalties for repeat illegal entry to the US, and expand US law on sanctuary cities to pressure localities to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.
But it’s unlikely either would have enough votes to pass the Senate, which struggled with Kate’s Law last year.

Immigration and civil liberties advocates have also come out swinging against the bills, saying they bolster a “deportation force” and anti-immigrant agenda from the Trump administration.
Both bills come from the Judiciary Committee led by Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte, a longtime proponent of strict immigration policies like Trump’s and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Another lead sponsor is Iowa Rep. Steve King, one of the most aggressive Republicans on immigration enforcement who has a history of controversial statements about immigrants.”

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Read Tal’s complete article at the link.

Looking at the folks pushing this ill-advised piece of legislation tells you about all you need to know about what’s really underneath the surface.

PWS

06-29-17