Musings on Events in U.S. Immigration Court, Immigration Law, Sports, and Other Random Topics by Retired United States Immigration Judge (Arlington, Virginia) and former Chairman of the Board of Immigration Appeals Paul Wickham Schmidt. To see my complete professional bio, just click on the link below.
The Senate is set to begin debating immigration Monday evening, and in a rare occurrence for the upper chamber of Congress, no one is quite sure how that will go.
Late Sunday, a group of Republicans introduced a version of President Donald Trump’s proposal on how to handle the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protected young undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children from deportation before Trump decided to terminate it. That is expected to be one of the amendments that will compete for votes this week.
Some things are known: McConnell teed up the debate early Friday morning, as he had pledged, immediately after the Senate voted to end a government shutdown. The bill McConnell chose was entirely unrelated to immigration, which he said he planned to do to allow a blank slate for proposals to compete for votes.
Let the debate begin
At 5:30 p.m. Monday, senators will vote on whether to open debate on the bill, a vote that is largely expected to succeed.
From there, a lot will be up to senators. Both sides will be able to offer amendments that will compete for 60 votes — the threshold to advance legislation in the Senate. It’s expected that amendments will be subject to that threshold and will require consent agreements from senators for votes, opening up the process to negotiations.
If a proposal can garner 60 votes, it will likely pass the Senate, but it will still face an uncertain fate. The House Republican leadership has made no commitment to consider the Senate bill or hold a debate of its own, and House Speaker Paul Ryan has pledged repeatedly to consider a bill only if President Donald Trump will sign it.
Different groups have been working to prepare legislation for the immigration effort, including the conservatives who worked off the White House framework and a group of bipartisan senators who have been meeting nearly daily to try to reach agreement on the issue. Trump has proposed giving 1.8 million young undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship in exchange for $25 billion for his long-promised border wall and a host of other strict immigration reforms.
The bill from GOP senators largely sticks to those bullet points, including sharp cuts to family-based migration, ending the diversity lottery and giving federal authorities enhanced deportation and detention powers.
Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of about 20 senators was drafting legislation over the weekend to offer perhaps multiple amendments and potentially keep the debate focused on a narrow DACA-border security bill. Multiple members of the group have expressed confidence that only such a narrow approach could pass the Senate — and hope that a strong vote could move Trump to endorse the approach and pave the way for passage in the House.
Advocates on the left may offer a clean DACA fix, like the DREAM Act, as well as the conservative White House proposal — though neither is expected to have 60 votes.
The move to hold an unpredictable Senate debate next week fulfills the promise McConnell made on the Senate floor to end the last government shutdown in mid-January, when he pledged to hold a neutral debate on the immigration issue that was “fair to all sides.”
Even Sunday, leadership aides weren’t able to say entirely how the week would go. The debate could easily go beyond one week, and with a scheduled recess coming next week, it could stretch on through February or even longer.
One Democratic aide said there will likely be an effort to reach an agreement between Republicans and Democrats on timing so that amendments can be dealt with efficiently, and, absent that, alternating proposals may be considered under time-consuming procedural steps.
“We just have to see how the week goes and how high the level of cooperation is,” the aide said.
Many Democrats and moderate Republicans were placing hope in the bipartisan group’s progress.
“We’re waiting for the moderates to see if they can produce a bill,” said the Senate’s No. 2 Democrat, Dick Durbin, on Thursday. “And considering options, there are lots of them, on the Democratic side. There’s no understanding now about the first Democratic amendment.”
Durbin said traditionally both sides have shared a few amendments with each other to begin to figure out the process’ structure. He also said the bipartisan group could be an influential voting bloc, if they can work together.
“They could be the deciding factor, and I’ve been hopeful that they would be, because I’ve had friends in those Common Sense (Coalition), whatever they call themselves, and reported back the conversations, and I think they’re on the right track.”
As she was leaving the Senate floor Friday night after the Senate voted to pass a budget deal and fund government into March, Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins was optimistic about the preparedness of the bipartisan group she has been leading for the all-Senate debate.
“We’ll be ready,” she told reporters.
Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Lankford, who has been working both with the group introducing the White House proposal and the bipartisan group, said late Friday night that his plan is “to get things done.”
“It’s no grand secret that I have no problem with the President’s proposal; the challenge is going to be trying to get 60 votes,” Lankford said. “So I would have no issue with what (Sens. John) Cornyn and (Chuck) Grassley are working on and with the President supporting that, but I also want to continue to try finding out and see, if that doesn’t get 60 votes, what could.”
He said everyone is waiting to find out what happens next.
“Everybody’s trying to figure out the chaos of next week, and I’m with you,” Lankford said. “I don’t know yet how open the process is going to be. I hope it’s very open.”
Fortunately, we can rely on Tal’s amazing up to the minute reporting and analysis to keep us abreast of what’s happening on the Senate floor and in the cloakrooms!
“GOP senators introduce version of White House immigration framework
By Tal Kopan, CNN
Updated 6:13 PM ET, Sun February 11, 2018
Trump proposes path to citizenship for 1.8M
Washington (CNN)A group of Republican senators on Sunday night released a version of President Donald Trump’s immigration proposal ahead of a floor debate on immigration this week.
The proposal is expected to be one of several amendments the Senate will consider this week as it debates immigration. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has used a bill unrelated to immigration as the starting point for the debate, which will allow senators to offer proposals that can compete for 60 votes to advance.
The bill from Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley, John Cornyn, James Lankford, Thom Tillis, David Perdue, Tom Cotton and Joni Ernst largely resembles what Trump has proposed.
At its base is still a resolution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has protected young undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children from deportation. Trump has decided to terminate the Obama-era program.
With DACA left out again, advocates figure out their next move
With DACA left out again, advocates figure out their next move
The White House proposal offered a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million eligible immigrants, more than the 800,000 of whom registered for DACA in the five years of the program. In exchange, the White House sought upwards of $25 billion for border security and a wall, a number of changes to laws to make it easier to deport and detain immigrants, a substantial cut to legal immigration based on family relationships and an end to the diversity visa lottery.
The Grassley bill essentially makes those bullet points a reality, including the proposals that would toughen immigration enforcement and limiting family-based visas only to spouses and children under 18 years old — a vastly reduced number of eligible immigrants from the current system.
As proposed by the White House, the cuts to the family system and diversity lottery would be used to allow in the 4 million to 5 million immigrants already waiting years — and in some cases decades — in the backlog for visas. Cuts to yearly visas would only occur after that backlog is cleared, allowing Congress time to make reforms, the lawmakers said.
McConnell officially tees up immigration debate next week
McConnell officially tees up immigration debate next week
The bill is not expected to have 60 votes in support of it, the threshold required to advance legislation in the Senate. Democrats have uniformly objected to the cuts to family migration and have issues with the ending of the diversity visa without another way to support immigrants from countries that are otherwise underrepresented in immigration to the US. The so-called reforms to current immigration laws also face steep opposition.“
Click the above link to see Tal on TV!
Unfortunately, “closing loopholes” is a euphemism for increasing unnecessary, expensive, and inhumane civil immigration detention (the “New American Gulag”).
It also involves denying due process to tens of thousands of “unaccompanied children” seeking protection for which many should qualify were they given a fair opportunity to obtain counsel, adequate time to document applications, and truly fair hearings in Immigration Court.
In plain terms, it’s a cowardly and disingenuous attack on the rights of the most vulnerable migrants. Hopefully there are enough legislators on both sides of the aisle committed to due process, human rights, and just plain human decency to expose and defeat these highly abusive and dishonest parts of the GOP proposal.
“Washington (CNN)As the ink dried Friday on a major budget compromise deal in Congress, immigration advocates were taking stock of getting left behind — again — without a resolution for hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants on the verge of losing protections.
It’s an open question if there are cards left to play in the push to enshrine the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy into law. While no advocates say they are giving up, many also openly admit that Democrats and allies gave up their best negotiating position on the issue without another clear avenue coming up.
In the meantime, a pending court decision on DACA, which President Donald Trump is terminating, means the immigrants protected by it and who mostly have never known another country than the US, won’t begin losing their protections as planned on March 5 — but their fate could be reversed at any moment by another court decision.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez, an Illinois Democrat who has long served as one of the most outspoken advocates in Congress for immigration reform, was pessimistic with reporters early Friday morning as Congress passed the deal with virtually every Democratic priority except DACA in it.
“No, I don’t, I don’t,” he said when asked if there was any other way Democrats could exert leverage on the issue. Gutierrez said the plan from the beginning was to either attach a DACA compromise to the must-pass budget deal or raising the debt ceiling, both of which were passed in the early morning hours Friday without DACA. Arizona Democrat Raul Grijalva called the episode “disheartening.”
“We have decoupled the issues. Your leverage is you want them one and the same,” Gutierrez said. “Do we need a new way forward? Yeah, we’re going to figure out a new way forward.”
There is one glimmer of hope for advocates. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made good on his promise to tee up an immigration debate on the Senate floor next week. Moments after the Senate passed the deal, McConnell filed to have a vote to open debate on an unrelated bill Monday evening — which will kick off a process where an as-yet-unknown number of amendments will be able to compete for a procedural threshold of 60 votes to then pass the Senate.
It was that promise that put in motion the deal that eventually severed DACA from other negotiations but also offers a rare opportunity for lawmakers to compete on a neutral playing field for bipartisan support.
“We’re pivoting, what can you do?” said longtime advocate Frank Sharry, executive director of the pro-immigration group America’s Voice. “We’ve had our doubts about the viability of a standalone legislative process but that’s what we’re left with, so we’re hoping to make the most of it. … That will put pressure on the President and the House to do the same.”
Already, groups of lawmakers are preparing for the floor debate, even as it remains unclear how many amendments will be offered, how debate will be structured and how long it might last.
A group of roughly 20 bipartisan senators is drafting legislation over the weekend to offer perhaps multiple amendments and potentially keep the debate focused on a narrow DACA-border security bill. Advocates on the left may offer a clean DACA fix like the Dream Act, and some on the right are drafting a version of the White House proposal that would include $25 billion for a border wall and heavy cuts to legal immigration with a pathway to citizenship — though neither is expected to have 60 votes.
“First of all, we have the Senate procedure, which is my hope. We’re working with the (bipartisan group) to see if we can come to a two-pillar solution,” said Sen. Bob Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat who has long worked on the issue, when asked Thursday what comes next for DACA. “Hopefully we could gather 60 votes for that. And then that would be it — we’d resist everything else, any other amendments, and then go back to the House and create all the pressure in the House to make it happen.”
Step 2: Pressure Ryan
If the Senate can pass a bill, lawmakers hope Trump will fully embrace it, freeing House Speaker Paul Ryan to call it up.
Already as the budget deal was on track for passage, House advocates began a pressure campaign to urge Ryan to make a promise like McConnell — though Ryan continually demurred and insisted instead he’s committed to the issue of immigration and passing a bill the President can support.
“I think we have to be realistic,” said Arizona’s Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego. “We’re going to have to deal with reality and find whatever means possible to put pressure on Speaker Ryan and the Republican Party to bring, again, a fair vote on the Dream Act to the floor.”
“I think for me the strategy has to be pressure Ryan and bring it to the floor,” Grijalva said, adding the process should allow any proposal to vie for a majority — even if it doesn’t have a majority of Republican votes. “The Senate, when they gave up on not voting for it, at the very minimum extracted a time certain and a debate on something. We don’t even have that.”
Republican Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania said he’s been urging fellow moderates to use their numbers the way that conservatives on the right flank do.
“The Freedom Caucus has been effective because they’ll use their power of 24 (votes to deny a majority), and they take the hostage, they’ll do what they have to do,” Dent said. “I tell our members, we put our votes together, we can really direct an outcome. … I suspect if the Senate sends us a bipartisan DACA bill, that’s when we’re going to have to flex our muscles.”
But others have doubts. Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, a member of the bipartisan group, says he learned his lesson in 2013, when he co-authored legislation that passed the Senate with wide margins but died in the House.
“There are some who believe that if we get a bunch of votes it’ll force the House to do it. I don’t agree,” Rubio said. “We could vote on it 90-10. … This notion that the House is going to listen to what a senator tells them to do is not real.”
Step 3: Other leverage
If the legislative process can’t produce success, advocates say, they will look for any other leverage points they can.
“If that doesn’t work out, then there’s still an omnibus at the end of the day,” said Menendez, referring to the spending bills due in March to fund the government under the topline two-year budget deal passed Friday.
But Gutierrez doubted that approach — scoffing at the idea that Democrats would be taken seriously if they threatened to withhold their votes yet again without success.
“Really?” Gutierrez said about the omnibus as leverage. “Is it plausible? Is it realistic? Can you continue to threaten with something?”
Other options could include a temporary, one-year or two-year extension of DACA without a permanent solution, though lawmakers have decried that option.
Still, many aren’t ready to give up hope.
“This President clearly wants to get it done, I think the majority of Republicans want to get it done and the majority of Democrats want to get it done. Can we reach that balance? We can get there, I feel very confident we can get there,” said Florida’s Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart.”
Although it should be a “no brainer,” I’m not as confident as Rep. Diaz-Balart that this group can “get to yes.” A fair resolution of the “Dreamers” situation just isn’t very high on the GOP agenda, particularly in the House. And, both the Dreamers and the Dems are coming to grips with the obvious reality: if you want to set or control the agenda, you have to win elections!
We need Julia Preston to lock these folks in a room for awhile!
As lawmakers announced a budget deal that would address many of the issues stymieing Washington — with the key exception of immigration — House Democrats on Wednesday were feeling the heat.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi took to the House floor Wednesday to warn she would not support the burgeoning deal without a commitment from House Speaker Paul Ryan that the Republican-controlled House would hold a debate and vote on immigration legislation as his Senate counterpart Mitch McConnell has pledged, setting up a potential standoff.
The two-year deal that leadership announced on the Senate floor would set domestic and defense spending levels, push back the debt limit and resolve some outstanding issues Democrats have pushed for like support for community health centers and disaster relief money.
But left out of the deal would be a resolution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy that Trump is ending — and House Democrats have long been steadfast they would not support government funding without it.
The Senate is close, nevertheless, to sending the deal to the House with a continuing resolution that would fund the government into March, squeezing Democrats to risk rejecting a budget compromise over DACA alone, a position they have actively sought to avoid. Democratic votes in the House haven’t been necessary to pass continuing resolutions this year, but a number of House conservatives are expected to oppose the budget deal because of the domestic spending levels. That will force Democrats’ hand.
“The budget caps agreement includes many Democratic priorities,” Pelosi said in a statement. “This morning, we took a measure of our caucus because the package does nothing to advance bipartisan legislation to protect Dreamers in the House. Without a commitment from Speaker Ryan comparable to the commitment from Leader McConnell, this package does not have my support.”
Some Democrats were already backing up Pelosi as the deal was announced Wednesday afternoon.
California Rep. Eric Swallwell said while he supports a DACA fix, his concern was more about the size of the deal.
“I still have a real problem dramatically increasing the caps, adding to the deficit, when we just added $2 trillion for the tax plan. So if (Republicans) want to roll back their tax cuts so that we don’t have such a deep, deep deficit, I would be more receptive to that,” Swallwell said.
Congressional Hispanic Caucus member and California Democratic Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán said Democrats should not accept a funding deal without what they’ve asked for.
“No, I think that we aren’t using all the leverage we have and that’s a disappointment and I won’t support it,” she said. “We as a caucus have talked about making this one of our leverage points and using this as a leverage point. I hope that we continue to do that.”
But the objection wasn’t universal, and the mood in a House Democrat caucus meeting this morning that convinced Pelosi to speak on the floor was split, according to a Democrat in the meeting. Some were “understandably upset” about not including DACA recipients and there was “generally a lot of frustration.”
But others raised questions, asking, “What is our plan? What is our message? How are we going to win this?” After the last shutdown members are still unclear on the path forward and expect the Senate to pass this, leaving them little room. The source said there is a lot in the deal that many Democrats support, including the increase in domestic programs.
This source told CNN “a lot of people are going to vote for it. It’s not a situation where we can hold all our members.”
It’s unclear if Democratic leadership will whip against the bill. Asked Wednesday if leadership is instructing its members any particular way, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley demurred.
“People in our caucus will do what they think is in the best interests of their constituents and for the country,” Crowley said.
And Crowley didn’t commit to supporting or rejecting the deal.
“There is more to this deal than the issue of immigration,” he said, referencing the disaster relief money, in particular. “It is very complex. This There? is much more to this than simply one-off issues. And we’ll have to look at that in totality.”
Unlike recent past government funding deadlines, House Democrats have been holding their fire in pressuring their Senate colleagues to reject a deal that doesn’t address DACA. That has largely been because of McConnell’s promise to turn to a “fair” process on immigration after February 8, when the deadline comes.
“It’s hard, because we want them to be clear that this is reckless by the Republicans, but we are also clear that they want to keep the Senate and Congress moving so they have an opportunity, not just at getting a full year (funding) — stop doing (continuing resolutions) — but also to deal with other issues including DACA, by getting a vote on something,” said on Tuesday.
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus has been one of the loudest voices for rejecting funding without an immigration deal, even marching from the House side to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office in December to urge him to hold the line. That pressure isn’t there this time.
“I don’t sense any,” said Arizona Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva, a member of the caucus. But, he added, there’s “some trepidation” about the Senate process because of what could be added to a neutral bill — both in the Senate and the House.
“This has been the black hole for immigration, the House of Representatives, since I’ve been here, 15 years, and nothing comes out of here, and whatever goes to conference, if the House leadership has any say, it will get uglier,” Grijalva said.
But while Democrats were keeping their powder dry on a continuing resolution, as talk of the caps deal being near circulated, one Democratic House member said on condition of anonymity to discuss dynamics, that began to change. Tuesday night and Wednesday morning brought a flurry of communications between members, the lawmaker said.
“There is more support than yesterday on holding the line,” the member said Wednesday. “We shouldn’t negotiate the caps away without a DACA fix.”
CNN’s Phil Mattingly, Deirdre Walsh and Sunlen Serfaty contributed to this report.”
I can’t see any “Bipartisan Dreamer Bill” along the lines being discussed in the Senate that will be able to pass the House as long as the GOP is in charge and Paul Ryan is the Speaker.
I also don’t see a “House Dreamer Bill” passing. The “Goodlatte Bill” — favored by many in the GOP –is so miserly in its Dreamer protections and has so much of the Administration’s White Nationalist restrictionist agenda attached that all or almost all Democrats and probably a “good-sized chunk” of “moderate” Republicans are likely to be able to defeat it.
But, while the Democrats and the GOP moderates in the House might be able to come up with a more reasonable proposal that actually could pass, like the Hurd-Aguilar Bill, under the “Hastert Rule,” Speaker Ryan won’t bring it to the floor for a vote because the bill would rely on a majority of Democrats for passage.
Given the foregoing scenarios, I don’t see where forcing another shutdown gets the Democrats. With the GOP and the White House opposed to including a narrower “Dreamers-Border Security Only” (only two of Trump’s “four pillars”) in a Budget Agreement, there isn’t a feasible “end game” for the House Democrats. They could force a shutdown, but I don’t think they will be able to force the GOP to include Dreamer protection in a Budget deal. So, ultimately, they will have to “fold,” as has happened in the past.
So, what’s the best result I could see for the “Dreamers” right now: 1) eventually getting a “temporary extension” of DACA from Congress, or 2) an “indefinite hold” on DACA recision from the Federal Courts (which wouldn’t preclude the Administration from going through a “Notice and Comment” regulatory process to repeal DACA). Either of those would only help those who qualify for the current DACA program — not the “expanded DACA” group. Either way, permanent relief for the Dreamers is likely to require “regime change” at least at some level.
“Graham: ‘Increasingly pessimistic on immigration’
By Tal Kopan, CNN
Updated 4:54 PM ET, Tue February 6, 2018
lindsey graham card
Sen. Graham: We don’t need $25B for a wall 01:22
Washington (CNN)One of the strongest advocates for a deal on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy in the Senate says he is “increasingly pessimistic” that Congress will pass a fix beyond a short-term “punt.”
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham told reporters on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, leaving a meeting of the Republican conference, that he now believes only a one- or two-year extension of the DACA program, which protects young undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children, is likely.
McConnell holds all the cards on next week's immigration debate, and he's not tipping his hand
McConnell holds all the cards on next week’s immigration debate, and he’s not tipping his hand
The dire prediction came from a longtime advocate of immigration reform who has been one of the strongest supporters of getting a permanent solution to DACA — and who had a confrontation with President Donald Trump about vulgar comments the President made in rejecting a bipartisan compromise Graham negotiated.
“I’m becoming increasingly pessimistic about immigration,” Graham said. “I don’t think we’re going to do a whole lot beyond something like the BRIDGE Act, which would be extend DACA for a year or two, and some border security. It’s just too many moving parts.”
Graham’s comments came before said on Tuesday he supports a government shutdown if Democrats won’t agree to tighten immigration laws, undercutting ongoing bipartisan negotiations on Capitol Hill.
Graham, who has also been a part of bipartisan Senate meetings that are seeking a compromise and who helped convince Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to promise to bring immigration to the floor in a “fair” process next week, called that option unsatisfactory but likely.
“That will be a punt, that will not be winning for the country, but that’s most likely where we’re going to go,” Graham said.”
“Top Senate leaders said Tuesday that they were approaching a sweeping two-year deal to increase federal spending, which would clear a legislative roadblock that has kept Congress spinning its wheels for months.
Despite the optimism, no final agreement was in hand with less than three days until a Thursday midnight deadline, and even as congressional leaders were projecting optimism, President Trump was raising tensions by openly pondering a shutdown if Democrats did not agree to his immigration plan.
“I’d love to see a shutdown if we don’t get this stuff taken care of,” Trump said at a White House event focused on the crime threat posed by immigrants. “If we have to shut it down because the Democrats don’t want safety . . . let’s shut it down.”
Those comments came at the same time Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) were telling reporters that a breakthrough was at hand — one that would deliver a defense spending boost Trump has long demanded as well as an increase in the nondefense programs championed by Democrats.
“We’re on the way to getting an agreement and on the way to getting an agreement very soon,” McConnell said. Schumer echoed the optimism moments later: “I am very hopeful that we can come to an agreement, an agreement very soon.”
Trump’s remarks, at least initially, appeared unlikely to snuff out the negotiations, which mainly involved lawmakers and their aides — not Trump and his White House deputies — and have largely steered clear of the explosive immigration issue.
The deal to lift congressional spending caps through 2019 could be the only solution to a legislative puzzle that has already required four temporary spending bills to keep the government open since the fiscal year began on Oct. 1.
The House is set to vote Tuesday evening on a spending bill that would fund the military through September at boosted levels but leave other agencies running on fumes until March. That plan would be amended in the Senate, where Democrats are holding out for a matching increase in nondefense spending.”
Read the rest of the story at the link.
Doing his best to destroy government and make America as dysfunctional as he is. Vladi must be delighted!
“Intrepid 24-7-365” Immigration Reporter Tal Kopan and her wonderful CNN colleagues provide up to the minute coverage of the latest developments. Thanks, Tal, for all that you and your colleagues do!
Despite fight in Congress over immigration, the DACA deadline is up in the air
By Tal Kopan, CNN
When President Donald Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, he created a March 5 deadline for protections to end, designed to give Congress time to act to save the program.
But while lawmakers have continued to use the March 5 date as a target, court action and the realities of the program have made any deadline murky and unclear.
As a result, there currently is no date that the protections will actually run out for the roughly 700,000 DACA recipients, young undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children — but there remains a large amount of uncertainty about whether they could disappear at any time.
Trump himself mentioned the March 5 deadline in a tweet Monday.
“Any deal on DACA that does not include STRONG border security and the desperately needed WALL is a total waste of time. March 5th is rapidly approaching and the Dems seem not to care about DACA. Make a deal!”
The original plan proposed by Trump in September was that the Department of Homeland Security would phase out DACA by letting the two-year protections and work permits issued under the program expire without the option to renew them. But the administration allowed anyone with permits that expired before March 5 a one-month window to apply for a renewal, which would reset their two-year clock.
However, 20,000 of the 150,000 eligible to renew didn’t. They were either rejected, unable to pull together the paperwork and $500 fee, or unwilling to trust the government with their personal data and enroll again. Further complicating things, some of those rejections were later reopened after DHS acknowledged that thousands may have had their applications lost in the mail or delivered on time but rejected as late.
Then, in January, a federal court judge issued an order stopping the President’s plan to phase out DACA, and DHS has since resumed processing applications for renewals for all the recipients who had protections in September.
But the administration has also aggressively sought to have the judge’s ruling overturned by a higher court, including the Supreme Court, only adding uncertainty to the situation. If a court were to overturn the judge’s ruling, it could have several outcomes, including letting renewals processed in the interim stand, invalidating all of those renewals or even ending the whole program immediately.
McConnell holds all the cards on next week’s immigration debate, and he’s not tipping his hand
By Tal Kopan and Lauren Fox, CNN
In a week the Senate is supposed to debate and vote on major immigration legislation for the first time in years — and only one person might know what it will look like: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“That, you’d have to check with the leader on,” said Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colorado, Monday about the process as he left a GOP Senate leadership meeting.
“You’ll have to ask him,” echoed fellow leadership member Sen. John Thune of South Dakota. “He’ll have to decide what he wants to do.”
“Sen. McConnell hasn’t announced his intention,” Majority Whip John Cornyn told reporters.
Lawmakers of both parties told reporters Monday repeatedly they had no idea what the legislation or the process they’d be voting on likely next week would look like.
McConnell promised to turn to immigration on the Senate floor after February 8, the next date that government funding runs out, if broad agreement couldn’t be reached in that time. The promise, which he made on the Senate floor, was instrumental in ending a brief government shutdown last month, with senators of both parties pointing to the pledge for a “fair” floor debate as a major breakthrough.
The reality is, though, that McConnell has a lot of discretion as to how such a vote could go — and as of now, he has not given many clues.
Even in a meeting with White House chief of staff John Kelly, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and White House legislative director Marc Short, a source said McConnell “wouldn’t indicate what he’s going to do.”
“Total poker face,” the administration official said. “He’s not going to tip his hand.”
But the group came for the meeting, the official said, to “make sure he hears from the administration.”
On Monday, lawmakers expressed hope that such a deal could come together before the Thursday funding deadline, but wouldn’t call it likely. That tees up a vote next week with an uncertain end.
“Probably if nothing is agreed on this week, which I would not be optimistic will happen, then Mitch’ll call up some bill next week and let everyone get their votes on their amendments and see where it goes,” Thune said. “My assumption is that in the end, something will pass. But I guess we’ll see.”
McConnell’s choices will be instrumental in deciding how the debate goes, lawmakers and experts say, and he has a number of options on how to proceed, from the base bill, to the amendment process.
“There’s a lot of different conversations that continue, I don’t think anyone has narrowed it down to one, two or even three paths at this point,” Gardner said.
Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, the longest-serving GOP senator, was the only lawmaker who seemed to know how the debate would look.
“I have a pretty good sense. I’ve been through it a hundred times,” he said, laughing. Asked if that meant a mess, he added, still chuckling: “It’s always a mess.”
Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump on Tuesday said that it was “disgraceful” that an NFL player was killed by a man who police believe is an undocumented immigrant in a suspected drunk driving accident over the weekend.
“So disgraceful that a person illegally in our country killed @Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson. This is just one of many such preventable tragedies. We must get the Dems to get tough on the Border, and with illegal immigration, FAST!” Trump tweeted.
Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson and another man were struck and killed in a suspected drunken driving accident early Sunday morning. Indiana State Police say the man they believe hit them is an undocumented immigrant who has been deported twice.
“My prayers and best wishes are with the family of Edwin Jackson, a wonderful young man whose life was so senselessly taken. @Colts,” Trump said in a second tweet Tuesday morning.
The crash occurred when Jackson and the other man were struck on the shoulder of Interstate 70 in Indianapolis.
Read the complete report from Tal and Meagan at the above link.
There’s always something “shaking” in the “hot button” world of 21st Century Immigration.
“Hispanic Caucus vents at Democratic leadership over shutdown, DACA strategy
By: Tal Kopan, CNN
Hispanic Democrats on Tuesday had a combination venting and strategy session with Democratic congressional leaders as they expressed frustration that there still has not been a resolution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer got an earful about the handling of the recent government shutdown and recent comments about future strategy, members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus said.
“I think there’s a lot of conversations about, where is our leverage and how are we going to use it?” said California Democrat Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán.
Barragán said she specifically raised comments Schumer made in The Washington Post that “can’t just let (DACA) occupy the whole stage,” referring to Democratic strategy in red states. She said she told Schumer her community felt that sent a message they weren’t a priority.
“He stood by his comment,” Barragán said of his response. Generally, she added, “He said, ‘I can understand the pain people are feeling and the frustration’ and certainly understood why people felt disappointed in where we are today. Although I think the message is, ‘We’re better off than we were.’ So I’m not sure there’s complete agreement on all fronts.”
The “tension,” as Barragán put it, was indicative of raw nerves among the Democratic caucus about whether leadership is fully committed to using all points of leverage to push for a solution on DACA, the program being ended by President Donald Trump that protected young undocumented immigrants from deportation.
One source in the room speaking anonymously to be candid called the meeting a “waste of time” that was “all filler.”
Another called it equal parts frustration and cheerleading, with an understanding that Republicans remain the main obstacle to deal with.
House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer called the meeting “candid,” saying the caucus is “correctly frustrated” about the situation for recipients of DACA.
“I think there were obviously some sentiments in the meeting, as you well know, that were, ‘I’m not sure we’re following the right strategy here,'” Hoyer told reporters after the meeting. “There was a candid discussion about why the strategy was being pursued and what was being pursued and what opportunities and challenges were, I think people came out with some degree of appreciation.”
Multiple lawmakers said there was frustration as Democrats rejected government funding on a Friday but voted to reopen the government on Monday when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised to open debate on immigration on the Senate floor in February.
Barragán noted there is no commitment to an immigration vote in the House.”It’s very frustrating on the House side because it appears there’s a different situation in the House than in the Senate, we haven’t gotten any kind of commitment on the House side,” Barragán said. “And so even though on the Senate side, Sen. Schumer talks about how they have that commitment and he believes they’re going to get a vote, I think it still fails to take into consideration that strategy on the House side.”
Rep. Luis Gutierrez, an Illinois Democrat who has long served as a voice for immigration advocates in the House, said many in the room “were disappointed” in a “lack of communication” regarding the shutdown. But he also said the focus was on moving forward.
“Democrats, we’re good at fighting and I also think we’re good at mending fences, and that’s what we’re doing here,” Gutierrez told reporters. “We’re trying to figure out a way forward. … I think (Dem leaders) are committed and this isn’t over. Look, trip, you get up and you go back to fight, but we have a clear determination, we’re going to fight for the Dreamers.”
The chairwoman of the Hispanic Caucus, Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, called the session a combination of strategy and “venting, productively.”
“I didn’t see it as being negative,” she said. “It was an important place to come back after a week for folks to talk about their frustrations, to talk about what they think we haven’t done well, to talk about things that we think are working and to talk about all eyes on the House. What is the House going to do, how are we going to get them to do it and where are we?”
I think the hard answer to Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s question is “You won’t get the House to ‘do what you want.'”Not as long as the GOP is in the majority, the White Nationalist/Bakuninist Block of the House GOP remains intact, and “Spineless Paul” Ryan (or any other GOP Representative) remains Speaker.
In simple terms, Dems and Dreamers, you’re going to have to win some elections and get some control to bring this to a conclusion that won’t involve “giving in” to the whole (or huge chunks of the) White Nationalist, anti-American, anti-growth restrictionist agenda! Minority parties pushing minority platforms seldom get what they want.
Instead of uselessly “ranting” and “venting” at each other, Dreamers and Dems need to work harder to get out the vote (a few more well-placed Hispanic, African-American, and other minority votes could have changed the results of the last election) and eventually win control of something on the national level!
Clearly, while Dreamers and their cause remain popular with the overall public, there is a “vocal minority” essentially White, racist, xenophobic “core” out there that is vehemently opposed to progress and a diverse society and puts their “hate/turn back the clock agenda” at the top of their “issues list.” That’s why most GOP legislators, particularly in the House, see little or no “downside risk” to “stiffing” Dreamers — particularly if the only “downside” is an unpopular and unsustainable “Government shutdown” by the Senate Dems.
Internal bickering is not a useful substitute for putting energy and talent into “grass-roots” organizations that appeal to voters, incorporate solutions to local and regional issues, and thereby win elections! Without “victories in the political arena,” there will be no “magic strategies” that will produce decent immigration reform — for the Dreamers or anyone else who cares about America’s future as a vibrant, forward-looking “nation of immigrants.”
Ed O’Keefe and Sean Sullivan report for the Washington Post:
“Hopes for a fresh start on immigration slammed into political reality Tuesday as the Senate’s top Democrat said he had rescinded an offer to President Trump on a border wall and the White House called an emerging bipartisan compromise “dead on arrival.”
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he had withdrawn an offer to Trump of $25 billion for new border security measures in exchange for permanent legal protections for some undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children.
“We’re going to have to start on a new basis, and the wall offer’s off the table,” Schumer told reporters. He said his proposal had applied only to a deal that was never realized.
News of his decision came as Schumer is facing a backlash from liberals that he had been too accommodating to the president.
Late Tuesday night, Trump reiterated that “if there is no Wall, there is no DACA.”
In a message on Twitter, the president said: “Cryin’ Chuck Schumer fully understands, especially after his humiliating defeat, that if there is no Wall, there is no DACA. We must have safety and security, together with a strong Military, for our great people!”
. . . .
Negotiators face a Feb. 8 deadline, leaving less than three weeks to sort out some of the most emotionally charged issues. Some moderate Republicans involved in the talks expressed optimism that a deal could be reached.
“I think the Democrats are willing to do quite a bit on border security,” said Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), adding later: “They’ve been willing to put a lot on the table.”
Flake predicted there will be 20 Republican senators who will not agree to a bipartisan immigration deal but that “I think there are 30 Republicans who could go for a path to citizenship and do something broad.”
Josh Dawsey and Mike DeBonis contributed to this report.”
Read the full story at the link.
I’m less optimistic than Sen. Flake and others that a deal can be reached in the Senate. But, even if that happens, anything acceptable to the Dems and the Dreamers would be DOA in the House. But, hey, what do I know? I’m just a retired judge.
“The head is missing, but the body is still alive.
The president killed off all attempts at compromise, then went dark after the government shut down, refusing to say what he would support on immigration or even to engage in negotiations. But in this leadership vacuum, something remarkable happened: Twenty-five senators, from both parties, rediscovered their role as lawmakers. They crafted a deal over the weekend that offers a possible path forward, and, in dramatic fashion on the Senate floor Monday, signaled the end of the shutdown with a lopsided 81-to-18 vote.
The agreement may not end in a long-sought immigration deal and a long-term spending plan. Trump could yet kill any deals they reach. And liberal interest groups are furious at what they see as a Democratic surrender. But Monday’s breakthrough shows there is at least the potential for lawmakers to take the wheel from an erratic and dangerous driver.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), announcing his deal with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on the Senate floor Monday afternoon, said he hadn’t even heard from Trump since Friday, before the government closed. “The White House refused to engage in negotiations over the weekend. The great dealmaking president sat on the sidelines,” Schumer said, adding that he reached agreement with McConnell “despite and because of this frustration.”
Looking down from the gallery Monday afternoon, I saw the sort of scene rarely observed any longer in the Capitol: bipartisan camaraderie. Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), two architects of the compromise, were talking, when McConnell, with a chipper “Hey, Chris,” beckoned him for a talk with Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), who soon broke off for a word with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) hobnobbed with Coons and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.). Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) put an arm around Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) as he chatted with Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.). During the vote, Manchin sat on the Republican side with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) sat with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).
Durbin marveled at the festival of bonhomie. “What I have seen here on the floor of the Senate in the last few days is something we have not seen for years,” he said.
Neither side particularly wanted this shutdown. It was the work of a disengaged president who contributed only mixed signals, confusion and sabotage. After provoking the shutdown by killing a bipartisan compromise to provide legal protection for the “dreamers” (undocumented immigrants who came as children), Trump’s political arm put up a TV ad exploiting the dreamers by saying “Democrats who stand in our way will be complicit in every murder committed by illegal immigrants.”
Trump’s anti-immigrant ad and his racist outburst in the White House last week will only increase Republicans’ long-term political problems, but, in the short term, Republicans succeeded in portraying Democrats as shutting down the government to protect illegal immigrants. And liberal interest groups took the bait. In a conference call just before news of the deal broke Monday morning, a broad array of progressive groups — Planned Parenthood, labor unions, the Human Rights Campaign, the ACLU, MoveOn and Indivisible — joined immigration activists in demanding Democrats refuse to allow the government to reopen without an immediate deal for the dreamers.”
Read the rest of Milbank’s op-ed at the link.
I’ve said all along that there is potential for Congress to govern if McConnell, Ryan, and the rest of the GOP leadership would permit it. But, that means ditching the “Hastert Rule” (named, btw, for convicted “perv” and former GOP Speaker Denny Hastert) and thereby “PO’ing” both the “White Nationalist” and “Bakuninist Wings” of the GOP. That’s why it likely won’t happen. Because although they could govern in this manner, in coalition with many Dems, the modern GOP is beholden to both the White Nationalists and the Bakuninists to win elections and have a chance at being in the legislative majority.
In the end, if the Dems want to change the way America is governed for the better, they’re going to have to win some elections — lots of them. And, that’s not going to happen overnight. Although I can appreciate the Dreamers’ frustration, I think they would do better getting behind the Dems, and even the moderate GOP legislators who support them, rather than throwing “spitballs.”
Ironically, the disappearing breed of “GOP moderates” — who played a key role in restarting the Government — could be more effective and wield more power if they were in the minority, rather than being stuck in a majority catering to the extremest elements of a perhaps loud, but certainly a distinct minority, of Americans!
“Lost in the shitstorm over “shithole” was another equally damning example of President Donald Trump’s blatant racism and sexism. It was an outward display of a mindset that in many ways has paved the way for the government shutdown we’re facing now.
Last week, NBC News reported that last fall, the president of the United States asked a career intelligence analyst “Where are you from?” She responded, “New York,” and that should have ended the conversation. It didn’t.
He asked again, and she responded, “Manhattan.”
For those who have initiated a similar conversation, if you ask twice and you don’t get the answer you are fishing for ― just drop it. Take a hint. We don’t want to go there with you.
Trump, clearly oblivious to this social cue, follows up and asks where “your people” are from.
Finally relenting, the analyst answered that her parents are Korean. At this point, Trump, through his ignorance, has robbed this woman of all the hard work, intellect and skill she has invested into her profession by placing some artificial value on her (and her family’s) ethnicity.
Where she or her parents are from has zero bearing on her job or value. It’s one thing if someone volunteers information about their culture, background, family and upbringing. But until they do, it’s none of your business and should have no role in how you judge, evaluate and view them as professionals or human beings.
Taking it even further, Trump somehow manages to combine sexism with racism by asking why the “pretty Korean lady” wasn’t negotiating with North Korea. The insane thing about this statement is that I’m 100 percent certain that in Trump’s mind, he was paying her a compliment.
What he did was demean and insult a woman who was simply trying to do her job.
Trump owes this “pretty Korean lady” an apology for his ignorant, racist and sexist comments. I don’t think Trump realizes or cares about the consequences that his tone, tenor and words have had in the lives of people who don’t look like him.
Pretty much my entire life, I’ve been asked (primarily by white people) the question that I imagine every “Asian-looking” person cringes at inside: “Where are you from?”
In most cases, I’m certain that the person asking this is not consciously discriminatory, but rather is just completely ignorant of how annoying this question is to people who look like me. Like the career intelligence analyst attempted to do with Trump, I answered the question by saying “New York” or “California” ― where I had spent my childhood and formative years. Inevitably comes the dreaded follow-up: “No, I mean what is your background? Chinese or Japanese?
The puzzled looks I would receive when I responded: “German and Italian” were priceless but also revealing. I simply did not fit into their preordained stereotypical worldviews.
My name is Kurt (German) Bardella (Italian), and I am adopted.
For most of you out there who ask this question of people who look or sound “different,” you’re probably just genuinely curious and mean no harm. You’re just trying to start conversation.
But the case of Trump and the career intelligence professional reveals something much more offensive. It was a glimpse into the racially charged worldview that Trump subscribes to,a worldview that has infected the Republican Party and now led us to a government shutdown.
It’s the same worldview that led to his vulgarly demeaning the lives of would-be immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and nations in Africa. It’s the same worldview that has him obsessed with building a border wall to keep “bad hombres” out of the United States. And it’s the same worldview that drove him to end DACA.
Trump and his Republican enablers are so fixated on enacting these outwardly racist policies that they are willing to preside over a government shutdown to get them.
The shutdown showdown unfolding right now is about much more than government funding. It is about two different portraits representing the American identity. The Trump-GOP viewpoint sees our country as one that is, first and foremost, Caucasian. The Democratic perspective sees a diverse nation of many cultures, backgrounds, languages and customs.
That’s what we are fighting about. It may be more politically expedient for Democrats to back down, but with our national identity hanging in the balance, this is the time to take a stand.
Kurt Bardella was born in Seoul, South Korea, and adopted by two Americans from Rochester, New York, when he was three months old. He currently lives in Arlington, Virginia.
This piece is part of HuffPost’s brand-new Opinion section. For more information on how to pitch us an idea, go here.
Kurt Bardella is a media strategist who previously worked as a spokesperson for Breitbart News, the Daily Caller, Rep. Darrell Issa, Rep. Brian Bilbray and Senator Olympia Snowe.”
One had only to listen to Senator Tom Cotton on “Meet the Press” yesterday to see how true Bardella’s commentary is. Cotton lied, obfuscated, and generally avoided answering Moderator Chuck Todd’s questions.
Then, he let loose with his biggest fabrication: that somehow legalizing the Dreamers and eventually allowing their parents to legally immigrate would “do damage” to the U.S. which would have to be “offset” by harsher, more restrictive immigration laws! So, in allowing the Dreamers, who are here doing great things for America, and somewhere down the road their parents, some of whom are also here and are also doing great things for America, to become part of our society is a justification for more racially-motivated restrictions on future immigration. What a total crock!
But it gives them legal status. That’s an amnesty, by adjusting their status from illegal to legal, no matter what you call it. It didn’t give money to build any new border barriers, only to repair past border barriers. It didn’t do anything to stop chain migration. Here’s what the president has been clear on. Here’s what I and so many Senate Republicans have been clear on: we’re willing to protect this population that is in the DACA program. If we do that, though, it’s going to have negative consequences: first, it’s going to lead to more illegal immigration with children. That’s why the security enforcement measures are so important. And second, it means that you’re going to create an entire new population, through chain migration, that can bring in more people into this country that’s not based on their skills and education and so forth. That’s why we have to address chain migration as well. That is a narrow and focused package that should have the support of both parties.
Meanwhile, on Meet the Press, GOP Latino leader Al Cardenas hit the nail on the head in charging Cotton and others in the GOP with a disturbing “lack of empathy” for Dreamers and other, particularly Hispanic, immigrants:
“Excuse me, that’s right. And you know, look, for the Republican Party the president had already tested DACA. The base seemed to be okay with it. Now that things have changed to the point where this bill passes, and it should, Democrats are going to take all the credit for DACA. And we’re taking none. Stupid politics. Number two, the second part that makes us stupid is the fact that no one in our party is saying, “Look, I’m not for this bill but I’ve got a lot of empathy for these million family.” Look, I can see why somebody would not be for this policy-wise. I don’t understand it. But I can respect it. But there’s no empathy. When I saw the secretary of homeland security in front of a Senate saying she’d never met a Dreamer. And yet she’s going to deport a million people, break up all these families. Where is the empathy in my party? People, you know the number one important thing in America when somebody’s asking for a presidential candidate’s support is, “Do you care…Does he care about me?” How do we tell 50 million people that we care about them when there’s not a single word of empathy about the fate of these million people.”
Here’s the complete transcript of “Meet the Press” from yesterday, which also included comments from Democratic Senator Dick Durbin and others. Check it out for yourself, if you didn’t see it.
Unlike Cotton and his restrictionist colleagues, I actually had “Dreamer-type” families come before me in Immigration Court. The kids eventually had obtained legal status, probably through marriage to a U.S. citizen, naturalized and petitioned for their parents.
Not only had the kids been successful, but the parents who were residing here were without exception good, hard-working, tax-paying “salt of the earth” folks. They had taken big-time risks to find a better life for their children, made big contributions to the U.S. by doing work that others were unavailable or unwilling to do, and asked little in return except to be allowed to live here in peace with their families.
Most will still working, even if they were beyond what we might call “retirement age.” They didn’t have fat pensions and big Social Security checks coming.
Many were providing essential services like child care, elder care, cleaning, cooking, fixing, or constructing. Just the type of folks our country really needs.
They weren’t “free loaders” as suggested by the likes of Cotton and his restrictionist buddies. Although I don’t remember that any were actually “rocket scientists,” they were doing the type of honest, important, basic work that America depends on for the overall success and prosperity of our society. Exactly the opposite of the “no-skill — no-good” picture painted by Cotton and the GOP restrictionists. I’d argue that our country probably has a need for more qualified health care and elder care workers than “rocket scientists” for which there is much more limited market! But, there is no reason se can’t have both with a sane immigration policy.
CNN)The government shutdown went into a second day Sunday with recriminations deepening between the parties and with no sign of progress towards ending the impasse.
The House and the Senate will be back at work by early afternoon, but after a day of futility on Saturday, there are few hopes of a sudden breakthrough to resolve a showdown over the refusal of Senate Democrats to vote to fund the government until President Donald Trump agrees to deal with the fate of 700,000 people brought to the US illegally as children.
The White House, and Republican and Democratic leaders spent most of Saturday apportioning blame as they sought to shape the political fallout from the shutdown that will only truly begin to hit home on Monday when government departments stay dark after the weekend as federal workers are furloughed.
“Everyone’s dug in. No movement at all from either side,” said a Democratic aide.
Trump had been hoping to be the star of the show at a glitzy fundraiser at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida Saturday celebrating the anniversary of his inauguration. But he was forced to hole up in Washington when his trip was canceled because of the shutdown.
. . . .
Both sides are convinced they have the upper hand — one reason why the shutdown could last for a while.
Republicans feel confident that they’re on the right side of the shutdown. While House Republicans were the ones who failed to deliver the votes when the government shut down in 2013. This time around, members say they want their leadership to stand firm against Senate Democrats who they believe will feel the pressure sooner or later.
Democrats believe that the fact that the GOP controls the House, the Senate and the White House will prompt voters to blame Trump and his troops.
CNN’s Ashley Killough, Deirdre Walsh, Abby Phillip, Manu Raju, Kevin Liptak and Ryan Nobles contributed to this report.”
Read the complete article at the above link. Doesn’t sound promising; but, they are going to keep at it.
Folks, as we take a few minutes today to remember Dr. King, his vision for a better America, and his inspiring “I Have A Dream Speech,” we have to face the fact that everything Dr. King stood for is under a vicious and concerted attack, the likes of which we haven’t seen in America for approximately 50 years, by individuals elected to govern by a minority of voters in our country.
So, today, I’m offering you a “potpourri” of how and why Dr.King’s Dream has “gone south,” so to speak, and how those of us who care about social justice and due process in America can nevertheless resurrect it and move forward together for a greater and more tolerant American that celebrates the talents, contributions, and humanity of all who live here!.
On Martin Luther King’s birthday, a look back at some disquieting events in race relations in 2017.
Nearly 50 years ago, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. went to the mountaintop and looked out over the promised land. In a powerful and prophetic speech on April 3, 1968, he told a crowd at the Mason Temple in Memphis that while there would certainly be difficult days ahead, he had no doubt that the struggle for racial justice would be successful.
“I may not get there with you,” he said. “But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And so I am happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything.”
The following day, he was assassinated.
The intervening years have been full of steps forward and steps backward, of extraordinary changes as well as awful reminders of what has not changed. What would King have made of our first black president? What would he have thought had he seen neo-Nazis marching through the streets of Charlottesville, Va., so many years after his death? How would he have viewed the shooting by police of unarmed black men in cities around the country — or the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement? He would surely have heard the assertions that we have become a “post-racial” society because we elected (and reelected) Barack Obama. But would he have believed it?
This past year was not terribly heartening on the civil rights front. It was appalling enough that racist white nationalists marched in Charlottesville in August. But it was even more shocking that President Trump seemed incapable of making the most basic moral judgment about that march; instead, he said that there were some “very fine people” at the rally of neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
Racial injustices that bedeviled the country in King’s day — voter suppression, segregated schools, hate crimes — have not gone away. A report released last week by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on inequities in the funding of public schools concludes — and this should surprise no one — that students of color living in poor, segregated neighborhoods are often relegated to low-quality schools simply due to where they live. States continued in 2017 to pass laws that make it harder, rather than easier, for people of color to vote.
The Trump administration also seems determined to undo two decades of Justice Department civil rights work, cutting back on investigations into the excessive use of force and racial bias by police departments. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions in March ordered a review of all existing federal consent decrees with local police departments with the possibility of dismantling them — a move that could set back police reform by many years.
Here in Los Angeles County, this statistic is telling: 40% of the estimated 57,000 homeless people — the most desperate and destitute residents of the county — are black. Yet black residents make up only 9% of the L.A. County population.
But despite bad news on several fronts, what have been heartening over the last year are the objections raised by so many people across the country.
Consider the statues of Confederate generals and slave owners that were brought down across the country. Schools and other institutions rebranded buildings that were formerly named after racists.
The Black Lives Matter movement has grown from a small street and cyber-protest group into a more potent civil rights organization focusing on changing institutions that have traditionally marginalized black people.
When football quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem to protest, as he said, a country that oppresses black people, he was denounced by many (including Trump) but emulated by others. Kaepernick has been effectively banished from professional football but he started a movement.
Roy Moore was defeated for a Senate seat in Alabama by a surge of black voters, particularly black women. (But no sooner did he lose than Joe Arpaio — the disgraced, vehemently anti-immigrant former Arizona sheriff — announced that he is running for Senate there.)
So on what would have been King’s 89th birthday, it is clear that the United States is not yet the promised land he envisioned in the last great speech of his life. But we agree with him that it’s still possible to get there.”
See this short HuffPost video on “Why MLK’s Message Still Matters Today!”
Read about how the Arizona GOP has resurrected, and in some instances actually welcomed, “Racist Joe” Arpaio, an unapologetic anti-Hispanic bigot and convicted scofflaw. “Racist Joe” was pardoned by Trump and is now running for the GOP nomination to replace retiring Arizona GOP Senator Jeff Flake, who often has been a critic of Trump. One thing “Racist Joe’s” candidacy is doing is energizing the Latino community that successfully fought to remove him from the office of Sheriff and to have him brought to justice for his racist policies.
Spared from the threat of deportation by the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, she campaigned to oust Joe Arpaio when he unsuccessfully ran for reelection as Maricopa County sheriff in 2016. She knocked on hundreds of doors in south Phoenix’s predominantly Latino neighborhoods to register voters. She made phone calls, walked on college campuses. Her message was direct, like the name of the group she worked with, Bazta Arpaio, a take on the Spanish word basta — enough Arpaio.
But now, the 85-year-old former sheriff is back and running for Senate. Sanchez, who had planned to step away from politics to focus on her studies at Grand Canyon University, is back as well, organizing once more.
“If he thinks he can come back and terrorize the entire state like he did Maricopa County, it’s not going to happen,” Sanchez, 20, said. “I’m not going to let it happen.”
Arpaio enters a crowded Republican primary and may not emerge as the party’s nominee, but his bid has already galvanized Arizona’s Latino electorate — one of the country’s largest and fastest-growing voter blocs.
Organizers like Sanchez, who thought they might sit out the midterm elections, rushed back into offices and started making calls. Social media groups that had gone dormant have resurrected with posts reminding voters that Arpaio was criminally convicted of violating a federal court order to stop racially profiling Latinos.
“We’ve been hearing, ‘Is it true Arpaio is back? OK, what can we do to help?’” said Montserrat Arredondo, director of One Arizona, a Phoenix nonprofit group focused on increasing Latino voter turnout. “People were living in terror when Arpaio was in office. They haven’t forgotten.”
In 2008, 796,000 Latinos were eligible to vote in the state, according to One Arizona. By 2016, that potential voting pool jumped to 1.1 million. (California tops the nation with the most Latinos eligible to vote, almost 6.9 million.)
In 2016, Latinos accounted for almost 20% of all registered voters in Arizona. Latinos make up about 30% of Arizona’s population.
. . . .
Last year, President Trump pardoned Arpaio of a criminal conviction for violating a federal court order to stop racially profiling Latinos. When announcing his candidacy Tuesday, Arpaio pledged his full support to the president and his policies.
On Saturday, Arpaio made his first public appearance since announcing his candidacy, attending a gathering of Maricopa County Republicans. He was unmoved when asked about the enthusiasm his candidacy has created among Latinos.
“Many of them hate me for enforcing the law,” he said. “I can’t change that. … All I know is that I have my supporters, they’re going to support who they want. I’m in this to win it though.”
Arpaio, gripping about a dozen red cardboard signs that read “We need Sheriff Joe Arpaio in DC,” walked through the crowd where he mingled with, among others, former state Sen. Kelli Ward and U.S. Rep. Martha McSally, who also are seeking the GOP Senate nomination. Overall, Arpaio was widely met with enthusiasm from attendees.
“So glad you’re back,” said a man wearing a “Vietnam Veteran” hat.
“It’s great to be back,” Arpaio replied.
Arpaio, who handed out business cards touting his once self-proclaimed status as “America’s toughest sheriff,” said he had no regrets from his more than two decades in office.
“Not a single one,” he said. “I spoke my mind and did what needed to be done and would do it the same in a minute.”
In an interview, Arpaio, who still insists he has “evidence” that former President Obama’s birth certificate is forged, a rumor repeatedly shown to be false, did not lay out specific policy platforms, only insisting he’ll get things done in Washington.
During his tenure as sheriff, repeated court rulings against his office for civil rights violations cost local taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.”
Read the complete story at the link.
Professor George Yancy of Emory University writing in the NY Times asks “Will America Choose King’s Dream Or Trump’s Nightmare?”
“Let’s come clean: President Trump is a white racist! Over the past few days, many have written, spoken and shouted this fact, but it needs repeating: President Trump is a white racist! Why repeat it? Because many have been under the grand illusion that America is a “post-racial” nation, a beautiful melting pot where racism is only sporadic, infrequent and expressed by those on the margins of an otherwise mainstream and “decent” America. That’s a lie; a blatant one at that. We must face a very horrible truth. And America is so cowardly when it comes to facing awful truths about itself.
So, as we celebrate the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, we must face the fact that we are at a moral crossroad. Will America courageously live out Dr. King’s dream or will it go down the road of bigotry and racist vitriol, preferring to live out Mr. Trump’s nightmare instead? In his autobiography, reflecting on the nonviolent uprising of the people of India, Dr. King wrote, “The way of acquiesce leads to moral and spiritual suicide.” Those of us who defiantly desire to live, and to live out Dr. King’s dream, to make it a reality, must not acquiesce now, precisely when his direst prophetic warning faces us head on.
On the night before he was murdered by a white man on the balcony of his room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn., Dr. King wrote: “America is going to hell if we don’t use her vast resources to end poverty and make it possible for all of God’s children to have the basic necessities of life.” Our current president, full of hatred and contempt for those children, is the terrifying embodiment of this prophecy.
We desperately need each other at this moment of moral crisis and malicious racist divisiveness. Will we raise our collective voices against Mr. Trump’s white racism and those who make excuses for it or submit and thereby self-destructively kill any chance of fully becoming our better selves? Dr. King also warned us that “there comes a time when silence is betrayal.” To honor Dr. King, we must not remain silent, we must not betray his legacy.
So many Americans suffer from the obsessive need to claim “innocence,” that is, to lie to ourselves. Yet such a lie is part of our moral undoing. While many will deny, continue to lie and claim our national “innocence,” I come bearing deeply troubling, but not surprising, news: White racism is now comfortably located within the Oval Office, right there at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, embodied in our 45th president, one who is, and I think many would agree, must agree, without any hesitation, a white racist. There are many who will resist this characterization, but Mr. Trump has desecrated the symbolic aspirations of America, exhumed forms of white supremacist discourse that so many would assume is spewed only by Ku Klux Klan.”
Read the rest of Professor Yancy’s op-ed at the link.
From lead columnist David Leonhardt and Ian Prasad Philbrick at the NY Times we get “Donald Trump’s Racism: The Definitive List.”
Donald Trump has been obsessed with race for the entire time he has been a public figure. He had a history of making racist comments as a New York real-estate developer in the 1970s and ‘80s. More recently, his political rise was built on promulgating the lie that the nation’s first black president was born in Kenya. He then launched his campaign with a speech describing Mexicans as rapists.
The media often falls back on euphemisms when describing Trump’s comments about race: racially loaded, racially charged, racially tinged, racially sensitive. And Trump himself has claimed that he is “the least racist person.” But here’s the truth: Donald Trump is a racist. He talks about and treats people differently based on their race. He has done so for years, and he is still doing so.
Here, we have attempted to compile a definitive list of his racist comments – or at least the publicly known ones.
The New York Years
Trump’s real-estate company tried to avoid renting apartments to African-Americans in the 1970s and gave preferential treatment to whites, according to the federal government.
Trump treated black employees at his casinos differently from whites, according to multiple sources. A former hotel executive said Trump criticized a black accountant: “Black guys counting my money! I hate it. … I think that the guy is lazy. And it’s probably not his fault, because laziness is a trait in blacks.”
In 1989, Trump took out ads in New York newspapers urging the death penalty for five black and Latino teenagers accused of raping a white woman in Central Park; he argued they were guilty as late as October 2016, more than 10 years after DNA evidence had exonerated them.
In 1989, on NBC, Trump said: “I think sometimes a black may think they don’t have an advantage or this and that. I’ve said on one occasion, even about myself, if I were starting off today, I would love to be a well-educated black, because I really believe they do have an actual advantage.”
He uses the gang MS-13 to disparage all immigrants. Among many other statements, he has suggested that Obama’s protection of the Dreamers — otherwise law-abiding immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children — contributed to the spread of MS-13.
In December 2015, Trump called for a “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” including refusing to readmit Muslim-American citizens who were outside of the country at the time.
“I find nothing more useless than debating the existence of racism, particularly when you are surrounded by evidence of its existence. It feels to me like a way to keep you fighting against the water until you drown.
The debates themselves, I believe, render a simple concept impossibly complex, making the very meaning of “racism” frustratingly murky.
So, let’s strip that away here. Let’s be honest and forthright.
Racism is simply the belief that race is an inherent and determining factor in a person’s or a people’s character and capabilities, rendering some inferior and others superior. These beliefs are racial prejudices.
The history of America is one in which white people used racism and white supremacy to develop a racial caste system that advantaged them and disadvantaged others.
Understanding this, it is not a stretch to understand that Donald Trump’s words and deeds over the course of his life have demonstrated a pattern of expressing racial prejudices that demean people who are black and brown and that play to the racial hostilities of other white people.
It is not a stretch to say that Trump is racist. It’s not a stretch to say that he is a white supremacist. It’s not a stretch to say that Trump is a bigot.
I know of no point during his entire life where he has apologized for, repented of, or sought absolution for any of his racist actions or comments.
Instead, he either denies, deflects or amps up the attack.
Trump is a racist. We can put that baby to bed.
“Racism” and “racist” are simply words that have definitions, and Trump comfortably and unambiguously meets those definitions.
We have unfortunately moved away from the simple definition of racism, to the point where the only people to whom the appellation can be safely applied are the vocal, violent racial archetypes.
Racism doesn’t require hatred, constant expression, or even conscious awareness. We want racism to be fringe rather than foundational. But, wishing isn’t an effective method of eradication.
We have to face this thing, stare it down and fight it back.
The simple acknowledgment that Trump is a racist is the easy part. The harder, more substantive part is this: What are we going to do about it?
First and foremost, although Trump is not the first president to be a racist, we must make him the last. If by some miracle he should serve out his first term, he mustn’t be allowed a second. Voters of good conscience must swarm the polls in 2020.
But before that, those voters must do so later this year, to rid the House and the Senate of as many of Trump’s defenders, apologists and accomplices as possible. Should the time come where impeachment is inevitable, there must be enough votes in the House and Senate to ensure it.
We have to stop thinking that we can somehow separate what racists believe from how they will behave. We must stop believing that any of Trump’s actions are clear of the venom coursing through his convictions. Everything he does is an articulation of who he is and what he believes. Therefore, all policies he supports, positions he takes and appointments he makes are suspect.
And finally, we have to stop giving a pass to the people — whether elected official or average voter — who support and defend his racism. If you defend racism you are part of the racism. It doesn’t matter how much you say that you’re an egalitarian, how much you say that you are race blind, how much you say that you are only interested in people’s policies and not their racist polemics.
As the brilliant James Baldwin once put it: “I can’t believe what you say, because I see what you do.” When I see that in poll after poll a portion of Trump’s base continues to support his behavior, including on race, I can only conclude that there is no real daylight between Trump and his base. They are part of his racism.
When I see the extraordinary hypocrisy of elected officials who either remain silent in the wake of Trump’s continued racist outbursts or who obliquely condemn him, only to in short order return to defending and praising him and supporting his agenda, I see that there is no real daylight between Trump and them either. They too are part of his racism.
When you see it this way, you understand the enormity and the profundity of what we are facing. There were enough Americans who were willing to accept Trump’s racism to elect him. There are enough people in Washington willing to accept Trump’s racism to defend him. Not only is Trump racist, the entire architecture of his support is suffused with that racism. Racism is a fundamental component of the Trump presidency.
Back over at the Washington Post, op-ed writer E.J. Dionne, Jr., tells us the depressing news that “We could be a much better country. Trump makes it impossible.”
Dionne concludes his piece with the following observations about our current “Dreamer” debate:
“Our current debate is frustrating, and not only because Trump doesn’t understand what “mutual toleration” and “forbearance” even mean. By persistently making himself, his personality, his needs, his prejudices and his stability the central topics of our political conversation, Trump is blocking the public conversation we ought to be having about how to move forward.
And while Trump’s enablers in the Republican Party will do all they can to avoid the issue, there should now be no doubt (even if this was clear long ago) that we have a blatant racist as our president. His reference to immigrants from “sh–hole countries” and his expressed preference for Norwegians over Haitians, Salvadorans and new arrivals from Africa make this abundantly clear. Racist leaders do not help us reach mutual toleration. His semi-denial 15 hours after his comment was first reported lacked credibility, especially because he called around first to see how his original words would play with his base.
But notice also what Trump’s outburst did to our capacity to govern ourselves and make progress. Democrats and Republicans sympathetic to the plight of the “dreamers” worked out an immigration compromise designed carefully to give Trump what he had said he needed.
There were many concessions by Democrats on border security, “chain migration” based on family reunification, and the diversity visa lottery that Trump had criticized. GOP senators such as Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.) and Jeff Flake (Ariz.) bargained in good faith and were given ample reason by Trump to think they had hit his sweet spot.
Trump blew them away with a torrent of bigotry. In the process, he shifted the onus for avoiding a government shutdown squarely on his own shoulders and those of Republican leaders who were shamefully slow in condemning the president’s racism.
There are so many issues both more important and more interesting than the psyche of a deeply damaged man. We are capable of being a far better nation. But we need leaders who call us to our obligations to each other as free citizens. Instead, we have a president who knows only how to foster division and hatred.”
Read the rest of the op-ed at the link.
Our “Liar-in-Chief:” This short video from CNN, featuring the Washington Post’s “Chief Fact Checker” Glenn Kessler deals with the amazing 2000+ false or misleading claims that Trump has made even before the first anniversary of his Presidency: “Trump averages 5-6 false claims a day.”
Also on video, even immigration restrictionists sometimes wax eloquent about the exceptional generosity of U.S. immigration and refugee laws (even as they engage in an unending battle to undermine that claimed generosity). But, the reality, as set forth in this short HuffPost video is that on a regular basis our Government knowingly and intentionally returns individuals, mostly Hispanics, to countries where they are likely to be harmed or killed because we are unable to fit them within often hyper-technical and overly restrictive readings of various protection laws or because we are unwilling to exercise humanitarian discretion to save them..
I know first-hand because in my former position as a U.S. Immigration Judge, I sometimes had to tell individuals (and their families) in person that I had to order them returned to a country where I had concluded that they would likely be severely harmed or killed because I could not fit them into any of the categories of protection available under U.S. law. I daresay that very few of the restrictionists who glory in the idea of even harsher and more restrictive immigration laws have had this experience.
And clearly, Donald Trump, Jeff Sessions, Steven Miller, Bob Goodlatte and others in the GOP would like to increase the number of humans we return to harm or death by stripping defenseless juveniles and other vulnerable asylum seekers of some of the limited rights they now possess in the false name of “border security.” Indeed, Sessions even invented a false narrative of a fraud-ridden, “attorney-gamed” (how do folks who often don’t even have a chance to get an attorney use attorneys to “game” the system?) asylum system in an attempt to justify his totally indefensible and morally bankrupt position.
Check out this video from HuffPost, entitled “This Is The Violent And Tragic Reality Of Deportation” to see the shocking truth about how our removal system really works (or not)!
Thinking of MLK’S “I have a dream,” next, I’ll take you over to The Guardian, where Washington Correspondent Sabrina Siddiqui tells us how “Immigration policy progress and setbacks have become pattern for Dreamers.”
“Greisa Martínez Rosas has seen it before: a rare bipartisan breakthrough on immigration policy, offering a glimmer of hope to advocates like herself. Then a swift unraveling.
Martínez is a Dreamer, one of about 700,000 young undocumented migrants, brought to the US as children, who secured temporary protections through Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, or Daca.
She considers herself “one of the lucky ones”. Last year, she was able to renew her legal status until 2020, even as Donald Trump threw the Dreamers into limbo by rescinding Daca and declaring a deadline of 5 March for Congress to act to replace it.
Martínez is an activist with United We Dream, the largest youth-led immigration advocacy group in the US. She has fought on the front lines.
In 2010 and 2013, she saw efforts for immigration reform, and a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, culminate in disappointment. She rode a familiar rollercoaster this week, as a bipartisan Daca fix was undermined by Trump’s reported – if contested – reference to African and Central American nations as “shithole countries”.
“It feels like a sequel,” Martínez told the Guardian, adding that Trump’s adversarial views underscored the need to hash out a deal. “This same man is responsible for running a Department of Homeland Security that seeks to hunt and deport people of color.”
Negotiations over immigration have always been precarious. Trump has complicated the picture. After launching his candidacy for president with a speech that called Mexican migrants “rapists” and “killers”, Trump campaigned on deporting nearly 11 million undocumented migrants and building a wall on the Mexico border.
He has, however, shown a more flexible attitude towards Dreamers – despite his move to end their protective status. Last Tuesday, the president sat in the White House, flanked by members of both parties. In a 45-minute negotiating session, televised for full effect, Trump ignited fury among his hardcore supporters by signaling he was open to protection for Dreamers in exchange for modest border security measures.
Then, less than 48 hours later, Trump’s reported comments about countries like Haiti and El Salvador prompted a fierce backlash.
“People are picking their jaws up from the table and they’re trying to recover from feelings of deep hurt and anger,” said Frank Sharry, founder and executive director of America’s Voice, a group which advocates for immigration reform.
“We always knew we were climbing a mountain … but it’s improbable to imagine a positive breakthrough for immigrants with the most nativist president in modern America in charge.”
As the uproar continued, it was nearly forgotten that on Thursday, hours before Trump’s remarks became public, a group of senators announced a bipartisan deal.
Under it, hundreds of thousands of Dreamers would be able to gain provisional legal status and eventually apply for green cards. They would not be able to sponsor their parents for citizenship – an effort to appease Trump’s stance against so-called “chain migration” – but parents would be able to obtain a form of renewable legal status.
There would be other concessions to earn Trump’s signature, such as $2bn for border security including physical barriers, if not by definition a wall.
The compromise would also do away with the diversity visa lottery and reallocate those visas to migrants from underrepresented countries and those who stand to lose Temporary Protected Status. That would help those affected by the Trump administration’s recent decision to terminate such status for some nationals of El Salvador, effectively forcing nearly 200,000 out of the country.
The bill would be far less comprehensive than the one put forward in 2013, when a bipartisan group of senators known as the “Gang of Eight” proposed a bill that would have given nearly 11 million undocumented migrants a path to citizenship.
The bill passed the Senate with rare bipartisan support. In the Republican-led House it never received a vote.
Proponents of reform now believe momentum has shifted in their favor, despite Trump’s ascent. The Arizona senator Jeff Flake, part of the 2013 effort and also in the reform group today, said there was a clear deadline of 5 March to help Dreamers.
“I do think there is a broader consensus to do this than we had before,” Flake told the Guardian. “We’re going have 700,000 kids subject to deportation. That’s the biggest difference.”
Read the rest of the story at the link.
Finally, John Blake at CNN tells us “Three ways [you might not know] MLK speaks to our time.”
That’s a famous line from the 19th century philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, but it could also apply to a modern American hero: the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
As the nation celebrates King’s national holiday Monday, it’s easy to freeze-frame him as the benevolent dreamer carved in stone on the Washington Mall. Yet the platitudes that frame many King holiday events often fail to mention the most radical aspects of his legacy, says Jeanne Theoharis, a political science professor at Brooklyn College and author of several books on the civil rights movement.
“We turn him into a Thanksgiving parade float, he’s jolly, larger than life and he makes us feel good,” Theoharis says. “We’ve turned him into a mascot.”
Many people vaguely know that King opposed the Vietnam War and talked more about poverty in his later years. But King also had a lot to say about issues not normally associated with civil rights that still resonate today, historians and activists say.
If you’re concerned about inequality, health care, climate change or even the nastiness of our political disagreements, then King has plenty to say to you. To see that version of King, though, we have to dust off the cliches and look at him anew.
If you’re more familiar with your smartphone than your history, try this: Think of King not just as a civil rights hero, but also as an app — his legacy has to be updated to remain relevant.
Here are three ways we can update our MLK app to see how he spoke not only to his time, but to our time as well:
. . . .
But here’s one more uncomfortable thought that also explains why King remains so relevant:
The country is still divided by many of the same issues that consumed him.
On the last night of his life, King told a shouting congregation of black churchgoers that “we as a people” would get to “the Promised Land.” That kind of optimism, though, sounds like it belongs to another era.
What we have now is a leader in the White House who denies widespread reports that he complained about Latino and African immigrants coming to America from “shithole” countries; a white supremacist who murders worshippers in church; a social media landscape that pulsates with anger and accusations.
King’s Promised Land doesn’t sound boring when compared to today’s headlines. And maybe that’s what’s so sad about reliving his life every January for some people.
Fifty years after he died, King’s vision for America still sounds so far away.”
Read the complete article at the link.
There you have it. A brief but representative sample of some of the many ways in which Dr. King’s dream of a “post racist America” is still relevant and why there’s still much more work still to be done than many of us might have thought several years ago.
So, the next time you hear bandied about terms like “merit-based” (means: exclude Brown and Black immigrants); “extreme vetting” (means: using bureaucracy to keep Muslims and other perceived “undesirables” out); “tax cuts” (means: handouts to the rich at the expense of the poor); “entitlement reform” (means: cutting benefits for the most vulnerable); “health care reform” (means: kicking the most needy out of the health care system); “voter fraud” (means: suppressing the Black, Hispanic, and Democratic vote); “rule of law” (means: perverting the role of Government agencies and the courts to harm Blacks, Hispanics, Gays, women, the poor, and other minorities); “job creation” (means: destroying our precious natural resources and the environment for the benefit of big corporations), “border security” (means: slashing rights for children and asylum seekers, and more money for building a wall and expanding prisons for non-criminal migrants, a/k/a/ “The New American Gulag”), “ending chain migration” (means keeping non-White and/or non-Christian immigrants from bringing family members) and other deceptively harmless sounding euphemisms, know what the politicos are really up to and consider them in the terms that Dr. King might have.
What’s really behind the rhetoric and how will it help create the type of more fair, just, equal, and value-driven society that majority of us in American seek to be part of and leave to succeeding generations. If it isn’t moving us as a nation toward those goals, “Just Say NO” as Dr. King would have done!
If the DREAM Act is passed without going through the checks and balances that are provided by regular order, it will represent little more than the partisan views of those who wrote it.
. . . .
It seems somewhat hypocritical for Schumer and Pelosi to be urging the passage of a DREAM Act without going through the regular order: They have expressed outrage in the past when the Republicans have resorted to such tactics.
There is no regular order here. There are no bipartisan, public hearings on the Graham-Cassidy bill. … [I]t’s the same backroom, one-party sham of a legislative process that ultimately brought the other bill down. A contrived, 11th hour hearing on block grants in the Homeland Security Committee — a committee with such limited jurisdiction over healthcare matters — does not even come close to suggesting regular order.
And when House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) abandoned the pledge he had made to return to regular order, Pelosi responded with an angry press statement claiming that, “It has long been clear that regular order is not as important to republicans as protecting their special interest agenda.”
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Officeestimates the DREAM Act would make legal status available to 3.4 million undocumented aliens and would increase national budget deficits by $25.9 billion over the 2018-2027 period.
The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 established the largest legalization program we have ever had, and it only legalized 2.7 million aliens.
The extreme generosity of the DREAM Act of 2017 is unfair to the American citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents who have unconscionably long waits to be reunited with alien family members. As of November 2017, there were 4 million aliens with approved family-based visa petitions on the visa waiting list.
. . . .
Congress needs to pass a bill to help alien children who were brought here illegally by their parents, but it should be a bill that has gone through the checks and balances of the legislative process.”
Go on over to The Hill at the link to get the full detail about Nolan’s objections to the current draft of the “Dream Act.”
The parallel between “Graham-Cassidy,” which was in fact a GOP backroom effort that totally excluded Dems from the process, and the Dream Act appears strained. Nonpartisan Dream Act negotiations are currently going on and have been for some time. Indeed, since the Dems are in the minority in both Houses, they will need some bipartisan GOP support to pass Dreamer relief. Moreover, unlike Graham-Cassidy, various versions of the Dream Act have been around and debated for years. Indeed, various bills at one time had majority support in both Houses, but GOP restrictionist maneuvering blocked them from becoming law.
The Dems had to face down some “rebellions’ from their base for going back on their word and voting to temporarily fund the USG over the Holidays. I don’t see how they can “kick the can” on the Dreamers down the road any more without some serious backlash from their own base. That’s particularly true now that the unnecessary and unwise termination of TPS for El Salvador has sowed yet more fear and unease in the immigrant and Hispanic communities.
As I’ve pointed out before, because of the “Bakuninist Wing” of the GOP, Trump isn’t going to get any type of budget without some Democratic support. Once he gets a budget, that need for “bipartisanship” might well disappear overnight. So, now is the time for the Dems to use their “leverage.”
As other commentators have noted, at one time additional border fencing was basically a “nonpartisan no-brainer.” But, by turning “The Wall” into a White Nationalist racist anti-Hispanic symbol, Trump basically has “poisoned the well” for the Democrats. Nevertheless, there might be room for some additional fencing that the Dems could characterize as “less than The Wall” while Trump could claim victory to his base. The Dems also could give on border equipment and technology as well as more administrative and legal personnel for DHS. Beyond that, the pickings are slim.
But, the GOP leaders and Trump don’t have lots of options either. They will be hard pressed to come up with a budget that satisfies Trump while still gaining sufficient support from the Bakuninists. Then, there is the problem that the budget apparently will require 60 votes in the Senate. That means that the GOP has to do at least something akin to a bipartisan deal. I’ve certainly been wrong before, but I don’t see Nolan’s idea as something the Dems can buy at this time.
I have no problem with also giving relief to family members waiting in line to immigrate. It’s not a “zero sum game” as the restrictions try to portray it. We could clearly take in more legal immigrants now and in the future; clearly we should have been doing so in the past, in which case we wouldn’t have approximately 10 million productive residents living here without legal status. But, that probably will have to await some type of overall Immigration Reform that’s unlikely to be accomplished as long as guys like Jeff Sessions, Steven Miller, and Sen. Tom Cotton are “driving the train” for the GOP on immigration.
“At a televised cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Donald Trump, as is his custom, called on his appointees to publicly praise him. In a performance that would have embarrassed the most obsequious lackey of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Vice President Mike Pence delivered an encomium to his boss, who sat across the table with arms folded over his chest, absorbing abasement as his due.
“I want to thank you, Mr. President,” Pence said. “I want to thank you for speaking on behalf of and fighting every day for the forgotten men and women of America. Because of your determination, because of your leadership, the forgotten men and women of America are forgotten no more. And we are making America great again.” The president thanked him for his kind words, and Pence replied, “Thank you, Mr. President, and God bless you.”
It was a neat summation of where the Republican Party is at the end of the first year of Trump. There’s been a synthesis, in which Trump and establishment Republicans adopt one another’s worst qualities. Trump, who campaigned as a putative economic populist — even calling for higher taxes on the rich — will soon sign into law the tax plan of the House speaker Paul Ryan’s Ayn Randian dreams. The majority of elected Republicans, in turn, are assuming a posture of slavish submission to Trump, worshiping their dear leader and collaborating in the maintenance of his alternative reality.
Some of this might be strategic; everyone knows Trump is susceptible to flattery. But in many cases — certainly with Pence — it seems sincere. In a recent Atlantic profile of the vice president, McKay Coppins wrote that Pence’s faith mandates obedience to temporal as well as heavenly authority. When he accepted the vice-presidential nomination, Coppins wrote, “he believed he was committing to humbly submit to the will of Donald Trump.” From a secular perspective, Pence, like many other Republicans, appears to be a person inclined to authoritarianism.
Erich Fromm, a German-Jewish psychoanalyst who fled Nazism, described authoritarian personalities as simultaneously craving power and submission. “The authoritarian character loves those conditions that limit human freedom; he loves being submitted to fate,” he wrote. Fate, in his formulation, can be the laws of the market, the will of God, or the whims of a leader. According to Fromm, authoritarians might make a show of valuing freedom and independence — watchwords of the American right — but long to be ruled by a stronger force.
Viewed this way, it’s not surprising that religious conservatives have been among Trump’s most ardent fans. Certainly, it’s understandable that people on the right would try to get what they can out of this president. But the relationship between Trump and many Republicans increasingly looks less like a marriage of convenience than a sadomasochistic affair.
. . . .
It is, as they say, not normal for erstwhile law-and-order Republicans to attack the F.B.I. for being overzealous in its pursuit of Russian subversion. Nunes’s inquiry appears similar to Trump’s voter fraud commission, invented to substantiate right-wing fantasies about Democratic vote rigging. The point, in both cases, is to flesh out a lie rather than find the truth. Hannah Arendt once wrote of this sort of policy-as-disinformation: “Totalitarianism will not be satisfied to assert, in the face of contrary facts, that unemployment does not exist; it will abolish unemployment benefits as part of its propaganda.”
For the past year, a lot of us have assumed that Republicans are putting up with Trump out of fear of their base or lust for tax cuts. We’ve imagined that beneath our mutual partisan loathing lies some remaining shared commitment to liberal democracy. Maybe that’s true, and Republicans will display new independence once tax reform is signed, particularly if support for the president keeps dwindling.
But there’s another possibility, which is that a critical mass of Republicans like being in thrall to a man who seems strong enough to will his own reality, and bold enough to voice their atavistic hatreds. Maybe Trump is changing Republicans, or maybe he’s just giving men like Pence permission to be who they already were.”
Read Michelle’s entire article, aptly named “Fifty Shade of Orange” at the above link. I’ll reluctantly go with “possibility two:” Trump is just giving GOP “closet bigots,” oligarchs, anarchists, racists, theocrats, and neo-Nazis permission publicly to be what they always were underneath. Not a happy thought, but at least we’ll know what we’re up against and why to date most so-called “establishment Republicans” who intend to remain in office have “gone along to get along.”
Remember, at the end of the day, not a single GOP Senator was willing to vote against a fairly obvious “Tax Heist.” That, plus all the “slavish submission” and repulsive flattery of “The Supreme Leader” this week tell you all you need to know about the “Heart and Soul” of the GOP. The country needs “regime change” before it’s too late!