DESTROYING AMERICA, ONE PRECIOUS, TALENTED LIFE AT A TIME — “Can something that irrational happen in America?” — In The Trump/Sessions/Miller White Nationalist Regime? — You Betcha!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/immigration/with-three-months-left-in-medical-school-her-career-may-be-slipping-away/2018/02/22/24a7a780-10f3-11e8-9570-29c9830535e5_story.html?hpid=hp_rhp-top-table-main_dacadoctors-830pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.ed15d711fa8f

Maria Sacchetti reports for the Washington Post:

MAYWOOD, Ill. — Rosa Aramburo sailed into her final year of medical school with stellar test scores and high marks from professors. Her advisers predicted she’d easily land a spot in a coveted residency program.

Then President Trump announced the end of the Obama-era program that has issued work permits to Aramburo and nearly 700,000 other undocumented immigrants raised in the United States.

“Don’t be surprised if you get zero interviews,” an adviser told her.

She got 10, after sending 65 applications.

But as she prepared to rank her top three choices last week, Congress rejected bills that would have allowed her and other “dreamers” to remain in the United States, casting new doubt on a career path that seemed so certain a year ago.

Employers and universities that have embraced DACA recipients over the past six years are scrambling for a way to preserve the program. They are lobbying a deeply divided Congress, covering fees for employees and students to renew their permits, and searching for other legal options — perhaps a work visa or residency through spouses or relatives who are citizens. Some companies have considered sending employees abroad.

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They are also awaiting the outcome of a court challenge to the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has granted the young recipients a temporary reprieve and allowed them to continue renewing work permits for the time being. The Supreme Court could decide as soon as Friday whether to intervene in the case.

Nationwide, more than 160 DACA recipients are teaching in low-income schools through Teach For America. Thirty-nine work at Microsoft, 250 at Apple and 84 at Starbucks. To employers, the young immigrants are skilled workers who speak multiple languages and often are outsize achievers. Polls show strong American support for allowing them to stay.

Based in part on that data, many DACA recipients say they believe that the United States will continue to protect them, even as a senior White House official has indicated that Trump and key GOP lawmakers are ready to move on to other issues.

Human-resources experts warn that employers could be fined or go to jail if they knowingly keep workers on the payroll after their permits have expired. And while the White House has said that young immigrants who lose DACA protections would not become immediate targets for deportation, Immigration and Customs Enforcement says anyone here illegally can be detained and, possibly, deported.

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“I’ve gotten emails saying, ‘Oh, we loved you,’ ’’ Aramburo, 28, said one recent morning as she hurried to predawn rounds at a neurology intensive-care unit. “But in the back of my mind, I’m thinking, ‘What if I can’t finish?’ ”

Dreams and disbelief

Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine has 32 DACA recipients enrolled in its medical program. (Alyssa Schukar/for The Washington Post)

Cesar Montelongo is a third-year student in the school’s MD-PhD program. (Alyssa Schukar/for The Washington Post)
Nearly 100 DACA recipients are medical students enrolled at schools such as Harvard, Georgetown and the Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University Chicago, which this May will graduate its first five dreamers, including Aramburo.

Loyola, a Catholic school, changed its admissions policies to allow DACA recipients to apply soon after President Barack Obama — frustrated by Congress’s failure to pass an immigration bill — declared in 2012 that he would issue the young immigrants work permits. Trump and other immigration hard-liners criticized the program as executive overreach.

Thirty-two students with DACA are enrolled at Stritch, the most of any medical school in the country, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. Most are from Mexico, but there are also students brought to the United States as children from 18 other countries, including Pakistan, India and South Korea.

The school helped the students obtain more than $200,000 apiece in loans to pay for their education. Some agreed to work in poor and rural areas with acute physician shortages to borrow the money without interest.

Mark G. Kuczewski, a professor of medical ethics at Loyola, said the school was inspired to launch the effort after hearing about Aramburo, a high school valedictorian who earned college degrees in biology and Spanish and yearned to study medicine but could find work only as a babysitter because she was undocumented.

He said it is unthinkable that Congress may derail the chance for her and the other DACA recipients at Loyola to become doctors and work legally throughout the United States.

“We just can’t believe that that will happen,” Kuczewski said. “Can something that irrational happen in America?”

2:52
This nurse found hope in DACA, now his life is in limbo

Jose Aguiluz is a 28-year-old registered nurse who may face deportation from the United States if Congress doesn’t come to an agreement on DACA recipients. (Jorge Ribas, Jon Gerberg/The Washington Post)
Teach For America said its lawyers have pored over immigration laws to find ways to sponsor workers who lose their DACA protections. But the process often requires workers to leave the United States and return legally, a risk many young teachers are unwilling to take. The organization also offered to relocate teachers close to their families in the United States.

“They’re desperate. They’re stressed,” said Viridiana Carrizales, managing director of DACA Corps Member Support at Teach For America. “They don’t know if they’re going to have a job in the next few months.”

A spokesman for a major tech company who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of political negotiations, said it asked DACA employees whether they would like to be transferred to another country where their work status would not be in jeopardy.

“It fell completely flat,” he said. “The employees were polled, and with virtual unanimity, the resounding answer was a ‘No, thank you.’ They considered it giving up.”

The Society for Human Resource Management said companies can defend workers and lobby Congress on behalf of DACA recipients. But the group, which has 240 member organizations, is also urging employers to consider what might happen if their employees’ work permits expire.

“The bottom line is, if people don’t have documents that allow them to work in the United States, they have to be taken off the payroll,” said Justin Storch, a federal liaison for the society.

Cesar Montelongo, a third-year medical student and a DACA recipient. (Alyssa Schukar/for The Washington Post)
‘Not just farmworkers or housekeepers’
On the snow-covered campus at Loyola University Chicago, medical students with DACA permits say they are continuing with their studies and renewing their work permits even as they keep one eye on Washington.

Cesar Montelongo, 28, a third-year medical student who attended the State of the Union address last month, spent part of one recent day examining bacteria in petri dishes in a school laboratory. His family fled a violent border city in Mexico when he was 10.

He is earning a medical degree and a PhD in microbiology, a high-level combination that could land him plenty of jobs in other countries. But he said he prefers the United States, one of “very few places in this planet you can actually achieve that kind of dream.”

Less than a mile away, Alejandra Duran, a 27-year-old second-year medical student who came to the United States from Mexico at 14, translated for patients at a local clinic for people with little or no insurance.

With help from teachers in Georgia, she graduated from high school with honors. She wants to return to the state as a doctor and work to help lower the rate of women dying in childbirth.

“A lot of things have been said about how illegal, how bad we are; that’s not the full story,” Duran said. “We’re not just farmworkers or housekeepers. We’re their doctors. We’re their nurses, their teachers, their paramedics.”

Alejandra Duran, a second-year student who intends to practice obstetrics and gynecology, translates for Dr. Matt Steinberger at the Access to Care clinic. (Alyssa Schukar/For The Washington Post)

Cesar Montelongo, a third-year medical student, examines Petri dishes in which he conducted an experiment looking at interactions of viruses with bacteria in the bladder. (Alyssa Schukar/For The Washington Post)
During rounds at the Loyola University Medical Center, Aramburo studied computer records, then examined stroke victims and patients with spinal and head injuries. Some may never regain consciousness, but she always speaks to them in the hope that they will wake up.

“That’s my dream: to make a difference in people’s lives,” she said. “I hope I can do it.”

In the glass-walled neurology intensive care unit, she and two physicians stood before a 45-year-old stroke victim who spoke only Spanish. The woman struggled to grasp what the two doctors were saying.

Aramburo stepped forward.

“You’ve had a small stroke,” she explained in Spanish, as the woman listened. “It could have been a lot worse. Now we’re going to figure out why.”

 

 

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Some of the WASHPOST comments on this article were predictably idiotic ands racist., Really, what’s happening to our country that folks have such perverted, ill informed, anti-social, and inhuman views?

These are American kids. Raised, educated, and residing in our country. They aren’t “taking places” from anyone, except, perhaps those of their classmates who are less talented or less ambitious. But, why would we want to reward mediocrity over merit just because someone was born here? Other American kids have the same opportunities that Dreamers have. If some chose not to take advantage of them, so be it!

When the Arlington Immigration Court was located in Ballston, Virginia, the kids from nearby Washington & Lee High would come over to the Mall for lunch. Undoubtedly, some of them were undocumented.

But, I couldn’t tell you who. They were just American kids. Even when they showed up in my courtroom, I couldn’t tell you who was the “respondent” and who was the “support group” until I called the case and the respondent came forward. Contrary to the White Nationalists, folks are pretty much the same.

As usual, Trump and his White Nationalist cronies have taken a win-win-win and created a lose-lose-lose! When Dreamers get screwed, they lose, US employers lose, and our country loses, big time! But, that’s what happens when policies and actions are based on bias, ignorance, and incompetence.

PWS

02-23-18

JAMES HOHMANN @ WASHPOST DAILY 202 — TRUMP, GOP DON’T APPEAR SERIOUS ABOUT PROTECTING DREAMERS OR IMMIGRATION REFORM — RATHER, SEEK WAYS TO ADVANCE INTENTIONALLY DIVISIVE, RACIALLY BIASED, “FACT-FREE” WHITE NATIONALIST AGENDA! — Plus, My Point By Point Analysis Of Why The Democrats Should “Hang Tough” On A Dreamer Deal!

Hohmann reports:

THE BIG IDEA: Democrats are so eager to shield young foreign-born “dreamers” from deportation that they’re now offering to make compromises that would have been hard to imagine a year ago. Republicans, who feel like they have them over the barrel, are demanding more.

Showing his pragmatic side, for instance, Bernie Sanders says he’s willing to pony up big for border security if that’s what it takes. “I would go much further than I think is right,” the Vermont senator said in an interview Tuesday afternoon. “Unwillingly. Unhappily. I think it’s a stupid thing to do. But we have to protect the dreamers. … I’m willing to make some painful concessions.”

Sanders said a wall is still a “totally absurd idea” and that there are better ways to secure the border with Mexico, but he also emphasized that there will be “a horrible moral stain” on the country if President Trump goes through with his order to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program next month.

— Anti-immigration hardliners are staking out a firm position because most of them are not actually concerned about the plight of the dreamers. They have never thought these young people, whose undocumented parents brought them to the United States as children, should be here anyway. They agitated for Trump to end the program.

This means they’ll be fine if no bill passes, and they know that gives them way more leverage to demand wholesale changes to the entire legal immigration system. “The president’s framework bill is not an opening bid for negotiations. It’s a best and final offer,” said Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who has emerged as the leader of this group in the Senate. He made this comment yesterday on “Fox and Friends,” knowing the president watches. Sure enough, Trump echoed the same talking point on Twitter, calling this the “last chance” for action.

— Mitch McConnell wants to use this week’s immigration debate to force show votes that can be used to embarrass vulnerable Democratic senators from red states. For example, the majority leader introduced a measure yesterday that would penalize so-called sanctuary cities for not cooperating with federal immigration laws. This issue tests well in polls and focus groups in most of the 10 states Trump carried in 2016 where a Democrat is now up for reelection. GOP insiders on the Hill say that McConnell is mainly focused on doing whatever it takes to protect his majority now that 2018 has arrived, and he has a narrower majority after the loss in Alabama.

— Democrats stuck together to block the Senate from taking up the poison pill on sanctuary cities, but the fact that the debate has so quickly devolved into a fight over process offered another data point – if for some reason you needed one – of how dysfunctional the Senate has become.

Trump urges senators to back his immigration proposal

— “Most Republicans on Tuesday appeared to be rallying behind a proposal by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) and six other GOP senators that fulfills Trump’s calls to legalize 1.8 million dreamers, immediately authorizes spending at least $25 billion to bolster defenses along the U.S.-Mexico border, makes changes to family-based legal immigration programs and ends a diversity lottery system used by immigrants from smaller countries,” Ed O’Keefe reports. Senate Minority Leader Chuck “Schumer said the Grassley plan unfairly targets family-based immigration and that making such broad changes as part of a plan to legalize just a few million people ‘makes no sense.’

In a bid to soften Trump’s proposals and win over Democrats, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) unveiled a watered-down version of the GOP proposal — but had not won support from members of either party by late Tuesday. Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), a longtime proponent of comprehensive immigration changes, said the Grassley proposal should be the focus of the Senate’s debate. … Schumer and other Democrats, meanwhile, voiced support for a plan by Sens. Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) that would grant legal status to dreamers in the country since 2013 but would not immediately authorize money to build out southern border walls and fencing.”

— Democrats would like to pass a narrow bill that only protects DACA recipients, but they know that’s not possible with Republicans in control of Congress and the presidency. To get the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster, they’re conceding on at least some of Trump’s demands related to security. Sanders said there are between 55 to 57 votes for a compromise that would save the dreamers and fund border protections. “We are scrambling now for three to five more votes,” he said.

— The Senate will convene at 10 a.m. to continue debate, as negotiations behind the scenes continue. Somewhat counterintuitively, conservative hardliners believe that Latinos will be less likely to turn out this November if nothing passes in Congress because activists will blame Democrats for not delivering.

Bernie Sanders heads to a Democratic caucus meeting in the Capitol. (Oliver Contreras for The Washington Post)

Bernie Sanders heads to a Democratic caucus meeting in the Capitol. (Oliver Contreras for The Washington Post)

— Despite concerted efforts by Trump and McConnell to drive a wedge through the Democratic caucus, there remains a remarkable degree of unity. This highlights how much the terms of the immigration debate have shifted over the past decade. Every Democrat in Congress now wants to protect DACA recipients. It wasn’t always this way. The House passed a Dream Act in 2010 that would have allowed undocumented immigrants to apply for citizenship if they entered the United States as children, graduated from high school or got an equivalent degree, and had been in the United States for at least five years. Five moderate Democrats in the Senate voted no. If each of them had supported it, the bill would have become law, and DACA would have been unnecessary. Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) is the only one of those five Democrats still left. (The others retired or lost.) Now Tester speaks out against the president’s decision to end DACA. (I explored this dynamic in-depth last September.)

Sanders marveled during our interview at how much the polling has shifted in recent years toward protecting dreamers, with some public surveys showing that as many 90 percent of Americans don’t think they should be deported. The share who think they should also have a pathway to become U.S. citizens has also risen. “If we talked a year or two ago, I’m not sure I would have thought that would be possible,” he said.

Hillary Clinton relentlessly attacked Bernie during the debates in 2016 for voting to kill comprehensive immigration reform in 2007. Sanders – working closely with some of the leading unions – expressed concern back then that the bill would drive down wages for native-born workers by flooding the labor market with cheap foreign workers. This position caused him problems with Hispanics during his presidential bid.

Sanders rejects the idea that his views have changed since 2007, and he still defends his 11-year-old vote. He noted that the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) opposed that bill, as did the Southern Poverty Law Center, because it included a guest worker program that was “akin to slavery.” He said he remains just as concerned about guest worker programs as he was back then, but that he’s always favored a comprehensive solution that includes legal protections for the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants who live here. “You can say you support immigration reform, but obviously the devil is in the details on what that means,” the senator explained. “I stood with progressive organizations who said you don’t want to bring indentured servitude.”

Sanders criticized a guest worker program in his home state that allows resorts to hire ski instructors from Europe instead of native Vermonters. “Now do you not think we can find young people in Vermont who know how to ski and snowboard? But if you go to some of the resorts, that’s what you would find,” he said. “When I was a kid, we worked at summer jobs to help pay for college. … So I think we want to take a hard look at guest worker programs. Some of them remain very unfair.”

— After coming surprisingly close to toppling Clinton and winning the Democratic nomination two years ago, Sanders is at or near the top of the pack in every poll of potential 2020 primary match-ups. He’s going to Des Moines next Friday for a rally with congressional candidate Pete D’Alessandro, his first visit to Iowa this year. Sanders will also go to Wisconsin for Randy Bryce, who is running against Speaker Paul Ryan, and Illinois, where he’ll boost Chuy Garcia’s bid for retiring Rep. Luis Gutierrez’s open seat. A few weeks after that, he plans a tour of the Southwest. “I’m going to do everything I can to help people in 2018,” Sanders said.

Lobbying for their lives

— Republicans have gone the other direction. Before Trump came on the scene, the party was divided but GOP elites agreed that, for the long-term survival of the party, they needed to embrace more inclusive policies. Losses in 2012 prompted many Senate Republicans to endorse a comprehensive bill the next year (Sanders voted for it too), but the legislation was doomed in the House after Majority Leader Eric Cantor went down in a Virginia primary partly because of his perceived softness on the issue.

Elected Republicans used to insist adamantly that they were not anti-immigration but anti-illegal immigration. That’s changed. At the behest of Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Republicans are rallying around the idea of dramatic reductions in legal immigration. Two years ago, this was an extreme idea that most GOP senators would have quickly distanced themselves from. Now it’s considered mainstream and the centerpiece of the bill that McConnell has rallied his members behind.

To put it in perspective: By cutting the rate of legal immigration, Trump’s proposal – codified in Grassley’s bill — would delay the date that white Americans become a minority of the population by as many as five additional years, according to expert analysis.

“What’s very sad, but not unusual given the moment we’re living in, is that Republicans are more concerned about their right-wing, extremist, xenophobic base,” said Sanders. “You would think that, with 85 to 90 percent of people supporting protections for the dreamers, that it would not take a profile in courage to pass legislation to protect them.”

Kelly: ‘Dreamers’ who didn’t sign up for DACA were ‘too afraid’ or ‘too lazy’

— A dual-track fight over DACA is playing out in the courts. A federal judge in New York issued a preliminary injunction last night that keeps the program alive beyond Trump’s March 5 deadline so that legal challenges can play out. “A federal judge in California has issued a similar injunction, and the Supreme Court is expected this week to consider whether it will take up the fight over DACA,” Matt Zapotosky reports.

U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis recognized that Trump “indisputably” has the authority to end the program put in place by Barack Obama, but he also called the administration’s arguments that DACA was unconstitutional and illegal under federal law flimsy. “Because that conclusion was erroneous, the decision to end the DACA program cannot stand,” he wrote.

— Happy Valentine’s Day. Don’t forget to get a gift.

— What I’m especially excited about this morning is baseball. Pitchers and catchers are reporting for spring tr

Listen to James’s quick summary of today’s Big Idea and the headlines you need to know to start your day:

 

 

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Contrary to most of the “chatter,” I think that the Dreamers and the Democrats have the upper hand in this one. I’ll tell you why below!

A “border security package,” could involve the Wall, technology and much needed management improvements at DHS (but certainly no additional detention money — stop the “New American Gulag” — or personnel for the Border Patrol until they full current vacancies and account for how they are currently are deploying agents).

Beyond that, the Dems probably could agree to a reallocation of diversity and some preference visas while maintaining current legal immigration levels. Cutting legal immigration levels, eliminating family immigration, or authorizing further denials of due process (the totally bogus and essentially evil claim that the current already inadequate protections for children and other vulnerable migrant’s are “loopholes”) should be “non-starters.”

If they can’t get the deal they want, the Dems can walk away and still win for the Dreamers in the long run. Here is why:

  • I doubt that Trump would actually veto a compromise bill passed by both Houses that protected Dreamers without his full “Four Pillars of White Nationalism” program.
    • If he does, any Democrat who can’t make Trump and the GOP pay for such a dumb move in the next election cycle doesn’t deserve to be a Democrat.
    • The “full Dreamer protection” trade for border security with no other changes should be a “no brainer.” If Trump or the GOP “tank” it over the restrictionist agenda, the Democrats should be able to make them pay at the polls.
  • Right now, the Administration is under two injunctions halting the repeal of the “core DACA” program.
    • If the Supremes don’t intervene, that issue could be tied up in the lower Federal Courts for years.
      • It’s very clear that the Administration’s current position is ultimately a loser before the lower Federal Courts.
      • If the Administration tries to “short-circuit” the process by going through APA to promulgate a regulation to terminate DACA, that process also is likely to be successfully challenged in the Federal Courts.
        • The so-called “legal rationale” that Sessions has invoked for ending DACA has literally been “laughed out of court.”
        • Trump himself has said that there is really no reason to remove Dreamers from the U.S.
        • So, on  the merits, an attempt to terminate DACA by regulation probably would be held “without any legal or rational basis” by the lower Federal Courts.
  • Even if the Supremes give the “green light” to terminate DACA, most “Dreamers” by now have plausible cases for other forms of relief.
    • Many DACA recipients have never been in removal proceedings. If they have been here for at least 10 years, have clean criminal backgrounds, and have spouses or children who are U.S. citizens they can apply for “cancellation of removal.”
    • “Former DACA” recipients appear to be a “particular social group” for asylum and withholding of removal purposes. They are “particularized,  the characteristic of having DACA revoked is “immutable,” and they are highly “socially distinct.”  Many of them come from countries with abysmal human rights records and ongoing, directed violence. They therefore would have plausible asylum or withholding claims, or claims under the Convention Against Torture (“CAT”).
    • If ICE tries to use information voluntarily given by the Dreamers during the application process to establish removability or for any other adverse reason, that is likely to provoke a challenge that will be successful in at least some lower Federal Courts.
  • Safety in numbers.
    • There is nothing that Trump, Sessions, and the DHS can actually do to remove 700,000+ Dreamers.
    • The U.S. Immigration Courts are backed up for years, with nearly 700,000 already pending cases! Sessions is doing everything he can to make the backlog even worse. Dreamers will go to the “end of the line.”
    • Sure Sessions would like to speed up the deportation “assembly line” (a/k/a “The Deportation Railway”).
      • But, his boneheaded and transparently unfair attempts to do that are highly likely to cause “big time” pushback from the Federal Courts and actually “tie up” the entire system — not just “Dreamers.”
      • The last time the DOJ tied to mindlessly accelerate the process, under AG John Ashcroft, the Courts of Appeals remanded defective deportation orders by the basket-load for various due process and legal violations — many with stinging published opinions.
        • Finally, even former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez (“Gonzo I”), hardly a “Due Process Junkie” had enough and slowed down the train. It took years for the “haste makes waste” Circuit Court remands to work their way back through the system. Some might still be hanging around.
      • Because the GOP White Nationalists and Trump read off of “restrictionist cue cards” that don’t take account of the law, facts, or history, the Dems should have a huge advantage here if and when individual “Dreamer” removal cases get to the Federal Courts.
    • Each “Dreamer removal case” should present the Democrats with excellent example of the cruelty, stupidity, and total wastefulness of the Trump/Sessions/DHS enforcement policies. Wasting money to “Make America Worse.” Come on, man!
    • Bottom Line: Trump and Sessions have created a “false Dreamer emergency” that they can’t escape without some help from the Democrats. If the Democrats see an opportunity to make a “good deal” for the Dreamers, they should take it. But, they shouldn’t trade the Dreamers for the harmful White Nationalist restrictionist agenda! Eventually, the problem will be solved in a way that is favorable for most Dreamers, regardless of what the White Nationalists threaten right now. The Dreamers might just have to hang on longer until we get at least some degree of “regime change.”

PWS

02-13-18

DREAMERS “LEFT OUT” AGAIN – CONTEMPLATE NEXT MOVE – News & Analysis From Tal @ CNN

https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/10/politics/daca-left-out-what-next/index.html

The “Amazing Tal” writes:

“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.”
close dialog
“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.”

Step 1: Senate vote next week

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.”
Democrats also may have some Republican supporters in the House to pressure Ryan. A bipartisan group of lawmakers that includes two dozen Republicans sent a letter to Ryan asking to open a floor debate like McConnell.
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.”
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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!
PWS
02-10-18

BESS LEVIN @ VANITY FAIR – TRUMP FINDS A NEW WAY TO BE “A JERK” – PLANNING ANOTHER BOGUS ATTACK ON LEGAL IMMIGRANTS BY EXPANDING CONCEPT OF “PUBLIC CHARGE”

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/02/trumps-spending-spree-global-sell-off-hellacious

Bess actually used a more “colorful descriptor” for Trump. But, since this is a “Family Based Blog” I toned it down a bit. You can go on over to the “Levin Report” at Vanity Fair at the above link for the “tell it like it is” version.

Donald Trump finds a new and unique way to be [ a jerk]

They said it couldn’t be done. They said it wasn’t possible. They said how could he, when he’s seemingly exhausted all possible avenues for an achievement like this? They underestimated him, yet again:

The Trump administration is considering making it harder for foreigners living in the United States to get permanent residency if they have received certain public benefits such as food assistance, in a move that could sharply restrict legal immigration. The Department of Homeland Security has drafted proposed new rules seen by Reuters that would allow immigration officers to scrutinize a potential immigrant’s use of certain taxpayer-funded public benefits to determine if they could become a public burden.

For example, U.S. officials could look at whether the applicant has enrolled a child in government pre-school programs or received subsidies for utility bills or health insurance premiums.

The draft, which reads a lot like it was written by senior adviser Stephen “white American males should be a protected class” Miller, states: “Non-citizens who receive public benefits are not self-sufficient and are relying on the U.S. government and state and local entities for resources instead of their families, sponsors or private organizations. An alien’s receipt of public benefits comes at taxpayer expense and availability of public benefits may provide an incentive for aliens to immigrate to the United States.” As a reminder, when the administration was trying to make the case that the U.S. should restrict the number of refugees it allows into the country to the lowest levels since 1980, it conveniently left out data that showed refugees generate $63 billion more in government revenues than they cost over the last decade. So take the latest immigrants are a drain on the economy and preventing us from Making America Great Again screed with a grain of salt.

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Yeah, whatever term you use, Trump and his White Nationalist xenophobic, racist cabal are at it again. Masses of folks coming to the US to get “welfare” is another “restrictionist myth” used to distort the immigration debate, and whip up anti-immigrant sentiment.

PWS

02-09-18

 

DAN KOWALSKI @ LEXISNEXIS: EXPERTS “CALL OUT” TRUMP & GOP RESTRICTIONISTS’ BOGUS CLAIMS ABOUT THE ADVERSE EFFECTS OF FAMILY MIGRATION (Pejoratively Called “Chain Migration” By The Trumpsters)

https://www.lexisnexis.com/legalnewsroom/immigration/b/immigration-law-blog/archive/2018/02/08/experts-debunk-trump-39-s-false-39-chain-migration-39-claims.aspx?Redirected=true

Here’s what Dan posted on LexisNexis Immigration Community:

“Experts Debunk Trump’s False ‘Chain Migration’ Claims

Miriam Valverde, Politifact, Jan. 31, 2018 – “President Donald Trump in his State of the Union address called for tighter control of legal immigration and for an end to “chain migration.”  “Under the current broken system, a single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives,” Trump said Jan. 30. “Under our plan, we focus on the immediate family by limiting sponsorships to spouses and minor children.” … But there is a long queue for certain relatives seeking to come through family sponsorship. For brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, the waiting period for a visa is over 13 years. … But there are limits on the number of visas issued per year per family category.  More than 3.9 million people were in line for a visa as of Nov. 1, 2017, according to the U.S. State Department. Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens fall under a “fourth-preference” category, which had 2.3 million people waiting for a visa — the wait period is over 13 years for immigrants from most nations, but even longer for some countries with heavy demand, such as Mexico and the Philippines.  Siblings in the Philippines would have to wait at least 23 years for a visa, and Mexican siblings at least 20 years.  “As a practical matter, because of these long backlogs there is not as much chain migration as President Trump claims,” said Stephen W. Yale-Loehr, a professor of immigration law practice at Cornell Law School.  Trump said “a single immigrant can bring in unlimited numbers of distant relatives.” … Trump’s statement contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression. We rate it Mostly False.”

Philip Bump, Washington Post, Feb. 6, 2018 – “As is so often the case with his discussion of immigrants, President Trump’s State of the Union description of “chain migration” — the process by which people in the United States can sponsor family members to join them — was long on fearmongering and short on accuracy.  “The fourth and final pillar protects the nuclear family by ending chain migration,” Trump said of his multipart immigration restructuring proposal. “Under the current broken system, a single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives. Under our plan, we focus on the immediate family by limiting sponsorships to spouses and minor children. This vital reform is necessary, not just for our economy, but for our security and our future.”  The idea that curtailing a process to bring in members of an immigrant’s nuclear family protects the nuclear family is one thing. But there is simply no way to defend the claim that “a single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives.” … Immigrants can’t come to the United States and sponsor 20 cousins who arrive four months later, the sort of ease-of-entry that Trump and the White House seem to imply. At best, an immigrant could bring in a spouse or child — after likely waiting an extended period for that application to be approved.  “You’re looking at years and years of waiting in this legal line,” [past president and past general counsel of the Washington, D.C.-based American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), David W.] Leopold said. “For anyone to say that the continuation of sponsorship based on family relationship is going to lead to an influx of people is either lying or doesn’t understand how the system works.” “

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Go on over to LexisNexis at the above link to get further links to the full articles. Many thinks to Dan for getting “the truth” assembled into one convenient blog.
PWS
02-09-18

NY TIMES COGENTLY EXPLAINS WHY TRUMP GOP NATIVIST IMMIGRATION PROGRAM WOULD BE BAD FOR AMERICA!

“Congress now appears likely to reach a budget deal to keep the government functioning without treating as bargaining chips hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants brought to the United States when they were children. It also appears, though, that President Trump will consider undoing his threat of deportation for these young “Dreamers” only if Congress considers the first deep cuts to legal immigration since the 1920s.
The changes the president is demanding stem from a nativist, zero-sum view that what’s good for immigrants is bad for America. That view runs counter not just to the best of American tradition and principles, but to evidence of what’s best for the country.
The programs targeted by Mr. Trump are designed to make legal immigration more diverse and humane. One is the lottery system that offers the chance for visas to people from countries that are underrepresented as sources of American immigrants; the other is family-based immigration, which offers visas to close relatives of citizens and legal residents.
Mr. Trump, who has regularly smeared immigrants as terrorists and criminals, has lately been focusing his fear-mongering on the diversity visa program. Last month, his Department of Homeland Security released a report that dishonestly claimed that those who entered the country via the lottery were more likely to be tied to terrorist attacks. The Cato Institute found that lottery visa holders actually killed only eight of 3,037 Americans murdered by foreign-born terrorists since 1975. The immigrants chosen in the lottery, moreover, are not chosen “without any regard for skill, merit or the safety of our people,” as Mr. Trump said in his State of the Union address. They must have at least a high school education or two years of experience in skilled work, and they must also undergo criminal, national security and medical checks. The 50,000 recipients of the visas are not guaranteed permanent residence, only a chance at getting through the rest of the immigration process.
Mr. Trump has said that the family reunification program — which he and other immigration opponents prefer to call “chain migration” — opens the floodgates to “virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives.” In fact, relatives other than spouses, parents and minor children are subject to annual caps and country quotas, so that, today, the backlog is almost four million applicants, most of them facing many years of waiting to get a visa. Mr. Trump would allow no new applicants other than immediate family members, and even these would no longer include parents. Imposing these restrictions and ending the diversity visa lottery would cut in half the number of legal immigrants.
It is hard to gauge how much of what Mr. Trump says is meant as a scare tactic and how much he really will demand. The one notion that runs through all he says or tweets about immigration is that it is a door for criminals and terrorists to enter the United States. Yet data studied by the Cato Institute indicates that diversity-visa holders and illegal immigrants, the groups most maligned by Mr. Trump, are far less prone to crime than native-born Americans.
Politicians have wrestled for decades with how to deal with immigrants who are in the United States illegally — now around 11 million people. But immigration in itself has been widely regarded as good for America and for the American dream. The preponderance of evidence shows that immigrants help the economy grow. They are more likely to own businesses or to start businesses than the native-born; of the 87 privately held companies currently valued at more than $1 billion, 51 percent had immigrant founders.
There are questions worth examining and debating about whether the United States ought to admit more skilled immigrants and what criteria it uses to screen applicants. But such a debate can’t unfold in the shadow of Mr. Trump’s threat to imminently expel the Dreamers. So what is Mr. Trump really after?
A Gallup poll last June found 62 percent of Americans support maintaining current levels of immigration or even increasing them. And since the country is at nearly full employment, the timing of these anti-immigrant demands might seem odd. Yet it’s no more odd than the president’s tough-on-crime talk at a time when crime is lower than it’s ever been, or his obsession with Islamist terrorists, even though the Government Accountability Office found that right-wing extremists have committed far more domestic attacks against Americans since 2001. Mr. Trump’s approach seems intended less to rationalize the immigration system than to inflame his core supporters by demonizing nonwhite people, as he did when he disparaged immigrants from nations like Haiti and Mexico while praising Norwegians.
Members of Congress know better, and they are aware that there are sensible measures that would clear the immediate hurdle and produce a bipartisan deal. Senators John McCain, the Arizona Republican, and Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware, have offered a stopgap bill that would end the threat to the Dreamers while strengthening border security. Nothing about diversity visas or family-based migration, nothing for the wasteful wall.
That makes sense. The way we deal with legal immigration should not be changed without a thorough, honest debate.
Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook and Twitter (@NYTOpinion), and sign up for the Opinion Today newsletter.”

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When policies are driven by White Nationalism, racism, and the need to throw “red meat” to a base that has abandoned inclusiveness, humanity, and “enlightened self interest,” there isn’t much room for rationality, facts, or the common good. Unfortunately, that’s a description of the modern GOP.

PWS

02-08-18

 

PROFESSOR ERIC S. YELLEN IN WASHPOST: TRUMP & GOP’S MOST OUTRAGEOUS WHITE NATIONALIST RACIST PROPOSAL TO DESTROY AMERICA MIGHT NOT EVEN HAVE BEEN HIS RESTRICTIONIST IMMIGRATION PLAN — DESTROYING THE CAREER CIVIL SERVICE PROMISES RETURN TO CORRUPT POLITICAL SPOILS SYSTEM WE ABANDONED NEARLY 150 YEARS AGO! — “Calls for government accountability have long merged racism and anti-government rhetoric but have traditionally stopped short of resurrecting the spoils system.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/made-by-history/wp/2018/02/05/the-corrupt-racist-proposal-from-the-state-of-the-union-address-that-everyone-missed/

Yellen writes:

“President Trump continued his efforts to drive the United States back to the 19th century during his State of the Union address last week.

Standing in front of a divided Congress, with possible obstruction charges looming over him and facing governance struggles produced by his ineffective leadership, the president sought to undermine a 135-year-old law protecting federal civil servants from the whims of tyrants and hacks. “I call on the Congress to empower every Cabinet secretary with the authority to reward good workers — and to remove federal employees who undermine the public trust or fail the American people,” he said.

While this plea sounds sensible, it actually represents a historic threat to the U.S. government and to some of its most vulnerable citizens. Recognizing that threat requires understanding two crucial and related pieces of context — first, how the law Trump seeks to dissolve came into being, and second, how the effort to undermine it fits into a larger pattern of racist ideas driving the Trump administration’s actions.

Why can’t a Cabinet secretary simply fire federal employees? Before 1883, they did just that on a regular basis. Federal employees came and went on the orders of political appointees with each electoral cycle. Every four years, federal workers sat waiting with bags packed to find out if their party would hold on to power and they onto their livelihoods.

Claiming these spoils of victory enabled a president and his Cabinet secretaries to hand out high-paying, desirable jobs to political supporters. Abraham Lincoln famously — or infamously — cleaned house in 1861 to reward his new political party whose members had not tasted federal salaries since the collapse of the Whig party a decade earlier.

But in the 1870s, consistency and competence in the federal bureaucracy became more important as the nation’s political and commercial life grew more complex. Americans became increasingly aware of political corruption (see: the Grant administration) and its drag on government and commercial efficiency. When, in July 1881, President James A. Garfield was assassinated by disgruntled office seeker Charles Guiteau, the push for reform gained enough momentum to force Congress to rein in the patronage system.

The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act of 1883 cost its namesake, Sen. George H. Pendleton (Ohio), his job in a political backlash against the new anti-spoils system. Nevertheless, the Pendleton Act was a major step forward for good government, and over the next quarter-century the majority of ordinary and largely essential civil service positions became disconnected from political machinations, filled instead through a standard set of hiring practices and exams, and protected from arbitrary firing.

The system was never perfect, and political affiliation has continued to matter for employment prospects in Washington right up through the present. Still, today the U.S. government does have something resembling what political scientists call an “autonomous” civil service — that is, a federal bureaucracy sheltered from political winds.

The result is a more stable and experienced government workforce, a Congress that gets accurate reports from its research bureaus and federal departments that provide a certain level of regulatory consistency for citizens and businesses at home and around the world.

Trump’s upending of decades of civil service protections is not about accountability. Such changes would clearly risk a return to more corrupt and less competent government. Even worse, Trump’s proposal and the rhetoric surrounding it also threaten to undermine a second set of crucial reforms that occurred thanks to the civil rights movement.

During the 1960s, the civil rights movement pushed the government to guarantee racial equality in federal employment. This effort was more successful than attempts to transform the private workforce, largely because of federal training programs, standardized hiring procedures and fixed pay scales that weeded out bias, aggressive anti-discrimination measures and historic mentorship and seniority lines dating to the Johnson administration. Today, African Americans are 30 percent more likely to work in civil service than white Americans. Black men and women, just 13 percent of the U.S. population and with an unemployment rate double that of white Americans, make up about 18 percent of the federal workforce.

Over the past 30 years, conservative valorization of “market solutions” has been accompanied by deeply racialized notions of government inefficiency that aims to undermine these civil rights achievements by invoking the image of a wasteful, corrupt public workforce — one viewed by many Americans as dominated by African Americans. Commentator Pat Buchanan, for example, claimed that federal offices under the Obama administration operated according to a “racial spoils system.” For Buchanan and many others, the drive for a leaner government merges with a racist suspicion of black workers — what they see as the most rotten part of the bureaucracy.

Moreover, the president’s attack on the stability of government jobs comes at a rough time for public servants, who have been battered by austerity measures that have made jobs scarcer.

These measures have also deepened the racial disparity in the public workforce, which, along with the growing racial wealth gap that deprives nonwhite Americans of stability and mobility, transforms Trump’s assault on the Pendleton Act from merely historically ignorant and potentially corrupt into something more. It becomes a nod to the same racist worldview that produces the profound suspicion of people of color that has defined much of Trump’s political life.

Continuous conflation of blackness and wastefulness in American governance, a conflation pushed by writers and politicians like Buchanan and Trump, marks African Americans as incapable of earning “the public’s trust” through good governance, a stain that persists into today’s politics, from assumptions of black voting malfeasance to questions about President Barack Obama’s birth certificate.

And that returns us to Trump’s rise to the presidency. Calls for government accountability have long merged racism and anti-government rhetoric but have traditionally stopped short of resurrecting the spoils system. Then again, politicians have traditionally veiled their positions in generous and moderately realistic visions of humanity to maintain moral ground and the capacity to govern. In his latest call for the gutting of civil service reforms, Trump seems hellbent on surrendering both.

***********************************************

As I have mentioned several times before, my more than four decades of working in the field of immigration, and my 21 years of judging individual asylum cases have given me an outstanding chance to study virtually all of the current political and government systems in the world.

The difference between the U.S. and the corrupt states that send us refugees is not necessarily the words of our Constitution. Almost all countries have snazzy sounding constitutions that aren’t worth the paper on which they are written.

The main difference is that the U.S. has a basically honest, dedicated, professional, largely apolitical Career Civil Service that works hard to make sure that the words of our Constitution are translated into actions. Most refugee sending countries have a Trump-like “spoils system” where notwithstanding the words of the constitution and laws, the government is corrupt and run primarily for the benefit of the dictator and his relatives and friends or for the ruling class and their cronies.

When the government changes (usually, although not always, violently) the “new” group, even if it once had a “reform platform,” merely views it as “their turn” to loot and pillage the country and the common people for their own benefit and that of their supporters, be it tribe, ethnic group, or party.

The Trump Administration and the “modern GOP” already have all of the earmarks of a kleptocracy. Letting them destroy our Career Civil Service, the “Jewel in the Crown” of American democracy, would lead to the end of our nation as we have known it.

PWS

02-05-18

FRED HIATT @ WASHPOST: NOTE TO GOP RESTRICTIONISTS: ANTI-IMMIGRATION = ANTI GROWTH! — “A vote to choke off immigration is a vote for stagnation and decline!” – EXACTLY!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/without-immigration-america-will-stagnate/2018/01/28/e659aa94-02d5-11e8-8acf-ad2991367d9d_story.html

Post Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt writes:

“Message to Republicans: You can be pro-growth. You can be anti-immigration. But, honestly, you can’t be both.

Now, within the immigration debate, there are a lot of questions with no obvious right answers.

What’s the right balance of immigrants admitted for their skills and those allowed in because they have relatives here?

How much effort should be devoted to tracking down the undocumented, and how much to punishing companies that hire them?

What should we do about the millions of immigrants who came here illegally a decade or more ago and have become established members of their communities?

And — what is the right number of legal immigrants every year from now on?

Big, complicated questions — which is why Congress shouldn’t try to solve them all between now and Feb. 8, its self-imposed deadline for resolving the issue of the “dreamers.” In the few days that remain, the best it could do would be to, well, resolve the issue of the dreamers — the undocumented immigrants who were brought here as young children through no fault of their own, who obey the law and who go to school or work or serve in the military.

They are American in all but legal status. Give them a path to citizenship, as President Trump has proposed. Give Trump the money for his wall (until he gets that check from Mexico). Punt on the big, complicated questions, something Congress certainly knows how to do. Everyone declares victory, and the government doesn’t shut down.

Of course, that would leave us still facing the big questions. Ideally, Congress would schedule a serious debate on them for the spring. Ideally, it would be conducted in a constructive spirit — acknowledging, for example, that reasonable people can disagree on skills vs. family.

But ideally, also, it would also be conducted with an understanding that those who favor a drastic, absolute drop in the level of immigration, as many Republicans do, would be making a choice about America’s future.

They would be turning us into Japan.

Now, to be clear, Japan is a wondrous nation, with an ancient, complex culture, welcoming people, innovative industry — a great deal to teach the world.

But Japan also is a country that admits few immigrants — and, as a result, it is an aging, shrinking nation. By 2030, more than half the country will be over age 50. By 2050 there will be more than three times as many old people (65 and over) as children (14 and under). Already, deaths substantially outnumber births. Its population of 127 million is forecast to shrink by a third over the next half-century.

Japan is a pioneer and an extreme version of where much of the First World is headed as longevity increases and fertility declines. The likely consequences are slower economic growth, reduced innovation, labor shortages and huge pressure on pensions. If you think our entitlement politics are fraught, think about this: In Japan in 2050, the old-age dependency ratio — the number of people 65 and over as a percentage of the number who are 15 to 64 — is projected to be 71.2 percent.

The comparable figure for the United States is 36.4 percent, up from 25.7 percent in 2020. Still high, but if it proves manageable, we will have immigration to thank. America still attracts dynamic, hard-working people from around the world, and they and their offspring help keep our population and our economy growing, as recent Pew Research Center and International Monetary Fund papers explain.

The wave of immigration over the past half-century also has changed the face of the nation, reducing the share of the white population from what it would have been and increasing the share of Asians and Hispanics. It’s not surprising that some people find this disorienting.

But as so often with such debates, perceptions lag reality. Nearly half (48 percent) of immigrants these days have college degrees, as a fact sheet from the Migration Policy Institute last year showed. A quarter of technology company start-ups between 2008 and 2012 included at least one foreign-born founder. As incomes and education levels rise around the world, in other words, the skills mix of U.S. immigration is already changing, without any changes in our laws.

Here’s the bottom line: I think we should remain open to immigrants because it’s part of who we are as a nation, because every generation of newcomers — even, or maybe especially, the ones who come with nothing but moxie and a tolerance for risk — has enriched and improved us.

But you don’t have to buy into any of that Statue of Liberty stuff to favor immigration, because naked self-interest leads to the very same conclusion. A vote to choke off immigration is a vote for stagnation and decline.”

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Hiatt clearly “gets it!”

But, maybe the GOP restrictionists do too. Their opposition to legal immigration is grounded in racism, White Nationalism, and xenophobia — none of which have anything to do with rationality, facts, the common good, or even “enlightened self-interest.”

Therefore, neither an appeal to “who we are as a nation” nor “naked self-interest” is likely to change their highly emotional, but essentially irrational anti-immigrant views.

PWS

01-29-18

GONZO’S WORLD: SOMEBODY’S GOT TO DO TRUMP’S “DIRTY WORK” AT JUSTICE — GONZO WELCOMES THE CHANCE – “CHATTER ON THE STREET” SAYS HE’S BEEN TERRIFIC AT IMPLEMENTING RACIST, WHITE NATIONALIST AGENDA AND “DECONSTRUCTING” JUSTICE IN AMERICA! – Damage To Rights Of American Blacks, Latinos, Gays, and Other “Targeted Groups” Could Be Long Lasting!

“Dirty Work” by Steely Dan.

Check it out here:

http://www.metrolyrics.com/dirty-work-lyrics-steely-dan.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/01/23/its-looking-more-and-more-like-jeff-sessions-is-doing-trumps-political-dirty-work/?utm_term=.20948af9517b

Aaron Blake reports for the Washington Post:

“The defining moment of Jeff Sessions’s time as attorney general has been when he recused himself from oversight of the Russia investigation. That quickly led to the appointment of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is now extensively probing President Trump. And by all accounts, it seriously strained Sessions’s relationship with Trump, who thinks Sessions should be protecting him and doing his bidding.

But there are increasing signs that Sessions has indeed done plenty of Trump’s bidding behind closed doors. And he’s done it on some dicey and very politically tinged issues — so much so that he made Trump’s second FBI director deeply uncomfortable with the whole thing.

The Post’s Devlin Barrett and Philip Rucker report that Sessions has pressured FBI Director Christopher A. Wray to get rid of his deputy Andrew McCabe, a holdover from James B. Comey’s FBI and favorite target for Republicans alleging bias in federal law enforcement. Some have reported that Wray even threatened to resign; The Post is reporting that he did not explicitly do so.

Here’s the meat of it all:

Sessions, Republican lawmakers and some members of the Trump administration have argued for weeks that Wray should conduct some kind of housecleaning by demoting or reassigning senior aides to his predecessor, Comey, according to people familiar with the matter. These people added that Sessions himself is under tremendous political pressure from conservative lawmakers and White House officials who have complained that the bureaucracy of federal law enforcement is biased against the president.

Trump has made no secret of his distaste for McCabe, even tweeting about it repeatedly after McCabe announced last month that he would soon retire, when he becomes eligible for full pension benefits. Trump’s tweets date back to the summer and have focused on McCabe’s wife’s run for the Virginia state legislature as a Democrat and ties to Hillary Clinton.

. . . .

In other words, Trump has publicly stated his preference for Sessions to try to get rid of McCabe, and he has suggested Wray do it as well. Now we find out Sessions did indeed attempt it, and Wray resisted it.

But it’s only the latest evidence that Sessions and his Justice Department are taking specific actions that Trump has publicly urged, even as they, in some cases, risk looking like they are in service to Trump’s political goals.

The New York Times reported recently that a Sessions aide went to Capitol Hill last year seeking derogatory information about Comey at a time when Trump clearly had his eyes on firing Comey. (A Justice Department spokesman has denied this occurred.) There are also reports that the Justice Department is considering a revival of its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails, which Trump has repeatedly called for. And back in August, Sessions announced a ramped-up effort to root out leakers in the federal government — just days after Trump tweeted that Sessions had taken “a VERY weak position” on the issue.

(Remarkably, Trump actually hit Sessions for his weak positions on both leakers and Clinton’s emails in the same tweet. The Justice Department now appears to be addressing both.)

The Post’s Josh Dawsey and Matt Zapotosky even reported last month that Sessions has engaged in an all-out campaign to regain Trump’s faith by pointing to things the Justice Department has done in service of Trump’s agenda. That’s a pretty remarkable state of affairs.

Some of these things are issues on which Sessions has clearly sided with Trump, especially the dangers of leakers. So it’s perhaps no surprise Sessions would pursue them. But the fact that Trump called for these actions before Sessions was reported to have taken them sure makes it look like he’s taking direction from Trump — or at least succumbing to pressure that Trump and others have brought to bear.

Sessions has also, notably, resisted that pressure at times. During congressional testimony in November, he very publicly shunned a Republican lawmaker’s conspiracy theory — one to which Trump has also alluded — about how the federal government may have colluded with Democrats to spy on Trump’s campaign. Sessions said the issue didn’t rise to the level of appointing a special counsel.

But the picture of what Sessions is doing behind the scenes is increasingly suggesting that Trump’s very public hints that his attorney general should do this or that have often resulted in those specific actions. And especially when it comes to things such as trying to force out McCabe or reportedly dig up dirt on Comey, it sure makes it look like Sessions is using his authorities to try to address Trump’s political aims.

And for an attorney general who leads the federal law enforcement that is currently investigating the president and his team, that’s a perception problem, at best.”

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Read Blake’s full article, complete with “Tweet Texts,” at the link.

Meanwhile “chatter” surrounding the DOJ credits Sessions for doing a “bang up” job of implementing his racist, White Nationalist agenda at Justice. Basically, according to some, he’s very effectively shifting the Government’s resources, focus, and litigating capacity to insuring  that no element of White privilege or far-Right religious intolerance goes unprotected.

At the same time, he’s using basically bogus or at least highly misleading “statistics” to “rev up” racist fervor against immigrant, primarily Latino communities and Democratic local officials who won’t go along with his program of attempting to draw false connections between immigrants and crime and terrorism. Meanwhile, he essentially has consigned the rights of African-Americans, Latinos, Immigrants, Migrants, Women who seek abortions, and the LGBTQ community to the “trash-bin of Justice.” Many who care about the future of racial equality and social justice in America are concerned that this type of “deep damage” to our justice system can’t easily be undone or repaired, even after Sessions and his “wrecking crew” finally depart the “Halls of Injustice.”

Reportedly, Sessions has been ably assisted in his campaign “to take the justice out of Justice” by Associate Attorney General Rachel B. Brand, the “number three” person at Justice. Brand, a former Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Policy under Bush II, DOJ “vet,” and apparent “true believer” in the Radical Right, maintains a much “lower profile” than the ever controversial Sessions. But, apparently she and those under her excel at undoing and “deconstructing” all of the “social justice” achievements of the Obama Administration.

Following the “Watergate Disaster” in the 1970, where the Nixon Administration’s blatant politicization of the DOJ became a national scandal, succeeding Administrations, in my view, more or less “backed off” of obvious political partisanship at the DOJ. But, as Watergate becomes a “mere tiny image in the rearview mirror,” that “tradition of restraint” has gradually eroded. Sounds to me like the “Watergate Era” has basically returned to the DOJ. This time, and quite sadly for our Constitutional system of Government and the U.S. Justice System, there is some doubt as to whether it will ever depart again.

PWS

01-28-18

 

 

 

7-ELEVEN STORES ARE AT THE HEART OF AMERICA AND THE CENTER OF MANY ETHNIC COMMUNITIES – So, Why Are The ICEMEN Targeting Them? — “It seems incredible to have to remind ourselves, at this point in the history of the Republic, that immigration and immigrants — with and without papers — are the backbone of the American economy.”

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-ulin-7-eleven-ice-raids-20180123-story.html

David L. Ulin writes in the LA Times:

“A few times a week, I visit the 7-Eleven in my midcity neighborhood to pick up a six-pack or a bag of snacks. What I see there looks to me like a pretty pure portrait of America. The place is open all hours and it serves all kinds: Parents buying after-school snacks for their children, laborers getting cold drinks on hot afternoons, neighbors stopping in for a few items before the evening meal. A family from India owns the franchise — mother, father, son and daughter, all of whom work long hours in the store.

On Jan. 10, U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement agents descended on 98 7-Elevens in 17 states, including California. It was a show of force that must have played well with the president’s anti-immigrant base. Although my mid-city outpost wasn’t targeted, a store in Culver City and three in Koreatown were. ICE didn’t detain anyone in Los Angeles, but 21 workers suspected of being in the country illegally were arrested nationwide.

“Today’s actions,” declared acting ICE director Thomas D. Homan, “send a strong message to U.S. businesses that hire and employ an illegal work force: ICE will enforce the law, and if you are found to be breaking the law, you will be held accountable.”

Oh, come on. The raids were nothing but political theater, intended to terrify the most vulnerable.

I’ll keep supporting my local 7-Eleven, and any other franchise that gets raided.


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According to news reports, 7-Eleven owners will be “audited” for immigration offenses, but such audits don’t require dramatic predawn raids and rarely result in successful prosecution anyway. Business owners have access to lawyers, and it’s hard to prove they knowingly hired undocumented workers. Workers, on the other hand, can be deported with little or no due process.

It’s not that 7-Eleven owners and the company’s corporate leadership are without their issues. During the Obama administration, several franchisees in New York and Virginia were indicted for running a scheme in which, according to then-Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch, “immigrant workers were routinely forced, upon threat of job loss or deportation, to work upwards of 100 hours a week.”

Closer to home, a group of Southern California franchise owners sued 7-Eleven in 2014 for “aggressive and discriminatory” practices, which included taking away stores for minor violations and turning them over to new owners for higher fees. Late last year, the National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees filed another suit in California alleging additional coercive attempts at corporate control.

Still, 7-Eleven stores have long offered a positive vehicle for immigrants — especially South Asians — to ascend into the middle class. Franchise costs are relatively affordable, and in 2013, the National Minority Franchising Initiative reported that 57% of the chain’s stores were minority-run. The result — as my neighborhood store illustrates — can be a vivid demonstration of the American dream.

It seems incredible to have to remind ourselves, at this point in the history of the Republic, that immigration and immigrants — with and without papers — are the backbone of the American economy. Again and again, research shows immigration’s net positive economic effect. “Immigrants, we get the job done,” Lin-Manuel-Miranda exults in the musical “Hamilton,” whose hero emigrated from the Caribbean island of Nevis on his way to helping found the United States.

Just two days before the 7-Eleven raids, the Trump administration announced it would do away with Temporary Protected Status for 200,000 Salvadorans in the U.S. — “part of what appears an effort …,” argued a Baltimore Sun editorial, “to go nationality-by-nationality to show the door to Latino and Latina immigrants, legal or illegal.”

The day after the raids, the president made his blatantly racist comments denigrating Haiti, El Salvador and countries in Africa while torpedoing a fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

That none of this is particularly surprising — the president, remember, kicked off his campaign by calling Mexicans criminals and rapists, then began his presidency with the Muslim “travel ban” — makes it no less troubling, especially in California, which is, as of Jan. 1, a sanctuary state. The California Values Act prevents police from asking about immigration status or cooperating with federal immigration authorities, with some exceptions. A related law allows employers to be prosecuted if, in state Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra’s words, they “voluntarily start giving up information about … or access to their employees” without a warrant.

When Gov. Jerry Brown signed the laws, Homan responded that “ICE will have no choice but to conduct at-large arrests in local neighborhoods and at worksites, which will inevitably result in additional collateral arrests.”

We have every reason, then, to see the recent raids as a signal of what’s to come — ICE agents swooping down on restaurants, car washes, convenience stores and construction sites.

Indeed, the San Francisco Chronicle reported last week that “U.S. immigration officials have begun preparing for a major sweep in San Francisco and other Northern California cities in which federal officers would look to arrest more than 1,500 undocumented people while sending a message that immigration policy will be enforced in the sanctuary state.”

Theater again, although not for those who are arrested. For them, this is all too real.

I never thought going to a convenience store would become a political act, but here we are. I’ll keep supporting my local 7-Eleven, and any other franchise that gets raided. It would be un-American — or un-Californian — to do otherwise.

David L. Ulin is a contributing writer to Opinion.”

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When your policies are based on latent racism and White Nationalism, common sense, economic reality, and human decency cease to matter. That’s why ICE is well on its way to becoming America’s most hated and least trusted police force. That’s going to be a problem for the ICEMEN long after Trump, Gonzo, and the White Nationalist Gang have been removed from power.

PWS

01-27-18

THE “DREAMERS’’ ARE OUR FUTURE – THEY’RE NOT GOING ANYWHERE – WE CAN DO THE SMART THING, WELCOME & INTEGRATE THEM INTO OUR SOCIETY – OR WE CAN “JERK ‘EM AROUND” THE WRONG WAY – But They’re Here To Stay, Either Way! — “What you’re seeing in the Dreamers is a reflection of the American ideals!”

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/27/the-civil-rights-issue-of-our-time-how-dreamers-came-to-dominate-us-politics?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

Lauren Gambino reports for The Guardian:

“In 2006, Arizona passed a ballot initiative that barred students without legal immigration status from receiving in-state tuition rates at public universities and colleges.

Dulce Matuz, an electrical-engineering major at Arizona State, ran to find her professor.

Bursting into tears, she told him something she had only ever shared with her closest friends. She was undocumented.

“It felt good to tell my story,” she told the Guardian this week. “It was like a weight had been lifted.”

The law meant Matuz would have to pay the out-of-state tuition rate, which she could not afford. But the next day, her professor gave her a flier advertising scholarships for “people in your situation”.

Matuz had thought she was the only undocumented student on one of the largest campuses in the country. She was wrong.

One by one they shed their anonymity, in effect daring law enforcement to target them.

It was a risky move, especially in a state which was then a cauldron of anti-immigrant sentiment. But the students weren’t alone. Thousands of young immigrants came forward to demand a future in the country where they were raised. Each had a name and a story.

Itzel. Irving. Allyson. Justino. Ivy. Yuridia. Luna. Jhoana. Jesus. Osmar. Christian. Indira. Karen. Reyna. Sheridan. Concepcion. Angelica. Greisa. Adrian.

Collectively, they are known as Dreamers, young people without immigration status who were brought to the US as children. Over the last decade, they’ve gone from the “shadows” to the center stage of US politics, and their fate now dangles before an irascible president and a gridlocked Congress.

‘Trump Dreamers’

In September, Donald Trump ended Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca), an Obama-era program that lifted the threat of deportation for Dreamers.

The administration argued that Obama had overstepped his authority. But Trump did give Dreamers a six-month grace period and called on Congress to pass legislation.

“If the Dreamers are able to lead a fight that results in a radical, nativist administration signing into law their freedom, it would be a testament only to how much moral and political power the Dreamers have built,” said Frank Sharry, a long-time advocate of immigration reform and executive director of America’s Voice.

Conservatives suggest Trump is uniquely qualified to succeed where predecessors have failed, to achieve immigration reform, precisely because of his credibility among fierce opponents of illegal immigration.

At a meeting earlier this month, for example, Trump promised to “take the heat” if Republicans passed legislation.

“President Obama tried and couldn’t fix immigration, President Bush tried and couldn’t do it,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina who is pushing bipartisan immigration reform.

Timeline

​Donald Trump and Dreamers: a timeline of mixed messages​

“I believe President Trump can. Today’s Daca recipients can be tomorrow’s Trump Dreamers.”

Polling has consistently shown that a large majority of Americans – 87% in one recent survey – support protections for Dreamers. But general anti-immigrant fervor has stalled efforts to pass legislation and conservatives remain divided over whether Dreamers should ever be allowed to be citizens.

Rounds of negotiations have yielded no solution, only a brief shutdown of the federal government during which Democrats tried to force lawmakers to extend legal status to the Dreamers.

Depending on the day, lawmakers and the president are either on the verge of striking a deal or as far apart as ever. Trump was elected after championing hard-line immigration policies but he has demanded both a “bill of love” and a border wall.

This week, the White House released a proposal that offered a pathway to citizenship for up to 1.8 million undocumented young people – in exchange for a $25bn “trust fund” for a border wall, a crackdown on undocumented migrants and changes to the migration system.

The offer did not go down well, either with Trump’s base or with progressives ranged against him. Immigration hardliners crowned Trump “Amnesty Don”. Advocates for reform rejected the offer as an attempt to seal America’s borders.

In a statement issued on Friday, Chris Murphy, a Connecticut senator, called the offer “a total non-starter” that “preyed on the worst kind of prejudice”, using Dreamers “as a bargaining chip to build a wall and rip thousands of families apart”.

Trump, meanwhile, tweeted that Daca reform had “been made increasingly difficult by the fact that [Senate minority leader] Cryin’ Chuck Schumer took such a beating over the shutdown that he is unable to act on immigration!”

Dreamers say the fight is only beginning.

Matuz became a US citizen in 2016, a decade after she “came out of the shadows”. But she still identifies strongly with her fellow Dreamers.

“We still haven’t achieved what we set out to achieve,” she said.

’They’re speaking up’

The Dreamer movement came of age during the Obama administration. But legislation to build a path to citizenship was introduced to Congress in 2001.

But after the attacks, as concerns over national security and terrorism dominated public life, the immigration debate shifted sharply. The bill stalled. It was reintroduced several times, without success.

Nonetheless, the Dreamers continued to galvanize public support. They escalated their tactics, staging sit ins and actions that risked arrest.

“There was a time when they used to be very quiet,” Durbin said recently at a rally. “Not any more. They’re speaking up and we’re proud that they are.”

The Dreamers’ fight for citizenship, Durbin has said, is the “civil rights issue of our time”.

In December 2010, the Dream Act was brought to the floor. It failed again. In 2012, months before the presidential election, Barack Obama established Daca.

Recipients had to have entered the US before their 16th birthday, which means the oldest beneficiaries are now 35.

The most common age of entry to the US was three while the median age was six, according to a report by the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank in Washington.

Quick guide

What is Daca and who are the Dreamers?

Eight hundred thousand people qualified, the vast majority of them Latino, according to data from US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Nearly 80% were born in Mexico.

The largest numbers of recipients now live in California and other border states such as Texas and Arizona. They are more likely than their ineligible counterparts to hold a college degree and a higher-skilled job, according to an analysis by the Migration Policy Institute.

“What you’re seeing in the Dreamers is a reflection of the American ideals,” said Daniel Garza, president of the conservative Libre Institute, a free-market Latino advocacy group founded by the Koch brothers.

“When one breathes freedom it manifests itself. And now that these kids have a shot at directing their own future or setting a path toward their own future, let’s remove those barriers and allow them that opportunity.”

‘I’m not alone’

Over the last several months, Dreamers have been in Washington, walking the halls of Congress.

They wear light orange shirts with a comic book POW! bubble with the words: “Clean Dream Act Now.”

They sleep on church floors and friends’ couches; a few missed final exams to join protests in December, when there was a flicker of hope that legislation might receive a vote.

Greisa Martínez Rosas, 29, has been among them, leading members in song at rallies on the lawn in front of the capitol building, in between meetings with members of Congress.

She was eight when she and her father staked out a spot on the Rio Grande river and crossed from Mexico into Texas. She laid seashells to mark the place. The next day, her family swam into the United States.

Profile

Who are the Dreamers?

Fighting for a Dream Act has given her purpose, she said, and she is now advocacy and policy director at United We Dream, a national organization that campaigns for migrant rights. She has three younger sisters, one of them also undocumented.

“I am really lucky to be doing this,” she said. “It gives meaning to a lot of the pain and helps me deal with a lot of the trauma growing up undocumented.

“The reality is that I’m not alone. My story isn’t special. That’s why it’s so important that we wage this fight.”

The Dreamers rejected Trump’s latest proposal, even though it would allow a pathway to citizenship for more than twice the number of Daca recipients.

“We are not willing to accept an immigration deal that takes our country 10 steps back no matter how badly we want reprieve,” Martínez Rosas said. “That’s how much we love this country.”

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The problem isn’t the Dreamers. It’s the 13% of so of White Nationalist citizens who have forgotten their own immigrant heritage and have abandoned human decency, compassion, and common sense in the process. Unfortunately, this minority has, and continues to wield, a disproportionate share of political power.

PWS

01-27-18

 

SATURDAY SATIRE: DAVOS REPORT: TRUMP WOWS INTERNATIONAL FAT CATS WITH PROMISE THAT AMERICA WILL LEAD THE WORLD TO NEW HEIGHTS OF INCOME INEQUALITY — “Starving The Poor To Feed The Rich Will End Poverty,” Says Leader Of World’s Most Powerful Kleptocracy!

“God loves the greedy and selfish, for they shall inherit the earth, the sun, the planets, and the entire universe.”

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WARNING: THIS IS “FAKE NEWS” BUT COMES WITH MY ABSOLUTE, UNCONDITIONAL, MONEY BACK GUARANTEE THAT IT CONTAINS MORE TRUTH THAN THE AVERAGE TRUMP TWEET OR SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS NEWS BRIEFING!

PWS

01-27-18

WHILE MANY PAN THE DEMS FOR “FOLDING” ON SHUTDOWN, DANA MILBANK @ WASHPOST SEES HOPEFUL SIGNS FOR “GOOD GOVERNMENT!” — “[T]here is at least the potential for lawmakers to take the wheel from an erratic and dangerous driver!”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/shutdown-silver-lining-senators-rediscover-their-role-and-moderation-prevails/2018/01/22/3b02db10-ffc5-11e7-9d31-d72cf78dbeee_story.html

Milbank writes:

“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.”

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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!

PWS

01-23-18

BESS LEVIN @ VANITY FAIR: “TRUMP’S ENTIRE NATIVIST AGENDA IS BASED ON A LIE” — OF COURSE WE NEED MORE LEGAL FOREIGN WORKERS – AND NOT JUST “ROCKET SCIENTISTS” – EVEN TRUMP’S BUSINESSES CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT ‘EM!

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/01/trumps-entire-nativist-agenda-is-based-on-a-lie-immigration-trump-winery?mbid=nl_th_5a6274f87df577764ae9be8c&CNDID=48297443&spMailingID=12789821&spUserID=MjMzNDQ1MzU1ODE2S0&spJobID=1321960766&spReportId=MTMyMTk2MDc2NgS2

Levin writes:

“They’re taking our jobs . . . They’re taking our money. They’re killing us,” is how then-candidate Donald Trumpcharacterized immigrants in July 2015. For nearly two and a half years, the man who practically founded his campaign on anti-immigrant sentiment—“when Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” was his first attempt at a presidential address—has warned his fellow Americans that immigrants and refugees, regardless of their status, are undermining the economy, driving down wages, and mooching off government benefits at every level. Based on this argument, a man who’s sourced two-thirds of his spouses from Eastern Europe has vowed to increase border control to unprecedented levels; repeatedly demanded a multi-billion-dollar wall that even his chief of staff has called “uninformed”; proffered legislation that would slash legal immigration by 50 percent over the next decade; and made the case that the U.S. should reducethe number of refugees that will be allowed into the country to the lowest level since the Refugee Act of 1980 was created. But one needn’t look further than Trump’s own family business to see that the president’s logic is completely bunk.

Amidst the slew of anti-immigrant rhetoric that spews from the White House on a daily basis, BuzzFeed News reports Trump Winery—an establishment that trades in “Welch’s grape jelly with alcohol” and is owned by Eric Trump—has sought permission to hire 23 more foreign guest workers, according to a Department of Labor petition. The workers were requested under the H-2 visa program, which allows U.S. companies to employ foreign workers on temporary work visas, as long as no qualified U.S. workers want the jobs they’ll be hired to fill. BuzzFeed also reports that companies bearing the Trump name are perennial users of the program, having requested more than 400 H-2 visas since the ex-real-estate developer announced his candidacy. (Neither the White House nor the winery responded to BuzzFeed’s request for comment.)

All of which, ironically, highlights the critical role immigrant labor plays in the U.S. economy—in fact, there is a large amount of evidence that a number of industries (and Mar-a-Lago) wouldn’t survive without it. In April, more than a thousand economists wrote an open letter to the president to give him a refresher on the importance of immigration to the U.S. economy. Separately, experts have estimated that given that as much as 70 percent of the U.S. agricultural workforce doesn’t have valid immigration papers, a wide-scale crackdown could essentially demolish the farming industry. (As Bank of America’s Ethan Harris noted in February, “There’s no way to get people out of the city and into the country to pick crops on short notice without a very dramatic increase in wages”; such an increase would represent a death blow to an industry where profits are already tanking, and which would struggle to afford the spike without passing on massive costs to consumers.) Oh, and remember Trump’s big infrastructure plan—coming any day now!—? Without immigrant labor, it’s basically dead on arrival.

Trump’s White House, of course, has done its best to bury these facts. Back in September, The New York Timesrevealed that after the Department of Health and Human Services found that refugees generated $63 billion more in government revenues than they cost over the past decade, Trump officials, lead by Lady Liberty nemesisStephen Miller, simply rejected the draft. Instead, the three-page report that was ultimately submitted “[used] government data to compare the costs of refugees to Americans and [made] no mention of revenues contributed by refugees.” Presumably, Team Trump will rely on that “data” when it sets the number of refugees the U.S. will take in for the fiscal year, the deadline for which is October 1.”

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Of course we don’t need cuts in legal immigration. And, contrary to what the Trumpsters would have you believe, most adult “family immigrants” work in jobs that are important to our economy. Also, because they have family here, it’s actually easier for them to “adjust and fit in” — something the White Nationalists are always fretting about.

PWS

0123-18

JAMAL SMITH @ HUFFPOST: FROM “POST RACIAL” TO “OPENLY RACIST” – But Trump & The GOP White Nationalists Can’t Deport, Exclude, Or Disenfranchise Everyone In America They Despise – In The End History & Demographics (Not to Mention Values) Will Defeat Racism!

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/opinion-smith-trump-racist_us_5a59099fe4b03c4189657024

Jamal Smith writes in HuffPost:

“Donald Trump doesn’t need to actually call me “nigger.”

The Central Park Five didn’t need to read it in that ad he published in 1989 calling for their deaths, nor did the tenants in his housing developments who sued him for discrimination in the ’70s. The Mexicans whom Trump branded as “rapists” surely got the gist, as did the Muslims whom he banned from traveling here. It went unsaid when he shared willfully ignorant memes about black crime and complimented the neo-Nazis who terrorized Charlottesville. We hear him loud and clear. It doesn’t matter so much whether you are called a “nigger” when you are being treated like one.

Case in point, last Thursday. “Why do we want these people from all these shithole countries here?” Trump reportedly asked a group of lawmakers meeting with him in the Oval Office about immigration. He’d just finished denigrating Haiti and African nations. To drive home the racism of it all, he added, “We should have more people from places like Norway.” The following day, Trump denied making the comments — but Sen. Dick Durbin, a Illinois Democrat who was in the meeting, said the reports got it right. “He said these hate-filled things and he said them repeatedly,” Durbin said.

A year into Trump’s presidency, we still handle these incidents horribly. Political junkies get hemmed up about which Republican issued the inevitably soft rebuke. Earnest defenders try to prove that these poor, black countries are really great places, as if that should matter. Engage on that level if you wish, but other than perhaps “Who hurt you, Mr. President?” it is past time to ask more urgent questions.

Can a person perform these kinds of racist acts and still function as president of the United States in today’s day and age? How much does trying to bring about a white ethno-state get in the way of doing the actual job? Can you be the birther-in-chief and still be effective as the commander-in-chief? No.

Governing as an open racist certainly isn’t as easy for Trump as it may have been for his hero, Andrew Jackson. Two things stand in his way: the pragmatic functions of the job, and the reality of the country he governs.

These are questions about effectiveness, not sentiment. It’s important that we have a president who functions well, no matter the party, and being a leader who acts like Trump does has proven consequences. He gets in his own way: Courts have blocked his orders, including his efforts to cancel DACA and enact his beloved Muslim ban, thanks to his biased statements. Eleven inmates at Guantanamo are making a similar argument now, since Trump has said he never wants anyone to be released. But even in a systemically racist nation, does racist behavior make the job harder?

Pairing this new barb with the president’s earlier remark about Nigerian visa recipients never wanting to “go back to their huts,” Trump has casually tossed aside any hope of meaningful dialogue and cooperation with industrialized and developing African countries alike — likely ceding that diplomatic space to China and other nations who take Africa seriously. He’s slandered Haitians again needlessly, after previously describing them as “all having AIDS.” If we’ve learned anything about his modus operandi, he will randomly target still other countries with his ire. Moreover, his racist barbs shed a new light on his government’s negligence in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. That’s how he treats black and brown folks who are American citizens. You can see why he wouldn’t think twice about slurring those he considers foreign invaders.

Being a functional modern American president requires effectively managing the nation’s relations with other countries; it also requires a deep investment in the wellbeing of one’s own citizens. On that note, consider what James Baldwin said in a WGBH interview in the spring of 1963. Answering a question about whether he was optimistic or pessimistic about the future of America, the prophetic author said “the future of the Negro in this country is precisely as bright or as dark as the future of the country.” The two fortunes are insoluble, he said. This is the standard by which I judge President Trump and his forebears, above all others. People of color in this country, no matter their national origin, are as much a part of America as he is. Any objective analysis would conclude that improving life for us black folks is commensurate with and key to an improving economy. Is this president governing to truly try to lift all boats in the rising tide?

That rubbish may please his adoring audience, but it is anathema to what the presidency has represented and how it has functioned. If Baldwin is right, if America goes as well as black people go, then how do moments like “shithole” help him govern? The DACA mess is a good example — a bipartisan deal is necessary to keep the government running, and few congressional representatives want to be seen negotiating with known racists. And even on other issues that seem less partisan ― take infrastructure, for example ― Democrats and many Republicans are trying to avoid Trump. Even if the president himself believes that overt racism plays well politically, the work Americans need to get done doesn’t get done.

Trump’s casual racism may have brought him more than electoral success 100 or even 50 years ago, but the country he and his voters want to make “great” again has undergone some irreversible changes since then. Trump is using Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, as a goon squad in his effort to cosmetically whiten the country. Eliminating Temporary Protective Status for Salvadorans, Haitians, and other brown andblack people he considers expendable, the very policy change that prompted his “shithole” remark, is another tool.

The recent comment may be the clearest example of Trump manifesting his personal biases in policy. But even if he destroys thousands of families and kills businesses in the process, he can’t kill or deport them all, as he promised. Not to give a racist advice, but going the white nationalist route with a dwindling base is an eventual loser. That he looks at the America of today and thinks that outright white nationalism could do more than win him an election — with the help of vote suppressors here and abroad — is curious, to say the least. It’s a testimony to how little Trump understands about the job he has and the country he runs.

If Trump cared one half a damn about being an effective leader for anyone who isn’t rich, white and male, he’d listen. But since white Americans are the only ones who seem to have his ear, I’ll share one other important thing Baldwin offered in that same 1963 interview in the hopes that change can come from below. The author laid out, in his way, the path for white Americans to understand their common journey with Americans of color. “What white people have to do,” Baldwin said, “is to try to find out in their own hearts why it was necessary to have a nigger in the first place.” He added, “If I’m not a nigger” — just to be clear, he was not, nor am I — “and you, the white people, invented him, then you’ve got to find out why. And the future of the country depends on … whether or not it’s able to ask that question.”

Donald Trump so badly needs a “nigger.” The people need a real president. We are both out of luck.

Jamil Smith is a journalist and radio host. He covered the 2016 election for MTV News and, in addition to his HuffPost column, is a contributing opinion writer for the Los Angeles Times.”

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Trump, Sessions, and the GOP white Nationalists are definitely moving the country in the wrong direction. The real question, posed by many commentators, is how long, if ever, it will take to repair the damage they are doing to American democracy and our standing in the world. Interestingly, most world leaders see Trump for exactly what he is — an out of his depth clown who is working hard to make American irrelevant in the world — politically first, and eventually, perhaps economically as well.

PWS

01-22-18