BESS LEVIN @ VANITY FAIR: CORPORATE AMERICA HELPED DIVVY UP THE SPOILS AFTER TRUMP & THE GOP LOOTED OUR TREASURY – THEY APPROPRIATED MOST OF THE LUCRE, LEAVING MERE CRUMBS FOR WORKERS – BUT, WHEN THEIR “USEFUL IDIOT” TURNED HIS IDOCY ON “DREAMERS,” THEREBY THREATENING OUR ECONOMIC WELL-BEING, THEY WERE VERY UNHAPPY!

Bess writes:

TAL @ CNN – STATUS OF PARENTS STICKING POINT IN SENATE DREAMER NEGOTIATIONS

http://www.cnn.com/2018/02/14/politics/daca-parents-flashpoint/index.html

 

DACA parents become flashpoint in negotiations

By: Tal Kopan, CNN

As the debate over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program goes down to the wire, the parents of the young undocumented immigrants affected — not the recipients themselves — may be the trickiest flashpoint.

Negotiations on a bipartisan Senate plan have been thorny on the issue of what to do about the parents, according to sources familiar with the group’s discussions, and comments from lawmakers. And threading the needle could be the difference on whether it can get 60 votes.

“If you deal with the parents now, you lose a lot of Republicans. If you try to do the breaking chain migration now, you lose a lot of Democrats,” South Carolina’s Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said of the talks. “We’re going to say that parents can’t be sponsored by the Dream Act child they brought in illegally.”

According to a draft of the bipartisan deal obtained by CNN, the compromise would prevent parents from being sponsored for citizenship by their children if the children received citizenship through the pathway created by the bill or if the parents brought them to the US illegally. That leaves Democrats grappling with the idea that they may have to trade protections for DACA immigrants for a penalty for their parents, who brought them to the US illegally.

“I don’t like that part,” Hawaii’s Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono said, leaving a meeting of Democrats where they were briefed on the bill, though she indicated she may be able to accept it as a compromise.

At issue are laws that allow US citizens to sponsor family members for eventual citizenship, including parents.

The Trump administration and allies have seized on the issue of family-based migration as a wedge, arguing that all forms of family sponsorship except spouses and minor children should be cut.

But even Republican moderates who don’t support that position are concerned about the implications for parents of recipients of DACA.

If eligible young immigrants are granted a path to becoming citizens in roughly a decade, as per most proposals, that could allow them to sponsor their parents down the road — though experts say it’s not that simple.

Conservatives object to the notion that parents who came here illegally could eventually be rewarded with citizenship.

In a call with reporters on Wednesday, a White House official said that without blocking parental sponsorship for people who came to the US illegally with their children, a deal “would massively incentivize” more illegal immigration and would create a “perverse incentive of adult illegal immigrants to (not) enter illegally without their children.”

How to do it is tricky. Lawmakers agree it’s impossible to create a class of citizen that has different rights than others, so that leaves either cutting parental sponsorship for all citizens, a massive cut to current legal immigration or specifically addressing parents of DACA immigrants.

Advocates and experts point out that it’s false to claim that a DACA pathway would quickly, or even easily, allow parents to get citizenship.

The law already requires that individuals who came to the US illegally and have been here without status for more than a year — statistically a substantial majority of DACA parents — are required to return to their home countries for at least 10 years before they can apply for green cards. Nothing in proposed legislation would remove that requirement, which would come after a 10- to 12-year waiting period for the children.

After that, all of those individuals would still have to meet other requirements on all green card applicants, including clean criminal records and being able to prove they could support themselves once here. Advanced age can be used as a factor to reject immigrants on the latter grounds.

William Stock, a partner at Klasko Immigration Law Partners and the former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said “nearly all” DACA parents would have trouble becoming citizens even with a bill because of the 10-year penalty.

“If they didn’t have to deal with the 10-year bar, they would have done it already,” Stock said. “They wouldn’t be undocumented, because they could have found some way (to legalize their status.)”

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How screwed up is U.S. Immigration policy under Trump and the GOP?

Under a rational policy, we would not only legalize the “Dreamers” and give them a path to citizenship, but also eliminate the stupid, cruel, and ineffective (actually counterproductive) 10-year bar. Then, over time, as the Dreamers naturalized (five or more years down the line from any green card) they could petition for their parents, and gradually, those who were still alive could gain legal status.  Pretty much another win-win. Parents of “Dreamers” are almost all good, hard-working folks who took risks and “put it all on the line” for their kids’ futures. Basically “salt of the earth.”What better people could you want for fellow citizens? And the parents who are already here are basically supporting the rest of us with their work.

But, when one side of the “debate” is driven by bias, racism, xenophobia, White Nationalism, bogus narratives, and fake statistics, well, you get folks like the immigration restrictionists and the mess we have today. We’d do much better if we just incorporated all the good folks who are already here into our society over time and moved forward as a united country. That would be common sense, enlightened self-interest, and basic human decency. Not in the restrictionists’ play book, I’m afraid. But, someday we’ll either get to that point, in spite of the restrictionists, or perish as a viable nation. That’s why Putin loves Trump and the GOP so much. America’s worst enemies are his best friends!

PWS

02-14-18

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

ENJOINED AGAIN: US DISTRICT JUDGE IN EDNY ALSO TEMPORARILY HALTS DACA REPEAL — FINDS GONZO’s “LEGAL” RATIONALE “PLAINLY INCORRECT!”

https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/13/politics/federal-judge-daca/index.html

Ariane de Vogue Reports for CNN:

(CNN)A second federal judge Tuesday has temporarily blocked the Trump administration from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Success for Harvard medical students in DACA could mean their parents are deported
Success for Harvard medical students in DACA could mean their parents are deported
Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis of the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York ruled that DACA participants and states are likely to succeed in their challenge that the way President Donald Trump terminated the Obama-era program was arbitrary and capricious.
Trump last year announced his plan to end DACA, the policy that allowed undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children to stay in the country, effective March 5. That deadline has become central in the congressional debate over immigration, but Democrats and Republicans are nowhere near a breakthrough.
Tuesday’s ruling, combined with a ruling from a California judge last month, means the program could end up going beyond the March 5 date. The ruling means DACA recipients can renew their status, but the administration will not have to hold the program open to those who never applied.
“Defendants indisputably can end the DACA program,” Garaufis wrote, referring to the Trump administration. “The question before the court is thus not whether defendants could end the DACA program, but whether they offered legally adequate reasons for doing so. Based on its review of the record before it, the court concludes that defendants have not done so.”
The judge said that the decision to end the program was based in part on the “plainly incorrect factual premise” that the program was illegal.
“Today’s ruling shows that courts across the country agree that Trump’s termination of DACA was not just immoral, but unlawful as well,” said Karen Tumlin of the National Immigration Law Center.
This week the Supreme Court is set to meet behind closed doors to discuss whether to take up the Trump administration’s appeal of the related case.
The Justice Department said it maintains that the administration acted “within its lawful authority” in deciding to end DACA and will “vigorously defend this position.”
“DACA was implemented unilaterally after Congress declined to extend these benefits to this same group of illegal aliens. As such, it was an unlawful circumvention of Congress,” the Justice Department said in a statement. “Promoting and enforcing the rule of law is vital to protecting a nation, its borders, and its citizens.”
Impact on immigration negotiations
Sen. Thom Tillis, R-North Carolina, urged lawmakers to “focus” on March 5, despite the two district court rulings blocking the DACA drawdown, but acknowledged there will be more time.
“We should still focus on the March 5 date,” Tillis said on Fox News Tuesday afternoon. “The reality is, unless there’s any action by the Supreme Court, looks like we have some number of weeks following March 5 to solve the problem.”
Judge brought up “Norway” comments
In fiery oral arguments last month, Garaufis gave a blistering critique of what he called the President’s “recurring, redundant drumbeat of anti-Latino commentary.”
“It’s not just an ad hoc comment that was overheard on an open mic,” the judge said. “It’s not just that somebody at INS said something derogatory about Mexicans. This came from the top.”
Garaufis was responding to a question regarding Trump’s comments in a closed-door meeting with senators in which the President asked why people from Haiti and more Africans were wanted in the US and added that the US should get more people from countries like Norway.
CNN’s Laura Jarrett contributed to this report.

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Who knows how this eventually will end if Congress doesn’t solve the problem? I certainly can imagine a conservative majority of the Supremes cooking up a way to empower Trump and dump on the Dreamers.

But, no matter how this comes out, it’s never been about the “rule of law,” border security, or protecting Americans. Indeed, every commentator who isn’t Jeff Sessions or one of his White Nationalist xenophobic buddies agrees that ending DACA and removing “Dreamers” would make America a worse place in every possible way.

No, it’s always been about White Nationalism, racism, xenophobia, dividing America, and the general alt right “agenda of hate and intolerance” which has been what Sessions and those like him are all about. And, he’s not even a very good lawyer, taking most of his bogus so-called “legal arguments” off of “cue cards” prepared  for him by restrictionist interest groups.

And racist, xenophobic statements by Trump himself continue to undermine the DOJ attorneys’ arguments that there is some type of “rational basis” for Trump immigration policies.

PWS

02-13-17

A WASHINGTON ANOMOLY – THE SENATE IS ABOUT TO EMBARK ON AN “IMMIGRATON DEBATE” WHERE THE OUTCOME HASN’T ACTUALLY BEEN “COOKED” IN ADVANCE! — Tal Tells All @CNN!

“Open-ended immigration debate to grip Senate

By Tal Kopan, CNN

The Senate is set to begin debating immigration Monday evening, and in a rare occurrence for the upper chamber of Congress, no one is quite sure how that will go.

Late Sunday, a group of Republicans introduced a version of President Donald Trump’s proposal on how to handle the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protected young undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children from deportation before Trump decided to terminate it. That is expected to be one of the amendments that will compete for votes this week.

Some things are known: McConnell teed up the debate early Friday morning, as he had pledged, immediately after the Senate voted to end a government shutdown. The bill McConnell chose was entirely unrelated to immigration, which he said he planned to do to allow a blank slate for proposals to compete for votes.

Let the debate begin

At 5:30 p.m. Monday, senators will vote on whether to open debate on the bill, a vote that is largely expected to succeed.

From there, a lot will be up to senators. Both sides will be able to offer amendments that will compete for 60 votes — the threshold to advance legislation in the Senate. It’s expected that amendments will be subject to that threshold and will require consent agreements from senators for votes, opening up the process to negotiations.

If a proposal can garner 60 votes, it will likely pass the Senate, but it will still face an uncertain fate. The House Republican leadership has made no commitment to consider the Senate bill or hold a debate of its own, and House Speaker Paul Ryan has pledged repeatedly to consider a bill only if President Donald Trump will sign it.

Different groups have been working to prepare legislation for the immigration effort, including the conservatives who worked off the White House framework and a group of bipartisan senators who have been meeting nearly daily to try to reach agreement on the issue. Trump has proposed giving 1.8 million young undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship in exchange for $25 billion for his long-promised border wall and a host of other strict immigration reforms.

The bill from GOP senators largely sticks to those bullet points, including sharp cuts to family-based migration, ending the diversity lottery and giving federal authorities enhanced deportation and detention powers.

Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of about 20 senators was drafting legislation over the weekend to offer perhaps multiple amendments and potentially keep the debate focused on a narrow DACA-border security bill. Multiple members of the group have expressed confidence that only such a narrow approach could pass the Senate — and hope that a strong vote could move Trump to endorse the approach and pave the way for passage in the House.

Advocates on the left may offer a clean DACA fix, like the DREAM Act, as well as the conservative White House proposal — though neither is expected to have 60 votes.

The move to hold an unpredictable Senate debate next week fulfills the promise McConnell made on the Senate floor to end the last government shutdown in mid-January, when he pledged to hold a neutral debate on the immigration issue that was “fair to all sides.”

Even Sunday, leadership aides weren’t able to say entirely how the week would go. The debate could easily go beyond one week, and with a scheduled recess coming next week, it could stretch on through February or even longer.

One Democratic aide said there will likely be an effort to reach an agreement between Republicans and Democrats on timing so that amendments can be dealt with efficiently, and, absent that, alternating proposals may be considered under time-consuming procedural steps.

“We just have to see how the week goes and how high the level of cooperation is,” the aide said.

Many Democrats and moderate Republicans were placing hope in the bipartisan group’s progress.

“We’re waiting for the moderates to see if they can produce a bill,” said the Senate’s No. 2 Democrat, Dick Durbin, on Thursday. “And considering options, there are lots of them, on the Democratic side. There’s no understanding now about the first Democratic amendment.”

Durbin said traditionally both sides have shared a few amendments with each other to begin to figure out the process’ structure. He also said the bipartisan group could be an influential voting bloc, if they can work together.

“They could be the deciding factor, and I’ve been hopeful that they would be, because I’ve had friends in those Common Sense (Coalition), whatever they call themselves, and reported back the conversations, and I think they’re on the right track.”

As she was leaving the Senate floor Friday night after the Senate voted to pass a budget deal and fund government into March, Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins was optimistic about the preparedness of the bipartisan group she has been leading for the all-Senate debate.

“We’ll be ready,” she told reporters.

Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Lankford, who has been working both with the group introducing the White House proposal and the bipartisan group, said late Friday night that his plan is “to get things done.”

“It’s no grand secret that I have no problem with the President’s proposal; the challenge is going to be trying to get 60 votes,” Lankford said. “So I would have no issue with what (Sens. John) Cornyn and (Chuck) Grassley are working on and with the President supporting that, but I also want to continue to try finding out and see, if that doesn’t get 60 votes, what could.”

He said everyone is waiting to find out what happens next.

“Everybody’s trying to figure out the chaos of next week, and I’m with you,” Lankford said. “I don’t know yet how open the process is going to be. I hope it’s very open.”

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Fortunately, we can rely on Tal’s amazing up to the minute reporting and analysis to keep us abreast of what’s happening on the Senate floor and in the cloakrooms!

Stay tuned!

PWS

02-12-18

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

THANK YOU DR. MARTIN! – FORMER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF “JORDAN COMMISSION” SLAMS TRUMP/GOP RESTRICTIONISTS DISINGENUOUS CLAIMS TO BE CARRYING OUT JORDAN’S LEGACY — “The president’s policies are the opposite of Barbara Jordan’s view that a robust level of legal immigration is in the national interest. Even more critically, Jordan would have been the first person to speak up against the discriminatory intent and language in President Trump’s proposals. In her own words, ‘I believe the fact that America is a nation of immigrants should be a source of pride and not a reason to ignite virulent nationalism.’”

http://cmsny.org/publications/martin-barbara-jordan/

Professor Susan Forbes Martin writes in Center for Migration Studies:

“After years of talking about a broken immigration system, President Trump offered a framework for immigration reform in his State of the Union address. In the lead-up to the address, the White House issued a statement on January 17 honoring Barbara Jordan, the former Chair of the US Commission on Immigration Reform. The White House intimated that Barbara Jordan would have supported the proposals to be championed by the President. The statement is a gross misstatement of Representative Jordan’s views. The President’s position on immigration, and the language he has used, represent all that Jordan decried during her long career and, especially as Chair of the commission. The statement misconstrues the recommendations of the Jordan Commission as justification for deep cuts in immigration that would make it harder for family members, employees and refugees to enter the country. As the Executive Director of the commission, I can attest to the fundamental differences between the Trump policies and Jordan’s and the commission’s recommendations.

In its first report to Congress, the commission did indeed state, as the White House reported, that it is “a right and responsibility of a democratic society to manage immigration so that it serves the national interest.” However, the commission also concluded that “legal immigration has strengthened and can continue to strengthen this country.” Further, the commission “decrie[d] hostility and discrimination against immigrants as antithetical to the traditions and interests of the country.” Its recommendations sought to improve the admission process by ensuring the timely entry of immediate family members of US citizens and legal permanent residents (LPRs) as well as workers and refugees.

The commission’s approach on immigration and refugee policy was considerably at odds with Trump policies—those described in the State of the Union and those already taken through administrative action—in four major areas. First, the Trump administration supports deep cuts in the overall number of family visas, claiming it wants to eliminate “chain migration.” The Commission, on the other hand, viewed family migration as beneficial to the country. It was concerned, however, about the sustainability of the program because of the multiple categories with extremely long backlogs and waiting time. It recommended adding 150,000 visas per year to permit the more rapid admission of the spouses and minor children of LPRs, who faced waiting periods of as much as a decade. To accommodate these additional visas, the Commission recommended re-directing visa numbers currently allocated to adult children and siblings of US citizens and the diversity program after a transition period. The Commission did not see ‘chain migration’ as inherently problematic. Unlike the Trump position, the commission encouraged continued admission as LPRs of the parents of US citizens. As the Executive Director of the Commission, I  understood that it would have been the height of hypocrisy to denounce chain migration, as my own grandmother, like millions of other immigrants before and after, had arranged for the admission of her parents and their younger children after her arrival in the United States as a young woman.

Second, President Trump has made the most significant reduction in the admission of refugees since enactment of the Refugee Act of 1980. The ceiling on admissions was set at 45,000 for the current fiscal year and actual  admissions are not nearly on a pace to meet that low number. By contrast, the commission recommended a floor on admissions of 50,000, stating that foreign policy and humanitarian imperatives necessitated that the United States take a strong leadership role in assisting and protecting refugees worldwide. The commission saw resettlement of refugees as one of the core durable solutions to refugee crises and believed the United States should lead by example. It believed that consultations with Congress, as specified in the Refugee Act of 1980, would be an effective mechanism for increasing admissions beyond the 50,000 floor when necessary. Indeed, the commission recommended that the President have even greater authority to raise the ceiling on admissions in the type of refugee emergencies experienced worldwide today. Jordan and the commission were cognizant of the dire consequences of the inflexibility of US refugee policies in the 1930s when the government rejected thousands of Jewish and other refugees from Nazi Germany who subsequently died in the Holocaust. The Trump policies would bring back those dark days with a hard ceiling on refugee admissions even when crises require flexibility and American leadership. The need for American leadership on these issues seems altogether lost on the administration.

The Commission also supported effective protection of other migrants fleeing life-threatening situations. Jordan was personally active in ensuring protection of asylum seekers from Haiti, a country described by President Trump in highly derogatory terms. In 1994, she approached President Clinton directly to ask him to reverse the policies adopted in the Bush administration that returned Haitian boat people to Haiti without consideration of their claims for asylum. She specifically recommended that they be granted temporary protection, either in Guantánamo or in the United States, until conditions changed significantly inside Haiti or they met the criteria for asylum. She would have been among those denouncing the Trump administration’s abrupt lifting of Temporary Protected Status for Haitians as well as Salvadorans. She understood that TPS was not a perfect solution for those who were unable to return home because of the conditions in their countries and believed in the importance of finding durable solutions for them here or abroad. However, she would never have supported returning TPS recipients to the kinds of conditions that will confront them in Haiti or El Salvador.

Third, the Trump administration has argued that immigration should be based on ‘merit’ as measured by a point system that rewards education and English language skills. The president implied that Norwegians have greater merit than potential immigrants from Africa. Under Jordan’s leadership, the commission explicitly rejected a point system, explaining its decision as follows:

We believe that a system that relies on formulas and bureaucratic procedures for determining which immigrants meet the ability criteria for admission is not as effective in serving the national interest as one that relies on the judgement of American families and employers within a framework that protects US workers from unfair competition.

The Trump administration ignored one of the most important recommendations that the commission made on legal admissions. The commission believed strongly that admission numbers and priorities should not be set in stone as has been the case: the last major reform of the legal immigration system took place in 1990. Rather, it recommended that Congress should revisit admission numbers and categories every three to five years to ensure they still meet the nation’s interests. Proposals by other blue ribbon panels would do the same thing, including through a standing commission which would assess needs and increase or reduce admissions in accordance with current economic conditions. The Trump policies would trap the country with admission ceilings that may be completely inappropriate in the years ahead.

Fourth, the President has chosen to put most of his immigration enforcement eggs into two baskets—a border wall and irresponsible deportation initiatives. The commission, by contrast, called for a comprehensive enforcement strategy that set priorities for deterring unauthorized migration and, when necessary, removing those who were without status or committed particularly serious crimes. The commission was aware that even twenty years ago a large proportion of migrants illegally in the country had overstayed their visas. A border wall would do little to address that problem. Recognizing that most migrants entering without authorization or overstaying their visas did so for jobs, the commission recommended an electronic employment verification system and enhanced labor standards enforcement designed to sanction employers who knowingly hired and exploited undocumented workers. Today, with illegal crossings at the US-Mexico border at historically low levels, expending scarce resources on a border wall makes even less sense. The Trump deportation policies are also problematic. Rather than prioritize the deportation of those who commit serious crimes, as have prior administrations, the administration has chosen to deflect resources towards detaining and attempting to deport those that pose no threat to the security of the country, including people who have registered for such programs as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and TPS.

Under Jordan’s leadership, the commission also supported greater cooperation with other countries in managing migration and deterring illegal movements. As part of the comprehensive strategy, the commission recommended negotiation of trade agreements, such as the North American Trade Agreement (NAFTA), that could provide greater economic opportunities in countries of origin while protecting the rights of workers. The commission knew that opening up trade between the US and other countries was not a quick fix to illegal immigration but saw it as a necessary part of a long-term strategy to reduce the push factors causing people to move.

Whether Jordan would have supported DACA is unknowable as she did not address that issue directly. From her views on the importance of citizenship, I feel confident, however, that she would have been a strong supporter of a path to citizenship for the Dreamers. Always seeking bipartisan solutions, she would have applauded President Trump’s proposed pathway to citizenship for about 2.2 million Dreamers. She would have wanted that path to be as expeditious as possible—much shorter than the Trump administration’s proposed 10-year delay. Jordan proposed a new Americanization program that would facilitate naturalization by providing resources to help immigrants more rapidly learn the language and customs of their new home. She would have recognized that the Dreamers have already learned those lessons since they have spent the most formative period of their lives in the United States.

In conclusion, the Trump administration would weaken the United States by placing irresponsible constraints on family reunification, refugee admissions and employment-based admissions while doing little to address the real causes of illegal immigration. The president’s policies are the opposite of Barbara Jordan’s view that a robust level of legal immigration is in the national interest. Even more critically, Jordan would have been the first person to speak up against the discriminatory intent and language in President Trump’s proposals. In her own words, “I believe the fact that America is a nation of immigrants should be a source of pride and not a reason to ignite virulent nationalism.”

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Susan is a long-time friend, former client, and “academic superstar” who was my colleague at Georgetown. Indeed, Susan and our good friend Professor Andy Schoenholz were the “originators” of the “Refugee Law and Policy” course that I taught for several years as an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown Law. Small world!

Of course we need a “robust” legal immigration system not the irrational racially inspired cuts and trashing of “family based” immigration being pushed by Trump, Miller, Sessions, Cotton, and the rest of the White Nationalist xenophobic gang. 

We currently have an estimated 10-11 million so-called “undocumented” residents living in the United States. The vast, vast majority of them are productive, law-abiding individuals who provide services that are literally the “foundations” of our economy. Since we are essentially at “full-employment” the idea that these folks are “stealing jobs from Americans” is preposterous.

The problem is not that these folks are here without documents. Rather, it’s that our laws have been so poorly designed that we did not allow for enough legal immigration at the right levels (many more in the so-called “unskilled” and “service” jobs). Consequently, our economy and market forces basically created an “extralegal immigration system” to meet the legitimate needs of U.S. employers and would-be legal immigrants.

Logically, that calls for an expansion, not a contraction, of legal immigration. By allowing U.S. employers to use legal immigration to fill certain positions, we would virtually eliminate the so-called “jobs magnet” for illegal immigration. Moreover, we would insure that those coming have been properly screened, documented, and will pay taxes immediately. At that point there would be fewer individuals crossing the border illegally, and we could be better assured that those coming outside the system did not belong. The system would finally become rationally related to our national interests and the interests of the immigrants, instead of working against these natural market forces! And, we wouldn’t need “the Wall”,” a militarized border, the “New American Gulag,” tens of thousand of additional immigration agents, or thousands of additional U.S. Immigration Judges to make the system work. Imagine how much that might help the national deficit!

PWS

02-09-18

POLITICO: JULIA’S CONGRESS: “THE PRESTON GROUP” OF DIVERSE EXPERTS SOLVES THE “DREAMER ISSUE” WITHOUT A BATHROOM BREAK! — Perhaps They Need To Give Congress & The White House A Demo Of How They “Got To Yes!”

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/02/09/how-to-solve-immigration-experts-daca-216954

Julia writes:

. . . .

Members of the Model Congress: To simulate a real immigration negotiation, we tried to select participants from across the policy spectrum—advocates and operatives, defenders of more immigration and proponents of less. In the end, we ended up with a well-rounded expert group of four:

Theresa Cardinal Brown is director of immigration and cross-border policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a research group in Washington. She was an immigration policy adviser at the Department of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush from 2005 to 2008 and the agency’s attaché in Canada under Obama from 2008 to 2011. Before that, she served as director of immigration and border policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Steven Camarota is director of research for the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington think tank that seeks less immigration overall and has opposed past measures to legalize undocumented immigrants.

Leon Fresco, an immigration lawyer at Holland and Knight, was previously a staff member for Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer on the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he was one of the main drafters of the comprehensive immigration bill that passed the Senate in 2013.

Tom Jawetz is vice president for immigration at the Center for American Progress, a progressive policy group. As chief counsel to the immigration subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee and adviser to Democrats, he helped negotiate an immigration reform bill in the House in 2014. It never went to a vote.

I acted as the moderator.

. . . .

The makings of a deal: So that’s where our negotiators ended up after two hours: A pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and a 50,000 reduction in visas across several categories that would last for some period of time.

. . . .

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Find out how they got there by going on over to Politico at the above link and reading Julia’s entire report. Most impressive! Julia’s certainly got my vote for President!

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

 

TAL @ CNN: SENATE BUDGET DEAL FACES UNCERTAIN PROSPECTS IN HOUSE – But, “Dreamers” Appear Likely To Be “Left Behind,” At Least For Now!

 

http://www.cnn.com/2018/02/07/politics/house-democrats-daca-budget-deal/index.html

“House Democrats face choice over budget deal

By Tal Kopan, CNN

As lawmakers announced a budget deal that would address many of the issues stymieing Washington — with the key exception of immigration — House Democrats on Wednesday were feeling the heat.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi took to the House floor Wednesday to warn she would not support the burgeoning deal without a commitment from House Speaker Paul Ryan that the Republican-controlled House would hold a debate and vote on immigration legislation as his Senate counterpart Mitch McConnell has pledged, setting up a potential standoff.

The two-year deal that leadership announced on the Senate floor would set domestic and defense spending levels, push back the debt limit and resolve some outstanding issues Democrats have pushed for like support for community health centers and disaster relief money.

But left out of the deal would be a resolution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy that Trump is ending — and House Democrats have long been steadfast they would not support government funding without it.

The Senate is close, nevertheless, to sending the deal to the House with a continuing resolution that would fund the government into March, squeezing Democrats to risk rejecting a budget compromise over DACA alone, a position they have actively sought to avoid. Democratic votes in the House haven’t been necessary to pass continuing resolutions this year, but a number of House conservatives are expected to oppose the budget deal because of the domestic spending levels. That will force Democrats’ hand.

“The budget caps agreement includes many Democratic priorities,” Pelosi said in a statement. “This morning, we took a measure of our caucus because the package does nothing to advance bipartisan legislation to protect Dreamers in the House. Without a commitment from Speaker Ryan comparable to the commitment from Leader McConnell, this package does not have my support.”

Some Democrats were already backing up Pelosi as the deal was announced Wednesday afternoon.

California Rep. Eric Swallwell said while he supports a DACA fix, his concern was more about the size of the deal.

“I still have a real problem dramatically increasing the caps, adding to the deficit, when we just added $2 trillion for the tax plan. So if (Republicans) want to roll back their tax cuts so that we don’t have such a deep, deep deficit, I would be more receptive to that,” Swallwell said.

Congressional Hispanic Caucus member and California Democratic Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán said Democrats should not accept a funding deal without what they’ve asked for.

“No, I think that we aren’t using all the leverage we have and that’s a disappointment and I won’t support it,” she said. “We as a caucus have talked about making this one of our leverage points and using this as a leverage point. I hope that we continue to do that.”

But the objection wasn’t universal, and the mood in a House Democrat caucus meeting this morning that convinced Pelosi to speak on the floor was split, according to a Democrat in the meeting. Some were “understandably upset” about not including DACA recipients and there was “generally a lot of frustration.”

But others raised questions, asking, “What is our plan? What is our message? How are we going to win this?” After the last shutdown members are still unclear on the path forward and expect the Senate to pass this, leaving them little room. The source said there is a lot in the deal that many Democrats support, including the increase in domestic programs.

This source told CNN “a lot of people are going to vote for it. It’s not a situation where we can hold all our members.”

It’s unclear if Democratic leadership will whip against the bill. Asked Wednesday if leadership is instructing its members any particular way, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley demurred.

“People in our caucus will do what they think is in the best interests of their constituents and for the country,” Crowley said.

And Crowley didn’t commit to supporting or rejecting the deal.

“There is more to this deal than the issue of immigration,” he said, referencing the disaster relief money, in particular. “It is very complex. This There? is much more to this than simply one-off issues. And we’ll have to look at that in totality.”

Unlike recent past government funding deadlines, House Democrats have been holding their fire in pressuring their Senate colleagues to reject a deal that doesn’t address DACA. That has largely been because of McConnell’s promise to turn to a “fair” process on immigration after February 8, when the deadline comes.

“It’s hard, because we want them to be clear that this is reckless by the Republicans, but we are also clear that they want to keep the Senate and Congress moving so they have an opportunity, not just at getting a full year (funding) — stop doing (continuing resolutions) — but also to deal with other issues including DACA, by getting a vote on something,” said on Tuesday.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus has been one of the loudest voices for rejecting funding without an immigration deal, even marching from the House side to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office in December to urge him to hold the line. That pressure isn’t there this time.

“I don’t sense any,” said Arizona Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva, a member of the caucus. But, he added, there’s “some trepidation” about the Senate process because of what could be added to a neutral bill — both in the Senate and the House.

“This has been the black hole for immigration, the House of Representatives, since I’ve been here, 15 years, and nothing comes out of here, and whatever goes to conference, if the House leadership has any say, it will get uglier,” Grijalva said.

But while Democrats were keeping their powder dry on a continuing resolution, as talk of the caps deal being near circulated, one Democratic House member said on condition of anonymity to discuss dynamics, that began to change. Tuesday night and Wednesday morning brought a flurry of communications between members, the lawmaker said.

“There is more support than yesterday on holding the line,” the member said Wednesday. “We shouldn’t negotiate the caps away without a DACA fix.” 

CNN’s Phil Mattingly, Deirdre Walsh and Sunlen Serfaty contributed to this report.”

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

I can’t see any “Bipartisan Dreamer Bill” along the lines being discussed in the Senate that will be able to pass the House as long as the GOP is in charge and Paul Ryan is the Speaker.

I also don’t see a “House Dreamer Bill” passing. The “Goodlatte Bill” — favored by many in the GOP –is so miserly in its Dreamer protections and has so much of the Administration’s White Nationalist restrictionist agenda attached that all or almost all Democrats and probably a “good-sized chunk” of “moderate” Republicans are likely to be able to defeat it.

But, while the Democrats and the GOP moderates in the House might be able to come up with a more reasonable proposal that actually could pass, like the Hurd-Aguilar Bill, under the “Hastert Rule,” Speaker Ryan won’t bring it to the floor for a vote because the bill would rely on a majority of Democrats for passage.

Given the foregoing scenarios, I don’t see where forcing another shutdown gets the Democrats. With the GOP and the White House opposed to including a narrower “Dreamers-Border Security Only” (only two of Trump’s “four pillars”) in a Budget Agreement, there isn’t a feasible “end game” for the House Democrats. They could force a shutdown, but I don’t think they will be able to force the GOP to include Dreamer protection in a Budget deal. So, ultimately, they will have to “fold,” as has happened in the past.

So, what’s the best result I could see for the “Dreamers” right now: 1) eventually getting a “temporary extension” of DACA from Congress, or  2) an “indefinite hold” on DACA recision from the Federal Courts (which wouldn’t preclude the Administration from going through a “Notice and Comment” regulatory process to repeal DACA). Either of those would only help those who qualify for the current DACA program — not the “expanded DACA” group. Either way, permanent relief for the Dreamers is likely to require “regime change” at least at some level.

PWS

02-07-18

TAL @ CNN – TRUMP GIVES COLD SHOULDER TO NEWEST SENATE BIPARTISAN DREAMER COMPROMISE BILL!

http://www.cnn.com/2018/02/05/politics/trump-daca-mccain-coons-immigration-plan/index.html

“White House rejects bipartisan immigration plan pushed by McCain, Coons
By Tal Kopan and Kaitlan Collins, CNN
The White House is dismissing an immigration deal brokered by a bipartisan group of lawmakers as a non-starter just hours before it is expected to be formally introduced in the Senate.
Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain and Delaware Democratic Sen. Chris Coons are slated to introduce a bill Monday that would grant eventual citizenship to young undocumented immigrants who have been in the country since 2013 and came to the US as children, but it does not address all of the President’s stated immigration priorities, like ending family-based immigration categories — which Republicans call “chain migration” — or ending the diversity visa program.
It also would not immediately authorize the $30 billion that Trump is seeking to build the border wall, instead greenlighting a study of border security needs. The bill would also seek to address the number of undocumented immigrants staying in the US by increasing the number of resources for the immigration courts, where cases can take years to finish.
The bill is a companion to a piece of House legislation that has 54 co-sponsors split evenly by party.
A White House official rebuffed the effort, telling CNN that it takes “a lot of effort” to write up a bill worse than the Graham-Durbin immigration bill, but somehow “this one is worse.”
Trump tweeted about the latest immigration efforts Monday, writing, “Any deal on DACA that does not include STRONG border security and the desperately needed WALL is a total waste of time. March 5th is rapidly approaching and the Dems seem not to care about DACA. Make a deal!”
But Coons defended the bill in a conference call with reporters on Monday, calling it a “strong starting place” and a “fresh start” if other talks about immigration don’t result in a compromise.
The White House has been aware of the legislation introduced by Texas Republican Rep. Will Hurd and California Democrat Rep. Pete Aguilar for weeks, with officials being informed while it was being drafted and with chief of staff John Kelly and legislative director Marc Short being briefed on the bill in meetings with members of Congress, including Hurd and Aguilar. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus, of which Aguilar is a key member, has been especially supportive of the bill as a compromise, as have moderate Republicans.
But the President has not embraced the proposal, largely for what it leaves out. Hurd and Aguilar, who first described their bill to CNN, have said they intentionally did not seek to appropriate specific funds in their proposal, as neither are on appropriations committees. They have called their bill a “foundation” for conversations about a big deal.
For the border, the bill would create a “smart wall” where the Department of Homeland Security would gain “operational control” of the border by the end of 2020 through “technology, physical barriers, levees, tools and other devices.” On family-based migration, the bill doesn’t make explicit reference to sponsoring relatives, but the bill authors say that existing law would prohibit parents of these individuals who came to the US illegally to apply for a visa to come back without returning to their home country for at least 10 years before applying and the bill does nothing to erase that requirement.
Coons said that McCain approached him about being a co-sponsor, saying that McCain is deeply concerned about the lack of future certainty for the military because of a budget impasse and the lack of a broader deal on immigration issues, and wanted to find a partner to introduce the Hurd-Aguilar bill in the Senate as part of that effort.
The Delaware Democrat said he recognizes that the bill does not appropriate any money for the border security piece and he’d be willing to look at doing that as well — and he said he’s still committed to the bipartisan Senate talks and is hopeful those could have a breakthrough and a base bill he’d support by the end of the week.
“I remain hopeful that that group can produce a bipartisan deal that is broader than what the McCain-Coons bill is this morning, but in the very real possibility that that does not come together, I think the (bill) is a good base bill,” Coons said. “I view the McCain-Coons proposal as a reasonable base bill that would get done the two things we need to get done: … the status of the Dreamers and border security.”
Coons also had some harsh words for the President, saying that despite the White House saying his proposal is the only one that can move forward, “I’m sorry, that’s not how the Senate works.” He rejected White House criticism of his proposal and said the “worst” thing would be failing to act or only doing a one-year stopgap.
“The President prides himself on being the great dealmaker,” Coons said. “Sometimes he makes the greatest contribution when he makes his position known and steps back … he is least constructive when he does what he did a few weeks ago.”
McCain said in a statement the new bill has “broad support.”
The Senate is expected to turn to a floor debate on immigration soon, and Coons has been part of a group of bipartisan lawmakers that have been meeting for weeks to try to find a compromise that could pass the vote with more than the 60 votes needed to advance legislation, which would require members of both parties. McCain has been recuperating from cancer treatments but is a veteran of efforts to pass immigration reform.
“While reaching a deal cannot come soon enough for America’s service members, the current political reality demands bipartisan cooperation to address the impending expiration of the DACA program and secure the southern border,” McCain said in the statement.

“White House rejects bipartisan immigration plan pushed by McCain, Coons
By Tal Kopan and Kaitlan Collins, CNN
The White House is dismissing an immigration deal brokered by a bipartisan group of lawmakers as a non-starter just hours before it is expected to be formally introduced in the Senate.
Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain and Delaware Democratic Sen. Chris Coons are slated to introduce a bill Monday that would grant eventual citizenship to young undocumented immigrants who have been in the country since 2013 and came to the US as children, but it does not address all of the President’s stated immigration priorities, like ending family-based immigration categories — which Republicans call “chain migration” — or ending the diversity visa program.
It also would not immediately authorize the $30 billion that Trump is seeking to build the border wall, instead greenlighting a study of border security needs. The bill would also seek to address the number of undocumented immigrants staying in the US by increasing the number of resources for the immigration courts, where cases can take years to finish.
The bill is a companion to a piece of House legislation that has 54 co-sponsors split evenly by party.
A White House official rebuffed the effort, telling CNN that it takes “a lot of effort” to write up a bill worse than the Graham-Durbin immigration bill, but somehow “this one is worse.”
Trump tweeted about the latest immigration efforts Monday, writing, “Any deal on DACA that does not include STRONG border security and the desperately needed WALL is a total waste of time. March 5th is rapidly approaching and the Dems seem not to care about DACA. Make a deal!”
But Coons defended the bill in a conference call with reporters on Monday, calling it a “strong starting place” and a “fresh start” if other talks about immigration don’t result in a compromise.
The White House has been aware of the legislation introduced by Texas Republican Rep. Will Hurd and California Democrat Rep. Pete Aguilar for weeks, with officials being informed while it was being drafted and with chief of staff John Kelly and legislative director Marc Short being briefed on the bill in meetings with members of Congress, including Hurd and Aguilar. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus, of which Aguilar is a key member, has been especially supportive of the bill as a compromise, as have moderate Republicans.
But the President has not embraced the proposal, largely for what it leaves out. Hurd and Aguilar, who first described their bill to CNN, have said they intentionally did not seek to appropriate specific funds in their proposal, as neither are on appropriations committees. They have called their bill a “foundation” for conversations about a big deal.
For the border, the bill would create a “smart wall” where the Department of Homeland Security would gain “operational control” of the border by the end of 2020 through “technology, physical barriers, levees, tools and other devices.” On family-based migration, the bill doesn’t make explicit reference to sponsoring relatives, but the bill authors say that existing law would prohibit parents of these individuals who came to the US illegally to apply for a visa to come back without returning to their home country for at least 10 years before applying and the bill does nothing to erase that requirement.
Coons said that McCain approached him about being a co-sponsor, saying that McCain is deeply concerned about the lack of future certainty for the military because of a budget impasse and the lack of a broader deal on immigration issues, and wanted to find a partner to introduce the Hurd-Aguilar bill in the Senate as part of that effort.
The Delaware Democrat said he recognizes that the bill does not appropriate any money for the border security piece and he’d be willing to look at doing that as well — and he said he’s still committed to the bipartisan Senate talks and is hopeful those could have a breakthrough and a base bill he’d support by the end of the week.
“I remain hopeful that that group can produce a bipartisan deal that is broader than what the McCain-Coons bill is this morning, but in the very real possibility that that does not come together, I think the (bill) is a good base bill,” Coons said. “I view the McCain-Coons proposal as a reasonable base bill that would get done the two things we need to get done: … the status of the Dreamers and border security.”
Coons also had some harsh words for the President, saying that despite the White House saying his proposal is the only one that can move forward, “I’m sorry, that’s not how the Senate works.” He rejected White House criticism of his proposal and said the “worst” thing would be failing to act or only doing a one-year stopgap.
“The President prides himself on being the great dealmaker,” Coons said. “Sometimes he makes the greatest contribution when he makes his position known and steps back … he is least constructive when he does what he did a few weeks ago.”
McCain said in a statement the new bill has “broad support.”
The Senate is expected to turn to a floor debate on immigration soon, and Coons has been part of a group of bipartisan lawmakers that have been meeting for weeks to try to find a compromise that could pass the vote with more than the 60 votes needed to advance legislation, which would require members of both parties. McCain has been recuperating from cancer treatments but is a veteran of efforts to pass immigration reform.
“While reaching a deal cannot come soon enough for America’s service members, the current political reality demands bipartisan cooperation to address the impending expiration of the DACA program and secure the southern border,” McCain said in the statement.

White House rejects bipartisan immigration plan pushed by McCain, Coons
By Tal Kopan and Kaitlan Collins, CNN
The White House is dismissing an immigration deal brokered by a bipartisan group of lawmakers as a non-starter just hours before it is expected to be formally introduced in the Senate.
Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain and Delaware Democratic Sen. Chris Coons are slated to introduce a bill Monday that would grant eventual citizenship to young undocumented immigrants who have been in the country since 2013 and came to the US as children, but it does not address all of the President’s stated immigration priorities, like ending family-based immigration categories — which Republicans call “chain migration” — or ending the diversity visa program.
It also would not immediately authorize the $30 billion that Trump is seeking to build the border wall, instead greenlighting a study of border security needs. The bill would also seek to address the number of undocumented immigrants staying in the US by increasing the number of resources for the immigration courts, where cases can take years to finish.
The bill is a companion to a piece of House legislation that has 54 co-sponsors split evenly by party.
A White House official rebuffed the effort, telling CNN that it takes “a lot of effort” to write up a bill worse than the Graham-Durbin immigration bill, but somehow “this one is worse.”
Trump tweeted about the latest immigration efforts Monday, writing, “Any deal on DACA that does not include STRONG border security and the desperately needed WALL is a total waste of time. March 5th is rapidly approaching and the Dems seem not to care about DACA. Make a deal!”
But Coons defended the bill in a conference call with reporters on Monday, calling it a “strong starting place” and a “fresh start” if other talks about immigration don’t result in a compromise.
The White House has been aware of the legislation introduced by Texas Republican Rep. Will Hurd and California Democrat Rep. Pete Aguilar for weeks, with officials being informed while it was being drafted and with chief of staff John Kelly and legislative director Marc Short being briefed on the bill in meetings with members of Congress, including Hurd and Aguilar. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus, of which Aguilar is a key member, has been especially supportive of the bill as a compromise, as have moderate Republicans.
But the President has not embraced the proposal, largely for what it leaves out. Hurd and Aguilar, who first described their bill to CNN, have said they intentionally did not seek to appropriate specific funds in their proposal, as neither are on appropriations committees. They have called their bill a “foundation” for conversations about a big deal.
For the border, the bill would create a “smart wall” where the Department of Homeland Security would gain “operational control” of the border by the end of 2020 through “technology, physical barriers, levees, tools and other devices.” On family-based migration, the bill doesn’t make explicit reference to sponsoring relatives, but the bill authors say that existing law would prohibit parents of these individuals who came to the US illegally to apply for a visa to come back without returning to their home country for at least 10 years before applying and the bill does nothing to erase that requirement.
Coons said that McCain approached him about being a co-sponsor, saying that McCain is deeply concerned about the lack of future certainty for the military because of a budget impasse and the lack of a broader deal on immigration issues, and wanted to find a partner to introduce the Hurd-Aguilar bill in the Senate as part of that effort.
The Delaware Democrat said he recognizes that the bill does not appropriate any money for the border security piece and he’d be willing to look at doing that as well — and he said he’s still committed to the bipartisan Senate talks and is hopeful those could have a breakthrough and a base bill he’d support by the end of the week.
“I remain hopeful that that group can produce a bipartisan deal that is broader than what the McCain-Coons bill is this morning, but in the very real possibility that that does not come together, I think the (bill) is a good base bill,” Coons said. “I view the McCain-Coons proposal as a reasonable base bill that would get done the two things we need to get done: … the status of the Dreamers and border security.”
Coons also had some harsh words for the President, saying that despite the White House saying his proposal is the only one that can move forward, “I’m sorry, that’s not how the Senate works.” He rejected White House criticism of his proposal and said the “worst” thing would be failing to act or only doing a one-year stopgap.
“The President prides himself on being the great dealmaker,” Coons said. “Sometimes he makes the greatest contribution when he makes his position known and steps back … he is least constructive when he does what he did a few weeks ago.”
McCain said in a statement the new bill has “broad support.”
The Senate is expected to turn to a floor debate on immigration soon, and Coons has been part of a group of bipartisan lawmakers that have been meeting for weeks to try to find a compromise that could pass the vote with more than the 60 votes needed to advance legislation, which would require members of both parties. McCain has been recuperating from cancer treatments but is a veteran of efforts to pass immigration reform.
“While reaching a deal cannot come soon enough for America’s service members, the current political reality demands bipartisan cooperation to address the impending expiration of the DACA program and secure the southern border,” McCain said in the statement.

“White House rejects bipartisan immigration plan pushed by McCain, Coons
By Tal Kopan and Kaitlan Collins, CNN
The White House is dismissing an immigration deal brokered by a bipartisan group of lawmakers as a non-starter just hours before it is expected to be formally introduced in the Senate.
Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain and Delaware Democratic Sen. Chris Coons are slated to introduce a bill Monday that would grant eventual citizenship to young undocumented immigrants who have been in the country since 2013 and came to the US as children, but it does not address all of the President’s stated immigration priorities, like ending family-based immigration categories — which Republicans call “chain migration” — or ending the diversity visa program.
It also would not immediately authorize the $30 billion that Trump is seeking to build the border wall, instead greenlighting a study of border security needs. The bill would also seek to address the number of undocumented immigrants staying in the US by increasing the number of resources for the immigration courts, where cases can take years to finish.
The bill is a companion to a piece of House legislation that has 54 co-sponsors split evenly by party.
A White House official rebuffed the effort, telling CNN that it takes “a lot of effort” to write up a bill worse than the Graham-Durbin immigration bill, but somehow “this one is worse.”
Trump tweeted about the latest immigration efforts Monday, writing, “Any deal on DACA that does not include STRONG border security and the desperately needed WALL is a total waste of time. March 5th is rapidly approaching and the Dems seem not to care about DACA. Make a deal!”
But Coons defended the bill in a conference call with reporters on Monday, calling it a “strong starting place” and a “fresh start” if other talks about immigration don’t result in a compromise.
The White House has been aware of the legislation introduced by Texas Republican Rep. Will Hurd and California Democrat Rep. Pete Aguilar for weeks, with officials being informed while it was being drafted and with chief of staff John Kelly and legislative director Marc Short being briefed on the bill in meetings with members of Congress, including Hurd and Aguilar. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus, of which Aguilar is a key member, has been especially supportive of the bill as a compromise, as have moderate Republicans.
But the President has not embraced the proposal, largely for what it leaves out. Hurd and Aguilar, who first described their bill to CNN, have said they intentionally did not seek to appropriate specific funds in their proposal, as neither are on appropriations committees. They have called their bill a “foundation” for conversations about a big deal.
For the border, the bill would create a “smart wall” where the Department of Homeland Security would gain “operational control” of the border by the end of 2020 through “technology, physical barriers, levees, tools and other devices.” On family-based migration, the bill doesn’t make explicit reference to sponsoring relatives, but the bill authors say that existing law would prohibit parents of these individuals who came to the US illegally to apply for a visa to come back without returning to their home country for at least 10 years before applying and the bill does nothing to erase that requirement.
Coons said that McCain approached him about being a co-sponsor, saying that McCain is deeply concerned about the lack of future certainty for the military because of a budget impasse and the lack of a broader deal on immigration issues, and wanted to find a partner to introduce the Hurd-Aguilar bill in the Senate as part of that effort.
The Delaware Democrat said he recognizes that the bill does not appropriate any money for the border security piece and he’d be willing to look at doing that as well — and he said he’s still committed to the bipartisan Senate talks and is hopeful those could have a breakthrough and a base bill he’d support by the end of the week.
“I remain hopeful that that group can produce a bipartisan deal that is broader than what the McCain-Coons bill is this morning, but in the very real possibility that that does not come together, I think the (bill) is a good base bill,” Coons said. “I view the McCain-Coons proposal as a reasonable base bill that would get done the two things we need to get done: … the status of the Dreamers and border security.”
Coons also had some harsh words for the President, saying that despite the White House saying his proposal is the only one that can move forward, “I’m sorry, that’s not how the Senate works.” He rejected White House criticism of his proposal and said the “worst” thing would be failing to act or only doing a one-year stopgap.
“The President prides himself on being the great dealmaker,” Coons said. “Sometimes he makes the greatest contribution when he makes his position known and steps back … he is least constructive when he does what he did a few weeks ago.”
McCain said in a statement the new bill has “broad support.”
The Senate is expected to turn to a floor debate on immigration soon, and Coons has been part of a group of bipartisan lawmakers that have been meeting for weeks to try to find a compromise that could pass the vote with more than the 60 votes needed to advance legislation, which would require members of both parties. McCain has been recuperating from cancer treatments but is a veteran of efforts to pass immigration reform.
“While reaching a deal cannot come soon enough for America’s service members, the current political reality demands bipartisan cooperation to address the impending expiration of the DACA program and secure the southern border,” McCain said in the statement.

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

I doubt that the Dems are going to force a shutdown over Dreamers this time around. But, that doesn’t mean that the “Bakuninist Wing” of the House GOP won’t shoot themselves and the party in the foot.

Dreamers appear sentenced to limbo as long as the GOP controls all the political branches of Government.

PWS

02-05-18

 

 

 

 

Michael Paarlberg @ THE GUARDIAN: HOW WACKO & COUNTERPRODUCTIVE IS TRUMP/SESSIONS “GONZO” IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT? — Who Screws Their Friends & Productive Residents While Empowering Multinational Gangs? — “[MS-13] can’t really be described accurately as a single gang but is rather a network of gangs with little centralized authority and a franchised name, whose street value only increases with each press conference by Trump and Sessions. . . . There aren’t many beneficiaries of Trump’s immigration policy, but there’s at least one: MS-13 couldn’t have asked for a better president than Trump.”

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/02/trump-immigration-bogeymen-ms-13-chain-migration?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

Paarlberg writes:

“In 1968, a British Conservative politician, Enoch Powell, made what became known as his “Rivers of Blood” speech. In it, he sounded an alarm about what he imagined to be an unchecked immigrant invasion of the United Kingdom, at a time when the country’s immigrant population had only grown from 5 to 6% in the previous decade.

Crime was low, less than one homicide per 100,000 residents, a tenth the rate of the US. Quoting a constituent, he foresaw the day when “the black man will have the whip hand over the white man”. In subsequent decades, immigration slowly inched upwards, but the scenario Powell envisioned failed to materialize.

Half a century later, we Americans live in a Powellesque moment in which politicians’ hysterical rhetoric surrounding immigration is completely at odds with the facts. President Trump, giving his own Rivers of Blood speech on Tuesday, painted a grim picture of a wave of hardened criminal immigrants, exploiting diversity visas and “chain migration”, running around the country murdering people left and right.

In reality, illegal immigration to the US is down, not up. Trump would like to take credit for this with his tough talk about walls, rapists, and “bad hombres” from Mexico, but the number of unauthorized immigrants in the country has been falling for the past decade, due not to xenophobic bluster but the Great Recession.

Net migration from Mexico is currently negative: more Mexicans are leaving the US than coming in, and have been doing so since the end of the Bush administration. In coming decades, most new immigrants to the US will not be from Latin America at all, but from China and India.

Violent crime, too, is down, way down: FBI statistics show violent crimes are just half of what they were in the early 90s. Trump would have you believe that immigrants are responsible for “tremendous amounts of crime”, but research shows immigrants commit less crime than native-born Americans.

In fact, it started in Los Angeles in the 1980s, was originally made up of adolescent stoners who listened to heavy metal, and only grew into a much larger and more vicious, officially designated “transnational gang” thanks to mass criminal deportations by the Clinton administration to poor countries that were ill-equipped to deal with the influx.

It can’t really be described accurately as a single gang but is rather a network of gangs with little centralized authority and a franchised name, whose street value only increases with each press conference by Trump and Sessions. And for all the hype, MS-13 is a relatively small player here. Its estimated US membership has remained constant for the past decade at around 10,000, or less than 1% of the 1.4 million gang members in the US: far smaller than the Crips, Bloods, Latin Kings, or Aryan Brotherhood.

Even the face tattoo image is out of date; MS cliques have been discouraging members from getting them after belatedly realizing it makes them easy to identify by police.

As for the origins of this nonexistent immigrant crime wave, Trump blames “chain migration”, the more menacing nativist buzzword for family reunification, the principle on which our immigration laws are founded.

“Chain migration” is actually a conservative idea: the Immigration and Nationality Act, which was passed in 1965, was sold to immigration restrictionists as a law which would preserve mostly white immigration while doing away with the overtly racist, eugenics-inspired quota laws it replaced. Because by 1965, most immigrants to the US were from Europe, it was assumed that giving preference to family members of current immigrants would restrict immigration from other parts of the world.

After all, it is a policy which upholds the family as a unit. Families, conservatives argued, were preferable to single men. They encourage stable employment, homeownership, participation in the community, and provide a source of private, non-state welfare for needy relatives. Families are what keeps people out of trouble, the kind Trump imagines immigrants are getting into, and which may actually happen if he succeeds in taking away this base of support.

It wouldn’t be the first time US immigration policy had the opposite of its intended effect, from Johnson’s 1965 immigration law to Clinton’s criminal deportations. Similarly, Trump’s recent decision to revoke TPS protection for over 200,000 legal immigrants from Haiti and El Salvador will only increase the number of unauthorized immigrants and lead to more unauthorized immigration in the future: mass deportations mean a loss of cash remittances from those immigrants to countries whose economies are heavily dependent on them, which will only worsen unemployment and send more migrants north.

Breaking up families also creates the conditions of insecurity under which predatory gangs thrive. In Central America, deportations from the US give gangs a new vulnerable population to recruit from. In the US, the loss of family networks and raids which push migrants into the shadows give them a new vulnerable population to extort. There aren’t many beneficiaries of Trump’s immigration policy, but there’s at least one: MS-13 couldn’t have asked for a better president than Trump.”

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

Pretty much what I’ve been saying all along! With their toxic mixture of ignorance, arrogance, incompetence, bias, White Nationalism, and racism, Trump, Sessions, Miller, and their sycophantic followers have been destroying American communities, weakening and dissolving American society, and empowering our enemies, foreign and domestic! Other than that, they’re a great bunch of guys.

The only folks happier than MS-13 about the Trump/Sessions regime and their “sell-out” of America and American values are Vladi Putin and his Oligarchs.

PWS

02-02-18

JAMELLE BOUIE @ SLATE: TRUMP, SESSIONS, MILLER & THE GOP RESTRICTIONISTS HAVE PUT GOOD OL’ 1920S RACISM AT THE FOREFRONT OF THEIR WHITE NATIONALIST IMMIGRATION AGENDA! –“What good does it do to bring in somebody who’s illiterate in their own country, has no skills, and is going to struggle in our country and not be successful? . . . That is not what a good nation should do, and we need to get away from it.” — J. “Gonzo Apocalypto” Sessions, Attorney General of the United States of America & Unapologetic White Nationalist With A Long History Of Racism!

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/02/the-nativist-blueprint-for-trumps-immigration-plan.html

Jamelle writes in Slate:

“State of the Union on Tuesday night, “one that admits people who are skilled, who want to work, who will contribute to our society, and who will love and respect our country.”

The president and his allies claim such an immigration policy would promote cohesion and unity among Americans “and finally bring our immigration system into the 21st century.” Far from forward-facing, however, the president’s policies evoke the beginning of the 20th century, when war abroad and opportunity at home brought waves of immigrants to the United States, from Italians, Polish, and Russians to Chinese and Japanese. Their arrival sparked a backlash from those who feared what these newcomers might mean for white supremacy and the privileged position of white, Anglo-Saxon Americans. Those fears coalesced into a movement for “American homogeneity,” and a drive to achieve it by closing off America’s borders to all but a select group of immigrants. This culminated in 1924 with the Johnson-Reed Act, which sharply restricted immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe and all but banned it from much of Asia.

Members of the Trump administration have praised the Johnson-Reed Act for its severe restrictions on who could enter the country, and the act’s history helps illuminate what exactly Trump means when he says he wants to put “America first.”

The cohesion Trump espouses isn’t national or ideological. It is racial. The fight over immigration isn’t between two camps who value the contributions of immigrants and simply quibble over the mix and composition of entrants to the United States. It is between a camp that values immigrants and seeks to protect the broader American tradition of inclusion, and one that rejects this openness in favor of a darker legacy of exclusion. And in the current moment, it is the restrictionists who are the loudest and most influential voices, and their concerns are driving the terms of the debate.

At the heart of the nativist idea is a fear of foreign influence, that some force originating abroad threatens to undermine the bonds that hold America together. What critics condemned as “Know Nothing-ism” in the 19th century, adherents called Americanism. “The grand work of the American party,” said one nativist journal in 1855, “is the principle of nationality … we must do something to protect and vindicate it. If we do not, it will be destroyed.”

In the first decades of the 20th century, the defense of “the principle of nationality” took several forms. At the level of mass politics, it meant a retooled and reinvigorated Ku Klux Klan with a membership in the millions, whose new incarnation was as committed to anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic, and anti-Semitic politics as it was to its traditional anti-black racism. In Behind the Mask of Chivalry: The Making of the Second Ku Klux Klan, historian Nancy MacLean notes how Georgia Klan leader William Joseph Simmons warned his followers that they were, in his words, “being crowded out by a “mongrel population … organized into Ghettos and Communistic groups … and uplifting a red flag as their insignia of war.” Likewise, Klan leaders and publications blasted Catholic immigrants as “European riff-raff” and “slaves of ignorance and vice” who threatened to degrade the country at the same time that they allegedly undermined native-born white workers. When, in 1923 and 1924, Congress was debating the Johnson-Reed Act, the Klan organized a letter-writing campaign to help secure its passage, turning its rhetoric into political action.

At the elite level, it meant the growth of an intellectual case for nativism, one built on a foundation of eugenics and “race science.” Prominent scholars like Madison Grant (The Passing of the Great Race) and Lothrop Stoddard (The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy) penned books and delivered lectures across the country, warning of a world in which “Nordic superiority” was supplanted by those of so-called inferior stock. “What is the greatest danger which threatens the American republic today?” asked eugenicist Henry Fairfield Osborn in the preface to Grant’s book. “I would certainly reply: The gradual dying out among our people of those hereditary traits through which the principles of our religious, political and social foundations were laid down and their insidious replacement by traits of less noble character.” The aim of the nativists was to preserve those traits and admit for entry only those immigrants who could fully and easily assimilate into them.

. . . .

It is true that there are some more moderate restrictionists in the mix, for whom the drive to reduce legal immigration is driven by concern and prudence—concern over immigration’s impact on wage and employment, especially among the country’s working-class citizens, and prudence regarding our ability to assimilate and absorb new arrivals.

The facts do not support these misgivings. Low-skilled immigration does more to bolster prospects for working-class Americans—providing complementary employment to construction and farm labor—than it does to lower wages. Likewise, immigrants to the United States have shown a remarkable capacity for assimilation, quickly integrating themselves into the fabric of American life by building homes, businesses, and families. To the extent that native-born workers need protection, it’s best provided by stronger unions and more generous support from the government.

But those moderate voices aren’t setting the agenda. Instead, it’s the hardliners who have used their initiative to inject nativism into mainstream politics and channel, in attenuated form, the attitudes that produced the 1924 law. President Trump, for example, ties Hispanic immigrants to crime and disorder, blaming their presence for gang violence. He attributes terror attacks committed by Muslim immigrants to the “visa lottery and chain migration” that supposedly allows them unfettered access to American targets. And in a recent meeting with Democratic and Republican lawmakers, Trump disparaged Haiti and various African nations as “shitholes” (or “shithouses”) whose immigrants should be turned away from the country in favor of those from European countries, like Norway. It’s unclear if Trump is aware of Rep. Albert Johnson, who spearheaded the 1924 immigration law. But in his racial ranking of immigrants, the president echoed the congressman’s sentiments. “The day of unalloyed welcome to all peoples, the day of indiscriminate acceptance of all races, has definitely ended,” proclaimed Johnson on the passage of the bill that bore his name.

The president isn’t alone in his views. Before joining the Trump administration, former White House adviser Stephen Bannon openly opposed nonwhite immigration on the grounds that it threatened the integrity of Western nations. And while Bannon has been exiled from Trump’s orbit, that legacy lives on. Stephen Miller, who is now the driving force behind immigration policy in the Trump administration, is a notorious hardliner who has echoed Bannon’s views, bemoaning the number of foreign-born people in the United States.

Miller is the former communications director for and protégé of Jeff Sessions, who as Alabama’s senator praised the Johnson-Reed Act and its restrictions on foreign-born Americans. “When the numbers reached about this high in 1924, the president and Congress changed the policy, and it slowed down immigration significantly,” Sessions said in a 2015 interview with Bannon. “We then assimilated through the 1965 and created really the solid middle class of America, with assimilated immigrants, and it was good for America.”

As attorney general, Sessions has leaned in to these views. “What good does it do to bring in somebody who’s illiterate in their own country, has no skills, and is going to struggle in our country and not be successful?” said Sessions during a recent interview on Fox News. “That is not what a good nation should do, and we need to get away from it.” Rep. Steve King of Iowa, a staunch defender of Trump, is especially blunt in his defense of hardline immigration policies. “Assimilation, not diversity, is our American strength,” he said on Twitter last year.

Assimilation in those middle decades of the 20th century was built, to a considerable extent, on racial exclusion. It was assimilation into whiteness, one which bolstered and preserved the racial status quo. There’s no return to the America of that era, but one could slow the nation’s demographic transition. The White House proposals for immigration reform seem designed to do just that. According to an analysis from the Cato Institute, President Trump’s framework for immigration would slash entries by 44 percent, excluding almost 22 million people from the United States over the next 50 years. And in an analysis tied to the “Securing America’s Future Act”—a House-produced bill which hews closely to what the president wants—the Center for Global Development finds that white immigrants would be twice as likely to attain entry into the United States than black and Hispanic ones, while a majority of Muslim and Catholic immigrants would be barred from the country. Couple these measures with voter suppression, a biased census, apportionment by citizenship, extreme gerrymandering, and the existing dominance of rural counties in national politics, and you can essentially rig the system for the preservation of white racial hegemony.

Immigration policy is inextricably tied to our nation’s self-identity. What we choose to do reflects the traditions we seek to uphold. In the 1920s, most Americans wanted a more homogenous country, and they chose accordingly. Forty years later, in the midst of the civil rights revolution and a powerful ethos of inclusion, Americans reversed course, opening our borders to millions of people from across the globe. In this moment, we have two options. We can once again take the path that wants to keep “America for Americans,” and which inevitably casts American-ness in ways circumscribed by race, origin, and religion. Or we could try to realize our cosmopolitan faith, that tradition of universalism which elevates the egalitarian ideals of the Founding, and which seeks to define our diversity of origins as a powerful strength, not a weakness to overcome.

portrait of Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is Slate’s chief political correspondent.”

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Read the complete article, with more historical references to the racist historical basis for today’s GOP restrictionist policies, at the link.

Actually, “Gonzo Apocalypto,” most of those Latino, African, Hispanic, and Middle Eastern immigrants that you look down upon and disrespect aren’t illiterate in their own countries. And, they probably speak and understand English better than you do their native languages.

While you, Gonzo, have spent most of your adult life on the “public dole,” trying to turn back the clock and, as far as I can see, doing things of questionable overall value to society, immigrants have been working hard at critical jobs, at all levels of our society, that you and your White Nationalist buddies couldn’t or wouldn’t be able to do. Hard-working immigrants, not your “White Nationalist Myth,” have advanced America in the latter half of the 20th Century and the beginning of the 21st Century. Immigrants will continue to make America stong, prosperous, and great, if you and your White Nationalist restrictionist cronies would only get out of the way of progress!

“We can once again take the path that wants to keep “America for Americans,” and which inevitably casts American-ness in ways circumscribed by race, origin, and religion. Or we could try to realize our cosmopolitan faith, that tradition of universalism which elevates the egalitarian ideals of the Founding, and which seeks to define our diversity of origins as a powerful strength, not a weakness to overcome.”

Right on, Jamelle!

PWS

02-02-18