America’s Parallel Universe: Out There In Wyoming, Coal Is Back, Trump Is King, & The Skies Are Not Cloudy All Day (Or, More Accurately, “My Sky Is Blue And My Water Is Clean”) — As For The Rest Of The World Who Might Like To Live Above Water Or Breathe Clean Air? — Just Not On The Radar Screen!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/in-trump-country-a-new-feeling-optimism/2017/06/01/7a0053da-3403-11e7-b373-418f6849a004_story.html?hpid=hp_rhp-top-table-main_optimism-710pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.48ba05840b4e

Robert Samuels reports from Gillette, WYO for the Washington Post:

“In Gillette and surrounding Campbell County, people were beginning to feel the comeback they voted for. Unemployment has dropped by more than a third since March 2016, from 8.9 percent to 5.1 percent. Coal companies are rehiring workers, if only on contract or for temporary jobs. More people are splurging for birthday parties at the Prime Rib and buying a second scoop at the Ice Cream Cafe.

Maybe it was President Trump. Much was surely because of the market, after a colder winter led to increases in coal use and production. But in times when corporate profits are mixed with politics, it was difficult for people here to see the difference.

“I’m back to work,” Gorton said. “It’s real. Did Trump do it all? I don’t think so. But America voted in a man who was for our jobs.”

In a divided nation, optimism had bloomed here in a part of the country united in purpose and in support of the president. Close to 90 percent voted for the same presidential candidate, and 94 percent of the population is the same race. And everyone has some connection to the same industry. They felt optimistic about the tangible effects of the Trump economy, which favors fossil fuels, and the theoretical ones, which favor how they see themselves. Once on the fringes, their jobs had become the centerpiece of Trump’s American mythology.

. . . .

“We once powered the nation,” Gorton said. “But you got the feeling that things are not quite the same and that political forces are encroaching on your livelihood. It’s like they are willing to take away your town.”

Now the fear of what might be taken away was carried by someone else. There was another side of this American story, a tenser and more terrifying one, where immigrant families worried about deportation raids and ­liberals marched with witty ­placards to protest the “war on science.”

Far beyond the borders of this isolated town, many Americans were gripped by the latest evidence of the president’s coziness with the Russians, and wondered why the white working and middle classes hadn’t abandoned their increasingly unpopular president. In that America, the early optimism about Trump was fading. A Quinnipiac poll released last month said that 52 percent of Americans were pessimistic about the country’s direction, 20 percent higher than when Trump was inaugurated. And Friday’s anemic employment report, showing the country gained only 138,000 jobs in May, provided little consolation.

Gorton found it difficult to reconcile those two polarized feelings; it seemed that either you had to believe in the country’s pending prosperity or its impending doom.

“I know there are people who are scared about where the country is headed, but before I was scared,” Gorton said. “Either they’re dreaming, or I’m dreaming.”

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The question is, once Trump and his cronies are done with their policies of hate, disrespect, and divisiveness, will anyone ever be able to put the pieces of America together again?

Seems like folks on both sides of the aisle should have been able to get together and solve the problems of the nice people of Gillette without reigniting an essentially dying industry that, in the long run, is neither economically viable nor environmentally desirable. When the world fries, I doubt that God will exempt Wyoming from the consequences. Those skies could get cloudy some day. And, by that time, the Trump crowd will be long gone.

PWS

06-03-17

Is President Trump’s EO On Refugees and Visas Legal? Nolan Rappaport of The Hill Says The Statutory Authority Is Clear, If “Clumsily Executed” — Professor David Cole Of Georgetown Law Says It’s Unconstitutional!

Nolan points to section 212(f) of the INA:

“The president’s authority to declare such suspensions can been found in section 212(f) of the INA, the pertinent part of which reads as follows:

‘(f) Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.’
The 90-day suspension can be waived on a case-by-case basis.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has applied this waiver to the entry of lawful permanent residents. He has stated that, “absent the receipt of significant derogatory information indicating a serious threat to public safety and welfare, lawful permanent resident status will be a dispositive factor in our case-by-case determinations.

. . . .

A federal judge has granted an emergency stay request from the American Civil Liberties Union to bar the deportation of people with valid visas who landed in the U.S. after the EO was issued.

Frankly, I do not understand this judge’s order. The issuance of a visa does not guarantee an alien’s admission into the United States. In fact, this is explicitly stated on the State Department’s Frequently Asked Questions site About Visas – The Basics.

“After I have my visa, I will be able to enter the U.S., correct?
“A visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. A visa allows a foreign citizen to travel to the U.S. port-of-entry, and the Department of Homeland Security U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) immigration inspector authorizes or denies admission to the United States.”
Nevertheless, it is apparent that the EO will inconvenience many people who are coming here for legitimate purposes, and that is unfortunate.

On the other hand, it also is apparent that President Trump did not exceed his statutory authority over alien admissions with the directives in the EO, and that he issued it to protect the United States and its citizens from foreign nationals who intend to commit terrorist attacks in the United States.

But was it the best way to accomplish that objective?”

Read Nolan’s full article in The Hill here:

http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/immigration/316871-trumps-immigration-ban-is-clumsy-but-perfectly-legal

David argues that the EO is clearly unconstitutional:

“According to the Supreme Court, “the clearest command of the Establishment Clause is that one religious denomination cannot be officially preferred over another.” Larson v. Valente, 456 US. 228, 244 (1982). But that command is apparently not clear enough for President Donald Trump. On Friday he signed an Executive Order on refugees that imposes a selective ban on immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, and at the same time establishes preferential treatment for refugees seeking asylum who are identified with “minority religions” in their country of origin. In case there was any doubt about the latter provision’s intent, Trump told Christian Broadcast News that it was intended to give priority to “Christians” seeking asylum over “Muslims.”

In both respects, the Executive Order violates the “clearest command of the Establishment Clause.” First, as I developed in an earlier post, the Constitution bars the government from targeting Islam. One of the lowest of many low moments in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign was his December 2015 call for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslim immigration. The proposal treated as presumptively suspect a religion practiced by about 1.6 billion people worldwide, nearly a quarter of the globe’s population. Trump soon retreated to talk of “extreme vetting,” but never gave up his focus on the religiohttp://immigrationcourtside.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=891&action=edit#n of Islam. Friday’s executive orders are of a piece with his many anti-Muslim campaign promises.”

Read David’s full article in Just Security here:

https://www.justsecurity.org/36936/well-court-trumps-executive-order-refugees-violates-establishment-clause/

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I see Nolan’s point. But, statutory authority doesn’t necessarily mean it’s constitutional.

On David’s constitutional question, Federal Courts have been willing to intervene at times to protect due process rights of individuals who are physically present in the United States, particularly those who have green cards. The Administration’s ill-thought-out, confusing, and initially heavy handed (or “clumsy” in Nolan’s words) implementation of the EO gave opponents a golden opportunity to score some early temporary victories in cases involving green card holders and others who had valid visas or refugee admission documents at the time the embarked for the United States.

But, beyond that, the EO falls at the intersection of immigration law, foreign policy, and national security, three subjects on which the Federal Courts traditionally have been reluctant to challenge the Executive’s authority. Courts have historically been reluctant to review the Executive’s exercise of authority beyond U.S. territory.  For example, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Executive’s authority to engage in “high seas interdiction” of Haitian migrants even though it appeared to violate the spirit, if not the letter, of the Refugee Act of 1980 and the U.N. Convention and Protocol on the Status of Refugees. Sale v. Haitian Centers Council, Inc., 509 U.S. 155 (1993).

Up until 1965, the U.S. immigration laws blatantly discriminated on the basis of race and national origins. The Supreme Court never held any of those provisions unconstitutional. In fact, it was Congress, not the Supreme Court, which forced the 1965 changes to make the law more equitable.

And, leaving aside the legal and national security policy issues, the politics of this situation are far from clear. The initial NBC-4-DC poll (presumably from the DC Metro viewing area) showed 62% of respondents opposed the President’s order. By contrast, the initial Quinnipiac nationwide poll showed 48% to 42% support for the controversial Executive Order. Perhaps, President Trump is on stronger ground politically than the many nationwide protests and fierce reaction against his Executive Order would indicate.

PWS

01-30-17