FEDERAL COURT IN TEXAS FINDS GOP INTENTIONALLY ENGAGED IN RACIAL DISCRIMINATION IN TEXAS REDISTRICTING — Follows Sessions Decision To Withdraw Support For Plaintiffs!

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-15/texas-voter-maps-blocked-as-racially-biased-by-federal-judges?utm_campaign=pol&utm_medium=bd&utm_source=applenews

Bloomberg reports:

“Texas can’t use its current voter maps in the upcoming congressional midterm elections after a panel of federal judges ruled districts approved by state Republican lawmakers illegally discriminate against Hispanic and black voters.

The three-judge panel in San Antonio gave the state three days to say if and when the Texas Legislature will fix the congressional map, which the judges concluded still carried the discriminatory taint of districts lawmakers originally drew in 2011 with the intent to squelch rising Latino voting strength.

If Texas doesn’t intend to correct biased districts, the court will hold a hearing to solicit advice before redrawing the map on its own, the panel said Tuesday.”

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Read the complete story at the link.

Another setback for the White Nationalist agenda of Jeff Sessions and  Texas AG Ken Paxton.

PWS

O8-15-17

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

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

Tal reports:

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

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

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

Good morning! Happy recess.

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

As always, all the best,

Tal

 

 

A storm is brewing for DACA this September

By: Tal Kopan, CNN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

At 200-day mark, Trump nominations still lag

By: Tal Kopan, CNN

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

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

Trump hasn’t come close.

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

But he still remains far behind.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PWS

08-07-17

 

 

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

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

Tal Kopan reports for CNN:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PWS

07-01-17

Immigrants Bridge The Gap With Local Communities — “The Haters Are Always Wrong, And The Haters Will Eventually Lose.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/working-to-build-bridges-between-immigrants-and-their-new-communities/2017/06/23/03c1bb1a-4d2a-11e7-a186-60c031eab644_story.html?utm_term=.2bcde1762b2f

Steven V. Roberts writes in a WashPost op-ed:

“These are all good examples that will, hopefully, ease the “cultural anxiety” Noorani writes about. But he shies away from discussing a key dimension of Trump’s appeal: racism. “A significant portion of the American electorate felt their country had been taken away,” he writes, but he doesn’t complete the thought. Taken away by whom? Let’s be honest. Many of those voters believe that their country has been overrun by dark-skinned, foreign-language-speaking aliens.

While it is wildly unfair to call all Trump supporters racists, it is equally inaccurate to ignore that the president deliberately inflamed racist impulses to win the election.

 

Moreover, Noorani lacks a larger perspective. Trump is a very American figure. Anti-immigrant fears didn’t start with globalization and weren’t “triggered” by the election of Barack Obama. Throughout our history, spasms of nativist hostility have erupted against each new group arriving on our shores: Germans and Jews, Irish and Italians, Japanese and Chinese.

Hispanics and Muslims are now the objects of this animosity, and the language directed against them is the same that’s been used to demonize newcomers for more than two centuries: This group will degrade our culture and alter our identity. But today’s targets can take comfort from the clear lessons of history.

Immigrants do change our culture — for the better. They reenergize and revitalize our civic spirit. The haters are always wrong, and the haters will eventually lose. Tiwana and Noorani himself prove that truth.

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Read the entire op-ed at the link.

Trump and his supporters might be on the right side of the political equation at this point in time, but they are squarely on the wrong side of history. Before joining up with the Trump Team, folks ought to think about being remembered by their grandchildren and great grandchildren in the same way that we think about such notorious racists as Alabama Governor George Wallace, Georgia Governor Lester “Pickax” Maddox, and Arkansas Governor Orvil Faubis, or those who engineered and championed such abominations as the Chinese Exclusion Act.

Even iconic American historical figures like President Woodrow Wilson and Gen. Robert E. Lee have recently had their racism and support for racist causes eventually catch up with them and tarnish their reputations. In the long run, the cause of intolerance, fear, and bias promoted by Trump, Pence, and today’s GOP will look pretty bad. Yeah, we’ll all be gone by then. But, our descendants and history will remember where we stood.

PWS

06-25-17

WashPost EDITORIAL: Texas Railroad — GOP Stomps On Justice In Attempt To Justify Own Lies! — 8 Year Sentence For Clueless Hispanic Women Who Voted Illegally! Really? I Saw Drug Dealers, Wife Beaters, Car Thieves, & Repeat Offenders Who Got Less Than That!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-texas-size-scapegoating-of-an-illegal-voter-is-a-travesty-of-justice/2017/04/05/94b8e3b2-1a05-11e7-855e-4824bbb5d748_story.html?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-f%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.89a469888cea

“DESPITE COCKAMAMIE conservative conspiracy theories, actual cases of intentional or even possibly intentional voting fraud are so rare in the United States that when one does crop up, Republicans get themselves in a lather. That explains the ugly tone of self-righteousness and retribution attending the scapegoating of Rosa Ortega, whose sentence of eight years in prison for voting illegally in Texas is a travesty of justice.

Eight years, really? That falls in the midrange of sentences for second-degree felonies in Texas, which include manslaughter, aggravated assault, sexual assault, possession of up to 2,000 pounds of marijuana and human trafficking. It’s a draconian and absurdly severe punishment for Ms. Ortega, who has a sixth-grade education and guilelessly exposed her intention to cast an illegal vote to elections officials.

Ms. Ortega, 37, has lived most of her life in Texas. As a legal permanent resident of the United States, she is eligible to work, serve in the military, pay taxes and receive most public benefits. But her green card does not entitle her to vote; therefore she committed a crime by having done so while living in Dallas County in 2012 and 2014.”

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Want proof that Ortega was clueless?  Try this — she cast her so-called “illegal vote” for Ken Paxton, the Republican Texas AG who prosecuted her!

PWS

04-05-17